links for 2009-06-26


8 Weeks to Web 2.0


Today is the last day of the school year for us.  It’s been interesting, through Twitter, watching the end of the year for various school districts as they popped up all during the month of June.

Next week is the beginning of July and the kick-back week of the summer for most.   But  then for many, the mind demands to be motivated.  The golf course is always a place of humility for me.

For those looking for something more academic, contemporary, and online, I would invite you to participate 8weeksin the “Eight Weeks to Web 2.0” course.  I created this course last summer as away to casually move folks into this online world.  But, not too quickly…after all, it is the summer.

So, for those who want to actively learn about Web 2.0, I would invite them to the course.  It’s wiki-based and wide open for editing.  Participants are encouraged to make any necessary edits to let the course evolve into something even better.

Ironically, it may not necessarily be you, gentle blog reader, that would benefit since you’re already on the way.  But, I’ll bet that there are people you know that could.  Please extend an invitation to them to participate.

The culmination of this will be an opportunity to hear and meet David Warlick at the Vision to Practice Conference at the end of August.  Register using BookIT for session 3517.

All the best to everyone for a wonderful summer.

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links for 2009-06-25


Searching Images


I was poking around the Twicsy website this morning.  The concept is rather interesting.  Anytime someone posts an image and announces it via Twitter, the image is indexed.  Using the resources at Twicsy, you can search for images posted with tags or announced on the timeline.

There was a time when this might have been a redundant service.  After all, everyone posts their images via Twitpic, right?

Not any more.


Image via Wikipedia

Even with Seesmic Desktop, I have the option of using Pikchur, Posterous, Twitgoo, and yfrog.  Life was simple when Twitpic was the only game in town.  Just go there and follow the public timeline, or if you understand URLs, take a gander at the results by username.

Why not just use Twitter search then?  If you’re like me, you don’t want just want one result – you want them all!

With Twicsy, you now have the power of search engine – this time it will search through Twitter to find pictures posted to, not only Twitpic, but to all sorts of references that people have tweeted about, with thumbnail results.

With all these citizen journalists running around with digital cameras and cell phones and sharing them, there’s an ever growing resource for images.  Embed continues to be your best friend.

What could make it better?  Like all things, integrate the search functionality into Firefox via an addon.  That would be the awesome next step for the product.

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links for 2009-06-24


An Amazing Class


On a few occasions this year, I blogged about my experiences with a group of students from Gore Hill Public School.  I don’t get an opportunity to visit classes often with the other commitments that I have but there was something really special about this group of students.

My relationship really started by accident when their teacher, who is one of our Computers in Education School Contacts, took an interest in what I was doing with my own PD Wiki.  All of our meetings and resources have been shared through there for a while now.  Throughout our meetings this year, we’ve done some exploring various web based applications to add to the opportunities that our students are given.  I distinctly remember when it all came together for me.  We were at a PD session and I had just returned to the room and happened to look at her computer screen as she was bragging about one of the student efforts in the class wiki.

I wrote about it in my February newsletter and it had a remarkable effect.  Over the period of a month, virtually all of the students were inspired to develop their writing skills and I was able to revisit it in my March newsletter and I also blogged about it.  This class continues to amaze and impress me with what they’re doing.  I know that they are also impressing their teacher.

I also noted, by looking through the history of the class blog, that their learning and efforts continued well into the evening and it was the inspiration for my blog post about analyzing data presented in the PBWorks history.

Last week, the teacher invited me back to the class and I was asked to show the students how to use Fathom, StarOffice Calc, and Notepad to create their own graphs.  Well, Notepad was the plan, but this application wasn’t available to students because of danger to the network so we used Wordpad instead.  Now, I could have done the lesson but this amazing group of students didn’t need me to do that…one young lady ran the computer and I led a discussion with lots of input from the class to do the task.  As a teacher, it’s one of those platinum moments that we all dream about.  What’s even more amazing I found out later, was that we worked right through their recess and their gym class.  Normally, those two things are sacred but they were just so engaged and interested.  And polite…they didn’t complain at all!

Now, I can’t visit the class in person often as we have so many locations and there are so many other things to do.  However, with access to their class wiki, I’m able to follow my friends online.  I was prompted by the teacher to take a look at the wiki after my visit and I was so impressed.  Virtually every student had gone through and analyzed their own wiki editing habits and posted it to their pages yesterday.  Hey, we’re in the last couple of days in the school year – it was in the 30s yesterday and this school isn’t air conditioned. I was so impressed that they wanted to put this finishing touch to their works of this year.

gorehill

They’ve had a huge and diverse number of computer experiences this year.  From the wiki to podcasting to creating stories to learning about alter egos to Forest of Reading … they even had a number of my teacher candidates from the University of Windsor have their placements at Gore Hill.  They also went on a tangent about Tarantulas with one of the teacher candidates’ pets.  They created Prezis to demonstrate the results of their research.  I enjoyed their research about Identity Theft, Pandemics, Mary Celest, and even Shark Attacks.

It was a spectacular year from my outsider perspective.  I think what’s even cooler is that they will remain as a group with the same teacher of Media Literacy and Library for next year.  They’ll continue to develop and share their interests.  Sharing is a huge key to the success and the wiki was the perfect forum for collaborating and sharing … even into the evening hours.  This teacher took a real chance moving so much of what they were doing into the wiki world.  Rainy days makes connectivity a challenge but she pulled it off.  Kudos have to be given for recognizing and supporting activities that are just good for kids.

And what a wonderful group of kids.

I hope that they have a great summer but I’ll bet that they’ll continue to work on their efforts by sharing their summer fun.  I’ll bet that their wiki continues to grow with pictures and stories of their experiences and summer jobs!

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links for 2009-06-23