Sunday, February 26, 2006

A Webhead at last!

After a fun evening of Greek dancing, I arrived home at 1 a.m. and change the setting on my alarm from 6:00 to 6:45 (sleeping in!) and then forgot to set the alarm! Result: when I woke up at 9 a.m. today, I had missed the graduation!

(Well, not totally. I managed to find my way to Tapped In, where there were, as always, helpful cyberfriends to tell me that perhaps all was not lost and to point me in the direction of Worldbridges, where I discovered the Graduation Chat [party, whatever...] still in full swing. It took me a while longer to figure out that there was audio going along with that, and then a rather long time to figure out how to hear the audio, but in the end I was able to join in for almost a full hour.)

To put my disappointment over missing (most of) the graduation into perspective, let me add that the last graduation I attended was my junior high school graduation. I missed my high school graduation (I left school early to take part in a study tour of France, which surely was a turning point in my life, pointing me down the road to a lifelong love of language and culture), my college graduation (I spent my senior year in France and graduated late) and my master's degree graduation (Why break the mold?). I had dubbed myself a hater of ceremonies (even had a civil wedding). But the BaW graduation was something I was really looking forward to.

No matter. I was there for the EVO closing ceremony and even got to Skype in and talk about my BaW06 experience to all!

Anyway, now that I am officially a Webhead, the learning goes on!

PS Last week, I started a new blog for my class at the Maryland English Institute IEP: Several of my BaW friends not only visited the blog but actually took the time to read the students' work and leave thoughtful comments. Webheads are really terrific.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Reflections on BaW-06

Homework: Reflect on and write a short text about your overall impressions of this 6-week workshop, what you've achieved, and what you plan to do with your newly-acquired know-how. Post your reflections to our YG list, or post them on your blog and send the link to the YG list.

This experience has been incredible.

Understand this: I remember life before computers, the Internet, and email. I remember being assigned an email address at the university where I work (I think it was in the 80s) and wondering what I would ever want with an email account anyway—wasn’t it just a way to receive more junk mail than the mailman already brought to my house? (This, unfortunately, turned out to be partly true.) I remember laboriously learning to use MS Word by copying my grandfather’s 12-page autobiography on an early Macintosh. My first home computer, a little Mac Plus, lacked even a hard drive!

Fast forward to 2006. At home, I have a PC with a cable modem, running Windows XP. At work, I have a new flat-screen PC on my desk and a fully-equipped ASC multi-media lab to teach in. I have 3 email accounts and check my email more often than strictly necessary. I use my word-processor for course-related materials. I attempted (unsuccessfully) to create a webpage for work. I’ve been teaching in the fancy-schmancy lab, but have done nothing very original or innovative or even availed myself of many of the bells and whistles (even those I know about!). I’ve gotten my feet wet with WebCT, our current campus online teaching tool. But my attempts to create a webpage have been abandoned. I don’t know what an MP3 player is. A young friend in China recommended I get Skype so we can talk, but I didn’t do it. I visited a friend’s blog but never left a comment. There is SO MUCH I don’t know, and the technology keeps changing! I am overwhelmed.

Enter EVOnline. To be honest, I would not have signed up if there had not been some pressure to do so. I almost forgot to sign up, in fact, and when I remembered late in the afternoon of January 15, I didn’t give much thought to which course to take—just picked BaW as the one that looked the most suitable for a total newbie. Providential!

It’s hard to describe my overall impression of this experience. One thing is certain: it’s not been like anything I have ever done before. It has been like a whirlwind of new experiences: making online friends (something I never thought possible), exploring resources I never knew existed, attending sessions at Tapped In, Alado, and Worldbridges. I’ve gotten pretty proficient at text chat. I’ve installed Skype and YM and acquired 2 headsets (one at home, one at work), enabling me to talk not only to my friend in China but also to old friends in California, Taiwan, and Mexico, as well as BaW friends in Sweden, Russia, and France. I’ve tried my hand at serious multitasking: listening, and at times speaking, while reading and participating in text chat and looking at a Power Point presentation. (I managed, sort of, until I also tried to follow a link, when I kind of got lost.) I’ve participated in the YahooGroups discussion and checked out almost all the links on the main site and the YG. (I intend to go back to those I have missed.) I still don’t know what an MP3 player is, but I now know what webcasts and podcasts are. I even have my own blog (but no webpage—yet)! I have been carefully avoiding anything to do with wikis, which were not officially part of the curriculum, but I am pretty sure that I will be learning about them in the future (maybe in BaW-07, which I am already planning to be part of). At the Maryland English Institute, where I work, BaW has transformed me from a reluctant technophobe to someone who is seen as having some expertise in this area. Who could have foretold that? I introduced Skype to my best friend, who happens to be very tech-savvy (from my point of view anyway), and we can now chat regularly for the first time in 35 years. Finally, I feel more competent around technology. I am less timid than I was previously—not only about the Internet, but also with other forms of technology—a jammed photocopier, for example. I attribute my newfound boldness to BaW. It’s the “webhead mentality” I have heard about!

So what do I intend to do with my newly-acquired know-how? First, I intend to build on it. There was such a wealth of information available, so many links I didn’t have the time to explore fully or at all, so much I want to go back and revisit. (I still need to find out about wikis, remember!) Not to mention the fact that technology transforms itself with such lightning speed that just staying up-to-date requires constant vigilance. Second, I intend to use it to make my classes more interesting and fun, and to stay in touch with the people I’ve met during the past 6 weeks. Third, I plan to share it with my colleagues. But my strongest recommendation to them is to sign up for BaW-07. What an adventure this has been!

Friday, February 17, 2006

Continued BlogFrustration

I got cocky tonight and decided to try adding some links to the blog, as I have seen on others' blogs. I read the instructions and followed them (I think). It was one of my first attempts at using html. First I added Karen's KATravels blog and republished. It worked! I added two more links to MT's blog and one of Carla's blogs, republished again, and viewed the blog to find--nothing (not even KATravels). I have no idea what happened to my links, but they don't appear anywhere. Grrrr!

Sunday, February 12, 2006


It has been an unusually warm winter so far, and except for a couple of freak snows in November, without snowstorms--until yesterday. It snowed heavily all night, and when I woke up this morning the view out my window was sort of like this--only not really this, which is a picture my sister took of Tarr Creek on Maryland's Eastern Shore, where she has a house and a digital camera. I have a house, but I don't have a digital camera, so to see the view from my window you would have to wait a long time for me to finish my film, develop it, scan it.... well you get the idea. Anyway, snow is snow. If you've seen one, you've seen all.

The really annoying part was that the storm resulted in our losing power this morning, so I couldn't be at Tapped In to chat with the webheads!

Thursday, February 09, 2006


It turns out the problem was my browser (I use Netscape). When I opened up IE (which I normally avoid), the browse window allowed me to select my photo and upload it.

Next step: transfer it to my profile. Stay tuned!

Chatting with Chrissan

How do I ever get any work done around here? I was just finishing a delicious chat with my best friend in California when Chrissan, just back from her dentist's, IM'ed that she was available. It was neat chatting with her in Trollhatten, Sweden, but unfortunately all we could discover was that the image icon in blogger is not doing what it should. I sent a request for help to blogger and am waiting their reply.

On the other hand, I did figure out how to add my photo to my Skype profile! (I think.)

An offer of help

Chrissan IM'ed me yesterday with an offer to help me with the photo upload problem. BaWers are such nice, helpful people! I couldn't take advantage of her offer because I was on my way to class, but I hope to do so later today. Fingers crossed.

I am considering starting a new blog for my class to put up student work, but maybe I should wait until I get more proficient at it myself.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


I've just spent about 30 minutes trying to figure out how to add a picture to my profile or blog. I've installed Hello and something called BloggerBot, but I cannot for the life of me figure out how to get the pictures from my hard disk into any of these things, or to the blog. Then I wrote what I thought was a post, but it disappeared (I think). Aarrgghh!

Monday, February 06, 2006

A few cautious baby-steps in cyberspace

Attended a cybersession with Jonathan Finkelstein at Learning Times today. I cyber-raised my hand and cyber-participated in the session. It's a brave new world!

I also figured out how to upload my saved HandyBits voicemail to the Links--all on my own!

On the negative side, I cannot figure out how to delete an entire post from this blog--only to edit it.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Teleworking Together: February 2006

Teleworking Together: February 2006
I visited Silvana's blog, as she had visited mine and said kind things about it. She also posted her picture. There's a picture I like that is on my computer at work, which I will try to upload tomorrow.

Nina's First Blog

Here I am, finally creating my first blog. This was my homework last week in BaW06, but somehow I couldn't do it. So why am I doing it now? Because I was just trying to add a comment to Kat's Edu-Kat blog and I found I couldn't do it without starting one of my own! So thanks, Kat, I think.