Friday, April 17, 2009

Social Bookmarking

Social bookmarking is the practice of saving bookmarks to a website and tagging them with keywords so others have access to them too. With a simple click I can share websites I find with anyone in the network.


This YouTube video does a nice job introducing a social bookmarking tool called Delicious.





Diigo seems to push social bookmarking one step further. Not only does it allow me to annotate or comment on websites I visit, but I can choose to let others view my comments, allowing for discourse between colleagues. In addition, Diigo allows users to create and join groups to further extend the bookmarking network. I enjoy this feature of Diigo immensely.





Look for lisettecasey on both of these sites.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

The Future of the Internet

This morning, as I was looking through my Diigo Group bookmarks of the day, I paused in amazement at ALL the powerful resources available to me as an educator. Many of the resources don't come up in a typical Google search when I'm looking independently. I'm glad to belong to a group with common interests because everyone is searching and sharing.

I also quickly wondered why resources with common themes don't pop up on searches despite semantics. Isn't the web smarter than that? Everything seems a bit disorganized.

Funny that someone had recommended the following video - Service Web 3.0 - The Internet of the Future. This video describes the current internet as pieces of a jigsaw puzzle that have a hard time fitting together. The video also provides some statistical data as to how much information will bombard the internet by 2010. (Spend some time in Diigo and this is easy to imagine.) The numbers are astronomical.


video

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Collaboration - The Power of the Internet

Several months ago I noticed a new follower on my class blog. After clicking on the profile I learned this new follower was a high school Earth Science teacher instructing in content similar to my own. Naturally, I became a follower of his class blog. A few days later I had a new friend request on Facebook from my new blog follower. His request contained a detailed message being sure to help me understand who he was and why he was requesting friendship. I accepted friendship and our professional relationship has grown from there. We've shared ideas, resources, and other bits and pieces of information that has helped me grow into a stronger Earth Science teacher. The power of the internet!

Soon our students (High School and 8th Grade) were interested in each other and we started talking about the possibility of collaborating on a joint project between our two schools. With Earth Day approaching, we decided on an Earth Day Presentation using Google Docs. The North Carolina - Colorado Collaboration Project was started. Students were divided into groups of four (one North Carolina student, two Colorado students and a project manager.) Three students would actually work on the project, the fourth would be the project manager who also was in charge of managing the work of two additional groups. The addition of the project manager (pm) was due to the disproportionate numbers between the two schools and ended up being a blessing in disguise. They are doing a tremendous job tracking student work and offering great support throughout the project.

So far, the lessons the students are learning are HUGE. Collaboration across time zones, even when the time differential is only two hours, is a difficult obstacle to overcome when communication toward a common goal is required. Email and document etiquette lessons are learned daily. Students learn first hand how easily tone can be misunderstood or misconstrued. Reaching consensus with strangers requires flexibility and understanding. Before the class period ends, students have learned more lessons in communication then they have all year again emphasizing the power of the internet.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Things I Learned Today Via Twitter

People are always asking about Twitter, what it is and how I use it. I thought a convenient way to bundle this response would be to fill you in on today's Twitter highlights. Twitter runs in the background while I'm at work. If something interesting catches my attention, I'll usually mark the comment, known as a tweet, as a favorite to view at a later time.

Here are some of the highlights from Twitter today within our building:
  • My teammate is wondering whether it's best to buy district technology to map curriculum or to put technology in the hands of students.
  • A link the Twitter information of five kids under the age of 17 who are doing incredible things with Twitter and technology. Thee kids have over 10,000 followers.
Highlights from my Twitter Followings and Followers:
  • Recommendations for technology to purchase for student use (This was a response to a request I submitted, or tweeted.
  • Invitation to Webinar hosted by Classroom 2.0 Live - Future of Education Panel Presentation on Eluminate. Excellent hour spent with Steve Hargadon, Ruth Reynard, Karen Greenwood Henke, and Jim and Sara Beeghley
  • Links to countless blogs related to education (Could be an upcoming blog post.)
  • And the list goes on and on and on
And then, the icing on the cake....
My 21 year old son has joined twitter!

Someone posted a link on Twitter to a Google Spreadsheet documenting how other educators around the world are using Twitter. The spreadsheet is filled with good ideas and worth checking.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Blogging

I like blogging. Blogging seems to provide a number of personal satisfactions:
  • Increased interaction among the members of a professional community
  • Creative student community that continues to grow
  • Connection to parents - they can easily visit my blog and see what we've been up to in class
  • Collaboration among other classrooms world wide
  • Sounding board for new thoughts and ideas
I hope my posts provide others with food for thought. That's why I decided to join 31 Days to Build a Better Blog. Darren Rowse is the author of ProBlogger. He's also the sponsor of this endeavor I am undertaking along with 9100 other bloggers around the world. Wow!

If you're interested, it's easy to sign up by visiting the 31 Days to Build a Better Blog. Don't worry about the fact that the challenge began a few days ago. This is about becoming a better blogger not about due dates and deadlines.