Sail's Pedagogy

Sail's posts about her class, classes she is taking, and education.

Landlord Blues – part 1

I do not normally post anything about my personal life on my blog. But this story needs to be told for me. So that I can move on and get it out of my head.

For the first time in my life I moved somewhere for me. I have been looking at North Carolina for a long time — years. At the beginning of this year, I took two trips exploring different cities. Durham was not even on my list. But once I saw Durham and did some research I felt that I could call Durham home. So I rented a little house. I had two months to move.

A family was living in the house when I looked at it. I mentioned it was a little dirty, but I was assured it would be clean. But that was not the case. The first day I got here, I cried all day. Dirt, cracks and marks on the walls, the bathroom window was rotting away. Nothing had been painted in years. Yard had not been touched since last fall. The next day, I threatened to take legal issues and asked to get out of the lease. But what I did not know was, that both RDC (not real name) – the rental agency and the owner Mr. B (not real name) are attorneys.

They were willing to do some things, but not all so I called the Durham City Code Enforcement. Thanks to Ms. S (not real name), they now had over 20 code violations. A hearing is being held in May. I also got an attorney of my own.

While waiting for this all to get settled, I have been afraid to unpack much, plus stuff has to be moved from room to room. I had new living room furniture and a new bed and mattress all picked out, ready to pay for it and have it delivered. Which I have put on hold. I am sleeping on the floor on an air mattress. I should be looking for a job. But now I feel my life is on hold, and I am fixing up a house that I do not own.

This saga is not over. Some has been done, but not all and they are taking their time to do anything. RDC and Mr. B have not cared at all. They were willing to let me out of the lease, but only willing to give me my deposit back. And differently not willing to pay for me to move again or for the rent I have paid. These people are lawyers, and unwilling to do anything nice or decent. According to the deed, Mr. B got this house from a local agency that is suppose to help low income families buy homes. He paid $1.00. How is this possible? Not only to get a house, but uses it for rental income. If anyone knows this secret will you please tell me.

I really like the neighborhood and those I have meet seem nice and very interesting. I am sure my neighbors who own their homes do not want slum landlord in their neighborhood. This saga is not over… the story will continue as it develops.

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TED – can new media spaces predict social and political revolutions?

Ramesh Srinivas asks the question? Can new media predict social or political revolution? Howard Rhiengold thinks so and discusses this in his book Smart Mobs.

If you know me, you know TED is my one of my most favorite places on the internet. Now they have smaller TEDs’ around the world. This place is great for anyone and has fascinating people.

Here is a TED video that relates to this discussion — looking at new media spaces to predict social and political revolutions.

Other TED videos about social media include:
Way-new collaboration: Howard Rheingold
James Surowiecki: When social media became news
Clay Shirky: How social media can make history
Seth Godin on the tribes we lead
Stefana Broadbent: How the Internet enables intimacy

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10 Simple Google Search Tricks

I can find anything on the internet. Partially because I do not give up and keep switching my terminology but also becuase I use some of the tips described in tis article in the New York Times by Simon Mackie.

No matter what search engine you use, they is always a page of tips. Google search tips are here. The use of and and or plus putting some or all of the query into quotes are key to a good search.

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Mirror neurons

I did my masters thesis on how the brain learns. It was years ago, but I found the little information on mirror neurons fascinating. But we were not sure they existed in humans. Now in this article from New Scientist we have found proof that they exist in humans.

Mirror neurons is a neuron that fires both when an animal acts and when the animal observes the same action performed by another. This is how we learn from others including behavior and language. This is also why when someone yawns, we also yawn. Mirror neurons are linked to empahty, or our understand of others feelings and emotions. They may also be the cause of some autism. This could be a great discovery in how the brain and mind learns.

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What do instructors need to know about teaching with technology?

Are the programs and degrees cropping up teaching teachers about technology effective?

Having taught teachers in a Masters of Education program about technology, I often wondered how much of this program was effective. I once heard a well known educator say that “if the teacher cannot find a use in her/his own personal life, then they will not use it in the classroom”. I was teaching about Web 2.0, which is now morphing to “Cloud computing”. Many of the programs I was teaching about are now, either gone or evolved into something else. I tried to tell my students that they needed to keep up, that all of this technology was quickly changing. Such as now Ning is not going to be free and many of my former students had Ning sites. What will happen to the collaborative groups they were forming?

Tony Bates posts an article on his blog discussing what might be involved in a good training program whether a short class or a Masters degree. Just teaching about tools does not mean that should be all involved in teaching about technology.

Here are some of this points:
1. epistemology
2. the biological basis of learning
3. learning theories
4. the design of teaching
5. learning technologies
6. project work

These are great points. I think we may be teaching more about tools than we are about how we learn.

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Medical simulation in Second Life

Practicing for a medical disaster can be costly in real life, but now we can simulate the event in Second Life. Stephanie Simon posts in the Wall Street Journal about many of the universities involved in medical simulation. Play2train is a company involved in helping to create these simulation.

I have two previous articles in this blog about medical simulation in Second Life. Virtual Worlds in Medicine and Health and Training Paramedics in Second Life.


Watching the Watchers

Henry Jenkins is posting an article from Peter Ludlow on this blog. In this article about virtual worlds, specifically Second Life, Peter talks about how groups form to combat “trouble makers”.

It always amazes me when we see such reflection of real life in a virtual world. I have a friend that has been accused of griefing and much has been said by others about him. He also started one of the very first groups in Second Life to combat greifing. I have meet many of the Woodbury clan at SLCC last year. All this destroys lives, real ones as well as virtual ones.

All this infighting is also what gives Second Life a bad name. When we as educators are trying to convince administration to allow us to use Second Life to facilitate our online teaching, this type of press makes it hard.

This story would make a great spy movie. Is mankind just destine to always find an enemy and destroy others along the way?

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