Friday, November 14, 2008

Philosophical Issues Related to Technology in Education: A Ground Map (Part B)

A couple of months ago, I posted part A of Technology in Education: A Ground Map. In that post, I focused on definitional issues related to "technology," and touched on some ways in which the definition of technology reflects current realities in schools and people's values about what's important in education. In this Part, I want to lay out a general outline of what I see as the major philosophical issues related to technology in education.

I see the following six major categories of philosophical issues related to technology in education:

  • Definitional (discussed in Part A)
  • Epistemological
    • what is knowledge
    • ways of representing knowledge
    • disciplines/interdisciplinary issues
    • what is important enough to be taught
    • what is deemed unimportant to schooling but is valued by students
    • tacit knowledge
  • Psychological
    • Learning theories related to technology
    • Behaviorism
    • Constructivism
    • Social constructivism
    • Gaming and education
    • Cognitive theories
    • Artificial intelligence
    • Human-computer interaction
    • Issues of attention
  • Pedagogical
    • Technology and standards
    • Integration vs. computer classes
    • "essential conditions"
    • Student-centered pedagogy
    • Substitution or transformation
    • Metacognition
    • Teacher education
  • Sociological (related to the ways that technology in education involves aspects of the larger society)
    • Effects on larger society
    • Effects on democracy
    • Relationship to nature
    • Effects on relationships
    • Social-networking
    • Effects on creativity
    • Effects on policy
    • Work, skills, training

  • Ethical
    • Proper uses of technology
    • privacy
    • filters and subcultural knowledge ("hacking")
    • Digital divide


I also see a number of important issues that cut across these various categories:

    Is educational transformation possible?

    Web 2.0 and education

    Democracy and technology


I welcome comments on this brief outline since I hope to make this a comprehensive framework for looking at this topic.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Discussion, or Demagoguery?

In my most recent post, I shared a letter that I had written to my parents and close friends endorsing Barack Obama for president. I got a lot of positive feedback about the letter, especially from my friends, including one person who remains "on the fence" and found it persuasive. A number of my friends sent it around to THEIR friends, which is gratifying. I'll be happy if it helps to convince even one person to choose Obama over McCain.

From my family, I got a variety of responses. My younger brother sent me a private email saying simply "I'm wid ja Bro!". Very glad to hear that. My older brother never responded. (Typical.) My mother also wrote privately to say that she's leaning toward Obama (Yay!) and that she appreciated receiving my thoughts. (Mom is definitely an "independent" in her political leanings, having voted in the past for both George Bush Sr. and Bill Clinton. The fact that she's leaning Obama says a lot about the campaign Barack has been running in comparison to that of McCain.)

My mom's sister responded with a very nice familial email in which she said that she and my uncle "will vote for the Republican candidate because we just cannot support Obama. If the polls are correct, he may well be our next President, but not because of our vote. Let’s hope the better man wins and can turn around this trend toward an economic abyss our country is heading for." The "just cannot support Obama" part is a bit vague, although I suspect it has to do with Obama's position on a woman's right to choose an abortion, since they are pretty strongly Catholic. I hope it's not because Obama isn't white.

My father (who has been divorced from my mother for 20 years) responded to "all" (that is, all family, not my friends, who were BCC'd), taking advantage of my "public" endorsement to argue publicly and vociferously against Obama and for a conservative viewpoint. He included at the end an exchange that he and my younger brother had been having, and responded to both of us.

You have to understand that my father has in all likelihood NEVER voted for a Democratic presidential candidate. His strongly Republican views come through loud and clear in his response. Indeed, I think one could say that he epitomizes the secular right-wing viewpoint on most issues.

Here's his email, which is as classic a statement of conservative political views as there ever was:
First, I lean to the right because I believe in human rights and the belief that our Constitution upholds those rights. I believe fully in the Bill-of-Rights and will vehemently fight to preserve them, especially the right to speak freely and the right to carry arms, both of which the left is against - more on that later. This discussion couldn't take place in most countries. This discussion doesn't take place in the leftist parlors either because the left is aligned with socialist principles; meaning, more government, more regulation, and more "spreading the wealth."
[I am not really sure what "socialist" has to do with the absence of free speech, but there it is.]
Second, I lean to Republicans because of what I said with the First reason. Most Republicans support free speech. Democrats do not! Democrats want to pass the "Fairness Doctrine" This is a great sounding bill that has a communist undercurrent to control the free press as well as the "free" radio and TV media. The Doctrine says that all media that is licensed by the Federal Government MUST present the issues fairly and evenly to all points of view. This means that: Unless the Federal Government approves of what is said on a TV or radio station, it can shut the station down or fine it severely until it complies with what Government feels is fair or that it presents it's point of view. Also most Democrats want gun control. There are great arguments for controlling the issuing of licenses for carrying guns and I concur with most of those, but the kind of argument that will take guns, of any kind, away from private citizens is not OK. The Courts overturning of the gun control in Washington DC was a victory for the Constitutionalist and the Right-wing.
[Of course, Obama also supported the recent decision regarding the Washington DC gun-control law, although he believes that stronger measures need to be taken to remove illegal guns from the hands of criminals.]
Third, - the economy: I firmly believe in laissez-faire capitalism. I know, we have never had a fully capitalistic economy; government has not allowed it to happen. Anytime a company has become "too" successful because of its so called "greed" the congress has reeled the company in by overtaxing it or brought it's executives before a left leaning congressional committee to ask it to explain its profits. Folks, please, I appeal to you, it is precisely because of profits that have helped this country to grow to the stature it has today in the world. I give you China - most people don't know that the tremendous growth over the last few years in China is because the communist regime understands the principles of Capitalism and has poured all company's profits, (that's right, I said all,) back into the companies and into China's economy. Obama does not understand that and McCann does.
[My dad misspells McCain's name consistently. That's okay...he often misspells MY name. In this last paragraph we see very clearly that my Dad has a black/white view of political issues. If you don't believe in laissez-faire capitalism, you don't believe in profits. And Chinese capitalism--hardly laissez-faire!--is good regardless of the human rights issues that might be involved.]
Since the bailout was passed by a Congress bought with "Pork," and Obama has promised to "Spread the Wealth," the "Market" has taken a nosedive. Investor's belief in our economy is at an all-time low. Is that because of the Bush policies? I think not. I think, as long as Obama is ahead in the polls, the Market will not improve, and, I believe that if Obama gets in office, we are in for a very, very long recovery, especially when he gets his tax plan passed to increase taxes in all categories, in an unopposed Congress, especially capital gains. Folks - we do not need more taxes, anywhere, in this economy - taxes of any kind will kill any economic growth. Also, the World Markets stand to lose as well, because of the Democrat's position on trade protectionism.
[Evidence that the stock market decline is due to Obama's lead in the polls? None...but here it is taken as prima facie evidence. Did Obama promise to "Spread the Wealth"? Well, yes, he did, and it's been taken as proof of a secret agenda.]
Fourth, trust: I do not know Obama. Craig, I know that you have a personal relationship with Obama and I'm sure that the liberal circles you live and breath in has tainted your perception of him, yes, I said tainted, I didn't want to use brain-washed. Your appeal to us to accept your perception of him, by your leftist views, just doesn't appeal to me. I do not know Obama, but I DO NOT trust him, or his judgment. I agree with Biden that he will be tested and I don't trust his instincts to do the right thing for this country. I don't want to place our economy in the hands of someone that has said that he "wants to redistribute the wealth." This does not represent, to me, a fresh approach for America. This is not the kind of "change" I want. It's the Hoover, FDR, Jimmy Carter, Lyndon Johnson and our present congress with tax increases, New Deals, Great Societies, all of which have never made this country better economically or improved our stature in the world. You can, as every Obama supporter does, blame the present administration for all of our present troubles in the economy, but if you're a student of placing the blame, your argument doesn't hold any weight. If you are open to learn where the blame really lies, it always turns up with the Democrats and their "Great" plans to help the poor and the "little" people and raise the taxes on those who earn their money by being creative and working hard.
[Wow. "Tainted." When I called him on this in a response, he offered this: "I'm sorry I called you tainted. You're not a piece of rotten meat. I wish I knew of a better word to describe our "Liberal" education system beyond high school. Persuaded? Brain-washed? Hammered with principals that teaches you that the "individual" is not as important as the "collective." That corporations are essentially and inherently bad and do evil things. That the word "Capitalism" is not something that is good in it's principals. That there is some good in everything - that somehow you can find charity within a dictatorship, that somehow a system that is based on socialist values is good for me and America. That the lower class of people (liberals definition, not mine) are needy and that as long as we continue to take from the wealthy and give to the needy, it's OK. Your generation and newer now have the idea that you deserve a hand out from the government.

[Again, it's the black/white thinking. Because I think "laissez-faire capitalism" is a myth--even he admitted it's never happened--I think "capitalism is not something good"?!?! That I'm willing to find good in many different forms of government, I "somehow find charity within a dictatorship". And I "deserve a handout from the government"!!!?! What?]
Fifth, being an American first: Obama says that he is a Citizen of the World. What does that mean to me? It means that he isn't going to put America first. He says that the symbol of the American Flag in the "World's" eyes has negative connotations and he doesn't wear it for that reason. I will not vote for a man or woman that doesn't feel that it is their patriotic duty to salute or show off the American Flag as a symbol of Freedom and the American dream and ideal. I will never put my well-being and my trust in someone that doesn't feel that America is their country to defend and to uphold in every situation. Craig says that he is: "Barack is as pro-American as any American." I believe that it is precisely why nations hate us; it's because of the freedoms we give our citizens and the way we continue to promote freedom wherever we can. It is the socialist governments and it is the Islamic ideals that wish to crush America and what we stand for. It is the countries that have a slightly higher growth rate in the population of Muslims that hate America. Radical Islamist are very active in those countries where they reside to move the rest of the population to hate America. (I wish I had the time to place my references in this.)
[Wow. we go from Obama is a "citizen of the world" to hating America. Again, there's no subtlety here.]
I, like Craig, hope all of you vote. But, unlike Craig, I want you to vote for the Republican ticket. I want my Grandchildren to have choices in their future. The problem is: our children are being taught that the government will provide them a free lunch which is what Obama is offering. I want children to have the freedom to chose whatever they want and to be taught to assume responsibility for their own welfare. I believe that it's governments responsibility to protect us, providing an environment to succeed at whatever we want to pursue within the cover that our Constitution provides us.
Like you Craig, I have studied the issues from both the left and the right, not for a few months, but for most of my adult life. I must admit to leaning to the right in my thinking, but only because it serves my views on politics and the way I want to leave this country for my Grandchildren. I must say that the McCann' ticket doesn't excite me very much and I wish that there was a real conservative running against Obama for a clearer choice. I will vote for McCann, however, because he is a Neo Conservative and will make the correct choices in foreign policy. (see my take on the neocons below in [your brother's] email thread.)
My Dad and I went back and forth on a few of these issues in a few more emails, but never really got anywhere. I tried to argue that "liberal" means--in part--understanding that any viewpoint on any topic reflects the particular perspective of those who take it, and that we should recognize that one can hold positions at various points on the political spectrum and still be "pro-America," and that progressive taxation isn't "socialism." But I should have realized it was all for naught: my Dad wasn't going to change his views, and I wasn't going to change mine.

Meanwhile, my dad's sister chimed in in response to his first long email. This aunt lives in a rural southern state, where she has embraced what I (being the urbane liberal that I am) might call a rural southern mentality. Her input takes on a different flavor from my father's, because she doesn't discuss core political issues:
Very well said my brother! I could not have stated my position any better.
Craig, I have to agree with my brother. He has stated my views, feelings about this election very well. I acknowledge that you "know" Barak [sic] Obama and that you apparently circle the same "neighborhoods". But my gut does not trust the man. The issues that [my brother] has mentioned are only the tip of the iceberg for me. There is something that gut wrenches me every time I hear the man speak that tells me he is not ringing true. He is very eloquent in stating his agenda in a way that says to me he is trying to make me believe that he is on my side and all will be well, but my gut tells me that it is not all above board. Why will he not come forth with all the documents that the public has asked for?? I cannot put trust in a person that will not show all that is asked of him. If he has nothing to hide, why doesn't he provide the birth certificate, college records and medical records that have been asked of him? He blames everything on the present administration - what about the Democratic congress that has been in "power" the last four years??
I will close for now, since [my brother] has stated my beliefs very well. I do not trust Obama, I do not agree with his agenda or ideas, and I do not feel he has the judgement needed to lead America and make the right decisions for America in the global theater presently or the future. He will be tested and he has NOTHING to help him, including his party.
I will vote for the Republican ticket. I do not agree with and cannot support the left wing Democratic Party. I pray that Americans will wake up and really hear what Obama is offering before they vote for him.
Sigh. Here, we have something more than political disagreement. We have "gut wrenches" that tap deeply into emotional undercurrents. Perhaps it's fear; perhaps it's anti-intellectualism; perhaps it's a deep distrust of people who appear to be rootless; perhaps it's racism. One cannot tell. In any case, this aunt isn't really considering whom to vote for; she "knows" intuitively, and isn't interested in the issues.

But what really caught my attention here was the innuendo. She asks "why doesn't he provide the birth certificate....that [has] been asked of him." I hadn't heard that Obama hadn't provided his birth certificate. So I did a little research. I discovered that yes, on June 13, 2008, the Obama campaign had released his birth certificate, but that this did not satisfy many on the right, who want to believe that Obama is really a Muslim, or an Arab, or was really born in Kenya, or Indonesia, and that somehow if he became president he would be illegitimate because he wasn't born in the United States.

It's quite amazing, really, this speculation. Go ahead, do the Google search. In addition to the and refutations of this speculation, and the St. Petersburg Times' detailed investigation of the authenticity of the birth certificate that the campaign provided (more here), you get all sorts of claims about how it is an "absolute forgery" because, again entirely speculatively, it appears to have been printed on a laser printer, and doesn't show a signature or seal, and includes the word "African" under "Father's Race" when clearly (!) Obama's father was an "Arab."

So I read through some of this stuff, and sent an email back to my aunt (copying everyone in the family) saying that in fact Obama HAD released his birth certificate and it had been found to be authentic by a variety of investigations, and that this allegation undermines the credibility of anyone who uses it as a "reason" for not supporting Obama. I even included an image of the released birth certificate.

My aunt, not too surprisingly, didn't respond to that email. (I think she just finds my responses to be liberal rants.) My Dad responded with this:
There are some who say [emphasis mine] that this birth certificate is not real. That it was/is produced on a modern laser printer which did not exist in 1961, and why is the certificate # blacked out - what's to hide here? This appeared on the LA Times Blog. Obama didn't produce this as required. I'm not saying that he must personally produce it, but it's odd that when he registered to become President two years ago that he didn't produce it then or was asked to produce it. This is all conjecture on my part [emphasis mine] because I don't have first hand knowledge of whether this is Obama's Birth Certificate. Problem is, no one else knows for sure that it is either.
BTW, Obama's mother - was she a US citizen the required number of years to produce a natural born American child. Does anyone know? I do know that Obama's father was Kenyan, an Arab [!!!}, not African as the certificate says. Is Africa a country; I thought it was a continent?
Wow. "There are some who say" and "All conjecture on my part"--but he's going to make the allegation anyway. "Arab"?!??!? What? So, I responded with some specifics:

The more you and your sister talk about this, the less credibility you have. Indeed, it merely serves as evidence that you will believe anything as long as it serves to buttress your political beliefs.

Why would the candidate of a major political party base the legitimacy of his campaign and possible [i wrote "pregnancy" here, but clearly meant "presidency"] on a lie that could be EASILY disproved through medical records?!??!?!

Since I have been taught to use evidence to back up my claims, here’s some proof:

I already sent you the Snopes link, which debunks this myth. Did you read it?

How about this one:

About Our Mission “We are a nonpartisan, nonprofit "consumer advocate" for voters that aims to reduce the level of deception and confusion in U.S. politics. We monitor the factual accuracy of what is said by major U.S. political players in the form of TV ads, debates, speeches, interviews and news releases. Our goal is to apply the best practices of both journalism and scholarship, and to increase public knowledge and understanding.”

And Obama’s father was African, NOT an Arab.

“Arab, Arabian (a member of a Semitic people originally from the Arabian peninsula and surrounding territories who speaks Arabic and who inhabits much of the Middle East and northern Africa)”

Obama’s father was Muslim, but not Arab. He was a member of a Kenyan tribe, the Luo. “They speak the Dholuo language, which belongs to the Western Nilotic branch of the Nilo-Saharan language family spoken by other Luo-speaking peoples such as the Lango, Acholi, Padhola and Alur (all of Uganda).”

They don’t speak Arabic. And Kenya isn’t in Northern Africa.

So Obama’s father was African.

As you MAY know, demographic categories are ARBITRARY for the most part. Who decides, for example, whether a person is “Hispanic,” or “latino,” or “Caucasian.” Obama’s mother filled out the form for the birth certificate in 1961 and said Obama’s father was “African.” (She probably felt strongly that he wasn’t a “black,” or “negro,” or “coloured” person, because he wasn’t an American. He was an African student.) The Hawaii Department of Health accepted that designation.

Obama’s campaign released his birth certificate on June 13, 2008. It LOOKS just like other Hawaiian birth certificates of the time. These articles discuss the fact-checking done by one organization on this issue.

READ these articles!!!!! Or, frankly, stop spouting off about this ridiculous issue as if it IS an issue.

Now, I understand that someone who doesn't really care about "evidence" such as this would find this email to be perhaps heavy-handed: piling it on. After all, quoting all these sources might simply indicate a tenaciously adamant attitude rather than a careful consideration of facts. In theory, after all, someone who was arguing on the other side might offer a similar pile of evidence. This being the case (one might say), why should we pay any attention to this at all?!??!

So how did my dad respond?
Let's agree to disagree about the importance of the birth certificate issue. I'm sure any source that you come up with will, in your mind, support your feelings on this, and visa-versa.

now let's talk about the issues.
Oh. My. God. So, rather than either offer his own evidence, or concede that my evidence is compelling, or even admit that the initial speculation was wrong, my dad basically accuses ME of being willing to accept any evidence at all. I was furious. Rather than respond right away, knowing that my anger might cause me to say something I would regret, I decided to sleep on it. (Not that I slept well...interspersed in wierd dreams about my friend Willie and a Ford Mustang, it kept coming back into mind.)

So, this morning, I wrote the following:
So, this is the way it is, huh? You throw around speculative bullshit about Obama being not what he says he is. I supply evidence that he IS what he says he is.

Rather than supplying any evidence at all that your spurious allegations are correct—and rather than even RESPONDING to my evidence or even trying to deflect it—you accuse ME of “accepting any source” and refuse to engage the issue. (This, despite the fact that I spent an hour finding the best evidence I could find…..and even supplied credentials of one of the organizations involved.)

Dad, that’s not political discussion or argument. That’s demagoguery.

I quit.
Before I sent this, I wanted to be sure I wasn't using "demagoguery" incorrectly. So, I typed "define demagoguery" into Google. Basically, demagoguery refers to an approach to political speech that emphasizes the emotions and passions of the mob, rather than rational discussion of issues. (See also Wikipedia article.) There are all sorts of methods that count as demagoguery, including mixing apples and oranges, using half-truths, citing false authority, creating a false dilemma, demonization, straw man, loaded questions, unrelated facts, emotional appeal, and personal attack.

My father's response was demagoguery in several of these senses (false authority, loaded questions, half-truths), but primarily because of its use of speculative innuendo (an indirect or subtle, usually derogatory implication in expression; an insinuation).

My father's response to this last email was somewhat gracious, but also predictably weaselly. Rather than respond to "all" (as we had been doing all along), he responded privately to me, and wrote:
I'm sure that your sources are credible, just as I'm sure that anything I throw back at you will be completely baseless and unfounded. This discussion between us isn't unique. It's been going on for ages and ages. Your responses to a conservative viewpoint aren't new and refreshing to a conservative. The arguments that we've had aren't winnable and neither side will ever seem reasonable. Only the votes will tell.

The main reason I responded to your first email was because you found it in your heart to tell our whole family what's best for them and how they should vote and how deeply you felt that a vote for McCain would be a waste and "wrongminded."
[Um, I don't think I used that word.}
Craig, I love you. You're bright and a great family man and I'm sure that your students really get a fine education from you. But, you're also a college liberal, through and through, and I never expected anything from you other than what you did and said. It's just that I don't like the fact that liberals think that they know what's best for the average American and that they will provide for them with governments help and my tax dollars. ---- The poor have been voting for the Democrats forever because of promises made - they're still poor.

I'm through too. This has been a rigorous experience for me and very tiring. I'm not a natural writer and these responses have taken hours and hours to formulate and write. ( even this little note has taken me more than an hour and I haven't had breakfast yet!) But, I don't regret having done it. It's shown me that my convictions are strong and on the mark. And it's shown me how much your convictions (though wrongminded :) are strong and that you stick up for what you believe.

Please don't be angry with me, my son. As you are, I'm just sticking up for my convictions.


PS: I'm sorry about the birth certificate response; it wasn't fair, and it was sort of "demagoguery" wasn't it? Personally, I wasn't going to bring up the issue with the birth certificate anyway, but [my sister] said something and you responded. My response was trying to just push the issue aside and get on with the real issues, not "refuse to engage the issue."
So, there we have it. Demagoguery admitted, "sort of." But privately. My dad won't say this to everyone. And, rather than concede anything at all about my argument, he closes the discussion with a last dig at me, a "college liberal, through and through," who (even though he can't cite any evidence of this other than his own feelings that I'm condescending to his point of view), believes (again, by implication, not evidence) "that [I] know what's best for the average American and that [I] will provide for them with governments help and [your] tax dollars."

I guess the moral of this story is one of two things.

1. It's not only impolite but impolitic to discuss politics (or religion) with your family members (but see)


2. Never try to argue an ideologue out of his firm convictions. At the end of the day, ideologies aren't about evidence (also here); they are about a person's entire World View.

This latter point applies as much to me, as to my dad.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Barack Obama for President

I wrote the following letter to my father, mother, brothers, aunts, uncles, and cousins just now. I had to say my piece. Some of them are republicans. But even republicans must see what this election is about. I hope my words make a small difference, in someone, somewhere.

Dear family members and others:

I am writing to urge you in the strongest possible terms to vote for Barack Obama for President of the United States.

I took quite a bit of time to write these words for you. Please read, even if you disagree.


Having met Barack Obama personally about 10 years ago, and having conversed with him occasionally since then about his views and the challenges he facts politically, I can tell you that he is a man of strong principle, high ideals, true commitment to his community, and intense intelligence.

Barack is extremely highly regarded here in Hyde Park (where both he and I are raising our families), and is also increasingly being accepted across the nation and around the world as a man whose time has come.

Barack is as pro-American as any American. And, despite what you may have heard, Barack is neither a “terrorist” nor a “socialist.” These charges are completely without basis in fact, and are being promulgated by those who would mislead the American people for their own gain.

Such charges must be directly and forcefully corrected, for the good of the nation. We cannot continue to allow ignorance and hatred to rule our politics. It is time to pay attention to ideas, and to see beyond fear and personal interest.


This is a critical time in our nation’s history.

Our economy is experiencing the worst crisis of a generation, caused by failed policies of deregulation, rampant corporate greed, and a society living beyond its means.

Our military is bogged down in multiple, never-ending conflicts.

Our nation’s image in the eyes of the world is at its lowest point in at least 80 years.

Our educational system is seriously failing to ensure the equality of opportunity that has made this a great nation since its founding.

Our world faces multiple environmental crises including global warming, the quick decline of oceanic ecosystems, and severe toxins that are producing the highest rates of cancer ever seen in human history.

And, perhaps most importantly, our nation is divided in an increasingly ugly “culture war” in which people on both sides speak of those on the other as if they are anti-American, unpatriotic, or even “evil.”

These trends have got to be confronted. America has got to retake its place as a leader of the world…not only militarily, but in terms of education, the environment, and diplomacy.


Barack Obama represents a new kind of leadership for America. Not only is he a person of mixed-race, he is also a person who values the contribution of EVERY person to our society.

He holds no prejudices against people of difference, or different religions, or different political views.

He sees beyond partisanship, beyond politics, and beyond the “positions” taken by various interest groups in American society.

Rather than seeking to divide America for political gain, as George W. Bush has done and as the republicans tried to do during the time of Bill Clinton, Barack Obama seeks to unite America in a sense of hope and possibility for actually confronting the nation’s challenges and the world’s problems.

A man does not become editor of the Harvard Law Review without being extremely intelligent and committed to the rule of law.

A man cannot win endorsements from both the Chicago Tribune (the first democrat EVER to be so endorsed) AND the New York Times unless he speaks to a broad range of Americans who pay attention to the issues facing our country.

Barack’s education views have the support of me and pretty much every educational professional I know and respect. He knows how to pick his advisors on this and other issues. And he realizes how important public education is for the future.

As Colin Powell said the other day when he endorsed Obama, “Experience is helpful, but it is judgment that matters.”


I have taken the time to write this letter to you because I want the best possible future for my children, and for your children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews.

My children (and all the other kids we know and love) deserve a decision in this election that puts their interests first. Not yours, not mine. Theirs.

If you cannot agree with any of what I’ve written, I would be happy to discuss these issues with you further, either via email or phone. I’ve spent a lot of time these past few months to get to know the issues, and the facts, and the candidates, and would be glad to share what I’ve learned.

No matter what you decide, do vote. There will be more Americans voting in this election than ever before in our history, and your participation is critical.

With love and respect,


Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Technology in education: a ground-map, part a (revision 2)

Cross-posted from Education Policy Blog.

For this month's "Monthly Forum" , I'd like to get a conversation going about the role of technology in education.

I'm trying to develop a "ground-map of the province" (if you will allow me an obscure reference to Dewey) of issues related to technology in education. This is part of a project that will result in a chapter on philosophical issues related to technology in education for a forthcoming book to which I've been asked to contribute.

Key question #1: What is educational technology?

Technology is "the application of science (or knowledge) to meet objectives or to solve problems." (source)

Technology is not science itself, which is primarily concerned with knowledge and the sorting out of which knowledge is privileged within society. While science clearly has a role in education (both because we want to have a public that understands its methods, issues, and major findings, and because we want to know how people learn best so we can design education to be efficient and effective), this essay isn't dealing with science per se, but with its application. When we apply science/knowledge to solve educational problems, we are using technology. On this broad definition of technology, schooling is largely a technological enterprise.

(Schooling is the systematic formal process whereby the behaviors [and ideas] of [mostly young] people are shaped to meet adult expectations. Education is the [largely informal] experiential process through which a person comes to know and be who s/he is. These definitions were developed by my FND 510 class this quarter.)

Technologies used in schooling include classrooms, chalkboards, books, podiums, graded classrooms, chair-desk, bells, bell schedules, school buses, school buildings, playgrounds, athletic fields, band rooms, band instruments, colored chalk, the architecture of schools, p.a. systems, teacher certification systems, the ways we "divide" subjects into "disciplines," testing (and other assessment approaches of all kinds), school districting, "catchment" areas, curriculum plans, "standards" statements, and many many other activities/processes/devices/frameworks. It is important to emphasize, "technology" isn't just things, but the systems of ideas that legitimate and constrain the use of things. On this expanded notion of technology, we can say that "schooling" is the application of technology to make the mass alteration of the behaviors [and ideas] of [mostly young] people not only possible, but affordable.

(Of course, schooling achieves other things as well, such as warehousing kids, but let's leave that aside for the moment.)

Related to this, technologies can roughly be divided into those that are "old" (that is, taken for granted as being "necessary" for schooling) and those that are new (that is, still being negotiated in terms of their role--or lack thereof--in schools). This, of course, depends on one's perspective, since a technology that is taken for granted by a young person might be still be considered to have an unsettled role to an older person. Similarly, technologies that are taken for granted in wealthier, suburban or private schools (such as interactive whiteboards) are often considered exotic or a luxury in poorer, urban schools. Such differences in attitude are never about whether a particular technology is really needed for education; they are always about whether they deserve to be funded or mandated for all schools--again, the central question of educational policy.

But we don't tend to talk about this question as if it were a question about technology. Instead, we limit our explicit discussion of technologies to a subset of policy questions about schooling, as if educational technology policy was only "about" relatively new, digital technologies, especially those tools and approaches that are not yet universal (or nearly universal) in their application to schools. "Technology," then, is used as a euphemism for "things that we're still trying to decide whether we need," or "things that only some schools can currently afford."

This limitation of the application of the concept of technology tends to draw attention away from certain critical perspectives (such as those of Michel Foucault, Neil Postman, or Michael Apple) which talk about, for example "technologies of [political] control." Surely these critical perspectives are justified in used of the word "technology," just as much as the common person is justified (in some ways) in limiting discussion of technologies to what I've described above as "digital technologies." What's important is realizing that any limitation of the word "technology" to particular types of technologies has both motivations and consequences, which should be examined. Thus, the limitation of the discussion to "digital technologies" tends to take OFF the table many of the other things I've listed, such as bell schedules and P.A. systems, even though THOSE technology are pernicious and omnipresent in schools.

What I'm saying is, the question of what we MEAN by "technology" is ahas political implications that perhaps logically antecede questions about the use of particular technologies in particular situations. [However, let me add here, without going into it in greater detail, that a "technology" can not be completely separated from the "use" of that technology, because, well, a technology without an application in a specific situation isn't a technology at all.]

Key question #2: What criteria do we use in evaluating educational technologies?

Like all technologies, each item on the list I generated above can be critiqued from many different perspectives, using many different criteria. Among such criteria for criticism include effectiveness (in reaching whatever objectives are desired), efficiency, humanity, cost-effectiveness, opportunity costs, ease-of-use, standardizability (can they applied in a consistent manner), teachability (can teachers/administrators/students actually learn to use them), fairness, beauty, "fit," conformity to [public] values of all kinds, carbon footprint, etc. etc.

(For the general public, probably, the most important criterion is whether the use of a technology conduces to the achievement of [whatever measure of success is given credence, for example] higher standardized test scores. But that criterion is hotly disputed by many.)

Given the importance of the choice of criteria to apply, perhaps the essential question of educational policy is the question of which criteria to apply to evaluating the technologies of education, because this question is basic to other questions such as what resources should we make available to all schools or all students, or to which students, and why. A key corollary of this insight is that anyone who merely argues for or against using a given technology without spelling out exactly what criteria go into (or are being ignored in) making that recommendation is not to be trusted without further investigation.

Okay, enough revision for now. Stay tuned for Part B, where I'll talk about some of the political, cultural, and ideological forces at work in discussions about educational technology, including those that are ostensibly concerned with student learning.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

WOW, big virtual world news today

On the same day that Google announced the beta release of their new virtual world, Lively, Linden Lab (makers of Second Life), announced that in collaboration with IBM, their researchers had transported an avatar from one virtual world to another. This second development is pretty amazing! Quoting from LL's blog:

This is a historic day for Second Life, and for virtual worlds in general. IBM and Linden Lab have announced that research teams from the two companies successfully teleported avatars from the Second Life Preview Grid into a virtual world running on an OpenSim server, marking the first time an avatar has moved from one virtual world to another. It’s an important first step toward enabling avatars to pass freely between virtual worlds, something we’ve been working toward publicly since the formation of the Architecture Working Group in September 2007. These are still early days, however, so amid all the excitement, we thought it would be helpful to clarify exactly what we’ve done — and what still lies ahead.

Watch this video:

Read more.

This has me, um, almost choking with excitement. What it really means is that avatars can be in SL, for example, and then go to ANOTHER WORLD (that is, another server, such as at their university) and have a completely different type of experience (perhaps without the adult entertainment component, more focus on learning, mix of age groups like teachers and kids, etc.) and then go back to the other world. This will be MUCH more like the real world, where most of us transport between various "worlds" every day as we carry out the multidimensional lives we lead.

Wow...simply, Wow.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

ELVEN Communication Workshop Held Today

This is just a transcript...I will put photos up here later.

[2008/05/03 8:18] Dewey Jung: (You can change the settings of “voice” so that you hear the speaker from your avatar’s position, which means that what you are looking at with your camera will not affect the volume…but I don’t recommend that.)

[2008/05/03 8:19] Dewey Jung: If you can’t hear me well, you might want to come closer to me.

[2008/05/03 8:19] Dewey Jung: Okay, let’s start:

[2008/05/03 8:19] Katrina Riederer: yes

[2008/05/03 8:19] You: can everyone hear me?

[2008/05/03 8:19] Mairenn Morgwain: yes

[2008/05/03 8:19] Babette Vuckovic: yes

[2008/05/03 8:19] Evus Alter: yes

[2008/05/03 8:20] Dewey Jung: On behalf of the ELVEN Institute and the Alliance Info Archipelago, it gives me great pleasure to welcome you to our Educators Workshop on communication.

[2008/05/03 8:20] Dewey Jung: I’m Dewey Jung, the director of the ELVEN institute

[2008/05/03 8:20] Dewey Jung: in real life, I’m a professor at National-Louis university in Chicago

[2008/05/03 8:20] Dewey Jung: i teach technology in education and philosophy of education

[2008/05/03 8:20] Dewey Jung: The ELVEN Institute is the brain child of conversations between Puglet Dancer of the Alliance Library System and myself about involving pre-K through 12 teachers and librarians in Second Life.

[2008/05/03 8:21] Dewey Jung: ELVEN is an acronym that means “Educators and Librarians in Virtual ENvironments”.

[2008/05/03 8:21] Dewey Jung: We created the ELVEN Institute Advisory Board and began planning our mission, goals, and physical presence in Second Life.

[2008/05/03 8:21] Dewey Jung: Luckily for us, the Alliance Library System had space on Cybrary City II and we were given some space here.

[2008/05/03 8:22] Dewey Jung: With our board in place, the first order of business was to define our mission.

[2008/05/03 8:22] Dewey Jung: We defined this as "to assist preK-12 educators and librarians to envision, construct, and use engaging virtual learning environments in order to demonstrate and document their value in increasing student achievement and growth. "

[2008/05/03 8:22] Dewey Jung: To achieve this, we seek to collaborate with other institutions, to conduct professional development and research, and to collect and disseminate best practices and useful tools related to prek-12 learning environments.

[2008/05/03 8:22] Dewey Jung: We have been working together for about 25 months now and have had, we believe, an impact on the presence of educators and librarians.

[2008/05/03 8:23] Dewey Jung: Other pre K - 12 groups have been formed and we now have more people interested in and involved in pre K - 12 education in Second Life.

[2008/05/03 8:24] Dewey Jung: In the course of our discussions, we realized that many of us came into Second Life with no skills in using a 3D environment.

[2008/05/03 8:24] Dewey Jung: We had to learn from scratch how to move, to dress, to build, and, yes, to teach in a new environment.

[2008/05/03 8:25] Dewey Jung: Like our students, we jumped in without learning the basics.

[2008/05/03 8:25] Dewey Jung: The ELVEN Institute decided to try to remedy this and the workshop you are attending today is our attempt to help you learn the basics.

[2008/05/03 8:25] Dewey Jung: we are conducting at least one workshop each month, usually on the first Saturday. Next month’s workshop will be on June 7 and will cover appearance and shopping.

[2008/05/03 8:25] Dewey Jung: You can see a schedule for our workshops at

[2008/05/03 8:25] Dewey Jung: Also, be sure to join the ELVEN group before you leave here today, so you will get notices of upcoming events. I’ll tell you how to do that later, if you don’t know.

[2008/05/03 8:25] Dewey Jung: Any questions before we begin?

[2008/05/03 8:26] Rocky Vallejo is Online

[2008/05/03 8:26] Katrina Riederer: no questions

[2008/05/03 8:27] Dewey Jung: As we go, if you have any questions, you can either just ask it in open Chat –especially if your question is of general interest--or you can IM one of the ELVEN staff members. Would those people please stand?

[2008/05/03 8:28] Dewey Jung: To IM them, just right-click on their avatars, and choose “Send IM”.

[2008/05/03 8:28] Dewey Jung: Okay, let’s start.

[2008/05/03 8:28] Dewey Jung: Here are the topics we’ll be discussing today:

[2008/05/03 8:28] Dewey Jung: 1. Chat

[2008/05/03 8:28] Dewey Jung: 2. IM

[2008/05/03 8:28] Dewey Jung: 3. Friends conference (IM with a group)

[2008/05/03 8:29] Dewey Jung: 4. Group IMs

[2008/05/03 8:29] Dewey Jung: 5. offline IM to email

[2008/05/03 8:29] Dewey Jung: 6. logging IM and chat

[2008/05/03 8:29] Dewey Jung: 7. chat and IM options

[2008/05/03 8:29] Dewey Jung: 8. creating a notecard

[2008/05/03 8:29] Dewey Jung: 9. and we’ll conclude with a discussion about etiquette in SL communication.

[2008/05/03 8:30] Bronte Alcott: ok, Dewey

[2008/05/03 8:30] Dewey Jung: if you will direct your attention to the view screen behind me

[2008/05/03 8:30] Dewey Jung: To see the view screen more clearly, “Alt-click” on it and then zoom in using either your mouse wheel or Ctrl-8

[2008/05/03 8:30] Dewey Jung: (btw, this is a "freeview" screen

[2008/05/03 8:30] Dewey Jung: it will show any texture and videos as well

[2008/05/03 8:30] Dewey Jung: and is available for free

[2008/05/03 8:30] Dewey Jung: but that's not my topic, today)

[2008/05/03 8:31] Dewey Jung: this slide shows my user interface

[2008/05/03 8:32] You: can everyone see the screen and hear me?

[2008/05/03 8:32] Valaina Shepherd: yes

[2008/05/03 8:32] Mairenn Morgwain: yes

[2008/05/03 8:32] Babette Vuckovic: yes

[2008/05/03 8:32] Movies1963 Beck: yes

[2008/05/03 8:32] Amanda7 Himmel: yes

[2008/05/03 8:32] Katrina Riederer: yes

[2008/05/03 8:32] Dewey Jung: you all know about the chat bar, lower part of the screen

[2008/05/03 8:32] Dewey Jung: on the very lower left is a button that toggles that bar on and off

[2008/05/03 8:33] Dewey Jung: you all know how to chat, I’m sure; you type what you want to “say,” and hit enter

[2008/05/03 8:33] Dewey Jung: in addition to hitting "enter" to send a chat

[2008/05/03 8:33] Dewey Jung: you can also press the Say button

[2008/05/03 8:33] Dewey Jung: notice that the “say” button is inactive until you type something in the chat bar

[2008/05/03 8:34] Dewey Jung: If you click the little up arrow next to the say button, you can choose to “shout” something

[2008/05/03 8:34] Dewey Jung: shouts can be heard much further away than "say": about 100 meters

[2008/05/03 8:34] Valaina Shepherd shouts: Cool

[2008/05/03 8:34] Amanda7 Himmel shouts: Yeah!

[2008/05/03 8:34] Movies1963 Beck shouts: say something

[2008/05/03 8:34] Evus Alter shouts: shout

[2008/05/03 8:34] Babette Vuckovic shouts: Good morning!

[2008/05/03 8:34] Katrina Riederer shouts: Hurray!!!

[2008/05/03 8:35] Blu Heron shouts: Hello everyone

[2008/05/03 8:35] Bronte Alcott: hey

[2008/05/03 8:35] Zotarah Shepherd: The whole sim can hear you in shout.

[2008/05/03 8:35] Bergen Aeon: yes

[2008/05/03 8:35] Zotarah Shepherd: Ka's is on

[2008/05/03 8:36] sage Tauber: sorry

[2008/05/03 8:36] Zotarah Shepherd: You can mute the ones you do not want to hear

[2008/05/03 8:37] Zotarah Shepherd: hehe yes

[2008/05/03 8:37] Evus Alter: I don't know if I am or not

[2008/05/03 8:37] Dewey Jung: shouts are good for getting someone’s attention who is beyond 20 meters away

[2008/05/03 8:37] Dewey Jung: but illegal on some sims

[2008/05/03 8:38] Dewey Jung: residential sims, mostly

[2008/05/03 8:38] Dewey Jung: to the left of the chat bar, you'll see the "local chat" button

[2008/05/03 8:38] Dewey Jung: click that

[2008/05/03 8:38] Dewey Jung: and chats appear in that window instead of in a clear box on your screen

[2008/05/03 8:38] Dewey Jung: the “local chat” button is GREAT if you are in a situation where multiple people are talking at once

[2008/05/03 8:39] Dewey Jung: to keep better track of the conversation

[2008/05/03 8:39] Dewey Jung: or to go back to if you missed something

[2008/05/03 8:39] Dewey Jung: you can also type into the bar at the bottom of the local chat window

[2008/05/03 8:39] Dewey Jung: and again, choose to “say” or “shout” it

[2008/05/03 8:39] Dewey Jung: The local chat window also allows you to click directly on a URL like this one:

[2008/05/03 8:40] Dewey Jung: which will open the URL in a browser window right in the SL viewer

[2008/05/03 8:40] Dewey Jung: Notice you can also have URLs open directly in an external browser, either by clicking the button on the lower left of the browser window, or by clicking the checkbox to the right of that button so ALL URLs open in an external browser

[2008/05/03 8:40] Zotarah Shepherd: 2 text fields are good for preparing things to say in advance

[2008/05/03 8:41] Zotarah Shepherd: For Media URLs

[2008/05/03 8:42] Valaina Shepherd: how do you have 2 text fields?

[2008/05/03 8:42] Valaina Shepherd: ah

[2008/05/03 8:42] Dewey Jung: One more thing about the chat bar….you can scroll back through the things you have previously said and say something again.

[2008/05/03 8:43] You: sl is so flakey

[2008/05/03 8:43] You: sl is so flakey

[2008/05/03 8:43] You: sl is so flakey

[2008/05/03 8:44] You: sl is so flakey

[2008/05/03 8:44] You: sl is so flakey

[2008/05/03 8:44] You: sl is so flakey

[2008/05/03 8:44] You: sl is so flakey

[2008/05/03 8:44] Katrina Riederer: Hurray!!!

[2008/05/03 8:44] Babette Vuckovic: Good morning!

[2008/05/03 8:44] Amanda7 Himmel: Yeah!

[2008/05/03 8:44] Evus Alter shouts: i'll do it

[2008/05/03 8:44] Amanda7 Himmel: Yeah!

[2008/05/03 8:44] Bergen Aeon: also copy and paste into note cards

[2008/05/03 8:44] Katrina Riederer: Hurray!!!

[2008/05/03 8:44] Blu Heron: Hello everyone

[2008/05/03 8:44] Evus Alter shouts: you did a great job

[2008/05/03 8:44] Evus Alter shouts: you did a great job

[2008/05/03 8:44] Movies1963 Beck shouts: hi

[2008/05/03 8:45] Dewey Jung: click in the chat bar, then hold down the Control button and use the up and down arrows

[2008/05/03 8:45] Dewey Jung: If you get to the beginning or ending of your chat history, you’ll hear a “thump” sound, which says there are no more lines to scroll through.

[2008/05/03 8:45] Dewey Jung: below the chat bar is the "communicate" button

[2008/05/03 8:45] Dewey Jung: if you click that, the window i am showing on the viewer appears

[2008/05/03 8:45] Dewey Jung: you know to IM someone, you can right click (or Command-click on a Mac) on them

[2008/05/03 8:46] Dewey Jung: or choose them from your "friends" list and click the IM/call button

[2008/05/03 8:46] Dewey Jung: IMs are private conversations, unlike chat

[2008/05/03 8:47] Dewey Jung: the other great thing about IMs is you can IM with someone no matter where they are in SL….whereas chat only carries 20 meters (or 100 if you shout)

[2008/05/03 8:47] Dewey Jung: friends who are online appear in bold at the top of the list in alphabetical order by first name

[2008/05/03 8:47] Valaina Shepherd: How do you know if they are online

[2008/05/03 8:48] Katrina Riederer: are off line

[2008/05/03 8:49] Bronte Alcott: haha

[2008/05/03 8:49] Katrina Riederer: you did well Dewey!!!

[2008/05/03 8:49] Katrina Riederer: does mess with the head

[2008/05/03 8:49] Bergen Aeon: busted!

[2008/05/03 8:49] Katrina Riederer giggles

[2008/05/03 8:49] Dewey Jung: friends who are offline or who have chosen to appear offline are below the online friends

[2008/05/03 8:50] Dewey Jung: Once you are in an IM with someone, you can call them on Voice by clicking the call button.

[2008/05/03 8:50] Dewey Jung: They will get a blue message on the upper right of their screen asking them if they want to accept the call. To talk, they will have to have the “talk” button on the lower right of their screen locked or pressed to talk.

[2008/05/03 8:51] Dewey Jung: Note that when you “talk” in an IM, you no longer hear the local voice chat.

[2008/05/03 8:51] Dewey Jung: So, voice IM really is only good to use if you are not participating in a local voice chat.

[2008/05/03 8:52] Katrina Riederer: can you have a voice chat with someone in another sim?

[2008/05/03 8:52] Katrina Riederer: thank you

[2008/05/03 8:52] Dewey Jung: By the way, I’ve learned that you can often get Voice to work by starting a voice IM call with someone. For some reason, it seems to “kick in” the voice function when it doesn’t seem to be working.

[2008/05/03 8:53] Dewey Jung: Okay, I want everyone to pick someone on your friends list to start a voice IM with. It can be someone here, or some of your other friends who are online. Just try it out, and after a short while, close it so you can listen better to me.

[2008/05/03 8:54] You: come back to listening to me after you've tried out the IM

[2008/05/03 8:54] You: don't forget to lock yuor "talk" button while in the voice IM

[2008/05/03 8:54] You: and dont forget to unlock it (mute your mic) when you come back

[2008/05/03 8:54] You: i'll give everyone 2 minutes

[2008/05/03 8:55] Katrina Riederer: question -- locking the talk button means a little green microphone shows up????

[2008/05/03 8:56] Amanda7 Himmel: If I don't see the green waves going out over my head, does that assure me that my mic is off?

[2008/05/03 8:56] Amanda7 Himmel: Thanks.

[2008/05/03 8:57] Avigail Lindman: that works

[2008/05/03 8:57] Evus Alter: how do I know my mike is muted?

[2008/05/03 8:57] You: okay, end your IM call

[2008/05/03 8:57] Evus Alter: yes

[2008/05/03 8:57] Mairenn Morgwain: I'm sorry I have to leave now. Thanks again

[2008/05/03 8:57] Mairenn Morgwain: thank you

[2008/05/03 8:58] Evus Alter: so if it is white is unlocked

[2008/05/03 8:58] Bergen Aeon chuckles......

[2008/05/03 8:58] Evus Alter: and we wantitunlocked?

[2008/05/03 9:00] You: everyone ready to move on?

[2008/05/03 9:00] Katrina Riederer: yup

[2008/05/03 9:00] Bronte Alcott: yes

[2008/05/03 9:00] Zotarah Shepherd: yes

[2008/05/03 9:00] Amanda7 Himmel: yes

[2008/05/03 9:00] Evus Alter: yes

[2008/05/03 9:00] Babette Vuckovic: yes

[2008/05/03 9:00] Dewey Jung: there is this thing called "friends conference" or multiple IM

[2008/05/03 9:01] Dewey Jung: it's very cool

[2008/05/03 9:01] Dewey Jung: you can IM with more than one person at a time

[2008/05/03 9:01] Dewey Jung: to have a private conversation among a group of your friends

[2008/05/03 9:02] Dewey Jung: to do that....

[2008/05/03 9:02] Dewey Jung: you open your communicate window

[2008/05/03 9:02] Dewey Jung: friends list

[2008/05/03 9:02] Dewey Jung: and then hold down the ctrl button as you select multiple people

[2008/05/03 9:02] Dewey Jung: when you have the group you want, you click the IM/Call button

[2008/05/03 9:02] Dewey Jung: a weird sound occurs, and then a "friends conference" opens up like what you see on the screen

[2008/05/03 9:03] sage Tauber: what if it's grayed out?

[2008/05/03 9:03] Evus Alter: not happening

[2008/05/03 9:03] You: hmmm, what's graayed out?

[2008/05/03 9:03] Valaina Shepherd: grayed out here too

[2008/05/03 9:04] Valaina Shepherd: oh, I did people off line

[2008/05/03 9:04] sage Tauber: so it's grayed if friends are offline?

[2008/05/03 9:04] Evus Alter: okay

[2008/05/03 9:04] Bergen Aeon: do they have to make the same selections?

[2008/05/03 9:05] Bergen Aeon: and they are all aware of that?

[2008/05/03 9:05] Zotarah Shepherd: If you exit a Friends conference you can't get back in and you can't be added once it is started.

[2008/05/03 9:06] Bronte Alcott: haha

[2008/05/03 9:06] Zotarah Shepherd: Oh wow yes!

[2008/05/03 9:06] Amanda7 Himmel: Will we be able to see everyone in the conference if it was initiated by someone else?

[2008/05/03 9:06] Dewey Jung: Note that if you start a friends conference with a group, and someone hits the “x” in the upper right of their friends conference window, then they leave the conference and can’t return to it

[2008/05/03 9:06] Avigail Lindman: haha

[2008/05/03 9:08] Bronte Alcott: that's amazing

[2008/05/03 9:08] Dewey Jung: If you lose someone from a friends conference, you have two choices:

[2008/05/03 9:09] Avigail Lindman is taking notes!

[2008/05/03 9:09] Dewey Jung: First, you can restart the conference, which is easy to do…you just close it with the “X” and then, since everyone is still highlighted in your friends list, you just click IM/Call again

[2008/05/03 9:10] Dewey Jung: Or, alternatively, you can re-add someone to a friends conference by dragging their “calling card” onto the “names” panel of the conference.

[2008/05/03 9:11] Dewey Jung: When you are in a conference, you can see who is in the conference by clicking the little blue double arrow button on the top right of the conference panel. This opens the “names” panel.

[2008/05/03 9:11] Dewey Jung: Everyone time you “friend” someone, you get a calling card.

[2008/05/03 9:12] You: hello desdemona!

[2008/05/03 9:12] Desdemona Enfield: Hi Dewey

[2008/05/03 9:12] You: we're using voice, btw, if yuo wish to follow along, but i'm also doing text of teh major ideas

[2008/05/03 9:13] Dewey Jung: You can find your calling cards in your inventory, by looking for the folder named “Calling Cards”

[2008/05/03 9:13] Dewey Jung: You will notice that the cards are (usually) in reverse order by date you friended someone, with the most recent at the top.

[2008/05/03 9:13] Dewey Jung: The calling cards of friends who are currently online are BOLD with the word (online) next to them.

[2008/05/03 9:14] Dewey Jung: To add someone to a friends conference, click and drag their calling card to the names panel.

[2008/05/03 9:14] Dewey Jung:

[2008/05/03 9:14] Dewey Jung: On e confusing thing is, you can end up with multiple “friends conference” tabs open…..

[2008/05/03 9:15] Dewey Jung: if you initiated the friends conference, the most recent one is on the LEFT

[2008/05/03 9:15] Zotarah Shepherd: One of the most embarrassing things is to type in the wrong window.

[2008/05/03 9:18] Dewey Jung: but if someone else initiated the friends conference, the most recent is on the RIGHT

[2008/05/03 9:18] Desdemona Enfield: yes

[2008/05/03 9:18] Dewey Jung: this can get confusing.

[2008/05/03 9:18] Dewey Jung: To remove the highlighting on multiple people so you can IM with just one, just click someone not in your friends conference

[2008/05/03 9:18] Katrina Riederer: very confusing!!!

[2008/05/03 9:19] Dewey Jung: or, hold down the Control button and click a highlighted person to remove them

[2008/05/03 9:20] Dewey Jung: Note that you can also have a friends conference via voice. To do that, you simply start a regular friends conference, and after hitting the IM/Call button, you click the “Call” button on the conference panel. The selected people will get a blue mess

[2008/05/03 9:20] Dewey Jung: To participate, they must have voice enabled, and their “talk button” (lower right of screen) must be either locked on, or pressed to talk.

[2008/05/03 9:20] Dewey Jung:

[2008/05/03 9:20] Dewey Jung: while we’re here, let's talk a bit about groups

[2008/05/03 9:20] Dewey Jung: your current groups are listed on the groups tab

[2008/05/03 9:20] Dewey Jung: the one in “bold” is the one that is displayed above your head (as in ELVEN Institute, which is my current label)

[2008/05/03 9:22] Dewey Jung: you can change the active group by clicking a group and then clicking the “Activate” button

[2008/05/03 9:22] Dewey Jung: or you can click “none” and activate that, to remove your label

[2008/05/03 9:22] Dewey Jung: how do you join a group?

[2008/05/03 9:22] Dewey Jung: well, you can search in “groups” by clicking the “search” button

[2008/05/03 9:24] Dewey Jung: when you find a group you want to join, you can click the “Join” button

[2008/05/03 9:25] Dewey Jung: Or, if you right-click on someone and choose "profile"

[2008/05/03 9:25] Dewey Jung: you'll get their profile, like this

[2008/05/03 9:25] Dewey Jung: it shows their groups

[2008/05/03 9:26] Dewey Jung: (or at least their public groups)

[2008/05/03 9:26] Bergen Aeon: thank you for all the useful info - I'm afraid I must go

[2008/05/03 9:26] Dewey Jung: to join a group that someone you know is in

[2008/05/03 9:26] Dewey Jung: double-click on the group name in their profile

[2008/05/03 9:26] Dewey Jung: once in a group window, i can JOIN that group, by clicking on the "join" button

[2008/05/03 9:26] Dewey Jung: not all groups allow anyone to join

[2008/05/03 9:26] Dewey Jung: if there is no "join" button, the group is invitation only

[2008/05/03 9:26] Dewey Jung: when you join a group

[2008/05/03 9:26] Dewey Jung: it becomes "activated" automatically

[2008/05/03 9:27] Dewey Jung: that means the label appears above your head

[2008/05/03 9:27] Dewey Jung: you can remove the label by activating "none"

[2008/05/03 9:27] Dewey Jung: there is an unfortunate limit of 25 groups per person

[2008/05/03 9:27] Dewey Jung: I’m at that limit now, so to join a new group I would have to leave one I’m in

[2008/05/03 9:27] Dewey Jung: okay, next topic: making a notecard

[2008/05/03 9:27] Babette Vuckovic: Any movement to increase the number of groups we can join?

[2008/05/03 9:28] Zotarah Shepherd: There was a petition to Lindens to increase the number of groups to 50

[2008/05/03 9:28] Bronte Alcott: yes

[2008/05/03 9:28] Zotarah Shepherd: That was a few months ago

[2008/05/03 9:28] Zotarah Shepherd: Some groups do not have a Join button.

[2008/05/03 9:29] Zotarah Shepherd: Some groups have a fee to join too

[2008/05/03 9:29] Dewey Jung: in your inventory (lower right of screen)

[2008/05/03 9:30] Bronte Alcott: some of the clothing designers are having join fees

[2008/05/03 9:30] Bronte Alcott: to keep from getting spam messages

[2008/05/03 9:30] Zotarah Shepherd: Some told me that a fee insures the person is really interested and not just a spammer

[2008/05/03 9:30] Bronte Alcott: yes

[2008/05/03 9:30] Bronte Alcott: discourage them

[2008/05/03 9:30] Bronte Alcott: haha

[2008/05/03 9:31] Dewey Jung: is a "create" menu

[2008/05/03 9:31] Dewey Jung: on that menu is "new note"

[2008/05/03 9:31] Dewey Jung: click that

[2008/05/03 9:31] Dewey Jung: (do it now)

[2008/05/03 9:31] Dewey Jung: a blank note window appears

[2008/05/03 9:31] Dewey Jung: you should immediately give it a name other than “new note”

[2008/05/03 9:32] Dewey Jung: by typing the new name.

[2008/05/03 9:32] Secret-Agent HUD 7.5a (WEAR ME): (localSIM) Blu Heron @ 39m

[2008/05/03 9:32] Dewey Jung: then, you can type into the new note.

[2008/05/03 9:32] Secret-Agent HUD 7.5a (WEAR ME): (localSIM) Movies1963 Beck @ 08m

[2008/05/03 9:32] Avigail Lindman: wb, Blu

[2008/05/03 9:33] Dewey Jung: you can put landmarks, other notecards, and snapshots into notecards

[2008/05/03 9:33] Zotarah Shepherd: Good for making reports of griefers.

[2008/05/03 9:34] Valaina Shepherd: can you put in folders

[2008/05/03 9:34] Dewey Jung: this is a very cool way to share information

[2008/05/03 9:34] Dewey Jung: when you click "save" the notecard appears in your inventory as "new note"

[2008/05/03 9:34] Dewey Jung: by right-clicking the "new note" and choosing "rename"

[2008/05/03 9:34] Dewey Jung: btw, inventory items usually or sorted by date created

[2008/05/03 9:34] Dewey Jung: so the most recent is at the top

[2008/05/03 9:35] Zotarah Shepherd has folders and sub and sub sub folders for notecards *grins*

[2008/05/03 9:35] You: zo is a "sub folder" queen

[2008/05/03 9:35] Zotarah Shepherd: hehehehe

[2008/05/03 9:36] Dewey Jung: you can also sort your inventory by "name" in the sort menu

[2008/05/03 9:36] Dewey Jung: if you need to find something by name

[2008/05/03 9:36] Dewey Jung: or, of course, search it

[2008/05/03 9:36] Dewey Jung: and also apply filters, in the "recent" tab, which i won't cover here

[2008/05/03 9:37] Dewey Jung: you can also create folders and sub-folders to organize them

[2008/05/03 9:37] Dewey Jung: by right-clicking an existing folder, and choosing “New Folder”

[2008/05/03 9:37] Dewey Jung:

[2008/05/03 9:37] Dewey Jung: okay, next topic: communication settings

[2008/05/03 9:37] Dewey Jung: click the edit menu

[2008/05/03 9:38] Dewey Jung: and then the tab that says "communication"

[2008/05/03 9:38] Dewey Jung: this tab is chock full of stuff

[2008/05/03 9:38] Dewey Jung: important stuff

[2008/05/03 9:38] Dewey Jung: first, you can have all your offline IMs go to email

[2008/05/03 9:38] Evus Alter: I don't have it

[2008/05/03 9:38] Babette Vuckovic: Edit, then preferences, then communication?

[2008/05/03 9:38] Evus Alter: no communication tab

[2008/05/03 9:39] Valaina Shepherd: go to properties and then communication

[2008/05/03 9:39] Blu Heron: open preferences from the edit

[2008/05/03 9:39] Valaina Shepherd: whoops preferences

[2008/05/03 9:39] Evus Alter: sorry I did not have preferences open

[2008/05/03 9:39] Zotarah Shepherd: Or Ctrl P

[2008/05/03 9:40] Dewey Jung: which is great to know that someone has contacted you while you were offline

[2008/05/03 9:40] Dewey Jung: (you can change this setting from the account page as well)

[2008/05/03 9:40] Dewey Jung: if you click "include IM in chat history", IM's will show in the history, as they do in the clear box at the bottom of the screen

[2008/05/03 9:40] Dewey Jung: i don't like to have my IMs in the chat history

[2008/05/03 9:40] Dewey Jung: because I often save the chat history for transcripts, and i don’t' want my IMs in those :-)

[2008/05/03 9:41] Dewey Jung: you can choose timestamps in IMs

[2008/05/03 9:41] Zotarah Shepherd: And too many IMs are confusing too

[2008/05/03 9:42] Dewey Jung: you can change your busy mode response

[2008/05/03 9:42] Dewey Jung: now, the logging options

[2008/05/03 9:43] Dewey Jung: CRITICALLY USEFUL

[2008/05/03 9:43] Dewey Jung: you can log everything that happens in sl

[2008/05/03 9:43] Dewey Jung: well, the text anyway

[2008/05/03 9:43] Desdemona Enfield: Each day, I create a subfolder with yesterday's date,then copy all the log files into that subfolder.

[2008/05/03 9:44] Desdemona Enfield: agreed.

[2008/05/03 9:44] Dewey Jung: (no voice logs, yet)

[2008/05/03 9:44] Babette Vuckovic: Where do these logs go and how can I access them?

[2008/05/03 9:45] Dewey Jung: notice i log IMs AND chat

[2008/05/03 9:45] Dewey Jung: with timestamps

[2008/05/03 9:45] Dewey Jung: and dates

[2008/05/03 9:45] Dewey Jung: the KEY thing here is

[2008/05/03 9:45] Dewey Jung: (well two things)

[2008/05/03 9:45] Dewey Jung: first, the logging does not start until the next time you "log" into sl

[2008/05/03 9:45] Dewey Jung: so to start the logging, you click these boxes, and THEN log out, then log back in

[2008/05/03 9:45] Desdemona Enfield: The preferences panel title communication there is a path where the logs go.

[2008/05/03 9:46] Dewey Jung: the second key thing is the "path"

[2008/05/03 9:46] Dewey Jung: you need to be able to find your logs

[2008/05/03 9:46] Dewey Jung: on a PC, they end up in an obscure folder that is usually "hidden" by default

[2008/05/03 9:46] Dewey Jung: that is, not shown in "My Computer"

[2008/05/03 9:46] Bronte Alcott: Mac too

[2008/05/03 9:46] Dewey Jung: C:\Documents and Settings\Owner\Application Data\SecondLife

[2008/05/03 9:46] Dewey Jung: i keep mine there, cause i'm used to it

[2008/05/03 9:47] Valaina Shepherd: Do you have all the boxes checked under Logging Options?

[2008/05/03 9:48] Dewey Jung: but you might want to change this to a path under "My Documents"

[2008/05/03 9:48] Dewey Jung: the logs are continuous from the time you start logging

[2008/05/03 9:48] Dewey Jung: every session is appended to the end

[2008/05/03 9:49] Dewey Jung: one log is called "chat.txt"

[2008/05/03 9:49] Dewey Jung: and the others are named after the specific person

[2008/05/03 9:49] Dewey Jung: (that is for IMs)

[2008/05/03 9:49] Dewey Jung: some of my IM logs are HUGE

[2008/05/03 9:49] Dewey Jung: my chat log got too big

[2008/05/03 9:49] Dewey Jung: so i copied it to a backup

[2008/05/03 9:49] Dewey Jung: and then made a new, empty file called chat.txt

[2008/05/03 9:49] Dewey Jung: all the stuff appears in the IM, and with time/date stamps, you can tell when

[2008/05/03 9:49] Dewey Jung: btw, you can tell when you FIRST Im’d someone

[2008/05/03 9:49] Dewey Jung: by looking at the "date created" on these files

[2008/05/03 9:50] Dewey Jung: while, we’re here, let’s talk a bit about text chat settings

[2008/05/03 9:50] Dewey Jung: you can change the colors of the text chat in the local chat window, or in the clear box that appears when the window is not open

[2008/05/03 9:51] Dewey Jung: that clear window is called the “chat console”

[2008/05/03 9:51] Dewey Jung: and you can control how long the chat stays in that clear window

[2008/05/03 9:53] You: you will notice that what i say is in a chat bubble

[2008/05/03 9:53] Zotarah Shepherd: I don't know anyone who uses bubble chat. Sooo cartoony

[2008/05/03 9:53] You: yes, it's cartoony

[2008/05/03 9:53] You: also, you have to be looking at someone to see the caht

[2008/05/03 9:53] Bronte Alcott: not liking this at all

[2008/05/03 9:53] You: anyway, check it out

[2008/05/03 9:53] You: just for a secton

[2008/05/03 9:53] You: second

[2008/05/03 9:53] You: then turn it off

[2008/05/03 9:53] Valaina Shepherd: ok, definitely uncheck

[2008/05/03 9:54] Babette Vuckovic: This is very odd

[2008/05/03 9:54] You: yes, definitely uncheck :-)

[2008/05/03 9:54] Zotarah Shepherd grins

[2008/05/03 9:54] Dewey Jung: Okay, last item, SL communication etiquette:

[2008/05/03 9:55] Zotarah Shepherd: Some groups are chatty and some are only for announcements.

[2008/05/03 9:57] Zotarah Shepherd snickers: I just close chatty groups if they get excessive.

[2008/05/03 9:57] Bevan Whitfield is Online

[2008/05/03 9:57] Zotarah Shepherd: Oh How to get rid of the : Type /me

[2008/05/03 9:58] You: not sure i understand the question, zo

[2008/05/03 9:58] Zotarah Shepherd: Oh if you want to say that you do something without a : you type /me

[2008/05/03 9:59] Zotarah Shepherd grins

[2008/05/03 9:59] Valaina Shepherd understands

[2008/05/03 9:59] Bronte Alcott smiles

[2008/05/03 9:59] Dewey Jung wonders why zo said that at this moment

[2008/05/03 9:59] Bronte Alcott giggles

[2008/05/03 9:59] Babette Vuckovic: Ettiquette?

[2008/05/03 9:59] Zotarah Shepherd: It is a part oc comminication

[2008/05/03 10:00] Bronte Alcott: was there more on etiquette?

[2008/05/03 10:00] Katrina Riederer: Has anyone figured out how to 'mute' a group without losing that group membership?

[2008/05/03 10:00] Bronte Alcott: did i miss anyone?

[2008/05/03 10:00] Ka Castaignede: At the beginning of your speech you mentioned ELVEN was for K-12. Are there organizations focusing on higher education?

[2008/05/03 10:00] Valaina Shepherd: that was helpful. Thanks Bronte

[2008/05/03 10:00] Evus Alter: got it

[2008/05/03 10:00] Avigail Lindman: me!

[2008/05/03 10:00] Zotarah Shepherd: There are also many ways to express in text. Graphics even.

[2008/05/03 10:01] Zotarah Shepherd: ,,,=^_^=,,,

[2008/05/03 10:01] Babette Vuckovic: I see in the local chat when it says SOMEONEW giggles

[2008/05/03 10:01] Babette Vuckovic: How do we do that?

[2008/05/03 10:01] Babette Vuckovic: Just type giggles?

[2008/05/03 10:01] Babette Vuckovic: OK

[2008/05/03 10:01] Valaina Shepherd clapping

[2008/05/03 10:02] Avigail Lindman: that's where you type the /me

[2008/05/03 10:02] Bronte Alcott: type /me giggles

[2008/05/03 10:02] Dewey Jung giggles

[2008/05/03 10:02] Katrina Riederer giggles

[2008/05/03 10:02] Bronte Alcott giggle

[2008/05/03 10:02] Babette Vuckovic: Thanks

[2008/05/03 10:02] Evus Alter: Thank you. Excellent information. I'm already taking advantadge of some of it

[2008/05/03 10:02] Valaina Shepherd: thank you very much

[2008/05/03 10:02] Zotarah Shepherd: You can also set up things to say in shortcut keys

[2008/05/03 10:02] Zotarah Shepherd: (`'•.¸(`'•.¸ * ¸.•'´)¸.•'´)

[2008/05/03 10:02] Zotarah Shepherd: You're the best!

[2008/05/03 10:02] Zotarah Shepherd: (¸.•'´(¸.•'´ * `'•.¸)`'•.¸)

[2008/05/03 10:02] Desdemona Enfield: thank you, Dewey

[2008/05/03 10:02] Bronte Alcott: yes . . . even those of us who have been around a while . . .

[2008/05/03 10:03] Amanda7 Himmel: I learned a lot. Thank you.

[2008/05/03 10:03] Bronte Alcott: thank you, Dewey

[2008/05/03 10:03] Katrina Riederer: bright eyed!!!!

[2008/05/03 10:03] Bronte Alcott: WONDERFUL!!!

[2008/05/03 10:03] You: thank yuo all

[2008/05/03 10:03] Bronte Alcott: Fabulous!

[2008/05/03 10:03] Blu Heron: thanks, Dewey!

[2008/05/03 10:03] You: for listening

[2008/05/03 10:03] Babette Vuckovic: BRAVO!

[2008/05/03 10:03] Avigail Lindman: Thanks Dewey!

[2008/05/03 10:03] Desdemona Enfield applauds

[2008/05/03 10:03] Katrina Riederer: thank you Dewey

[2008/05/03 10:03] Zotarah Shepherd: Sounds and gestures are fun

[2008/05/03 10:04] Babette Vuckovic: Where do we get more gestures than we already have?

[2008/05/03 10:04] Babette Vuckovic: Or how do we create them?

[2008/05/03 10:04] Zotarah Shepherd: From people too

[2008/05/03 10:04] Zotarah Shepherd: Sére ar alasse (Peace and joy)

[2008/05/03 10:04] Babette Vuckovic: TY

[2008/05/03 10:04] Zotarah Shepherd: ar saila, mâlon! (and wisdom, friend!)

[2008/05/03 10:05] Zotarah Shepherd: (`'•.¸(`'•.¸ * ¸.•'´)¸.•'´)

[2008/05/03 10:05] Zotarah Shepherd: ( <>•<> Happy Rezday! <>•<> )

[2008/05/03 10:05] Zotarah Shepherd: (¸.•'´(¸.•'´ * `'•.¸)`'•.¸)

[2008/05/03 10:05] Zotarah Shepherd: I steal the hearts and rearrange them

[2008/05/03 10:05] Zotarah Shepherd: hehe

[2008/05/03 10:05] Bevan Whitfield is Offline

[2008/05/03 10:05] Blu Heron: In Library folder..there are sub folders with additional gestures

[2008/05/03 10:05] Zotarah Shepherd: You can deactivate them too.

[2008/05/03 10:06] Dewey Jung: What is appropriate and not appropropriate in SL......

[2008/05/03 10:06] Zotarah Shepherd: Thank you Dewey

[2008/05/03 10:06] Desdemona Enfield: Thank you, Dewet.

[2008/05/03 10:06] Bronte Alcott: ty, Dewey

[2008/05/03 10:06] Desdemona Enfield: poof

[2008/05/03 10:06] Bronte Alcott: have a nice day