Thoughts on teaching, technology, learning and life in an era of change.

Archive for October, 2008

Can one comment too often?
October 13th, 2008

I like to comment on other educator’s blogs. As I have blogged previously and written on other blogs I actually feel more liberated or free when I comment. you only need to read some of my comments on Clay Burell’s blog, Beyond School. I thoroughly enjoy reading Clay’s blog and I feel a connection with much of what he writes. I enjoy commenting on his blog.

I like commenting on other blogs as well. Yet, from time to time, my comments simply disappear into the ether and I wonder if they have been recorded as spam by a spam detection tool. Is that possible?

Is it possible to comment too frequently? I wonder.

Why Foreign Language Education Matters
October 12th, 2008

Learning a second language is important. Not for reasons of national defense or the fight against terrorism. Not for commercial reasons.

Learning a second language is for the benefit of the individual and the community.

The acquisition of a second language is important as it allows the learner to develop their brain, the way that they think and problem solving capabilities. As they acquire mastery they speak one language and think the other. They are required to problem solve as they inwardly translate, parse and correct their grammar. These cognitive skills develop, strengthen and are transferred to applications in other aspects of their education and lives. Language acquisition is marked as they begin to dream in the second language.

Learning a second language is a meaningful activity. It is fun. It imparts a sense of achievement. It is a human thing to do.

Acquisition is best achieved during the early years of a person’s life. The writer of the article indicates that acquisition for adults is difficult. That is true. Adults acquire a second language best when they have no choice ~ for example when they are living and working in a country where their mother tongue is not spoken. Governments should support programmes that encourage foreign placement of its people. Not for reasons related to defense, security and profit. But for humanity.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

That mindful moment
October 10th, 2008

Singapore, 2003.

Well, the week is over. It was hectic. No time for reading feeds. Just a couple of blog posts. Did engage in some Twitter repartee. That was good. For all of you that responded to various tweets and shouts during the last few days… thank you. This was my week

Monday AM: Interview and video recording
Monday PM: 2 hour presentation ~ The Read~Write Web in the Classroom
Tuesday: Workshop ~ Getting started with the Read~Write Web (8 hours)
Wednesday: Workshop ~ Nurturing your Networks (8 hours)
Wednesday: Presentation @ eFest2008 ~ LMS and Web 2.0 Technologies (Evening)
Thursday: Workshop ~ Getting more out of your RSS feeds (8 hours)
Thursday: Evening: ME@N Meetup ~ Macintosh Evangelists at Nanyang
Friday: Workshop: Podcasting and Vodcasting (8 hours)
Friday: Evening: Fly home to Australia from Singapore Changi International Airport

It was hard going at times, yet, I kept finding a second wind. I felt I would hit the wall and then my energy levels would be restored. Teaching teachers is energising and enriching.

Last night, after the workshop had completed, I took a bus and train from the NTU campus into the city. As I walked from City Hall MRT across to Singapore’s Suntec City to meet up with my buddies in ME@N I felt mindful. You know, those rare moments when you are completely at peace with the world. The word nirvana crossed my mind. I was wearing my iPod and I was listening to Jeff Martin’s cover of a song by Daniel Lanois, I Love You. It is a live version that segues into The Messenger. The moment was so complete. I felt happy.

Today’s podcasting and vodcasting workshop was good. Everything worked. Podcasting can be an inexact science at times due to the vagaries of servers and networks. All the teachers and academic staff managed to:

1. Create their audio and video projects
2. Publish/upload their files
3. Subscribe to the ‘casts in iTunes and Google Reader for good measure

The timing was good. I had time for lunch and some administrative activities.

This evening a group of former colleagues at the CED and I shall be sharing dinner at the airport. They are all wonderful people. I feel as if I have been adopted by the team. A member of their family.

Wish you were here too.

eFest2008 ~ Nanyang Technological University
October 8th, 2008

This evening I am giving a short presentation at NTU’s eFest2008 seminar. This seminar will launch a suite of new Web 2.0 learning tools – Bb Scholar, Bb Sync and aNTUna Connect. The tools are an integral component of NTU’s commitment to Web 2.0 technologies within its edveNTUre eLearning portal.

The presentation is just over one hour away and I am about take my dinner.

Shopping in Jiu Feng, Taiwan.
October 7th, 2008

Shopping in Jiu Feng, Taiwan.

Originally uploaded by JohnLarkin

My wife Shao Ping and her sister Shao Chi shopping in Jiu Feng, Taiwan.