Sunday, October 26, 2008

WebTools4Educators Search Fun

Amazing to see the group web presence in just a few weeks, to play around with Quintura search and visualize how far we've gone together just by mousing over the nodes.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Happy Teacher's Day

The text I read is available on Bud Hunt's blog at

View this Scrapbook page full size.

Poverty, We, Empowerment - Blog Action Day 08

Silent, it surrounds us, no matter where you are. We want it to be invisible, untouchable, but it's there waiting for you, me, US. No government can really change it. WE CAN.


I am the daughter of parents who struggled, who came from very poor environments. I'm the daughter of Italians immigrants who lost the little they had during World War II. I'm the daughter of Brazilian migrants who moved from the hardship of one of the poorest states in my country, Piauí, in search for better, decent living, in search for opportunities, trying to leave poverty behind...I am lucky. I live a comfortable life because my family survived and thrived. I am the generation of the inheritance of what my parents, grandparents fought, dreamed, worked hard for.

The president of my country, Lula, is a vivid example of a childhood of the dispossessed kids in my country that fought against his own poor destiny. Lula was a shoe-shine boy. Now, his government tries to fight poverty. He takes the reigns.

We want poverty to be invisible, but it is around us even in the countries considered the richest in the world. Even if Brazil is still considered Third World, it is full of richness. The paradox lies in the inexorable truth. In a country where natural resources abound, millions of people are hungry. In a place where the biodiversity is generous, we struggle with health care. In my Brazil full of bright minds, creative souls, millions just don't have the minimum education that empowers one to dream of a better, decent life.

How can we reverse, re-imagine, redo the world surrounding us with the contrasting beauty and the ugly, superfluous hot bodies and sick ones lying on the streets, brightness of a sunny day and the gloomy senseless darkness of the ones without hope, decency, or food to eat?

Maybe WE could start with little steps, WE could start by seeing what surrounds us, WE could take small actions that could make a difference to one person or group, WE could hold the hands of the ones who need to stand. No. Fighting poverty doesn't need only to begin with huge governmental actions. It's easier, isn't it, to blame invisible forces and governments for viable possibilities. The solution starts in our homes, teaching our kids about generosity, sharing and giving. Facing poverty is being brave enough to see reality through different lenses and taking action in every little way we can.

I'm a believer in the transformative power of social action, mobilization. Just like my parents and their families changed the course of their poor lives, WE can help others do the same. I try to do my share, but still I feel I'm not doing enough. It's time for action and engagement.

I finish with Sebastião Salgado, a Brazilian photojournalist, whose work and willingness to raise awereness touch me deeply. He's doing his huge contribution to poverty. How about US? What can WE do?


Of Interest: Brazil's Economic Boom Marred by Social Inequalities

Friends’ Posts: Dennis Oliver’s

Originally posted at

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


How Choice, Co-Creation, and Culture Are Changing What It Means to Be Net Savvy (EDUCAUSE Quarterly) | EDUCAUSE CONNECT

What do you think? Is RSS something that our learners should learn about? Is it part of a media literacy skill they should have?

Educators Selfishness

Tania Sheko, on her blog post about the need for us to be a little selfish and feed our educator's soul, touches in the essence of networking, connectivity and the power of the Web of learning.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Blogging Away

We are already finishing the Week on RSS, but it's just a supplement to blogging. It's what brings everything together in a customized way. I've been enthusiastically following participants' comments in each others' blogs, and it's going stronger than ever.

learningneverends (39)

This might be the ideal way to get started. You start checking blogs, start adding comments, your views. Then, you consider your own blogging ways, your own style, tone, voice. You get more confident to even give it a try with your learners.

If it's still not the moment, you let it marinade, keep posting to reflect upon your own learning in order to find momentum to give it a try in your classroom.

Some have already been blogging. For example, Ana Albi had already started her Teachers' Development Course blog and the result you can see by yourselves. Cecília, who makes a point in saying that she's not into tech, has just started with a wonderful post to her students and even got a nice reply from her student. Exciting the first time you get a comment, isn't it? Patrícia Fleury has just had so many engaging posts and she shows how the grammar topic could be a great one for blog discussion. No, Pat, your thoughts will never lose their nutritional value on a blog. Quite the oppostite, in fact. It just adds your voice on topics which are dear to you and sometimes we don't have time to discuss. Lueli has also created a blog for her advanced grammar classes and has just created a wonderful playlist. Victor is getting ready to give blogging a second chance.

I'm pretty sure Marina Brazil is a visual learner and this is clear on her blog. She has already created slideshows and added appalling videos. Certainly a box of tricks there. Talking about a treasure of wonderful resources, Kelly always has an interesting widget or webtool to talk about on her blog. Thanks, Kelly, for your precious contributions.

I knew Cleverson was crazy about sitcoms and the 70s. Blogging is certainly one of the ways that we show who we really are, what our styles are. Take a look at his finding, a snippet of "Escrava Isaura" with subtitles in English! This is the Web!

Pat Faustino is all about culture and the cultural aspects of her own Bolivian background. I find it fascinating the possibilities blogging gives to raise cultural awareness and tolerance, to show how the different peoples live, their traditions, thoughts, food. Thanks, Pat, for the wonderful gastronomic trip. Besides, Pat has just published a fantastic Bubbleshare with her basic students.

, Marina Couri, Lilian, and Chris Moisés have also embraced the challenge and have already created blogs for their classrooms. They all think in anticipation, "OK, now what? The blog is there, but how will I motivate my students to be there with me?"

Maria da Luz
talks a bit of the place she's living now. Gabi has this wonderful last sentence on her first blog post in Blogger,
"I don't think computers are addictive , learning is addictive."
Ana Luisa reports her journey of successes and struggles. Through her writing, I can picture the scenes she mentions. I just loved the one of the "panick attack"!

Daniela Meyer and Gilmar inspire us! Daniele is pure poetry. Talking about inspiration, he's always with us, commenting, chatting and blogging. Dennis is certainly a true example of a passionate educator to all of us, as well as Mary Hillis and Cris Costa, believers of the transforming power of education.

Vinicius started in his hip hop excitement already featuring himself on a YouTube Video. Great!
As mentioned before in our audio chat, there's no formula. In blogging, we find our tone, our voice, our audience, our niche.

We need to find our own purpose. It needs to add value to you and your learners. It's not about doing it because it's cool. Yes, for me, it's cool, but it's about connections, conversations, expanding horizons in ways never imagined before.

Just some quick reminders for new bloggers:

  • If you get comments, comment back. Blogging is establishing a dialogue, not a unilateral act. If readers are saying something, interact with them.
  • If you are blogging in English, have your whole blog in English. To edit this setting, just go to your dashboard(where you can see your blogs and edit their settings), . There, on the top right of the page (once you're signed in), you'll see "language". Just change it to English. Another way is just to visit your blog, on the top right, you'll see "customize". Click there and then "dashboard".
  • Pay attention to the title of your posts. Now that you have an idea of RSS, when you add a blog to your Google Reader, certainly the title of a post is what will attract you to read the whole post or not. Grab your readers' attention just like we ask our students to do when they're writing a composition!
  • Start adding the tag webtools4educators in your posts. And check the magic in technorati, a blog, tag aggregator!
  • Remember to use blogging as a learner-centered space. How could you do it? Think of ways to let learners opt, have their own voices, and create content.

As Elaine sums up, "See you around in one or two clicks"! Blogging is connecting, learning.

I'm still breathless with so much enriching interaction taking place in this fantastic group. Thanks for daring and delving into this Web of learning.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Music and Learner-Centeredness

For Thomas educators, this is an easy answer, but do you have any idea who's singing?

Well, he's a very talented, multifaceted educator at CTJ. A funny and smiley guy. Victor Botelho is one of the participants of this course. As I was reading Gilmar's comments to Victor about music, I remembered that there was this video I recorded of Victor's powerful performance in 2006 at our Students' graduation ceremony.

How lucky we are to have so many special talents where we work at.

Then, what strikes me is that most of the times we don't even know people's drives, hobbies, talents...People that we chat, interact and share lesson plans. And I'm not even mentioning our learners...Just our fellow teachers! So, here's the catch. Can you see that blogging and all these wonderful web2.0 tools can be totally transformational in the way we teach, learn and SEE others? How enabling and encouraging it is to give a true voice to everyone, isn't?

Just as I was writing here, I saw Lueli's last blog post. We're totally in synch, for she's just posted something related to music. When I listened to it, I could see another aspect we share, the passion for music and the same taste! How could I ever know Lueli's music selection? Even if I visited her, how could I listen to such a fantastic mix?

I asked a question to Gilmar about music and learners.

He answered

How could we, then, think of ways to shift our practices in a way that learners are co-creators of content instead of being the recipients? How could we learn about their music tastes? How would you incorporate music in the classroom à la Web2.0?

Here are some cool music resources that could give you some hints:

Lueli's Mixwit

Larry Ferlazzo's blog is a total chest of treasures. He makes "The best of..." lists, which are just incredibly rich of web tools. This brand new is just on music creation:

I'd love to hear your fantastic classroom ideas. I'm sure they will be "music" to my ears!

Caution: Music is addictive. Don't try ALL these tools! It would take you a lifetime!


Thursday, October 2, 2008

Engaging Them

What we're trying to understand is totally exemplified on this blog post. It shows the power of engagement when you tick, when you get in the learners' world.