Thursday, July 26, 2007

Top 10 Tools, or What Other Educators are Using

I stumbled across Top 10 Tools yesterday, and found it a rich resource for web tools I could using in my teaching, learning and playing on the web. I sent in my own choices:

Check out my full list -
and find the riches in the collection of lists -

Thanks to Jane Hart and the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Another Brain Backup - Backpack

I have been using the free version of Backpack for years. It's especially handy for reminders, where I can set up a reminder to be emailed to me regularly. For example, I get a monthly reminder to check my bank account so that an automatic monthly withdrawal won't cause me to be overdrawn. I get my monthly reminder in my inbox, and I haven't had to worry about forgetting since I started using Backpack.

Now it has some new stuff making it even more interesting and useful -

This is a remarkably versatile and easy-to-use application, and I suggest you add it to your Bookmarks Toolbar, and make it part of your personal learning/work environment, i.e. keep it always handy!

I'm still playing with Jott, which I posted about yesterday, and have found some problems with it, which I'll cover when I get a message back from them.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Jott - Another Fun Application

My friend, Bob Collings, sent me a link to Jott a new application still in Beta, that is very interesting. You phone their number, tell them who you want to leave a message for, including yourself, speak, and Jott emails your message to you or any of the contacts you've named. It is absolutely simple and requires no technical knowledge at all!

It's good for reminders, to do lists, and recording ideas, as well as messages. I'm going to play with it and see how it works for me.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Mapping Wikipedia

Teachers who want a way of introducing their students to a new topic may find it useful to use WikiMindMap to create a mindmap to introduce the subject, and as a quick way of getting basic resources into the hands of students. Mindmaps are especially useful for visual thinkers and those starting to research an area. John Dewey is one of the most important writers on teaching and learning, in my opinion, so I put his name into the search box, made sure that I was using the English Wikipedia, and got this -

Under "Select a Wiki", make sure you select ""; the default is "", which finds German results. The green circling arrows are direct links, and the plus signs can be opened out for further links. At this point WikiMindMap is in beta.

I had a lot of fun seeing what I could find through it.

via Tris Hussey's A View from the Isle

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Canada and the Web

I'm Canadian, and I'm pleasantly surprised to see the Canadian stats and apps:

from the Read/Write Web:

Canadians use the Internet more than anyone in the world. According to comScore, Canadians spend on average 39.6 hours per month on the Internet, followed by Israel at 37.4 and South Korea at 34, while the USA is in 8th position with 29.4. Canada also leads in online reach with 70% of households having Internet access. The average pages viewed per visitor is 3800 in Canada, while the U.K. is second at 3300. And at 67%, Canada has one of the highest broadband penetrations in the world, 21 points higher than the US. Finally, while Canada still lags in online advertising, with $28.05 per Internet user and the US with $71.43, ad spending is expected to grow 32% this year (Ernst&Young LLP). So Canada is a sophisticated, and growing, market for Web apps.

As in any other country, Canadians heavily use Google, Yahoo and other global services like ebay and craiglist; each of which has their own english and french canadian localized versions. In social networking, Facebook is the star app of the moment. For instance, Toronto has more than 650.000 facebook users, more than the combined facebook users in New York, Boston and Los Angeles.

So Canada is still a communications leader!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

A Quick History of our New Digital Environment

This is about our communication tools and how they are changing. It's short and fast. You might want to watch it more than once, if you're not a digital native. I needed to watch it more than once;->

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The Question of Wikipedia

The first time I heard about Wikipedia, I got really excited; I characterized it as a "world mind".

I saw it as a place to share knowledge that anyone (with an online connection)could contribute to and/or benefit from. I confess I was initially impatient with, and disparaging of, those who told students not to use it. As the conversation about Wikipedia developed, I moved into the "use it to start researching, but don't cite it" for my students, and "It's an amazing source; check it out" for my friends and acquaintances.

I stumbled across Jon Udell's screencast which gave me an understanding of how Wikipedia works; I highly recommend you take the 9 minutes to view it

After watching Udell's screencast, (or instead of, or before) read danah boyd's short take on the importance of Wikipedia -
I find myself in close agreement with her.
Wikipedia brings me great joy. I see it as a fantastic example of how knowledge can be distributed outside of elite institutions. I have watched stubs of articles turn into rich homes for information about all sorts of subjects. What I like most about Wikipedia is the self-recognition that it is always a work-in- progress. The encyclopedia that I had as a kid was a hand-me-down; it stated that one day we would go to the moon. Today, curious poor youth have access to information in an unprecedented way. It may not be perfect, but it is far better than a privilege-only model of access.