Teacher Bloggers

How many times did I learn from my blogger friends that I was the one who inspired them to be bold and brave in uncovering their real identity and/ or putting up their pics on the web? That’s a very risky thing to do, but admirable for their being personal and sincere. This tech virus that I bring is very contagious, haha.

Recently, I helped my Teacher Consultant colleagues in the DC Area Writing Project set up their own educator’s blogs. I am very happy with the outcome, both blogs are successful in what they’re supposed to be:

THE DC TEACHER blog = (by DCAWP Teacher Consultant, Elizabeth Davis) This blog is an information portal developed by a DC teacher to inform and engage DCPS Teachers in issues and policy decisions impacting their profession and public education in the district.

MRS.C-S’s CLASS WEBLOG = (by DCAWP Teacher Consultant, Trelane Clark) This is where her class will communicate, share, and discuss what they are doing in the classroom. It is for students, parents and anyone else who wants to stay informed about all the great work that they are doing.

DIGITAL WRITING, DIGITAL TEACHING blog = (by Red Cedar Writing Project Teacher Consultant, Troy Hicks) A blog about teaching English through technology.

Well, I didn’t create Troy’s blog. He’s probably more knowledgeable than I am in using this blogging technology; he’s working on integrating podcasts right now. I look up to him as one of my mentors being in the NWP Tech Liaison’s national leadership team. But I am very flattered to know that I was one of the people who really inspired him to create his own educator’s blog.

This made me reflect on how many teachers are getting into this new blogging technology. I wonder what the exact stats are of educators who start their own weblogs everyday. But “to facilitate communication with parents, some Arizona schools are asking teachers to maintain their own webpages” (via Education Wonks). My school, Jefferson Junior High School, is also encouraging teachers to create their own websites/ weblogs so we can make homeworks accessible to our students even after class hours.

When I was appointed last year as the new DC Area Writing Project’s Technology Liaison, I told my director, Judith Kelly, that I am going to advocate for the use of technology among the DC Public Schools teachers. The job granted to me wasn’t a job at all, because I am enjoying what I am doing sharing what I know about integrating writing and technology inside the classroom…blogging in short. I’ve taught teachers who are taking graduate courses create their own class websites through blogs. I’ve given seminar workshops to my fellow DCAWP Teacher Consultants on Blogging 101. I am practicing what I preach. I guess I am doing what is expected of me 😀

How many teacher bloggers do I know? Many, and the number is still growing everyday.

Below is a list of my teacher blogger friends globally. If you know someone who’s supposed to be in this list, please let us know. We would want to exchange ideas and learn from each other through blogging *wink*

Thailand: Little Miss Teacher/ UK: Primary Teacher UK / Philippines: Mga Turo ni Tito Rolly, Teacher Bugsy, School Librarian in Action , Filipino Librarian /USA: Education in Texas (Texas) Fred’s World (Florida), Digital Writing Digital Teaching (Michigan), Education Wonks (CA), Beliza’s Handiwork (CA), The DC Education Blog, The DC Teacher, Mrs C-S Fifth Grade Class, Ms. Coti’s Fourth Grade Giants , The Chutry Experiment (Washington DC) , First Year Teacher (Colorado) / Middle East: Iranian Teacher XP / Australia: The Open Classroom

Educators Community Blogs: National Writing Project, DC Area Writing Project, Pinoy Teachers Network, Jefferson Junior HS Community Website

Teacher Sol is a proactive blogger. She’s now blogging at www.teachersol.blogspot.com.

Bloggers vs. Sony: The Rootkit Fiasco

In just another demonstration of how blogs can change the course of human opinion worldwide, bloggers have exposed that Sony/BMG is actually installing rootkits–a form of malware–in systems where some of its audio CDs are played.

Mark Russinovich of Sysinternals, who originally discovered the rootkit, wrote an analysis of how certain Sony/BMG discs implement a digital rights management scheme that basically modifies the Operating System core to hide files and running processes, and “phone home” back to Sony/BMG to send back data on the user’s music playing habits.

The malware, which is actually classified as a rootkit because of how it modifies the operating system to hide files and running processes, was reportedly so badly written that infected computers took a performance hit. And while Sony/BMG’s own software (actually licensed from a third party, First 4 Internet) had no payload itself, its ability to hide files from the operating system is a potential threat. To date, a couple of trojan horses that use the Sony Rootkit’s technology have been discovered. To add salt to the wounds, the rootkit’s creators made it so difficult to remove that some resorted to reformatting their hard drives to get rid of the malware.

Simply put, this is DRM gone bad!

Russinovich’s initial blog commentary sparked extensive discussion and even debate (but generally leaning towards the “Sony is bad” camp) both on- and off-line, which involved the Electronic Frontier Foundation and other online advocacy and techie groups. This eventually led to certain parties filing class-action lawsuits against Sony (including the EFF, the states of California, Texas, New York, and even Italy–yes, the country). Here’s a site that collects information on lawsuits against Sony/BMG.

In the local context, fellow pinoy tech blogger Atty. Noel Punzalan writes his analysis of the applicability of Sony’s End-User License Agreement in the light of local laws.

It’s a question of which will prevail: the rights of the intellectual property owner, or the privacy of the consumer. In my opinion, in this case, where the copyright holder knowingly violates the privacy of the consumer and utilizes underhanded tactics, then it is the latter who should be protected.

Sony has since capitulated and apologized, but still short of admitting its culpability.

Whatever the results of all the lawsuits, the fact remains that Sony/BMG has etched its mark on the world–there will inevitably be dozens, if not hundreds, of infected discs still lying around in CD racks of those unaware about the problem (which is perhaps majority of the populace), waiting to be inserted in a computer and do its bad stuff.

But without blogs and vigilant bloggers like Mark Russinovich, the world would not have known about this issue, or at least it would have taken longer to discover.

See more of Mark Russinovich’s posts on his Sysinternals Blog.

Here’s a comprehensive wikipedia entry on the Sony/BMG Rootkit fiasco.

*** Angelo has recently moved his blog to racoma.com.ph and is passionate about beautiful websites and winning the Isulong SEOPH challenge.

Popecasting

So you want to download Pope Benedict XVI into your iPod?

You might think the Vatican as old fashioned. Think again. It is actually one of the first global institutions that took advantage of podcasting. Chances are, you’ve probably heard about podcasting only a few days ago, but Vatican Radio has been utilizing this relatively new technology since early this year. And yes, the Holy Father has his own podcast. Well, sort of.

Podcasting is basically the process of producing audio and making it available through websites so listeners may download the audio content into their audio player. Papal messages, especially those the Pontiff delivers during his customary weekly general audience at the Vatican, are available for download from the Vatican Radio website. You have a choice of formats. You can download his minutes-long speeches and reflections either as .ram or mp3.

And if you find it hard to understand his German-flavored English, you can read the full text of his messages in the Pope Page. Call it the Holy Father’s show notes or his papal blog. If you have spare time to send him comments and feedbacks you can actually do so by emailing him. His email address is benedictxvi@vatican.va. I am not joking. Try it for yourself. Plus you can subscribe to the Vatican Radio’s podcast feed using this url: http://feeds.feedburner.com/vaticanradio105live.

My hope is that the Pope will be able to touch the hearts of people all over the world and strengthen their faith through his downloadable teachings, pronouncements, and reflections. And I too hope that podcasters around the world may use the technology to communicate sound moral values and to advance a culture of love, peace, and solidarity.

Teens blog to “stay tuned into friendship networks”

A survey of by the Pew Internet and American Life Project showed that one in five 12- to 17-year-olds in the United States have their own blogs.

The Associated Press reported that “the survey also found that older school-age girls with online access were most likely to keep a blog.”

“Blogging for teens is about staying tuned into their friendship networks, not about politics or people getting in trouble at school, which are two of the main narratives that journalists have covered in recent months,” says Amanda Lenhart, a senior researcher at Pew who helped compile the report.

Click here for the full story.

LA COMPUTADORA

LA COMPUTADORA
Subject: re: Lessons in Spanish

A Spanish teacher was explaining to her class that in Spanish, unlike English, nouns are designated as either masculine or feminine.

“House,” for instance, is feminine: ”la casa.”

”Pencil,” however, is masculine: “el lapiz.”

A student asked, ”What gender is ‘computer’?”

Instead of giving the answer, the teacher split the class into two groups, male and female, and asked them to decide for themselves whether ‘computer” should be a masculine or a feminine noun.

Each group was asked to give four reasons for its recommendation.

The men’s group decided that ”computer” should definitely be of the feminine gender (”la computadora”) because:

1. No one but their creator understands their internal logic;
2. The native language they use to communicate with other computers is incomprehensible to everyone else;
3. Even the smallest mistakes are stored in long term memory for possible later retrieval; and
4. As soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself spending half your paycheck on accessories for it.

(THIS GETS BETTER!)

The women’s group, however, concluded that computers should be masculine (”el computador”) because:

1 In order to do anything with them, you have to turn them on;
2. They have a lot of data but still can’t think for themselves;
3. They are supposed to help you solve problems, but half the time they ARE the problem; and
4. As soon as you commit to one, you realize that if you had waited a little longer, you could have gotten a better model.

The women won.

Teacher Sol is a proactive blogger. She’s now blogging at www.teachersol.blogspot.com.

Best blog search engine

With blogs estimated at over 10 million and growing, there certainly is need for a search engine.

Poynter, an online journalism resource, reviews the best blog tools on the web and says the google blog search is the “fastest of any of the blog searches…and does the best job of returning posts that are right on topic.”

Technorati is the most established and popular but could be slow and its results list cluttered with unrelated and unreadable posts, said Jonathan Dube, Cyberjournalist.net publisher, in his article published at the Poynter website.

Yahoo!’s blog search falls short of the others, added Dube.