Sunday, October 25, 2009

Move to WordPress & learning in the global network

After using Blogger for over four years, today I make the leap over to WordPress. I feel like I’m leaving an old faithful friend, and treading into uncharted territory, but I think I’m ready. I appreciate the advanced features of WordPress, and my ability to create a hybrid set of web pages and blog, where I can gather all my of pieces into a coherent whole.

Please JOIN ME at Wordpress!

This theme of gathering pieces into wholes is also reflected in a more recent global orientation that my work is taking. As I travel more and more across the globe, and our international student enrollments continue to increase, I realize the power we have in online learning to create global networked learning communities of educators–to draw on the expertise of others, to challenge our nation-centric belief systems that keep us from progressing, to cooperate and collaborate in new educational opportunities that have the ability to influence future generations around the world, not to mention in our own cities. We have the tools. Let’s use them to break down the walls, and move our imaginations and planet into places we have only dreamed up to this point.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Int. Symposium on Education in Virtual Worlds

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Creating music playlists in YouTube--bye bye iTunes

OK, I've been living under a rock again. Normally, I try to accept facts about myself, but this is a hard one--especially when you are supposed to be a cutting-edge educational technologist!

Yes, I knew there were music videos on YouTube. Yes, I knew you could create playlists. But for some reason, until my son explained that he didn't use his iPod anymore because he could get all his music for free on YouTube, it just never quite clicked (/bows head to Chareen).

Here's how it all started. Someone mentioned AC/DC's "Hells Bells" on my Facebook page. I thought, "Oh, I love that song, I'm going to go download it on iTunes." Except you can't buy it on iTunes--whaaaat? Come to find out, a lot of artists don't make their music available on iTunes, but as my friend explained, I could listen to it for free on YouTube. Bingo.

I went to YouTube, found the song, and added it to a new playlist I created called Rock Music. It's sooo simple. Just one "click" and the deal is done. No waiting for nasty downloads. Then I notice links to other classic rock videos like Boston's "Carry On Wayward Son." No way! This is too incredible. By the time my night's over, it's about 4:00 AM, and I've got a new collection of songs on YouTube.

What do I do with these songs? Well, just play the playlist, keep it on random, and viola! Music in the background all day long, customized just for you! I can also insert the URLs into friend's Facebook pages, and give them a gift. I had a blast finding songs for friends, typing "here's a gift chosen just for you" and then pasting the link on their wall. It automatically inserts a thumbnail of the video which will embed on their homepage.

Ahhh...this is just too much fun! If you'd like to listen to my playlist of mostly classic rock, check it out:

or just watch this:

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Upcoming Webinars in Online Learning

Hi folks, for those of you interested in K-12 online education, I'll be participating in two back-to-back webinars next week, Thursday, July 23:

11:00 PT/2:00 ET
District Administration Magazine
"Expanding the classroom with online learning"

12:00 PT/3:00 ET
International Association for K12 Online Learning (iNACOL)
"Starting an Online School or Online Program 103 - Teacher Recruitment, Preparation, and Support"

Hope to see you there!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Research Methods in Virtual Worlds

I'm teaching a new online graduate class this fall...Research Methods in Virtual Worlds.  Should be great fun!  We'll be on EDTECH Island in Second Life, and visiting a few other virtual worlds.  Hope you can join us.

Blended course: requires attendance at synchronous sessions on EDTECH Island in Second Life, and access to Moodle between class sessions.  To learn more about our courses & workshops on EDTECH island, see


EDTECH 597:  Research Methods in Virtual Worlds (3 credits)

Class participants identify, analyze, and implement a variety of strategies for data collection and analysis in virtual world environments, including research methods unique to the virtual worlds. Research ethics, IRB approval, data security, minimization of risk to human subjects, and journals for publication are also considered.  Participants have the opportunity to interact with a variety of published virtual world researchers.

Course Fees: $1,044, regardless of location

Instructor:  Lisa Dawley (Mali Young),

Internet-based course, requires weekly attendance at live synchronous sessions on Monday 3-5 PM PT, 4-6 MT on EDTECH Island in Second Life.


System requirements:

Prerequisite skills:

    * Use of camera controls

    * Ability to fly, walk, and teleport

    * Knowledge of communication tools (IM and chat)

    * Basic building skills (create prims, add textures and content)

    * Basic inventory management (can find items, wear clothing, make a notecard)

    * It is recommended that participants have at least 15-20 hours of prior participation in Second Life before the course begins.


Register at or contact Jerry Foster at jfoster at, 208-426-1966 to assist you with registration and financial aid information.


Saturday, April 25, 2009

My life with a Smartpen?

I guess I've been living under a rock, but I just found about the Pulse Smartpen. This handy little device (ok, not so little for us feminine types who prefer thin pens) allows you to take notes on real paper, and simultaneously record the handwriting and voice for later upload into an organization system called Livescribe. You can create pencasts and share them online...imagine! Please check out their videos, it's much easier to visualize that I can describe here.

As a department chair who attends a lot of meetings and conferences, I'm imagining this little device may have the potential to change how I process information at those events. It's a toss-up, either I 1) keep carrying my 15" laptop, 2) buy a netbook (another computer!), 3) write my notes on paper and translate essential facts when I get back to the office, or 4) use a Smartpen!

Who could use a Smartpen? Students who sit in class and need to take notes, teams who work in brainstorming sessions, people who take meeting minutes, folks who may have memory issues such as Alzheimher's and need a way to record their conversations, artists who want to teach others their drawing techniques, child psychologists who work with kids drawing and discussing their artwork...the list goes on....

I'll be the first person to admit I have gadget lust. I'll be ordering my Smartpen on Monday...and I'll let you know if the hype meets the reality. Anyone else have more insight to share?

Friday, April 03, 2009

Tweetin' along...singing a song...

OK maybe not the singing part....

If you tweet using Twitter, or on one of the many apps people use in place of Twitter (I have Tweetie on my phone, TweetDeck on my laptop, and the TweetHUD in Second Life!), then most likely you have developed a strategy for using it to meet your needs. As an advanced user (I joined two whole months ago), I've become aware of certain personality types and how they use Twitter functionality to meet their goals.
  1. I'll tell you everything about my day type: When Twitter first launched, it was touted as a way for people to share what they were doing at the moment. "I'm eating a donut." "Cleaning up the dog's poop--for the 3rd time!" "Watching Dancing with the Stars." There's a great YouTube parody about this type of first-generation user, you'll laugh until you cry: "I just twoted all over the place" lol
  2. I'm elite and you'll have to work hard to get on my list type: This person always has tons of followers, but follows less than 100 people. Celebrities, big-time book authors, you get the idea. Groupies will work hard retweeting these folks, hoping to get picked up as followers. My husband follows Lance Armstrong and loves him. I can't get into it, personally--never been the groupie type.
  3. I follow thousands and thousands type: Beware, they are creating very large spam lists, and are usually trying to sell you something.
  4. I follow alot, and a lot follow me type: Hmm I seem to fit in this category at a baby level. By using Tweetdeck, I've learned to create groups that give me the ability to 1) keep my main feed going, I pick up tons of interesting tidbits when I happen to look at the big stream, and 2) add selected individuals into a second "friends" group. This allows me to create a customized list of people who have good information, are funny, or are just friends and I want to make sure I catch their tweets. I'm able to browse several streams of tweets in a very short time, and prioritize the ones I definitely want to read via the group strategy. I learn something new every day, and keep up on current trends and breaking news with very minimal efforts. I sent out the question, "do web crawlers crawl content hosted in Moodle," and had two answers in less than 5 minutes...hand-delivered to my inbox.
Today, a lovely lady who goes by the name of @kyteacher said something very profound, and she gave me permission to quote her: "Twitter is the best PD (professional development) I've ever done. I learn something new every day." I'm starting to understand why. Hope to see you on Twitter @lisadawley

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Ode to Mom

I just read a BBC write-up of Michelle Obama's visit to an all girl school in London, and how she was moved during a performance. She was quoted as saying, "I was surrounded by extraordinary women in my life who taught me about quiet strength and dignity." That got me thinking about my mom. And before she and I leave this planet, I want her to know, and really feel, the impact she has had on me as a human being.

My mom, Betty Miles, was divorced during most of my childhood. She raised five kids alone, and still carries a lot of guilt to this day that she didn't give us more attention. I've tried to talk to her as an adult--how much attention can you give five kids when you are working more than one job trying to support us? And going to school for several of those years? She was amazing, and still is to this day. I have memories of going to her job at Winchell's Donuts and helping to glaze the donuts at night. It was magical--are you kidding? Donuts at night that I made myself--get outta here!

From my mom, I learned many things. Most importantly, I learned that women are strong and intelligent. I learned that I can do anything I want to do if I'm willing to put the time and energy to make it happen. It was just never a question, and always a given. My mom helped inspire confidence in myself through her subtle belief in me.

My mom is one of the smartest people I know--she introduced me to computers and online games, believe it or not. I felt happy when I could finally introduce her to a virtual world she didn't know. As a kid, she taught me the bones of the body while she was going through nursing school. She had this dead cat she had to keep refrigerated while she was learning its muscles. I was fascinated that she could be emotionally distanced from this formerly alive creature taking up residence where we kept our food. I loved her scientific mind.

We were always learning together. She bought me books, and workbooks, and I ate it up. As an adult in graduate school, she got me into the antique business. We went to sooo many flea markets, auctions, yard sales, and antique stores. To this day, I can still tell a good quality piece of furniture, whether a piece of china has been repaired, or whether those blue sunglasses are from the 60's or used by snipers during the Civil War.

For the last 32 years, my mom and step-father have been caring for my brother, Charlie, who is severly disabled. Charlie is in and out of the hospital on a monthly basis. He would never have lived this long without their loving care. I look at her example of caring for a son she loves, her dedication and sacrifice. When they lost their aide, there was a point where she couldn't leave home for months. Surely, I can learn from her example to be a better mother, friend, and wife.

Mom, I love you, your sense of humor, your intelligence, and even your eccentric ways. Your mind and spirit fascinate me and inspire me. I always hope you find happiness, and know that you are truly loved. I'm grateful for every moment you've given to me, and every moment I've been able to share with you. You are perfect, just the way you are.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

EDTECH Island Two Years Later: Training Teachers in Virtual Worlds

Had a great experience today presenting at the Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education 2009 conference.  Thanks to everyone who participated.  As always, I appreciate your feedback and input.

Audio (coming soon!)

Friday, March 27, 2009

VW BPE starts tomorrow!

The Virtual Worlds Best Practices in Education starts tomorrow and runs through Sunday in Second Life.  Hope to see you there!  Many of our friends from EDTECH will be on the program.