Tuesday, October 28, 2008

become a fan

that's right- CESL now has its own Facebook page. Search for Center for English as a Second Language- and join!

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

"Asciiized chat"

It's a busy time of year here; lots of papers to grade, in fact, I fall asleep grading most nights, even on weekends. So, in general, no time for things I love: World Series, fall colors, children's soccer, hallowe'en costurme, professional interests (see TESOL presentations, below on template). But late at night, Friday, I found something really interesting.

I have long noticed my Saudi and Yemeni students using Arabic chat in English letters, including some numbers such as 3 and 5; the language is definitely Arabic, but because of the large number of English letters it is almost readable at our end. At first I understood this to be because of the lack of Arabic-script functionality at one end or the other, but that is clearly gone now; almost all computers can write the Arabic script. Still, this "3/5" chat continues...why? I was about to aske a former student on Friday before I left, but never got to it; too busy.

Late at night, however, I found this:

Palfreyman, D. and al Khalil, M. (2003, Nov.). "A Funky Language for Teenzz to Use": Representing Gulf Arabic in Instant Messaging. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 9 (1). http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol9/issue1/palfreyman.html. Accessed 10-08.

This article not only makes an interesting linguistic analysis of what's going on- it's based on observations of mostly women in UAE- but it also makes some interesting claims. The most interesting of these, I am unable to find at the moment, but had to do with Gulf Arabic dialect being not heavily recorded in many other places besides Ascii-ized Arabic.

I had had many questions about this language before going home, but now have a number more; some of the original ones have been answered. There doesn't seem to be much in the way of pure linguistic study of these languages, although what there is, namely this article, is not bad. It's not that linguists are unable or unwilling to analyze what's happening. It's more that it's happening so quickly that busy, underfunded linguists (often fighting for their own departmental survival) may not have time to really analyze it.

I plan to learn a little more about this language- given, first, that I have a lot of sources directly near me- all I have to do is ask them. Its nature has never been a secret.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

more on twitter

So I was cruising through these sites of ed-tech people, all of whom had great sites; I can't remember at the moment which ones. But several of them had been at a single ed-tech conference, listening to a speech and playing on their mobile phones at the same time. Mobile phones these days are all connected to Twitter, which allows people to make short comments and respond to each other quickly. So anyway all these tech denizens are in an auditorium and start "backchanneling" which of course I might be completely misunderstanding. But I take it to mean that a very lively conversation erupted entirely on Twitter, starting from or at least happening because of their proximity to this speech, but entirely independent of the speech.

Twitter for some reason is immensely popular with the tech crowd, who like to have a virtual roomful of friends at their fingertips when any given tech problem arises, and thus take advantage of a huge collective wisdom pool instantly as the need arises.

It is loathed by others, however, since a superficial look at the volumes of "tweets" that are happening all over show that Twitter is keeping a written record of all of everyone's movements, here, there, left, right, whatever you're doing. It scares people; they can hardly imagine wanting to know, in writing, so much about so many. I don't know, really, what to make of it; I myself get up there once in a while, but forget, often for weeks at a time.

The first link below, I believe, shows a movie of Michael Wesch actually using Twitter in a classroom. The second expresses the kind of ambivalence I feel about the whole enterprise. The third is an amazing little expression of how social networking has become a world of its own- and, whether in Facebook, Twitter, or Meebo- everyone's doing it, it seems. At every conference, in every classroom, I would guess.

Twitter handbook (2008, August 9). Using Twitter to make history... and create the future. Twitter in the classroom. http://twitterhandbook.com/blog/using-twitter-to-make-history-and-create-the-future-twitter-in-the-classroom/. Accessed 10-08.

O'Kelly, C. (2008, Apr. 17). Twitter: Smart networking or reputation disaster? SOCIALSEO.com. http://www.socialseo.com/twitter-smart-networking-or-reputation-disaster.html. Accessed 10-08.

O'Kelly, C. (2008, Apr. 2). Gauge your social media IQ in real time with HubPages. http://www.socialseo.com/gauge-your-social-media-iq-in-real-time-with-hubpages.html. Accessed 10-08.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

more from around

EduK8. (2008, Sept.). 100 useful free web tools for lifelong learners.

Dawson, C. (2008, Oct. 7). Google is your friend. ZDNet.http://education.zdnet.com/?p=1887&tag=nl.e623. Accessed 10-08.

TED Video. Kevin Kelly on the next 5000 days of the web..http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/kevin_kelly_on_the_next_5_000_days_of_the_web.html. Accessed 10-08.

Hole in the Wall- the story.

Dawson, C. (2008, July 28). When will textbook publishers get a clue?
ZDNet. http://education.zdnet.com/?p=1781. Accessed 10-08.

Carroll, J. (2008, July 11). Lessons from American university education. ZDNet. http://blogs.zdnet.com/carroll/?p=1839. Accessed 10-08.

Stross, R. (2008, July 27). First it was song downloads. Now it's Organic Chemistry.
New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2008/07/27/technology/27digi.html?_r=2&pagewanted=1&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss&oref=slogin. Accessed 10-08.

Dawson, C. (2007, June). No one ready for FCRP. ZDNet. http://education.zdnet.com/?p=1091. Accessed 10-08.

Gilbert, A. (2008, Sept. 23). With tunes from Scotland's past, she finds a resonance with the present. Boston.com. http://www.boston.com/ae/music/articles/2008/09/23/with_tunes_from_scotlands_past_she_finds_a_resonance_with_the_present/. Accessed 10-08.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

2nd Avenue Square Dance

2nd Avenue Square Dance
Here's a great CD by my sister and her band; in this one they have lots of stars appearing also. I strongly recommend it as excellent music; they combine klezmer and bluegrass, include other genres, and do it all masterfully. At their site you can listen to some of it; I recommend it!


Friday, October 10, 2008

more stuff to read

if I get time:

Optenet. (2008). 2008 Internet Trends Study (pdf). http://www.optenet.com/mailing/pdfs/TrendReport.pdf. Accessed 10-08.

Boase, J., Horrigan, J., Wellman, B., & Rainie, L. (2006, Jan. 25). The strength of internet ties (pdf): The internet and email aid users in maintaining their social networks and provide pathways to help when people face big decisions. Pew Internet and American Life Project Report. http://www.pewinternet.org/pdfs/PIP_Internet_ties.pdf. Accessed 10-08.

Taylor, A. (2008, Sept. 5). Old thinking permeates major journalism school. Mediashift. Accessed 10-08.

Rundus, R. (2008, Oct. 1). A tipping point for the blogosphere? Fayetteville Observer online. http://blogs.fayobserver.com/rundus/2008/10/01/a-tipping-point-for-the-blogosphere/. Accessed 10-08.

Bauerlein, M. (2008, Sept. 19). Online literacy is a lesser kind.
Chronicle Review. http://chronicle.com/free/v55/i04/04b01001.htm. Accessed 10-08.

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Thursday, October 09, 2008

virtual piranhas

One thing a good interviewer does is keep the interview focused and make sure that all the questions are answered precisely. I'm a lousy interviewer, so what I'm about to show you doesn't really do this. It's what you get when you try to do this stuff after a long week or a long term, in a window of free time late Fri. afternoon.

But Thom Thibeault is my friend, runs the language lab here at SIUC, and is actively using Second Life in his German class; I can see some of his graduate assistants use it as I share the lab some days. They get in their avatars, walk on down the virtual line, and set up language classes for whoever happens to be next in line to take them.

The interview is about what he does and what the possibilities of SL are, and it's worth reading just for the account of the lake with the virtual bridges over it, and the piranhas in it, ready to devour any unfortunate avatar whose partner forgets the difference between "left" and "right"...it adds context (virtual) to what most of us would recognize as a familiar lower level exercise.

What it's missing is any sign of what the rest of the university thinks of it, including the students. So, at a German Club bake sale, I bought a cupcake and asked. Nobody had been in that particular class, though one guy said it made him nervous; he wasn't comfortable with 3d controls. At the swimming pool, I talked with another German professor, this one 30 but intimidated by iPhones. He gave the other side: as long as there's a teacher in the room, the virtual will not replace the teacher, he said. This is a common rebuttal, and I didn't argue with him, though on hindsight I can think of lots of things Thom can do that I can't.

I'll end it here. Read it for yourself, it's just a blog post.

Leverett, T. (2008, Oct.). Second Life and language learning: an interview with Thom Thibeault. http://whereuatwchat.blogspot.com/2008/10/interview-with-thom-thibeault-lets.html.

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Wednesday, October 01, 2008

from out & around


Lady Zee (2008, Feb. 3). Facebook redefines the word "private." e-controversy. http://www.e-controversy.com/Facebook_Privacy_1a.html. Accessed 10-08.

Boutin, P. (2008, Sept. 22). Million-member march begs for old Facebook back, valleywag. http://valleywag.com/5052891/million+member-march-begs-for-old-facebook-back. Accessed 10-08.

Lacy, S. (2006, Sept. 8). Facebook learns from its fumble. Business Week. http://www.businessweek.com/technology/content/sep2006/tc20060908_536553.htmchan=top+news_top+news+index_technology. Accessed 10-08.

Spool, J. (2006, Sept. 13). The Facebook controversy: A lesson about embraceable change. User interface engineering. http://www.uie.com/brainsparks/2006/09/13/the-facebook-controversy-a-lesson-about-embraceable-change/. Accessed 10-08.


Shankland, S. (2008, Sept. 10). Flickr revamp spotlights photos, social features. cnet news. http://news.cnet.com/8301-13580_3-10038016-39.html. Accessed 10-08.

Kuchera, B. (2008, May 6). Second Life a danger for children? Lawmaker trawls for votes. ars technica. http://arstechnica.com/journals/thumbs.ars/2008/05/06/second-life-a-danger-to-children-lawmaker-trawls-for-votes. Accessed 10-08.

Paul, R. (2008, Mar. 19). Twitter breaks down barriers in the classroom. ars technica. http://arstechnica.com/news.ars/post/20080319-twitter-breaks-down-barriers-in-the-classroom.html. Accessed 10-08.

CNN.com (2008, Apr. 25). 'Monotonous page turning helps digitize books for Google. http://www.cnn.com/2008/TECH/04/25/google.books.ap/index.html. Accessed 10-08.

Waldrop, M. (2008, April 21). Is open access science the future? Scientific American. http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=science-2-point-0&print=true. Accessed 10-08.


Belin, P. (2008, Sept.) Monkey brains hint at evolutionary root of language processing. Scientific American. http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?id=monkey-brains-hint-at-evolutionary-root. Accessed 10-08.


empty bottle weblog. (2008, July). My home is dying, story of forests dying in British Columbia.

Cui, Weiping (2008, Sept. 28). Behind the milk scare, a frightening silence. Washington Post online.

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