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Reasons to Twitter? There are a bunch now!
Tuesday, January 29, 2008
So many technologies to keep track of the past few years. Rarely does anyone point out how to use them. Too often people become pessimistic due to the lack of examples or immediate success. Too often the naysayers win the debate without adequate trial periods and we educators move on to the next tool or system. In response, I try to make lists of pedagogical uses of technology in my blog posts (see below), books, presentations, journal articles, classes, etc. The following link is to a blog of Professor David Parry from the Emerging Media and Communications Department at the University of Texas at Dallas on reasons or ways one might use Twitter as an instructor, trainer, student, etc.

I can use some of these I think--instant feedback for student work, having them follow a famous person and perhaps be indirectly apprenticed by him or her, recording creative thoughts and ideas in a public notepad, writing continuous short stories that others in a group add to, tracking a particular conference, and creating a sense of a classroom community. All of these are ways Dr. Parry lists as uses of Twitter. Creativity, feedback, apprenticeship, communities, collaboration, etc. are all evident in his ideas. These may be short bursts of learning and conversation (since you are limited to 140 characters of text), but pithy summaries and writing in nutshell what has been thought, said, or presented somewhere, has been shown for decades to be effective by cognitive psychologists. Summary writing forces the reorganization and rehearsal of ideas.

I think Dr. Parry has done an excellent job of moving the debate forward. Thank you Professor Parry!!! It is just one technology, but there are myriad practical (and some not so practical) uses for it in the classroom. How else might you use a tool like Twitter?
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CLO Magazine January 2008 Issue on Motivation, Innovation, Googlization, and the Future of E-Learning
Sunday, January 13, 2008
I try to keep up on e-learning in all sectors—K-12, higher education, corporate training, military, etc., but it is not easy. I spend most of my time in the higher education space, but enjoy those moments in the other areas; especially since I used to be a corporate controller and CPA and my master’s thesis and dissertation were in the K-12 schools. It is always difficult to straddle all sectors.

Below are some articles I just read in Chief Learning Officer (CLO) Magazine (see which came in the mail yesterday. I have an article in here about collaborative tools a few years back and always like reading it. I normally do not find much useful stuff in other corporate training magazines which I subscribe to (especially the ones from ASTD—T&D Magazine this month was all about “learning” but I found none if it worthwhile so I disappointingly tossed it out—lots of promise but far too fluffy). Fortunately, CLO is different and usually has a couple articles of value each month. And it is free! This month there are articles related to motivation, innovation, creativity, relevant learning, and the future of e-learning. I review 7 of the articles below.

CLO Magazine, January 2008 issue (see

1. The Power of Pull (Idea of article—this one is about motivating people online. Charlie Gillette has a powerful story of his own college days that we can all relate to. Here he notes how free and fun college learning can be yet there is always that threat of a bad grade or, worse yet, failure. Instead of the fear of failure learning (i.e., push learning) such as experienced in college and many training settings, learning needs to be irresistible and help learning unconsciously acquire information. In effect, learning should be interesting, fun, interactive, collaborative, cool, compelling, exciting, social or friendly, challenging, authentic (simulations for instance), flexible (learn when want to learn), user generated, captivating (draw learners into it—learning is a perk not a terrible experience), and, simply stated, an alternative to the regular classroom):

2. E-Learning Is Dead. Long Live E-Learning! (Idea of article—I love this title since it is highly accurate; E-learning—wanted dead or alive? No, I just want it alive!!! In effect, do not push technology and fancy e-learning on to learners and expect them to complete it; instead, think about learner needs and provide content on demand or just in time. There was a ton of e-learning terms we were told were important 5 or 10 years ago (e.g., LMS, LCMS, WBT, CBT, VCT, ILT, KMS, CMS, VLE, etc.) that basically no longer apply. The focus is now once again more squarely on the learner instead of the technology. E-learning is dead (I mean the old electronic page turning versions of e-learning), but e-learning, as is all learning, is very much alive as well.

3. Innovation: Nature and Nurture (Idea of article—I appreciated this article as well since I have a recent keynote talk about the nature (i.e., technology) and nurture (i.e., pedagogy) of e-learning. Here, Corrine Miller argues that we need a culture of innovation and management support for innovation is helpful for innovation to occur since innovation CAN be taught (nurture) and some people are born with ability to be creative and generate new ideas (i.e., nature). Need a problem-solving approach which involves creating ideas, evaluating ideas, and action plans for such ideas. Need real goals, challenges, problem statements, inquiry, question banks or guides for such inquiry and investigations, and activities which lead from divergent or creative thinking exercises to convergent or critical thinking ones and this has to be done in a team. Sure sounds like this course! You need the motivational environment and the methods for problem solving and innovation.):

4. On Demand: The Googlization of Learning (Idea of article—learning from classroom training is forgotten quickly so need access to information (i.e., information must be available on demand); it is blended learning that combines face-to-face and online learning plus resources online that is best. More than 70 percent of corporate learning is informal so need to provide access to information on demand. Accessible knowledge is highly important but so need to not just spend our days searching for content but actually finding the content we need (in small, understandable chunks, on-demand, and ranked by relevancy of the search). Learning is no longer just teacher-directed but is now increasingly self-directed. It is not discrete knowledge or facts learned at a specific event. Instead, our learning might come from online or face-to-face meetings with mentors; from collaborative teams; from online access to information; from instructors; from life experiences; etc. Google and other search tools are simply fueling a trend toward making learning available on demand for learners and learner-centered learning. The author of this article, John Ambrose is right on target.):

5. Learning Transparency and Assumptions by Elliott Massie (Idea of article—This article is short at 1 page but Elliott Masie is always interesting to read. Here, Masie notes that too often training and education lists objectives and stops at that; unfortunately, such an approach is missing out on many things that are important to the learners and ultimate learning performance; in particular, with greater self-selected learning and e-learning, it is missing the learning assumptions, such as the how much will learners need to memorize in the course, what facts and skills (or prior knowledge) is assumed, what is the philosophy of teaching this course (i.e., exploratory of drill and kill, behavioral), how difficult will different content be (might you color code content with different difficulty levels), how have previous learners succeeded or failed (what have they done to succeed, how have they studied, what tasks did they choose, what worked best), how much classroom discussion and dialogue will be expected, who should NOT take this course, and how current is the knowledge of this course?):

6. Three Learning Trends to Watch in 2008 by Jeannie C. Meister (Idea of article—Here is another 1 page article with three trends outlined: (1) college classes are going paperless by building content in wikis, using RSS feeds of online news, podcasts, blogs, etc., and other things to delete textbooks and make learning more relevant and designed for the new generations of learners; (2) corporations need to change too by creating Wikipedia-like knowledge bases designed by employees as well as using more Web 2.0 tools like blogs, podcasts, instant messaging, text messaging, and Facebook posts to network, learn, and communicate; and (3) the free online class portals and open educational resources like the MIT courses are soon going to be prevalent in corporate learning portals such as the Free Management Library with 650 topics and 5,000 links; in effect, social software is helping learning become more collaborative and interactive and the corporate world better keep pace):

7. Five Trends in the LMS Market by Brandon Hall (Idea of article—A final 1 page article from my friend Brandon Hall notes the following five trends related to the learning management system (LMS) market in corporate training: (1) need to look at software as a service (SaaS) and use hosted software thereby reducing personnel needed; (2) focus on supporting internal talent from prehire days to when they retire and even after (i.e., build talent rather than ignore it or assume it just happens); (3) learning should come to the learner when needed using emerging technologies such as mobile technologies, blogging, and collaborative Web 2.0 tools instead of forcing the learner to attend a specific training event and location; (4) with nearly 3 billion mobile phones deployed worldwide, anywhere, anytime mobile learning is growing at an unprecedented rate ; and (5) tools for SHARING knowledge and information and social networking (e.g., Facebook) are on the rise):

Hope you find some of these articles valuable. Despite being a former accountant and CPA, I spend roughly 15-20 percent of my time on corporate related learning research but I thought these were unique and valuable. Thanks CLO!
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10 quick writing tips in the academic world.
Saturday, January 05, 2008
My colleague and friend from grad school days at Wisconsin, Dr. Veronica Acosta, text messaged me tonight. During our chat, she noted that she has to do a presentation for faculty at Cal State Long Beach on writing this week Tuesday January 8th. Veronica noted that I had some succcess lately in publishing (ya, after many years and stacks of article rejections, I have had 65 articles published that past 3 years and 15 more things in review or in press) so it has been a good run. I give her links to my 3 blogs posts on writing tips and ideas. In addition, I added the 10 tips below in a text message. I reproduce these 10 tips for others who might be interested:

#1. Create Writing Goals: Goals are perhaps the most important part of a writing plan and success story. Establish your goals for writing = how many articles per year or semester to get out and published. You do not need to meet your goals, but just have them and compare your performance to your goals from time-to-time.

#2. Sharing Goals: Share those goals and the articles produced with colleagues and friends. Goals are even more powerful when you realize that others are aware of them.

#3. Hire Help: Hire part time help for monotonous stuff like finding articles and proofing or editing (spend small amounts of money and it will pay huge returns). This is a no-brainer, but one that frugile people too often neglect.

#4. Create Possible Journal Checklists: Look at lists of where to publish articles and attack that list in a strategic fashion (e.g., see my list of educational technology and e-learning journals at: Check them off as you publish in different ones. Spread your articles around and your reputation will and with that, so, too, will invites to write also grow.

#5. Manufacture Time: Time is the #1 obstacle to writing--so schedule time during the week to write or during the day to write. Also, you might do things like combining meetings back to back to save time to write. I tend to write in bulk. I do not have set hours or a set day of the week; instead, I write for a week or 2 or month at a time. I get everything cleared off my plate and then I have a go at it. Brute force writing as much as I can for as long as I can. Others might not like this approach but it has always worked for me. I leave most of my summers open for writing and no longer teach in the summer.

#6. Understand Journals and Network with Editors: Talk to the editors of journals about their requirements. Get to know them and they might help you out or give you insider tips or expedite the review process where possible. Knowing people, especially those in power, is a good thing when it comes to publishing your ideas. Of course, often this requires you to do something in return such as reviewing articles for their journal or edited book project. You must decide when to jump in and when to back off. But by all means, do not smooze or use people. Be genuine. Work with the people whom you like and respect.

#7. Persistence/Passion: Never give up on an article that you care about or that you think others care about. Passion and persistance are often key to publishing. Since 1999, I do not think that I have given up on an article. Before 1999, it was an all-too-common occurence. If you want to be successful, you must be passionate and also persistent about your work.

#8. Take Risks and Explore Different Forms of Writing and Publishing Outlets: Explore new forms of publishing--Wikibooks, electronic books, open access journals, etc., and even forms of self-publishing. So many outlets for writing are available today--explore them and use those that benefit you and that that help spread your message. Your institution may not reward or recognize all of these outlets--but which is more important to you--the recognition from internal colleagues or the recognition from people around the planet whom you might never have met without making your book or article open access.

#9. Collaborate with Like-Minded People and Support Colleagues: Form a team that might do a special journal issue or edited book and support each other. As stated in #2, writing is always enhanced when you share it and work with others. When you find a group that is genuinely interested in the work of each other, you are bound to find at least some small success.

#10. Play Second Fiddle: Do not always be #1 or first author of an article; being #2 or #3 on an article will give you more time to write; some people (like me) work better once there is some text on the page from someone else. I had 19 things published in 2007, but I was only first author on a few of them and I had 9 research articles in review or revision at the end of the year and was 2nd or 3rd author on all of them.

Hope these quick writing tips help. See also my previous 3 posts which are much more expanded I think (especially #1 below):

1. 30 Writing Tips:

2. 3 P's of Professional Writing (Purpose, Passion, and Pleasure):

3. 3 P's of Publishing (Persistance, Patience, and Push):

Good luck!
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About Me

Name: Curt Bonk
Home: Bloomington, Indiana, United States
About Me: I am a former accountant and CPA and a former educational psychologist. I am now Professor of IST at Indiana University and also adjunct in the School of Informatics. I founded and later sold SurveyShare. As president of CourseShare, LLC, I run around the world training instructors to teach online and give motivational talks about emerging learning technologies. I also write and edit books related to e-learning and blended learning. See bio and vita.

See my complete profile

Click here for information about my recent book, The World is Open: How Web Technology Is Revolutionizing Education.

Visit the Indiana University Home Page of E-Learning Expert Curtis J. Bonk.

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