Curating Groundhogs


It’s pretty hard to keep a secret on the internet when you’re transparent.  That came to bite me this morning.  I’ve been working on something and had a couple of people uncover what I was doing.  One actually tweeted about it.

So, I guess I’ll have to come clean with it.

One of the big events in primary classrooms is Groundhog Day.  All kinds of activities happen in classrooms and crafts, drawings, songs, science, etc. all make the day for the big event.  I’ve always maintained a list of resources for this day that I update.  This year, I thought that I would migrate the otherwise boring website to one of the online sites that I’ve been using to curate things.  But, which one?

I was just monkeying around when Tim happened to stumble on it.  He must have been looking at my Scoopit account and noticed that I had this work in progress.  It’s a collection of my resources for Groundhog Day – scooped.  But, I don’t think he’s seen the others!  I’ve also started to curate the same resources at Pinterest and LiveBinders.  I was looking for the best possible scenario.

Scoopit
This was one of the sites. I have the Scoopit bookmarklet stuck in my bookmarks bar and adding resources was just as easy as going to the page and bookmarking it.  Scoopit identifies images on the page as well as a short descriptor.  To use it, just click the title and you’re at the target site.  For this purpose, Scoopit did a nice job although one of the sites wouldn’t allow the bookmarklet to work.

Pinterest
Pinterest similarly has a bookmarklet for finding and bookmarking resources.  You get to choose up front which of the images will be the face of the pin. Rather than the two column format of Scoopit, Pinterest takes a pin to wall approach so that none of the sites are lined up.  It’s an engaging approach.  Sadly, Pinterest absolutely requires an image on the page in order for the pin to work.  So, not all of the sites ended up getting pinned.  But, find a story that looks good, click it, and you’re there.

LiveBinders
LiveBinders takes a different approach.  Instead of giving you one of the catchy images on the target website, you get the entire website embedded in the binder.  The URL is presented at the top and a click leaves the LiveBinder and takes you to the actual website.  Since the actual website is embedded each time, everything that I wanted to include appears in the binder.

In all three cases, there are more resources than would fit on an entire computer screen.  Well, unless you had a big honking screen, I suppose.  Scoopit and Pinterest scroll up and down to see all of the resources.  LiveBinders requires that you click the navigation arrows to move left and right unless you organize the tabs by categories.  I suppose I could have all the Wiarton Willie’s in one tab, the Punxsutawney Phil’s in another, science in another, arts and crafts in another, and so on.

LiveBinders also has the advantage of the presentation mode so that you can visit the sites and not lose the curation page.  That’s handy if you are browsing your way through everything.

Anyway, all three did a nice job of bringing them together into one spot.  Feel free now to use or share with anyone who might take advantage of the resource this Thursday.

OTR Links 01/31/2012


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Pathetic Internet Speeds


Have you ever noticed that there are some times that I make a blog post and there are no images contained in the posting to spruce it up or to illustrate the point?  It’s not that I’m lazy; there are some days that I swear that I have the worst internet service provider.  Yesterday was a day when I was bemoaning the fact that modern laptops don’t have built in modems.  Even on the worst days, dialup at 300bps was like blinding speeds compared to bad days now.

Yesterday was just brutal.  I spent over an hour on the phone with technical “support” only to walk away frustrated all to pieces.  The determination on her end was that it was just network congestion.  Grrrrrr.

How bad was it?  Well, a common way to test your network speeds is to use Speedtest.net.  I tried to give it a test over the net and here’s what I got!

It’s so slow that I couldn’t even load the test!

Thankfully, the iPad version was a little more tolerant of slow speeds.

Try it on your current connection and please feel sorry for me!  Later in February when I host an OTF Webinar, I’ll be doing it on the road.  There’s no way this type of connection would be suitable.

At least I can watch the Pro Bowl game without the internet distracting me!

Fortunately, things are better in the early morning hours and that does let me do some reading and online work.

OTR Links 01/30/2012


Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Keeping Tabs on the Blog


There are probably a lot of ways to do this but I think that it’s the responsible thing to do when you’re a blogger. You need to keep tabs on what’s happening on and around the blog.

WordPress has created a Google Chrome extension that does a nice job of that.

Once installed, it just sits in the browser and checks for any activity.  If something happens, a little badge with the number of events appears on the icon.  That’s a visual to let you know that something has happened.

Prior to this, I would admit that it might be a while between checks to the WordPress dashboard.  Now, it’s addictive to look and hope to see a notification!

But, there’s more than just that.

The extension includes a “Press This” button if you’re interested in blogging on a particular page.  Plus, if you visit another blog, you’ve got the option to follow that it right in the extension.

If you’re a Chrome user, it’s a very useful extension to have.  Download it here.

I keep thinking that I would go in and add all the Ontario Educational Bloggers to it but that list has grown so much, it would take a Herculean effort.  But, if I was having a class full of students blogging, I should be able to monitor everything right in one spot while I go about everything else that I’m doing on the web.