Learning Resources 2009

I was reading Jane Hart's "Review of 2009: 100 great resources" post on her C4LPT (Centre for Learning and Performance Technologies) site today and was surprised (and pleased!) to see one of my Serendipity35 posts on the list.

Jane Hart is a Social Learning Consultant in the UK and Founder of C4LPT, which is one of the world's most-visited learning sites (8,000+ unique visitors a day).

Jane linked to my post on "Blogging As Pedagogic Practice" which was for a presentation I did to kick off 2009. She did a reources review at the end of last year listing 100 resources she enjoyed using during the year. It was popular, so she did it again this year. The month-by-month resources include articles, postings, PDFs, presentations, and videos about learning tools or technologies for the workplace and academia.

She put all 100 titles into Wordle and made a word cloud that identifies trends in these resources. (full size image to see all items)
wordle cloud
Compare this word cloud to the one she created in 2008 and you'll see some trends have grown (like social, business, performance, community and Twitter), some have shrunk (e-learning, learning, blogging) and some new items have appeared (Wave).

Also check out the slideshow of her top learning tools for the year.

Twitter For Newbies

You couldn't avoid hearing about Twitter in 2009, but it has been around since 2006. Twitter describes itself as, “a service for friends, family, and co–workers to communicate and stay connected through the exchange of quick, frequent answers to one simple question: What are you doing?” This short-form messaging tool (140 characters) is new form online communication that is two-way and often used as much as a platform for listening to the communication of others as it is for communicating with others.

If you are a newbie to Twitter and felt left out in 2009, you can find out all you need to know about it before you start using it in 2010 by checking out the free Twitter Guide Book from Mashable.com.

"Twitter is a social network used by millions of people, and thousands more are signing up every day to send short messages to groups of friends. But where's the user manual for Twitter? Where do new Twitter users go to learn about Tweeting, retweets, hashtags and customizing your Twitter profile? Where do you go if you want to know all about building a community on Twitter, or using Twitter for business? How can you find advanced tools for using Twitter on your phone or your desktop? To answer all these questions and more, we've assembled The Twitter Guide Book, a complete collection of resources for mastering Twitter."   - Pete Cashmore, @Mashable

Suggest Readings On Designing For Social Media

I asked last April for readers to contribute to a presentation that I was prepping for a conference and I created a web page at disposablewebpage.com which was set to expire (dispose of itself) after a pre-set amount of time. Basically, I crowdsourced some of my research.

You can read that earlier post and see that it was fairly successful. There were 19 revisions made to the page which is not overwhelming but they were good responses and there was no vandalism or spamming.

One of my projects for spring 2010 is creating a new course for summer session. It is an online graduate course for the Professional and Technical Communication program at NJIT called "Designing for Social Media."

The target audience includes grad students majoring in PTC, management, communications, media, IT and design. The course will look at how organizations can use social media as communication tools for marketing, education & training and community building.

Picking a "textbook" and readings in social media is tough because it is changing so fast that it will be very challenging to stay current. I'm not planning on one textbook, but rather I plan on having each student select a book that seems relevant to their interest in social media.

Once again, I am going to try some crowdsourcing...

I have set up another "disposable webpage" on the topic "Designing For Social Media Readings." I am inviting you to participate by contributing books on social media that you think would be appropriate readings for the course.

All you have to do is go to the page at http://disposablewebpage.com/turn?page=9U5ryyRd4r and click the EDIT tab at the top. The Editor Key (password) is social

Please identify yourself, even if it's a pseudonym. Add your suggested book title & author to the list. If you have a few extra moments, please add a line or two about the focus of the book.

Your contributions are much appreciated. (If the whole web page experience is too much to deal with, leave the book/author as a comment here.)

NOTE that my disposable page is time sensitive and will only exist until and then it will - poof - disappear.

Make One Last Charitable Contribution

Google is giving $20 million to charities for the holidays and you can see their list of charities. I wish they had made them links so that some of you might visit the charities and make a donation of your own.

I always choose a charity at the end of the year and make one big last contribution for the season. My charity last Christmas was The Smile Train which is a really good one.

Unlike many charities that do many different things, The Smile Train is focused on solving a single problem: cleft lip and palate. Clefts are a major problem in developing countries where there are millions of children who are suffering with unrepaired clefts. Most cannot eat or speak properly. Aren’t allowed to attend school or hold a job. And face very difficult lives filled with shame and isolation, pain and heartache. The good news is every single child with a cleft can be helped with surgery that costs as little as $250 and takes as little as 45 minutes. This is our mission: To provide free cleft surgery for millions of poor children in developing countries and provide free cleft-related training for doctors and medical professionals until there are no more children who need help and we have completely eradicated the problem of clefts.

This year, I chose water as my focus. It's something we really take for granted in the U.S. More than 1 in 6 people in the world don't have access to safe drinking water. 1 out of every 4 deaths under the age of 5 worldwide is due to a water-related disease. Nearly 80% of illnesses in developing countries are linked to poor water and sanitation conditions.

There are a number of organizations that work to provide clean water in other parts of the world. $10 can provide water for one person for ten years. $500 can fund a project. $5000 can provide a well for an entire village.

What I like about this effort, as with The Smile Train, is that clean water doesn't just change lives, it changes them forever.

Here are 3 groups that you can consider. I selected charitywater.org, but they all seem to be doing good work.


Have a charity you would like to recommend to readers? Post a comment & link.

What Would Google Do?

What Would Google Do? What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I have been listening to Jeff Jarvis on the This Week in Google podcast http://twit.tv/twig and reading his blog BuzzMachine.com.

I bought his book because I thought it might be a good reading selection for a new course I'm creating at NJIT for 2010 called "Designing for Social Media."

Jarvis comes up with forty "rules" based on the way Google operates.Not that Google is the master of all knowing, but it certainly has taken interesting approaches to the way we deal with the Net, information and communications.

I also like that he teaches journalism for this new world. He talks about a university 2.0 where the students design their own curriculum and I agree that if universities don't rethink themselves, they will be replaced.