Tuesday, August 28, 2007

A Webhead meeting in Slovenia

Cris Costa and her Portuguese friends Sara, Magda, and Bruno spent part of her vacations in our neck of the woods :-). Miha and I met them in Koper and spend the evening with them in Izola, a nice old fishing town on the Slovene coast. There was a street feast going on and we had a fishy dinner by the sea, some calamari, shells, and sardines. Cris and I talked and talked and talked – the few hours we managed to steal for ourselves flew with the speed of light. It is indeed a very special experience to meet an online friend for the first time. Cris is so young, so involved, has so many wonderful ideas. For every doubt and problem I mention regarding teaching and motivationg students she has a thousand suggestions and examples to show - a webhead in the truest sense of the word :-). I wonder what I would be working on today had I not come across this community in 2005. Being part of it has changed my teaching and view of teaching. I'm learning to teach and learning to learn.
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Saturday, August 11, 2007

Bee in action at Merlot Conference

I've been a Webhead for about 2 years now. Webheads in Action is a CoP bringing together educators across the globe, who are interested in experimenting with various web tools, exploring their use in class, collaborating on various projects, taking part in various online events – as presenters or participants. Educators coach each other, virtually visit each other's classes, and sometimes even meet F2F. :) For newbie teachers, the community is a jump board into the world of available web tools. There is passion, enthusiasm, friendship, sense of belonging, pride. A community spirit in its truest sense. Cris Costa explores it in her dissertation. Bee showed it in practice. Yesterday, she had an inspiring keynote at Merlot conference in New Orleans 'Jazzing it up with Merlot'. Of course, many webheads were there with her. She was wonderful – she always is. And her team. The team we heard speaking and the team making sure things ran smoothly. She delivered the keynote to audience in the conference room and brought in virtual audience from Alado and Second life. All the while the session was being broadcast live via Worldbridges skypecast. She opened the door of the cyber worlds she roams and let the Merlot audience have a glimpse of the starry skies, friendly people, beautiful sunsets, and inspiring stories.
The thoughts still echoing in my mind today are: Do we push contents on our students or do we pull their creations from them? (Bee), There are no teachers, just facilitators. (Vance), Let's tear down the classroom walls. (from one of Bee's earlier presentations).
We’ve heard Vance's cat herding view of the webheads - 'cats herd themselves, they don't need a cat herder’; membership is free and open to anyone - like a virtual hippie community – you know a hippie when you see one and you are one if you feel like one. I liked this. :-) The result of this freedom is a vibrant, creative, constructive, inspirational and often chaotic atmosphere. I think Chris commented in the chat area that chaos is WiA middle name, something like that. This chaos is a nice and friendly one though - the one which lets you see the forest and help s you find trees. ;-) There is always somebody out there to show the way.‘There are two arms,' Michael said, 'the technological and the human nature’.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Trying Audacity

I haven't posted again for quite a while here, because I've been involved in another blogging project called writingmatrix. This deserves a post of its own though.

I have been listening and reading about what a wonderful tool Audacity is for a long time. Now I finally took some time to download and test it. It worked.

I created a simple mp3 file with my gibberish and some background music. I tried to use a demo music file on my pc for background music but these files could not be read in Audacity. So I imported an mp3 from my husband's PC and ended up with another track next to the recording of my text. I then edited both tracks; deleted the silences, decreased the volume of the background music, moved my text a bit forward, so that the recording starts with some intro music first; and exported the file as my first mp3.

I followed these instructions to make the mp3 recording of my voice, and these for adding the background music.
Now I need to learn how to embed something like this in a blog.