A note from Jermaine Lievendag of

We have launched a website called is a website that allows visitors to view, create and compare timelines. These timelines can be illustrated with pictures, text, YouTube movies and MP3. On our website, you will find timelines about music, movies, history, politics, art et cetera. As the website is very educational, so our site is very popular among teachers and students.

Next to this portal, we offer our software as a service to companies and institutions. Our timeline application can be fully integrated in the website of that company or institution, showing its own content via the TimeRime software. Educational publishers use this software as part of their history learning methods. As a result students are using in the classroom very frequently.

If you want more information about the website or about us, please contact us at:

This appears to be a highly interactive way to make a timeline. As some of the students in my ENG 460 class consider ways that they can represent their projects through timelines, I think that TimeRime could be one way for them to develop multimedia representations of their work. I am not sure if users can collaborate on timelines, but if anyone gives it a try, please let me know.

Correction on 10/8/08: Jermaine let me know that, yes, you can invite collaborators to your timeline. Very cool!

Notes from 7 Revolutions Webcast

Notes from Seven Revolutions Webcast

by Erik Peterson, Senior Vice President, Center for Strategic and International Studies

  • Intro
    • Saint Exupery – “… your task is not to foresee the
      future, but rather to enable it.”
    • Inverse correlation between leadership responsibilities
      and the capacity to plan and lead strategically
    • William Gibson – “The future is here; it’s just not
      widely distributed.”

      • Our capacity to look at short and long range trends is
        better than it has ever been
  • What will the world look like in the year 2025?
    • What are the challenges facing humanity?
    • To what extent will we be able to deal with the
      organizational situations in front of us?
    • What are the precursors of a better world?
    • To what extent are we vulnerable more even now?
  • Seven Revolutions
    • Population
    • Strategic Resource Management
    • Technological Innovation and Diffusions
    • Information and knowledge creation/distribution
    • Economics
    • Conflict
    • Governance
  • Overarching Comments
    • Darwin – “It is not the strongest species that survive,
      nor the most intelligent… but the ones most responsive to change.”
    • Einstein – “No problem can be solved from the same
      consciousness that created it.”
    • Need to think about a new paradigm
  • 1. Population
    • Where we have been: from 150 million to 6 billion people
      in 1999

      • We are growing at a rate of millions every year: 2.4
        people per second
      • Now at about 6.7 billion people
      • 8.0 billion in 2025, 9.2 by 2050
    • Global population growth in an absolute sense has been
      going up, but the rate of growth as slowed significantly

      • We can anticipate a stabilization of 9-10 billion
        people at the end of the century
      • But… the highest growth will be in the poorest
      • Soviet Union, for instance, has de-population; China,
        in 2005, has a contracting population
    • Population expansion and contraction
      • Most populous countries in 1950 had six well developed
        economies; by 2050, only the US will be in the top ten
      • 15% of population is migrants in 50+ countries
      • Developed world could contract
      • Tensions in population with immigration, for instance
        in France
    • Global aging
      • More older people on our planet than younger ones in
        the near future
      • Life expectancy has gone from 50 years in 1950 to
        nearly 80 by 2050
    • Urbanization
      • 60% of humanity in urban areas by 2020
      • Could be good for education, health, and other social
      • But… it is bad, too. More slum dwellers in Mumbai and
        in all of Norway
    • Change in distribution of world population — move from a
      pyramid to a rectangle

      • Tremendous capacity problem for those who are younger
        to work with those who are older
      • “Age quake” in industrialized country — more older
        people in industrial world than youth; more youth in undeveloped world
  • 2. Strategic Resource Management
    • Food
      • Need to be looking at issues that have change
        agricultural horizon
      • We currently have 800 million chronically
        undernourished people — can we feed 8 billion?
      • Doubling global food production
      • No limits to growth in agricultural productivity and
        water… yet

        • But, how much more usable land it there?
        • How much more water?
        • Effects of global warming?
    • Water
      • Imagine that all the world’s water was in one gallon…
        only two drops would be accessible fresh water.
      • 2025 – 3 billion face severe water shortages
      • One flush of a western toilet – one day of use of water
        in a developing country
      • Need twice the amount of water by 2050, and then 50%
        more for each generation after that
      • Mobilizing new and old technologies
      • Climate change will negatively affect our ability to
        deal with all of these factors
    • Energy
      • Transitioning away from oil will be the most difficult
        thing we can face
      • Reliance on hydrocarbons continues to increase more and
      • By 2025, US will still rely on 65-75% of oil
      • Developing world is using more and more oil, up to US
        levels by 2030
      • Can we continue with this same infrastructure,
        environmental impact, and geopolitical forces
  • 3. Technology Innovation and Diffusion
    • Computation
      • Deep computing
        • 467 trillion calculations per second
      • Pervasive computing
        • No longer a discrete experience
        • Information security
        • Personal privacy
    • Biotechnology
      • Human genome project allows us to think about what used
        to be impossible — personalized medicine
      • 120 year life span?
      • How do we regulate human cloning and the broader
        manipulation of the body?
      • Who will get to see these technologies and who will not
    • Nanotechnology
      • Nanotech is moving down to the molecular and atomic
      • Could have need for 2 million nanotech workers in near
  • 4. Information and Knowledge Creation and Dissemination
    • Global information and knowledge flow — the death of
    • Eroding prerogatives, redefining community, shattering
      established practices
    • Children today will go through a number of career
      changes; need to retool
    • Differentiating between learning and working — are they
      becoming the same thing?
    • Shorter life span of information — need to reeducate in
      order not to become stale
    • Thomas Friedman — The World is Flat — “innovate without
      having to emigrate”
    • What is right, what is wrong, what is true, what is false?
      • We choose our truth based on where we get our
      • Reduced decision times
      • More complex issues
      • Polarized positions
    • We need to be knowledge proficient
  • 5. Economic Integration
    • National Intelligence Council, “Mapping the Global Future”
      • 80% output growth to 2020
      • 50% growth in average per capita
    • “It is now possible to produce a product anywhere to be
      sold anywhere…”
    • Global economic output of industrialized countries has
      gone down while non-industrialized countries are going up
    • China increases to 129% of US output by 2050
    • Brazil, Russia, India, and China are beginning to
      overtake the G6
    • That said, 2.8 billion people live on less than $2 a day
      • 225 richest people in the world = combined annual
        earnings of 2.7 billion other people
  • 6. Conflict
    • How will terrorist groups use the information capacity?
    • Bioterrorism — anthrax and ricin attacks
    • Even in the context of this revolution, we need to find
      ways of retrofitting a cold war mentality in the new kinds of theaters
      that are occurring today.
  • 7. Governance
    • We are now beyond nation states, but one in which
      corporations and NGOs are taking a bigger role
    • 9 of the largest corporations would be in the top 50 GDPs
      of the world
    • How are new standards for corporations, moving beyond
    • Exponential growth in NGOs around the world
    • What does this mean?
      • Atomization
      • Dispersion
      • Fragmentation
    • Henry Kissinger — challenges now are different in that
      they are global and information is readily available to all
    • Innovative, dynamic coalitions
  • Conclusions
    • Promise and fulfillment or peril and danger
    • World of higher deviations
    • Hyper-promise and hyper-peril
    • Need Hyper Leadership
      • Promise, not Peril
      • Leaders, not Managers
      • Strategy, not Tactics
    • Lincoln — thinking and acting anew
    • Challenging future leaders

Naming and Knowledge-Making

This recent article from eSchool News caught my attention and gave me pause to think about the course I am designing for the fall, ENG 460.

Top News – Google unveils online reference tool

For better or worse, Wikipedia–the online reference site that lets anyone add to its ever-growing body of knowledge–has changed the nature of internet research. Now Google is taking the wraps off a free internet encyclopedia of its own, designed to give people a chance to show off–and profit from–their expertise on any topic.

The service, dubbed “knol” in reference to a unit of knowledge, had been limited to an invitation-only audience of contributors and readers for the past seven months.

Now anyone with a Google login will be able to submit an article and, if they choose, have ads displayed through the internet search leader’s marketing system. The contributing author and Google will share any revenue generated from the ads, which are supposed to be related to the topic covered in the knol.

My interest here is in trying to figure out what value “naming” the author of a “knol” has in comparison to the “anonymous collaborators” that compose Wikipedia entries. I am not so much interested in talking about the authority question, as the one knol that I read on toilet training (a topic of conversation in my house right now!) seemed to be authoritative — and it cited sources — but I couldn’t figure out anything about the author. Also, the main author can open up a knol to collaborators, but not just anyone can chime in. It seems like you retain copyright, too. Finally, one of the stated purposes of the project is to get different people posting knols on the same topic, so having the one, authoritative knol is not necessarily going to happen.

Oh, and it looks like you will eventually be able to serve Google ads on your knol to, I assume, make money.

So, I wonder what this new form of knowledge production will do to the idea of open content. People are free to spend their time and energy wherever they want, be it Wikipedia, Knol, or some other online community. But, I wonder what this idea of sharing one’s knowledge by authoring a knol will do for authors, readers, scholars, and others. By “naming” the author, and being able to verify their credentials, will we feel better about the information presented? Or, does the process that a Wikipedia article goes through still provide more of a peer review process that checks facts and clarifies ideas?

It will be interesting to see how Knol unfolds in the next few months. I may make it part of my students’ final project — post a knol on your topic of independent study. We’ll see how they react to that idea…

CMU Podcast Interview on Technology Literacy

Earlier this month, one of my students, Lynette Seitz, and I were interviewed by Heather Smith, CMU’s Assistant Director of Media Relations about technology literacy and our work in ENG 315 this semester.

I appreciate her invitation to record this podcast and it was wonderful to have Lynette’s voice in there, too, as a pre-service teacher who is thinking about incorporating digital writing into her classroom.

You can get the podcast through CMU’s channel in iTunes.

April Showers Bring Me Back from the Blogging Drought

March was like a lion for me… beginning, middle, and end. I wish there was a better excuse, but that’s the long and short of it. Conferences, prepping my portfolio for my annual review, teaching, grading, etc.

OK, enough of that.

My purpose tonight is to just capture some thinking on a presentation that Rob Rozema and I will give at the Bright Ideas Conference this weekend: Social Networking, Teacher Education, and the English Language Arts.

My main contribution to the presentation will be an annotated bibliography of sources on social networking in education. Here is what I have so far and I welcome any insights that you may have to add to this list. Feel free to comment here or jump right in and add something on the wiki:

Also, I am trying to think about how to discuss the idea of social networking. What I have found with my experiences in using any social technology is that the teacher really is key to making it work. Be it a discussion board, a blog, a wiki, or a social network, if the teacher talks the talk about using technology, yet doesn’t walk the walk, then it is likely that the students won’t follow.

On a related note, I often wonder about our efforts as teachers to adapt technologies that students are using for their own personal purposes and then connecting it to more academic purposes. In what ways does this co-opting of the technology change the use of it, for better and for worse? For instance, in the social network Rob and I set up this semester, I decided not to make it a “requirement” for my ENG 315 class, and I noticed that very few students have been active in the network as an extra curricular activity. What if I had made it a requirement? Would obligatory postings be worthwhile for students? Would the network have grown more in an organic manner, even though I required it to be fertilized?

As I prepare to present this weekend, these thoughts continue to roll around in my head. In some ways, I don’t even know that I consider myself a proficient user of social networks, as I am in a number of Ning, Facebook, and other groups, yet rarely participate in any meaningful way. I am just wondering how the norms of social networking map on to the academic life of a university faculty member, let alone K-12 teachers and students. I know that they can (as the examples above show), but I am still struggling to make it work for my students.

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Meme: Passion Quilt

Kevin tagged me to continue Miguel‘s Passion Quilt meme.

Cool! Given that I have been reading about memes in Lankshear and Knobel’s New Literacies, this was timely.

So, here goes:

Images from my ENG 315: Writing in the Elementary Schools Courses, Spring 2008

Why these images? Well, they highlight some of the conversations that we have been having this semester in ENG 315 about the teaching of writing. As I view these images, I am reminded both of how much I enjoy teaching teachers how to teach writing and how much these students learn over the course of a semester as they work together in class, assist in local schools, and become writers themselves. I am very much looking forward to their final projects in just a few short weeks of class.

All right, now for the fun part. Miguel provides three simple Meme rules:

  • Post a picture from a source like FlickrCC or Flickr Creative Commons or make/take your own that captures what YOU are most passionate about for kids to learn about…and give your picture a short title.
  • Title your blog post “Meme: Passion Quilt” and link back to this blog entry.
  • Include links to 5 folks in your professional learning network or whom you follow on Twitter/Pownce.

And the five people that I am inviting in to the meme:


Beginning to Think About Fall 2008 Courses

It is just barely spring break here (well, break at least, if not spring) and I am already turning my attention somewhat to the fall. I have been asked to adapt two existing CMU courses into ones focusing on digital writing. Here is what I have come up with so far:

ENG 460 – Current Issues in English: 21st Century Literacies

The study of English continues to evolve in the twenty-first century, based on changes in information communication technologies and the underlying social relations that they allow. Students in this course will explore print, oral, visual, digital, and critical literacies such as blogging, social networking, web-based collaborative writing, and multimedia authoring in relation to their own inquiry projects.

For this course, the main goal seems to be that students create a final research project, a capstone to their English major. So, I hope to attract students who are moderately interested in technology so that we can hit the ground running. I imagine that this group would go through many of the same steps that I am going through with my ENG 315 students this spring (starting a blog, wiki, and social network) and that they would quickly organize themselves around affinity groups. I would take special care to teach them about tools that would be useful in researching (social bookmarking, Zotero, Google Notebook, Scribe Fire) and the topics would largely remain their own, although I am sure that they would be influenced somewhat by the readings and technologies.

I am not sure what to use as a reading collection for this course (or the one below, for that matter). Right now, I am leaning towards only using open access journals and other web resources. Somehow, I want to use the MacArthur series on digital learning, although that could come in to play more in the other course.

Also, the main goal for students is to develop a quality research project, and I would act as a coach for that project. Thus, I need to think about a book that talks about research, yet in a way that makes it engaging and interesting. Right now, I am leaning towards The Craft of Research, although I don’t know if that is too “grad studentish” and if their might be something better for advanced undergrads.

ENG 402 – Rhetoric and Argumentation: Digital Rhetoric

By examining the histories, communities, and designs of digital spaces, this course will relate the rhetorical tradition of argumentation to contemporary rhetorics enabled by information communication technologies. Students will develop multimodal arguments based on issues such as online identity, the digital divide, intellectual property rights, gaming, civic engagement, and online communities.

For this course, I am going to build off the work of my dissertation director and mentor, Danielle DeVoss. She has an outstanding course in Digital Rhetoric already designed, and I would like to follow her lead in terms of the general direction of the course and the overall outcomes. As I mentioned above, I feel strongly that as much of the course material as possible will be open access, so I want to use the MacArthur series as touchstone for the units in this course.

I am also thinking about doing a digital literacy autobiography in this course, utilizing digital storytelling as a means for accomplishing that goal. Bonnie Kaplan and I are already talking about that. Also, I think that it will be important for this class especially (and maybe the 460 group, too), to be thinking about design issues. I just got the third edition of Robin Williams’ Non-Designers Design Book (with color!), and I am leaning heavily towards having my students investing in that text for this course.

Clearly, I will have to do some additional thinking for both of these courses in the months to come. If you have ideas about how I can make these courses stronger, I would really appreciate hearing them.

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Brown Bag Presentation: Multiliteracies in Composition

Last Friday, I was invited to lead a “brown bag” session for my English department’s composition program. Titled “Multiliteracies in Composition,” we focused our pre-reading on an article about a second-year college composition course developed at Michigan Tech called “Revisions.” Details can be found in the following article:

Lynch, Dennis A., and Anne Frances Wysocki. “From First-Year Composition to Second-Year Multiliteracies: Integrating Instruction in Oral, Written, and Visual Communication at a Technological University.WPA: Writing Program Administration 26.3 (2003): 149-171.

We began by watching the Richard Miller’s presentation: The Future is Now. This presented us with a variety of challenging questions about how we might pursue such a vision of the “new humanities” at CMU, including discussions about professional development, our beliefs about the changing nature of literacy, and how, if at all, a shift in our curriculum would happen in the time frame that Lynch and Wysocki describe from their context.

We then continued in small groups with a jig saw reading, where groups posted 2-3 responses or question in their own page on my wiki. After a watching Wikis in Plain English, they understood the basics of posting and were able to see how using a wiki could allow for multiple groups to post their work and then quickly share it with the class. The conversation continued in a large group discussion, including some emerging questions:

  • What do students need in terms of literacy in a changing world?
  • How do multiliteracies relate to technology and communications?
  • What does the multi-disciplinary approach do for departments? What about specialization?
  • If everyone talks the same language, do we have our own specialties?
  • What does this mean for us in terms of the course? Content? Writing?
  • Faculty-only vs. Graduate Assistants–How is this possible or feasible at our University?
  • What does this look like across the curriculum? Is it sustainable?
  • What about assessment? Individual? Groups? Programmatic?
  • Is there still a need for traditional comp courses? Don’t you still need a first year comp?
  • How does the continuing focus in professional organizations on 21st century lliteracies contribute to this discussion (last week’s NCTE statement on the future of composition), both for college and life?
  • What would the writing center need to/be expected to do?
  • Does this perpetuate a two-tiered society, a Gutenberg in reverse?
  • How do we support faculty in these collaborations?
  • Is the resistance about learning to do old things with new technologies or really coming to understand a new paradigm that the new technologies allow?

We ended with Michael Wesch and his students’: A Vision of Students Today, and just in time for a sunny mid-winter drive home. All told, it was a timely and lively discussion for our department, and I appreciated having the opportunity to facilitate the session. Given the release of the 2008 Horizon Report, it seems as though we are constantly reminded that things continue to change. I hope that this session serves as a spark that continues into further conversations about multiliteracies in composition later this semester.

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An Update on Blogging, Podcasting, and Wikiing with Pre-Service Teachers

January has been a busy month for me as I have been coordinating field placements for my ENG 315 students and we have begun exploring the use of blogs, wikis, podcasts, and RSS in our teaching lives. When we began this work a few short weeks ago, only a handful of these pre-service teachers had heard of a wiki or a podcast, fewer still knew about RSS, some had a general idea about blogs, and none of them were thinking about how these tools would translate into the teaching of writing in their classrooms. So, we started slow, and now things are moving along quite well.

The second week, we downloaded Portable Apps, and I explained my rationale for why would use these tools — both because they are free and open source as well as the idea that they need to be able to take their data with them. We also started setting up our blogs, and discussed the Common Craft video on blogs, thinking about implications for our classrooms and personal learning. The third week, we turned our attention to understanding RSS and reading each other’s blogs. This week, we set up our Google Readers, and I am now challenging them to begin using RSS reading in their professional responses.

So far, this process is going fairly smoothly and I do not feel that I am detracting from the “content” of the course by focusing on the technologies. In fact, I feel that they are helping me get some ideas across even better. For instance, it is one thing to encourage them to read each other’s blogs; it is quite another to provide them with a combined feed of everyone in their class and invite them to read, through their Google Reader, everyone’s posts. I will be building in some time for people to read and comment each week, as their reading of other blog posts will help them activate their brains for our class discussions.

Also, I am finding that they are all having “aha” moments as we move forward. Some are seeing connections to other classes an projects, and I think that they are all starting to see the ways in which we can connect with one another. For instance, one student explained how she immediately subscribed to all her friend’s blogs and, while it wasn’t purely academic, that solidified in her mind the power of RSS to gather information. In a time where we take for granted that all of our students understand so much about the web intuitively, it is good to know that we can talk about these technologies in relation to the teaching of writing and that they can begin to see some new connections.

Next up, we will be working with Rob Rozema’s class at GVSU to post our “This I Believe” essays to a Ning social network and get comments across classes. Then, after spring break, digital stories. As we continue on in the semester, I am looking forward sharing more ideas. It is interesting to compare the snapshots of two generations of teachers that I am seeing this semester — the pre-service students and the in-service teachers in Project WRITE — and compare how they are engaging with similar technologies in different ways. I feel as if with the pre-service teachers, they can pick up on the technology quickly once it is introduced, yet the conversations about pedagogy are still emerging. for the in-service teachers, we are able to talk about pedagogy very easily, but only after very thorough discussions of how and why to use the technology.

The differences are clear and makes me even more aware of the generational gap that must be happening as new teachers enter schools. They are very excited about the technology, yet can’t talk about it in pedagogically sophisticated ways. Veteran teachers are, as they should be, very concerned about pedagogy. This dichotomy makes me wonder how we can get everyone speaking the same language and beginning to think more about the pedagogy and the technology at the same time, regardless of age or experience. Then, we need to layer in discussions of literacy for everyone, because those are not present yet.

More teaching to be done, for sure and it is a great deal of fun in additional to a continual pedagogical challenge.

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Video Welcome for the Semester

Things are underway for the semester — I am looking forward to teaching ENG 315 again, and I made this quick video to welcome students to the class.

My daughter helped a bit, too. Enjoy!

PS — If anyone can help me figure out why I can’t embed YouTube videos in WordPress, that would be very helpful!

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