Saturday, November 28, 2009

Week in Review - Blog Birthday #2!

It's hard for me to believe, but today is the second anniversary of Free Technology for Teachers. Without much of a clue as to what I was doing, I started this blog two years ago today. Two years later I've written nearly 2500 posts.

Here's a look back at some statistics made possible by all of you who read, subscribe to, and Tweet about Free Technology for Teachers.

Two years ago: no subscribers, no page views.
18 Months ago: 200 subscribers, 10,000 page views/ month.
12 Months ago: 1500 subscribers, 30,000 page views/month.
6 Months ago: 8500 subscribers, 80,000 page views/ month.
Today: 14,000+ subscribers, 120,000 page views/ month.

Here are the seven most popular items of the last week:
1. 12 Ways for Students to Publish Slideshows Online
2. Weekend Workshop - Make a Wiimote Whiteboard
3. Memoov Looks Promising for Digital Storytelling
4. Buying a Netbook or Laptop on Black Friday?
5. New Moon on Shmoop
6. Where Does Thanksgiving Grow?
7. Earth Pulse 2010 - Vital Statistics Interactive Map

The list above is based on item clicks and views. If you ever miss the week in review post, you can always check out the Post Rank widget embedded in the right column of the blog. Post Rank displays the most popular blog entries at any given time.

If you're new to Free Technology for Teachers, welcome, I'm glad you've found this blog. If you like what you see in the links above, please consider subscribing to the blog via RSS or email.
To subscribe via RSS, please click here.
To subscribe via email, please click here.

Image Credit: Flickr user Ritchielee

The Teacher Chronicles - Web of Web 2.0 for Schools

The Teacher Chronicles is an excellent blog that I recently discovered through the Delicious most popular links feed. The Teacher Chronicles features posts about Web 2.0 resources that can be leveraged for classroom use. The most recent post is about using Facebook as a learning management system. What brought me to the blog though was this web of Web 2.0 resources for classroom use. The web was created using Mindmodo and is divided into 30 categories of resources. Click any element on the web to reveal specific tools for classroom use.

Applications for Education
If you're looking for a new blog to add to your RSS reader, The Teacher Chronicles is definitely worth your consideration.

Video - What Kids Learn When They Create With Digital Media

Thanks to a recommendation by Kevin Jarrett, I spent an hour this morning watching this excellent video of a webinar conducted by the MacArthur Foundation. The hour long video features educators and researchers sharing their findings from having students create with digital media. If you have the time, I recommend watching it.

Twitter Lists Enable Me to Follow More People

I've been on Twitter for two years and almost since day one, I've subscribed to the belief that the more people I followed, the more opportunities I would have to learn something. For the most part, that strategy worked until I got to the point where I was following 2000+ people. I was around that point that my Twitter stream got too busy for me to keep up and my strategy of following everyone started to devalue my Twitter experience. At that point I began forming lists in Tweet Deck, but even that didn't work the way I wanted it to (in part because I didn't have enough screen real estate to see all of my groups at once and in part because of some technical glitches with Tweet Deck groups this summer). Last month, Twitter introduced lists. Lists have made my Twitter experience better than it has been in months.

Twitter lists allow me to create small lists of Twitter users that fit into a specific niche that I've identified. For example, Larry Ferlazzo and Kevin Jarrett are in my "ed-tech-guru" list while Alec Couros is in my "ed-thought-leaders" list. I've purposely kept these lists short so that I can quickly find out what the people in those lists are sharing. Now when I login to Twitter (actually, I rarely log out) I can view my mainstream of 3700+ people I'm following without worry that I've missed something from one of the people that I've come to count on over the last two years. Twitter lists have enabled me to start following more people again.

Some people, like Chris Brogan, think that Twitter lists are too "exclusive." I view Twitter lists like RSS feeds. You may subscribe to hundreds of feeds, but there are always a group of feeds that you read first.

If you find yourself not getting enough value out of Twitter, try creating a list or simply subscribing to an existing list made by someone you trust. The image below includes directions for making a Twitter list.

If you're looking for ways to authentically expand your personal learning network on Twitter, check out my Two Guides for Constructing a PLN.