Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Beat the Drum Until Everyone Listens

Earlier this morning Chris Lehmann took the stage at the 140 Characters Conference in New York. I've heard Chris speak in-person and via the web about a dozen times over the last couple of years. Although his delivery might change for different audiences, his message has remained the same. I'm paraphrasing but the message is generally, "technology in schools needs to be like oygen" and "In the age of Google, we need to teach wisdom."

As I was watching the live stream this morning I thought, "I've heard this before, why am I watching?" I continue to watch Chris give his message because he's a dynamic speaker and because I now enjoy watching the audience's reaction to his message. Today's audience, both live and on the web, seemed to really embrace Chris's message. The significant thing about today's 140 Character Conference audience is that it was not an audience of educators only. In fact, I'd hazard a guess to say that the audience contained very few professional educators.

So then why do we need people like Chris Lehmann to continue to deliver the same message? Because more people need to hear it. It's easy for those of us who spend a lot of time in the edu-blog-o-sphere to forget that we are the minority of educators, there are millions of educators and other stake-holders who have not heard the message yet. If change is to happen, all stake-holders need to hear the message that Chris is delivering.

Here's the Twitter stream that was going on while Chris was speaking today. It was amazing how fast it was updating. I'm looking for the archived video of his presentation, if anyone finds it, please leave a comment with a link.

Here's the video in which I first saw Chris Lehmann speak.

Duck Duck Go - A Simplified Search Engine

Duck Duck Go is a search engine designed with clarity and simplicity in mind. One of the ways that clarity and simplicity stands out is when you enter a search term that can have multiple meanings, Duck Duck Go alerts you to that and asks you what you really want to search for. For example, if you enter the search term "duck," Duck Duck Go will tell you that "duck" could be a noun or a verb. (see the screen capture below) Duck Duck Go also provides brief information summaries when you search for topics. This is handy if you're not really looking for a lot of information about a topic, but are just in need of a quick synopsis of a topic.

Applications for Education
Duck Duck Go could be a good alternative to Google Search. The fact that Duck Duck Go recognizes multiple meanings of words and tries to help you clarify your search, is a selling point for use with younger students who might need help refining their Internet search terms.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Beyond Google - Improve Your Search Results
Search Cube - Six Sided Visual Search
Spezify - Visual Search Engine

Printliminator - Save Ink and Save Paper

Printliminator is a handy little bookmarklet for Firefox (update: it also works in Chrome and Safari) that I just learned about from Steve Dembo. Printliminator allows you to highlight a webpage and select only the elements which you wish to print. You can install Printliminator in seconds by just clicking and dragging it into your browser's toolbar.

Watch the video below to learn more about Printliminator.

Applications for Education
If you've ever found an online article that you wanted to print for classroom use, you know that ads inserted into the text or excessively large headers can result in using more ink and paper than necessary. Printliminator allows you to remove those unnecessary elements and print just the text thereby saving your school paper and ink costs.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Save Paper and Save Ink, Use Print Friendly
Save Paper, Print What You Like
Free eBooks Search Engine