Sunday, September 20, 2009

Webheads in Poreč

Today was a very special day. Miha's wonderful mum took care of our two little monsters (now sound asleep in their monster beds), while Miha and I drove to Poreč, Croatia, and met up with Rita and Hector from Rosario, Argentina. My Rita the webhead, a dear dear online friend and partner! Incredible as an afternoon like this would have seemed to me less than 3 months ago, it's just happened today.
Rita is just the way I imagined her. Lively. Full of joy of life. Wonderful to talk to. With her and Hector and Miha we talked about life and work and the world. About borders and cultures and wars and politics. About friendship, curiosity, and serendipity. About the webheads. It was a beautiful waning summer day. And the world got really really small for awhile. :-)
Here are some of the photos Miha took - I only remembered to take his when we got back home (shame on me).

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Morocco photos

This is my Morocco Flickr set

This is Frans' Morocco Flickr set. He's a very talented photographer, he also documented many of his beautiful pics, matching names and faces. With a little help from the iearn community, most of the faces on pics could get names.

And this is the iEARN flickr group some of us flooded. :-)

Morocco reflections 3 - my pres

Walls have mouths
My presentation was scheduled on the last day of the conference. A fair number of people turned up and seemed interested in a graffiti sharing idea. I talked a bit about what inspired me to start the project, a bit about my partners in crime (esp. my dear webheads and Rita's CAEB class and pm and my class and I4E folk and sdutsj and mih and iatefl slo and EFL University and ... :-)), about the project tools and about where the project has taken us so far. We've been basically collecting and sharing graffiti and stories behind them and exploring our countries and cultures, spreading over all sorts of cyberspaces.
Our society is doing very well building all sorts of walls around us - physical and mental, it is also doing very well using and abusing all those walls, and the natural walls too, for all sorts of purposes; artistic and less artistic ones. Walls protect our ideas, culture, property, they divide and separate mine from yours, right from wrong, us from them; and they reflect urban responses of people inhabiting those spaces. Their passions, frustrations,beliefs, views. By listening to the walls around us we can learn more about the world around us and also about ourselves. What do I see? What do I hear? Do I care to see at all? Or hear? Should I?
It's stories of national heroes and it's stories of everyday people. It's drugs and wine and politics and sports. It's the land and the culture. It's funny writings and those that hurt. Many can be seen or heard in different ways and can as such be used as departing points for discussions.
Do looks matter that much?
Why aren't there more women in politics?
Does violent music mean violent people?
Often it is difficult to draw the line between the right and the wrong, humour and bullying, art and vandalism... and this means - talking. And talking in an EFL class is good, isn't it? Especially talking about stories from the walls of our schools, streets, towns... because these tell stories of people from these schools, streets, towns. And because these people matter.
Funny thing I noticed as soon as I set foot on AUI campus - there were lovely murals here and there but no graffiti anywhere. It confused me. I thought there were talking walls everywhere where there are people. Thought wrong it seems. But I guess the fact that AUI is a prestigious university not open to general public has something to do with it. I found talking walls alright in other places in Morocco. It made me wonder though - are there countries or cultures where you can't find graffiti on the walls?
I have been learning a lot all the time by paying attention to graffiti around me. Perhaps I'll try to focus more on things like prejudice, nationalism, intolerance (if my next groups are interested...) Or other things, we'll see...You can find any topic on the wall.... so I
hope to continue with the project in the future too. It has been included on the iEARN site, so perhaps there will be other teachers/classes joining the ride. :-)
description: http://media.iearn.org/projects/wallstalking
forum: http://foro.iearn.org/iearnforums/wallstalking/
Flickr gallery: http://www.flickr.com/groups/wallstalking/pool/show/

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Morocco reflections 2 - nice presentations

Some presentations still stuck to the back of my mind are:

A day in a life project by Chris Baer
5384
Chris will set 2 days during the coming school year, during which interested teachers with classes from all over the world are invited to document their life during that day in writing and photos (natural, ordinary photos preferred to 'pose for the camera' kind of photos) and share these stories online. Students are asked to be careful not to invade privacy of other people. This here is the iearn forum link of the project http://foro.iearn.org/webx/.ee70728/
I plan to invite my students along, it should be fun. Chris says he already has confirmations from classes from Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, China, Ethiopia, Israel (Palestine), Kenya, Morocco, Netherlands, Pakistan, Ukraine, USA and Yemen.

Copy Right or copy wrong by Diane Charlton Midness and Anindita Dutta Roy
IMG_8896
A nice overview of basic guidelines for ethical and responsible use of media - not an easy topic to be delivered in a commn-sense friendly way, but the copyright girls did it very much so by asking questions of things we/people do and whether it is right or wrong to do them that way. They then provided explanations and guidelines to what often seemed to be divided audience. There is no global copyright protection all over the world, which additionally conmplicates things. Well, one useful thing I've learned is that using copyrighted photos in acadamic presentations falls under Fair use. Diane posted her slides to the iearn forum too http://foro.iearn.org/webx?230@@.1eaee4e8

The Bridge of Generations by Manal Fitiani - Lina Daher;
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The project is about connecting the youth and the old in East Jerusalem - the young generation teaches the great grands how to use computer - students and their great grands choose 1 topic and they covered it learning along computer skills (traditional food, etc.). This is a really nice way of bringing together the young spending too much time behind their computers and the old, feeling lonely and out of touch with the modern world.
I think we could use this idea at our school too - ours is a technically oriented school centre, home to computer science secondary school and informatics vocational college among numerous other schools. Instead of teaching their great grands, students could perhaps also instruct seniors in the nearby old people's home or interested people taking classes at The Third Age University (http://www.univerzazatretjeobd-drustvo.si/english.html). I can see numerous possibilities here - in addition to helping old people explore topics they are interested in, perhaps also record things people want to share with the world, help them connect with their dear ones who may not live close to them, perhaps help them find a long lost relative overseas.... who knows. I think everybody learns a great deal by teaching others. And by helping others. And technology can do so much for us these days...

There were generally 6 concurrent sessions each time - and no repeats, so I missed some things.

Morocco reflections 1 - meeting friends

It's been weeks since my return from Morocco, impressions have settled down a bit so it's time to pour some of them out of my head and onto the web. :-)
It was an amazing experience - 430 people from 53 countries of the world - the north, the south, the east, the west - the young, and the young at heart. In blue jeans, in national costumes. Waving flags, playing music, singing songs, dancing, sharing experience, connecting.
And there were Webheads too! :-) Isabel, Nour Eddine, Mbarek and Claudia. We set aside a few hours for lunch one day, they flew with the speed of light. Such nice people! Such great moments! Nour Eddine is an amazing organizer - thinking of 200 things at the same time, always helpful, always with a smile on his face...
IMG_8656
The Moroccans hospitality and thoughtfullness made sure everybody felt at home in Ifrane. They were so considerate all the time. Nour Eddine and Mbarek and Othmane and Said and Latife and Youssef and Aziz and Mohamed and... all those Morocccan boys and girls who were always there for us. I'll never forget it. I've learned so much from them. Of life in the desert. Of online learning. Of enjoying teaching. Of islam. Of diversity. Of respect. Of tolerance. Of perseverance.

It was also cool to get to know Slovene iEARN team - Alenka and Darja and Nives and Dušan and Gregor. It's funny to get to know colleagues from a town an hour away from yours.... in Africa! And learn there about what they do back home... an hour away from mine... :-).

IMG_8501

I was really impressed by Darja's presentation - she did so many cool things with her young learners - collaborations, exchanges, performances, videos, you name it!

And Dušan's part was fun too - he uses delayed video in his physical education classes to show kids the mistakes they do when playing basketball or volleyball or performing certain moves. Image is worth a thousand words and video saves repeating Dušan all those thousands of words again and again. Judging from what I've seen on those videos Dušan showed, kids seem to really like checking a recording of themselves working on a task.

Gregor's part was interesting because it was an overview of introduction of Moodle in Slovene primary and secondary schools. I was part of an early phase of this programme too some 4 years ago. Together with a bunch of other colleagues we were walked through the Moodle basics - the technical part. I was fascinated by Moodle from the start, still use it today - partly because I have to, it's school policy, and partly because I still like it ok - in combination with other web based services it makes a cosy cyberspace. Gregor's overview of introduction of Moodle was top down, so it was nice to gain some broader insight into this national project. Being a teacher and a Moodler I find it interesting to observe mixed first responses of my colleagues - many see value in Moodle and play with it - many seem to feel the need for more pedagogy - technology is cool, but it needs to serve the purpose. Another issue is time... seems to kind of fly faster in cyberspace, and this is a problem for a busy teacher. People grab things that help them save some time... not so much things that take more of their time. ... but through this moodle project teachers are getting familiar with this cms, support communities are developing, and online learning is emerging. All in all I think this Moodle thing has been a huge project making a difference not just on paper but also in Slovene schools.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Flying to Morocco

Got up at 5.30 am, kissed my boys goodbye and went to the Venice airport to catch my flight to Rome. Miha took me there and stayed with me until the check-in. Half the time I fought back tears – not used to going places without my boys.
Landed in Rome alright and after some confusion managed to find the right check-in place for Casablanca. Rome airport is funny. At lunchtime people at the ticket counter simply left for lunch for an hour...leaving noone at counter to help out passengers in need of service.
Arrived to Casablanca a few hours later and then from then on to Fez. Could not find iEARN folks at the airport, but kind people there called the emergency number I had in my pocket and some 15 minutes later Latife and another gentelman arrived to pick up me and also a nice group from Yemen.
IMG_8416
The ride in car lasted for some 50 mins, it was nice to see so many people of all ages out in the streets - wearing traditional clotes, modern, all sorts. Chatted with Latife, Mona, Fatima and Nissmh on the way, all sorts of things –about life in Morocco, Yemen, Slovenia, islam, the projects we have been involved in... Before checking in at the University campus, we made a quick stop at the centre – all the shops were alive at 22 pm. Did not buy any food – thought there would be dinner waiting for me but thought wrong and went to bed with a rumbling stomach.
Anyway, the room is nice and has free internet access. Got connected as soon as I got in and found all the sockets and caught my Mih online. J

It's nice to get a new toy every now and then...

... or even just borrow one for awhile, to t least get a taste of it.
I'm fooling around with a HP mini I borrowed from a friend. A neat little thing. It's both - big and small enough to be useful. I want one too!

Monday, July 13, 2009

TMI

Checking my Google reader recently I liked these quotes concerning TMI - too much information:
'I’m proud of saying I don’t know much but I know how to get to know what I don’t know.' CogDog
I like following CogDog's posts a lot. The other quote is by Clay Shirky and was contributed by Dean in the comment area 'It’s not information overload, it’s filter failure'.
I recently read Shirky's 'The power of organizing without organizations' - liked it so much I read it twice. Yet need to watch his TED talk.
I admire people who feel comfortable keeping up with the pace of life around them. Is this something one can learn? I'm still working on figuring out a recipe for me.

Going to Ifrane

I'm getting ready for a little bit more than a week in Morocco's Middle Atlas town called Ifrane. Annual iEARN conference is taking place there from 18th-25th July. I'm thrilled about meeting there Isabel, Mbarek and Nouredine - 3 webhead friends from Brazil and Morocco. I'm all excited about the trip but also not quite happy about staying away from my boys for 9 long days. There will be 4 other Slovene iEARNers in Morocco; Nives, Dušan, Darja and Gregor. I'm presenting the Walls Talking project and where it has taken us so far.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Starting a graffiti project

Rita and I are launching a graffiti project called Listen to the Walls Talking. Anyone interested is warmly invited to join in. The project site, wiki and Flickr group have just come alive.

The idea behind the project is to collect and share graffiti. If other interested teachers, students, people spread across the cyberspace respond by posting graffiti photos and related info, this could turn into a nice project of the wall/s/talking in our schools, streets, towns, countries, world. Sketches, squiggles, doodles and other more sophisticated street art around us is the part of public spaces usually walked by, unnoticed by people.

Collecting graffiti from our walls, desks chairs and sharing them could provide us with a picturesque collection of expressions of wisdom/boredom/enthusiasm/dissatisfaction etc. from different places. This could perhaps be revealing in quite unexpected ways and could provide us with many interesting possibilities for further interpretations, explorations and manipulations.

This project is open to anyone interested, and will run for as long as there is interest. Anyone is invited to join in (individuals, teachers, classes, students...) and/or help spread the word.

There's not much to be seen yet, what is there is the result of the warm response of my friends (Rita, Kay, Vida and last but not least my Miha, who kindly created the site (said he needed an excuse for fooling around with some new toys... will need to give him more suggestions for excuses in the future ;-)).

Please have a look here and/or here, tell me what you think, and feel free to join in and help spread the word. The more, the merrier :-).

Think positive

Monday, March 09, 2009

Spring is here!

Just spent a lovely half an hour in my backyard - watched my Tevž fight an imaginary battle on his pile of sand, reading and basking in the afternoon sun. When the last rays of sun hid behind the block facing ours, I noticed a young blackbird perched in the still dormant branches of my wild trumpet vine.... Kind of liked the view, had my phone at hand and took this photo.
Spring is here!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Magic Mostovna

Spent a fun afternoon at Mostovna with my boys. A magician performed tricks for the local scout group - taborniki. He revealed some of his secrets and also gave away one or two of his cute rabbits to the kids. Here's another Picasa collage.
From Kolaži

Friday, February 27, 2009

Interactive whiteboard



My school bought 2 (or 3, not sure) SMART boards (680V) so I am having a look at it. Teachers were invited for a 2-hour demonstration of how it works awhile ago but I was only able to be present for the first half an hour, and am exploring the basics via Google now. The SMART board is now in a conference room at school so interested teachers can try it out. Problem? There is just the whiteboard there, so if you want to fool around with it you need to bring your laptop, install the software, find the cables and projector to get the thing going.
M helped me out, we had a peek. First impressions?
- looks nice, turned it on, calibrated it and tried the basic writing tools. Felt a bit clumsy for writing - could be because I used my finger instead of the appropriate pen (need to find one).
- also noticed you need to be careful where you stand and how you move - not to come between the projector and the SMART board or trip over the USB cable.
Want to explore it more. Need to check how people use this in class, see how it could be of use to me.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

E-portfolio step 2


What? No name?!?
Originally uploaded by Gene Hunt
With the Digifolios evo workshop still ringing in my ears, I was thinking of my step 2 towards e-portfolio (about time after successfully completing week 1 task 4 weeks later ;-)).
I had a look at my blogging places - there are many more than I need considering I write an occasional blog post here and there. I decided to rename 2 of them. My blog has to have a name that means something to me. I happened not to think much when opening some of my blogs (did it as a workshop task, part of a project...) and it's a shame. I could forget now about these poorly named sleeping blogs, see many people do that, but I kind of like to keep my stuff, repurpose it if necessary, but not delete it or leave it forgotten out there.
When I opened my first blog, I named it cyberattic after thinking a bit - my grandma's attic was one of my childhood's favourite exploratory hideouts. It is long gone now, and I don't have a single picture of it. :-( So I like this name, makes me feel comfortable.
This blog is my number 2, obviously named similarly to number 1, but this time after a place in my home - cyberkitchen. Like it too.
I am therefore extending this kind of nomenclature to the other previously poorly named places I occupy too - my classblog and a wordpress blog opened at last year's EVO for the purposes of the SMiELT workshop. From today on Cybermill and cybergarden. Now these blogs sound more like one family and I'm happier about them.
Step 3? Rounding up all my cyberspots, like Flickr, YouTube, Twitter, FB, Nings, wikis etc. trying Netvibes as my cyberhub. That's how I'm going to call it - Saša's Cyberhub. No more empty names.

My Batman

Heh, heard abot BeFunky.com via joaoa and did this:


It's a photo of my Tevž dressed as Batman turned into a comic. It's literally just a few clicks... simple and fun. There are many other effects too. The original photo is in the collage below.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Carnival in Gorica

Shrove Tuesday carnival came to town, yaay! Made a collage using M's photos and Picasa.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

My 'Becoming a Webhead'

Made my first video for my Digifolios EVO session a little bit more than a week ago. We were asked to share our stories of our first online learning experience (this was in week 1, I did it, much much later though, in week 5). I knew the topic of my story - my becoming a webhead, but was unsure how to go about it and was thinking quite a bit about it in the back of my mind.

Inspired by a lovely time lapse video I finally decided to type my story and then play it at faster speed together with some photos and music. I knew this can be done easily in Camtasia so I just started putting things together; I recorded my 'typing of the story' in MS Word, picked some photos from my photo album, bookmarked some relevant webhead websites and photos - had a look at the thing, saw it needs rethinking, was too much of everything...

So I started throwing things out, thinking about the music to go with it and remembered Michael Coghlan's wonderful A Webheads Theme Song. I got his kind permission to use it, so I went on searching for images of the internet, tools, web 2.0... When I stumbled upon images of web 2.0 logos these brought to my mind the webheads faces collage from Vance's website - I liked the tools vs. people opposition on the two images so I made it central in the video.

Needed to rerecord a shorter version of my typing (less IS more!). Grabbed more photos from Flickr group to add faces to the story and fill the whole length of Mike's song - would be a crime to cut it up. Loved the result - Mike's song and the faces were great together. Almost too good - felt like my lurking self doesn't quite belong there... Carla's collage too was perfect for conclusion. Asked my M what he thinks - helped improve transitions and photo sizes, suggested to stick to my natural snail-paced typing. Listened to him, always do. ;-)

Titled it From Learning to Teach to Learning to Learn; Becoming a Webhead.

Here it is:


Webheads liked it, dropped nicest comments in the world - in Slovene too! :-) Even though I played with their photos and only asked if them if they minded it afterwards... Needless to say, they didn't. So, thank you, Webheads dear. Webhead Michael in particular.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Week 3 Slideshows

This week's task was to explore BigHugeLabs slideshow, Animoto and Slideshare. So far I've used Slideshare, Flickr and Picassa slideshows. Animoto and BigHugeLabs are new to me. Here are my examples:

1. My BigHugeLabs 'Glimpses of Slovenia' slideshow:
View slideshow
I chose the topic because I already had a set in Flickr, and I wanted to compare the Flickr slideshow and the BigHugeLabs slideshow – kind of like better the Flickr one, because it has the full-screen option ( see http://www.flickr.com/photos/7920247@N04/sets/72157603036788662/show/)

2. My Animoto 'Circus in Town' slideshow:

http://animoto.com/play/tAvqx5ugdLbmNAgG9BotJQ?autostart=true
I had some problems to make the embed code from the site work here.
I chose this topic because I thought it would go well with the music and lively Animoto transitions… Was kind of surprised to see how quickly 30 seconds end – I uploaded 15 photos, set the timing at middle pace but only the first 5 or 6 photos are shown and the rest was cut off.
Since it took me awhile to reduced the number of photos from 30 to 15 I was kind of disappointed to see only a fraction of the photos shown, so I resorted to good old Flickr and created a flash badge using my 'circus' tag - but the embed code does not work here for some reason.



www.flickr.com


This is a Flickr badge showing public items from SasaSi tagged with circus. Make your own badge here.






Another option is to create a Flickr slideshow using the tag, but the down side of this is you can't arrange your photos, they are shown in the order they are uploaded. Creating another set unfortunately is not an option for me, because I have a free account and I've already reached the limit of 3 free sets.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/7920247@N04/tags/circus/show/

3. My Earth Day slideshare:

I did this slideshow to celebrate Earth Day last year and promote the Earthcast project. I used creative commons photos from Flickr together with quotes from here and there and posted it to my class blog.

My comments:
I like best Flickr slideshows. It's a pity they are limited to 3 sets. BigHugeLabs are nice and simple to create but I miss the whole screen view of photos.
Animoto is cool, but 30 seconds is very very little time. I had the feeling that the example videos shown in this group lasted longer… I guess this was a paid service. I like Animoto because it adds sound and movement, videos are dynamic and energetic… Good to use with a small number of photos.
Slideshare is nice for ppt viewed in landscape mode. When I used it for sharing photos, I hated the fact that the layout of the presentation does not follow the layout of the ppt – so if you use portrait layout a whole lot of space is wasted, which is a shame. I also like the fact that you can add audio here – haven't tried it yet, but it's cool.
For me it would be great if Flickr slideshow offered some more options for various transitions and also to upload audio. They look neat and it's cool to have everything in one place. I guess going Pro is the solution.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Where are you from?


origins
Originally uploaded by SasaSi
I'm not much of a poet... but here's another week 2 task from the Images4Education EVO session :-).


I am from toy cars, lego bricks, paper, paints and brushes,
from computers, cables, gadgets,
from pots and pans and steaming stew,
from violets, pansies and mimosa.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Homework


motivator1327398
Originally uploaded by SasaSi
One of my Images4Education week2 tasks. I'm very happy to have learned about so many great Flickr tools and ideas.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Electronic village online 2009 started


TESOL's wonderful EVO sessions started today. They bring together language teachers from all over the world. I can't resist coming back year after year. It's the place where I'm comfortable learning about technology. I'm not an expert, just an English teacher. So it often happened when I attended such sessions at home, in real life, that I returned empty, disappointed, confused....because in my country it is mostly techies giving workshops to teachers. They concentrate on various technical details and features, leaving out the most important part - the pedagogy, hands-on experience, practical use in class...
Well, EVO is different. It's from teachers to teachers. It's hands on. It's useful. It works. It's free. I love it. I can't help coming back year after year. This one is my 4th.
Together with Monica, a wonderful English teacher from Brasil, I moderate week 1 in Becoming a Webhead (there are more than 150 participants already). I also signed up for Images for Education and Digifolios and Personal Learning Spaces. We'll see how much of this I'll be able to keep up with. The mind is willing but the flesh is weak ;-).