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[Replicable Practices] Week 06: Tagging, Folksonomies & Technorati (Post 2 of 2)

Thing #11 Bookmarking with Delicious

The sixth week also encourages participants of the 23 things @ MPJ adventure to explore the social bookmarking site Delicious.

Delicious

Having a solid foundation of what social bookmarking is thanks to [Replicable Practices] Week 06: Tagging, Folksonomies & Technorati (Post 1 of 2) I set out to complete Thing # 11 by creating a Delicious site account and watched the following three videos.

Comments:

Delicious User Name: michelangelus

*Additional Bonus Link: Michelangelo Buonarroti

Social bookmarking can be used in my replicable teaching practices because I can develop a shared reading list with my students where both I and my students can collaborate and build together.  Students can begin to take ownership of their own learning by contributing to the content.

Social bookmarking can also enhance team and group working abilities on specific issues. Students can search through information for instance that I have tagged and discriminate through discussion which resources are useful and which are not.

It also helps with the organization, communication and updating of bibliographical references for individual or group projects.

The benefits above would also apply to teachers that collaborate within their departments as well as through across curricular. I can search out say bookmarks from the Religion department to help a resource student with a religion project.

Personally it enhances my productivity because of the accessibility via other computers connected to the internet vs. my local bookmarked sites. It also helps me gather sites and resources that others have found reducing my search time.

A Future Thing: Diigo

[Replicable Practices] Week 06: Tagging, Folksonomies & Technorati (Post 1 of 2)

Thing #10 Social Bookmarking and Tagging

The sixth week encourages participants of the 23 things @ MPJ adventure to explore social bookmarking. In the old days (although I still primarily use this method) bookmarking or remembering your favourite website meant you had to save or bookmark the website in your local browser. Whenever you wanted to go back to that site you would have to either type the URL, search through it via a search website or reload your bookmark through your web browser on your machine.

To gain a better understanding of what exactly social bookmarking is how it works I watched the following video:

You Tube IconLeFever, L. (Director) (2009). Social bookmarking in plain english [Web]. Retrieved from http://www.commoncraft.com/video/social-bookmarking

I also read the following two articles:

Educase, W. I. (2005, May 05). 7 things you should know about social bookmarking. Retrieved from http://www.scribd.com/full/2329475?access_key=key-2a1e21h5jb4w9sxl5x8j

Sathishkumar. (2011, November 02). How social bookmarking fetches endless traffic? Retrieved from http://www.techiemania.com/how-social-bookmarking-fetches-endless-traffic.html

Comments:

Why is Social booking tagging useful?

 Advantages:

Accessibility. I do not have to pin down or wait to get to my home computer to access bookmarked sites. I can access them via any computer connected to the internet or through my iPhone 4s. I can also decide if my tags and bookmarks are private or public.

Search Ability. Tags help eliminate frustrating searches. No longer do I have to remember exact search phrases or become frustrated with finding content I know is there but cannot find via a search.

Organization. No longer does one have to stick to alpha lists or dates to organize content. Tags are created by humans who have read and appropriately tagged the content. Search engines normally have a program or formula used to rank sites when searched.

Popularity.  People gather at social websites. Chances are your site or your bookmarks will gain in views very easily.

Professionals. Experts could have collected relative sites that I can use as well. Take for instance a professor who has a specialty in Shakespeare. That particular professor may have bookmarked incredible sites that I can use as well, say if I was teaching an English unit on Shakespeare.

Disadvantages:

Inconsistency. Tags or inappropriate tags or miss-tags are linked to different content then using tags become useless. Tags can be spelled incorrectly or have more than one meaning. There is at the moment no standard tag.

How could I use it in my classroom?

Taking advantage of its organization and accessibility and search ability. At the end of the semester a student can search for the final exam via tags and only gather related class and study material to that specific subject tag. For instance I can tag bookmarks to a particular historical event. Both students and I can create reading lists and share popular current events.

Another way that I can use social book marking in my classroom is by having a collection of bookmarks that I share with my students that are the most relevant sources for a particular project or subject. In turn I can have the students search, tag and share their bookmarks with me and other students. This way the students control the content vs. it be given to them.

Clouds

I also happen to think tag clouds are cool. The most highly used tags are usually the largest words in the tag cloud. You better bet the house that there will be at least one exam question related to this concept.

[Replicable Practices] Week 05: Play Week (Post 2 of 2)

Thing #09 Online Productivity

The fifth week encourages participants of the 23 things @ MPJ adventure to explore and collaborate with more Web 2.0 tools.

Comments:

I happen to enjoy the number of online applications that Google has to offer. One login and password grants me access to many services and related settings. Although there is an argument to be made that relying on one application or suite is harmful if it should ever go offline. The possibility of anything happening to any service always exists.

Remember when your favourite sushi restaurant closed without giving you any warning?

I try to maintain a backup of really important files on an external storage device and try not to get overly stuffed with multiple copies of the same file. I suppose knowing the existence of other services exist is better than not knowing. Take Flickr for example. Through this adventure I joined and shared in the Flickr experience, however I was already a user of Picasa, Google’s version of an online photo storage, organization and sharing site. With a built it Blogging tool for its own Blogging service.

A few comments on TWO notable Web 2.0 collaboration tools:

Google CalendarGoogle Calendar – Keeping my professional and personal life organized and efficient need not be complicated. I can share my calenders with anyone or display them on websites. I maintain control over who gets to see what. Calendars are colour coordinated therefore visually I can distinguish very important events (Anniversaries and Birthdays) vs. less important events. Professionally once a calendar is setup I can encourage my class and their parents to visit it on a daily basis. The best feature is that I can also attach a Google Docs to particular days (Lesson Plan or Class Notes). Colleagues can see when meetings can be scheduled. An equally important feature is that I can manage both my professional and personal events at a single glimpse.

How awesome would it be if students helped themselves to the class notes they missed on the day they skipped?

How awesome would it be if a colleague and I collaborated on a lesson and then shared it with other teachers?

Below are 3 videos to give you a better sense of Google Calendar. Beware that the second video is a long webinar.

You Tube IconGoogleApps. (Producer) (2011). Google calendar overview [Web]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DXifKssFmlI

You Tube IconGoogleApps. (Producer) (2011). Introduction to google calendar [Web]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ixYIhsz0Uk

You Tube Iconjrsowash. (Producer) (2010). Using google calendar for lesson planning [Web]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wH-6vM61LaI

Please Note: Google Calendar can become quite addictive and someone I can become obsessive over inputting events.

Google Calender (https://bubbl.us/)

Google Calender (https://bubbl.us/)

Bubbl.us is an easy to use mind mapping tool that users (once registered) can save the mind map. In addition users can export their mind map in either a .jpg or .png file format. It is intuitive and allows for some user controlled function like changing the font size, colour of the bubble and placement. An awesome tool to use to organize brainstorming ideas, develop writing ideas, as a comparison tool or to help students map out semester concepts as a study sheet guide. Excellent for timelines in History or English class. Students can create, print, or export into other projects.

A future thing: Google+

[Replicable Practices] Week 05: Play Week (Post 1 of 2)

Thing #08 Google Docs

The fifth week encourages participants of the 23 things @ MPJ adventure to explore and collaborate with colleagues using Google Docs.

To get an understanding of what Google Docs is I watched the following 2 Videos.

You Tube IconCommonCraft. (Producer) (2007). Google docs in plain english [Web]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=eRqUE6IHTEA

You Tube IconGoogle. (Producer) (2010). Introducing a new google docs [Web]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=6_hJ3R8jEZM

Comments:

You Tube IconGoogle. (Producer) (2010). Teachers and principals talk about google docs [Web]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=TYPjJK6LZdM#!

My thoughts on using Google Docs in professional life

Google docs is another tool to aid in the collaboration process. However, collaboration is a two way street and although the tool exists for collaboration it does not necessarily mean that it happens.

Another interesting dynamic that comes about from this collaboration tool is that groups of teachers never have to physically meet so the collaboration process is not defined by time however just as much as this is a good it can also be bad because it introduces another mechanism of seclusion.

In a classroom I can:

  • easily set an initial template that students can follow
  • share my notes with the students (cuts down on copies that I need to duplicate sometimes more than once)
  • create another entry point of interest that motivates students in completing assignments
  • correct submitted work
  • give limited access to parents so they can share in the learning and feedback process
  •  create complicated notes easily through charts and diagrams

Some issues I see include:

  • having too many editors (students) working on the document therefore confusion can occur as to who is doing what
  • students posting confidential information or other inappropriate comments that get shared and duplicated quickly before I have a chance to address the issue
  • the fact that all the students will need an email address that can be addressed through assigned emails
  • the fact that not all web browsers were created equally therefore it can create some frustrations

My thoughts on using Google Docs in my personal life

It is nice to have a central location for all of my files. No need to rely on emailed documents or USB Memory Keys that can easily get lost, stolen or damaged. Whenever and more importantly wherever I am the document is waiting for me. The need to email does not become obsolete because that is how the other person becomes invited to the collaboration process.

Overall Google Docs is an amazing collaborative work space that gives users all the major Productivity Suite features. There is one catch however, it is FREE.  I can create different types of online documents and work on them in real time with other people. The most convenient thing is that all documents are stored and can be accessed from any computer with an internet connection.

[Replicable Practices] Week 04: RSS & Newsreaders (Post 1 of 1)

Thing #07 What is RSS?

The fourth week encourages participants of the 23 things @ MPJ adventure to make life real simple starting with an exploration of RSS & newsreaders.

Comments:

What does this mean?

Rss Icon

I was never sure what this little orange icon referred to. In an age where contracting a computer virus is as easy as a mouse click certain unfamiliar things in my mind are best left un-clicked.

However this exploration activity and the YouTube video I share with you below has made life truly simpler. Really?

You Tube Icon

CommonCraft. (2007). Rss in plain english [Web]. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=0klgLsSxGsU

My Thoughts on RSS uses in my professional life:

What if I create a website for my GLE 2O1 class and relay homework assignments, reminders, announcements or notices to the students and any parent quickly through the site RSS feed.

My Thoughts on RSS uses in my personal life:

Life is simpler. Really? Well that may be a bit of an exaggeration, however managing, consuming, broadcasting and reproducing information found online has become more manageable, more efficient and more personable, more exact and more relevant to me. Can I get a little help on how to choose the sweetest oranges?

Help me choose the sweetest orage?

Like most things there are usually more than one way to subscribe to information. My preferred address for my information delivery is Google Reader. Why? I already have a Google account.

  1. Subscribe
  2. RSS Site Button
  3. Subscription via Toolbar

After trying all three methods above I have come to the following conclusion.

If I was using my own personal computer I would use method 3. Why go through unnecessary, mundane steps of always having to login. I thought RSS feeds were going to make my life simpler. No need to login into my Google reader since my preferences are stored.

If I was using a a computer other than my own I would use method 1 and 2. These methods give me more control over login and password information. Not all browsers were created equally therefore not all will have the subscribe feature within the tool bar. Besides do I really trust your computer with my login information.

What does not make much sense to me is that this too can make my life difficult since it can become overwhelming to digest all the content. For example prolific reproducers or original content creators can easily deliver a few unread messages a day times a four to five subscriptions and once again life is complicated.

Excuse me,

While I go and eat my orange subscribe to my Replicable Practices Blog. Use any method you like.

[Replicable Practices] Week 03: Photos & Images (Post 3 of 3)

Thing #06 More Flickr Fun

2 number 3 letter T green H Scrabble White Letter on Green I letter N Fridge Magnet Letter G rubber stamp handle letter s at symbol @ letter M Scrabble White Letter on Green P letter J

Spell with Flickr (a tool I will certainly use to create visual interest)

The third week encourages participants of the 23 things @ MPJ adventure to take an closer look at online applications, third party tools and ‘mashups’ using images found on Flickr.

Comments:

Mappr – allows you to take Flickr images and paste them on a map. Note: As of 2007, Mappr is no longer processing images from flickr. Take a look at flickr to find images on maps.

Flickr Map – Photos are often tagged with information that can be used to make educated guesses about their locations in the world. Mappr uses this data, which is provided by Flickr users to place their images on a map.

Flickr Map is a useful tool for teachers to use if they want to take students on virtual trips and plot out historical and/or geographical connections.

Montager – Users can create a photo mosaic from photos found on Flickr by either search through tags or by uploading their own picture.

Montager is a useful tool for teachers to help students remove themselves from compartmentalizing ideas and and visualizing connections to prior knowledge or to a larger concept or area. Very helpful for pre-writing and planning stages in the writing process.

Alternative:

Big Huge LabsMosaic Maker: A world of creative photo possibilities

Make a mosaic from a photoset, favorites, tags, or individual digital photographs or images. It’s a whole world of creative photo possibilities — themes, colors, shapes. So, get that digital camera out and shoot some photos!

Big Huge LabsTrading Card: Turn your photos into trading cards!

User can create their very own collectible trading card using a Flickr photo or by uploading their own photo.

Trading Card is a useful tool for teachers to create flash cards of information about historical (or current) figures, places or events. In addition students with Learning Disabilities (including Multiple Exceptionalities or Developmental Delayed students) can use these trading cards to tap into their multiple learning styles (KinestheticAuditory and Visual) and create study aids, routines or recognition patterns.

[Replicable Practices] Week 03: Photos & Images (Post 2 of 3)

Thing #05 Flickr Fun

The third week encourages participants of the 23 things @ MPJ adventure to take a closer look at Flickr and discover other site features.

Comments:

Signing up for a free Flickr account was simple. The wonderful thing about the signup process was that any user has three options (the more options the better). Each user can sign up for a new account (associated with Yahoo), use an existing Yahoo ID or they can use an existing Facebook ID or Google ID. I already had a Yahoo Account (Renaissance Professor) therefore I did not have to memorize another signup name and password for a site that I may or may not use.

After completing the previous ‘Thing’ Refer to [Replicable Practices] Week 03: Photos & Images (Post 1 of 3) I am finding myself daydreaming about other nostalgic places and therefore decided to revisit a couple of childhood communities. I took a couple of snapshots with my iPhone 4s (enabled Geo-tagging), signed up for a Flickr Account, uploaded the photos, changed their privacy settings to public, reviewed the license agreement and tagged the 3 photos ‘msgrpercyjohnson’. I then decided to map the photos on the Flickr map. The process was easy and I can see how this tool can be addicting.

Here are the set of three photos that also mark earlier milestones in my life:

Avon Ave

Avon Ave by Renaissance Professor, on Flickr

Keele Subway Station Outdoor Waiting Platform

Keele Subway Station Outdoor Waiting Platform by Renaissance Professor, on Flickr

Keele Subway Station

Keele Subway Station by Renaissance Professor, on Flickr

These spots are very important to me because this is where I grew up. What and where would I explore today? I cannot count the number of almost falls I had running down these steps at the Keele Subway Station. Never wanting to miss my bus as I heard the rumble its engine as the bus pulled into the bay.

My photo experience and using Flickr was a positive one. Uploading pictures was easy. It took a while to get all the settings in the Flickr account just right but once they were set they became the default for every other photo I uploaded. I really liked placing the photos on the Flickr map. Enabling the Geo-Tagging feature on the phone is a great feature.

Teachers can use Flickr and associated tools in many ways. Consider an interactive and visual story line for writing assignments, historical associations to modern landmarks or photo journalism to virtually any topic.

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