Friday, March 28, 2008

Shameless Self Promotion

How much is too much?

Technorati Lover

What brought you to my blog today? Am I in your news reader? Do I come to your email? Did someone else link to me? Or, did you see my tweet on Twitter? Did I share this link with you on or Diigo?

As a blogger, I like people to read my blog. I do check my Technorati rating and I'm psyched when it goes up. In January my Technorati rating was 13, today it is 63! I love when people comment on my blog and I love when other people link to me. It makes me feel like I'm not talking to myself. I have thus far, been very fortunate to receive a lot of positive feedback about the things I write.

If I build it, will they come? I struggle with the self promotion aspect of blogging. When I tweet a blog post, I get traffic to my blog. If I tweet it more than once, if I share my post with my network on Diigo or, I get even more traffic. I worry that I'm bugging people, that I'm being selfish and self-serving.

Is this a female thing? Do male bloggers worry about this? Is this a teacher thing? Do commercial bloggers worry about this? How much is too much? Where is the happy medium? Are there rules for this? Should there be? What do you think?

Figuring Out Flock

Flock invaders Flock is a browser much like Firefox Internet Explorer and Safari, but it comes with a lot of extras that are particularly useful to people who are using a lot of Web 2.0 tools. Flock has Twitter, Facebook, Flickr built into it. You can write to your blog directly from Flock (as I'm doing right now).

Words really can't do it justice. So I made a little screencast to show you some of the basic features.

Have you been using Flock? What do you think of it? Please share your impressions and discoveries with us here.
Blogged with the Flock Browser

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

One For Tuesday 3-25-2008

I've been playing around with a two things this week, Diigo and Flock. I'm in the early stages of exploration, but I wanted to share some of what I have discovered so far. This week I'm going to focus on Diigo (stay tuned for more about Flock in a later post).

1. Getting to know Diigo: I played with Diigo a while ago, but didn't really get into it. Recently, I got an email from them letting me know they had an updated version of the tool, and Steve Hargadon mentioned it during one of the Classroom 2.0 LIVE events. That was enough to get me going.

Diigo seems to be a mashup of many of the best features of, facebook, tumblr and twitter. You can save bookmarks, share them with friends and with groups, join groups, send each other links and messages and comment on your friends' walls. Here is my Diigo Profile. It is a lot and hard to explain. So I made a screencast to show you some of the things I have discovered so far.

I used Jing to record the screencast and uploaded it to and then embedded it here. I created the screencast on a machine (Vista) with a large screen, so I apologize for the size of the screencast. I can't figure out (even with the help of my vast Twitter network) how to make it any smaller (advice welcome).

Here is the link (I tried embedding it and it took over the page.):Getting to know Diigo

Here is the official Diigo explanation of its product (a little more professional than my screencast). **Today (3/25/08) at 2pm PST (5pm EST) someone from Diigo will be Online at Classroom 2.0 LIVE to answer your Diigo questions.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Flattery Will Get You Everywhere

Guy Kawasaki describes him self as a Venture capitalist and democratizer of information. I'm not exactly sure what that means, but I do like to read his blog. I think he is a pretty big deal in the Web 2.0 world - but I'm too clueless to know how big. His is one of the few non-educator technology blogs I read. He gives me insight into the bigger picture of Read/Write Web world.

Recently he wrote a post titled "The Myth of A Listers and Influencers." In this post, Guy gives advice to technology companies on how to market their products to "influencers." An influencer has a personal network (not necessarily a large one), is passionate about one subject (or many), and has a basic desire to help others. Guy suggests a few "marketing takeaways," one of which is to
"shape your marketing messages for the larger network of moderately connected users, not just the few highly connected individuals at the top."

Lately, I've been feeling like one of those "moderately connected users." I've been getting "personal" emails from Web 2.0 companies asking me to try their application. First, they flatter my blog, then they invite me to give their tool a try and, if I like it, to share it with my network. Some of the tools are great, others, not so great. After reading Guy's post, I'm feeling a little bit dirty. Are these people just sucking up to me? Have they really read my blog or are they just using me to further their own goals (or both)?

As I was pondering this question and formulating a blog post about it, I received this email:
Hi Liz Davis,
I just came across your blog "The Bradford" blog and liked it very much. I thought i should let you know about my new blog "Slideshows for your website and Blogs" My blog basically consists of slideshows which fall in 12 different categories. If you like any of the slideshows, you are welcome to embed it in your own blog.
Here's the catch, "The Bradford" blog is private, you can't read it unless you are invited (and this guy wasn't invited). I guess I'm just not as fabulous as I thought I was. Darn!

Image Citation: "peacock" vigilant20's Photostream on Flickr. 19 May 2007. [] 23 March 2008 .

Thursday, March 20, 2008

A Web 2.0 Buffet

I titled my workshop "Integrating 21st Century Technology Tools into your Curriculum." Now I just have to figure out what to include. I'll have 6 hours with a small group of inservice teachers. There are so many tools to choose from. Last night I put the question out on Twitter and got many different responses. However, all agreed that there needs to be time for participants to "play" with the tools. There is only so much you can do in 6 hours.

On my way home from a very ineffective training session, it occurred to me that I could offer teachers a "buffet" of technology tools to play with. I could briefly describe and demo (very briefly) several different tools and then provide people with walkthroughs (printed direction sheets) and screencasts (video explanations) and let them choose what to focus on. Some people might want to spend the whole time on one tool, others might like to play around with several. I could also incorporate some conversations midway through the "play" time, so that teachers could get ideas from each other and share their discoveries.

What do you think? Does this sound like a feasible idea? Would you enjoy a workshop like this? Do you have any resources that I could use for the workshop? Have you ever tried anything like this? Please help me out here. I greatly value your opinion.


Image Citation: Vincos' Photostream. Web 2.0 Landscape. 9/16/07. [] 3/20/08.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Two For Tuesday 3-18-2008

1. is like an electronic in-box. Set up a drop and your students can hand in their papers and projects electronically. It is also a great way to share documents and media with a group. describes itself this way: " enables you to create simple private exchange points called "drops." The service has no email signup and no "accounts." Each drop is private, and only as accessible as you choose to deliberately make it. Create multiple drops, add any type of media, and share or subscribe as you want." I've embedded a box on the right column of my blog. (It is working now.)

2. Blabberize: Press play, it speaks for itself. This was easy to create and you can try it out without signing up. If you sign up you can make the picture private, so that it only appears where you put it.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Seminar Day at Wellesley High School

Wednesday was Seminar Day at Wellesley High School. This was my first experience with this event and I had a great day. On seminar day (actually a half day) students, teachers and people from the community give presentations. Students and teachers choose (from a very long list) which presentations to attend. I think my choices represented the many sides of my personality. Here is what I did on Seminar Day:

1. One Laptop Per Child: In this session Walter Bender, a founding member and current president of the OLPC association spoke about the program. Some of the highlights from his talk include a definition of technology (attributed to Alan Kay) "technology is anything invented after you were born," everything else is just "stuff." He spoke about the OLPC program as an agent of change that must be implemented broadly and to scale in order to be productive. He talked about the relationship between OLPC and Intel as being inherently at odds. According to Bender, Intel's goals are to create machines that are bigger and faster - and convince us that we need them, while the goals of OLPC are to make machines that are smaller and more efficient. He described the software on the XO laptop as having a low floor and no ceiling - accessible to beginners, while providing many more sophisticated possibilities for exploration. Finally one of my favorite quotes from the session was the philosophy of the designers "you can't fix it until you can break it."

2. Favorite Poem Project: In this session, based on a project started by former US Poet Laureate Robert Pinsky, two English teachers invited students, colleagues and members of the community to share a favorite poem and explain why it is meaningful to them. It was wonderful to hear teachers and students share and talk about poetry.

3. The WHS Varsity Dance Team: In this session the 8 members of the varsity dance team performed a few of their routines and taught a portion of the routine to the audience. Unfortunately, most members of the audience were unwilling to participate in the lesson. There were a few brave souls - all male - who stood up and learned how to do a kick line. They did amazingly well. Here is a video of the team performing at a basketball game.

Two for Yesterday

I usually try to get this out on a Tuesday (hence the name "Two for Tuesday"), but I'm not going to let the day of the week stop me from sharing two interesting resources.

1. Looking for some blogs to read? has collected the top blog sites and stories on the Web and grouped them into categories. Their interface lets you mouse over and read a blog post right from their page. They suggest you "think of an Alltop site as a “dashboard,” “table of contents,” or even a “digital magazine rack” of the Internet." They include a wide range of categories including education, sports, politics, fashion and celebrities. This is a great resource for good blogs - crazily, my blog is included on their education page! You can learn more about Alltop on Guy Kawasaki's blog: How to Change the World.

2. Looking for a study group? LetsCram is a "place where high school students can come study and get homework done in a social, laid-back environment." This looks like an interesting resource for high school students. Students can create and share study guides, schedule study sessions, chat, and even procrastinate. I haven't fully explored this yet. I would be interested to hear from anyone who has.

Better late than never.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Understanding your 21st Century Teenager

A conversation about the rapidly changing world of technology and its impact on your adolescent.

A colleague (school counselor) and I are organizing some conversations with parents about Teens and technology. We would like to facilitate a discussion about both the benefits, and the challenges of parenting a plugged in teen. Our challenges are to make it a conversation, NOT a presentation, about more than just Internet safety. So many "Internet Safety" presentations are "scare-fests" that freak us out about Internet predators lurking behind every URL. Teenagers and parents have so much to gain from knowing how to get around in a networked world!

Imagine a teenager who starts a blog when she is 13. Over the next four years she writes weekly about her ideas and interests. By the time she is 17, she will have amassed a portfolio of her writing and interests that will show her growth both as a writer and as a thinker. As her blog develops a readership, she will collect a community of people who will respond to her ideas and stimulate new ones. The potential for learning is huge and in my opinion, far outweigh the risks!

David Warlick's recent blog post, New Report on Internet Predators, pointed me to some new research by the American Psychological Association which breaks down many of the stereotypes about Internet predators. While we do take risks when we are Online, many of these risks have been exaggerated. Kids are going to be Online, and I truly believe that is a great thing! Yes we need to educate them about how to be responsible and safe while they are there, but we also need to educate them about how to use the Internet to its full potential.

I want to particularly thank Kate Olson, who helped inspire this idea and has been generously sharing her resources with me and helping me to gather my own. As always my edtech-network is a living example of the power of the Internet.

Image Citation: "" Leonard John Matthews' Photostream on Flickr. 25August 2007. [] 2 March 2008 .