Can The Network Deliver?

Ok, here’s a little test of network theory.

Some background. On February 14 this year, I asked my beautiful partner Linda to marry me. She said yes. Yay! So we are planning a wedding. In fact we are planning two weddings, one in Canada and one in Australia. As you can imagine, there’s a fair bit of expense involved in doing that.

Then a couple of weeks ago, Linda spotted a contest on Facebook where you submit a photo or short video, and get people to vote for you. As most of you know, I haven’t always been very complimentary about my Facebook experiences, but just to support Linda I reactivated my dead account so I could cast a few votes.

Long story short, we’ve ended up doing ok in this contest, in fact for much of the last few weeks we were leading. Unfortunately, right now we are not leading, and have dropped back into third place. The people in number two spot will, I assume, get disqualified since they have submitted copyrighted material, so I’m not too worried about them. But the people in first place are on a real burn and are adding votes VERY quickly…

Normally, I’d just shrug it off and say it’s all just a bit of fun. No reason to take it too seriously. But the first prize is $10,000. Yes $10,000! I probably don’t need to tell you just how helpful that would be for making wedding plans!

So here’s what I’m asking – partly because I’d obviously really like us to win, and partly because I’m really curious to see just how much a network of people like you guys might respond to a request like this.

Could you vote for us. Please. I look at it this way… we are trailing by about 1100 votes. According to Feedburner, this blog has about 1100 subscribers. If each of you voted just once we would be back in the race. If each of you voted twice, we would be hard to beat. If each of you voted just three times, we would be planning the wedding(s) that Linda deserves.

So what do you say? Would you vote for us? Please?

Here’s the link… http://goo.gl/QRN3u

Yes, you need to be a Facebook user, and yes you need to Like the page temporarily to cast a vote. But it’s easy and quick. And you can vote once each hour, as many times as you like. Just 2 or 3 votes from each of you would make a huge difference.

I’d REALLY be grateful. And I’d love to be able to tell this story about how, when I needed it, the network really delivered.

Thanks!

PS. I should mention the contest closes at midnight on Saturday March 31 (Sydney time). So if you want to help us out, just be aware that you’ve only got a short window of time to do it.

Merry Christmas

As we celebrate Christmas and 2010 draws to a close, here’s a little video to make you smile.

Special Christmas wishes to everyone who has been part of my world for the last 12 months.  It’s been a wonderful year, full of learning, fun, travel, meeting interesting people, connecting with my network, and sharing ideas with each other.  I’ve had the good fortune to do some travelling this year and met many wonderful folk in person that I’ve only ever known online, as well as meeting a whole of great new people, and that’s been a real highlight for me.  You know who you are, and I feel so much richer for it.  Thanks!  

I feel like 2010 has been an amazing year of connecting with others, and it’s been incredibly rewarding on many levels.  To everyone who has left comments on the blog, connected via Twitter or Facebook or Skype or email or the many other ways we have of being connected (including face to face of course!), thank you… those connections mean a great deal to me.

Hope you all have a great Christmas with your families and friends, and that 2011 will be a great year for you.

Love, Chris

Thanks to ExcentricPT on YouTube for excellent video!

Happy New Year

Hope 2010 is a great year for you all!

This photo is made of three separate images stitched together with Photoshop.  It’s the calm before the fireworks storm!  I thought it turned out quite well considering I didn’t have a tripod and was just leaning up against the wall to hold the camera steady on a 4 second/f3.5 setting.

CC photo by betchaboy
http://www.flickr.com/photos/betchaboy/4233820172/

Insightful

Thanks to yet another bloody good idea from my mate Mr Robbo, I was inspired to do the same thing he did…

This is a Wordle tag cloud that gives an overview of the general zeitgeist of Betchablog.  It analyses the words used in my blog posts and presents them in various sizes according to their frequency of use – the more often the word occurs, the bigger it appears – giving a nice insight into the main ideas contained in the text.  It’s a neat little tool, and I’ve used it to create word clouds for lots of text in the past, but oddly enough, I’d never actually used it to analyse this blog.  Overall, I think it’s a pretty good reflection of what gets talked about here (although I think the word “amazing” may be just slightly over-represented thanks to a certain recent blog post that mentioned it once or twice!) I’m not sure exactly just how far back in time it goes… I’m sure it didn’t analyse all the way back to when I started this blog, but either way, I like it!

If you want to try something similar, just point your browser at www.wordle.net and give it the URL for your blog (or any other chunk of text)  Thanks to a little bit of Java magic, in mere moments, you too can have a similarly beautiful typographic masterpiece!

Thanks for the suggestion @mrrobbo!

Dinner for 1600

Those Kiwis know how to throw a dinner party!  As part of the wrapup of ULearn09, the organisers held a huge party with a terrific band, amazing special effects and atmosphere, plenty of dancing, and of course catering dinner for 1600+ people!  The amount of organising that goes into something like this is mind boggling!

Photos are from the public Flickrstream using the tags ulearn09 + dinner.  If you have photos you’d like to add, just tag them with these words and they’ll appear in the feed.

ULearn 09, Day 1

Photo by @allanahk
Photo by @allanahk

So here I am in Christchurch, New Zealand for Ulearn 09, certainly one of the biggest Ed Tech conferences in NZ, and probably one of the biggest in the southern hemisphere I would think. It’s a education conference that I’ve wanted to attend for the last few years, having only ever heard good things about it, but for whatever reason I just haven’t been able to get here for it.  This year was different, and after hearing how good it was from my work colleague, @sirchriss, I was very keen to get here. Fortunately, a number of Australian educators were sponsored to attend the event this year and I was lucky enough to have my presentation submissions accepted, so here I am.

It really is a beautiful part of the world, and Christchurch is a very attractive city.  The conference itself is quite large, with close to 2000 delegates, 400+ workshops and presentations, 150 support staff and over 60 vendors.  The logistical effort to plan and host a conference of this scale is significant and the organisers do an amazing job.

I got up early enough this morning to attend the Powhiri, a kind of Maori welcoming ceremony.  I’m constantly struck by the energy and pride of the Maori people, and think it’s wonderful that the two cultures of New Zealand, the traditional and the contemporary, exist together in such harmony and respect for each other.  This is a country that really values their indigenous people.

But mainly, today has been full of meeting people. Many of them for the first time (although I felt like I’ve known many of them for a long time.) I bumped into @janenicholls at the Powhiri, and then during the day I kept meeting more and more people who looked just like their Twitter avatars. “Hey, you’re @moodlegirl!” or “Hey, you’re @keamac!”, “Hey you’re @dwenmoth!”, etc, etc. Then of course there was the reconnecting with people I have met before, people like @rachelboyd, @allanahk and @dragon09. I also attended the unconference session in the afternoon at Boaters, where I got to meet many others and to take part in some powerful conversations.  I really enjoyed the unconference – really just a very informal gathering to chat about whatever topics came up – and I got a lot out of it.

After the unconference, I met up with Matt from Core-Ed to record a short video interview as part of the Edtalks series.  This is another terrific NZ initiative, and involves recording short video interviews with leading teachers about some of the things they are doing with technology to make learning more engaging for the kids they teach. Over time the Edtalks video library has grown to become a valuable collection of good ideas and best practice for other teachers, and it was a bit of an honour to be asked to make a contribution to it.

Tonight, I went to the dinner with about 40 other conference folk, where I met still more people that looked a lot like their avatars.  More conversations, more great ideas exchanged, more opportunities to hear about how other people approach this incredible job called teaching. Likewise, I had a few people say to me today, “Hey, you’re @betchaboy!” as though there was almost a sense of celebrity to it for them. It’s really, really weird. After having a day full of these “Hey, you’re @that_person” moments, it made me think about how funny it is that we have these little “celebrity” moments when we meet someone that we’ve only ever know from the online world, especially if it’s just from reading their blogs, following them on Twitter or hearing their podcasts. I mean, we are all “just” teachers, and yet there is that glimmer of excitement when meeting each other for the first time.

It reminded me of an Intel ad currently screening on TV back in Australia, where Ajay Bhatt, the co-inventor of the USB, walks into a room full of “fans”. The ad concludes with a great one liner that kind of sums up the experience I had in meeting people today… I won’t ruin the line by telling you what it is, you can watch it for yourself…

Andy Warhol once said that everyone will get their 15 minutes of fame.  Maybe with the rise of global social networks, extensive personal learning networks and the notion of “celebrity” now existing way out on the edge of the long tail, we’ll all just want to get our 15 minutes of obscurity instead?

Looking forward to Day 2 tomorrow…

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Good Learning for a Good Cause

Adobe Master Class

If you live in Sydney, want to know more about the cool things you can do with Adobe’s CS4 Creative Suite products, and would like to support a really worthwhile cause at the same time, you might like to check out this Adobe Creative Suite Master Class.

The event is running on September 30 from 9:00am to 4:00pm at the Zenith Theatre in Chatswood. It’s being run by the folk at Adobe’s Sydney offices, and all the time, energy, marketing and facilities to run this event have been donated, so quite literally ALL the proceeds will go to the Cancer Council Australia.  Cancer is a terrible disease, and you don’t have to look very far to find someone you know – maybe even yourself – whose lives have been touched by it.

If you’d like to attend, you can book using this form.  If you want a copy of the invitation as a PDF (so you can help spread the word) let me know and I’ll email you one.

Hope some of you are able to attend. Take a look at the list of topics covered during the day and you’ll have to agree that it will be a pretty awesome day of learning and creating. For $100 you get some excellent software training, while supporting a very worthwhile cause.