The Gateway into 2.o

I was just listening to the most recent podcast of David Warlick(Connect Learning, Episode #93). Part of the discussion revolved around what part of the 2.o world would you introduce others to. That is a fantastic question. I am planning a Web 2.0 staff development session and I have given this some thought prior to David’s episode. With so many great tools out there, where does one begin?

Well I have been using del.icio.us for some time now and that is a great social bookmarking site. You can easily set up a del.icio.us account and begin to use it right away with students. More importantly you can have students set-up their own accounts for topics they are studying in school. Tags can be set up anyway you like. I have created tags by subject, topic of study, and even general (i.e.-education). But I don’t think I can start there.

How about creating a blog to start? You can sign up with WordPress and be off and blogging in no time flat. There are many other blog sites out there (Edublogs, Blogger, etc.) that one can use. I like the ease of WordPress and until I learn more about writing code, I will stay with their site as opposed to going to wordpress.org and hosting the blog on my own site. But before you blog, you need to see the power of blogging.

Voicethread popped right into my head. I love it! I think it has great potential in schools. I created a thread recently on rounding of whole numbers. I feel the true power in this is not from what the teachers give to the students but what the students can give to the world. Tim Fahlberg over at Math247 has had teachers and students create many threads that can be accessed. All of his threads are related to mathematics. I don’t think I would start with Voicethread though.

I am just beginning to understand Twitter. In 140 characters or less, let people know what is going on. In just the past couple of weeks, I have come across many tiny urls that have taken my learning in a different direction. Just recently I saw a Tweet (that is what it is called when you send an update) from Jeff Utecht informing me about a new 2.0 tool Buzzword.

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I don’t think I would start with Twitter, although it is fantastic.

Wikis are a great tool that I am using in both my professional and personal lives. A couple of sites that host wikis include pbwiki and wikispaces. Wiki is a shortened version of the actual name, wiki-wiki, which means quick in Hawaiian. I like to think of wikis as “editable” websites. Depending on how you set it up (public or private) anyone or only invited people will be able to edit the site. I don’t think I would start here either.

I may start with an RSS aggregator such as Bloglines. The reason why I said I might start with it is because in the BetaBloglines, you can comment on any article you read. This is a great new feature the Bloglines crew added to the beta version (learned that from Clay Burell at Beyond School). This is the way into the 2.o world. Reading blogs and then commenting on them. Get your voice out there and be a part of the conversation. This is how change can take place.

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When I create my presentation for POB, I think that is where I will begin. Have educators go to a blog, read it, and post a comment. By becoming a part of the conversation, you can become part of the solutions. There are many great edubloggers out there, so go out on the web and check out a few. Don’t forget to post your comments.

Skrbl-What Kind of Potential for Students?

Skrbl is a collaborative tool that acts as a whiteboard. You can type text, write, upload pictures and files to the board. People can join in by going to the url that has been set-up. You can publish the session (and update it as well) and people will be able to refer back to it. The best part of this is that this is a multi-user platform. People can collaborate in real time unlike wikispaces where it can only be updated one at a time.

Click here to see a published Skrbl page. Click here to see a TeacherTube video for a demo on using Skrbl in an English class.

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As you can see in the top left corner of the Skrbl page there are File, My skrbls, text symbol, pencil symbol, and people symbol. Th efile option allows you to same Skrbl as html, upload pics and files, email invite, save print view, and access to files, pics, and urls already saved on Skrbl. If you notice the the url it is skrbl.com/dtspdmka. That is where people would go to collaborate on that particular project. Each project can be saved and published with a different url. One problem I saw is that when the page is published the uploaded file did not appear. I sent feedback to them and I am currently waiting for a response.

What are it’s implications for students and in particular students in math class? Right away I could see Skrbl being used as part of a project that the students are working on in math. Let’s say they are collecting data, saving that data in a spreadsheet. As well, they are collecting information on the internet. All of this can be shared in one place. Students can plan to meet on the site at a specific time to work on it outside of school. Skrbl could be used in a teacher directed way as well. If a teacher is using a presentation, a worksheet, etc. that could be uploaded to the site for students who may have missed class. You could then have an exchange of ideas at a time that is convenient for all. Or maybe classes are working collaboratively across town or from a different district, they could be work together during the day on a project/lesson/activity.

What ideas do you have? I would be interested to hear.

Screencast-Awesome App

This is my first post using the WordPress.com site. This was not going to be my first post, I just saw a Tweet from ijohnpederson.

It said; “If you purchased Leopard, THIS is why you did. http://www.varasoftware.com/products/screenflow/.”

He wasn’t kidding. Awesome app! You can add video to your PowerPoint or Keynote presentations.

As it says on the site; “ScreenFlow is a complete workflow for creating screencasts: powerful enough to capture your desktop, video camera, microphone & computer audio at the same time.

Edit your recording inside ScreenFlow, then publish the finished movie to your website or blog.”

Click on the link above to find out more.