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Archive for February, 2010


Long URLs are difficult to remember and hard to pass along. URL shortening is a popular technique where a web user can make a web page available under a very short URL in addition to the original address. These URL shortening services are helpful if your web addresses for your web site and blog site start to get long and links will break when sending in an email. Particularly, these services are important for Twitter users since Twitter allows for only 140 characters in any message.

Today, many Web services offer URL redirection with real-time link tracking.  Most of these sites shorten Web addresses quickly and easily, with no registration required.  Here are my selected 10 sites that allow you to shorten, share, and track your links:

Though URL shortening service is a helpful tool, users need to keep in mind that spammers have also used URL shortening services to cover their tracks. So, it is important to use a reliable URL shortening service that provides the filtering of all shortened links through services like Google Safe Browsing.

What URL shortening services do you use?  Please feel free to share your favorite URL shortening services and provide your comments.

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Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

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A new Pew report “The Future of the Internet IV” written by Janna Anderson and Lee Raine is available online this morning.  Pew Internet and Elon University’s Imagining the Internet Center asked 900 internet experts and stakeholders to react to two opposing statements about the direction and impact of the internet 10 years from now – that is, the year 2020.  The survey explored the impact of the Internet on families, communities, work and home, daily life, education, health care, civic and political life.  The report covers experts’ thoughts on the following issues:

  • Google won’t make us stupid.76% of these experts agreed with the statement, “By 2020, people’s use of the Internet has enhanced human intelligence; as people are allowed unprecedented access to more information they become smarter and make better choices. Nicholas Carr was wrong: Google does not make us stupid.”
    • Reading, writing, and the rendering of knowledge will be improved.65% agreed with the statement “by 2020 it will be clear that the Internet has enhanced and improved reading, writing and the rendering of knowledge.” Still, 32% of the respondents expressed concerns that by 2020 “it will be clear that the Internet has diminished and endangered reading, writing and the rendering of knowledge.”
    • Innovation will continue to catch us by surprise.80% of the experts agreed that the “hot gadgets and applications that will capture the imaginations of users in 2020 will often come ‘out of the blue.’”
    • Respondents hope information will flow relatively freely online, though there will be flashpoints over control of the internet.Concerns over control of the Internet were expressed in answers to a question about the end-to-end principle. 61% responded that the Internet will remain as its founders envisioned, however many who agreed with the statement that “most disagreements over the way information flows online will be resolved in favor of a minimum number of restrictions” also noted that their response was a “hope” and not necessarily their true expectation. 33% chose to agree with the statement that “the Internet will mostly become a technology where intermediary institutions that control the architecture and …content will be successful in gaining the right to manage information and the method by which people access it.”
    • Anonymous online activity will be challenged, though a modest majority still think it will possible in 2020.There more of a split verdict among the expert respondents about the fate on online anonymity. Some 55% agreed that Internet users will still be able to communicate anonymously, while 41% agreed that by 2020 “anonymous online activity is sharply curtailed.”


I agree with most comments discussed by the experts.  Google won’t make us stupid.  Instead, the new Web technology tool like Google allows us to locate the information and answers we want more intelligently and efficiently.  We will be better informed and educated.  I am optimistic about the future role the internet will play in all our lives. It is not surprising to learn that 80% of those who commented believe that new innovative technology will come out of the blue.  I doubt many experts in 2000 thought Google Earth, 3D virtual world like Second Life, iPods, iPhones, voice IP phones, smartphones, multi-touch technology, Google Liquid Galaxy, and etc were available and popular today.  I am interested to see the new innovative technologies that we will be using in 2015.

For viewing the complete report, you can access the Full Text in HTML and PDF on the PEW site.  Also, links to previously released reports on “The Future of the Internet” is also available on the PEW site.

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Roy Tanck, designer, geek, entrepreneur and WordPress enthusiast, creates a Flickr widget that lets your photostream fly.  This is a very cool widget and yet it is very easy to set up.  Roy creates a form online so you can generate a Flash Flickr/Picasa widget for your website or blog using your Flickr or Picasa RSS feed.  Simply completing the online form will create the HTML code that you can copy-paste code into any HTML page, blog post or a WordPress text widget.

Here is the URL to access the form for creating a photo widget for Flickr or Picasa.

http://www.roytanck.com/get-my-flickr-widget/

If you are looking to host the flash movie yourself and use images stored on your server, you may want to check out another widget created by Roy called Photo Widget.

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Today, many instructional and training videos are created and uploaded daily to the Web by professionals, educators, trainers, designers, and even students.  Many of these videos are well produced and can be used in teaching and training. As an educator, I always try to find and use existing free instructional videos for my courses before considering producing my own videos.  However, finding free and suitable instructional videos online requires some techniques of searching.  Jane Hart, a Social Learning Consultant and founder of the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies at UK, did a terrific job of compiling a list “25 places to find instructional videos.”  Below is a list of her recommended places that offer free instructional videos (on all subjects):

  1. 5min Life Videopedia – instructional and how-to videos
  2. Academic Earth – Thousands of video lectures from the world’s top scholars
  3. blip.tv – next generation TV network
  4. Google Video – videos on all topics
  5. Graspr – The instructional video network
  6. Howcast – How-to videos
  7. iCue – A fun, innovative, learning environment built around video from the NBC News Archives
  8. Instructables – Make, HowTo and DIY
  9. iTunes U - Faculty are using iTunes U to distribute digital lessons to their students, e.g Stangord, Trinity College Dublin, etc.
  10. John Locker – Documentaries and educational videos
  11. MindBites – Video instructional marketplace and publishing platform (Some free)
  12. MonkeySee – HowTo videos
  13. neoK12 – free educational videos and lessons for K-12 school kids
  14. Research Channel – 3,500 video titles available
  15. SchoolTube – provides students and educators with a safe, world class, video sharing webiste
  16. Sparkeo – a flexible video platform
  17. SuTree – learn virtually everything by watching how to videos from all over the web.
  18. TeacherTube – educational videos
  19. TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) – a clearinghouse that offers free knowledge and inspiration from the world’s most inspired thinkers, and also a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other.
  20. TV Lesson – How to videos
  21. Ustream – watch live broadcasts, explore networks ranging from music, talk shows, sports and politics and/or review our past broadcasts.
  22. Video Jug – Life explained. On film.
  23. Vimeo – a thriving community of people who love to make and share videos
  24. YouTube – videos on everything under the sun
  25. YouTube EDU – aggregates all the videos from more than 100 institutions of higher education around the US.

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Social networking sites are being used regularly by millions of people; and they keep people connected through a fast, free, simple, and an accessible way.  Social network applications and services have great potential in education because of their open nature, ease of use, and support for effective collaboration and communication.  Today, social networking is very popular and digital natives already found social networking tools integral to daily life.  Social networks could be used in education to enhance students’ learning experiences.

I delivered a presentation “Using Social Networking to Enhance Students’ Learning Experiences” at the 2010 MECA conference in Jackson, Mississippi this morning and thought the session went well.  As promised, I post my presentation here.  Please feel free to provide comments and suggestions.  Thanks.

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Google Docs is an easy-to-use online productivity suite including a word processor, spreadsheet, presentation, and form applications provided free by Google. Google Docs has gained popularity in schools over the past couple of years because it is a simple but powerful application for teachers and students to create and/or edit documents online and collaborate on projects over the Web. Teachers and students can create or upload their own documents, invite others to share them by email address, edit documents online with anyone they choose, publish the documents online to the world or only to whom they choose, and post their documents to a blog. Google Docs allows more than one person to work on the same document at a time, though they can work on the collaborative document at different times. Students no longer need to e-mail files to other group members and deal with the confusion that often occurs regarding software compatibility issues. The documents are stored on Google’s servers, and multiple students can collaborate on a document simultaneously.  Also, Google Docs includes a chat window to allow collaborators to communicate about the documents as they edit them in real-time, without the delay of waiting for others to update their portion of a document or presentation.

Martha Abadie and I just did a presentation “Promoting Creativity & Collaboration in Your Classroom with Google Docs” at the 2010 MECA Conference in Jackson this afternoon.  Below is our presentation.  We welcome comments and suggestions for our presentation.

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