Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Seven Things You Don't Need to Know about Me

Thanks to Nic Mobbs for tagging me for this one. It was a lot of fun to do.

1. I am a Lindy Hop swing dancer and met my husband at Swing Dancing camp.

2. Louie CK was my high school boyfriend.



3. I hate cilantro.

4. My favorite movie is Dirty Dancing (Nobody puts Baby in a corner!).

5. Red is my favorite color.

6. My first job after college: manager of the stationary, toys and luggage department at Jordan Marsh department store.

7. I traveled across the country on a Harley Davidson motorcycle (yes I was younger then).

Now to tag 7 people:
Lisa Thumann
Jen Wagner
Steve Hargadon
Diane Cordell
Sue Waters
Page Lennig
David Truss

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Close but no Cigar

So my post, "Ten Tips for Growing your Learning Network" was the first runner up for the Most Influential Post category of the Edublogs Awards. Thanks again to Lisa Thumann who nominated me and reminds me "you get what you get and you don't get upset" (and who also took third place in the new blogger category). Congratulations to Al Upton who's Order for Closure post won in this category. I just want to state for the record that should Al be unable to perform his duties as winner, I am more than happy to take over the crown.

Seriously, it was fun to be part of the conversation and I appreciate all of the new visitors who may have found their way here because of it. Thanks also to everyone who voted for me (next time vote more than once;).

Photo Credit: "First Runner Up" from ronnie44052 photostream on Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/ronnie44052/2614123241/

Thursday, December 18, 2008

My Interview with Michael Horn

I had the pleasure of meeting Michael Horn when his book, Disrupting Class How Disruptive Innovation Will Change the Way the World Learns (co-authored with Clayton M. Christensen and Curtis W. Johnson), first came out. He works down the street from my house. Back in June, 2008 we sat down for coffee to talk about his book. Since then, Michael has appeared at conferences all over the country and has been interviewed many time. His book has also been the subject of discussion all around the web. Laurie Bartels collected many of the interviews and discussions on the book here.

This was my first podcast interview. I was nervous about it, but it was a lot of fun. I had some trouble figuring out where to post it and how to embed it on blogger. I ended up posting it on Classroom 2.0 and embedding the player. It seemed to work. I would love to get your feedback on the interview and/or the book!

Here is another link to the interview, if the player doesn't work.



Links to some of the sites mentioned in the interview:
K12 Inc.
Reboot Learning Retreat Paper (pdf)
The Innovator's Prescription

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

21st Century Technology Tools, 2nd Edition

I have finally completed a revised edition of my book of technology tutorials for teachers. This new edition includes updated screenshots for Delicious, Ning and Google Docs. I have also added tutorials for Google Reader, Twitter and Flickr. I published the book using lulu.com, you can purchase a copy for $9.94 or download the PDF for free.

I am thrilled that my school has purchased copies of the book for the entire faculty and staff. It is wonderful to work in a place that is so supportive of my efforts to help teachers to start using Web 2.0 tools.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Two For Tuesday 12/9/08

Thanks to my Twitter and Plurk networks for all of their suggestions today (see below)!

1. Do Something: Empowering Teenagers to Make a Difference in the World (from @JazzyJsMom)
"Do Something believes you have the power to make a difference." They provide the ideas, resources and connections to help you bring your great ideas to life. Do something lives by five guidelines, they believe, trust, celebrate, respect and value the ability of young people to change the world for the better.

2. WorldMapper: The World As You've Never Seen It Before (from @plennig)
WorldMapper contains 366 maps, all available as PDF posters, which provide a visual representation of global data. Categories include movement, transportation, poverty, housing, education, pollution and religion, among others. For example, you can view a map of worldwide secondary education spending, passenger car distribution and the increase of carbon emmisions between 1980 and 2000 (see below).


Again, thanks to everyone in my Twitter and Plurk networks who gave me suggestions. (I've saved a bunch for future posts.)

Twitter:

L Winebrenner
JazzyJsMom @lizbdavis http://www.dosomething.org/ 5 things they believe in: Believe in teens Trust teens Celebrate Respect & Value teens scholarships 2
Emma Haygood
hlvanrip
hlvanrip @lizbdavis if you haven't used www.capzles.com it is a really great tool!
arvind s grover
arvind @lizbdavis http://quizlet.com would be perfect for 2 for Tuesdays. 8th graders using it to create study sets and then share with each other
Robin
Keisa Williams
monarchlibrary @lizbdavis How about the Free Rice website http://www.freerice.com/ind... in the spirit of giving.
Page Lennig
Durff
Durff Icon_red_lock @lizbdavis oldies but goodies? RSS Readers like pageflakes and google reader; Voicethread


Plurk:

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Thanks for the Nomination

A super big thanks to Lisa Thumann (who is also nominated for best new blog and for best resource sharing blog) for nominating my post: Ten Tips for Growing Your Learning Network for an Eddie award in the "Most Influential Post" category. This is my first nomination and I appreciate the recognition. I encourage you to check out the other nominees and cast your vote for your favorites. This is a great way to discover new bloggers and add to your learning network.

Here is the list of all the nominated blogs:

1. Best individual blog

2. Best group blog

3. Best new blog

4. Best resource sharing blog

5. Most influential blog post

6. Best teacher blog

7. Best librarian / library blog

8. Best educational tech support blog

9. Best elearning / corporate education blog

10. Best educational use of audio

11. Best educational use of video / visual

12. Best educational wiki


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Two For Tuesday 12-2-08

1. Weebly: Web creation made easy
Thanks to Steve Hargadon for pointing me to this great website building tool. Weebly is an easy and free way to create a website. They have easy to use templates, a blogging tool, content editing tools and the ability to embed video and other widgets. The site is free to use, but also offers the ability to purchase a domain or point an existing domain to their site. This is the perfect tool for building your digital footprint. I created this site to collect all of my online resources in one place.

2. Soshiku: The smart way to keep track of your homework

Soshiku is a free online tool that will help students keep track of all of their assignments. Students can add notes and information about each assignment that is due. Soshiku will even send text messages as reminders of important due dates. It also allows for file uploading and working collaboratively with a partner. Upgrade your assignment book into the 21st century and never loose track of a deadline again.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Two For Tuesday 11/25/08

1. Poll Everywhere: Live Audience Polling via Text Messaging
Put those cell phones to good use! Poll Everywhere allows students to answer a question using SMS text messages or the web. The results of the poll are shown in real time online in a browser or in a PowerPoint. Try this poll: What is your favorite Thanksgiving Food? Text Cast 27516 and your message to 41411 (for example I would send this text message "Cast 27516 Mashed Potatoes" to the number 41411. Free accounts are limited to 30 responses so get your anwer in quick. You can see the results here.

2. DoInk: Create and share custom animations
Use this free tool to create your own animations. You can draw your own pictures, or animate pictures shared by others. I had a lot of fun with this tool and made a series of (very simple) animations. You can see one of them below. Give it a try and share a link to your animations, so we can check them out.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Getting Started With Twitter

I've been working on updating my book, and decided to add a section on Twitter. Hopefully I'll have the revised version of my book done soon. It is amazing how much is out of date after only 6 months. Until then, here is my newest chapter.



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Thursday, November 20, 2008

My interview on Wicked Decent Learning

I was recently interviewed by Dan and Jeff, two English teachers from the great state of Maine, for their Wicked Decent Learning
podcast. We talked about networking and Facebook, and the Brady Bunch. It was a wicked lot of fun!

Here are the two links that I mentioned on the show:
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Monday, November 17, 2008

Two For Tuesday 11/18/08

1. Phun 2D Physics Sandbox
This free download allows you to model many physics concepts and discover what happens. You can build a boat and see if it sinks or floats or design a bridge and find out how much weight it can hold. Check out this video to see some amazing examples of what you can do with this application.



2. Histografica, Picture the Past
Use this free archive to find photographs of places around the world. Look up an image by location and Histografica not only shows you the image, but gives you its location on a Google Map. Join this community and share your images of the past. Add your picture today.


Image: "Main Street Donegal, Ireland 1930" by thearchiver on Histografica http://www.histografica.com/view.aspx?p=n3jvonui

OtherInbox 100 Beta Invites

I just saw a tweet from OtherInbox that they are giving out 100 beta invites. I really like this app and wanted to share this with you all. I made a quick screencast to show why I like it.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Scratch Success!

I recently completed Scratch projects with 3 8th grade math classes and my Computer Applications students (3 seniors and 1 sophomore). Overall the project was very successful, particularly with the 8th graders. They really enjoyed the project and stayed extremely focused throughout the week long unit. Here are some of their completed projects. I wrote up a plan for the 6-day long project. My Computer Applications students blogged about their experiences.

I am going to be presenting this unit on our Curriculum Night next week. In preparation for that event, I interviewed some of the 8th grade students a made a short "Scratchumentory" about their experience. (I apologize for the audio, you will need to turn up the volume.)



Are you using Scratch? Please tell us about your experience!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Two For Tuesday 11/11/08

I was honored to be a guest on the Edtechtalk show Seedlings this week. I had so much fun chatting with Bob Sprankle, Alice Barr and Cheryl Oakes. Thanks to Bob for sharing this first website as one of his Geek of the Week picks.

1. Quizlet eats Flashcards for Breakfast
Create your own flashcards or draw on the thousands of flashcards already created by others. Subjects include French, Spanish and Chinese, algebra, geometry, history, biolog. Quizlet features three modes, familiarize, learn and test mode. It will also make your flashcards into a game and allows you to study Online with a group. Teachers can share materials online with classes, or print paper copies to use in class.

2. The Eddie Awards 2008
It's that time again. Think about your favorite educator blogs, who do you read regularly, who inspires you, who makes you think, who provides great resources and vote for your picks. The categories include Best Individual Blog, Best Teacher Blog, Best Group Blog, Best Librarian Blog and more. To nominate your favorites, write a blog post explaining who you have picked, link back to the Eddie Awards page and use this contact form to let them know about your post. Stay tuned for my nominations coming soon.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Two For Tuesday 11/4/08 Election Day!

1. LoudLIt: Books on "tape"
LoudLit provides free downloadable audio book files of public domain literature. Their collection includes Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, several works by Edgar Allen Poe, The Gettysburg Address, The Declaration of Independence and A Tale of Two Cities among others. Read along with the text as you listen on your computer, or download the Mp3 file and listen on your iPod.

2. Rives: A 3-minute story of mixed emoticons
Storyteller and poet Rives tells a "typographical fairy tale" using emoticons as illustrations. The story is funny and bittersweet. It's worth it. Take a break and check it out.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Day In A Sentence


I spent the first 3 days of this week in software training out in western Massachusetts. Most of my day was spent listening to someone explain how to use a particular piece of software. There was no wireless or cell phone signal in the room. Needless to say, it was a tough 3 days for me. As good as my trainer was, I found it hard to stay focused.

The good news was, thanks to my Twitter Survey (please add yourself if you haven't already), I was able to sort my Twitter Spreadsheet by city and state and find out who in my network lived out in Western MA. As a result I ended up having a great dinner with Kevin (@dogtrax), Gail (@poulingail) and Maureen (@bcdtech).

Kevin invited me into his Day in a Sentence project. Horray! something I could do without internet! I started with a paragraph and whittled it down to one sentence of 25 words. You can see my progression below. It was a great exercise!

Attention
124 words
My attention wanders it is hard to hold it still. I find it difficult to focus on only one thing at a time. It is not enough for my mind. My mind wants more, more to do, more to think about, more to look at. Not very Buddhist of me. I can’t seem to just be in one place anymore. Is that a good thing or a bad thing? Many say it is bad. Am I missing out on the current moment by looking for something else? Is a divided attention a focused attention? Am I learning less than I would if I could stay in one place? Is ADD merely another name for the 21st century mind? My mind is not the same.

56 Words
My attention wanders it is hard to hold it still. My mind wants more, more to do, more to think about, more to look at. Is a divided attention a focused attention? Am I learning less than I would if I could stay in one place? Is ADD merely another name for the 21st century mind?

53 Words
My mind is hard to hold still. It wants more, more to do, more to think about, more to see and hear. Is a divided attention a focused attention? Am I learning less than I would if I could stay in one place. Is ADD merely another name for the 21st century mind?

47 Words
My mind wants more, more to do, more to think about, more to see and hear. Is a divided attention a focused attention? Am I learning less than I would if I could stay in one place? Is ADD merely another name for the 21st century mind?

35 Words
My mind wants more. Is a divided attention a focused attention? Am I learning less than I would if I could stay in one place? Is ADD merely another name for the 21st century mind?

31 Words
Is a divided attention a focused attention? Am I learning less than I would if my mind could stay in one place? Is ADD another name for the 21st century brain?

25 Words (3 sentences)
My attention wanders. Am I learning less than I would if it could be still? Is ADD just another name for the 21st century brain?

25 Words (3 sentences)
My mind wanders. Am I learning less than I would if it could be still? Is ADD just another name for the 21st century brain?

25 Words (3 sentences)
My mind jumps. Am I learning less than I would if it could be still? Is ADD just another name for the 21st century brain?

27 Words (1 sentences)
My mind jumps, I wonder, am I learning less than I would if it could be still, is ADD just another name for the 21st century brain?

Finally....
25 Words (1 sentences)
My mind jumps, I wonder, am I learning less than I would if it were still, is ADD another word for the 21st century brain?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Two For Tuesday 10/28/08

1. Lexical Analysis of 2008 US Presidential and Vice-Presidential Debates — who's the Windbag?
In this post, Martin Krzywinski uses several different tools to analyze word usage in the 2008 debates. He compares and graphs noun/verb/adjective/adverb ratios, unique word count, complexity of noun phrases and what he calls the "Windbag Index" among other factors. He represents his results in a variety of graphical formats.

2. Doodle: Easy Scheduling
Have you ever tried to get 4 or 5 people together for a meeting at the same time? Doodle is a tool that helps juggle multiple schedules to find the time that is optimal for the greatest number of people in the group. One person creates a poll and sends it out, Doodle does the rest. Doodle is free and does not require registration or software installation. It also works with Facebook and iGoogle.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Growing a More Diverse Learning Network.

I read lots of blogs, I read blogs on Web 2.0, I read mommy blogs, I read triathalon blogs , and I read blogs about my favorite TV shows. My Twitter and Plurk networks include people outside the world of education. The more diverse your learning network, the more likely you are to stumble upon something that everyone else hasn't seen already. I recently blogged about 10 ways to Grow Your Learning Network. Today I found this excellent post by Chris Brogan on how to Reach Outside Your Fishbowl to Build Community. Chris himself is outside of my fishbowl and I have learned a lot from him. I particularly like number 2 and 3 on his list:
1. Go to Delicious and search for topics that are just outside your blog’s main subject, or that are at perhaps tangential. Do the same thing as step 1.

2. Write posts about an industry vertical using your blog’s perspective instead of just writing about your main focus. If you’re writing a running blog, write a post like “Top 5 Runner-Friendly Companies in Seattle” or if you’re a food videoblogger, shoot an episode called “Election Day Dinners.” In these cases, make sure you’re using tagging and that you’ve claimed your blog in a search site like Technorati.
How diverse is your network? Do you follow only educators? How do you find people to learn from? Please let us know.

Image Source: Namaqualand Wild Flower Carpet. http://www.flickr.com/photos/martin_heigan/2137729737/

Thursday, October 23, 2008

I had an idea today..

What if a teacher asked her students to find an image each week representing their learning. Fridays the class could go through each of the images and students could share why they chose them. Students could use Flickr to find their images where pictures are tagged with words like "citizenship" and "courage."

This might also lead to discussions about tagging and about copyright and Creative Commons. It would engage students in some right brain thinking every week and I'm sure would lead to some interesting conversations.

What do you think? Please share if you try it and let us know how it goes.




Image Citations:
Day 27 - I Voted! [http://www.flickr.com/photos/ktpupp/291873348/]
Bert Lahr as the Cowardly Lion in Wizard of Oz at the Wax Museum at Fishermen's Wharf in San Francisco: http://www.flickr.com/photos/44124324682@N01/352866534/
Light Bulb [http://www.flickr.com/photos/outsanityphotos/457461303/]

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Two for Tuesday 10-21-08

1. 5 Ways to Visualize the U.S. Elections
This blog post includes links to 5 interesting graphics which visualize some important trends. It includes graphs of political contribution by industry, earmarks, election polls, the presedential election in the blogosphere and an electoral prediction tracker. All of these graphs provide a different way to look at our political climate as we approach a presedential election in November.

2. UCLA study finds that searching the Internet increases brain function
"UCLA scientists have found that for computer-savvy middle-aged and older adults, searching the Internet triggers key centers in the brain that control decision-making and complex reasoning. The findings demonstrate that Web search activity may help stimulate and possibly improve brain function."

Monday, October 20, 2008

A Spreadsheet of Educators on Twitter

(If you don't know what Twitter is, please check out this post: Getting started with Twitter)

I have seen several lists of educators on Twitter, like this one and recently I discovered this wiki which organizes us by subject area. It inspired me to create a list that could be sorted across different criteria like country, state, subject or grade level. In an attempt to create a more malleable list I made a Google form for educators to fill out. I then made the corresponding spreadsheet public, so that anyone can sort it. If you haven't already, please complete the form and add yourself to the list.

I took the data that we have collected so far and used Many Eyes to create a treemap of the results. If you click on the image below you can see the results so far.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Say Hello If You Know Me

My creation

I had a wonderful time at the ACTEM Conference in Maine this week. I got to see many of my Maine Tweeps, including Alice Barr, Bob Sprankle, Cheryl Oakes, Michael Richards, Mike Arsenault, Sarah Sutter, and Maria Knee (who is actually from New Hampshire) face to face. I met Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach in person for the first time. I also attended Geek of the Week and learned about a lot of new tools including the Big Huge Labs which I used to make this badge.

I love this badge idea. When I go to conferences I want to see the people I know online in real life, but often they don't recognize me and I don't recognize them. Wouldn't it be fun if we all created badges with our avatars and/or profile photos so that people can connect our online identities with our real life selves. I have seen people do this with their second life avatars, and I think it is a great idea. Look for me and my new badge at the Christa McAuliffe conference in New Hampshire, the MassCUE conference in Massachusetts and the Educon 2.1 conference in Pennsylvania. Please don't be shy, say hello if you recognize me. I was so excited to add Page Lennig, Sharon Betts and Cathy Wolinsky to my face to face network this week.

Sheryl's keynote was wonderful. I have never seen her in person and she has such a great energy and puts things so well. Here are some of my favorite quotes:
"Social and intellectual capital are the new economic values in the world economy."
"We need to go from mandated accountability to mutual accountability."
"What are you doing to prepare your students to be Googled?"
"Don't change your teaching - change the way you learn. Become a networked learner, so you can own it and give it away."
I went up and said hello and she actually knew who I was. That was really cool.

My own sessions (I did the same one twice) titled, "Making Things Happen, Tapping in to the Power of the Network," were attended by just a few people, but they seemed to go well. I tried to engage people in some goal setting exercises and then show them how to use a personal learning network to help them achieve their goals. I included some visualizations, some writing and some talking. It really wasn't about the technology, but more about the network. I always feel that we need more structured ways to meet each other face to face at these conferences. I tried to do that in my session. I'll be doing it again in New Hampshire. Here is a link to my slideshow from the conference.

Overall I had a wonderful time. Thanks to everyone for being so gracious and so welcoming!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Two for Tuesday 10-14-08

1. Visual Search Engine: Search Cube
This search engine shows your results as a three dimensional "rubik's" like cube. A preview each website, video or image is shown as an individual square on the cube. You can rotate the cube by using your arrow keys or by holding down the shift key and using your mouse. Mouse over each square to see a larger preview and more details about the site. Whether or not you find what you are looking for, it is pretty cool to watch the sites drop in to the cube.

2. The Growth of Walmart Across America: Flowing Data
Thanks to my colleague Mr. Sherman for sharing this website. Watch as Walmarts spread across the country. Starting in 1962 and running through 2007, this website visually tracks new Walmart Stores as they expand across the country. Notice the year in the lower right corner of the map and the number of Walmarts in the upper left corner.

The Flowing Data Website features many more examples of ways to visualize data.

Flipping for my Flip Video Camera

I just received my new Flip Mino video camera and so far I am loving it. It worked right out of the box, just turn it on and press record. It is easy to use, works in low light and the sound quality seems pretty good. Connecting it to my Vista PC was easy, I could see and make simple edits to the clips using software running right on the camera. The software is fine for basic editing and sharing, but not robust enough for a more intricate video project.

On my Mac running Leopard I had to install a Quicktime patch (right from the phone). The Flip software ran on my Mac, but I was also able to import the clips to iMovie 6 and edit them from there. (I downloaded iMovie 6 from the Apple Website, since the new iMovie is really bad). Here is a short video I made, my kids (Ben - 6 and Abby - 4) star in the video (with me in a supporting role) and they did all of the filming.

Take Me Out To The Ball Game (Go Sox)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Reflections on BlogHer Boston

Yesterday I attended the BlogHer conference in Boston. This was the first non-edtech conference I have attended in a while. The conference opened with an ice breaker which allowed us to meet and talk to many of the attendees for a few minutes. This was a great way to start, it opened up the possibility for many future conversations throughout the day. Everyone had a business card. There was a lot of exchanging of cards (I felt somewhat out of my element, as I don't have a business card). It was interesting to discover that there are so many other kinds of bloggers out there. This was definitely the "periphery" of my network.

If you add keywords they will come:
The focus of many of the sessions was on building a following for your blog, how to do "SEO" - Search Engine Optimization, how to get advertising on your blog, how to syndicate your blog, how to build a blogging community and how to add bling to your blog. I learned how to include key words in my posts, for example: technology and network and education and learning and schools, so that my posts will come up higher in Google searches (now I'll be #1). I learned a little about how to tweak the code in my blog to change its look and feel.

Shameless self promotion:
One thing that stands out the most to me is the focus on self promotion. Teachers don't tend to focus on themselves this way. We are always doing things for the kids, for the learning, for the community, not usually for ourselves. It was really interesting to see how unabashedly these women talked about building traffic and making money off of their endeavors. It was empowering to be in this atmosphere, it helped me see that it is OK to focus on yourself sometimes.

The HER in BlogHer:
It was surprising to me that there was no discussion specifically about gender. We may have been a group of primarily women (there were a few men present), but there was no official discussion of feminism or the role of gender in the blogosphere. I was surprised by this. I'm sure I could have brought up the topic myself, and maybe I should have (next year!).

Some link love:
As always, the best part of the conference was the people I met. I had great conversations with Sherry Pardy (a freelance writer and blogger) and Tracy Rosen (a fellow edtechie), Cora Sedlacek (a food blogger), Vera Smeddling and Doreen Cable (both "mommy bloggers"), Liz Henry (a blogger of many things who also works for BlogHer and did an amazing presentation on how to "bling up your blog"). I also met Lisa Williams who blogs in my hometown and attended a great presentation by Beth Kanter on how to handle information overload and how to build a blogging community. It was wonderful to converse with and learn from so many bloggers outside of my small world.

Coming up:
Next week I venture back in to the edtech world where I will be attending and presenting at ACTEM in Maine. I'm looking forward to seeing many of my friends and feeling at home, but I will also try to bring along all I have learned from stepping outside and seeing a wider world.

What do you think?
Have you stepped out of your conference zone? What was it like for you? I'd love to know.

Image Source: Core/Periphery Network From the Flickr photo stream of Ross Mayfield.
Image Source: Love is all around From the Flickr photo stream of Kliefi (on holiday)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Ten Tips for Growing Your Learning Network

1. Start big and small. People with smaller networks are more likely to interact with you. Do a Technorati blog search on a topic you are interested. Look for blogs that have authority below 50, these tend to be people newer to the blogosphere who are more likely to interact with their readers.

2. Check people's blogrolls, find some one you like and then check their blog roll and so on and so on.

3. Go to Alltop.com and look at the education feeds. Again, don't limit yourself to people in education.

4. Join Twitter or Plurk and look at followers and fans, check out the bios of the people you follow and take a look at their blogs and Websites. If you are new to Twitter and/or Plurk be sure to add a bio before you start following people.

5. Check out the education related groups on Ning. Try Classroom 2.o, Library 2.0, Ning in Education, and Global Education. Check out the Members page. Look at individual pages for people who share your interests.

6. Attend some conferences, be brave and say hello to people. Introduce yourself to presenters after the session, look at the conference Website and check out the attendee's page. Attend K12 Online and follow the links to the presenters blogs and Twitter pages.

7. Use your social bookmarking network. When you find a link you like, tag it and look at the other people who have tagged that link, then check out their bios, add them to your network.

8. Set up an aggregator. I use Google Reader to keep my network in one place. I subscribe to blogs, bookmarks, news, podcasts, and Twitter.

9. Listen Live to EdTechTalk shows and participate in the backchannel chat.

10. Participate, don't just lurk, you have to give to get. Don't be afraid to share your ideas, comments and links. We are all both leaders and followers. Let your voice be heard.

Thanks to Lisa Thumann for inspiring this post!

Image Source: Power Law of Participation From the Flickr photo stream of Ross Mayfield.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Two For Tuesday 10-7-08

1. All Your Election News in One Place: PageFlakes
http://www.pageflakes.com/plugusin/24937368
Pageflakes allows you to collect the feeds from your favorite news sources in one place. You can create your own page or a "pagecast" to share with others. This is an example of a collection of election resources including news, videos, blogs and podcasts. You can make your own pagecast at http://www.pageflakes.com.

2. Loans that Change Lives: Kiva
http://www.kiva.org/

Kiva allows you to read through business proposals created by entrepreneurs in the developing world. Pick your favorite proposal and make a loan of as little as $25.00, or create a team and work together to fund a larger venture.



Saturday, October 4, 2008

Mark your Calendars for the K12 Online Conference!

The K12 Online Conference is free for teachers, administrators, librarians, and educators around the world interested in the use of Web 2.0 tools in classrooms and professional practice! The 2008 conference is scheduled to be held over two weeks, October 20-24 and October 27-31 of 2008, and will include a pre-conference keynote during the week of October 13. The conference takes place entirely online, and includes Keynote speakers Chris Lehmann, Bob Sprankle, Alice Barr, and Vicki Davis, and four learning strands. Even after the conference, all presentations will be available online.

This is a great learning opportunity for educators all over the world. Learn in your PJs! You can check into the conference on your own schedule, participate live or download sessions to listen to or view later. Please help spread the word!

I hope to see you there!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Introducing Three New Teen Bloggers

The three students in my Web 2.0 Computer Applications course have been blogging since the beginning of September. Over the course of the last three weeks, they have learned about Blogger, Delicious, Google Docs, Creative Commons, Flickr, Google Reader, Technorati, and StatCounter. They have watched The Machine is Us/ing Us, a TED talk on the Predicting the next 5000 days of the Web, the infamous (and newly updated) Shift Happens video and countless Lee Lefever In Plain English clips.

This is my first time teaching this course and it is taking shape as we go. It occurred to me last week that excellent blogging happens when you are passionate about what you are writing. My students now have two blogs (see if you can tell the difference).

I am proud to introduce the following new teen bloggers:

Please take the time to check out my students' blogs and leave them a comment if something strikes you.

Thanks!
-Liz

image source: Mexicanwave's photostream on Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mexicanwave/2404978535/

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Advice for Web 2.0 Newbies


Photo by pbo31

Angela Maiers, in her latest blog post, asked for some suggestions for people starting their Web 2.0 journeys.

Here are a just a few:

1. Start with the pedagogy - always remember that it isn't really about the technology, it is about the teaching and the learning. Technology is a tool, it is a means to an end. "It's not what the software does, its what the user does" - hugh . Check out Chris Lehmann's slideshow on Progressive Pedagogy and 21st Century Tools.

2. Jump in - you have to start somewhere, go for it. If you are reading this blog then you have already started. Take a look at my blog roll. Set up a Google Reader, start reading lots of blogs, and comment. Comment a lot. We bloggers love it when you comment. It makes us feel someone is listening. It is a great way to start the conversation.

3. Join Classroom 2.0, Twitter and/or Plurk - make sure that you include information about your self in the bio portion of your Twitter page and start sharing. Send out several Tweets before you start following people. Then look at my list of followers and/or people I am following and pick a few to start following. If they don't follow you back, you can always send a message with @username. That will get through to most people even if they aren't following you. I have a huge Twitter network, so @lizbdavis is the best way to get through to me on Twitter.

4. Start blogging yourself - the act of blogging has been an incredible learning experience for me. I never before thought of myself as a writer, but the more I write the more comfortable I feel about writing. Blog posts don't have to be long (and really shouldn't be) and they don't have to be perfect. Just get your ideas out there. Tweet your posts, link to other bloggers and you will be heard.

5. Attend conferences - Meeting my Online network face to face at Edubloggercon, Educon 2.0 and the BLC08 conference was an extrememly powerful experience for me. I really felt like I already knew people from our Online interactions. We just picked up where we left off and the real life conversations and friendships were inspiring and energizing. This made my journey feel so much more meaningful and immediate.

Dave Truss just posted this video which tells the story of his journey. He is a valuable part of my network and I wouldn't know him if I hadn't first done all of the things I've shared above.

Please share your suggestions and questions here!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Jott Faux Pas

I love Jott. Jott is a free service that automatically converts your voice into e-mail and text messages—anytime, anywhere, with any cell phone. Call Jott from your phone and leave yourself (or someone else) a message. Jott transcribes your words into text and sends it to your email or as a text message to your phone. You can also have Jott send you a reminder at a particular time. You can even Jott your blog...

Doh! Yesterday I went to Jott my husband, who's name is Rob, and instead Jott sent the reminder to my blog (notice they rhyme :o). In an ohnosecond my personal reminder was broadcast to the world. Fortunately, it wasn't anything too embarrassing. I've deleted the post, but if you subscribe to my blog, you may see it show up in your reader. Sorry about that.

Oops!
-Liz

Monday, September 8, 2008

Updated Delicious Screencasts

Delicious is a social bookmarking Website that allows you to save your bookmarks Online and retrieve them from other places. You can also easily share your interesting links and find useful resources by exploring others' saved bookmarks. I blogged about this great Online application more than a year ago. I also created several screencasts to explain how to get an account and save bookmarks.

Since that time, Delicious has been purchased by Yahoo and the interface has changed a bit. I've created two new screencasts using the new Website. I've embedded them below. Hope you find them helpful. Please feel free to share and link to these screencasts as you see fit.

Getting a Delicious Account



Saving bookmarks with Delicious

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Respecting Tradition Yet Alive to Innovation

I started my new job last week as the Director of Academic Technology for Belmont Hill School. Belmont Hill is an independent boys school for students in grades 7 -12. Needless to say, I haven't had much time for blogging. I have been getting to know the faculty and the school. It is always challenging to start a new job. I am thankful to the faculty and staff at Belmont Hill for being so helpful and welcoming.

One of the things that drew me to Belmont Hill is their mission statement:
"Respecting tradition yet alive to innovation, our structured and rigorous program provides students with clear expectations and consistent encouragement, a framework for growth that honors creativity, teamwork and competition..."
I love the juxtaposition of tradition and innovation. I truly believe that these two ideas can exist in harmony. As I told the faculty, I don't want to throw the baby out with the bath water. I just want to add some bubbles. Excellent teaching can thrive without technology. But being "alive to innovation" requires a willingness to step outside of your comfort zone, take risks and perhaps fail. Successful innovations usually don't start out successfully. I'm looking forward to learning more about the traditions of Belmont Hill and helping us all to embrace the innovations that new technologies can offer.

Photo Credit: "BelmontMA." May 1999. [http://www.belmontma.com/schools/belmont_hill/belmont_hill_content.html]. 9-5-08.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Our favorite Quotes

As the new school year begins (at least here in the Northeast U.S.), many of us are putting together faculty presentations. I am presenting on Thursday at Belmont Hill as their new Director of Academic Technology. I am both excited and terrified about the event. In an effort to spice up my presentation, I've been looking for some good quotes. I went to my network and they did not let me down.

Here are a few of my favorites and the quotes that people have shared so far. I created a wiki to collect more quotes. If you have one to add to the list please share it here: http://edquotes.wikispaces.com/

"Technology is anything invented after you were born, everything else is just stuff"
-Alan Kay

"It's not what the software does it's what the user does" -hugh

"History will say, “They had WHAT tools? And they did WHAT with them?” - John Davitt
Shared by h011y via Twitter

“The technology itself is not transformative. It’s the school, the pedagogy, that is transformative.” - Tanya Byron
Shared by @h011y via Twitter

"We shape our tools and afterwards our tools shape us." Marshall McLuhan (1964)
Shared by @craigr via Twitter

"Any smoothly functioning technology will have the appearance of magic." Arthur C. Clarke (1984)
Shared by @craigr via Twitter

"Fish don't know they live in water." Zen Saying
Shared by @craigr via Twitter

"Our system of education is locked in a time capsule. You want to say to the people in charge. . ."
Shared by @craigr via Twitter

"Have you tried turning it off and on again?" - Roy from 'The IT Crowd' http://tinyurl.com/y75xbx
Shared by @jarruzza via Twitter

@cshirky 's "communications tools don't get socially interesting until they get technologically boring"
Shared by @ehelfant via Twitter

“Indeed, the role I give the computer is that of a carrier of cultural 'germs' or 'seeds' whose intellectual products will not need technological support once they take root in an actively growing mind.” Seymour Papert
Shared by @georgygrrl via Twitter

"The illiterate of the 21st century won't be those who can't read & write but those who can't learn unlearn & relearn" - Alvin Toffler
Shared by @jepcke and @rrodrigo via Twitter

"The B.E.S.T. conversations I have had with the people who know THE MOST about TECH has never been about TECH." ~Jen Wagner
Shared by @jepcke via Twitter

"Blogging is vandalism" - Alan Kay :-)
Shared by @garystager via Twitter

"We already knew that kids learned computer technology more easily than adults, It is as if children were waiting all these centuries for someone to invent their native language." - Jaron Lanier
Shared by @edtechworkshop via Twitter

"Why shouldn't we give our teachers a license to obtain software, all software, any software, for nothing? Does anyone demand a licensing fee, each time a child is taught the alphabet? - William Gibson
Shared by @Bmuench via Plurk

"You must be the change you want to see in the world" -Gandhi
Shared by @LoriB via Plurk

image source: From define23's photostream on Flickr.