Archive for tools

The value of reflection

This post is a valuable one because it reminds me of the value and art of reflection. In lives that are probably too fast,  there is something priviledged about even being able to stop for a moment and review past feelings and experiences. So Dean Groom offers  three stages of reflection which teachers can readily apply preferably with different read/write tools (eg. blogs, aggregators, wikis,  and social bookmarking ). They are reflecting before and during the activity, and critically reviewing actions and experience after the event.  The first stage is in the revealing of the activity; it is about talking to students about their expectations and/or any prior knowledge or skills associated with this activity (microblogging).  Once the activity is underway, there is a need  to monitor the actions of students and ensure that they have an understanding of where it fits in to the context of what is being learned (MUVE). And finally reflecting on the learning process through recall, for example by talking supported by a blog post or a screen shot. What kind of read/write tools are you using in your class? Which ones are the most popular?

Saving time with checklists

If you are interested in saving time when selecting online tools for class, look no further than Tektrekker’s  Web 2.0 Selection Criteria.  He has identified his criteria as access, usability, privacy and intellectual property, workload and time management, and fun factor. I am going to do a direct copy of his process which is selecting a learning tool from GO2WEB20 after thinking about a learning objective.  I want to find something that is fun for people with a disability to play with on the computer and so I think I will explore the categories of games and fun.

I have come across Scrapblog and discovered that it is web based but before I use it I will test it in Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox and see how it works through a Dial-Up connection. I have established that the tool is free through FAQ and it can be used on a PC and a Mac. There is a need to create an account, but nothing needs to be installed or downloaded onto the computer. I check for issues in the forum to see the kinds of problems that I can anticipate if I decide to use it. There is a restricted access option to the work, but it is unclear about the copyright status of the content. There are tagging and comment features so the Scrapblogs can be brought together under one name, and people can leave their comments about their friends’ works (NB: Do a session about constructive comments). There seems to be a fee attached to printing them off, which requires further investigation.

This selection criteria is great. It allows me to make short work of selecting tools and then evaluating them against the list even before starting to experiment with them.


Here is something fun!

The question being asked is ‘How does the internet see you?’ and the answer, try Personas . Developed by the Sociable Media Group ,  it ‘uses sophisticated natural language processing and the Internet to create a data portrait of one’s aggregated online identity.’ I just entered my first and last names and the results are fairly broad in four quarters – online, books, sports, and education- in four different blocks of colour expressed in a linear way.  It appears to be pretty simple really but the idea of capturing an online identity in a nice graphic form is appealing… The only thing is sports is really not  one of my things and I am questioning how that result came about! :-).

If you have a common name it might be a bit more interesting but you are really sharing your online presence with other people of the same name. I tried ‘Lyn Clark’ and it came out with online, books, sports, management, genealogy, family committees, aggression (interesting one!), media, education, news, illegal (what does this mean?), legal, social, religious, medical, professional and accident, all in different colours and different proportions along a linear pathway.

It fits into the context of a new exhibition at the MIT Museum exploring the ‘social potential of new communication technologies’ so obviously something visual, quick and fun would be  great  for engaging people in that space. Do you think this tool is just fun? Or could it be something that quickly and easily expresses  ‘digital footprints’ for us with a tweak here and there?