giovedì 14 maggio 2009

I'm here!!

Hi everybody!! First of all… all my apologies!! I’ve been missing lessons for some days and I didn’t “feed my child” as I promised to do in my very first post!! I had some problems… nothing serious… and now here I am again. I’m ready to start reflecting and doing my homework! I think I should begin with E-tivity 8... “Online Identity theft”, right?
This is one of the most discussed issues on TV and on the Internet… I have always been “obsessed” by the idea of somebody stealing someone else’s personal bits of information for illicit purposes!! There are so many ways that potential identity thieves can get your personal information. One of these for example is stealing your mail or search for personal information in your rubbish; so one way to avoid this could be tearing all your letters, receipts etc… into tiny pieces before throwing them away. I’ve always paid a lot of attention to this “annoying, but necessary” procedure… So keep all your personal information in a secure spot!! Shield your pin number when entering it into the cash machines to prevent card cloning or skimming! I always repeat these things to myself!! And pay a lot of attention when you are online of course!! Do I care about these things? Yes I do. As I’ve told you before, I’m quite obsessed about this! It could really make you paranoid, let's hope not, but it should at least make you aware and cautious! Online things may seem to be more complicated… The Internet is a place where you can do anything; stop using the Internet is not the right solution. We should learn how to protect ourselves and how to develop a critical use of it! We should be careful about the data we share for example. What about me? I’m part of the fantastic world of Facebook users! It sounded great to me “being in touch” with people from my childhood!! It was fun and amusing, till I started receiving “friendship requests” from people never seen before, or comments on my wall which I would have preferred being private…but these are “common risks” of social network sites, right? Anyway I read the article by Adam Cohen on New York Times about the impossibility for its users to quit the site and erase their personal information. I’ve disappeared from Facebook for a while, but then I found out (reading articles on the web) that my personal data were stored. Finally I came back to find that everything was exactly the way I left it…friends, wall messages, comments, mails etc…amazing! ;-) And nobody knew that “I’ve been away for a while”!! Thanks guys!! ;-) Anyway I tried to put privacy restrictions, but I don’t know if this works! My pictures and messages should be viewable by my friends only… I think!! I agree with A. Cohen when he say: ”It should be easy for users to disappear from a Web site that they have been part of, or simply to delete some information about themselves”. It’s fun being part of social networks, but when your mother has a look at your wall and tells you: “Do you have a good time in Padua, don’t you? (smiling maliciously) “…it’s quite embarrassing!!

mercoledì 22 aprile 2009


APA and MLA styles: I know these acronyms only now. We should avoid plagiarism so we should follow some basic rules. APA stands for “American Psychological Association” and as I read on the website suggested by our teacher, it is commonly used to cite sources within the social sciences. MLA stands for “Modern Language Association” and it is commonly used to refer to every type of text. APA and MLA are two styles that provide all the rules to write in-text citations, endnotes/footnotes and the reference pages. Only now I’m able to realize that I have always undervalued these important things. I have always created a reference list, but I’ve never followed precise rules. The main difficulty is related to the accuracy you have to gain in writing your bibliografy and in making your references. Now I’m working on the article I chose…next Thursday I will be able to share my opinions with my “collegues”...

My conclusion is...?!?

The writer Charles Bukowsky once stated: “Genius might be the ability to say a profound thing in a simple way”. I totally agree with him. People believes that using a complex language often means that you are a genius, or that you are writing or telling something important. Well, academic texts are often hard to follow. This is not always true of course, but it could happen to read a text and think: “uhhmm, and the conclusion is…?”. I read the materials provided in “Handout 2” and I re-read my blog posts to see if I respected the structure “introduction-body-conclusion”and if I was clear enough. Then I compared my posts to those written by an academic researcher who reflects on PLE.
Well, I think I always provided an introduction introducing the topic in the form of questions. I prefer to use the direct form because a blog post is different from other way of writing; a blog post is usually published to create a direct contact with “the community”. On the contrary, giving a good, precise and clear conclusion is always an hard task for me to do. I think all my blog posts lack of a logical close. Now, if I compare my blog posts to those I read in “the academic blog” I chose, I can see many differences! He respects the structure “introduction-body-conclusion”; he uses a simple language and his discussions are always easy to follow. He pays a lot of attention to give references, he provided useful web links and he tries to give logical answers and good suggestions to the comments posted by the visitors.

Pay attention!

“Plagiarism comes from the Latin term “plagium” that means “to kidnap”. So if you plagiarize, you’re kidnapping and stealing others’ work and intellectual property. In the dictionary you can read that Plagiarism can be defined as “the use or close imitation of the language and ideas of another author and the representation of them as one's own original work”. In the academic world, plagiarism can result in punishments; you could be expelled too! I tried to reflect on the reason why students could plagiarize others’ work… With the accessibility of new technology (the Internet) students can plagiarize by copying and pasting information from other sources. When you are supposed to do a research, write an article, essay or your thesis, you should pay attention to each source of information. You have to pay credit when credit is due and you have to avoid plagiarism. Students can unintentionally plagiarize because they get confused; they have poor notes; they may be lazy or intellectual unprepared, or simply they don’t know how to correctly reference sources. The question of students’ choices of sources is a very important issue for another reason: copying and pasting from other sources can prevent students to develop a critical approach and to tell things without using their own “voice”. Furthermore, students may choose sources which are inappropriate, off-topic, or contain incorrect information. Anyway the things you have to bear in mind to avoid plagiarism are: - do not use without referencing the source or including the information in quotation marks and - do not use someone’s ideas without referencing the source.

Bad habits are hard to eliminate

The first thing I post today is “my list” of the typical errors we make when writing. I read the linguistic feedbacks provided by our teacher to group 3 and 7 and here it is my list: “OF”, over-used preposition in Italian and under-used in English; “USEFUL FOR”, this adjective is followed by “for” and if there is a verb, it’s in the –ing form; “THAT and WHICH”, relative clauses; “COULD vs WAS ABLE TO”, general ability vs specific situation; “COMMAS after subordinators”; “quite LONG SENTENCES that should be simplyfied” and the use of the article “THE”.
I accepted the “challenge” and I went back and see if I was able to correct my own blog posts. Well… it’s a difficult task, but very useful for us since we are expected to make improvements in accuracy. I decided to compare my first blog posts to the last ones. Some “bad habits” still resist ( quite long sentences that should be shortened; for ex. In my last post about the evaluation of the sources of information, my “stream of consciousness” about the “authority” is a bit confused. Now I pay more attention to prepositions, but maybe it’s “exploring on Google” ( I wrote exploring Google blogs…), right?. Uhmmm… I try to correct myself, but I’m not sure of my own corrections :-(...

domenica 5 aprile 2009

In my opinion...

And the question of the day is: "what do you consider when evaluating online sources of information?", "what criteria do you use to judge information sources?". Last wednesday, in class, we made a list in groups of 3-4 people about the criteria we use to make judgements when we search online. We all came up with these considerations: -author (who is the author? Someone known? Someone who could be considered authoritative?); -date of publication (i think this is really important, above all when when you need updated material); -content (what can be said about the content, context, style, structure, completness and accuracy of the information provided by the source?). But the most important question that should be asked is: why was the information provided by the source published? Who is the intended audience? Is anything being sold? Whenever you do researches, be it in the library or online, you have to ask yourself why that information is published. You should always take a hard look to what you're reading, watching or listening to and try to develop a personal opinion about everything. I think that "an authoritative voice", "someone known", should be "the author" you choose to take into consideration when evaluating online sources of information, but sometimes, it could be preferable to follow the voice behind that "authority", because this could be a more reliable source of information. It could be more relevant to your information needs, or it could offer you a different perspective, a different point of view.
Exploring "Google blogs", we searched for the phrase "personal learning environment" and I had a look to the blog of a researcher who investigates what PLEs are meant to be and where they might be going. I read his article, written after tracking conversations in the blogosphere and following social bookmarking. He stressed the importance of using the dynamic services such as instant messagging, online forum and weblog conversation for enabling personal growth and learning. I agree...

lunedì 30 marzo 2009


For the joy of her students, every week our teacher makes us explore different tools that could help us to use the Internet for our learning and searches....Though some of us (and this is my case...) seem to be really scared of technologies (but we really don't know why...), we always try to do our best (well, not always indeed...I still feel "that little snap on my face"...) and this week it's been the "social bookmarking" turn!! Where do you start when you search on-line?... This is the fundamental question... Well, I'm used to choosing a keyword on Google and if I'm lucky, I soon get what I'm looking for. But, suppose you're not home and you don't have the chance to work on your personal computer, but you want to save on-line... Before discovering I used to paste my stuff on a Word doc and send it to my e-mail address! Now, somewhere, somehow... Delicious has been created to make your life easier!! "It is a social bookmarking"; it works like Google, but it's a smaller community. It allows you to tag, save, manage and share web pages all in one place! You can bookmark any site on the Internet and get it from anywhere. You can share your bookmarks and get bookmarks in return, also through your personal network. That's what I did with Federica and Mario. Mario posted sites on manga, music etc... After a coffee and cigarette with Jimi Hendrix, I decided to have a look to one of Federica's choices: "Farvo: the pronunciation guide". During my week lessons, I've noticed I still have little problems with my pronunciation... so having a look to this site could be useful for me... I can train myself with the pronunciation of those English sounds such as "th" which are unknown in my native language.