sábado, abril 14, 2007

Knowledge Management, RSS feeds and tagging is what I've been calling it, but hey! 

today I found that it is called:

Personal Learning Environments

At first take it is catchy-- although I rather have a concept to exude interaction, some type of interpersonal, expansive, creative, evolutionary experience...

Choices of words are interesting. As in the review of information for informal learning which I would call just--- thinking! And making a distinction between information and knowledge sufices since with the overload of the former, there is a need for the latter---but of substance.

Nevertheless, this is really an important find! I must do some concept minning to see how far the "personal learning environments" thread takes me... which by the way I tagged as blogs, elearning, and knowledge. in my del.ici.ous.

Blogged with Flock

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viernes, marzo 30, 2007

Scholarship of Teaching and Learning April 5, 2007 

I registered for this one-day IT conference that UMASS is sponsoring at the statewide level. The agenda looks swift and definitely representing the state of the art in teaching. These workshops were a lot of fun years ago when they started in Amherst. The conference is on a face to face format and I look forward to discussion about shifting to a virtual mode.

Take a look at the agenda!

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jueves, febrero 22, 2007

No big pronouncement 

other than this thing on blogging is really an interesting process. What has been reflection, has become grand standing, censorship, silence and now, back to the same. At times I have been amused by those who say that they will stop blogging, to then come back to voice themselves.

And here I am thinking that here I can say what is important to say, with regards to who is reading and with the freedom of speech that not only this society supports and values, but my consciousness also deserves.

which really means that I am aware of a "formal" tone that this place is taking for announcements of activities taking place around me without my editorial comment of what they mean to me.... which is the "gusto" that this place is missing!

so with regards to the title of this post, I am therefore not saying much more than that. at the moment. ;0)

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viernes, febrero 09, 2007

online activism 27 years later 

Click here to join tertuliaenwfcr
Click to join tertuliaenwfcr

I am involved in a struggle with the local public radio station which
eliminated a Latino/Puerto Rican program of 25+ years.  The story includes
their previous attempts to do that and how the community activism a quarter
of a century later is much different.

We are now mobilizing a campaign by e-mail!


In a community radio station, we are using the the microphone to broadcast
our indignation... there we have free speech.

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viernes, febrero 02, 2007

Mesmerized looking at that angel! 

paintings/obra: http://www.rosaibarra.com/

I visited Rosa last night for a quick tea. Had never been to this home before... I was impressed by her paintings, her images on that personal space... those definite treasures silently present in that cheerful space! Must have been the adornments in the trees, the lights, and candles. I had seen her paintings exhibited in the museum... but never in the intimacy of her kitchen having ginger tea.... could not take my eyes off Aria. Rosa's company was also such a treat. We still have so much to catch up.

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sábado, enero 27, 2007

do we ever learn? 

Its been about 27 years since our local radio show was re-instated after the community took over the University's administration building in protest for it being taken off the air. Twenty seven years have passed and again the administration eliminated the program about two weeks ago.

This time we met in the administration building with the university's and radio station management and requested that their mistake be corrected. They returned half the time slot to the program. Tomorrow is the first shortened radio show. And we will be meeting again to follow through with our request for the administration to correct their mistakes.

Stay tuned... I think there is an internet link to the live stream.


1. On Sundays, at 8:00 pm (EST), go to http://www.wfcr.org.

2. Next to the right to the white box with the 88.5 fm, is the box titled NOW ON WFCR. Hit the bubble "LISTEN NOW".

3. Click on links that apply to the program through which you will download the program to your computer:

Thanks Noemi for the information.

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miércoles, enero 03, 2007

The Gender Genie 

The Gender Genie

I was initially psyched about finding an application that would analyze a particular corpus to determine the gender of the author.

After cutting and pasting the whole "blogging out" article, the results were wrong! I wonder if the technical nature of the content had anything to do with it.

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martes, enero 02, 2007

EVO 2007 Call for Participation - 

EVO 2007 Call for Participation - For six weeks , participants can enga...

IT'S AGAIN THAT TIME OF THE YEAR ! Time to register for EVO 2007 ---my fourth year joining discussion about language teaching and uses of technology for it. Take a look at this year's options.... no, I won't tell how many I registered for.... (I would register in each and everyone of them... but its too much!)

See you there!

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miércoles, diciembre 20, 2006

Just got this message from Rosa 


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martes, noviembre 07, 2006

Special issue on “Blogging as an Educational Technology" 

Nice collection of articles about blogging at Educational Technology & Society. Some of our thoughts are there... a lot said in just 1000 words!

García, K. and Suzuki, R. (October, 2006). Blogs as Teaching Ethnographies: Blogging Out. The Learning Technology, 6 (4), Available at http://lttf.ieee.org/learn_tech/issues.html

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jueves, octubre 26, 2006

FOXNews.com - Bush Signs U.S.- Mexico Border Fence Bill 

FOXNews.com - Bush Signs U.S.- Mexico Border Fence Bill - Politics | Republican Party | Democratic Party | Political Spectrum

I don't get it. Here we are a nation of migrants. A leadership which demanded the Berlin wall to come down, and now we are into fencing the border to keep neighbors away.

that fences make good neighborhs you might say.... I don't know.... it seems to me that the virtue of decency falls in that... trust and caring for humanity.

this place is really getting weird...

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domingo, octubre 22, 2006

bits and pieces 

they are scattered... and the idea is how to gather them into a coherent whole... not that I could not tolerate chaos... there is something creative about that... but the post about the designing of educational/presentation materials in a neutral fashion is still working in my brain. You see... an attempt to lessen a charge in a communication renders it incomplete... it seems to me more appropriate to represent reality in its fullness and enjoy the differences and similarities of that representation.

And about representation using text... it is interesting to witness the competence to convey a self in text, even when it is biased in its form, as in my use of English at the moment. But it seems that the media here is available to explore divergences in the use of words. Ok, I'll refrain for erring in poor grammar.

but, to the initial concern with neutrality it seems to me that as a preference it also becomes charged with value and therefore, not neutral. .. as in the proper use of English without accents... oopps, better run the speller!

Oh well, more of the same for a change.

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viernes, octubre 20, 2006

Google For Educators 

Google For Educators

This looks interesting!!!! Google is offering a package of tools for educators to use in some organized fashion as in developing educational projects. There are a couple of webcasts hapenning and a list of the tools owned by Google which are available for free.... earth, maps, Blogger, Calendar, Picasa.....

I know, I know... you tube is not in the list yet.... and yes, Skype is owned by e-Bay not Google.... somehow, I am still not fully convinced that a comercial group has the virtues of opersource... but I LIKE GOOGLE! they feel nice.... in general. I like Yahoo too actually, but lately its been strange not to see much happening by chat... people must be in packaged places.... like the one Google is aming to develop... we'll see.

anyway, check this out

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lunes, octubre 16, 2006


Here is an "interactive" chart with a model which offers interesting possibilities. It is not just the content that is covered, but the fact that it represents a lot of ideas succinctly. Gotta find out how to make one of my own....!

Neat stuff.

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domingo, octubre 15, 2006

the Constant Observer: Tim Westergren hangs out at Hampshire--Illuminates the Music Genome Project 

I just realized that this woman who was there at Hampshire hearing Pandora's founder sitting behind me is someone I've been wanting to meet.... and did'nt-- formally. Hey, I'll link here hoping I will meet her in the future.... Interesting!

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sábado, octubre 14, 2006

I have a habit to enter a post every time I log in for one reason or another. 

this time, I added a script in the templet to track statistics about page views linked to a blogging community I subscribed a while back. One I had completely forgotten about. MyBlogLog


With the overwhelming amount of online options that are available, the overload makes my senses numbed. time to hit refresh!

time to stir the energy somewhere.

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martes, octubre 10, 2006


Culturally Generic Writing

Among the many email lists I receive, this one sparked my attention… enough to search for its web version and activate the “blog this” option that is now always available on my task bar.

The issue of a “culturally generic” language is interesting to me because it actually entails a negation of its instrumentality to create culture. It’s a paradoxical premise that a universal culture is attainable through a value free language. So if language creates culture, then it is a laden tool unable to convey neutrality. However, there is a belief that there is the possibility of attaining a global language… symbolically it would be.

Oh well…. Just a few thoughts.

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lunes, octubre 02, 2006

I met the founder of PANDORA: Tim Westergren 

and he spoke at length about the Music Genome Project.

Notice there is a link on the right bar leading to the one effort that has caught my attention as deserving support. As soon as I get my finances in order and become rich, I will send them a contribution.

He spoke about the history of the company and about the intent of supporting musicians by giving them exposure to the huge population available online. The amazing thing about the project is how it catalogues the listener's preferences and utilizes it for fine tuning the music selection that is offered. Preferences in music are also utilized for pushing advertisement. I was surprised to realize that each desktop received different advertisement according to demographic and music preferences.

There were a couple of interesting issues in the discussion. One was someone's conceptualization that Pandora was about music and not social engineering-- which I did not agree with. I also disagreed with his views that bloggers are an objective group not biased in their reviews by bravery… (I did promise to wear the t-shirt and cap he gave me.) There was a mystique in the understanding that the quality of music is based on a trained ear... a discussion about the subjective or rather, their claim of objectivity in categorizing good music based on a good ear.... OOOOOk, I am not a musician, BUT how about the opportunity to teach about music, or further, about telling me how you perceive me as being.... (regarding my patterns in choice of music... or as he calls it... thumbing).

I listened to his business model and was surprised that he was concerned about patents, and marketing, and somewhat conventional in his approach. I mentioned how I could see the great potential of making his database open content, and urged him to go for broke tomorrow when he meets with the "guys" at Harvard's school of business and at MIT.

Interesting guy and fantastic project..... If I had a rating system, it would be broken by Pandora's Music Genome

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lunes, septiembre 18, 2006

Half an Hour: How to Write Articles and Essays Quickly and Expertly 

Half an Hour: How to Write Articles and Essays Quickly and Expertly

I have to blog this.... although, it seems too long for such a short time of writing.

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viernes, agosto 25, 2006


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viernes, julio 21, 2006

This Blog's Serial Number 

IBSN:Internet Blog La Gurú Speaks' Serial Number 00-07-21-2006

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sábado, julio 15, 2006

Listening to silence 

This is the first day, in the few years I've been hooked to YM that it is empty!

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lunes, junio 12, 2006

A Message Sent to Me Once Worth Repeating Again and Again... 

"I have the greatest faith that you will surmount all of the obstacles that the mediocre among us put in your path. Sometimes, it takes the rantings of a petty few to allow to know ourselves profoundly. It may be easy 'chalk it up to experience' more so when the experience itself is new and unpleasant. Yet that is often the way the divine and universal powers force us to look deeply into ourselves to touch or search for those values that are the foundation of who we are and who we can do. In those cases, tears are like the rains that nourish those values and cause them to grow strong. Be patient and reassured: you will prevail."

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martes, mayo 30, 2006

the transformation of silence into language and action 

"i have come to believe over and over again that what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood. that the speaking profits me, beyond any other effect … and of course i am afraid, because the transformation of silence into language and action is an act of self-revelation, and that always seems fraught with danger … we can learn to speak when we are afraid in the same way we have learned to speak when we are tired. for we have been socialized to respect fear more than our needs for language and definition, and while we wait in silence of that final luxury of fearlessness, the weight of that silence will choke us. the fact that we are here and that i speak these words is an attempt to break that silence and bridge some of those differences between us, for it is not differences which immobilizes us, but silence. and there are so many silences to be broken. "

Audre Lorde, 1980

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viernes, mayo 19, 2006

Celebrating Sonia Nieto's legacy... 

Sonia Nieto retires. It came as a surprise... how can she leave UMASS? What will follow her trail in support of multiculturalism?

Seeing Sonia moving on shakes the predictable image of my educational foundation. It was in the 80's when in graduate school she would be presenting a challenging concept of multiculturalism in a forum in which Bilingual education was nurtured. Luis Fuentes was there then patiently supporting her and all of us who are committed to community participation and decentralization. It was him today who told me of the retirement party and symposium taking place early next month. I look forward to the occasion to glance at her legacy and hopefully see old friends.

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viernes, mayo 12, 2006

Reflection about reality and the meaning of it all 

an ongoing review that of reality and meaning. It must be due to my search for work in the physical world, the one that for the time being steers me back into the metaphysical... but that quest for enlightenment is not what I had in mind to start with in this post.

No. I had in mind a "mundane" comment that schooling for the privileged is, as stated by Chomsky an issue of access to "high culture"... which should be available to everyone. He goes as far as to say that:

"(t)here is no reason why working people should be deprived of those opportunities today, and it has nothing to do with whether they should be also given the kind of training which will allow them to enter the economic system. You can do both."*

Unfortunately education does not directly lead to entry into the economic system, and access to knowledge as a "high culture" is unavailable for survival.

The issue about different returns for education according to demographic characteristics remains. Not to say that the aesthetics of high culture are not intrinsically valued by the working class.. of course beauty is desirable... but so is greed for some. And then, how can we value all, including simplicity and protect the right for survival, to start with and nurture growth as a humane act.

*Interview: Noam Chomsky in Thought & Action, Vol. XXI, Fall 2005. 93-102.

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martes, mayo 09, 2006

An awards celebration 

I got the following e-mail a while ago:

The Men’s Resource Center for Change (MRC) will be holding its Tenth Annual Challenge & Change Celebration on Sunday, May 7th. The dinner provides an opportunity for Pioneer Valley community members to come together to recognize a man, woman and young man who are making significant contributions to strengthen the social fabric of our community and society. The dinner also serves as a celebration of the work being done by the Men’s Resource Center itself.

This year, the MRC is honoring Luis-Orlando Isaza of Holyoke Community College for his leadership as a social change educator and activist; Felice Yeskel of Class Action for her commitment to breaking down class barriers; and Raul Matta of the American Friends Service Committee for his efforts as a peace builder and peer educator.
I decided to go celebrate Orlando's and Felice's work. I was glad I did! About 300 people were there to hear each of these amazing social activists reflect on their life. Felice made an interesting analogy between money and energy... and how she is not afraid to speak about class issues... that is actually her expertise. I realized that in the discourse of social justice there must be the oppressed, and if I accept the discourse... I really end up oppressed... so I deny the discourse as a means of liberation. Orlando talked about his story with abuse and his transcending it with love. It was nice to celebrate with these friends whom I've known for many years. Looking at the audience I recognized a handful of people which brought about a bittersweet sense of my being in foreign ground- a usual sense.

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jueves, abril 27, 2006

Interrogate Reality ! 

Jonathan Kozol spoke at Amherst College today.

"Invitation to Resistance --Strategies for the Defense and Transformation of Our Public Schools"

I was glad to have met him. His talk was interesting because of the fact that he was urging priviledged young people to take risks, resist, become insuburdinate...

and here I am, many years older wondering what is the fundamental change required for making a significant contribution to justice in society. No, I don't think that bussing is the solution, althought if you have to, you got to. He also mentioned changes in the constitution to include education.... and then I recollect the ERA, and what that lead to... bilingual education, and how that has vanished... and on and on. I liked his confrontational approach as he mentioned about his preaching in churches and stating something to the effect of enjoying saying.. "I am a Jew talking to you evil Christians...." type of thing..... Ohh my God!

and definitely there is no rest, inequity prevails, and he gave the statistics. for me it is a shame that returns on educational achievement levels are still different for different people... yes, gender, ethnicity, race being the most obvious factors joined at inequality... but then I go as far as questioning the value of formal education in general.... and wonder if educational achievement is such a big deal.... why should school drop outs be punished for resisting staying in oppressive institutions?

I was talking away with a reporter for the college newspaper... and then I realized that what I was saying was up to his interpretation... here we go again --with the vulnerability of having a voice. I will link up to his writing once I find it. here it is at the Daily Collegian he did a good job!

It was great to have met Kozol... this is definitely a priviledged community that allows people of his stature to come chat with us. and challege our participation in keeping oppression alive. amazing, just like the 70's !

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martes, marzo 14, 2006

about opensource, opencontents… p2p, web2 and a wonderful metaphor. 

For the last months I’ve been following rss feeds, list serves, articles, bounced ideas about how the ideology of open access leads to a practice of quality, equality and relevance. Of course, that is political and viewed from the vantage of virtuality, quite illuminating. There is currently interesting interchange in a forum on open educational resources/open content lead by the International Institute for Educational Planning (iiep-oer opencontent discussion) sponsored by UNESCO.

I will post here a message I sent to the forum questioning basic premises. I got one response with a wonderful metaphor of a “sandwich” which I will include here with the writer’s permission, hoping others will join in the conversation.

Dear IIEP-OER participants,

The discussion about research questions related to OER is quite comprehensive and a wide research agenda has been identified. As a freelance online practitioner not institutionally embedded, the questions of transferability and adaptation of offline resources to virtual environments is most pressing. Not only would I question basic assumptions about whether educational resources are transferable but which are the fundamental elements best suited for such activity. Learning environments of any kind (virtual or not) require customization according to persons and places and the dentification of best practices facilitate all educational activities.

Rubrics would be useful for the creation, categorizing and retrieval of content. Likewise, transferable resources in the form of basic schemes to be further developed by each practitioner might result in the most applicable approach. The popularity of p2p environments for distributed knowledge is evidence of the current trend towards spontaneous and self directed use and production of content. It seems that taking "the least common denominator approach" would allow for the largest relevance and applicability of efforts. Then, as these "outlines" are filled by users we could enjoy the wide diversity in each unique experience. That constructivist approach would allow for the mix and match of chunks of knowledge which is different from the offering of complete courses (derived from offline use) which are currently available.

I got the following response:

Hi Karen
Are you suggesting that individual learner needs should be taken into account? :)

I agree by the way, but I'm not sure how that would play out (at the front end) in regards to OERs - if learning objects are created for a particular course (for example) then they are relevant (hopefully) to the intended recipients. If opened to the world, it's not clear that they would be relevant generally. It would be up to whomever is accessing and assessing them to make that determination. Or ... maybe I've misunderstood you??

In regards to your second paragraph (I've left it in its entirety for reference) can you explain further? I'm particularly curious about your reference to peer-to-peer networking environments and about your "least common denominator" approach. I interpret that paragraph to mean that you are espousing the creation and dissemination of small chunks (objects) of info that are contextualized by the "seeker" (i.e. build your own sandwich approach), rather than the dissemination of the objects in their original context (i.e. the "vending machine sandwich" approach) - sorry for the really bad analogies - it's late! :)

To continue this train of thought - the person who builds their own sandwich will find that the eating is more meaningful/enjoyable (or will at least know what not to do next time).

Am I again mis-understanding you?

I am glad about people reducing misunderstandings... although I am sensitive about being too complex when I write.... and I am presently wondering if he understood my response which follows.

Greetings Claudius, and everyone else.

Of course, educational activities means learner based activities in which learners are active participants in the design of curricula, syllabus and creation of knowledge. That process of course must benefit from the current knowledge base. We each experience a different reality and know different things in different amounts. So the challenge is always there to benefit from that diversity for everyone's learning. In the field of education we all are learners, albeit with different philosophical and political experiences. In my case, I look for participatory approaches much like the one presented to this forum with its directive of building a research agenda. We could be given a survey to answer, or we can be asked what questions to include in the survey as a means to answer the research question.

Ideally, OER would be developed by the users. But that is not generally the case. The closest to that participatory and interactive feature online is what is now called web2 and the prevalence of p2p environments. You can freely access a plethora of video, audio and images. So if I may follow your analogy about the options in creating a sandwich, it can already be packaged, or self made, but in addition choosing the options from which to choose is the fundamental-lower denominator that I am referring to. Of course, I might want to eat something else! And also, there is the need to take advantage from experience and aim at the "best sandwich", and in midst of the creative impulse be clear about what is and is not a sandwich.

There is so much available online that everyone's appetite can be satiated. And it is for us to ensure that the options are of highest quality. My aim is to look for universal basic tenets of knowledge that could be applied into the infinity of options. And by keeping the framework fundamentally basic it will hopefully be ansferable across the board.

That is why I find rubrics helpful. But then again, the construction of rubrics also must involve the learner. That is the ideological part. Pragmatically, the question is how software allows for such participation and interaction. And in addition, who would certify experiences to be credible. Then again, we might fall in the usual trap of valuing the same experiences differently according to people and place.

I think you understood very well the point about transferability and I hope the issue of identifying a "common denominator" is clearer now.

Yes, there is food for everyone in this world...

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domingo, marzo 05, 2006

Looking at "A Few Images of Puerto Rico" 

Unfolding Leadership: A Few Images of Puerto Rico a nice post about Dan's journey to Old San Juan worth looking.

I am always impressed by the sensitivity and receptiveness of those who allow themselves to witness a new place, culture and experience. Not only it is fortunate to have had the opportunity to share with Dan his journey to San Juan, albeit virtually.... but the pictures he took are treasures! Take a look at his Flicker file.

There are two pictures in his blog that are also amazing!

In his post he talks about noticing a "thin veneer" of USA influence, and acknowledges the domination that Puerto Rico has been under. I am struck at the concept of "a veneer" being prevalent in midst of the many attempts at domination. I see colonization having deep and penetrating effects in people and society. But the impressions of a first time visitor are always illuminating... and his photography certainly is captivating.

Perhaps the humor of the people in Puerto Rico is a means to transcend the domination that as he acknowledges is noticeable in the commercialism of fast food and brand names. Nevertheless, that has not eliminated the vital energy of its people so evident in their humor and calid, physical social contact and the music... Salsa!

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