Saturday, July 25, 2009

DIY Videos for Class Projects & Events

A number of educators are starting to use video technology to capture everything from class drama projects, to school activities and outings, or to make available supplementary notes or how-to instructions for assignments and projects. These video-taped items are typically made available to students via classroom computer(s) or the library's computers, however, many teachers are now taking advantage of online video sharing platforms to turn video into a collaborative experience. There are now a number of web tools and online video platforms that we can make use of to upload and package our video - YouTube being by far the most obvious and popular, and an increasing number of collaborative tools specifically geared toward the education community (such as wikis) are allowing contributors to search and embed YouTube videos into their pages. Most of these services can be public-facing or private (set number of defined users), you can control the parameters and address the specific security and privacy concerns of your environment your own way.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Some Delicious Links, July 21, 2009

This week's collection of links from our delicious site focuses on web sites for educators involved in technology or the development of new digital learning environments.

Consortium of School Networking (CoSN)
Founded in 1992, the Consortium of School Networking (CoSN) is the premier professional association for school district technology leaders. If you check the list of CoSN initiatives it's quite clear they have been busy and involved in some very ambitious projects.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Free Collaborative Platforms for Teachers Part 4 - the Wikis

Wikis have become the tool of choice for many teachers, it provides an easy way to create web pages and to link them up, and allows one to do all this using a wysiwyg editor. And with the number of free wiki products available on the web, many of which now integrate social or widget elements to entice users and add to the collaborative experience, wikis have also built platforms that are geared directly at teacher and education communities.

But one thing to keep in mind when considering a wiki for classroom learning and activities, is that the web and web tools / apps for many students is not a "special" activity, it just is: their relationship to the digital realm, being their desktop or mobile, is nothing short of a new way of learning, thinking, playing, and socializing. In fact, the results of a three-year collaborative project out of Berkeley, USC (Digital Youth Research - Final Report) clearly indicate that the ways young people use the internet everyday are transforming learning in ways that adults often fail to understand, but which represent major new opportunities that need to be taken advantage of by supportive educators. (Read
Information Literacy, Educators, and the Digital Classroom).

The following is a review of a few wiki platforms, but by no means a full reflection of all the wiki tools out-there.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Some Delicious Links, July 16/09

Open Atrium
New Drupal-based open source intranet developed by Development Seed. Packed with blogs, wikis, microblogging, to-do lists, and other collaborative features. Plus, it's free and supported by a massive development community...Hello, proprietary intranet vendors, a big change is coming.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Free Collaborative Platforms for Teachers Part 3 - ZOHO Personal Collaboration and Productivity Apps

Zoho is an Indian web office applications development firm that is taking on the big guns, Google and Microsoft, and actually giving them a run for their money. Zoho's range of products is an immense, fulsome collection of personal collaboration and productivity apps, consisting of ten products, and an at cost business apps service comprised of nine products. It's a very sophisticated platform, with a smart long-term model for business development - these guys are going to be around for a long time: they're Venture Capitalist free and have financed themselves internally and through investments.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Some Delicious Links, July 11/09

Some resources we came across this week, reposted from our megsnotebook Delicious account.

Hybrid web browser out of Japan. Provides the use with the ability to choose on of 3 browser rendering engines: Trident (found in Internet Explorer), Gecko (the same version found in Firefox 3.5), or WebKit (found in Safari and Chrome). while the average user may not be very interested in this feature, it's great for those of us who do web development: different browsers displaying certain things differently (e.g. embedded videos), and Lunascape allows us to quickly scan the three rendering engines to find the right fit.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

On Cell

I've started to enjoy the "rawness" of photos taken with a cell phone camera and decided to start a little On Cell section which I'll feed from my Flickr account. I find it a nice way to complete a hanging moment or capture a meaningful one on the go...and it's also wired, so nothing more than a quick upload to share an on-the-spot, unphotoshopped photo.

Toronto Pearson International Airport, Terminal 3...On Cell

Boredom at the counter.

Gridding the grey skies, X and Y with a boutique nearby...

Your E-mail Address – What You May Not Know

Most companies, employees, and general users now recognize the dangers of visiting certain sites, the risks of downloading and installing third party tools or programs without some form of
verification process, and have become increasingly concerned about online privacy.

However, security risks to companies and the compromise of your online identity and privacy is quite often less a technical issue and instead one of process, practice, and awareness. One common process and practice which users almost never consider a privacy threat is using e-mail to sign-up / register with sites. If you have an account with a popular social network, like MySpace or Facebook, it's good practice to use a personal or single-use e-mail which you would not use for professional, business, or any activity that may require the exchange of private data. If you use one e-mail for all activities, including work, then you may be exposing more of yourself than you think.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Free Collaborative Platforms for Teachers: Part 2 - Office Live Workspace

I've tried out Microsoft's Office Live Workspace, a component of the Office Live platform which includes the ability to create a professional web presence, have an online storage and sharing space, and real-time online collaboration. Office Live Workspace is Microsoft's response to Google docs and all the other online office apps, and it almost pains me to say that part of me likes it. Office Live Workspace is a hosted version of Sharepoint, Microsoft's massive enterprise CMS, with a slimmed-down Office suite (Word, Excel, and Powerpoint) and the required Outlook activities.