Posts Tagged ‘web2.0’

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I have made numerous presentations on the free technology tools for teachers in the past MECA conferences and have always received very positive comments from the audience. Because of the great success I had in the past, I gave another presentation this year which was somewhat similar with what I presented in previous years. However, my presentation this year focuses on 10 selective essential online tools that I believe are powerful as well as valuable to teachers and students. Below is the presentation I recently delivered at the 2011 MECA Conference on February 8, 2001 in Jackson, Mississippi. Please feel free to make comments or recommend your free online tools. Thanks.



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Two weeks ago, the Office of Communications in the U.K. published an 80-page report, Social Networking: A quantitative and qualitative research report into attitudes, behaviours and use. The report draws on numerous qualitative and quantitative research studies conducted in UK in 2007. Here are some interesting findings from the report:

  • Social networking sites are most popular with teenagers and young adults.
  • Despite the fact that the minimum age for most major social networking sites is usually 13 (14 on MySpace), 27% of 8-11 year olds who are aware of social networking sites say that they have a profile on a site.
  • The average adult social networker has profiles on 1.6 sites, and most users check their profile at least every other day.
  • 25% of registered social networking users had posted sensitive personal data about themselves on their profiles (phone numbers, home addresses, etc.).
  • The majority of adults who had used a social networking site had a profile on Facebook (62%) and this was the most mentioned main social networking site (49%). Nearly half of all respondents reported having a profile on MySpace and one-third had one on Bebo.
  • Two-thirds of parents claim to set rules about their child’s use of social networking sites, although only 53% of children said that their parents set such rules.
  • Social networkers fall into five distinct groups based on their behaviors and attitudes: 1) Alpha Socialisers, 2) Attention Seekers, 3) Followers, 4) Faithfuls, and 5) Functionals.
  • Non-users of social networking sites fall into three distinct groups: 1) Concerned about safety, 2) Technically inexperienced, and 3) Intellectual rejecters.
  • Social network users create well-developed profiles as the basis of their online presence. They share personal information with a wide range of “friends.”
  • Only a few users highlighted negative aspects of social networking.
  • Concerns about privacy and safety are not “top of mind” for most users.
  • 41% of children aged 8-17 and 44% of adults leave their privacy settings as default ‘open’ which means that their profiles are visible to anyone.
  • 34% of 16-24 year olds are willing to give out sensitive personal information such as their phone number or email address.
  • 17% of adults used their profile to communicate with people they do not know. This increases among younger adults. 35% of adults spoke to people who were ‘friends of friends’.
  • Facebook is the most popular site with adults followed by MySpace and then Bebo. For children aged between 8 and 17, Bebo was the most used social networking site.
  • A minority of younger women reported creating fake profiles for fun.
  • Some teenagers and adults in their early twenties reported feeling ‘addicted’ to social networking sites and were aware that their use was squeezing their study time.
  • A minority of people reported being aware of bullying through social networking sites and some younger users admitted using social networking sites to ‘get back’ at people they had fallen out with.

Robin Blake introduces Ofcom’s research on Social Networking

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Shelfari is a book centered social network where members can catalog, tag, review, and discuss books. With Shelfari, you can create virtual bookshelves of books you have read, plan to read and currently own. Your bookshelf is literally a shelf that allows visitors to browse through your book collection. You can search for books by title, author, ISBN and subject, or import a text file from services like Delicious Library or LibraryThing. You can sign up for free and register an unlimited number of books.

Shelfari has a simple interface with some great features and the best of social networking, Also, Shelfari comes with a Shelfari widget with a sleek look and simple interface. The Shelfari widget works on most blogs and social networks, including Blogger, Typepad, Xanga, and Vox. I like Shelfari and think it is a great tool for teachers and librarians. They can use Shelfari to share books with their students and colleagues as well as post the new book collection in their library.

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MECA 2008 Conference

I am now attending the MECA (Mississippi Educational Computing Association ) 2008 Conference in Jackson, Mississippi. MECA celebrates the silver anniversary this year with a recorded participants over 1,100. I have been attending the MECA conference since 1995 and have made presentations each year for the past 13 years. This year is no exception. I am the lead presenter of 3 presentations. You can view my presentations in this post if you who can’t attend the conference this year.

Software for Starving Students

Developing Data Literacy with InspireData

Top 20 Free Web Applications for Teachers and Librarians

Also, an opening keynote presentation “Literacy & Learning in the 21st Century” delivered by David Warlick is embedded here as well.

Literacy & Learning in the 21st Century

Second Life A Teacher Primer by David Warlick

I will add other MECA 2008 conference presentations when become available. Stay tune!

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I was recently invited by Jane Hart, Head of the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies in UK, to share my Top 10 Tools for Learning with her. Jane has done an excellent job of compiling the Top 100 Tools for Learning 2007 which provides a very useful information for learning professionals. Currently, she is updating the list by inviting the learning professionals worldwide to submit their Top 10 Tools to help her compile the Top 100 Tools for Learning 2008. Below are my Top 10 Tools for Learning 2008 submitted to Jane today.

1. Firefox. My favorite browser. It is customizable with a great collection of extensions, plug-ins and add-ons. It is fast and more secure way to surf the Web.

2. WordPress. A great open-source software for creating blogs. I use WordPress for my blog which is hosted by WordPress.com for free. WordPress provides a variety of attractive themes, plug-ins, and widgets.

3. Slideshare. A fantastic Web 2.0 tool that lets students and instructors to upload their presentations and share them online through a YouTube-like interface. Also, it is a good place to discover presentations and slideshows from others.

4. Ning. An excellent online service where I create and customize my own Social Network for students in my classes. Ning has customizable themes and templates. Also, it offers a public or private option.

5. Wetpaint. A great place to create a free wiki that can be a private or public site. Wetpaint Education Wikis are Ad-free for teachers and students.

6. Google Docs. A web-based word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation program that makes collaboration more efficient. It is a free online creation tool which is great for teachers and students. Also, Google Docs allows mobile access.

7. del.icio.us. A social bookmarking site that allows me to store bookmarks on the Web instead of inside my Web browser. Also, I use del.icio.us to share bookmarks with students, colleagues, friends, family, and the del.icio.us community.

8. Camtasia. A powerful screencasting software that I use frequently to create instructional videos for my students. Camtasia allows screen recordings, audio, voice narration, PowerPoint, Picture-in-Picture and webcam video. Also, I can edit and enhance my video with callouts, titles, credits, zooming, panning, quizzes and additional audio tracks.

9. VoiceThread. A Web-based digital-storytelling application that enables me to share my stories or slideshows through audio, images, videos, or text with others online. VoiceThread allows visitors to make comments on my stories or slideshows in: voice with a microphone, voice with telephone, text, audio file, and video with a webcam. I have used the VoiceThread as an online discussion tool in my class and it works quite well.

10. Skype. A great telecommunication tool that lets me use my own PC to make free voice-over-Internet and video calls to my students and colleagues (who are the Skype users as well) anywhere in the world.

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The term “School 2.0” started appearing in several articles, blogs, and wikis since last year. So, what is School 2.0? According to School2-0.org, School 2.0 is about the ‘next generation of school’ that can be supported by an integrated technology infrastructure. It is a concept that helps transform schools in order to meet the multiple challenges of the 21st century — accountability, student engagement and achievement, and economic competitiveness. However, how do we create schools that can realize that vision of School 2.0? What is the link between pedagogy and technology? How do we build schools with a pedagogical framework that allows all stakeholders (students, parents, teachers, and administrators) to harness the power of information technologies to change the way we think about schools and create a transformative experience for all involved?

School2-0.org offers an interesting brainstorming tool for schools and communities to help envision the future of education. The tool is a School 2.0 Map showing various possible scenarios or visions of the future with example student, teacher, and parent conversations, classroom activities and technologies, and more. School2-0.org states, “While School 2.0 depicts a variety of educational and management scenarios that utilize technology, the examples, information and ideas included are designed to serve as prompts for discussion and should not be construed as a recommendation of any particular technology or scenario.”

School 2.0 Map

A full size of this School 2.0 Map (30″x17″) can be downloaded at http://www.school2-0.org/downloads/school20.pdf. In addition, you can order your free School 2.0 Map by sending your request to: feedback@school2-0.org.

In addition to the School2-0.org site, School 2.0 (a social network created Steve Hargadon) provides helpful info, resources, and forums on school 2.0. Also, a wiki associated with this site is available at http://school20.wikispaces.com/.

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