Sort-Tastic!

The significant work (and lack of sleep) from last night’s development was capitalized on today. Data about the user is in the database and now it is viewable on the front end (the website) by using Views to sort and display. Complex arguments are not yet supported, but simple sorts are. Thank goodness last night’s sleepless work paid off.

Now adding modules for ratings: fivestar and voting api. Hoping to rate projects and not users.
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Modules for events (i.e. projects) being added: event, event views, signup, RSVP, calendar, and date api.

Working to Mold Drupal

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Development Update:
The development process is running in parallel tracks. The recent Drupal 6.2 Core installation is running on one track. Beside this track is the Drupal 5.7 Core installation. Each are being tested to discover which will accomplish the tasks that are closest to the goals of this design research.

Drupal 6.2 is clean and fresh feeling, similar to a new house that is bright and smells of recent paint fumes. Unfortunately the main furniture (modules that customize the functionality of this Drupal shell) haven’t arrived yet. The most important modules are still developing and will be in process over the next several months. This is extremely problematic as the additional functionality that will assist a novice programmer (me) will only be built once the main modules are finished. This could be months away.

Drupal 5.7 is reliable. A comfortable home in an established neighbourhood that comes with multiple furnishings and folks willing to help me move in.

Significant strides were made within Drupal 5.7 by using the Advanced Profile Kit. This advice was shared by Josh McCormack who responded to my twitter request for Drupal assistance.

These additional modules were also added: Actions, Privatemsg, Panels, Bio, Link, User Point (inactive), and User Badges (inactive). The modules views and CCK were already installed.

Considering adding the subcriptions to notify users about activity on their profile.

Beginning to Connect

Recently an emailed arrived. There sat, virtually, an old friend who had worked with my as part of the student council during my Bachelor of Education year at UWO. We hadn’t talked since graduation day and in his searches of web 2.0 and teaching my name had popped up. Hence the email. Below is the interaction (with names removed). I tried to begin to point him in the direction for a first step into this world.

Question:
1. Using podcasts to assign homework – student listens to podcast at home or downloads it to device and the instructions for the assignment are there.
2. Using podcasts to supplement the material that I teach in class.

My response:
1 & 2 are closely related.
Podcast: you need a blog and / or webhost. Edublogs.org is a great and free way to get this going for teachers and it has many podcast features built right in. The blog post for the podcast could also contain supporting documents. http://speakingofhistory.blogspot.com/ – This is a teacher who hasn’t used the edublog service, but has used this concept and called them studycasts. Check out his archives. There is no need for me to share the process of creating a podcast feed and putting it into iTunes as there are many, many online tutorials about this. http://edublogs.org/forums/tags.php?tag=podcast

Question:
3. Using wikis as a class note project. I have already tried this.

Response:
3. Wikis are interesting. A neat combination of both a visual creation and collaboration is voicethread. Here is an example from the podcast this weekend. I haven’t used these too much as doing a blog and adding students as collaborators has worked well for me. A great example of taking notes online is from D. Kurropatwa who is a highschool math teacher in Winnipeg. His main blog connects out to his class blogs which have students summarize the lessons http://adifference.blogspot.com/

Question:
4. Blogging as a way to get students to journal or change the way they
write.

Response:
4. I’d pick a focus: blog or wiki. When implementing this could be best matched to the purpose. Wiki’s are cool… Blogs are cool… Podcasts are cool… Voicethreads are cool. How can this fit together smoothly for your implementation and student understanding? Too many sites to go to leads to issues. (I speak from experience here).

Question:
5. I was also interested in the way you do your smartboard podcasts. If I am not mistaken the other teacher that you cast with is in Winnipeg. How is it that you so seemlessly produce that show?

Response:
5. The podcast: Joan is in Winnipeg and records locally on her mac. I’m in Port Lambton, Ont. and record locally on my mac. (this distance makes for the ultimate sound proof recording booths!) After the recording she emails me her file via yousendit.com and I sync it up with my track in garageband. Add some spit and polish and voila we are good to go. If we do a phone interview with a person (i.e. in Hong Kong) I use Skype and Audio Hijack pro to grab the audio for the podcast.

Question:
6. I am also trying to build a PLN to find a lot of this information out.

Response:
Finally, PLN… Seriously consider joining twitter. Follow me. I’ll follow you. (benhazzard is my user name) then add some of the folks who follow me and some will follow back. jump into the discourse and it will be cool. It is really like a virtual staff room where you can ask quick questions to within your PLN. (limited to 140 characters so it isn’t too time intensive).

Approval Received: Facilitating Teacher Partnerships for Cross Classroom Collaboration

Approval to proceed with Facilitating Teacher Partnerships for Cross Classroom Collaboration research has been granted by the Graduate Studies Office, Faculty of Education, University of Western Ontario.

I invite you to follow along within this process. I am using design research within an educational setting that will focus on emergent knowledge and synthesis within the selected focus subject. Posts tagged with development journal on this blog, benhazzard.com, will follow this work. Screen captures, progress updates, and conceptual frameworks will be shared. I welcome your thoughts, comments, questions, and revision suggestions. Your information and comments will not be treated as research data or quoted, but used as feedback.

*More information on Design Research may also be found here.