Say what you see


Something that’s always puzzled me is how often I hear the acronym CETL pronounced in what seems to me to be the ‘wrong’ way, so I ran a quick Twtpoll to find out what people thought the ‘right’ way should be.

 I was surprised to see so many vote for ‘kettle’, although @Lawrie pointed out that that is how it was pronounced by the minister who launched the scheme which may well explain it.  There was also a vote for ‘rhymes with beetle’ from @dkernohan (there’s always one :p ), although he didn’t specify whether it should be ‘seetle’ or ‘keetle’.

Nicest story of all was also from @dkernohan :)

As a linguist, I’d argue that it should be ‘settle': ce- in English is almost invariably pronounced ‘se’, and the sound in the word it’s short for (‘centre’) is also pronounced with an ‘s’.  It’s very interesting to see how widespread the anomalous pronunciation of CETL as ‘kettle’ actually is.

Many thanks to everyone who voted!

Will Twitter for money

I was more than a bit bemused to stumble upon this post discussing Andrew Baron‘s attempt to sell his Twitter account ‘and followers’ on eBay.  Although Baron is still the proud owner of his account after ending the auction early (now that wouldn’t have been a publicity stunt, would it?), bidding had reached a tidy $465 as Boyd was writing.  He also inspired one innovative entrepreneur to apparently net himself a similarly neat $375 by selling his phone number on the auction site.  If only it had been 867-5309, perhaps Baron would have bought it and the circle of Web 2.0 life would have been complete…

This does raise some interesting questions though.  As Boyd says, it seems more like a playful thought experiment than something that ‘shed[s] any light on the issues of identity and reputation in any real world fashion’, but some commenters on his post seem genuinely offended by the notion that ‘followers’ can be sold, likening it to selling your friends’ email addresses to the highest bidding spam advertiser.  Personally, I’m inclined to agree with Baron’s comment that Twitter ‘is not the place to get personal… networks are different’, and to be honest I feel pretty guilt-free about unfollowing people whose tweets I decide (link may offend) I don’t want to read

This experiment also highlights the implications of relationships underlying the debated issue of Twitter reciprocation etiquette (or twitiquette – I guess someone had to do it).  Baron appears to follow almost all of his over 2,300 followers, while Boyd has a thousand more followers but follows less than 700.  Baron is a performer perhaps relating to his followers as to an audience, whereas the majority of Boyd’s updates are @comments that are part of a series of dialogues with individuals.  Just as the thoughtful and extremely persuasive comments to my post on Twittering at conferences illustrate, there are as many different ways of using and relating to such technologies as there are people to use and relate to them. 

Digital Literacy, Podcasting and eLearning – trainerspod webinar

Yesterday afternoon saw my second webinar in two days, this time a session on digital literacy, podcasting and elearning led by Graham Attwell of Pontydysgu.  Around 40 people took part from many countries.  Because of the way in which the session was run (which I’ll discuss in yet another blog post), the following is just a few impressions from the event rather than a proper report.  The archived session will be available online soon for those who would like to learn more about this topic.

The session was split into three sections: digital literacies and new pedagogic approaches; what is a podcast and how should it be used in education; and how to make a podcast.

Graham pointed out that traditional LMSs use a traditional, didactic, ‘push’ approach to learning.  In the new era of ‘elearning 2.0′, this should change to a more constructivist approach; however, there are many activities around at the moment that are constructivist in name only – as always, there is a need to examine what we’re actually doing instead of just optimistically applying labels like plasters and hoping they stick.

One quote, from Harry Jenkins, which particularly struck me was: ‘We need to shift the focus of the conversation about the digital divide from questions of technological access to those of opportunities to participate and to develop the cultural competencies and social skills needed for full involvement’.  Graham cited the example of George W Bush discussing what he’s ‘used on the Google‘ to help illustrate this point, and Senator Ted Stevens’ own personal internet is also always worth remembering (no, it’s not funny).

Clarence Fisher’s ‘eleven skills for participation’ were mentioned, and are worth repeating: play, performance, simulation, appropriation, multitasking, distributed cognition, collective intelligence, judgement, transmedia navigation, networking and negotiation. 

It was interesting to learn that I’m not the only person who dislikes the term ‘podcasting’ because of its close relationship to Apple and the iPod.  A few alternatives were suggested, with ‘audio report’ being the most popular, but – as with the whole Web 2.0 business- it’s not got that snappy, cliquey, in-the-know connotation that will probably leave us with podcasting for some time to come.

It’s also worth mentioning that enhanced podcasts (enhanced audio reports?) which allow users to embed still images such as the ubiquitous PowerPoint slides into podcasts, can be created with tools such as Garageband, Audacity and Divicast; we made presentations from our joint Assessment and MDR SIGs meeting available as Breeze presentations, integrating MP3 recordings and PowerPoint presentations and received a generally favourable reaction.

A key part of the new models of education and elearning is sharing, yet I felt that Graham made one of the most important points of all when he said that it’s about ‘learning to share, learning how to share, and learning how to have the right not to share’.  That’s something that will be very relevant to the TrainersPod webinar he’ll be leading on eportfolios in the new year: I’ll certainly be there.

Web 2.0 (TM)

A little behind the times as always, but I learned yesterday that CMP and O’Reilly have registered Web 2.0 as a ‘service mark’, effectively attempting to prevent anyone from organising any kind of live event which uses the term ‘Web 2.0′ in the title without their express permission.  They chose to assert their ownership of it by launching a ‘cease and desist’ demand at an Irish Web 2.0 Half Day Conference, the organiser of which had received a ‘best of luck with your event’ message three months earlier from, er… Tim O’Reilly.

Reactions on the company’s own blog were less than positive.

Googling “Web 2.0″ produces 28.7 million hits, yet I’ve never been very convinced by it, tending to side with those that think it’s not much more than a trendy buzzword that doesn’t actually say all that much.  Perhaps this will mean that we have to be a bit more thoughtful about what it is that we’re actually doing and how we should describe it.

Now if only we’d thought to call the new service CETIS 2.0…