29 April 2007

Podcast Subscriptions

Hi Folks,
Here I would like to introduce to you those podcasts - among the many to which I have subscribed - which I think are instructionally useful for online education.

I have decided upon my four criteria for evaluating a podcast with respect to its use in online education. Although earlier I had only three (see my blog 'Delphi' 25 April), I have realized I need a supra-arching first criterion, thus ;-
(1) be educationally useful, and effectively improve the quality of learning,
(2) use clear, concise, coherent English, and with vivid enthusiastic tone,
(3) short duration, within ten minutes (those at 30 minutes long became a drag on my time and attention), and
(4) have short theme music at the beginning and at the end, to help me recall the podcast topic context and related prior knowledge and schema in my mind.

Applying these criteria, I recommend the following podcasts. I have subscribed to many others, and also downloaded example episodes for evaluation purposes, and kept these individual episodes since they fulfill the above criteria, but I did not subscribe to the whole podcast and other episodes because they were irrelevant to me.

* * * * * Foreign Language Resource Center
Felix Kronenberg introducing educational technology for language learning, though he is German, his English is clear, and pleasant to listen to, and the six-minute podcasts are bi-weekly which suits my busy schedule just fine.
from where you can download each episode, for example see the video podcast on how to use PulpMotion (for Mac only) at
flrc_podcast_episode1.mp4 (mp4, 14.5MB, 6min-16sec)
(His second episode is Photo Story for PC only.)

* * * * * Make Magazine
This podcast gives short instructional guides to new technologies which could be used in education.

* * * * * November Learning Communities
Alan November or a guest giving short instructional podcasts on using educational technology, with the podcast feed at his blog at
and websites at http://blog109.org
and at http://www.novemberlearning.com
for example listen to this episode in which Brian Mull talks with Seth Bowers

* * * * Tech Tips 101
Charonda Cosey and Dawn Corley giving short instructional podcasts for teachers to introduce technology into the classroom (only four stars here by me, because their English is not so clear, and there is too much redundant speech – almost sounding like a radio talkshow).
for example listen how to use blogs globally
which by the way I had already thought of and had earlier set up for linking my students here in Japan with those in Germany (thanks Jane), with those in India (thanks Ramesh), with those in the Philippines and USA (thanks Charito), with Viet Nam (thanks Trang), and with those in South Africa (thanks Pam)

* * * The French Pod Class ‘Sebastien – Let’s learn French the fun way’
for example listen to his mp3 at
Although this is in French, using an immersion approach, Sebastien speaks the instructions in simple easy-to-understand English. I chose this subscription since I teach French.

I should also like to mention here the following blog. Although it is not a podcast, nonetheless it is updated regularly with short educationally useful tips for improving learning ;
* * * * * How to Blog

All Best Wishes

27 April 2007

Team Music

Hi Folks, and especially Jupiter Team,
Just a short interlude ...
I have my own original version of Holst's Jupiter now up
in the left links for Jupiter Team,
at 75 seconds, and here as 1.1MB mp3, or as 12.6MB wav
copyrighted © 2007 Paul Kawachi ,
and offered free to Jupiter Team Members for onward use
perhaps as fade-in/fade-out theme-music to voice or video podcasting.
All Best Wishes

25 April 2007


Hi Folks,
This post is on the utilization of the Delphi technique.
(Please google-search on "Delphi technique", if you want more details than given in this link.) How should we judge the efficacy and usefulness of a podcast? Well, WestGa indicate fairly clearly that "We're looking at podcasting for instructions", so we can surmise this means for educational purposes - instructor-to-students, the one-way delivery of technical guidance. The Dephi technique can help to narrow down the criteria either of a group or of oneself. I have a lot of criteria in my mind, and then after listening to a range of podcasts, I can score each criterion on importance to obtain my own short-list of criteria for a good podcast. Listeners are so diverse in their needs and wants, I don't think we can form a small set of shared group criteria.

After subscribing to several and also downloading and listening to many more, my own individual criteria in order of decreasing importance are

(1) use clear, concise, coherent English, and with vivid enthusiastic tone,
(2) short duration, within ten minutes, (those at 30 minutes long became a drag on my time and attention),
(3) have short theme music at the beginning and at the end, to help me recall the podcast topic context and related prior knowledge and schema in my mind,
(4) ?

I am still thinking if these three are an adequate set, maybe a fourth will materialize with more experience. Of much less importance, is to have two persons involved, and to include text or graphics, and have no overbearing advertising or self-promotion.

Next, I will apply these three criteria to my favourite podcasts, with discussion, tomorrow.
All Best Wishes

23 April 2007


Hi Folks,
The term 'e-Quality' was, by the way, first coined by me, several years back on the topic of open education, access and inclusivity, and published then and in several following works. Kawachi, P. (2002). Poverty and access : The impact of language on online collaborative learning for Japanese learners. In H.P. Dikshit, S. Garg, S. Panda, & Vijayshri (Eds.), Access and Equity : Challenges for open and distance education, (pp. 159-170). New Delhi : KoganPage. ISBN 81 7554 180 6

If you need help to find a copy for your private non-commercial use, please ask me.

All Best Wishes

22 April 2007

Technical Video

Hi Folks,
Technical video can have good educational value.
For example if one tries to explain a simple water leak using a photograph (shown here on the right), then the explanation may be not so clear. In such cases, a short technical video can help to bridge the communication gap, the receiver can email the video on to the technician, and the problem is resolved efficiently. Mobile phones can have a camera and video function too, to make and send a short video. The video is here (8.9MB) (25 secs) (mpg)
Alone at my friend's house deep in the high mountains, I took this photo and video last weekend for an educational technical purpose to show him the problem. The video was educational and served its purpose well, as he and you can see, perhaps. (Some folk may need to download the free Quicktime software for Windows to watch this mpg - click on Get Quicktime or in the top-left column.) And... since this also about changing file formats, here it is in Windows wmp format.
All Best Wishes

21 April 2007

Sunday is a Holiday

Well Folks,
Tomorrow is the deadline for these various tests.
I'll be taking a cold drink to refresh myself -
and talk to you afterwards.
All Best Wishes
and still feeling very grateful to WestGa.

mp3, to wav, to vox, to ...

Hi Folks,
It's hard not to sing the praises of Mac.
Use ask.com to write your question in easy plain English, for example here "How to make an mp3 file on a Mac?", thus ;
And go to the top first hit to free Switch software at http://www.nch.com.au/switch
And then download install the free software to convert any sound-file to any other.

After you have downloaded this, click on Switch to open it and browse to your file, for example my AudioIntro.mp3 used earlier in my posting 'Audio Blogging' on 13 April 2007. Then using the Mac Timed-Screen-Grab, I can show you the drop-down menu of the full range of audio formats available as output format …

and convert my AudioIntro.mp3 into AudioIntro.wav, and/or viceversa.

Actually with a Mac, you don’t need this conversion software. To change a file format, you can just go to whatever.gif and click its name and retype it as whatever.jpg, or taking a few seconds longer click open what.gif and save-as what.jpg (when Mac says ‘Do you really want to use jpg or keep gif, just click ‘use jpg’. Same with mpg to wmv, and same with mp3 / wav / vox /whatever you like.
All Best Wishes

Gabcast - Welcome

Hi Folks,
At the top of the left-side margin, you can click on the word 'Welcome !'
and listen to my Gabcast welcome-message.

For those of you with no speakers, the welcome-message is ;
"Welcome to the Open Education Network blog.
You may visit the website at

( ... above is hot linked ... )
All Best Wishes

Thanks to gabcast.com for this media. You may again notice
I have somewhat edited the Gabcast html to keep my blog tidy.
All Best Wishes

Gabcast for Online Education

Hi Folks,
Can I embed html here ...
I wonder

Listen to my Gabcast above by clicking on the > play button,
or click on this hypertext for mp3 'Gabcast for Online Education', (0.5 MB) (62 seconds)

Aaha ! It works. (You may note I have edited the html downloaded from Gabcast.com to be simpler here.) For those of you with an internet connection and no output speakers, my Gabcast recording is ;

"Hello. Good morning.
Hi, Folks
Gabcast could be useful in an emergency when other media are unexpectedly not available or connectivity is disabled - for example, the receiver doesn't have a telephone to answer your call, but does have internet. However, its quality limits its use in normal circumstances of education where clear communication is the 'sine non qua' (that's Latin, not Japanese).
All Best Wishes

Well, I should like to add my thanks to WestGa for introducing this media to me. Their instructions were (in my case at least) clear enough for me to succeed in posting up my telephoned-in message. Noting some people have found Gabcast instructions to be difficult to follow, I went to the Gabcast London mirror site, which was just fine.
Thank you
All Best Wishes

20 April 2007

The Value of $$ilence

Hi Folks,
On the new Law governing Your Public Internet Audio Casts

As you may have heard,
earlier this week (on Monday, 16th April 2007) the law changed for radio DJ's paying royalties for playing a pop-song.
Though an appeal is being positioned, it would seem that henceforth the royalty may be increased -
however the Copyright Royalty Board -- which is Las Vegas-based by the way :)
-- has said the royalty fee is now calculated on the average number of listener x hours.
Luckily for me no-one reads my blog, much less listens to my Odeo or voice, and I should be safe since only one person at WestGa probably listened only to the first few seconds - busy that they are - and the pop / classical music I like to listen to perchance in the background was likely not noticed by anyone except Pam (Thanks Pam) (aaahhh that makes two listeners...)

Well e-copyright and e-law governs us all, and what we borrow for our lessons (students pay for these and these are thus a commercial event ... ignorance is no excuse for not following the law) and the websites belonging to others to which we guide our students become an issue of increasing concern and currency.

So far this applies only to the States,
and South Africa and Japan are still in the clear,
and a US Congress law five years ago exempted small broadcasters from royalty rates.

Well, stay tuned in, folks.

All Best Wishes

Online Audio record / playback Quality

Hi Folks,
Just a short posting today.
I have listened to Pam's Gabcast, and I have listened to Pam's Odeo-cast.
It is clear that the qualities of the record / playback differ significantly.
This is probably dating me to pre-internet days, but I remember when Dolby first came out, and there was a lot of discussion on their technology - of putting the large range of human-voice tones onto narrow audio-tape bandwidth by reflecting or bouncing back those tones heading off the top or bottom end of the available bandwidth.
If this was not reflected back, then the cut-off frequency at the top end (and at that at the bottom end) would sound overly dense or 'coloured'. The Dolby word and technology is highly protected by copyright (I hope they don't hammer me for discussing them here) and as far as I know does not come free.

Maybe we should not be using these free software audio services like Gabcast and Odeo...
Perhaps - and I am going to search through this issue - there is Dolby Audio for online education, and at low cost but superb quality. You pay for what you get. And the free stuff is ...

You may HEAR more from me (yawn) on the topic of audio.
All Best Wishes

19 April 2007

Does added audio improve learning ?

On the Additive Benefit of Audio and Visual Media :
Optimal Use of Multiple Media in Online Education

If audio is added to text and graphics would this lead to improved learning ? I don’t think so.
Since audio media is a current topic, it is a valid subject here and worthwhile exploring for its effectiveness. This topic also impacts on posting up personal photos, and the educative benefit of personal introductions face-to-face or through media to establish a community of learners (also I think this is not valid). For those of you who are busy, please just scroll to the final sentence.

I add references to the published literature on the topic, of course. If you have any additional references, then I am interested – please send to me. Moreover if you need help to get a copy of any of my references, please ask me.

Paechter & Schweizer (2006) have recently put forward the need for more studies on the educative value in terms of improving learning in students of visual and audio information from the tutor in addition to pictorial/graphic and textual information media. Their study found that the face-to-face visual cueing and real-voice oral/aural media routes were not only redundant and added nothing, but detracted from the achieved quality of learning in the students. I have previously expounded in an earlier blog posting ‘Judging by your face’ (www.paulkawachi.blogspot.com 30 March 2007) that academic integrity depends on objectivity and negotiation of meaning through discussion of ideas, and not on subjectivity and smiles. I quote from my earlier work on selecting the optimum mix of media (Kawachi (2003) that some educators have reported that a face-to-face real meeting of all participants could be used (especially at the start of a course), but the inherent subjectivity that entails detracts from other values : Blake (2000) has argued that the precise lack in face-to-face interactions has a clear advantage in online teaching since it removes the personal and subjective, and unclutters the academic objectivity and disinterestedness that should characterise the essence of higher education.
It has been widely reported (Hara & Kling, 2000 ; Phillips, 1990 ; Wegerif, 1998) that there was an educational need for building a sense of community into asynchronous online learning, (though this was only in the early foundational stages of learning). Not based on shared learning : a sense of community has also been identified as developed through shared frustrations and anxieties (Hara & Kling, 2000) as in a virtual ‘coffee-shop chat room’ (Phillips, 1990) which appears to be satisfying a virtual extrinsic (outside of the course content) social motivation of the students – that reduces feelings of isolation, and that more aptly could be described as a community of non-learning (see Richardson & Turner, 2000) : in a carefully controlled objective study, Boling & Robinson (1999) found that there was some considerable trade-off between distance students’ satisfaction with social aspects of the course and the actual quality of learning achieved. Accordingly, intrinsic social (integrative) motivation may be not the best for deep quality learning, and once a student has some learning achieved and performative anxiety is reduced, then the tutor should convert the student to instrumental motivation. The intrinsic vocational, intrinsic academic and intrinsic personal motivations to learn constitute the instrumental motivations. These are more effective (Gardner & Lambert 1972 ; Kruidenier & Clément, 1986 ; Lukmani, 1972) than the integrative social intrinsic motivation in adult education, and in distance education, and for the acquisition (through cognitivist co-construction) of non-foundational knowledge. Laurillard (2002) also concluded there was a role for promoting a community of learning online in foundational courses, but added that there was no clear evidence that increased dialogue in the community produced deeper quality of learning.
The definition of ‘multimedia’ used here (see Kawachi, 2005) is that according to Jonassen (2000, p. 207) as “the integration of media such as text, sound, graphics, animation, video, imaging, and spatial modeling into a computer system”. The term multimedia could be applied to a document consisting of text and graphics (Greenlaw & Hepp, 1999, p. 44) or any form of presentation using multiple media (Schwartz & Beichner, 1999, p. 8), but here only multimedia through computer presentation is reviewed.
There is little research on the educational effectiveness of applying multimedia. Most reports just advocate the desirability of a future deployment of multimedia in a silver-bullet or bandwagon approach. A few describe simply an introduction of multimedia and assert its effectiveness without analyses and usually on the basis only from student post-test satisfaction. Student satisfaction with a programme is important, but does not necessarily correlate directly with improved learning outcomes - the addition of interactive multimedia to a distance program was less effective for learning than the face-to-face equivalent, in a well-designed three-way controlled comparative analysis by Boling and Robinson (1999, p. 170). They found that students enjoyed their distance learning experience most when the online lecture was supplemented by CMC video conferencing with other students - more than when supplemented by face-to-face cooperative group discussion, and more than when supplemented by only individual study (the control). However, their students through testing showed most learning after the face-to-face group discussion. This indicated that the level of student enjoyment or satisfaction cannot be equated automatically with better quality learning (that there is some trade-off between these). Teacher-student and student-student interactions have been reported to be a key basis for deep quality learning outcomes (see for example Wegerif, 1998 ; Kawachi, 2003a). However, even this research is not yet fully clarified. While an online community of students is believed to foster learning, at least in the early stages of a course (Kawachi, 2003b), some students especially adults engage distance education not for intrinsic social reasons. For instance, student perceived learning and course satisfaction have been related (Walker and Hackman, 1992) more to the amount of information received than to online rapport with tutors and other students.
An overview of how to deploy multimedia is given by Reddi & Mishra (2003) in a learning resources module for teachers. They provide a succinct interpretation of Jonassen’s list of media, with their categorisation of the media as text, audio, visual, and animation, plus the navigation interactivity. The various sub-types were also given as audio (narration or voice-over, music, and sound effects), visual (static graphics, and moving video), and animation (of the text, and of the graphics – using movements, fade in/out, and zoom in/out). And they clearly described the step-wise construction of a multimedia presentation that could be up-loaded to the internet for on-line learning or provided on a CD-hybrid for off-line learning. Each page, according to them, could be enhanced through the addition of multimedia to reach simultaneously the senses of the student. Indeed, the current power of instructional designer software can provide the platform with templates for this; however, there is little research yet on the educational effectiveness of deploying multimedia particularly when it is aimed at simultaneously engaging the senses. Most design is simply intuited from pre-computer studies that more media resulted in more learning - such as the findings reported by Geisman (1988) – that students remember 20% of what they see, 40% of what they both see and hear, and 70% of what they see, hear and do. Screen design is an important factor found to affect both the completion rate (poor design caused a 39% decrease in completion rate) and study time required (good design required 1/5 of the time to complete the lesson) (Szabo & Kanuka, 1999). Concerning the additive and potentially synergic advantages of multimedia for learning, the educational value of plain text can be enhanced through adding multimedia to simplify comprehension (Hashim, 2000). However, some additions for example of text to a presentation of animation and narration have been found to show poorer learning outcomes (Doolittle, 2001) (for a comprehensive review see Najjar, 1995). And Beccue & Vila (2001) have found no learning benefit from adding audio to multimedia of text plus graphics.


Beccue, B., & Vila, J. (2001). The effects of adding audio instructions to a multimedia computer based training environment. Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia, 10 (1), 47-67. Retrieved May 6, 2003, from http://dl.aace.org/6387

Blake, N. (2000). Tutors and students without faces or places. Special Issue: Enquiries at the Interface: Philosophical Problems of Online Education. Journal of Philosophy of Education, 34 (1), 183-197.

Boling, N.C., & Robinson, D.H. (1999). Individual study, interactive multimedia, or cooperative learning : Which activity best supplements lecture-based distance education ? Journal of Educational Psychology, 91 (1), 169-174.

Doolittle, P.E. (2001). Multimedia learning : Empirical results and practical applications. Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Retrieved April 26, 2003, from http://edpsychserver.ed.vt.edu/workshops/edtech/pdf/multimedia.pdf

Gardner, R., & Lambert, W. (1972). Attitudes and motivation in second language learning. Rowley, MA : Newbury House.

Geisman, J.L. (1988). ‘Beyond CBT : Interactive Video’, Computers and Personnel 2: 35-38.

Greenlaw, R., & Hepp, E. (1999). In-line / On-line: Fundamentals of the Internet and the World Wide Web. McGraw-Hill, Boston, MA.

Hara, N., & Kling, R. (2000). Students’ distress with a web-based distance education course. Information, Communication & Society. Retrieved Aug 20, 2000, from http://www.slis.indiana.edu/CSI/wp00-01.html earlier version at http://www.firstmonday.dk/issues/issue4_12/index.html

Hashim, K. (2000). ‘Virtual University Implementation : A Paradigm Shift for Instructors and Learners’, Proceedings of a Conference at University of South Australia (retrieved 26 April 2003). [http://www.com.unisa.edu.au/cccc/papers/non-refereed/hashim.htm]

Jonassen, D.H. (2000). Computers as Mindtools for Schools. Merrill, Upper Saddle River, NJ.

Kawachi, P. (2005). Computers, multimedia and e-learning. In U.V. Reddi & S. Mishra (Eds.), Educational media in Asia, (pp. 97-122). Vancouver : Commonwealth of Learning.

Kawachi, P. (2003a). ‘Vicarious Interaction and the Achieved Quality of Learning’, International Journal on E-Learning, (in press).

Kawachi, P. (2003b). Choosing the appropriate media to support the learning process. Journal of Educational Technology, 14, ( 1 & 2), 1-18.

Kruidenier, B.G., & Clément, R. (1986). The effect of context on the composition and role of orientations in second language acquisition. Quebec : International Centre for Research on Bilingualism.

Laurillard, D. (2002). Rethinking university teaching (2nd Edition) : A conversational framework for the effective use of learning technologies. London : RoutledgeFalmer.

Lukmani, Y. (1972). Motivation to learn and learning proficiency. Language Learning, 22, 261-273.

Najjar, L.J. (1995). A Review of the Fundamental Effects of Multimedia Information Presentation on Learning. Technical Report GIT-GVU-95-20, Georgia Institute of Technology, GA. [http://www.cc.gatech.edu/gvu/reports/TechReports95.html] (retrieved 18 April 2003)

Paechter, M., & Schweizer, K. (2006). Learning motivation with virtual tutors : Does it matter if the tutor is visible on the net ? In M. Pivec (Ed.), Affective and emotional aspects of human-computer interaction, (pp. 155-164). Amsterdam : IOS Press.

Phillips, C. (1990). Making friends in the ‘electronic student lounge’. Distance Education – An International Journal, 11 (2).

Reddi, U.V., & Mishra, S. (2003). Educational Multimedia : A Handbook for Teacher-Developers. Commonwealth Educational Media Centre for Asia, New Delhi, India (retrieved 10 April 2003) [http://www.cemca.org/EMHandbook/EdMul_Full.pdf]

Richardson, J.A., & Turner, A. (2000). Collaborative learning in a virtual classroom. National Teaching and Learning Forum newsletter. October, 9 (6). Oryx Press. Retrieved March 20, 2001, from http://www.ntlf.com

Schwartz, J.E., & Beichner, R.J. (1999). Essentials of Educational Technology. Allyn and Bacon, Boston, MA.

Szabo, M., & Kanuka, H. (1999). ‘Effects of violating Screen Design Principles of Balance, Unity, and Focus on Recall Learning, Study Time, and Completion Rates’, Journal of Educational Multimedia and Hypermedia 8(1) : 23-42. [http://dl.aace.org/9176] (retrieved 6 May 2003)

Walker, K., & Hackman, M. (1992). ‘Multiple predictors of perceived learning and satisfaction : the importance of information transfer and non-verbal immediacy in the televised course’, Distance Education – An International Journal 13(1).

Wegerif, R. (1998). The social dimension of asynchronous learning networks. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 2 (1). Retrieved August 20, 2000, from http://www.aln.org/alnweb/journal/vol2_issue1/wegerif.htm

18 April 2007

Discussion on Using Audio Media

Hi Folks,
It seems to me that several new bloggers - especially teachers - have proffered reasons why they do not think audio is used much in online education, reasons why they do not yet use audio files, and then say they may try to introduce and utilize audio files soon in their courses.

Is this just a novelty effect, an interviewer effect, or is it a Hawthorne Effect ?
(if you don't know what these are, then we certainly need more discussion)

The adoption and utilization of audio files in online education is worthwhile discussing.
And I am putting together a posting on the topic.
All Best Wishes

Those who do read this blog might like to share in my happiness that I finally succeeded in Control-Click downloading my audio files from Odeo to my desktop and uploading them to my website (see below 'Audio-blogging' posted 13 April 2007). This is important since Odeo may or may not work in the future, or various technological changes might make Odeo-stored files inaccessible. (They have, I believe no advertising -like google -pasted on yet, but there seems to be a limit on the number of free accesses to your stored recording - check out their Odeo help FAQs.)

16 April 2007

Wimba Voice Board

Hi Folks,
Talking about Wimba Voice Board (Assignment 2, Module 3) which I read soooo easily integrates with WebCT ... Is it possible to copy and paste the Wimba recording to our blog ? (in a way similar to Odeo)
See http://www.wimba.com/products/voicetools/ for pdf guidance and their online Voice Board, potentially useful for podcasting.

I made a recording, as follows, on their website and on WestGa WebCT,
but cannot discover how to copy that from there and post here the Wimba sound file or link.

"Hello. Good morning.
I cannot find the recorded question anywhere
so I am guessing from listening to two of the above responses.
Here are three points about me ;-
(1) I am a teacher but still a student - lifelong education is my lifestyle.
(2) Students tell me what I need to learn or know about helping them learn - listen to your students.
(3) I think audio is a useful addition to the media we can use in education - the more the better.
So, what is your answer - which is false ?
All Best Wishes

(Total recording time 59 seconds)

The English language ...

Hi Folks,
I read today that Generation Z - the uncaring youth - are the source of so much junk English being used nowadays. (Thanks -Pam) One wonders why those who apparently are native-speakers are so uncaring in their use of English - a wonderful language constituting each day more and more of the language passing as Japanese.

Several words are new to English such as the verb to 'scrap' - which I naively thought meant to discard something useless or disused, but the OED gods now inform me that the new meaning is to'pick up some small piece of discarded paper and keep it as treasure within a book for the purpose' from the Japanese 'scrap-suru' = to do or make a scrap-book. So we are all learners, beginners and should be tolerant of diversity.

However, that is no excuse for those of you using such poor grammar (I am struggling with understanding) in this online course !
English should be clear, concise, and coherent.
Can you understand the instructions given for Assignment 1 Module 3 ; "...tell in writing you think .." ??
I blame the typewriter.

So much stress to understand such bad English.
All Best Wishes

15 April 2007

Testing something

Hi Folks,

Well, this week marks the end of Module 3, and I have yet to take the step-one Online Test which will be assessed.
How do I feel ? How do you feel ? I think they are called a 'pop-quiz' in the States, but still I would feel much better if I knew what topics were to be covered by the test. I am really busy studying along this route and that route, but have no idea what should I study, before pressing the 'start' button for this 12-minute-limit timed test on ...

I hope it is in Japanese, so I can understand it !!

All Best Wishes

13 April 2007

Audio-blogging ...

Hi Folks,
Welcome to audio-blogging ...
I am in Jupiter Team, so what music to choose . . . Have you seen Gustav Holst ?
You can use audio files uploaded to your blog, website, hyperlinked from inside a powerpoint or keynote presentation slide, or in your email, podcast, or simply keep them on your computer desktop or on CD , or DVD, to use at any time or any place. The code is a bit long - meaning that file size or time is limited. So it is best to make short small generic recordings that you can re-use whenever you need them.
http://media.odeo.com//files/2/7/3/3946273.mp3 (1.0KB) (67 seconds)

Why would you want to use audio files ?
Well, listening to an invited expert in your field may enhance your college lecture and captivate your audience. You can explain the mating call of the lesser woodpecker, illustrate the difference between cockney and Brisbane accents.
You can present the difference between Mozart and Sibelius – not only showing their faces, their music writing, but now also examples of their sounds. Textual instructions will still be needed – for example “click below to listen to Mozart, and then Sibelius, and notice their different use of the long pitches at the end of the first crescendo. Replay if needed. Listen to the next recording and decide if it is Mozart or Sibelius”. Audio files can be uniquely useful and effective in online as well as in conventional education.
http://media.odeo.com//files/4/5/3/3946453.mp3 (1.4KB) (100 seconds)

Why would you NOT want to use audio files ?
Audio files are not used much in online education because they are new and unfamiliar to the teacher. Teachers tend to merely upload their lecture notes to the course website - and audio is not effective for delivering pages 23 to 46 of the textbook. The file size of even one minute tends to be quite large. Students may find they need time to adjust to catch listening to your English – though they can easily re-play as often as they need. And remember the students faraway may not have the bandwidth infrastructure and playback software available and installed yet.
Teacher time is expensive, and the script if any needs to be carefully prepared with redundant phrases removed. Repetition and re-phrasing commonly used in speech for adding clarity can be deleted - since the student listener can just click on ‘re-play’. When used judiciously, audio can be extremely interactive and motivating to the student.
http://media.odeo.com//files/4/7/3/3946473.mp3 (1.9KB) (120 seconds)

All Best Wishes

12 April 2007

Other blogs

Hi Folks,
I know everyone is busy.
I should be too - I mean 'busy in this world' ...
I would just like to draw your attention to various 'other blogs'
which I have added recently to here in my left-side column
- easily missed.
But once there, take a look at the map of the universities in Second Life !
(This map is public)
Now where was I ?

All Best Wishes

10 April 2007

Navigation negotiation

Hi Folks,
I wrote earlier that I was reading and learning about navigation at sea.
Probably you skimmed over this and dismissed it as Paul havering about some thing or another.
Yo ! There is much more to this, and comments are cordially invited.

At sea you need three expert bearing takers to take simultaneous compass bearings to fix a position ( briefly ). No one person can perform this activity alone. It is not a simplistic 'the sum is greater than the parts'.
I have always been a staunch steadfast advocate of cognitive constructivism, and of constructionism (that learning occurs in the mind, from outside stimuli and experiential practice - see my books and papers on this). And I sidelined Vygotsky as merely arguing that homo-sapiens working in a group could succeed over individualist neanderthal. However, I am deeply reconsidering my position in view of this course.

Let me give you an example. In a rock band the guitarist and drummer perform separately, and cannot replace each other. What goes on in one mind is intelligent (at least as far as Pink Floyd was concerned) but the communication channels among the different functioning minds is severely limited - a bottleneck ; the same as in this WestGeorgia course or any distance education course.

Now we can visualize the navigation team networking by looking at the pencil lines drawn on the chart, and we can hear the amazing sounds of Shine on You Crazy Diamond, but we cannot learn and perform the functions of the other team members (well we could if we gave up our own job, but the complexity of each job is such that the human mind cannot do two complex tasks simultaneously). The visualization shows us that the context of the task dictates the need and presence of distributed knowledge, which can never be internalized by any one person. (This impacts somewhat on Vygotsky : it puts limits on his theory, and draws it into the networked computer age of distance education.)

Unless we accept that the role of the context dictates the nature of the distributed knowledge construction, we can never fully appreciate correctly the role of learning as individual cognitive constructionism (here I mean constructionism not constructivism).

More later.
All Best Wishes -

Extending learning

Yesterday was a long busy day.
A senior colleague was talking about his new research group of six postgraduate students all to be working on the same or similar projects but they are distributed over a wide area working in different parts of the country.

I'll set up a networked blog for him, as I explained yesterday.
It should circumvent email overload, yet keep email open for individual tutoring and guidance. The six students all specialist medical-doctors can read, edit, comment and collaborate while signing each posting individually to maintain moderate integrity.

I know if they each have their own blog, and my friend has an rss aggregator, then this would technologically replace my networked-blog concept. However, the problem in his context was to develop unity and cohesion among dispersed researchers. A common blog acts as a prompt too, and rss feeds can be left-margined for academic readings, upcoming conferences, individual websites, and so on.

Yesterday I wrote of my idea for my own students within the same room working seated beside each other, and here I extend this concept to dispersed students who need close supervision (to get their doctorate) while allowing any place any time studying.

Thanks again to WestGeorgia -

Networked blog- it works !!

Hi Folks,
Great news !
( though I am bit shy I may be re-inventing the wheel )
I had much trouble with email reports from cohorts of students last year,
and wondered if a blog would work for us - and it does !!
I tested it out today with my multimedia students.
I set up before class a gmail address and password, and signed into blogger.
Then in today's lesson all students signed in on multiple computers
at the same time to the same google account, password and blog.

I was a bit concerned that only one machine - perhaps the first to log-in - would
be able to post or comment etc, but no, all the machines could simultaneously
post and edit, comment on the same one blog.
This means I can use peer-correction and writing,
and my simultaneous guidance, and my comment assessments,
and each small group of three or four students can post up
a message - under a group name/pseudonym - and can comment on the
messages from other groups : all in real-time synchronously.
Well, I was amazed.
We don't need to worry so much about our college email server
from now on, and they can access the blog from the school cafeteria
( no email is allowed from there, only internet access ->-> blog !! )
or from home at any time and at any place, and collaborate together
by co-editing each other.
All is a dream come true.

Now about adding the telephony...

Best Wishes to All,
I am really happy this course provides such tangible benefits
resolving real prior troubles, and directly helping my students !
My thanks to WestGeorgia.

09 April 2007

Sounds like ...

Hi Folks !
Talking of audio-files...
It is becoming increasingly dangerous to listen to audiofiles : it is against the law in some few places to drive a car or even walk across the street with a green 'walk-across-ok' sign wearing earphones or listening to ipod-casts - called 'shiro-fone' in Japanese - a corruption /adaptation of 'white(=shiro)-headphones' referring to the white earplugs that come with the ipod.
In my lessons, I need sign-language to tell students to take off headphones and pay better attention to a whole-class discussion.

What I think may be of interest to you is the website at

There is a whole range of police car siren sounds
- depending on which you want to download for your mobile phone ring-tone...
Personally I like to go through the kitten sounds
- the 'findsounds' guys&gals provide the weblinks and the visual tone patterns - all in colour too!!

Winnie-the-Pooh and Tigger ( http://members.iinet.net.au/~fitzac/tigger2.wav ) are there too, Simpsons etc etc etc
These can be added as very-small clickable hyperlinks on your powerpoint, for use during your next conference presentation
I mean the great sound clips you then set to repeat and increase in volume of a crowd clapping, and then cheering
http://sxm.funda.free.fr/Sonore/Applaus.wav - just what you need during your quick exit off stage after your boring bullet-point presentation :)

Enjoy !

08 April 2007

It's Monday !

Back-to-work day !

I hope other folks don't mind - especially those at WestGeorgia -
but I have modified the links in my left-side column to other blogs
to show not the atom feeds
which display as text-only - - a bit impersonal, and unappetizing ?

changing to the blogspot.com (only) address
by deleting the .atom.xml from the end of the URL-link.

In this way, I can better connect personally, and
the artwork in the blogs of my colleagues is
refreshing impressive and easier to relate to
and learn from !

All Best Wishes

06 April 2007


Hi Folks,
This blog is developing slowly but surely step-by-step.
One thing that I have learnt recently has been that rss could be used to monitor academic journals for key words - this should save professors a lot of time which they now spend locating articles for their junior department staff to read. However the number of journals with rss or atom feeds is still limited, and some help may be needed to manage this technologically.

It is one of my personal goals now being set.

All Best Wishes

04 April 2007

On navigation

Hi folks,
Well, though I am really busy busy reading about Adv Tech,
other tasks still engage some of my time.
I still read other stuff - such as ancient Chinese history, and
today on how to navigate at sea.

So what has all this to do with learning.
Well, continuous teaching and learning is necessary because of the
high turnover of technical staff as occurs in the navy, to pass the old expertise to the newcomers.
The most important point in learning to navigate is that the learning be done in context.
i.e. during actual navigation practice.

This undelines with yet another example that the context of learning is important.
For some students at a distance in a non-English-speaking country in a rural area
the box (computer) is their whole context. For some, the context is also their workplace.
For others the context is a hope or dream to be achieved -
and teachers need to be aware of these differences in context,
in order to better guide the student learning.

All Best Wishes

02 April 2007

New School Year

Well Folks,
Yesterday no blog... the 31st of March is an important deadline here in Japan,
with lots to get done dated before the 1st of April.
Well we have crossed that hurdle, but that's not to say everything got done !
I'll spend the next few days tidying up my desk.
And then really must get around to that book promised and overdue (by two weeks now).
It's really great to be busy -
and it's always great to see my new students (from next week).
Talk to you tomorrow -