Mirror Me


I acknowledge that I’m easily sidetracked when something catches my eye.  Sunday afternoon, I’m sitting here in my purple and white Vikings jersey watching the Vikes take it to the Cardinals.  I’ve got a Twitter search for #Vikings and #Cardinals running along side my regular Twitter feed.  Twitter provides great fan reaction from both sides of the game as it happens.

In the midst of this, I look over to my stream and I see a tweet from @NoelineL asking “what do you see in the mirror”.  Next commercial, I followed her link and it took me to a word cloud devoted to Margaret Atwood.  Very interesting.  As I looked at it, I could see that this was very interesting.  I like any type of visualization.  The title says that she “cares about” and then displays the word cloud.  I like what I see and so the next step is to lie down on the couch and have it analyse me.

Done, and done.  The results generate the cloud along with embed code to put into a blog, wiki, website, etc.  My cloud appears below.

Go to Doug Peterson's Mirror.Me Reflection

What do you think, blog reader?  Is this me?  Is this what I care about?

As I’m pondering that, I think about a comment that @tk1ng had laid on me once about the division of the online personality versus the real personality.  It’s worth another look through that lens.

I’m also trying to think of a use for it beyond the curiosity factor.  You know you’re going to want to create one for yourself but is there another use?

Since the message implies that the word cloud shows what I care about, I’m thinking about the tweeting classroom.  If the students are tweeting their learning, expressing their concerns, their interests, wouldn’t that make for a great word cloud to put on the class website or wiki?  I would think it would be a very nice visual for parents and students.

You log in via your Twitter account and you can claim your own personal URL.  Just remember that you’ve given the site access to your Twitter account.  You’ll probably want to revote it after you’re done just to keep your account secure.

A Circuitous, Fortuitous Moment


Amber MacArthur was one of the keynote speakers at the recent RCAC Symposium in London.  She’s such a delightful and interesting person in real life.  Among her many accomplishments, is the weekly production commandN.  The name is very special, if you are a Macintosh user.

Anyway, I spend 10 minutes every week watching and listening to the newest edition.  It’s always full of new and interesting information and I recommend it to everyone.

A recent episode made reference to a web service called Twitter Venn.  So, I think “Hey, I’ll all into visualization and Web 2.0” and I go to check it out.  I play around and note the ease with which you can create Venn diagrams based upon Twitter content.  This is worthy of part of a presentation or perhaps an inclusion in a future newsletter so I add it to my Delicious account.

I think nothing further about it and life goes on.

This morning, I’m getting caught up on email and I get a notice that Jeff Clark is now following me on Twitter.

This isn’t an unusual occurrence.  People follow me all the time.  However, the name rings a bell.  I taught a Jeff Clark a few years back so I send off a direct message asking and get this reply.

Doesn’t that beat all?  Jeff was a superb programming student and really is one of those students that I had the pleasure to teach and I will never forget.  But, time goes on and people go their own separate ways.  One of the true joys and humbling experiences of being a teacher comes from meeting up with students years later.

Last Christmas’ special moment was when Scott donated an XO in my name to a school in Africa.

If you ever need to question a career choice in education, the answer comes in moments like this.

So, I decide to dig a little deeper into Jeff’s programming accomplishments and just like we teach – he’s got a great online portfolio.  In fact, he is quite heavily into visualizations. There are a number of resources that he’s written that have huge potential in the classroom and, in fact, anywhere visualization is an advantage.

If you’re into bling for your blog or website based upon real data, there are a number of resources here for you. I would encourage you to check them out.

In the meantime, I’m excited to renew the connection and so proud to see what he’s done with his computing skills.

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