We’ve Got Work to Do


In the past week, I’ve had a couple of Twitter conversations with some very intelligent people.

In one conversation, it went something like this “Isn’t Twitter that place where people tell other people where they are using Google Maps?”  In the other case, I asked one of my best friends why he wasn’t using Twitter or Facebook.  His response was “Who cares what I had for breakfast?” and “Who cares if I just had a bowel movement?”

I was taken aback by the comments in both cases.  These are people that I respect and admire for their accomplishments and for the things that they do on a regular basis.  How could they get it so wrong?  For the most part, I think it’s the effect of the traditional media.

As I type this, there’s a story on the news about banning Twittering during the US Tennis Open.  Huh?  Apparently, they’re concerned about exposing details?  This is the same media that gives us radar guns for serve speeds in tennis, helmet cams in auto racing to see how to change a tire, a microphone on a coach in the Little League World Series, or a floating camera over a football field to give us a look into the backfield.  What are they worried about?  Could it be that Twitter provides deeper insight to the game that they’re not able to broadcast using their traditional media?

So, what about the breakfast thing?  (or other things)  I set up a search in Seesmic Desktop and yes, someone is having “donuts for breakfast”, or “Breakfast with Rod”, or someone is eating at a “bed and breakfast”.  Over the weekend, Gary Stager directed people to the Ustream of Senator Kennedy’s funeral and some of the inane comments made by the community that were injected into the middle of solemn recognition of a life of politics.

Unfortunately, these are the things that make the news, not the stories that show the successful use of technologies.  I recall a couple of weeks ago when I presented at the ACSE Computer Science Conference.  Interest picked up when I showed how I was using Seesmic Desktop to follow the conversation about the Google Chrome Browser and the Google Chrome OS.  I gave a list of some of the Computer Science educators that I follow on Twitter and there were a number of new Twitter accounts created immediately.  I know because a bunch of them decided to follow me.


Image by luc legay via Flickr

I value the folks that I interact with on a daily basis.  I try to give a shout out on #FollowFriday because I enjoy their contributions and I do my best to throw it back to them.  Over the couple of years that I have been using Twitter, I have learned so much because of the efforts of these progressive educators.  I appreciate the feedback of people who have found terrific resources or share their successes with new software.

At the recently completed NECC Conference, I sat in on a couple of Web 2.0 presentations and inevitably there was a quick Twitter demo.  The demonstration gave what as an example?  “Here’s what I had for lunch…” types of comments.

It’s no wonder why people don’t take this technology seriously.  For every advocate in a school district or within a school itself, how many other colleagues are onside with them?  It’s a sad few.  Yet, we have a whack of computers and better internet access than ever in these locations.

It seems to me that we need to have better public relations screaming the successes, the opportunities, and the real value of getting involved and cultivating a network that makes you better at whatever you do.  If we’re going to make this work, we’ve got lots of work ahead of us.

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links for 2009-08-30


Inspiration by Quotation


I’m feeling a little experimental this morning and so decided to pull together a bunch of web resources to see what I could do.

First, I was looking for content so I went to my favourite web resource for quotations (http://quotationspage.com) and did a search for education.  There were 15 pages of quotes and I immediately got side tracked as I read them and then remembered that I was on a mission here.  Back to the project.

I then went to Prezi to access an online presentation package.  Prezi is an online presentation program that allows for zooming in and out and gives a really nice break from YAPP.  (Yet Another Powerpoint Presentation).  I created a presentation at the Prezi website and you can see it here.  The content was simply a copy and paste job from the Quotations Page.

http://prezi.com/gh5mjlzexngb/

This approach forces the end user to actually leave this blog entry to take a look at the presentation.  The best option would be to embed the presentation right into the page.  Unfortunately, Prezi does allow for sharing of a link but it’s limited to sending the link to recipients like I’ve done above.

How to embed?

I’ll just do a little iframe magic to do the embed and rats … WordPress filters it out.  Hmmm.

It embeds nicely into PBWorks as shown here.

Looks like I’ve got a little work before this experiment is complete.

View Presentation

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links for 2009-08-29


The Little Bitty Bandwagon


I really like it when I run into someone who disagrees with me.  It’s an opportunity to see how the other side thinks.  They’re usually wrong, but hey! Thanks, GreyArea

It’s equally as nice to run into someone who agrees with you as it goes to affirm your thoughts and there’s nothing wrong with that. If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you’ll notice that there was no entry yesterday – I was without a traditional internet connection for a day and so had the ability to post whatever I might have, thwarted.

Now, I could have posted something with my Blackberry and actually got started but just got so frustrated.

At our Vision to Practice Conference, I did get a chance to have dinner with David Warlick and we got a chance to talk about portable computing devices.  David is really direct with his questions and so asked me if the Blackberry or the iPhone qualifies as a legitimate replacement for a desktop or laptop computer.  I didn’t have to give it a thought at all – for me the answer is no.


Image by Getty Images via Daylife

My work provides me with a Blackberry and I’ve purchased an iPod personally and I really like both of them.  But, they’ll never replace a laptop or desktop as my primary device any time soon.  I do enjoy blogging and have downloaded the WordPress application for both devices.  In theory, I could do everything from one or the other or both, but I don’t and won’t.

For a week, a while back, I experimented with a week’s worth of blogging on the smaller unit and it worked but it just didn’t cut it for me.  Once posted, I found mistakes with the auto-suggestion feature, I found that my writing was shorter and didn’t really fully develop the topic I was trying to address, and I was just plain tired from all the tapping that it took to put something together.  Forget proofreading, there just wasn’t enough screen to fully view the post.  Thanks to my high school English teachers, I know that writing is a great deal more than just getting the spelling correct.

It was comforting to discover that David felt the same way.

What we did agree on though was that the portable devices are fantastic for doing what they do best.  For short, sequential reading, or internet access or a single focus application, they really are convenient.  I can sit on the patio and still do a little browsing without lugging a laptop out and that’s very convenient.  But, I don’t have the functionality that I’ve come to expect with my regular routines.  I miss Firefox and my add-on customizations.  I miss my ability to have multiple applications open at the same time.  I miss access to Diigo should I find something that’s worthy of bookmarking.

Two applications help me bridge the gap – Evernote and Instapaper are terrific for remembering resources of note for later reference when I get to a regular sized and powered machine.

Don’t look for my iPod to be on sale on Kijiji any time soon.  It’s got its place but for my regular routine, I won’t be making a total switch any time soon.  I don’t mind dissenting opinions – feel free to tell me where I’m wrong.  I just don’t see me jumping on this bandwagon at the expense of everything that I do.

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links for 2009-08-28


links for 2009-08-27