Blog Flux LinkLog: Outgoing Link Logging and Click Tracking for Em duas línguas

Monday, October 31, 2005

An identity boost

Feeling fragmented and depressed about who I am and where I'm going I spent most of the weekend tidying up my webpage. It's a very therapeutic process and I must remember it for next time.

Friday, October 28, 2005


My research, my work, my identity aren't relevant at the Higher Education Institute where I work. I know because it's been to the Concelho Ciêntifico three times. No-one on the Conselho Ciêntifico has read either my proposal or any of my publications. It's not irrelevant because of the content (in the area of communication and learning in online communities) it's irrelevant because I'm an English teacher. Our school (of business) doesn't need English teachers with a PhD.

That's what the esteemed Conselho Ciêntifico said five years ago. The second time they rejected it because it had already been deemed irrelevant and therefore could not be reviewed. And the third time (I am persistant) after a debate of an hour and a half it was decided that, for procedural reasons, my doctorate could not even be an agenda item. Never.

I thought I had managed to get rid of the my depression and cynicism. It has cost me a lot on a personal level as well as financially, family and career-wise as I struggle to do it without any reduction in hours or financial or institutional support.

But now we have Bolonha. And now I'm being asked to take on the task of presenting the idea and supporting colleagues with teaching portfolios. In the final phase of writing up my doctorate I'm being asked to "pull together" because ... um ... because my work is irrelevant?

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

What am I turning into?

I must get over 90% of my intellectual and cultural stimulation through print and communities in my online world. Online is where I learn to improve my practice - teaching, researching, writing, putting on events - and it's where most of my social interaction takes place.

Surely not everyone in Setúbal is plugged into the computer! Where is everyone else getting theirs from?

Tuesday, October 25, 2005

BTT in East Timor

Cycling alone in the Serra de Arrábida today I felt saudades for my two friends, vizinhos and companheiros with whom I normally go on passeios and do BTT. Both are working in East Timor for the Portuguese government, starting an Escola Secundária - so their cycling route has now changed! They are both keeping blogs and have some great photos of their experience. São em Timor works with teachers in districts all over the island and João in Por entre semsos is based in Dili.

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Faltas and (in)sucesso

I went to the reunião dos pais (parents' meeting) of my son on Friday. There were five of us parents sitting at desks in front of the blackboard and Director de Turma. For fifteen minutes he described the instalações, refeitório, biblioteca and school cleaning arrangements and then on to the new regulations now governing teachers.

The third item on the agenda generated most discussion as it was about assiduidade and faltas, and the system for faltas justificadas ou injustificadas (justified or not justified reasons for missing class). Understanding this is important because a crucial factor for passing the year (for my son and his classmates) is carefully managing the classes you attend - or not - in full appreciation for the intricate rules for faltas. "You don't understand" he says to pacify me when I get mad that he missed a class "I haven't nearly reached my full quota of faltas yet."

I got excited when the Director started talking about the new system for extra sessions in different disciplines. My son's true vocation is to be a philosopher but his philosophy teacher doesn't like his questioning attitude. I had naively thought the extra lessons were for students who wanted to push the bounds of their knowledge even further, but no, they are another bandaid for combatting o tal insucesso.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Blogopedia em portugues

Paulo Querido has started a Blogopedia for blogs in Portuguese. Great idea. I wonder how many posts I have to write in Portuguese to qualify. More than 50% perhaps? I might open a section there for the nusu-nusu ("half-half" in Swahili). I shall call it no limiar. He does, after all, say it's for todos.

"ENCICLOPÉDIA DO BLOGGING. Já abriu a Blogopedia, uma enciclopédia de blogues e autores, artigos, eventos e o que mais adiante se verá. Nasce inspirada pelo 2º Encontro de Weblogs, afilhada da Wikipedia (cujo software adoptou, bem como parte da filosofia) e está aberta à colaboração de todos. Todos."

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Quick notes from Monica

Some quick notes in English by Mónica André who participated in the II Encontro de Weblogs and who lead the session on Weblogs in the organisational context.

Women bloggers - a different story

The results of a study presented at the II Encontro de Weblogs at Universidade da Beira Interior say that there is a balance between blogs written by men and by women.

But there is a different story told by Bomba Intellegente, "blogue de Carla .... " who signs herself "Charlotte". It's the story she told at a seminar about women bloggers Falar de blogs no feminino.

In the beginning she refused the invitation to speak at something that made the distinction between blogs written by men and blogs written by women. But in the end accepted. As she didn't know what to say about women bloggers and what motivated them she just told her own story. She started her blog in fun, choosing the nickname Charlotte which means the same as Carla as she explained in her early blog posts. Except for a strange cat Varandas who sometimes appears on her posts she never uses other characters in her blog. Her blog entries are an exagarated version of her day-to-day life.

Then, the day she published a short audio-clip on her blog, she received a series of e-mails from her regular blog readers apologising for the fact that they had always assumed she was a man.

Then for the second insult. She appeared on film as the author of her blog. And for a second time received a load of e-mails from readers apologising becuase they had alwyas thought she must be someone around 50 or 60 years old.

As she says, there is nothing in the blog of Bomba Intelligente that suggests she is a sixty year old male called Carlos Manuel who signs himself Charlotte ...

Her story tells me a lot more than the findings of a study which claims that there is a trend for equal number of male and female bloggers. And I would be interested to find out on what basis they came to that conclusion.

Translating every post

Pachalafaka is the blog of a "Portuguese guy moves to Istanbul, learns turkish and lives the new culture". He (Aziz) writes his blog in Portuguese, English and Turkish. His reflections on his experience interest me. He says:

"I usually write in and then translate into the other 2 languages. Between EN and PT things are preetty much the same although I don't worry about doing the exact tranlation. With TR the text is limited by my knowledge of the language, not by what I think I should write for a turkish reader. Actually reading my turkish is usually a comic experience for those who know the language!
I started this bog 1 year ago in EN, later I decided to write in TR mainly to force myself to practice the language, and since I would spend 20 mins translating to TR (that's how long it takes), I decided I could also spend 2 minutes translating to PT.
This being said, I should also say that I'm thinking now about what I can change with my blog because writing it is a heavy task, I feel that I need to find an easier format where I can write more and faster.

"Normalmente escrevo o texto original em EN e traduzo para as outras 2 línguas. Entre EN e PT as coisas não mudam muito, apesar de eu não me esforçar muito em fazer uma tradução exacta. Com o TR as coisas são limitadas pelo meu conhecimento da língua, e não pelo que eu acho que devo escrever para o leitor turco. Na verdade quem lê o que escrevo em turco cai da cadeira de rir com as minhas calinadas!
Comecei por escrever este blog há 1 ano atrás em EN e depois decidi começar a escrever em TR principalmente para me foçar a praticar a língua, e já que tava numa de traduções decidi também escrever em PT. Se perco 20 minutos a traduzir pa turco (ya, 20 minutos!) também posso perder 2 minutos a escrever em PT ( ok, esta tradução já vai em 3... )
Também tenho de acrescentar que ultimamente tenho andado a pensar no que posso alterar no blog para aliviar um bocado as coisas, sinto que tenho de encontrar um formato onde consiga escrever mais e mais rápido."

Weblogs and Teaching

Or rather, "How to neutralise the discourse about a potentially transformative and empowering learning tool".

Back to the II Encontro de Weblogs and a translation of the conclusions from workgroup on Weblogs and Teaching.

"In the concrete example of teaching Rogério Santos, responsible for the blog Indústrias Culturais talked of blogs as a form of communication between teachers and students. Of the blogs connected to Higher Education, Rogério Santos cited, amont others, Ponto Media, Jornalismo e Comunicação, JornalismoPortoNet Weblog, Aula de Jornalismo, Espaço Público e o NetFM. As well as the issues related to teaching these are also spaces for public discussion about the media and journalism, for example.

"Many of these blogs don't come as part of the Institution itself, which seems wrong to me", said Rogério Santos. "Blogs could be a way of promoting the University".

"Blogs allow the instant sharing of knowledge on the web. What's curious is that, normally, the most timid students share many more ideas through writing on a blog. Another advantage is the permanant availabilty (of the knowledge) for consultation and the possibility to assess progress over time. The teacher should show that participation on a blog will what is analysed. A lot of interactivity and collaboration is possible.

The blog should be just one tool used by students and professors, but not the only electronic tool."

An equal balance of men and women bloggers?????

Manuel Pinto presents the results of a study of bloggers in Portugal where the first finding is equal numbers of men and women: Tendência para o equilíbrio entre bloggers homens e mulheres

I'm looking at the photos on the blog of the Encontro de Weblogs. ALL BUT ONE of the participants APPEAR TO BE MALE?

Study of blogs in Portugal

I'm not at the "II Encontro de Weblogs" but I'm following its developments on their blog - and translating some bits.

Manuel Pinto (Jornalismo e Comunicação) e Leonel Vicente (Memória Virtual) presented the results of a study by Mediascópio who analyse media trends in Portugal. The general conclusions of the study are:
• There is an equal balance of men and women bloggers;
• A significant proportion of blogges have higher education;
• It's a phenomena that has lost its novelty appeal and is now cruising;
• Its a phenomena that involves a significant time of everyday life;
• Above all bloggers blog to speak from the soul and to share ideas, but also the blogosphere is a place for informing and intervening in society;
• In relation to media professionals the blogosphere is complementary rather than an alternative.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

The first day of the blog conference

Here is the conference blog to the II Encontro de Weblogs in Portugal. And this is a translation of "First Impressions" of the conference blog entry:

"The opening session began after the first work group meetings, with the presence of Mário Raposo, vice-rector of UBI, Paulo Serra, presendent of the Departamento de Comunicação e Artes, João Canavilhas, organiser of the initiative and Ricardo de Araújo Pereira (Gato Fedorento). The very funny talk of the latter highlighted the connection established between blogs and democracy. Ricardo de Araújo Pereira sees blogs as "a complement to democracy itself", a way that people give their opinion through writing."

Earlier this year I participated at the BlogHer conference in Santa Clara, US where I felt removed from the frantic pace of technologies and drama around blogs. But I also feel far removed from a blogging community so painfully stodgy as this one.

Hence, I busy myself dancing in between the two worlds (where two is a metaphor for more than one) - both peculiar and at home in both.

Friday, October 14, 2005

Three men on a stage

You might think that this picture comes from any one of the dull, regular "Sessões de Abretura" that I am so familiar with.

But no, it's the opening session of The Blog Conference at the Universidade da Beira Interio. Well, let's just say I don't feel too sad about missing the first day, at least.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Falar de blogs no feminino

The Portuguese editors, Almedina, are hosting a discussion about women bloggers, what they talk about, what motivates them, who reads them, and the things particular to women:

Sobre que assuntos falam as mulheres na blogosfera? Que motiva as autoras dos blogues? Que dados têm sobre quem as lê? Haverá especificidades da intervenção das mulheres na blogosfera?

Almedina Atrium Saldanha - 13 de Outubro

Ciclo FALAR DE BLOGUES - «Falar de blogues no feminino»

Carla Quevedo, autora do blogue Bomba Inteligente. Jornalista.
Isabel Matos Ferreira, autora do blogue Miss Pearls.
Isabel Ventura, mestranda em Estudos sobre as Mulheres.
Patrícia Antoniete, co-autora do blogue brasileiro Megeras Magérrimas.

Organização: José Carlos Abrantes e Almedina

Almedina Atrium Saldanha
Atrium Saldanha, Loja 71, 2.º Piso

I am a global nomad

I was excited to read some stories by other "global nomads" today (thank you Nancy for the link). Global nomads have been brought up and lived in more than one culture - they are not people who have just gone to another country to work. In contrast I think many people in Portugal think of working abroad but always with the idea of returning "home". That is not a global nomad.

My pulse rate goes up when someone asks me "Did you go back to your terra this summer?" or when they say "Well, you British ... " or introduce me as "This is Beverly, she's Inglêsa" and I ican't always put my finger on why. So I appreciated Debra Carlson's explanation in WorldWeave. She writes:

"I think global nomads who don't like to be introduced by citizenship don't like it for two reasons. First, it doesn't adequately describe us. It renders invisible the multiplicity of our experience. It ignores the fact that who we are was shaped through exposure to more than one national culture and by the experience of international mobility.

"Second, it renders invisible the work we have done to develop a strong sense of identity as cultural marginals. Many of us first experienced our marginality in a significant way upon re-entry to our passport countries. We typically experienced it as something painful and encapsulating. It has taken hard work (even if only that of getting older and, we hope, wiser) to change our experience of marginality to one that is constructive."

And her reaction to the question "Where are you from?" is exactly mine.

"When I meet people and they ask me casually, "So, where are you from?" I always determine what level answer I want to share. There's the short story -- "Seattle." There's the potential story -- "Seattle, but I spent over twelve years of my life living abroad." And finally there's the all out response -- "I call Seattle home now, but I lived in Japan for ten years, Germany two years and spent a year and a half in the United Kingdom. I consider myself to be different parts of all these places and people." The struggle in answering the question "Where are you from?" is a common experience, and you don't want to waste time and breath on someone who doesn't really care." (my italics)

So if you ask me where I am from, you will always notice the pause as I try to discern which answer it is that you want.

Tags: ,

Monday, October 10, 2005

Insucesso e "desresponsabiliaçao"

It has become quite fashionable where I work to wear the badge of students with insuccesso. I would even go so far as to say that it is a sign of success by many lecturers to have a high taxa of students with insucesso. I liked João Vasconcelos Costa's posting in Apontamentos where he reports on the protests in the University of Minho about a course which has a failure rate of 79.5%. Like he says, even with a failure rate of 15% he has to ask himself if the assessment system is wrong or if he's not motivating the students etc. Not only is it too easy to lay all the blame on the students, but it's also a way of having to do something that seriously challenges the status quo, existing hierarchies and layer and layers of inefficiency and desresponsabilisação.

In his words: "Confrange-me ver ainda professores que reprovam tal percentagem de alunos e não se interrogam, por vezes até se comprazem. Como professor, fixei, com alguma arbitrariedade, a taxa de insucesso de 15% como a que admito sem me interrogar. Acima disto, alguma coisa está mal no meu ensino ou promoção da aprendizagem: falta de diálogo com os professores das disciplinas antecedentes, incapacidade minha de despertar o interesse pelo estudo, falta de meios de estudo, inadequação dos processos de avaliação, etc. Não quero usar aqui o chavão de 1975, segundo o qual o povo tem sempre razão, mas também nunca o oposto, neste caso, que os estudantes, uns mandriões, nunca têm razão."

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Technologies, gaps and language

I sat like a puding today ... all day .. in front of my computer, playing with new things related to blogs and technology. I can see that I'm going to have to update my blog.

My mind almost blows up, not when I feel accountable to communities who keep up to date with these technologies as a matter of course. Nor when I feel accountable to communities who don't know anything about them (nor have any idea of what they are missing). My mind blows up when I see the growing gap between these two communities I belong to.

And you don't stand a chance of keeping up if you can't read lots of text in English, let alone contribute.

My reality is that I have many third year business students in Portugal doing degrees in Marketing, Human Resources, Logistics and Management Information Systems, who tell me that they can't/don't read anything in English. And neither do they use new tecnnologies - except Google which they seem to see as a tool for capturing "answers" for their "works".

The wires in my brain start short-circuiting again.

Friday, October 07, 2005

Learning how to order stationery

I could have spent time today on one of my international, innovative, pedagogic entrepreneurial projects. Round here those are the buzzwords that everyone nowadays aspires to.

But no, instead I chose to study the ten page document teaching us the regulations for ordering stationery. In terms of my survival here, that was a much more strategic thing for me to do.

Monday, October 03, 2005

Bilingual blogging

An interesting post by Ethan Zuckerman's blog about "the plight of the bilingual blogger" who comments on Loïc LeMeur's posting "The world goes beyond English speaking blogs".

As Loïc says, your strategies are:

- Write only in English, since English has become a lingua franca for the blogosphere, and alienate your local readers.

- Write only in your native language, though comment on blogs in English and other languages, sometimes translating them for your readers. Accept that this means your input into global conversations will be limited.

- Translate every post so that it appears in English and your local language. While this maximizes readership and inclusion in the conversation, it’s an enormous effort.

- Maintain different weblogs in English and your local language. Occasionally translate between the two, but cover some topics in one and others in the other.

I appreciated the first comment to Ethan's blog by Boris which echoed some of my own feelings:

“English has become a lingua franca for the blogosphere”
I am flat out shocked to hear you say this Ethan. The truth is more along the lines of “english is the lingua franca of the english blogosphere, just as french is the lingua franca of the french blogosphère, und so weiter…”

Please help me keep my mouth shut

I laughed at my son's comment today. "You're like superman" he said. "You act all reserved and dumb in your job and then come home, put on your headphones, and write and skype away at the computer to save the world!"

My problem now is that the real me might be found out. I seem to be the only one with practical experience to advise our Insitution about what to do in this big Bolonha drama which threatens to turn upside down the structure, learning paradigms and future of our Institution. But ... I'm the English bimbo whose doctorate and work has been ruled "irrelevant" over the years. I'm the person who people thought was steering my horse in the wrong direction - while I, in my mind, explored surer and surer ground.

And I have paid the price for that, surviving politically only because i keep my other character hidden - taking on Clark's personna while I'm at work, listening to a lot of nonsense in one life and then turning to my real identity outside work.

In the meantime may have galloped off too far. I don't know how much I care about those blobs on fine horses that have let the tornado catch up with them. Why should my humble pony come back to help?

But then why can't I keep my mouth shut in our meetings with the President? If I'm not careful she's going to see through my disguise.