Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Twitter and Twitter Search in Plain English

I was recently hired to facilitate a short workshop about using social media in high school social studies courses. One of the elements of the workshop is creating Twitter accounts and using Twitter search to find current and relevant information. One of the references that I plan to use in that workshop and as a reference for participants after I'm gone is a licensed copy of Common Craft's Twitter Search in Plain English.

Embedded below is Twitter Search in Plain English.

Embedded below is Twitter in Plain English.

Applications for Education
Common Craft's videos are good resources for introducing potentially confusing topics to a group of students or colleagues. In addition to the social media and technology videos, Common Craft has a nice set of videos about personal finance topics that I've used in my classroom in the past.

Zendo - Take Notes and Create Flashcards at the Same Time

Zen.do is a new service that aims to help students develop study materials while taking lecture notes. The basic idea behind Zen.do is this; students take notes in the word processor in Zen.do then highlight terms or sentences in their notes to have them converted into flashcards. Students take notes as they normally would in any word processing application. Highlighted text becomes flashcards. Watch an introduction to Zen.do in the video below.

Here's what the Zen.do flashcard study section looks like.

Applications for Education
Zen.do could be good resource for students who like to use flashcards to review before a test or quiz. The notes they've taken in class are easily converted to flashcards. Zen.do provides the option to register using a Google or Facebook account which means students might have one less password to remember.

Infographic - The Cost of Dropping Out

The school district I work in has a stated goal of having 80% of graduate go on to pursue post-secondary education.We (my school district) has all kinds of workshops, seminars, and plenty of statistics for students in an effort to reach that 80% goal. It's great goal. But an equally important goal is having all students graduate from high school. This morning I found the infographic you see below on Michael Smith's Principals Page blog. The infographic shows the costs to individuals and to the community of dropping out of high school.

Brought to you by Teacher Certification Map and MAT@USC | Master’s of Arts in Teaching

Applications for Education
When I saw this infographic around 6:30 this morning, little did I know that later in the day I would be having a long conversation with one of my students who is considering dropping out. This student is 18 years old and, through a mix of mistakes on his part and life dealing him a tough hand, has only 5 credits toward graduation. This is not the first time this year that we have had conversations about dropping out, but today he actually had a "withdraw from school" form in his hand. We've talked before about how hard it is to make a living without graduating from high school. He was in my classroom when we did a mock economy activity called Life on Minimum Wage. But today, we didn't talk about the economics. Today, I simply asked, "what will you do when you wake up and don't have to come to school?" He didn't have an answer so I just asked him to hold off on the paperwork until he has an answer for me. I'm hoping he doesn't have a good answer for at least another year.

What's New In Firefox 4

Last week Firefox 4 was released and I downloaded it on all of the computers that I use. After a day of using it exclusively, I Tweeted that I liked it a lot. A few days later, I Tweeted the same thing. What impresses me about Firefox 4 is how quickly it responds when I have multiple tabs and windows open. I frequently have a dozen or more tabs open in two or three browser windows and I have yet to notice a lag. I was going to give a run down of the other highlights of Firefox 4, instead I'll let the Mozilla folks do it in the videos below.

Firefox 4 features overview.

Firefox 4 features explained with a little tech-speak.

3 Ways to Privately Share Videos

Videos are great for sharing the highlights of school events. That said, there are some parents who don't want videos of their children viewable by the general public. In those cases you might want to try sharing videos in a private online environment. Here are three methods for doing that.

KinKast is a new service that offers free private sharing of the videos you record. KinKast is both an iPhone application and a web application. Here's what KinKast does; you record a video on your iPhone or on a camera and upload it to the KinKast servers. You can then share it via email with the people you want to see it. You can also post it to Facebook if you choose. Under the free KinKast plan each of your videos is only stored for 30 days from the day you uploaded it. With both the paid and free plan there is not a restriction on the size of the video you can upload.
 Shutterfly allows users to create free sites for publicly and sharing their videos. On Shutterfly Video you can upload and share up to ten videos for free. If you choose to make your videos private, only the people you specify can view the videos. To view private videos the people you share them with will have to register for a Shutterfly account.

YouTube gives you the option to make your videos "unlisted" or to share your videos privates. Videos that you make private can only be seen by the people you specify via email. There is a limit of 50 viewers for private videos.

Using the unlisted setting in YouTube means your videos can only be seen by people to whom you've given the direct url for your video. Unlisted videos will not appear in search results or related video lists. So while the videos you or students post as unlisted video won't be 100% private, you will have much greater control over who can or cannot see them.

YouTube is not the only video hosting service that offers a private sharing setting. Vimeo and Viddler both offer private sharing via email.