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In recent weeks the JFK debate section of the forum has been hugely popular in terms of hits and in attracting new members. It does however cover rather different ground than that of the rest of the forum being essentially research based rather than focussed on Teachers and Teaching and issues related to these.

What do members feel about me setting up a distinct section for "Research Projects"? These could be of any nature so long as educational. For those discouraged by the amount of posts appearing daily in just one section I recommend you use the Todays Active Posts button and page down rather than use View New Posts. This way you will get a quicker and more comprehensive view of what has been happening across the whole forum. I also recommend that you post alot more :)

Please let me know your views not least because if I start moving topics into new categories it may well effect the navigation of any site currently linking to a particular section of the forum.

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I think my feeling were made perfectly clear in the PM I sent you last week Andy.

JFK is interesting but I really cannot see how it fits in with the original purpose of the forum. How does academic research that is not on the History curriculum in the vast majority of schools fit into a 'education' forum aimed at teachers?

If certain things are to be researched and debated on the forum in this type of depth, why not have focus weeks, where you analyse one aspect of the research? That way the rest of the forum doesn't get clogged up with a hundred and one posts about one area of interest - and you can then see recent posts in whichever format you fancy without it being an issue.

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I think my feeling were made perfectly clear in the PM I sent you last week Andy.

JFK is interesting but I really cannot see how it fits in with the original purpose of the forum. How does academic research that is not on the History curriculum in the vast majority of schools fit into a 'education' forum aimed at teachers?

If certain things are to be researched and debated on the forum in this type of depth, why not have focus weeks, where you analyse one aspect of the research? That way the rest of the forum doesn't get clogged up with a hundred and one posts about one area of interest - and you can then see recent posts in whichever format you fancy without it being an issue.

"Focus weeks" would of course imply a degree of central control from above that would stifle free academic debate. I want to see a wide ranging forum that is democratic and unfettered. The JFK debate is highly specialised and of minority interest I would agree - however there is great potential for a research section on this forum of which JFK could be a small part. Technical insight into how create this would be more welcome :)

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John, As you are well aware - I am involved in a number of crusades that seek to develop the truth with which to uncover eveil segments, operations or personnel within our government. Certainly there are many research topics involved within the wide spectrum of evil that exists and which I cover in the Unconventional Warrior column at www.ExpendableElite.com

The one major factor that forms a significant information blockade for all of us who research to attempt to overcome for the sake of truth is that of silent witnesses.

WHY DO THEY REMAIN SILENT? Could well be a suitable title for a major research project. One example.. An attempt to silence me - to cause me to cease and desist in my struggle to obtain an official apology from the State Department for former ARVN Lieutenant General Quang Van Dang - was directed at me through a member of my family. The senior staffer of a US Congressman called a member of my family and told her "You can tell Colonel Marvin that he may not be afraid of anyone but Jesus Christ, but remind him he has grandchildren." You can well imagine the impact of that threat on my entire family. I have eleven grandchildren and a wife who has always, since I began my crusades, feared what "they" might do to me or someone else in the family.

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John,  As you are well aware - I am involved in a number of crusades that seek to develop the truth with which to uncover eveil segments, operations or personnel within our government.  Certainly there are many research topics involved within the wide spectrum of evil that exists and which I cover in the Unconventional Warrior column at www.ExpendableElite.com

The one major factor that forms a significant information blockade for all of us who research to attempt to overcome for the sake of truth is that of silent witnesses.

WHY DO THEY REMAIN SILENT?  Could well be a suitable title for a major research project. One example..  An attempt to silence me - to cause me to cease and desist in my struggle to obtain an official apology from the State Department for former ARVN Lieutenant General Quang Van Dang - was directed at me through a member of my family.  The senior staffer of a US Congressman called a member of my family and told her "You can tell Colonel Marvin that he may not be afraid of anyone but Jesus Christ, but remind him he has grandchildren."  You can well imagine the impact of that threat on my entire family.  I have eleven grandchildren and a wife who has always, since I began my crusades, feared what "they" might do to me or someone else in the family.

Can you identify the staffer and Congressman?

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It does seem to me that the forum is beginning to be somewhat swamped by the JFK thing. While this may be very interesting to some, it isn't really something I can use in the courses I teach, and some of it does seem rather weird, to say the least.

It used to be that JFK stuff comprised about half the posts on any given day. Now it seems like it's more than 90%... I have to admit that I now spend less time on the forum than I did since I often log on to find nothing at all except conspiracy theories...

Yes, it's partly my fault for not posting more myself, but, in the real world, things like marking, lesson plans and bl**dy committee meetings tend to limit the time practising teachers have for thinking out and writing original posts...

I don't want to sound negative -- the forum is still very useful -- but I do think something should be done to ensure that JFK enthusiasts and the rest of us can all be kept happy.

happy New Year to everyone...

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It does seem to me that the forum is beginning to be somewhat swamped by the JFK thing. While this may be very interesting to some, it isn't really something I can use in the courses I teach, and some of it does seem rather weird, to say the least.

It used to be that JFK stuff comprised about half the posts on any given day. Now it seems like it's more than 90%... I have to admit that I now spend less time on the forum than I did since I often log on to find nothing at all except conspiracy theories...

Yes, it's partly my fault for not posting more myself, but, in the real world, things like marking, lesson plans and bl**dy committee meetings tend to limit the time practising teachers have for thinking out and writing original posts...

I don't want to sound negative -- the forum is still very useful -- but I do think something should be done to ensure that JFK enthusiasts and the rest of us can all be kept happy.

happy New Year to everyone...

Happy New Year to you too Mike

It has indeed been difficult to get teachers to post with the consistency of the JFK research group, who let's face it tend to be somewhat obssessive and more forum savvy than the majority of members here.

John is working hard to make sure debate on JFK proceeds with a degree of politeness and academic rigour though this has clearly not always been successful - hence the "weirdness" you refer to :plane

I will be inviting teachers to participate in a series of seminars this month to try and enliven the less vibrant areas of the forum. My vision for the forum was for something primarily for teachers and this is clearly yet to be achieved. The solution of course is to get more teachers to post. if you like I can set up a "sharing resources" section in each curriculum area where teachers can upload and share their materials - that might help.... but only if people use it.

If you really have had enough of certain posters you can set your personal settings to ignore individual members. Better still just mark all posts as read everry time you come on and see a long list of posts irrelevent to you - this way they can only annoy you once!

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It used to be that JFK stuff comprised about half the posts on any given day. Now it seems like it's more than 90%... I have to admit that I now spend less time on the forum than I did since I often log on to find nothing at all except conspiracy theories...

Yes, it's partly my fault for not posting more myself, but, in the real world, things like marking, lesson plans and bl**dy committee meetings tend to limit the time practising teachers have for thinking out and writing original posts...

I don't want to sound negative -- the forum is still very useful -- but I do think something should be done to ensure that JFK enthusiasts and the rest of us can all be kept happy.

I am someone who posts in every section of the forum. The problem is that most of my posts go unanswered. I know what it is like to be ignored and try to respond to everyone who posts in these sections. I am sorry if I have missed your posts and you have suffered from this experience. It is not very pleasant.

However, whenever I post on the JFK section I always get a response. Within a couple of days they have had around 200 page views. This of course motivates people to post in the JFK section.

The problem is not with the JFK section. The problem we have is with all the other sections. What we need to do is to make all sections like the JFK section. That is going to take a lot of hard work by Andy and myself. Hopefully we will get some help in this because when it come down to it, Andy and myself cannot do it on our own.

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Mike writes:

It does seem to me that the forum is beginning to be somewhat swamped by the JFK thing.

My sentiments too. Most days when I log in and search for new posts there is nothing new apart from contributions to the JFK discussion, so I log straight out again. Maybe it's time to bring the JFK discussion to an end.

I post in several different sections of the Forum, but there is often no reaction to my postings apart from an acknowledgement by John (bless him!) and most discussions in which I have an interest seem to fade quickly. I belong to other forums too and they all tend to be on the quiet side, with one exception, The Linguanet Forum, which is aimed at teachers of foreign languages:

http://www.mailbase.org.uk/lists/linguanet-forum

Andy writes:

I can set up a "sharing resources" section in each curriculum area where teachers can upload and share their materials - that might help.... but only if people use it.

In principle, it's a good idea but - and I know I'm riding my hobby-horse again, so don't tell me off - such resources have to be copyright cleared. I write from experience as editor of a site that encourages resources to be shared. I cannot use most resources that I am sent as they are often a compilation of other people's materials: texts, images, sound clips etc. As editor of the site, I carry the can if I post anything that breaches copyright, so I am naturally cautious, and ask teachers who send in contributions to endorse a statement worded along the following lines:

"Guarantee of originality: The Author warrants that the Work is an original composition and that it in no way infringes any existing copyright either in whole or in part and that it contains no material which may be considered libellous or defamatory. The Author shall indemnify the Publisher against all actions, proceedings, claims and demands made against the Publisher by reason of anything contained within the Work constituting an infringement of copyright or being libellous or defamatory and against all costs, damages or expenses in respect of such action, proceeding, claim or demand."

My experience is not unique. An education college that runs a resources section at their website had to remove at least half of the resources sent in by teachers when they were found to be in breach of copyright. They did, however, find that when teachers sought permission to reproduce images, texts and sound clips, many of the originators were willing to grant such permission. This has also been my experience.

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>they all tend to be on the quiet side, with one exception, The Linguanet Forum<

My experience too, and when Linguanet went quiet over the Christmas holidays, I joined FLTeach, its American counterpart. Now I get lots of messages, but there's a time delay of several hours while the moderators vet the contributions before distributing them to the members.

One forum I belong to, CALICO-L, had lively correspondence a few years ago when its senior members seeded interesting discussion threads which members responded to. One topic that generated my interest as a linguist was the names of Disney's seven dwarfs in various European languages. This sent me on a "treasure hunt" across the Web and I accrued valuable navigation and "intercomprehension" skills in the process of finding the names not just in the foreign languages I speak, French and German, but also in several I don't. Perhaps we could have similar quizzes in all subject areas? I for one enjoy problem-solving.

I would encourage the moderators of the various sections of our forum to continue posting new discussion threads and to follow up all the responses they receive. I know that Graham is assiduous in doing so, but some forum leaders seem less conscientious about this. As a relatively junior member, I have enough intrinsic motivation to share something new with colleagues, but then I need some extrinsic motivation to pursue my topic further. If I start a new topic and even the forum leader doesn't respond, I assume that it's a subject that interests nobody but myself and I don't press the point.

Above all, I feel we need a larger membership of subject teachers to reach that critical mass when there will be enough shades of opinion to generate fuller discussion and argument. Maybe the forum needs more publicity? Will it be getting a mention at the annual BETT national educational computing exhibition at London Olympia later this week?

Just my two-pennyworth.

David Wilson

http://www.specialeducationalneeds.com

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My sentiments too. Most days when I log in and search for new posts there is nothing new apart from contributions to the JFK discussion, so I log straight out again. Maybe it's time to bring the JFK discussion to an end.

I tend to agree with Graham, however bringing the Jfk discussion to an end is not solving anything. As John pointed out it is not the jfk forum who is doing this 'wrong" ,it are all the others!

All the reasons for not posting are tried by me. B) Marking, just plain old busy and so on and so on. But to make this forum a success we need to be posting. I agree with John and Andy that they cannot do it alone. But we also need a practical use. What i mean by that is that contributing to this forum must serve some practical need, otherwise why post at all?

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I have been a member of dozens of educational forums (languages, linguistics and humanities) on various occasions since the early 1990s, when I first discovered listservs (sic). NOT ONE has ever been as active as the JFK section in this forum, and I doubt that I will ever see a section as active as the JFK section in any forum or section relating to the subject areas in which I am interested. I guess it's because we rarely have issues to discuss that can sustain anyone's interest for more than a few days, whereas unsolved or disputed crimes such as the JFK murder go on for years...

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But we also need a practical use. What i mean by that is that contributing to this forum must serve some practical need, otherwise why post at all?

Hopefully to share good practice, resources and ideas. Also to debate issues that are of common interest to us. Also to get an international perspective on common issues, problems and controversies that face us all as teachers. Possibly to establish mutually beneficial links with schools in other countries.

I am open to any ideas that will make these potential benefits more obvious to members and visitors alike.

At the moment a new member logging on who is expecting to find what I describe above would be disappointed and confused.... What can be done about this?

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Andy asks:

At the moment a new member logging on who is expecting to find what I describe above would be disappointed and confused.... What can be done about this?

I have logged on one again, only to find that the Education Forum looks like the JFK Assassination Forum :tomatoes

I have sometimes managed to liven up discussion lists by being deliberately provocative, e.g. my making statements such as:

"There's no point in leanring foreign languages, as most business negotiations throughout the workd are done in English, and in the end it's money that counts."

But sometimes people just agree with such statements :(

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As most of you will know, I was probably one of the earliest to make similar comments about the JFK posts and I now do as suggested and just go straight to new posts and skim through. Even so, seeing so many JFK posts is still a bit off-putting at times.

I think the TES staffroom site caters very well for UK teachers - my guess is that 90% of posters are British and it is an incredibly busy site. "Foreigners" such as myself, are accepted but not altogether considered part of the "family" of posters, often because we are discussing things that we do not have in common.

What the Education Forum does better is put teachers from all parts of the world in touch with each other with, IMHO, less parochialism. Perhaps we should build on that aspect - after all, a good business looks to provide a service that does not already exist. Don't know how you'd do it, but I think it's the way to go.

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