Monday, December 29, 2008

Happy New year Webheads Sunday Cooking lesson

Yesterday, I went to the weekly, traditional Webheads meetup in Tapped In. I haven't been there for months, mostly because I need to limit my commitments and also because family matters are taking over on Sundays. I'm glad I came. First of all, it is wonderful to chat with the regulars, some of those people that I've known for ages, or at least since 2001 - Vance in Abu Dhabi, Michael in Adelaide, Claire in California and Sue in Ottawa - and Daf (who now lives in Spain again) who is currently my course mate at the excellent MUVEnation course for educators in Second Life. Nina (with her Jewish roots) was sharing a very detailed and instructive recipe on how to prepare latkes, a ritual potato pancake. And,last but not least we were welcoming a fabulous newcomer, Michael Hart, Illinois and founder of the pioneer e-book Gutenberg project which I will seek to promote in the Danish language field. Among many conversation topics, one that was quite interesting turned around the taboos like nakedness versus fire arms. And, what does adult education mean, when the term adult material seem to hit the puritan paradoxical fear of skin?

Just after this amazing session, I stumbled over this lovely video from the unforgettable Muppet show, with the Swedish chef preparing his special version of donuts. Completely nuts - or just a very elegant way of inventing the hole in the middle of a roll? See for yourself!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Scared of dentist? Play SL and forget about pain

I stumbled upon this amazing news from the field of odontology, or dental science. Immersion in virtual worlds, in this case Second Life, can reduce pain to help patients with needle phobia, or for other reasons to avoid or limit traditional pain killer injections.

Virtual worlds hold promise to reduce real world pain at the dentist
Case Western Reserve University dental graduate student experiments with Second Life

According to a thesis project at the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine. Student Elena Furman, specializing in periodontics at the dental school, looked at alternative distraction therapies to reduce pain in her patients during the intensive cleaning process of scaling and root planing to rid gums and teeth of bacteria and plaque.".

I always had this irrational fear of neddles, as well as of dentists. I'm less hysterical about this, as I used to be. Probably because I had a gifted dentist who helped me overcome my phobia, by mild hypnosis and soft music by choice in the ear phones. I'm almost sure, however that I would also have relaxed more when being introduced to a nice walk in a safe and beautiful SL garden environment.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Changed blog - I'm back here

I have a confession to make: I changed blogs! Again.

I started the MUVEnation course with the best intentions to take up using my blog at eduspaces. I wanted to refresh my particpation in this education oriented community this way. But as we are documenting our SL work using many Flickr photos, and from my Flickr page there is a smart direct link to my blogspot blog; I decided this would improve my active blogging, as I've exerienced too many distracting steps to create just one blog post in Another reason is that I keep forgetting the name of this that will take readers straight to the blog, while the blogspot name is so easy to remember.

I have some other abandonded blogs. My first one was which was my primary choice in 2002, because back then I was an incarnated mac user and no other blog tools by then had the same easy editor functionality than had Xanga.I paid for this for several years a small fee, but decided to go back to the free and limited version some years back, as it was no longer very actual, however I kept the site open for sentimental reasons, and for getting back to track my own digital footprints.

Monday, December 08, 2008

All about my avatar: SusNy Foss

My avatar SusNy has many similarities with the real life me, such as our names that are similar, and our faces that may have some common traits (although SusNy is much younger and smarter). I would not say, that I modeled her to be a true copy. Instead I would rather think that I have trained SusNy to know as much as possible about how to get around, understand how to use and examine tools and objects, eventually also to create my own material and environments. I would say that my avatar is most often seeking to initiate and encourage social connections, and finding new and interesting or fun environments to explore together, or on my own. In some cases, when she is working hard on creative tasks, there may be less time for socializing. SusNy knows how and when to ask for help and also how to share what she think she knows. In SusNy’s early days, she was very curious and spent many hours in world, which brought her inspiration as well as sometimes exhausting hours of staying for too long just because there were so many events that she did not want to miss.

In a period, I spent some time changing my appearance and shopping for clothes and gadgets. I documented these changes by taking frequent images and was able to pick a number of different looks, not that they have changed radically over time, just like having more outfits in my wardrobe. Just like in RL, I prefer the simple, casual style, brilliant colours, hats and soap bubbles to make a bit of fun in the picture, and as I adore flying around, I think that wings make the flying experience deeper and more realistic. I feel clumsy in huge robes, and I feel uneasy with the half naked look, just like in RL where I am quite shy with my body. As someone who like to appear as a playful professional with creative imagination and authority to teach and mentor, I feel that I would avoid to appear too provoking in my outfit, as this may be of importance to those who meet me, but first of all I think I want to feel at ease and fit in.

In SusNY' profile, she wish to make the connection between RL and SL identity. I have nothing to hide but need to present mseylf with some short sentences. I often check the profiles of people that I meet and greet, so I am well aware that everyone may do likewise. They can see which groups that I am a member of, and I show my best SL portrait. I have some selected landmarks that might need a reconsideration.

From early on, SusNy came in world as part of Webheads in Action, who were in many ways seeking to develop projects and courses in world, as a natural thing, she worked towards this teacher profile, too. She was given a grant at EducationUK where she is experimenting with her own creative skills in community context. Then she became involved with a project consortium applying for a grant in Denmark, where the target group would be teens in their free time, which meant that she had to learn all about the many restrictions involved with this age group, such as a clearing of MY background which I am happy to tell that I passed without further discussion. No criminal record to spoil my opportunities as a teen grid educator. I made a second avatar and packed his backpack for the travel behind the protected grid where no avatar can ever return.

However, we did not win this project grant, and the idea was abandoned for the time being. As I had spent too many hours on this already, I decided to stop for a while and put my avatars on standby, and focus on other work related tasks. Muvenation made me come back in world and embrace my sweet avatar SusNy, now understanding how much she had become not only a good friend and trainee, but also a vital part of myself and my identity as an online educator. Our stepson that was meant to travel behind the protected teen grid but never did so, my young male avatar, is still inactive - maybe waiting for an occasion to get a second chance.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Almost Famous: Little red ridinghood and the wolf

I have chosen this scenario as an example for the MUVEnation course, activity 6: Almost Famous. The idea is to dress your avatar as someone known. I went through my SL albums and found SusNy disguised as Little red ridinghood, one of my favourite fariy tales. The wolf was a scuplture that I met in a forest far away on an island thatI have no longer any memories about, just travelling on my own. I then changed my dress like this: for shirt, I uploaded a pin striped cloth sample found in an online store. For skirt I had another texture with tiny strawberries, from an online collection of doll house wall paper - and for the red hood, as I had no suitable bonnet, I just made my hair in a red, rose petal texture I had also found online.

After posing as the innocent followed by the sly wolf seducing her to disobey her mother's advice, I had a sudden flashback to my age ten summer, where I forgot all about NOT paying attention to men's approach, and had the misfortune to witness a pervert exposing himself. There was a sort of healing the inner child going on, by taking the role as a famous character from the archetypes

Monday, November 24, 2008

SL workshop hands on: Plastilina in conversation

Picture was not added - using Flickr-to-blog tool.

SL workshop hands on: Plastilina in conversation

Location: IT university of Copenhagen, October 08.
Event: AoIR9 pre-conference SL workshop

Jason Nolan, Toronto, had provided small packages of colourful plastilina for each table of conversation. Without any further instructions. Some people like getting their fingers into modeling, while others just left the substance untouched.

At my table, we started to collect our little models on a sheet of paper, that took a life of its own as a similation of a SL sim, with limited space, personal avatars, some buildings - churches, a fortress, a lighthouse. Two combattants were having a sword fight while a saint was trying to make peace, There was a well, complete with water and a rose, and a pig (or was it a bear?) We did not talk much, as the negociation for space and artefacts was done silently,sort of a bach channel activity parallel with the presentations and following conversations.

To me, this was an eye opener for how much I am a tactile learner, and also the afrordance of collaboration around such a minor aestetic project, as a "common third".

I'm posting this picture for the MUVEnation exercise called eureka! moments.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Working with my fear of tall things

Building ground_005
Originally uploaded by netopNyrop
...and my camera controls :-)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

MUVEnation - blogging at Eduspaces

As I'm currently enrolled in the European MUVEnation project and made up my mind to take up blogging over at Eduspaces, there may be less activity right here, for the time being. Many webheads with a love for Second Life and other multi user virtual environments (MUVEs) are also engaged in MUVEnation, so from time to time, I plan to come back here for a short briefing.

Feel free to follow my musings at

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Wake up call : the tipping point

Point of no return, the tipping point, radical climate changes, and the end of civilization on our planet Earth as we know it? We need to take action - well - I already think I did make my decision of being a low energy consumer back in 1973. Eat only little meat, prefer local food, recycle what you can and travel slow (train, bike, walk). Online conferencing and communication is one part of this strategy: for every telephone conference with ten people, well prepared on beforehand and then followed up by more conversations and interaction, saves this world a huge amount of energy waste. From time to time, however it IS really great to meet, listen and talk, eat laugh and hug with real people.

I read about a virtual water count principle - make the accounts of how much water really goes for the production of one cup of coffee (more that 120 litres), or a slice of beef, etc. This is of high relevance for all of us, And, same goes I think for understanding and promoting online social interaction!

I was inspired to write this post from a video by Leo Murray (that I harvested at my virtual colleague and occasional playmate, Sean Fitzgerald's blog).

I have no more time for details, but will just add this video here and go on with my work, preparing one more day of oral exams out of the house, demanding one more longish travel by train, a hotel stay etc. But that's work. Not just for fun. Hmmm.

Wake Up, Freak Out - then Get a Grip from Leo Murray on Vimeo.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Experiments in prime time

As I am trying to build up my current online presence , this blog will also need a major refreshment. Last posting was an older draft some months old that I decided to post. School experiments seem to have a popular appeal, parents as well as school teachers are engaging in the ongoing debates raised by TV2 funding several education oriented experiments. Question is, whether these apparently excellent results with a whole school introducing the Learning Styles approach, would have been so obviously successfully implemented without the cameras and special attention this raises.

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The storytelling of Webheads in Action

Some weeks ago, my dear community of webheads celebrated our 10 year jubilee. The narrative has developed over time, and for each of us, there is a different story to tell. It has been told literally hundreds of times, and for every time there are new datails added, and some things that are more relevant than others. From my personal viewpoint, the webheareds narrative is about a very open ended, welcoming community of education practitioners in the field of computer supported language learning, that has evolved over time, initiated by a very experimental group of educators that were looking online for students who were willing to engage in their ongoing, playful exploration of varied communication modalities, from IRC text only based chat and MOO, sometimes voice and video. People from all over the world, with many different ocnfigurations of hardware, software and different obstacles in terms of slow connections, heavy firewalls administrated by protective system operators on schools and university sites (where protection is indeed an urgent matter, but there are ways to know which ports to allow open for legal communication. And, because of these many frequent and regular sessions, a broad fan of knowledge sharing and troubleshooting procedures developed, constantly updated and documented over time.

The ultimate connections CCK08

For some years I have taken part in and followes the evolving discourse about knowledge building in community contexts, about connectedness and collective intelligence. This month, a huge massive experiment is unfolding around two key persons in this field, George Siemens and Stephen Downes. They are developing and sharing a highly actual and open ended course on Connectivism in education, with a paid and certified version hosted by the University of Manitoba, supplied and partially followed by some thousand registered participants. Honestly, I had the best intentions to be an active part of this, but after some weeks of just taking a look occasionally, I admit that I am just lurking. There was some very aggressive conversation so typical for old hat righteousness power game, something about who was dominating the Moodle threads, and this made me feel like I would rather stay silent, and so I did.

The course structure is exemplary for our current web 2.0 with multiple layers of tagging, blogging, the Moodle and the Wiki, plus two weekly synchronous sessions, slides on Slideshare, photos on Flickr, Facebook group and Twitter hash tags, you name it. State of the art. And, oh yews, also some presence on Second Life. Too bad that I have currently only ONE life...

Kudos to the two busy key persons, Stephen and George. They are making it obvious that this flat world of web 2.0 interested folks now counts thousands of edducation minded people all over the world.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Controlled Chaos - a School caring for Learning Styles

On DR2 tv (one of two public service channels in Denmark), there are ongoing reports from school experiment. One was presenting a rather traditional teacher from Norway taking over a grade six for one week, in Denmark, at a newly built, open plan school for grades 0-9.
The plot was obviously to show how a very undisciplined and anti authoritarian class would cope with having a foreign language speaking guest teacher with a different approach to classroom management. Thorleif Høyvik, the Norwegian teacher appeared as a friendly but somewhat stressed person. His ambition of having all of the children do the same thing simultaneously, like in the ordinary classroom, was challenged by these autonomous children who were already more familiar with a very open, individual and trusting pedagogy.

I don't think this short film was really doing justice to the open plan system. The two daily teachers were almost anonymous, not saying much, apart from a very short presentation statement about this school being built so that everybody could see everybody all of the time, and a brief evaluation of the second day (which was a totally messy kitchen class).

Some years ago, I've visited this school at an evening arrangement at an early point when it was either just started, or just about to. It was very confusing indeed. Although I admired the master plan and the background ideals for this choice, I actually disliked the architecture, feeling uncomfortable with the very open space and almost labyrinthic inner logic. I was just wondering which learning style I would have been preferring myself as a child, had this opportunity had any actuality by then. Probably a nice and cosy reading corner with very bright light, and not too many disturbing factors - one of those corners or niches where one could be less visible, more private. And which the Ny Hellerup Skole building also tries to provide.

How one school can change totally over a period with much attention and full teacher and leadership support, working from a Learning styles approach is the ongoing experiment now shown in TV2 -

Hurricane salvation volunteers web 2.0

The Katrina hurricane three years ago had an informal army of web volunteers trying to coordinate rescue work, people finding and housing. This actual Gustavian period is showing many virtual footprints. There are bloggers and tweeters commeting on prominent problems regarding the eventual effects on the President campaign and how the Republican Convent has conventiently cut down on their more festive activities (such as the Good President G.W.Bush not showing up), and there are the volunteer calls for action. Andy Carvin, NY has started a Ning group, there is a coordination wiki - and there is an updated entry in the English language wikipedia

Following the fast forward edits of this page might be one interesting study for those who wish to get some idea on the folksonomy efforts to share detailed information, in a decent manner.

Being in another part of the world all I can do is to observe; well actually I might jump in eventually giving a hand, from transcription of chatlogs in the IRC channel, to collection of donations for rescue work. This would be perfectly doable, because The world is Flat *), grace to the web, and our more and more complex interconnectedness. However, it seem that thre are already many hands in action, and some confusion about multiple purposes and channels (for example on Twitter, and competing with other SMS services).

*) The World is Flat is the title of a most popular and highly relevant book, by Thomas Friedman. I'll get back to this, eventually (my current motto).

Friday, August 29, 2008

Vegetables are good for the ears - the carrot clarinet

Linsay Pollak drills out a thick carrot, fasten his clarinet mouth piece on top, and a kitchen funnel at the other end, then plays a fine and precise duet - with himself.

Who this guy is? He is an Australian instrument maker.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

My Flickr photo on Copenhagen map service for iPhone

Schmap is a city map service illustrated with people's pictures. Last summer they got my permission to use one of my photos from Copenhagen from my Flickr album (makred as Common . I think it is a fine photo, showing a statue of a famous artist, Svend Wiig Hansen in the foreground, and on the other side of the canal, in the background the government building of Christiansborg castle church, with its new roof after a recent fire (caused by careless, playful fireworks, not a terror raid).

Schmap sent me a link to a sample page , the photo shown there has my name and with a click, brings you to my Flickr album. I know, they are doing a budget version with no costs for the professional photographer, but that was my choice to put up my photos with Common rights.

This is my masterpiece :-)


Incredible cream egg installation

I found this crazy home grown factory installattion for transport and final breaking of - chocolate cream eggs.
This could have found inspiration by world renowned, at least in Denmark, H. Storm P. satirical philosopher and last but not least inventor.

I'm in the nostalgic corner because this Monday we had a farewell get-together (not funeral)for my father who passed away a month ago. And, in the true spirit of his absurd minded character, our little ceremony took place in the very museum for Storm P. on Fredeiksberg in Copenhagen.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My knowledge bank - how to combine fact with own insight

After a long life's information gathering,some of this has become shelfware, stored in my brain repository for eventual later retrieval. Botany and the medical uses of plants has a special instant acceible shelf, that is even sorted alphabetically by name, by touch , by characteristics (such as roots,leaves, flowers and even perfumes that may trigger my memories).

In last blog post, I shared a favorite story from the past, about a holiday 25 years back in the past. The flashback happened when I saw a photo of a single potted salvia plant, shared on Facebook by a photographer and virtual friend from Texas, Dusty. I had just finished a fine herbal harvest from my garden, a big basket of salvia leaves, spread out on a clean cloth downstairs, because I've just made my husband want to drink this tea, and taken up the good habit of doing so, too.

I commented on Dusty's photo, and he asked for more information about the usage and preparation of salvia tea.

The prescription would be, from how I use the plant:
Take some fresh leaves, or a teaspoon fulll of dried leaves. Put them in a mug, pour over with boiling water, let draw for 10 minutes, use a strainer, or a paper filter. Sweeten with good honey or maple syrup, and drink in little sips, one cup a day.

So I went on Google to find out more details, and stumbled on a 23 pages long report by Dweck on the many usages of Salvia. This was known already by the ancient Egyptians, with more that 120 variants found all over the world! A group of these are known as Salvia Officinalis, proving the old medical reputation as a remedy. The plant was used in a secret recipe that was protecting thives stealing from plague contanimated households, in the medieval times in Europe where the epidemic minimized the population.

Beneficiaries acknowledged today by research range from anti-inflammatory to sweat reducing, two effects that I can recommend from personal experience, to the prevention of Alzheimers'disease because of the content of acetylcholine. Now this makes me even happier that me and my husband have made one cup of this healthy, home grown tea a good regular habit.

Another Google search, however, also revealed that an acient native American habit of smoking sage has had a modern revival. Some crazy videos up on YouTube with people on pipes, performing mad laughter spells, documentation which I will not promote here as I have no personal insight in this usage; however those that I skimmed did look very authentic. Apparently in the US, some variants of this ancient, traditional plant used this way, are by now under the drug restricion laws! Mighty medication industries do not want competition on drugs - but that's the usual story with roots that date back to the times where protestants wanted to remove the power of the Catholic church, banning their monasterial wisdom of medicine, and replacing these with pharmaceutical monopolism ...

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Nature's wisdom - how salvia officinalis saved our holiday

Do you know the herb called salvia, or sage?

25 years ago, when my kids were 10 and 11, we were invited by friends to hike mearby their summer habitat in Franche-Comté, the Jura mountains. This was our first and only holiday abroad, and their first flight ever. Starting from Copenhagen, landing in Genève and by train far, far out in the countryside where we were picked us in a jeep. The shepherd was crossing the muddy road so that we had to wait for a long, golden moment enjoying the breath taking view over the valley. He was a cartographer, mapping the area, she was our very dear friend from Denmark who had married this French guy, and her daughter age five was excited to have her best friends around, finally being able to speak her own language with kids again. And they found a new friend, too - a little girl from the village, I forgot the name of this village but I remember that she was called Josée, about 8 years old and hungry for company. The children spent much of their time with her, and her parents - in the cow stable. She was a laborious lady, helping her father walk the cows every morning and evening th the common field, les communailles. As the cottage had only one bedroom, we borrowed a tent, that was placed a good walk away, on a cow's field with dung here and there, and often some cows passing by in the early morning just beside our tent, with their bells around the neck. The two weeks passed in relaxed slow motion; we went for long walks every day in the mountains, bringing our lunch, lemonade and tea. Her husband was away for days with his jeep, marking up land, and my friend and I had such great times sharing our thoughths, while the kids enjoyed life in their own ways. The little fearless one always in front, running father and father away so that we had to keep an eye on her, while the boy age 10 was constantly observing something, that demanded him to slow down and lagging behind, such as a snail trail, or a grasshopper. And the girl age 11 wanted to follow the more adult woman's conversation, holding hands for comfort and love. And, she was busy taking her first photos with a new camera. When we came home I realized how kids experience their world; the majority of pictures were showing cows, dogs, flowers or grasshoppers; no landscape eceneries and almost no persons in them.

And then, thiking back on these past days of shared life: the boy became ill, right out there in the nowhere, small village with absolutely no doctor, the jeep and its driver was away on duty. I felt terrible at night when the poor kid coughed more and more desperately and had trouble breathing; the tent was damp, the rain was pouring every night while we had sunshine all day long - a perfect climate for grass and cattle, but not good for a boy with bronchite. This was close to a pneumonia and he had already had too many penicilline cures. His fever was really worrying me, but the next day he was a little better so we decided to let him come along with us for the daily walk, and keep him under observation, And then all of a sudden, I had this sensation in my nose - a special perfume that I felt I should know - there were wild salivia (or sage) growing all over the place! Our little patient immediately started sucking the small, violet flowers for honey, as if he recalled haing had the taste before from this classic medical herb with many good qualities, so I picked a good bag full, and used this for infusions the coming days. He drank several cups a day amd also by night when he started coughing, with honey sweetening the bitter taste. Two days later, he was healed and fresh for fight - although still with some pain in his ear, that gave him a problem when we flied home.

Today, my son is the father of three, making me a granny which is the best that has happened in my life, ever since I had kids of my own breed. This summer we were on holiday together, and on a walk in the rocky landscape of Bornholm (where my kids grew up), he and I recalled this story, and how the herb had cured his illness. And, of course, about the cows and grasshoppers, too.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Connectivism lived - Lee Baber in memoriam

sad news which I only heard today, first from Stephen Downes' stream, then later found out that Lee Ann Baber passed away some days ago. She was a legend,my friend and mentor and trouble shooter every once in a while when my mac was making trouble, or when I tried (even hard) to get to grips with the Webcast Academy experiments on live streaming audio. Lee was a multitalent, she was a teacher and a musician, but first of all I think she was just a kind and helpful person whose imapct on hundreds of people's lives and work is - well, legendary. Connected here and there and ecerywhere. I met her first of all at Tapped In, where she also found her way to the Webheads in Action community, such as myself. I was invited as a guest teacher in her students' class more than once., on one unforgettable occasion, she was having a class of eight students and I was telling some just plain everyday stories, while all of a sudden, our Worldbridge host invited a teacher from North Iraq as a second guest! This fired up under the students with many intelligent and curious questions that were improvised on the fly! What I really admired on this occasion was hot easily Lee justincluded this surprise guest into her virtual classroom. She blogged about this somewhere, I think. We never met in real life, but I had a dream of this would happen just once, and if so we would agree so well. Perhaps in our next incarnation...

BUsy and active Lee was deeply engaged in Tapped In, the webheads, Worldbridges, Second Life and so on and so forth, the last project that I heard of, was the actual 2008 K12online conference where a special memorial page has started.

Connectedness in a given life - making contacts in all directions, and being of help. That's how I will always remember you Lee, and, of course with your banjo on your knee, ready to tune in! Blessed be your work which will enlighten many more people even after your last breath was taken after your earthly body gave up the fight against evil cancer, your star will keep shining.
There must be good karma floating around...

Friday, May 30, 2008

When the network dispersed in all directions

On CPsquare's intranet I've followed a debate around how to wind down, reactualize or hand over a networking community, thought provoking and highly relevant in many cases I think,

I'd like to share my story here, about a two year long project with substantial funding, that I was deeply involved in some years ago. What we were trying hard to promote, develop and support, was only partly achieved. Our launch was quite successfull with a week long online conference where quite many people helped us with their presentations, back stage assistance and moral support in general.

Then, there was a longish and sometimes almost dormant period with rather few active people remaining, but a regular newsletter and a lot of commented links from delicious, and many more contacts leading to other networks, and communities in more or less direct relation to the main theme.

And, at the end of our funding period, we had to make a decision whether to just turn off the handle, delete stuff and skip the contacts, or what. We ended up with a big bang competition, as we decided to spend some of our last money on two iPods (brad new gadget by then) for the best contribution in the field of Nordic language podcasts (which was highly relevant as part of our agenda was to promote usage of the spoken word, in the neighbor language education of the Nordic language education field, across borders and age limits). This event made us get some more attention, as well as a fine wrap up event to show as a result in our evaluation report about dissemination. We also sent out our last newsletter, but still keep the homepage (and the name, with permission to reactivate it some day if opportune, from time to time a few people would tag new stuff and keep a stream alive - promoted and known as our Treasure Chest.

Our Moodle also exists with a shared library of documents and our own reification.
We had a small hope that there would be a rejuvenation effect of the podcast competition, but that was not the case.

And, for my own sake I would say that I really appreciate the learning moments that I have taken away from this period of hard work. We were struggling with the idea that we wanted to "start a community of practice", as part of the leadership team thought we just could, whereas it was clear to me, that unless we were able to initiate and support real ongoing active community practice, this would not work as more than just another network.

A small core group worked hard, and many distributed contacts have come out of all these efforts. The question is what were our success criteria compared to what we really managed to do. And. how we managed to use these for further steps ahead in our respective inter communicative professional lives and future project work.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

So many Social networking sites - overwhealmed?

This satirical cartoon video by Super Josh shows the dilemma of having too many choices for profiles on Social networking sites. The morale: get a LIFE!
Me? Hmmm - ok, I never made mySpace profile, and not really making any particular use of LinkedIn any longer, and even neglecting my friends on Second Life a little lately. But this weekend, I was playing with Facebook - with my son, at his home, even having great fun...

Thanks to Christina M. who posted this video as a commentary in the Connected Futures workshop, via a blog by Scott Godson.
More from Super Josh:

Friday, May 09, 2008

Success comes to those who can weather the storm

"Just as the tumultuous chaos of a thunderstorm brings a nurturing rain that allows life to flourish, so too in human affairs times of advancement are preceded by times of disorder. Success comes to those who can weather the storm.”
I Ching - the Book of Changes (the hexagram does not corresond exactly with the above quote).

I read this from the ancient Chinese book of wisdom, IChing that came into my hand by serendipity. It was in the summer 1970, location Thylejren, a three month long, unbelievable camp event with thousands of people from literally all over the world, with music and shared joy, and a free and open spirit of anarchy, flower power energies and hot spots of creative madness. It was under influence of this surreal situation that there was a wild western thunderstorm coming up, putting down all of our tents, even the large military tents that housed 30-40 sleeping bagged people in the hay. This put our efforts and ability to tackle survival to a new level, Some were organising rescue for those who might still be hiding under the fallen tents, while others took care of getting some tents up and stbilised them so that there was shelter for those who were in need. Many were under influence of alcohol or drugs, or both; after all this was an endless party and holiday and only few real life obligations, at least not for the large majority who were just enjoying the fruit of other people's hard work with the whole arrangement, the artist's special arrangements, the overall maintenance, the logistics, some instant health and social care, and so on.

Facilitation, organization and natural stewardship talents; most of them were five to ten years older than me. I was 20, just finished school and quite irresponsible and careless, like so many others from my cohort. I was rather independant and free, until then. There I was, and by the way, all of my own luggage and values had been stolen on day one, so I had also learnt how to deal with total poverty, making life go round and offer helpful service for food, as I really did not want to go home before time. After some very difficult hours, the storm suddenly became quiet, but he rain was now falling as if there was a hole in the sky. This emergency situation was sort of a wakeup call for me, and I organised a small task force from our own tent, a cleanup raid, so that we could save the most necessary properties, before the flood was taking its toll. All sorts of things, from whole backpacks to items just scattered all over in the hay mattress, such as shoes, glasses and clothes. We found a dry pack of cigarettes, and smoked one, and started to laugh and relax; after all there were only minor harm done, a broken arm or a concussion, but no dead bodies. Some were still in a condition of shock, but apparently some cups of hot tea, soup and bread and an oocasional beer helped them get over this trauma.

And then, I also found a plastic bag with three interesting books. I kept these with me for the rest of my three long weeks, and as I could never find the real owner, I thought of them as a treasure and read then with extra attention. Those books have travelled again long ago; they were the iChing quoted above, the Tibetan Book of Dead, and a collection of extraordinary folk tales which my new Californian boyfriend read aloud to us on the beach, in the dunes. The sun came back after some days of very bad weather, but our camp life transformed into something more organized, less chaotic

It is hard to imagine today. This camp had perhaps 5.000 inhabitants or more - and ONE public telephone, no organised mail service as people were not even registered; there was no street names or identity cards, no TV - the most appreciated facility was the famous shared open air unisex shower unit, with hot water at certain hours. We might be hungry, or exhausted, or mad, but at least nobody had to be dirty! This was a great tourist attraction, as the local fishermen and their friends came from far away to have a good look at these crazy nudes. In a way this life experiment was a fantastic contrast to the ordinary civilised everyday life which we all,to more or less degree, had to take up again after the holidays. I've always carried these days with me in my heart, for better or for worse. The event transformed my life forever. I had discovered a new side of myself, the ability to react and adapt with an unexpected and difficult situation, and to lead an action. This was when I understood more about the responsibilities that follow with an adult life, and with being part of a larger community.

Google translation for a Multilingual world

Today, Google Search was surprisingly offering an automated Translation link for a Danish versioned text from an English page. I checked the feature and it appears to be a beta tool.

Luckily I was able to take a screendump of this: two minutes later, this service link had suddenly vanished from my next, refined Google search. And then, I discovered that there was a specific new Danish translation page from Google. It might have been there for a while, and I’ve been using several different translation engines in the past (with Danish only as a rare option, and always in a very poor quality; Danish is a minority language).
It has the typical transation for a text snippet window, plus input for a URL With this new integrated service, Google has expanded our facility to navigate in more languages - I haven't yet tested in other combinations, for example from Danish to French or German. Machine text translation is getting closer to a near human solution, step by step.

This one page that I found in translation, was still far from perfect, but not so bad after all.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Collaborative stewardship - to make it happen

Community stewardship - making the connectedness happen

social net working can indeed have many faces and places, names and tasks. I'm elaborating here on a posting I've just written on our Connected Futures Workshop in a thread with reflections on technology stewardship. A particpant, Steve Gance, shares his blogpost with thoughts and examples on what to consider when you start writing a document together, in different phases. Would you want a Word doc sent back and forth, until you're ready to publish somewhere online, or would you begin from start using an online writing tool?

Working through from your first thoughts and brainstorming, into the draft and moving towards a final document, if there is to be any. The beauty and beastly double sided Janus head of online digital content is that it can stay dynamic and always ready for changes, updates, or being removed or replaced by a newer version. Such as Wikipedia and other wikified texts. Hard copies on paper need a full new edition to include changes and updates.

I've got a fresh example of such a collaborative process. This week, I was involved in the field trip to Webheads in Action, and as our task was to share pre reading in our wikispaces, it was an easy one. Both Vance Stevens, Bee Dieu and I are familiar with using this tool and with each other, as trustworthy friends. After I had started with some headlines, a few notes and facts and a slideshare presentation by Vance found in the Writingmatrix project, Bee added her own slides exemplifying some synchronous Webhead events. I came back, edited and restructured, and Bee took over again for a final last touch. Or so we thought, as we knew this had to be not too overwhealming. But Vance simply needed to add some details last minute.

We had one practical problem around the private wikispace for this workshop, facing that there had been sent out invitation for more Webheads to join the call. Easy to solve in this case; Bee and Vance already had another shared wikispace where we could mirror the whole thing! The two versions will no longer be identical, as Vance wish to continue editing the open version, while we want to have the workshop version static for now,so that participants who are going to work on the Field trip report can edit the Wikispaces page created for this purpose. We used twitter to confirm an improvised meeting time on Skype. And during our session there was also some twittering because of Jeffrey who could not get into Skype chat (from work?)

Last but not least - our collaboration oriented membership in different places was already on place, and we know how to use things, or how to support each other. For example, I had a nasty glitch with the wikispace, where I lost a new version; it was probably due to a new system upgrade, and some disconnections. But over at Bee's place things looked all right, and talking in Skype chat with her was really helpful in a stressed last hour before deadline!

My impression about this: efficient and useful, fast and smooth teamwork, resulting in a workable solution, practical and hands-on. We knew our shared domain - Webheads in the CoP perspective - and we had our collective knowledge pool, and community strategies developed over time, in the social context.

As Etienne W. stated in a conversation when we met in Setubal last May for our Dialog meeting - what really matters, is the community stewardship!

PS Some additional links to be added asap (note to self)

Field trip - just a short snapshot

In the Connected Futures workshop, we organized three field trips to virtual communities of practice this week, gving our participants the opportunity to explore matters around practice, domain and community. This triangulation is helpful as an analysis tool; where can we find evidence of the ongoing practices, which domain is the focus and which signs would indicate the sense of community spirit?

Virtual field trips centred on real life locations, could be one or more pages with images, information, sudio recorded material as well as multimedia.

In the case of Webheads in Action, such a virtual field trip was prepared in collaboration between the three of us, Vance Stevens, Barbara Bee Dieu and me (said the cat).
We worked on a shared wikispace, adding some slides and a short commercial video called Herding Cats, which has been used often as a metaphor for this unusual, flat and informal lifelong learning community.

As our cat herder par excellence said, as quoted here from memory Being a webhead is just like being a hippie; you know yourself if you are one. If you feel like a hippie, that's what you are. When you feel like a webhead, then you're probably right!

Sunday, May 04, 2008



From: vances, 1 month ago

At the TESOL Arabia 2008 Conference to be held at Dubai Men's College, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on March 13-15, 2008 I present on: Writingmatrix: Engaging collaborative writing through social networking - Abstract: This presentation explains aggregation, tagging, and RSS with respect to filtering content online and describes how these were applied in a worldwide collaboration project involving student bloggers tagging their posts writingmatrix and then using Technorati and to identify each other's posts and explore mutual interests through social bookmarking. The session is listed at 3:30 Friday March 14 on this document:

SlideShare Link

Connected Futures - tech stewardship workshop

For months, I've been involved in the pre-workshop preparations backstage, as part of the leadership group of ten; Bronwyn Stuckey, John Smith, Etienne Wenger, Nancy White, Nick Noakes, Beth Kanter, Beverly Trayner, Shirley Williams, Shawn Callahan and me.

This is a follow up on the Foundation of Communities of Practice workshop, which has become a tradition three times a year,developed and facilitated by Bronwyn Stuckey, John Smith and Etienne Wenger, CPsquare. I was invited to this Foundations workshop back in 2003. Little by little I was moving closer to the middle, as a workshop mentor and also as a host for several dissertation fests. And then, last spring I got an invitation to take part in a Dialog meeting for one week, together with about 18 other Cpsquare people, and with some work to do together, as a collaborative practice, the community live in action, in Setubal, Portugal. And now, last week in April and start of May - here we are, week 1 of 5 almost over - and a terrific week that is!

Messy, fun and getting our hands dirty, diving into a selection of web 2.0 tools and developing shared strategies. We're trying not to push the 20 participants too far out, although many are already somewhat familiar with one or more of the following; Skype with chat and teleconference, Wikispaces, Facebook group, Blog with RSS feed, Twitter group, delicious bookmarks, flickr photos - and aggregations thereof.

As our agreement was to not overwhealm participants with too many impressions; and also because this has been one busy week otherwise for me, I've been postpoing my actual contribution in the blog. Until now. Workshop CP2tech - technology stewardship is our primary theme, and not the tech tools only, more the social aspects of being in charge of online community work, with the technology on the sideline as a very important matter. This workshop is also building on the forthcoming book by Etienne, Nancy and John, which provides an excellent opportunity to become involved in multilogical metareflections on the contextual matters.

That's going to be all for now, more details follow in next post. With links and references.

yours, Sus Nyrop

PS as this is a workshop with partly internal content, only some of this could be seen in public. The Wikispaces and Facebook group are private, and our intranet platform as well. Open and closed, make your choice; if you want your thoughts go in public - blog them, make notes on facebook, or just twit a bit. More confidential or just procedural, internal matters could stay safe guarded behind passwowrd protection

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

This post was written as a mirror blogging - from inside Facebook

Mirror blog is a widget for facebook that allows me to combine my blogspot blog and Facebook. The editor is really primitive HTML which means I would rather blog the other way round. But at least the fact this can be done, is one more shortcut to help integrating my multiple online footprints. I'm already having another mirror blog widget used for my eduspaces blog. So - this makes two of a kind, and an eventual comparison opportunity.

PS making a late typo correction - from Blogspot this time - will see if this also has impact seem from Facebook.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Web 2.0 librarians in Norway

at Bibliotekssentralen in Oslo, Niels Damgaard runs an intensive web 2.0 workshop for librarians all over Norway. They can choose to pay for one or more sessions, up to ten in one year. For the last of these sessions, I was invited this Monday to speak about The social and collegial learning environment in the electronic village online, in a synchronous online session. As these courses are made for money, the content is protected and I am not allowed to share the wikispace and the recorded slides with my speak and the final discussion with Niels). We talked about the cascade effect developed over the years by Webheads, and how the good blend of old and new citizens in the electronic village helps to develop a true community of practice where novices and less experienced can benefit from the rich tradtion for knowledge sharing and collabroation experiments, and how those who are really showing their enthusiast energy, can advance and take more responsibilities as co-moderators with access to peer mentoring and hands on practicum. This all happened in my first language, Danish, and as Norwegian is our next neighbour language and country, I suppose that the participants were able to understand my words, written as well as spoken. At least they did not ask for any clarification, but I was also warned on beforehand, that this was their after lunch lesson and that they would probably be quite silent. Oh - and one more thing that we also talked about was how to reach the critical mass of participants in the online context where lurking is such a well known fact; for 10 visibly active heads you would usually expect to find 90 silent peripheral participants who are just reaing along and learning by vicarious observation, or not.

We can't know for sure - not until they may decide for delurking. But that's another story, which I forgot to mention as we ran short of time, so the frequent case of delurkers popping up into the open community space did not paint the picture in my presentation this time, just a memo to self about the paper that I'm preparing as a result from this session.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Scrapblog - a free collage tool with great potential

This is my Scrapblog portfolio workspace - not yet finished but really engaging and fun.

Monday, March 03, 2008

5 webheads won scholarships for the CALL 08 conference in Japan

Out of more than one hundred applicants (from low income parts of the world), about a dozen active CALL practitioners were awarded a grant to travel to a world conference on CALL in Japan. And, seven of these are good Webheads! Congratulations to Hala Fawzi in Sudan, to Erika in Brazil, Nelba Quintana and Jennifer Verschoor in Argentina, Evelyn Izquierdo, Venezuela, Nina Lyulkun from Ukraine and Susan Marandi from Iran. (the others are names unknown to me, coming from India, Indonesia, China, Egypt and Turkey).

The criteria were
# People who have been active in CALL (not just language pedagogy or administration) as evidenced by recent publications, presentations or on-going projects.
# People who exhibited in their "Statements of Purpose" a clear goal for their attendance at WorldCALL 2008 and a plan to disseminate the knowledge so gained upon their return home.
# People who represent a wide spectrum of geographical areas, balanced by gender and years of experience. Geographical selection was also, to some extent, determined in proportion to the number of applications from that area of the world.

I feel sure that we will have the pleasure to learn more about their presentations, their experiences and some lively stories about their face to face get-together, which is a special Webheads treat.

I'm thinking of paying these fine teachers my tribute, by sharing this good news with a group of web 2.0 librarians from Norway who will learn about Webheads & the Electronic Village online for my session tomorrow - but that's another story.

Graduation party for BAW 08 was a blast

Every year, the Electronic Village Online runs for six weeks, giving language educators and knowledge workers the opportunity to meet and collaborate online with various themes in the Web 2.0 learing field. Facilitators work as volunteers, and many of those who started as participants would continue year after year with more responsibilities.
Becoming a Webhead is the name of one of these intensive workshops. The true leaders are still Teresa d'Eca (in Porugal) and Dafne Gonzales (in Venezuela)I was part of the co-moderator team back in 2004, so I know how intense and rewarding the pace of this kind of curriculum could be for whose who are working back stage. This year about ten oldtimers were ready to jump in and share what they already learnt in earlier years, plus caring as mentors for those who are asking for help, attention or just reporting some work doneback to their community.

A recurrent event is the fun and informal graduation party taking place all online on the last Sunday of the workshop. Those who can spare an hour or wven two, would come to the chat room, listen to the Skype conference and hope for an invitation to come in and say something by voice. Up to this event, participants send in their gifts, like postcards or small multimedia spots, blog posts, wikis or voice recordings, with images of party food, their hometown, or whatever they have to share.
Dafne had prepared a Thank you show on Splashcast, with images and her spoken evaluation of this year's Becoming a Webhead class, and also with some flashbacks to past years. All of the Graduation party gifts were collected in one Wiki here

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Cultural analfabetism?

How can people in the street somewhere in the United States of America be so totally blank on trivial jeopardy questions about world geography, history , religion, warfare, past and highly actual events. OK - these may be the worst examples, and you could probably find ignorants everywhere. Or, is this an example of complete cultural blindness, US centric unawareness of the Outer World? Mention a country that begins with a U? Utopia!

An eye opening video.

Embedding blog-in-facebook

Does this blog post now show up on my Facebook?
I've used an app called Mirrorblog. It does not connect to Xanga, nor to the Eduspaces blog. But Blogspot blogs.
Let's see if this experiments is succesfull

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Sus Nyrop's own blog n' roll

In this multitude of blogging opportunities and community courses, I have to admit that I've spread myself out thinly, so I would like to add links to my other blogs.

in 2002 I started blogging at
A co-blog with friends from Second Life, mostly in Danish language (SL as an informal learning environment)
The eduspaces education community blog that used to be an Elgg community and was recently taken over by a Canadian community - which I still wish to use because I've got many good virtual colleagues

My social bookmarks are at

I'll try to see how I could burn a feed for all of these when I figure out how to do this in an orderly manner.
(There are a few more, but not recently updated).

I also have some mashups that were abandoned, like Suprglu that is probably still aggregating some of my content.

The Piano - Amazing Short story of a life

While playing the piano, the old man is day dreaming about past life experiences. In the final scene, he is playing with a young boy, perhaps his grandson, or perhaps the piano player himself as a child. Sentimental and sweet glimpse down memory lane.

Mmm - who made it? Will have to check it out; just stumbled upon while browsing youTube the miscellanous way. The logo says Aniboom - which seem to be an amateur animation channel.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Webheads in Action session from TI festival 05

Tapped In has a festival every year, and I was involved in the process of preparing this several times. In 2005, we were hosting a chat session where Webheads in Action members could meet with others from the TI community. This was quite improvised as the invited speaker was not present. so what was told came right from our hearts. Rita Zeinstejer from Argentina, Bee Dieu from Brazil, Hala Fawzi from Sudan, Mike Marzio from France contributed to a lively hour of Q & A about Webheads - and Tapped In. This is our chatlog transcript from TI.