Posts categorized "Tools" Feed

Modern Educators As Curators of Information

In this digital age, a vast array of information is at our fingertips via technology. We can instantaneously find news articles, research, videos, photos on every topic imaginable and beyond. A conundrum exists for these consumers of knowledge…while access to information is empowering, it is also potentially overwhelming, and thus people need to learn how to manage this content. No wonder Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

On a professional level, educators need a plan for managing teaching resources so that information is organized and accessible for themselves and their students. Modern educators acknowledge that information can be looked up at a moment’s notice and as a result, many believe that the rote memorization of facts and figures is becoming less of an important skill in today’s schools. Students need more time and guidance developing essential critical thinking skills, some specifically related to this digital age, including to the ability to search effectively, organize resources, distill this information and synthesize this content to produce new insights and materials. This is not your father’s Oldsmobile; 21st-century schools and teachers are shifting approaches to better meet the needs of their learners. No longer are teachers serving as “sages on stages”, but rather as “guides on the side”, giving students the tools and strategies needed to be successful in a rapidly changing world.

Within the educational technology industry, companies have been grappling with the problem of helping teachers organize and deliver materials to students. Teachers should experiment with a resulting plethora of tools and learning management systems in order to find the best fit for their instructional needs. When dabbling with these tools, teachers should carefully consider features and benefits for themselves and their students.

Some questions to think about:

  • What tools and platforms are essential to a modern teacher’s workflow?
  • How does a teacher locate, evaluate and keep track of high-quality teaching resources and primary source materials on the internet?
  • What’s the best method to organize these materials and maintain an easy to access system?
  • How can the process of content curation be made more efficient?
  • What tools allow teachers to collaborate with students and/or colleagues?

One website that teachers may want to try out is Participate Learning. Formerly known as Appolearning, this Chicago-based startup recently went through a re-branding process, adding some new and unique features. The Participate Learning platform contains a database of educational content that includes websites, videos, and linkable documents. Much of this content is vetted and tagged by regular contributing education experts; the Participate Learning community at large can also contribute to this database. It is searchable by grade level, subject area, and Common Core standards.

Once teachers find useful content within Participate Learning, these assets can be organized into collections. These collections can be made public to benefit others or be kept private; it is also possible to use and re-purpose the public collections of other Participate Learning users. New to collections is the ability to invite others to a collection to co-curate and privately discuss content. Here’s an overview:

 

Another new feature within Participate Learning is the ability to bookmark resources while conducting research on the internet. For instance, say you are surfing with the goal of finding primary resources for a lesson related to the Civil Rights Movement, you can use the Participate Learning Bookmarks Chrome extension to save resources directly to your Participate Learning account. Then, you can quickly organize these bookmarked links into collections. Here’s an explanation of how to accomplish this; you must be using Google’s Chrome web browser and the Participate Learning Bookmarks extension.

 

The last new feature in the Participate Learning makes this a platform that stands out from other social bookmarking options for educators; it is truly unique and useful. Participate Chats for Twitter allows you to select a predetermined Twitter chat hashtag, view and save a transcript from this chat, and curate resources referenced during the course of the Twitter chat. You can also directly participate in a Twitter chat right from the Participate Learning interface. Learn how to leverage Participate Chats here:

 

This is a much better solution than trying to keep up with fast-paced Twitter chats using clients such as Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, and the Twitter interface itself. And, there is no other tool that lets one grab resources cited in a Twitter chat exactly like this. With Participate Chats, you can save individual resources from a chat or you can harvest all links mentioned during a designated period of time and put it into a collection. Read more about the logic behind Participate Chats in this article by Participate Learning CEOAlan Warms.

No other social bookmarking solution has this Twitter chat integration and this feature makes Participate Learning particularly exciting to use. Prior to the introduction of Participate Learning, there have been few curation options specifically designed for educators. There are other social bookmarking options out there, but these have not necessarily been developed with educators in mind or improved with educators’ input and feedback. Keep an eye on the Participate Learning platform as its community grows and new features are added to further benefit students and teachers.


This is a Remind Reminder!

This is a reminder to try using the Remind app! This seemingly simple, free tool can transform your classroom or organization. 

In early 2012, I was introduced to Remind co-founder Brett Kopf as I was leading CoSN's mobile learning initiative at the time.  At the time, I was intrigued by his story and impressed that a local Chicagoan had gone on to make his mark on the world. 

If you're not familiar with Remind, it is an immensely popular communications platform for educators. I encourage you to sign up on the web for it or download the app for iOS or Android. Experiment with it from the teacher perspective (creator of a class) and the student perspective (person receiving messages). Remind is currently being used by 1 out of 5 U.S educators and it is a safe, simple and secure method for educators to communicate with families and students over the age of 13. From the web, you can schedule announcements and add attachments; on the app, you can also attach photos and voice memos. Recently, Remind announced that multi-owner groups a great feature for co-teachers; translation in six languages another feature being rolled out this fall.

Since August, I've been contracted to conduct educator outreach with Remind in the state of Illinois. This means that I'm available to meet with anyone interested in using this tool through the end of October 2015 and can provide no-cost training to teachers, administrators, coaches, parent groups, after school programs,  childcare workers and park district employees who are curious about using this tool to improve home/school communications. I'm willing to work with you and your colleagues to find the best method for supporting users in your school, district or organization. Email me at lucy@remind101.com if I can be of help! 

During the last couple of months, I've been very impressed with Remind Connected Educators, a group of Remind power users, who continually demonstrate creative ways to use Remind. Many of their ideas are inspirational and would have never occurred to me. These teachers have gone beyond using Remind for basic class announcements and homework reminders. Recently, we held a Twitter chat on this topic, and you can see some of these ideas on this tagboard. I love how teachers are using Remind to send celebratory shoutouts to kids and parents, to communicate with families on field trips and student travel excursions, to participate in Twitter chats and even to engage students in class scavenger hunts. Administrators are also finding Remind to be invaluable for sending resources and morale boosters to faculty and for hosting "Asking Me Anything" chats for their school communities via Remind. 

I've been using Remind to share innovation resources and global education links on a daily basis. You are welcome to join either group, and you can see them embedded at the bottom of this blog post. 

  • To join my Illinois Ed Tech Innovator class, follow this link or text @iledtech to 81010.
  • To join my Global Education News class, follow this link or text @gecnews to 81010.

Here are some links to get started and I hope that you'll experiment with Remind and share potential uses on Twitter with the hashtag #RCEchat. 

 


One More Day! Need Your Support to Facilitate a Workshop at #SxSWedu !

The public is invited to participate in SxSWedu's panel picker, the method for which workshops and sessions are chosen for next March's conference. Julene Reed, Michelle Bourgeois and I have proposed a hands-on workshop show participants how to leverage and organize the treasure trove of free digital content available in Apple's iTunes U. We believe that more educators and industry folks need to experience this high quality repository and that this free content can really benefit students. 

If you have a moment today, please vote for us and invite your colleagues to do so as well. We'd appreciate any comments, including feedback, as well. Here's the link to where you can vote: http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/39053. If you also want to vote on other high quality presentations, please check out these others from my Apple Distinguished Educator colleagues. 

Follow Lucy's board #SxSWedu Proposals Worthy of Your Support on Pinterest.


Two Quick Announcements

Two fun things to share today (and a third is coming sometime this week...)!

First, I'm the new ed tech expert at About.com which means I'm writing periodically for a sub-section of their Education section. I'll be contributing news, reviews, and advice around the best stuff in ed tech as well as profiling ed tech leaders you should know. Very excited to finally get this launched!

Secondly, Julene Reed, Michelle Bougeosis and I have a proposal submitted to the panel picker for the South by Southwest Education conference (SxSWedu). Sessions are chosen in a crowd sourced manner; we need friends and colleagues to vote on our proposal in order for the workshop to be accepted at this really interesting and innovative conference. 

Our workshop proposal focuses on leveraging iTunes U in classrooms and we'd like to introduce people to the wonders of iBooks Author and iTunes Course Manager as well. Here is where you can vote and comment on our proposal... comments can be endorsements of our work or could be suggestions for improving our proposal. Also, if you haven't previously attended this conference, put t on your list of must attend events... it's very different and full of great learning experiences that will particularly challenge the more experienced educator. 

 

 


Social Media and Mobile Learning Workshop at #CoSN14

New Leadership for Mobile Learning Project Director Marie Bjerede and I will be hosting a workshop next at week at the Consortium for School Networking's annual conference. The focus will be on using social media in conjunction with mobile devices and the purpose will be to give school leaders more direct instruction with using social media effectively. It seems that many administrators don't have the time and/or inclination to dive into the world of Web 2.0 tools, and we want to provide an opportunity for such types to play with tools that will potentially enhance their work. 

That said, we are not going to cover every single hot social media channel out there during this three hour workshop. Instead, we'll explore social networks and blogs and then dive into microblogging and social bookmarking. We could go to town by looking at YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, etc., but we will keep things simple and practical for the scope of the workshop. 

All of these tools are almost rendered useless, however, unless one takes time to develop a personal learning network. This means you connect to others who share your professional interests and this increases your chances of learning about best practices, identifying great resources, and building opportunities for collaboration. During this workshop, we'll give advice on how to do this as well as how to develop one's online professional persona. 

Anyone is welcome to peruse our workshop materials (see below) and contribute to our networking survey. We'd love to have school leaders show how they are leveraging social media and connect with workshop participants. Please also follow our conversations on Twitter by searching for the hashtags #CoSN14 and #CoSNLML.  

 


Revisiting Paper.li as a Curation Tool

Paper.li is a curation tool that allows one to automatically publish a digital newspaper on a daily or weekly basis. Essentially, it pulls from news sources that you choose and arranges the content in different categories.  Followers can subscribe to your Paper.li paper and you can also set up a notification to be sent out over Twitter when a new edition is available.  I've had one for the Global Education Collaborative for awhile, and since we've changed the name of the GEC to the Global Education Conference network, I decided recently to update this resource. 

I found that I can add up to 25 traditional news sources, Twitter hashtags, or Twitter list feeds to my Paper.li editions. For instance, I've add the twitter stream generated by my list of global education people and a search of tweets using the Twitter hashtag #globaled12. Thus, I'm able to pull from a variety of sources and control the content to some extent. What I really like about Paper.li is that I'm provided with a daily resource that I'm able to scan pretty quickly and keep updated on what others are doing in my professional learning network. I find this tremendously useful. And,  once I have set up these papers, I don't have to do much maintenance.

Keep in mind that you can subcribe to these and many other generated digital newspapers in the Paper.li community. Paper.li also has a bookmarklet tool that lets you add news sources as you surf the internet, and it also provides widgets to embed on your blog or web site.  Widgets are also available from the three newspapers I currently publish. One is devoted to global education, another to mobile learning and a third focuses on my favorite general education resources and thought leaders. However, I can't seem to get these widgets to work here in my Typepad blog! 

I was extolling on the virtues of Paper.li to a GEC member tonight, and he had the idea of feeding in all of his student blogs into Paper.li so that he could publish a newspaper of their recent blog posts....auto magically.  Brilliant idea, and I'm guessing educators could find many uses for adding this tool to their work flow. 

 


ITSC - Beyond Search

Download ITSCsearch

My many, many slides for my Beyond Search presentation tomorrow. I swear this is a hand-on session! Download the presentation from Slideshare or the PDF from Scribd and follow along. Links in these documents should be live.

We also will be creating a search scavenger hunt on this Google Doc. Feel free to add your own items for this.

 

 

Beyond Search - ITSC Conference
View more presentations from Lucy Gray.

ITSC Beyond Search


Friday 5: Interactive Sites

Using multimedia in the classroom is one of the suggestions put forth by math teacher Dan Meyer in his TEDxNYED talk from last spring.  I watched the video of his presentation today in preparation for my own talk at this year's TEDxNYED and it's well worth a look by any teacher, not just teachers of math.

If you have other suggestions for interactive web sites, leave them in the comments! Thanks!

1. Interactive Learning Opportunities on the Internet
http://www.techteachconcepts.com/interactive_learning.htm

2. Library of Congress Interactives
http://myloc.gov/Exhibitions/Pages/default.aspx

3. Spin and Spell
http://www.spinandspell.com/

4. Interactivate
http://www.shodor.org/interactivate/

5. PhET Interactive Simulations
http://phet.colorado.edu/


Re-visiting My Newsreaders

This is a follow up to Finding and Managing Stuff, a post  I wrote in January about organizing sources of information.  A friend recently mentioned that she wanted to get started following that advice, but hadn't had time. My suggestion for her is to start with developing a newsreader, and attached to this post is a file that will save her a huge amount of time in getting this started.

Newsreaders are tools where you can follow multiple blogs, news, Twitter feeds etc. in one spot. The technology behind newsreaders is called RSS and the analogy that's often used is newsreaders are like magazines. You can go out to the newsstand and purchase a magazine, but it's much easier to have the magazine come to you via a subscription. Newsreaders allow you to subscribe to a variety of sources of information and then you can access this stuff in one spot. New items pop up in your reader as they are published, too, eliminating the need to manually check web sites to see if there's new content.

Back in 2005, I started using the application called NetNewsWire as my news reader. I still like it as I find it easy to organize subscriptions in this tool, although I do use Google Reader as well as it has some other features.  I haven't fallen in love with Google Reader, but it works well enough, particularly on mobile phones.

Over the course of the past couple of years, I've been relying more and more on Facebook as my de facto newsreader (and Twitter somewhat), and it's become easier to manage with tools such as PostPost. Facebook is a great way to stumble upon news items, but I recently came to the realization that I still have a need to monitor some blogs and news sites a bit more closely. I used to subscribe to everything that came my way, but I'm now thinking that a carefully vetted set of resources would better suit my current research needs.

Thus, I'm returning to my newsreaders and plan to spend more time utilizing them in my work. NetNewsWire will still be a place where I subscribe to everything, but a more vetted set of news sources will be in my Google Reader feed. Over the weekend, I went through my current subscriptions and weeded out defunct blogs etc and created  a streamlined set. I exported it into OMPL format and this file can be imported into any newsreader.

To import the attached OMPL file  into your newsreader, download this file (Download LucyRSS). Then, go to Google Reader, login, and click on the Settings link in the upper right hand corner. Select Reader Settings, Import/Export, and then browse to the downloaded OPML file. Click on the upload button, and you'll be good to go.

The selected feeds in my OPML file are a mix with a strong focus on technology, education, and news. I subscribe to a variety of sources (Delicious, Diigo, Twitter, YouTube,regular web sites) to show how one can follow different types of information. If some of the feeds are not interesting to you, delete them from Google Reader by going to Settings>Subscriptions and editing as needed.

Hope someone out there will find this useful, and let me know if you are able to start using Google Reader now that you have some resources to follow!

 

 

 


Simple Communication Tools

Cross-posted at November Learning.

This is a follow up to my blog post at the end of November urging educators to improve communication with their students and their families. I contend that publishing basic class information gives parents a window into your classroom and helps students get digitally organized. It’s now easier than ever as a plethora of tools exist to help people publish without a lot of technical steps. Creating and maintaining a class web site also does not have to be a time consuming chore.

Now that holidays are over and schools are back in session, perhaps now is a good time to explore a few tool recommendations.  The following are a few that are popular with educators; start playing with one tool that appeals to you and see where it leads!

One method of publishing is through bloggling. Blogs are made up of a series of linear posts.  The following blogging tools share many of the same features which include posting by visiting their website, through mobile devices or by emailing posts. They have design templates which are generally customizable and support the embedding of media such as links, photos, and videos. A few to try are:

Many teachers prefer wikis which are easily editable web pages. Wikis tend to provide more flexibility than blogs in terms of design. Most wiki providers give you a choice of templates and allow for the embedding of widgets which provide additional functionality. For instance, if you are a Google Docs user, you can embed documents in a Wikispaces wiki or you could use Google’s own wiki tool, Google Sites, to do the same thing. While you can usually assign multiple authors to a blog to create individual posts, wikis are better suited for collaborative purposes as you can invite others to edit your entire wiki. A few wiki services to try are:

To see how other teachers are using blogs and wikis, browse through the nominations and winners of the 2010 Edublog Awards and through CASTLE’s list of blogs by discipline and wikis.

Keep in mind that Blogger and Google Sites can be used by themselves or within Google Apps Education Edition if your school has adopted this platform. Wikispaces and PBWorks also offer no cost ad-free wikis to educators and Glogster also has a version for educators. Edublogs is also geared towards school audiences. Education versions of Web 2.0 tools usually give you more security options so that students can use them as well.

Edmodo is another tool worth a look and it defies categorization as a blog or wiki. Designed specifically for schools, Edmodo promotes the concept of micro-blogging and teachers can post easily to their Edmodo space on the web or using a mobile device. Calendars, assignments, links, files, and polls can be shared with students. Groups can be created, and educators can also connect to colleagues.

The selected resources mentioned in this blog post were picked for purely their ease of use and my intention was not to create an overwhelming list that might be interpreted as intimidating. However,  if you are interested in trying additional tools, read on.

Via Twitter, I asked other educators for suggestions of simple to use publishing tools and VoiceThreadAnimoto, Wallwisher, and Audioboowere mentioned. Also, Larry Ferlazzo recommends various tools within his great list of his blog posts geared toward tech novices.

If you have any additional tools or strategies that you recommend, share them in the comments of this blog!

 


Finding and Managing Stuff

A few days ago,  I sent a couple of links to a friend on a particular mutual topic of interest. I thought perhaps that she had already seen these links from Mashable and the Huffington Post as these are standard sources of information in our world, but I passed them along in case she had not.  My friend was grateful to see these articles and she did inquire as to how I had found them. In both cases, I had seen these links posted in my Facebook news feed.

Generally, people seem surprised by the amount and kind of content I post to Facebook and Twitter, assuming that it takes an inordinate amount of to research and cull information. In fact, I have a few routines set up that help targeted information travel to me, and it's really not that time consuming. So read on for a few tips that may help you work smarter, not harder.

Prep Your Browser

With most of the services I use, most are accompanied by a tool called a bookmarklet that you install in your browser (i.e. Firefox, Safari, Internet Explorer). This allows you to save resources to that particular tool's website. You can also install these bookmarklets via browser extensions (Safari, Firefox) as well. The benefit of these tools is that you can utilize the services with just a click in your browser while surfing. For example, I'm interested in mobile learning these days and when I come across a useful article, I use the Diigo Safari extension to bookmark the web page to a list in Diigo. In turn, my Diigo list is available to any internet-connected computer and anyone that "follows" me in Diigo may come across my posted resource.

Here's a screenshot of my Safari browser, so you can see what it looks like. I've added a few annotations describing the tools to this image.

Browser toolbar


In addition to using these browser tools, I set time aside to purposely do research and post things, usually first thing in the morning and the last thing at night. If I'm at my desk during the day, I'll also montior social media as time allows. The tools I use have not varied much in the last year; I have a tried and true set that works for me. It's up to individuals to determine their tool preferences as I think these are very personal choices to make. Take a look at my list and choose one to try out.

Tools

Ishot-432 For me, Facebook has become not just a place for posting personal and social information. I've also blended my professional life into this space, and tend to come across interesting related resources from people in my network. Facebook has almost taken the place of my newsreader which I still occassionally use to follow blogs.

Ishot-419 Postpost is a new tool from the folks at yolink. Postpost takes your Facebook newsfeed and turns it into a one page online newspaper of sorts. I use this first thing in the morning to see what treasures my Facebook friend have unearthed and I share a few finds on Facebook using this tool. Instead of scrolling through lots of status messages and posts, I can easily see all content in one place.

Set up Google Alerts for topics and events that interest you. I have digests of links sent to me on a daily basis on topics such as global education, mobile learning, and Everyday Math. I have news, tweets, blogs, and video sent to me on a daily, weekly, or as it happens basis.

Ishot-426
If you're looking for something that takes Google Alerts to another level, try Google Alerts enhanced with yolink. With this, yolink technology is applied to Google Alerts. yolink highlights your keywords in a search query, allowing you to quickly see if all your search terms are found in a result. That same highlighting feature happens with yolink Google Alerts; when I receive a yolink Google Alert email, I see my search terms highlighted within the email.

Another way to find information tailored to your interests is to create searches in Twitter. This technique is particularly useful when you need current or in the moment information. For instance, during the Global Education Conference last November, one could keep up with sessions by doing a search in Twitter using the tag #globaled10. Many live events designate tags like this, or simply searching by keywords can bring results.

There are many tools for managing Twitter, but I recommend using Tweetdeck to manage your searches. You can also create saved searches through the regular Twitter web interface. Here's  an example of one my searches using Tweetdeck. 

I probably use the social bookmarking tools Diigo and Delicious the most. Using their installed bookmarklet tools, I bookmark websites on the web for future reference. All of my bookmarks are organized by tags (keywords) and searchable within Delicious or Diigo. I particiularly like Diigo because you can share bookmarks to groups or create lists. When I'm looking for web sites on a particular topic, I often start my searches within services because all of their content has been vetted and found valuable by others on the web.

Note that Diigo has a setting where you can bookmark to Delicious at the same time. Also, the future of Delicious is unknown at this time as Yahoo seems to want to close or sell the service.

Ishot-428 I'm not using Friendfeed that much, and should probably utilize it more regularly. It is a service that basically aggregates social media posts from people in your network. The feature is that is most useful to me is a daily email which contains the best of my Friendfeed. Not sure how these links are chosen, but it's a quick and easy way to see quality content posted by others.

Ishot-429 I use two newsreaders to follow blogs and other content that have RSS feeds. I used to closely track information using newsreaders, but now I probably consult these about once a week. Subscribe to blogs and news sources using Google Reader, Netnewswire or another service; a commonly used analogy for this is that it's like a magazine subscription.  Information is delivered to you on a regular basis in one place instead of you going and checking individual web sites for new information. Most newsreaders are searchable, so you can search your chosen set of blogs etc. for specific content. It's another way to leverage already vetted content.

Ishot-430 Evernote is the newest tool in my aresnal. It can be used to organize information in a myriad of ways. Evernote is a web-based repository for notes, vidoes, and photos and be also accessed through a desktop application and phone app. I have various notebooks in Evernote for different topics, meetings, and organizations. Every time I take related notes, they are filed in each notebook. I can also take photos on my phone and put those photos into a notebook. Al of this information can be synced across the various ways of using Evernote.

In terms of saving articles, I'm finding that the Evernote extension in Safari is great for screen captures of articles that are filed into the aforementioned notebooks. Another recent use has been with receipts on business trips; I use my iPhone's camera to take photos of receipts and this really helps to keep things organized for reimbursement purposes.

Additional Tips

Establish some key resources that people go to in your field on a regular basis. For example, if you're interested in technology innovation, check out TechCruch, Mashable, ReadWriteWeb, TechMeme, and Venture Beat. If you're an educator, check out Edutopia, the education section of the Huffington Post, Classroom 2.0, the NYT Learning Network, and Thinkfinity.

Each of aforementioned websites also have prescences on Twitter and Facebook. Use the search feature within these services to find their Twitter accounts and Facebook fan pages. Additionally, they all have RSS feeds, and you can subscribe to these in an RSS reader. I love Netnewswire for this, but also highly recommend Google Reader as a cross-platform option.

Leveraging Twitter and Facebook networks is key to finding information, but keep in mind that these networks are only as valuable as the people you friend or follow.  Follow lots of people related to your professional interests by using these tools, and  your pool of information expands. Check out who your friends are following if you need recommendations.

 
Twitter lists are also a good way to find new contacts; here are a few of my lists that may help you get started with finding some interesting people to follow:

Ishot-433 Lucy's List: Recommendations

Lucy's List: Assorted News Sources

Lucy's List: Conferences

All of this may seem like a lot of work, but if you invest some time in setting up a couple of tools, I think you'll quickly see the benefits. My other piece of advice would be that you condition yourself not to try and keep up with the flow of information that you inevitably will encounter. Jump into this river when you can and need to... learn to search these resoures so that you can find what you need quickly and efficiently.

If you have any other tips or recommended tools for monitoring information, share them in the comments!

 

 

 


Obnoxious Online Marketing Tactics?

I'm preparing to write a blog post in which I'd like to incorporate the input from my personal learning network friends, so I've been posting the link to this survey in multiple places including Twitter, the Future of Ed ning, and Classroom 2.0. I'm wondering where to draw the line with this... when it does become obnoxious to see the same material in several spots online?

As I logged into EdWeek's Digital Directions ning this morning after following a tweet from EdWeek forum panelist Barbara Treacy, it occurred to me that by posting in lots of places, I may be joining a practice that I have long abhorred. I saw on the front page of this ning posting of a man pushing a product. He left comments on several members' pages, essentially cutting and pasting his message. 

This man, who shall remain nameless, has done this for consistently for the past few years. In fact, when he did this on the Global Education Collaborative, which I run, I asked him about his intentions and then banned him from the group when he did not reply. There is now another woman posting events that use this same product fairly often. I did a search for her name and she's an SEO expert and has been posting the same information about this same product in multiple Ning communities. I did write to her expressing my concerns and she said she'd curtail her postings.

When I've inquired on Twitter about the practices of the aforementioned man and the product he is pushing, I've heard from extremely reputable educational technologists who think the product is legitimate and that this guy is really a teacher. The more I see his name and his canned message pop up, though, affirms my doubts that he is a spammer. And frankly, I will not even look at a company's product if they resort to these kinds of marketng tactics. It takes away from the authenticity of relationships in these online communities and the lack of transparency creates makes me think this company is not trustworthy.

So, am I going in this same direction by posting in many places in line in order to reach as many people as possible? It's a fine line, but the bottom fine line is that I am not profiting from anything and I genuinely want to gather input from as many of my online colleagues as possible. 

UPDATE: I dug around a bit and it turns out that this aforementioned man who pastes canned messages on Nings is the US business development executive for this India-based company. Supposedly he works in a high school, but I couldn't find a faculty directory on his school's web page. My problem is that he is NOT transparent in his postings that he WORKS for this company and he is pasting generic messages on people's pages. He is not even engaging in conversations and mentioning his product in context. I would not have a problem if he was transparent with his consultancy, but I clearly recall asking him if he worked for this company and I received no response.


Midwest Tech Forum 2009 Handout

Check out the handout for my portion of the Web 2.0 panel at Tech Forum Midwest tomorrow! This is intended to be a short overview of Web 2.0 and its implications for education. I've also included some web sites and readings for further exploration. Lucy Gray • Tech Forum - Midwest 2009 Lucy Gray • Tech Forum - Midwest 2009 Lucy Gray This is a handout I created for Tech Forum - Midwest in 2009. It gives a definition of Web 2.0 and the implications of such tools in education. Find recommended tools and resources in this handout.

Steve Dembo's Edublogger Quiz

Kristin Hokanson shared this via Twitter this morning and it's hilarious. Typical Steve Dembo humor permeates this embeddable quiz. This is a nice tool for using with classroom blogs, too.


My Availability

Via Vicki Davis at the Coolcatteacher blog -

I almost forgot I posted this as a Typepad widget, so I'm now adding a brief explanation. Timebridge is a handy meeting scheduler that can sync with Google Calendar and others. I'm using it to schedule a meeting for the Global Education Collaborative advisory board. I simply create a meeting, add a few proposed dates and times, and then people respond with which ones work best for them. There's also a "free" conference call phone number, but I think it's just free in its creation as it's not a toll-free number. Apparently, there is interactivity with WebEx as well. I wish I could drop my First Class calendar for work and use this instead! Seriously, why should people pay for services when Timebridge and Google Apps for Education are free?