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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Honduras, Scoopler, and Current Events

The news broke earlier today that the President of Honduras, Jose Manuel Zelaya, had been removed from power by military force. The first thing I did upon reading this was jump on Scoopler to search for real-time links and comments on the story. Scoopler allows you to find the most recent Twitter comments and links about a breaking story. I just got back to my room here at NECC and the real-time search results just keep pouring into Scoopler at rate of about one item every 3-5 seconds.

Applications for Education
Real-time search engines like Scoopler and One Riot are great resources to have when a story is breaking. These resources could be put to use by students in a current events course or in a journalism course. When I taught a current events course one of my favorite things to do was to have students analyze the reporting of one story from multiple sources. Real-time search brings in not only the stories from the major news outlets, but also brings in the "person on the street" perspective from social networks like Twitter and FriendFeed.

If you'd like some resources for learning about what's going on in Honduras here are a couple of links:
CNN News Video
BBC News Video

For general information about Honduras (and all countries) the CIA World Factbook is always a good place to start.

Coming Soon from Glogster

Today at NECC 2009 I met with Jim Dachos from Glogster. We had a great conversation about the future of technology in education, the challenges in getting teachers to adopt the use of technology in the classroom, and we, of course, talked about Glogster. Glogster has experienced fantastic growth in the last year. Two of the obstacles to further growth in the education sector have been school filters and Glogster's capacity for handling the volume. Jim told me that in the next two weeks Glogster will be opening up a dedicated set of servers just for the education world. According to Jim, this new education section will resolve both of those problems.

To make Glogster more school friendly they have recently announced a partnership with SchoolTube to enable students to find videos from within Glogster.

Applications for Education
Glogster is probably best described as service for creating an online collage of videos, music, images, and multiple text styles. Earlier this year I used Glogster to have my special education students create Glogs about various US Presidents. During our conversation Jim shared with me a Glog that was created by a student about Darfur. That Glog can be seen below.


Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Using Animoto (and Glogster and Wordle) to LEARN
A Great Glogster Tutorial

Find My Notes - Join the NECC Conversation

A couple of people have asked me where I'm posting notes and links from NECC 2009. I set up a Drop.io page for my notes and links from this trip. You can find that Drop here. The Drop.io page is set for public access so please feel free to add your comments and or ask questions.

I have also set up a Friend Feed group for conversations about NECC 09. You can find and join that group here. Again, the group is open to anyone so please feel free to join in the conversation whether. If you've never tried Friend Feed, now might be the time. The group feature makes it possible to have threaded conversations about a particular topic/ event without having to sift through a stream of unrelated content.

Update:
If you don't want to join Friend Feed, you can still see all of the notes and conversations about NECC 09 on this blog in the widget I've installed in the right hand column of the blog. The feed is just below the Google Friends display.

Reflections on EduBloggerCon - Part II

Yesterday, I posted some of my preliminary reflections on EduBloggerCon 2009. Those reflections were posted just before I went to an outstanding conversation session hosted by Jeff Utecht. The conversation was started with the questions "Is blogging dead or dying?" and "Where does Twitter fit in?" The conversation included topics such as real-time search (my two cent contribution), Jeff's idea that Twitter makes the life-cycle of a conversation shorter, how to get people started and interested in blogging/ Twitter/ FriendFeed. I believe it was Scott McLeod who brought the conversation back to the "trenches" so to speak when he said something to the effect of "for most educators, posting on the web is still a new thing." He put this comment in the context of his Castle book club in which he has members who are reluctant to post a comment to an online group for which they signed up.

Scott's point reminded us all that it is easy to get caught up in the pageviews, retweets, and other statistics of blogging, but there is still a huge population of people that doesn't know what is going on in the world of educational technology. The challenge then is to answer the question, "how do we get teachers interested in staying current in best practice technology integration?" My simple answer to this to show teachers some specific tools that can help them engage students in their classrooms. And when they ask, "how do you find all this?" (and they always do ask me) show a couple of blogs like Larry Ferlazzo's and introduce them to RSS readers.














Jeff Utecht (on left) and David Warlick during the conversation about the future of edublogging.

A couple of people have asked me where I'm posting notes and links from NECC 2009. I set up a Drop.io page for my notes and links from this trip. You can find that Drop here. I have also set up a Friend Feed group for conversations about NECC 09. You can find and join that group here.

The Civil War in Four Minutes

Here is a good four minute visual overview of the US Civil War. I found this video through Teaching the Civil War With Technology which is a blog that all US History teachers should follow.



Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Three Good WWI Resources from the BBC
American President - An Online Reference
The Science and Technology of WWII

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