Thursday, March 23, 2006

Webhead Cheryl Oakes:Major Reflection on Becoming a Webhead 2006

Webhead Cheryl Oakes: Webhead Cheryl Oakes: "Beijinhos"
What is a Webhead and why would I want to be one?

Last year, 2005, I began using some Web 2.0 tools. I began using tools such as blogs, podcasts, webcasts and even wikis. It was unremarkable at first, by that I mean, I just thought I would learn new technologies for the sake of learning something new. Little did I realize how transformational it would be? While listening to my first webcast,, I kept hearing reference to “the Webheads”. Jeff Lebow and Dave Cormier, who both run, facilitate, moderate Worldbridges, seemed to be quite enamored with the Webheads and I was intrigued. Whenever, I heard a Webhead speak my ears would perk up and I would think, hm, they sound like regular people, pretty well spoken, pretty up on technology and FUN! One Sunday I was checking the time for the next webcast when I saw reference to an online class called Becoming a Webhead. I found eleven different six-week online classes with connections to the Webheads ( and TESOL ( Teachers of English and Speakers of Other Languages.
I decided to join the Becoming a Webheads class and off I went to sign up. The classes are FREE, international, time consuming, life consuming and the best professional development I have participated in for years. Our main moderators were Dafne Gonzalez and Teresa Almeida d’Eça . The best things about the class offerings are that the class syllabus, chats, messages and products will remain available on the Internet for any of us to go back to, or for anyone deciding to join outside of the 6 week time frame.
The journey of a Webhead Wannabe, 2006

Beginning January 16, 2006 I entered a journey where I was in training to be a Webhead. I checked the syllabus and found that I needed to (
begin using tools I was somewhat familiar with, I thought that would be easy!
Week 1 - Getting acquainted with Yahoo Groups. Introductions. Exploratory Survey.
Easy enough to join Yahoo, make an introduction and answer a survey. Then looking deeper I found that I needed to read articles, reflect on the articles in a message form. Okay, 10 hours later I was still reading, reflecting, instant messaging and meeting new people from around the world. Everyone was so friendly, saying hello, hugs, Beijinhos!
Week 2 - Text and voice synchronous communication tools: Tapped In, Yahoo Messenger and Skype in Worldbridges.
Great week, I knew about 2 of the tools, 1 tool wouldn’t work on my ibook with the audio, so I was limited to chatting in YM. However, Skyping in Worldbridges was incredible. Again, I made a mess entering the Skype conference; I forgot to turn down my webcast before I entered. Oh well, this is a learning curve!
More readings, more reflections, live conferences to participate in and reading the daily 100 messages in our Yahoo group.
Week 3 - Building an online presence: Blogs, podcasting and Web pages.
I tried out the different online free webpages, then most of us found Yahoo 360˚ and enthusiastically joined and organized a webpage, blog, social network of friends and email. For Week 3 I posted a really long reflection at ( I also made a blog at Suprglu, which points to and collects all my blogs. I had accumulated quite a few through this process and needed a place to store them all.
Week 4 - Virtual classrooms and voice email.
Week had some great links our instructors had found for us, but being Webheads and Webhead Wannabes we found some great new audio tools. Springdoo, Podomatic , Handybits and Odeo. My reflections for this week had to do with the excitement of Podomatic and Cris’ students leaving Valentine messages for us to listen to and comment on. The messages in the Yahoo group continue to grow and each evening I can’t wait to read through them and find new software or website suggestions.
Week 5 - Developing class materials: online surveys and worksheets, and interactive exercise creators. During week 5 I volunteered to be the Thread Manager. I committed to reading the daily messages, which I was doing, commenting and then categorizing the threads into a meaningful collection for posterity. It was overwhelming and I began to verbalize that I was looking forward to graduation! You can check out the threads at ( This page will give you a really good grasp of the connected group and the bonds that have been formed through the Becoming a Webhead online course.
Week 6 - Blended learning. Wrap-up: conclusions and evaluation. Graduating as a Webhead in Action. It took me all week to formalize the Threads from the previous week. Each day I looked forward to our graduation ceremony. Most of the 80+ participants contributed something for our virtual graduation buffet.
( You can see this really was a fun group. We had some serious mail we sent around with MONK-E-MAIL; I told you this was a fun group. Finally, graduation day, you can hear our ceremony at It is in two parts and you can access the archived recordings here. (
The most humbling aspect of this International class for me is that many of my new friends took this class, chatted daily and wrote daily in their second or third language AND learned about new technology tools and skills. I am in awe to be among such great visionaries. I had fun, I am a WEBHEAD 2006.
The Future
Once we were officially graduated we were invited to continue and become a Webhead in Action. Many of us immediately joined that group and I continue to read daily messages at both groups. Why am I writing this article? I just want anyone and all to know there are tremendous resources on the Internet. Through Web 2.0 tools and resources any of us can take advantage of online professional development. There are supportive people who will help you along the way. I hope to see you next January 2007, when the next Electronic Village Online courses will begin again. I will be managing threads in the Becoming a Webhead. I’ll look for you there. Hugs and beijinhos (little kisses) to my Brazilian and International friends.


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