Friday, April 13, 2007

ICT Library website

Over the past year that I've been building and revising the ICT Library, and working on the SLED Picayune, I have not ever taken time to make a proper set of web pages that give people information about it. Why have I waited so long? I don't have a good answer for that, but now it's here, thanks to the ease with which GooglePages allows me to create the site! Though I am fairly adept with Composer, NVu, and some bits of DreamWeaver (and even NetObjects Fusion!), I have long since passed the time when I was willing to spend hours developing sites.

For all my fellow teacher-educators out there who dislike spending time guiding pre-service candidates through building pages, making sure their links are right, making sure images appear, etc., I *highly* recommend GooglePages. One does have to have a Google Mail account, but that can be set up with relative ease. My own students who have used it really like it a lot, though others preferred NVu. In any case, it makes linking and paths SO much easier. Sure, they could use Lectora or some other means - but they all cost money. I like free best.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

AECT in Second Life

Over the last week or so, I've put together a "headquarters" building for the Association for Educational Communications and Technology (AECT) on EduIsland. I thought of doing this last year - around conference time - but then got distracted. In any case, the AECT leadership, at that time, were not on-board the Second Life train. Now, they are. The building is by no means an award-winning structure, and as time goes along there will be lots of changes inside and out. After all, structures in SL are supposed to evolve! Perhaps we will one day have a towering skyscraper, with each division having its own floor...who can tell!

I recently read a blog that reported the existence of the AECT building (I found this amusing, as I *just* put this news in the SLED Picayune yesterday). It complained that its contents were not nearly as "rich" as the AECT website. First, it's a new build - so lay off. Second, the AECT website is not rich - it's confusing, with way too much information on each page. Thankfully, there is an electronic services committee, headed up by the likes of Dr. Trey Martindale, and they are in the throes of discussing a major re-design. At any rate, I will soon link up with the ESC (!!) to see what kind of SL-related things we can do.

Anyway, I wanted to relate the history behind this building. It started early last week when I tried to call Sharon, the editor of a certain AECT publication. I was looking for information about what my duties as "liaison" might be (and I still haven't found out as I have yet to follow up). It turns out that I called the wrong number - a university where she has not taught for a few years. Now, I know where she is ... but the letters of the URL for the university name are the same, so when Google gave me the URL for her office information, I simply looked at the number and called. Yes, I should have paid closer attention. What happened, though, was that I wound up chatting for quite some time with Sharon's colleague (and AECT president-elect), Dr. Mary Herring. She had just been introduced to Second Life not too long ago, as had the organization's executive director, Phil Harris. We talked for close to 30 minutes about SL, AECT in SL, and all sorts of things. The next day, I got permission from the EduIsland owner (SL's "Lorelei Junot") and my co-manager on EduIsland (SL's "Mari Asturias") to build the AECT structure. Both said they had no problem with it - and so I got right to work! It was a serendiptious conversation, and I've been excited to be part of AECT's first official steps in SL.

A number of AECT members, of course, are already in Second Life, as I learned at the 2006 conference in Dallas. Some members of the community, however, are downright secretive about their work. Learning, then, exactly who is doing what in SL will probably only become clear once certain egos are stroked / satisfied. That might be a bit too cynical of a position, but I don't think I'm too far from the truth. Anyway, being the first to publish on (fill in the blank) seems to be the coin of the realm. This is ironic in a field that encourages students to collaborate. I really need to be publishing more (in general), especially on the educational community-related stuff I'm doing in SL. After all, publications (not buildings or t-shirts in SL) lead to tenure. HA! Wouldn't that be great?? Peer-reviewed buildings...