Esta semana empezó como una carrera. Así suelen ser las primeras semanas en los colegios. En dos días he corrido como hacía tiempo no lo hacía (literalmente, corrido de un lado para otro). Profesores nuevos necesitan que sus usuarios para la Intranet y el correo electrónico funcionen y algunos de ellos son bastante novatos en el uso de computadores. Además, hemos tenido algunos problemas preparando los sistemas que deben usar para la planeación anual y esto ha complicado las agendas. Hoy tuvimos que mover toda la agenda de dos días por esas demoras, en parte culpa mía (del mi departamento) y en parte de procesos que no están funcionando bien entre distintas áreas. Espero que mañana a primera hora pueda estar listo, pero estoy temiendo que no lo esté, pues no me han llamdo a confirmar y todavía no puedo entrar al sistema... cruzo los dedos.
Entre los cambios a las agendas, hoy hice la presentación del Plan de Tecnología que estaba preparando para mañana. Le faltaban detalles, pero estaba casi lista y pude hacerla. No funcionó perfectamente, más que nada porque el video beam no tiene demasiada luz ni el salón donde se presentó demasiada oscuridad, pero funcionó bastante bien. Recibí unos cuantos buenos comentarios. Los profesores quedaron muy contentos con la idea de que les paguemos alguiler por los portátiles personales que usan para su trabajo y con poder comprar un computador a través del proveedor que nos venda los que compraremos para los estudiantes. Creo que así les podemos conseguir muy buenos precios.
FInalmente... el tema del título... hoy estuve reunido con Camilo, el estudiante que me ha estado ayudando con la página web del colegio y me preguntó si le podía dar permiso de crear su blog en la página del colegio. No lo pensé dos veces y le di permisos de crear entradas de blog. Hace un rato vi su primera entrada, ¡qué pilera! Aunque excelente, me generó algunos problemas... en su post cuenta chismes que aún no queremos divulgar a los estudiantes sobre cambios en el colegio y algunas de las nuevas consas tecnológicas. Son noticias que deben oir de la rectora y directora académica y no como un chisme... Las maravillas del mundo de los blogs. Las noticias vuelan en la bogosfera. Para evitar problemas puse su blog en la cola de moderación mientras empieza todo y puede soltar las "chivas"... no fue una decisión fácil y me siente un poco facho.
One of the strategies I am putting together as part of the schools ed. tech. plan, is to have a few people blog. I am sure this will improve communication with parents and students, and withing the staff. The bloggers will initially be the principal, vice-principals and academic director. Aweome people to accept doing this in the first place. I will, of course, also keep a blog in the school website.
My first blog post welcomed the department heads last week and I have just posted my second entry. I used the chance to point everyone to Randy Pausch's last lecture. I just recently read he died two weeks ago. It is an awesome lecture if you haven't had the change to check it out. You can find it in my blog at the school website.
Después de mucho trabajo y con mucha ayuda de Alejandro (el ingeniero) y algunos estudiantes del colegio, especialmente Camilo Garzón, salió al aire una primera versión del nuevo portal web del Gimnasio La Montaña. La curva de aprendizaje para usar Drupal es bastante empinada y me ha tomado tiempo entender cómo funciona, pero estoy muy contento con las posibilidades de la plataforma. Aún hay mucho por hacer, pero los invito a conocer el sitio en www.glm.edu.co y enviarme sus comentarios, especialmente sobre la facilidad de navegación.
After a lot of work and a lot of help from Alejandro (the server-guy) and some students, especially Camilo Garzón, the first version of Gimnasio La Montaña's new web portal. Drupal's learning curve is pretty steep and it has taken time to understand how it works, but I'm happy withe the platform's possibilities. There's still a lot of work to be done, but I invite my readers to check it out (at www.glm.edu.co) and send me their feedback, especially in relation to the ease of navigation (usability). Thanks!
Through Stephen Downe's olDaily I got interested in an article about educational uses of peer to peer file transfer.BitTorrent: An Educational Autopsy of the Hydra by bavtuesdays. It has a good explanation of what bit-torrents is and how it works, as well as an explanation of the debates around it. I also got directed to check out a project at Harvard School of Engineering... Tribler, a p2p system that, as far as I can tell, uses bandwidth as currency (to give incentives to users who "seed"). I am about to download it and try it out. You can find it here: http://tv.seas.harvard.edu/. I have to options to download a client: Minimize upload to others and maximize download 15% or simetrical download/upload, normal speed download. I don't know what to pick. Seems weird. I get better download if I don't reciprocate? I think I'm not getting it. The FAQ says:
"If you select the right download version, the Tribler client will upload as much as it downloads. This version is "balanced" in the sense that for every piece that you want to download you also have to upload a piece of the same size. If you select the left download version, the Tribler client will optimize the file sharing algorithm to speed up your downloads, minimizing your upload to others. While this improves the speed of your personal video downloads, other users will not be able to benefit from your videos as much as with the right version which then consequently reduces their download speed."
But then it also says:
"Obviously, the upload/download ratio averaged over the whole file sharing network has to be 1:1. Thus, it is a serious problem that many users have an asymmetric Internet connection. This is one of the biggest problems with the BitTorrent protocol, where most trades happen with a tit-for-tat mechanism. Thus, even though you might have 1Mbit of download bandwidth, your 125kbit upload bandwidth prevents you from fast downloads. With virtual credits, we want to alleviate this problem. The idea is that when you leave your computer on (over night, during vacation, when you are working,...) you can earn credits such that when you actually want to download a video (or watch something on demand) you will get get the full download speed."
I have an asymmetric connection, of course. Nevertheless, I'll go for the symmetrical version of the client and upload more. I guess this decision is part of their research. I choose to share more in order to get, in the end, faster download speeds. Am I reasoning this right? Finally here's a video on Tribler:
We'd had some trouble installing Knowledge Forum on the Windows 2003 r2 server at school. Granted, the school engineer and me aren't the best qualified to do it (I've never managed a server), but we couldn't manage yesterday. Today, Alejandro, one of our contract programmers (who does know about Windows servers and pretty much administers the one at school) managed pretty quickly. Even enhanced mode worked well. I haven't been able to run lite mode, but that's another problem. I can't even run it from the KF site!
Hopefully it will be up online in about a week, as well as the new school website using Drupal. Right now both run locally. That makes me happy. I still have a lot of work to do on the website and the students who were to help me on vacation haven't come through... we'll see how much we manage to get ready for the the first week of August, when the teachers come in.
As some of my readers may know, I recently started a new job as educational technology director at Gimnasio La Montaña, a private school in Bogotá. One of the innovations we are going to start next year is the use of Knowledge Forum for two Knowledge Building (KB) projects (one Social Studies, one Science), in some areas (Religion, Philosophy, Language Arts...) and in teacher lesson study. KB is one of the most interesting and powerful ideas about education I have come across (thanks to Kate Bielaczyc at HGSE) and I love what KF can do.
I have been preparing a professional development course for the initial group of teachers and came across something I hadn't seen before. The Institute for Knowledge Innovation and Technology at the University of Toronto, where Marlene Scardamalia and Carl Bereiter work, holds a yearly institute on KB. We couldn't attend this year, but I found some great resource from previous institutes at the IKIT site. Last year, a group of teachers presented their research on lesson study. I wish there were a video of the presentation, but I found the slides and the videos of them teaching and discussing lessons. Awesome resources for my course! There's a lot more video available. Thanks IKIT for making that available! I wish you could do this year's Institute live (or link to participants' blogging or live-blogging) or publish everything pretty quickly.
Edit: I'm desperately looking for professional development materials in Spanish for some of my teachers, especially translations of articles by Scardamalia and Bereiter like "Collective Cognitive Responsibility" and the article in "Encyclopedia of Education". Found a little in the COMConeixer site, but no more... any pointers will be appreciated.
Edit: Proofread and linked to Kate's profile at NIE.
A través del blog de Diego (ya no sé cómo se llama, creo que educoblog) me encontré uno de esos tests-quizzes que uno hace como medio por diversión... aquí está el resultado. Algunos de las preguntas me confundieron y no sabía cuál opción de respuesta escoger... pero bueno... divertido hacerlo.
The connected academic
Your Result: Connected academic
You are the future! You've taken openness, connectedness and 2.0ness to heart. You are an asset to your organisation. I would be happy to be your Facebook friend.
I starting reading Henry Jenkin's blog a while back and he refers to very interesting things. In one of his latest posts he recommended a novel by Cory Doctorow, Little Brother, and I picked it up on the author's site, ready for my iPhone with a CC license. I also ordered a print copy from Amazon. I just wanted to check it out first. It was a very fun read. I just finished it that same day. It's not too long. It got me thinking about how it could be used in school... I'll not go through convincing the English teachers to assign it (I'm convincing every teacher of doing lots of new stuff with computers), but it would be a fun book to teach (by a geeky teacher). I felt it was sort of instructional, as it explained encryption (back to Turing and the Enigma) and dealt with some interesting privacy and security issues. It also got me thinking again about encrypting mail and IM conversations, and hiding my Internet traffic... yeah, I know, a little paranoid, but encryption of mail is not a bad idea though tough to implement. Thinking of the school, I could do it with the teachers that have their own laptop, but not with the others, getting them to use pgp with their school-issued gmail accounts and FireGpG or enigmail... stop rambling...
Totally recommended read... that was the point. I yet have to look at the educator's guide that comes with it.
I have to change my approach to blogging. This isn't working anymore. Last post was end of April. I keep trying to write too long... too elaborate for the kind of time I have available for blogging. I will change the approach. I will post short mostly... comments on things I see or read, but won't try to elaborate too much. Sometimes I will.
I'd seen this video a while a back thanks to Qadmon, but I can't remember if was a blog post or some face to face exchange. Anyway... our librarian sent me a link to Copysouth which reminded me of Lawrence Lessig's TED Talk and the Fair use parody video. To remind myself and my readers of both videos , you can watch them below ("embed" is awesome and Wordpress 2.5.1 is working wonders):