Friday, January 8, 2010

Weekend Extra #1 - Twitter Top 20

Recently I published a post about how I am going to maintain a focus for my Blog.  I had ideas for the days of the week, but when it came to the weekends, I just figured I would post some extra stuff I find.  Then I thought...not enough focus there either.  So every weekend I plan to post a Twitter Top 20 list.  Throughout the week I am constantly checking Twitter and getting tons of resources that I think readers of my blog would be interested in viewing.

So each weekend you can expect resources, articles, stories, and opinions that I feel are worth viewing.  Now with this list I will do my best to properly give rights to the person on Twitter who shared it with me.  But if by chance I cannot do that, then please consider this my Thank You and acknowledgement to you for sharing your link on Twitter.

With a Snow day today, I am getting a chance to start early on my Twitter Top Twenty.  These are in no particular order because trying to rank them would be rather difficult.

1.) Youblisher - Make your PDF files into a flippable book.  Makes me think of Yudu in the sense of creating a digital magazine, but it looks more realistic, like a digital magazine.  Really simple to use.  All you have to do is upload the PDF file and they take care of the rest.  They have a Demo that you can try out.  Very easy to use.  You will need to create an account, and that does require Email Verification.  You can upload the file or provide a URL.  Want to see a sample...view #10 on this list where I created one for Beowulf from LitCharts.

2.) Twitter Mosaic - A great way to create a mosaic of everyone you follow on Twitter.  Now, to make it really cool, they need to work on organizing the pictures to create the Twitter Logo within the images.  You can view my Mosaic at the end of my Blog.

3.) How Many Light Bulbs Does it Take to Change a Teacher - A great read on the impact of technology and the teachers role in the 21st Century.  A point I like "The days of teachers expecting their professional development being handed to them on a silver platter are gone."

4.) Are American Students Lazy? - Great question, good article.  My experience in the classroom would agree...but who is  to blame?  Parents?  Community?  Teachers? The Student?  What do you think?  Other countries are flying past America...is this the reason, or part of the reason?

5-8.) - FLIP Video Camera Resources - I recently received one as part of my job.  I posted that on Twitter, so thanks to some of my followers, Melissa Edwards in particular, I received some links to resources for using a FLIP....The first are from Melissa's Blog.
- Flip Camera Ideas and Forty Interesting Ways to Use FLIP Video Camera in the Classroom
- In Touch - Importing Videos From a FLIP Camera to Windows Movie Maker
- 10 Educational Uses for FLIP Video

9.) Forming a Blog Alliance?  Interesting idea from Kelly Tenkely who was looking to form an Alliance with other Bloggers.

10.) LitCharts - Boasting as a faster, downloadable alternative to SparkNotes.  Offering tons of famous literature that you can read online, get a Printable PDF, or use in their IPhone App.  I used one of the PDF files on Youblisher from #1 on the list.  You can view it here.

11.) Great Blog entry from Tech & Learning.  100 Web Tools to Enhance Collaboration.  This is just part one, so you will probably want to follow the Blog if want the rest of the list.

12.) and 13.) Great additions for YouTube in the classroom.  As educators we are always worried about the comments and Related videos on YouTube when sharing them in the classroom.  Two websites help to solve that problem
- SafeShare.tv
- Quiettube

14.) Via Larry Ferlazzo on Twitter; A great article about how we are smart about evaluating athletes, but dumb about evaluating students, teachers, and schools.

15.) 25 Best Websites for Education Videos - Definately a site worth Bookmarking and taking the time to view the 25 websites.  Some I had heard of, some I had not, so I will be taking some time myself to look through them.

16.) The Tech Commandments.  Article created by Adam Bellow the same person who created the Edutecher App and Website.  It is an interesting read and worth maybe adapting for your school or classroom.

17.) Great article about Wikipedia and how it is not a reliable source.  Great theing about the article, is that it comes from Wikipedia.  So maybe if your students read an article by Wikipedia saying they are not reliable they will maybe pay attention to it more.  Shared by EdTechSandyK

18.) Great website with tons of Copyright Resources.  Shared by Web20Classroom

19.) The Most Popular Blogs that might be useful to educators.  Website links provided by Larry Ferlazzo. and shared on Twitter by Angela Maiers

20.) I will post my own Blog post about Twitter.  I had over 400 visitors to my blog in less than a week to read my post: "Do you Tweet?  As an Educator...You Should."  For my new blog, I considered 400 a professional accomplishment since starting this Blog in November.

After this first post, this might become a two part series though.  Ten on Saturday and Ten on Sunday...Twenty sure is a lot...of course, it did not seem like a lot when the idea first popped in my head.

Hope you find these resources of use. Just another reason why Twitter is more than a Social Network, Mircoblogging Site. It is a Resource all in its own.

Friday Focus #3 - Online Sticky Notes Collaboration

What I consider to be one of the best Web 2.0 resources are the new Online Sticky Note Collaboration websites.  There are four such websites that I have come across for Sticky Note Collaboration.  The one I have used the most and like the most is Wallwisher.  The others are Stixy, Pindax, and Lino.  Below you will find a brief description of each as well as links to sample boards that you can visit and mess around on to see the similarities and differences in them.









I had an original Post on Wallwisher when I first started this Blog, in fact it was my first post.  In that post you can read about how to set up an account and the benefits of using it in the classroom.  I also have a link to a Wall that I created hoping to get ideas from readers.  So if you have ideas, please share them on that Wall.

I like Wallwisher because it is easy to setup up an account, it is very user friendly (especially for those less tech savvy teachers.), and the creation of a URL that you determine makes it very easy to share.  A teacher at my school used Wallwisher to ask her students about ideas for a technology project and I used it to survey the teachers at my school for their views on the Trimester schedule.  I also realized that you could use it as a method of Peer Review.  Students could post a link to their assignment and then it could be peer reviewed on Wallwisher.







Lino it has some features that Wallwisher does not have, but for advanced users Lino offers some great advantages and features. One of the similar features is NO EMAIL VERIFICATION! Lino uses the term Canvas instead of walls.  What I don't like is that the Canvas is a limited Space.  You know how much space you have, but it is limited.  If you get a lot of Stickers, then it can be crowded.  When you create a new canvas you give it a name, select the background, choose the Access to the canvas (Private, Semi Private, or Public) and then some other details (RSS, Email options).

Once you create the Canvas the Sticky Note options are rather easy to use and offer a lot of good features.  You of course have your choice of color for your note and can even make a transparent one.  You can attach images, video URLs from YouTube and Vimeo, as well as attach a file.  Those are some of the features that Wallwisher is lacking better ability to do.  There is a calendar built in to the Canvas as well as links to other canvas'.  You can highlight new post to your canvas as well.  I have created a generic canvas that you are welcome to visit and play around on to see its features.  You can also visit a Canvas created by Lino that tells you how to use their site..  If you create a Canvas it can be embedded into a Blog or website as well.  Within the Sticky Note you can add Tags, choose your font size, font color, an icon, a Due Date (could be useful for assignments), and send the Post in an email or to another user on Lino.







PinDax considers itself an Online Message Board.  Creating an account is easy.  A great thing is there is NO EMAIL VERIFICATION...but at the same time...no email is even required.  Setting up your account is easy.  There are plenty of options when joining PinDax.  Your home screen gives you access your Boards, Groups, Profile, Polls, Favorites, Short URL's, Messages and then your Profile.  One thing I do like is there is  a constant sidebar with access to everything on your home screen.

When creating a New Board you provide a name and a description, choose the Look and Feel, Tools, Privacy, and Users.  You can choose the font for your Post-Its (Handwritten, Business, or Typewriter) and the Color Scheme for the Board.  There are tons of tools for the Post, to many to name here, but great features.  You can even choose an expiration date for the Board.  Within Privacy you can require a Password, Limit to a group of people, and make it searchable.  You can then also select User Privileges.

When you have created a Board you get a endless Board.  Moving through the Board is rather easy, but can be difficult if you get a lot of Post.  Trying to explain how the board looks and what you can do is kind of difficult to do.  I suggest visiting the Online Message Board I created for this Blog to get an idea of how it can be used.







With Stixy you create a Stixyboard.  It has a lot of the same features as the others mentioned in this blog post.  Sign up is easy and NO EMAIL VERIFICATION is required.  Your login is your email address, so no Username creation is required either.  I have created a sample Stixyboard for you to access and try out its features.

The features are fairly user friendly.  You can add Post-its, pictures, files, or even a To Do Post-It.  What I like about Stixy is that when you click to add a Post, it changes the color of the Stixyboard making it easy to know you are doing something different.  The Post are considered adding a Widget, so it gives you quite a few options.  Adding Photos, gives you quite a few features and adding a document is easy as well.


Wallwisher is still my favorite, but I think that is because I am most familiar with it.  After doing the research for this Blog, I would have to say that Stixy is one that I could see myself using more in the future following by Lino and then Pindax.

What about you...which one(s) do you prefer?  Which have you used in your professional life?
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