August

Russell Stannard, lecturer principal lecturer in Multimedia/ICT at the University of Westminster has some excellent videos on technology and on English language teaching (via Nik Peachey). This month he has a series of videos on How to use Blogger.



A good blog to follow on how to use technology is Traci Gardner's NCTE Inbox. In just July and August, she has written on

And Traci covers these tools in detail, making it easy to learn to use them for yourself and in your classes.

A good blog to follow for new software tools is Jane's E-Learning Pick of the Day. Every day, she introduces a new tool, sometimes a software application, sometimes a video. And for those interested in learning, the left sidebar has a link to the Top 100 Tools for Learning and another link to 2400+ Tools for Learning, both maintained by her Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies. I've been keeping my own page on free software, but it comes nowhere close to 2400+ tools.

Another good resource for learning about Web 2.0 tools is CommonCraft. They have videos explaining blogs, wikis, RSS, and many others.

Finally, (via Digital Writing, Digital Teaching) some NOVA science videos are available free. Go here and click on the Download Videos button to see what's available.



Nik Peachey at the blog Quick Shout keeps finding great resources. Here are two:

  • PDF Geni searches and finds free ebooks in a variety of topics, including ESL/EFL.
  • Yappr provides transcribed ESL/EFL videos with the script to the side so students can follow the voice more easily.

And there are many more.



The graduate course Theory and Practice of Teaching Writing (see previous post) just posted this comment:

Just to let you all know that the readings are here only until the books come in. The readings  for your second class will be taken off the page this week.

Apparently, there's no intent to violate copyright law. I imagine that scanning one copy and posting on the Internet can save paper costs, but posting publicly is not fair use. A better solution would be to hand out the URLs for the articles in class, so at least the public could not easily access them, and if possible, the best solution would be posting them in a secured, password-protected environment, which would be within guidelines of fair use for educational institutions.



Is this graduate course Theory and Practice of Teaching Writing at the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez violating copyright laws?

It's not my practice to tell others about others about copyright problems. If I did, I would have no time for anything else in my life. But I was curious. This was a graduate course on writing that was posting chapters from books on the Internet. Obviously, they would know about copyright law. Did they have permission to do so? I posted a comment, or tried to, yesterday, just noting that if they didn't have permission, posting these chapters out of books would be violating copyright law. But I see today that my comment is not there. It does make me wonder. Wouldn't a course on teaching writing be interested in such an issue?

A related issue, at least for me, is that of plagiarism. As a teacher of writing at a university, I feel it's important to teach students what it is and how to avoid it. At the same time, I wonder about instructors who go into a tizzy over plagiarism. I wonder if they photocopy materials out of books that aren't in accord with fair use guidelines. Quite a few do. What's interesting is that while inappropriate and not conducive to learning, plagiarism is not illegal while violating copyright is. Yet, I've never seen a teacher get upset over photocopying past fair use.

Apparently, publishing companies don't always get permission for the materials they use, either. Mike Dunford caught Reed Elsevier copying his content without permission (from Stephen Downes).

So, although I'm concerned about students plagiarizing and cheating (It's not conducive to learning), I'm not sure that the Net Generation, as Valerie Milliron and Kent Sandoe in their article "The Net Generation Cheating Challenge" at Innovate (requires free registration), really have a "disregard of societal norms." Just read the news in New Jersey: Almost every month, I'm reading about some politician being indicted—not to mention politicians at the federal level. And, of course, we could talk about Enron and many others. Although I'm aware of the increase in cheating researched by McCabe, I wonder if the Net Generation is just more open about what they do than politicians, corporations, and the average older person are.