Posts categorized "web 2.0" Feed

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.  


Steps to Mobile Learning Success: Share Your Thoughts

After visiting many schools and listening to many education leaders over the past two years, I've determined that there are specific areas that need to be covered when planning effectively for mobile learning.  Is there anything else that you would add to this list?

  • Vision and Leadership
  • School Culture
  • Planning Process
  • Workflow
  • School Policies
  • Professional Development
  • Infrastructure (networks, device management, etc.)
  • Community Support
  • Action Research

Additionally, I think that schools also need to be aware of cross-platform tools if they are in BYOD situations,  to plan ahead for changes in assessments and textbook adoption, and to think about how they can creatively fund mobile technologies that they want to adopt.

As part of my work for CoSN, I am contributing to a new leadership initiative focused on helping schools adopt a digital transition cycle. Epic Ed is an online community of practice where school leaders can come to research and discuss complex issues related to modernizing education. Each month, I plan to create resources related to one of the aforementioned areas, and in September 2012, we'll start with discussing vision and leadership. 

I also strongly believe that leaders need experiment with mobile devices and apps in order to truly understand mobile learning. We must model appropriate uses for our colleagues and encourage others to explore new avenues for reaching students. That said, I've started a VoiceThread slideshow where anyone can comment and add their thoughts about this month's topic, vision and leadership. For every subsequent month, I'll add another theme and participants can share their tips, thoughts, and questions on that topic. Participants are also encouraged to send me photos of mobile learning in action or images of charts, diagrams, infographics etc (, and I'll post these as well. 

Please take a moment to leave a comment at the very least and pass this on! Thanks!



Revisiting as a Curation Tool 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 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 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 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 community. 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 to a GEC member tonight, and he had the idea of feeding in all of his student blogs into so that he could publish a newspaper of their recent blog magically.  Brilliant idea, and I'm guessing educators could find many uses for adding this tool to their work flow. 


New Google Custom Search Engines and Handouts

For the upcoming Chicago Tech Forum, this week I developed a handout and a Google Custom Search engine devoted to finding iOS resources. I culled my collections of links related to iPods, iPhones, and iPads to identify the best resources and moving forward, I plan to keep adding to this. The search engine is designed to search most of the web sites listed in the handout, and I'll be adding to this as well. If you're looking for a particular topic related to using these devices in schools, this engine might help you refine your search and higher quality results.

Additionally, I updated my High Techpectations Google Custom Search Engine and created a handout of education starting points. It only searches web sites that I consider to be of high quality.

With both of these search engines feel free either link to their start pages, add them to your iGoogle pages, or embed their codes in your own web sites. GlobalEd Collaborative News

I've been experimenting with, a free service that aggregates links shared via Facebook and Twitter and publishes it in a newspaper-like format. With Twitter, you can have this online newspaper created by using your Twitter feed, the feed from a hashtag, or from a list you've created in Twitter. I've found that the list feed seems to generate the best results for me personally... I tried one with a hashtag that no one really uses extensively yet so there wasn't enough material available to generate a newspaper on a regular basis. Using my own Twitter feed seems a little self-promoting and wildly varied as I follow 7000+ people. My global list consists of 160+ Twitterstreams of high quality sources, and thus this particular newspaper tends to be a decent read each day.

Here's a sample:


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

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.


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.

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!




PostPost Enhanced by yolink!


My friends at TigerLogic, the company behind the yolink search technology, are pleased to announce a new Facebook app called PostPost. Using PostPost, Facebook users can connect and create a digital newspaper containing their friends' posted links, videos and photos. Postpost provides a great way to scan items without having to scroll through status updates.

This customized content can then be searched using yolink's search box and the results can be exported to various social media such as delicious and Diigo, much like how yolink operates as a browser add-on or integration into web sites such as Sweet Search.

Facebook seems to be the common meeting ground for people, and it makes sense that more and more apps are being developed to take advantage of the content housed in Facebook. In my case, personal content has blended with professional in Facebook. I post my presentations there, ask questions of my online colleagues, and find and share links to resources. With PostPost, this accrued content is even more easy to digest and share with others. 

Check it out and let me know what you think! Below is a screenshot of PostPost along with a few annotations./div><


The Ning Debacle: It's Not About the Money (entirely)

Today, I sent out a blast in the Global Education Collaborative about the changes to Ning's pricing. Read more about it here, but the social network creation company is experiencing financial difficulties which have led to layoffs and the discontinuation of all previously free networks created on its platform. A plan is supposed to emerge within 2 weeks, and new APIs and features are expected within 90 days. Not soon enough, I say.

I started the Global Education Collaborative using the Ning platform in 2007 after being inspired by the success of Steve Hargadon's Classroom 2.0 Ning. My site has grown slowly, but steadily, and our membership hovers around 3500 members. Steve's Ning has an astounding 40,000 educators interested utilizing new and emerging technologies within his online community. Ning has changed the way I connect to other teachers, probably almost as much as Twitter. 

This afternoon as the news got out, it was fascinating to see people's reactions over Twitter. I followed a search in Twitter (#ning) and read everything from people truly shocked to others who thought it was high time people were expected to pay to others offering jobs to the laid off Ning workers. This is another example of how news can unfold via Twitter.

My first reaction was to panic and to chide myself for relying too heavily on a tool that inevitably was going to evaporate in some form. I thought about our members and how we would lose many if we moved to another platform; I thought about the all the content accrued in the GEC, too. I also thought about the current fee to have ads removed which is $19.95 per month. A friend emailed me to basically state that it's only fair to pay for services that are of high quality. I agree, but I believe that's from a business perspective, not an education perspective.

Here's essentially what I wrote in response with some edits: 

Educators pay out of pocket for many items that they are never reimbursed for, and generally, they are paid much less than other professionals. Educators pour tons of manpower hours into cultivating these networks as well. There are also many non-profits who are looking for affordable, preferably free, methods of connecting with their communities. The word of mouth support for Ning from these groups is huge, and should be valued by Ning.

Wikispaces has long had a policy of making ad-free wikis available to educators because they know the intangible value of having teachers use their product. They know that educators will spread the good word and will provide feedback to them about Wikispaces. I'm wondering if Ning has ever valued educators; many of us thought this when Steve Hargadon was let go as their education evangelist last year.

The most troubling part of Ning's announcement to me was that it was announced with no plan in place. People would not be freaking out if a transition plan had been made publicly available immediately. It should have been publicized in tandem with the announcement. I think teachers would pay if such a plan existed; we are not about free loading and know that if something is of quality, it's worth a reasonable price. 

One GEC member responded to my announcement in the Global Education Collaborative that several charities in Africa that he worked with had Nings and he would no longer continue with the company if they started to charge. Just think of all the good work that is going on around the world (where people AREN'T getting paid for their efforts) that may stop as a result of this decision. 

The bottom line is, however, that we'll just have to wait until see what plans unfold. I hope Ning is listening carefully to its user base. If you are interested in sharing stories and thoughts about this, please take my survey and you can also see the results here

Connecting on LinkedIn

While I've reaped a great deal of social capital via online networking, there's one aspect that continues to be the bane of my digital existence ... how to respond to LinkedIn invitations with grace. 

LinkedIn is a professional networking service and the site clearly states that you should not accept invitations from people you don't know well. I think, however, that there are possibly missed opportunities and relationships if one takes a hard stance on this, and frankly, I feel sort of guilty for not accepting invitations from everyone. My general stance has been to send a note, explaining that I usually only connect to people I've worked with. I do feel that if I've connected with someone via LinkedIn that it is sort of a tacit endorsement of the other person, and I've generally developed a wariness about this whole conundrum. 

Recently, as I was browsing profiles in LinkedIn, my attention was caught by a blurb in Scott Traylor's profile. In the very last section of your profile, there is an editable section called Contact Settings where you can advise others on how to connect to you. I've always left this field blank in my profile, but I was inspired to lift and adapt Scott's blurb as I think it adequately explains my stance on LinkedIn: 

I maintain a LinkedIn presence for professional purposes. If I don't know you well, I'd prefer to connect informally via Facebook:

I saw the following on another person's LinkedIn profile (thank you, Scott Traylor) and thought I'd adapted it for my profile.

In almost all cases, I do not connect with people I do not know or have never met. My rules for connections include any one of the following:

• I know you
• I have worked with you or currently work with you
• I am very familiar with the work that you do
• I am convinced you will do good for all children in this world

If we have never met, but I am very familiar with your work (research, products developed, writings, things you have been involved in creating, movements you have started) I would be interested in your link request.
Hope this clarifies things a bit. What are your rules and preferences towards this sort of thing?

Friday 5: Cool Sites

For the past month, I've been babbling about interesting web sites for kids and teachers at (, Chicago's first user-generated content radio station. It's an initiative of our local NPR affiliate and it broadcasts on the internet and at 89.5 if you're in the Chicago/Northern Indiana area. The station is a really interesting concept and I think a sign of the ways things will go with radio. Anyway, I thought I'd share 5 of my favorites from this series with you today. Enjoy! 1) Eduweb's Portfolio Interactive games for kids 2) Sumo Paint A free online image editing tool 3) Great webcam tours of a wildlife reserve in South Africa 4) The National Day of Writing Starting in October, you can contribute to your own gallery of writing! This is a great initiative to focus on all kinds of writing. 5) Interactive Exhibits from the Library of Congress Explore primary source materials and much more at this very cool and creative site.

Getting Started with Twitter

Twitter is a microblogging tool that is all the rage right now. In a nutshell, you answer a question about what you are doing in a 140 character post. You follow people to see what they are doing; people follow you to see what you are doing. This can lead to what some may consider inane exchanges of information. Do you really want to know if someone is at Starbucks enjoying a latte?!?!?!

In the education world, Twitter is being used in deeper ways. For instance, educators are sharing useful links to websites and articles. Others are asking people in their virtual Twitter networks to participate in polls or to offer advice on curriculum. Twitter is also a great way for keeping up with experts and organizations related to education. For instance, you can follow the latest happenings at NASA, PBS and National Geographic.

I'm a big fan of Twitter because I believe it allows you take control of your own professional development. You can receive just in time advice, resources, and virtual colleagues based on your professional goals and interests. Once you get the hang of Twitter, I think you'll find it empowering and removes some of the isolation that classroom teachers traditionally may feel.

I have three basic bits of advice regarding Twitter:
1. Choose a username that is recognizable. Put your picture as your icon. People will associate you with this online persona, so think carefully about this.
2. Follow as many people as possible. You need a certain amount of people in your network to get the exchange of information flowing.
3. Don't try to keep up with the stream of information. Jump in when you can.
4. Share resources that you find. The more you share, the more good Twitter karma will come back to you.
5. Look at your friends' followers. Very often you can find other interesting people to follow by examining the networks of others.
6. I protect my Twitter stream, but I don't necessarily advise doing this. I did it to prevent spam Twitterers, but it honestly didn't help much. I still get strange people trying to follow me. If you keep your stream open, you'll attract more followers in general.

Here are some other resources for you to try:

Math and Science Related Twitterers



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.

Lucy's List: March Update to Interesting Twitterers to Follow

I published a list awhile ago of recommended people to follow if you are just getting started with Twitter. I'm appending that list in this post and my suggestions reflect a wide variety of Twitterers, not just people involved in the field of education. I find it fascinating the many ways people have chosen to use this tool.

Have fun exploring and feel free to list any other recommendations in the comments section of this blog! I've posted these suggestions in no particular order.

My Digital Kids

Although both of my kids are four years apart, they have similar digital tastes. I've found items like Leapfrog's Leapsters to be helpful during our 35 minute plus commute to school, and I decided they were ready for iPods when their last birthdays rolled around (both were born in October). I purchased the last version of the iPod Nano (the square chunky model) along with iTunes gift cards for them in addition to loading up the MP3 players with content that I thought they'd enjoy. 

So far, so good in terms of their use. My fourth grader, Julia, has learned how to select content in our iTunes library and sync it with her iPod. Both keep their headphones and iPods in plastic bags most of the time for easy transport and protection. Henry has a lamp that plays the iPod and he listens to audiobooks and music at bedtime. Julia has a clock radio that does this, too, but it hasn't worked as well as the lamp. 

In terms of content, we can fit about one movie (the current selection is Alvin and the Chipmunks) and a slew of audiobooks and podcasts on the iPods. Both kids love a Webkinz podcast; Julia tends to gravitate towards audiobooks and Henry is learning a great deal from video episodes from the National Geographic channel in iTunes. Here's a video that I did with Henry about what he's learned so far. 

Dipping Your Toe in the RSS Feed River

Here's a blurb from an ReadWriteWeb blog post that echoes what I was saying to session attendees at the ICE COLD mini-conference today. Don't even try to keep up, but think of your RSS reader as a pool of information that you dip into when you have time or the inclination! Click on the image to read the entire article.

Friday 5: Pageflakes

I've been wrestling with a quick and easy way to direct students to relevant web sites. Our new web site management system is great, but a little clunky for quickly adding links. We have a wiki that will serve as a repository for curricular resources, but again, it takes time to add links to this. I also have envisioned one page of links for kids to reference, so that little ones in particular do not have to do a lot of web browser navigating.

So, the other day after speaking with technoguru principal, Tim Lauer, about how he keeps web sites up to date on his school's machines, I decided to try Pageflakes (

Here is a tutorial wiki on Pageflakes that explains everything you
need to know:

Techwithme: PageFlakes for Education

And, here are the ones I created for teachers at NKO focused on
currently taught math topics:

NKO Pageflakes Home

PreK-1 Cluster

2-3 Cluster

4-5 Cluster

Research and Resources

Fun For Kids

Teacher Sites

These pages are works in progress, so stay tuned!

Wishing you all a happy and healthy New Year,

Lucy Gray

P.S. - Remember you can subscribe to the Friday 5 via email at!

Interesting Twitter Discussion on blogTV

I've started branching out in Twitter to add people/organizations to my network that are not directly education related. I subscribe to Santa Claus (yes, I still believe), Mashable, Barack Obama, and a bunch of others. I find these additions by browsing the networks of others and from various things I read about Twitter. Anyway, another such find is Jonny Goldstein whom I think I actually came in contact with a few years ago when I was researching video blogging for a Friday 5 list. It's a small blogosphere. Anyway, Jonny hosts a talk show on blogTV (similiar to Ustream) and I took a look at one of his shows recently. There are a few other parts to this which I did not get through, but this episode does a good job of demonstrating the power of Twitter. Jonny's interviewee is Laura Fitton of Pistachio Consulting, and I really identified with the attributes of Web 2.0 apps that drew her to Twitter specifically, being somewhat housebound as the mother of two young children. That very same reason drew me to the internet when my now 9 year old  was teeny tiny. This sort of stuff has helped me to work more efficiently and more powerfully because I am connected to people across the globe!

Friday 5: Year in Review

Hi Readers -

My New Year's resolution is to try and get back in the habit of publishing Friday 5 lists on a consistent basis! Here are a few sites I've collected to ring in the New Year.

See you next year,

Lucy Gray


1) The Condition of Education 2007

2) Year in Review 2007 - Special Reports from CNN

3) AFI's Top 10 Movies of 2007

4) 100 Notable Books of the Year - 2007 - New York Times

5) Internet TV: 2007 Year in Review | last100

6) The 100 Best Songs of 2007: Rolling Stone

7) 50 Top 10 Lists of 2007 - TIME,30576,1686204,00.html

8) Google Zeitgeist 2007

Google publishes lists of the most popular search queries, which give you an indication about the public mind set during 2007. It's scarily fascinating! At the end of each section in this year's zeitgeist is a practical tip on how to refine your searches.

9) Lifehacker Zeitgeist 2007

Mashable and Lifehacker are two of the most practical web sites out there. I highly recommend skimming these sites on a regular basis.

10) Ask Lifehacker: How Can I Create a 2007 Timeline?

11) Lifehacker Top 10: Top 10 New and Improved Apps of 2007

12) Mashable's Best Technology Quotes of 2007

13) Top Web Apps & Sites of 2007 - ReadWriteWeb

Another Hit: Google Docs in Plain English

I love all the videos from Common Craft and here is one that's new to me. I just added it to my favorites in You Tube, which I'm increasingly relying on as a way of bookmarking videos I frequently use in workshops. You can view my channel here to see my favorites and videos I've created myself, although I haven't  upload many of those.

Anyway, I'd love to see more Common Craft videos explaining Google features such as Google Groups. I just made a Google Group for my daughter's soccer team, and some parents found joining and using the group perplexing. It's a reminder to me that all this techie stuff may be easy for me, but somehow, something gets lost in translation and other perfectly intelligent people don't find it that way and miss the power of today's internet. I really need to rethink how I explain techie stuff to people...

Friday 5: Special Mystery Guest: ELL

Hi All -

Larry Ferlazzo has put together tremendous resources for teachers and students. He teaches Social Studies and English to English Language Learners and native-English speakers at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento, CA.  He was named the Grand Prize Winner of the 2007 International Reading Association Presidential Award For Reading and Technology.  He has a website with over 7,000 categorized links accessible to English Language Learners and younger native English speakers at and a blog ( where he daily shares new content added to the website. A few months ago, I shared his student examples page ( l) with Friday 5 readers; it's helpful because I'm always seeking concrete examples of student technology use. Thanks, Larry, for sharing your expertise with us!

Lucy Gray


1) Oxford University Press -- Student   Sites
Hundreds, and probably thousands, of online   English language development activities for all levels.
2) Peace Corps English Teaching Manuals
I think the teaching manuals the Peace Corps   has developed for teaching English as a second language are extraordinarily   helpful to teachers.
3) Starfall
The best online site to teach reading to   beginning English Language Learners or young native speakers to read..
4) Dvolver Moviemaker
A great site for students to develop their   writing skills in a fun and creative way by creating simple movies.
5) Hello World English
A site for beginning English Language Learners   to learn basic "survival" English.
6) English 180
A very good site for both Beginning and   Intermediate English Language Learners with graduated lessons.
7) English Interactive
Another excellent site for both Beginning and   Intermediate English Language Learners with exercises at various levels.
  You can subscribe to the Friday 5 at or read it in my blog:

Beware of Quechup Spam Scam » Moving at the Speed of Creativity

Link: Beware of Quechup Spam Scam » Moving at the Speed of Creativity.

Don't do it! Don't accept any Quechup invitation from me!!! I got an invite from Steve Dembo, and promptly joined,as we all know that I love Web 2.0 stuff. Well, they scan your address book to find contacts, and then they send unwanted email to the addresses listed. I can't believe this is legal. 

My sincere apologies to anyone that took the bait. There's a great privacy lesson in here somewhere... I'm trying to convince myself that this is a teachable moment. Hah.

Global Education Collaborative Meeting #1

I'm playing around with this very cool video conferencing tool called FlashMeeting. It's sponsored by Open University, I think, which hosts all sorts of open source content and courses. FlashMeeting is used for research purposes, so you to submit an application to be able to book through them, and meetings are recorded. Anyway, I'm hosting my first FlashMeeting this Sunday evening (September 16th 8PM CST)to discuss global education efforts; please consider joining and sharing any ideas that you may have. The meeting will be available for viewing when we're finished, too.

If you need more info, please contact me or check out the Global Education Collaborative ning.

Blog Action Day 2007 : Remix This Idea

I found a link to this in the Google Earth Users Guide Project blog. The main site can be found here .  I  like this activist concept, and will be thinking about what I can blog about on October 15th.

In the meantime, what about an Education Blog Action Day? Wouldn't it be neat if edubloggers or any bloggers with an interest, for that matter, blogged on a particular topic in education on one day, tagged it with the same tags and made a statement to the world? What topics would be good for this? Hmmm....perhaps something related to  NCLB, School 2.0, early literacy, digital divide? What is a univeral issue for everyone with education?

Sheddheads: Web 2.0 Comes to Museums

Link: Sheddheads.

Just got my Shedd Aquarium membership newsletter in the mail which details their new media sharing site called Sheddheads. People can join this site and participate in the generation of content. I signed up and viewed a You Tube video of a Beluga whale giving birth.

This is a great idea, but it seems to have a limited focus. I'd love to see a site for all major museums to share content... sort of like a Flickr or YouTube with one stop shopping for quality educational content.

Field Trips 2.0 Project

I am part of a group of teachers working on a project that we plan on submitting to the Apple Learning Interchange. Specifically, this project focuses on the idea of reinventing field trips as we traditionally know them. We'd like to show teachers how to plan effectively for mobile learning experiences, what great excursions look like, and help them kick field trips up a notch by taking advantage of collaborative opportunities, digital tools, and web-based resources.

Interested educators are welcome to join our project. There are a couple of ways you and/or your colleagues can help:

1) Add bookmarks to our resource collection in by tagging any great links with the tag: Fieldtrips2.0.

2) Let us link to your educational blogs, blog posts, and Google Earth files that deal with your own field trip experiences. We also would love links to geocaching projects. We will post your name and school along with any links you send.

3) Participate in a group audio and/or video. We want to record a conversation, preferably using iChat AV, between multiple educators on how to make a field trip work, particularly when using Apple stuff and other digital equipment.

Send any of us an email indicating strands of interest if you'd like to participate. Additional details will then follow.

Thanks in advance,

Lucy Gray - University of Chicago Charter School
Judy Beaver - Punahou School
Andrew Gardner - The School at Columbia
Julene Reed - St. George's Independent Schools
Mike Searson - Kean University

Google Scavenger Hunt for Middle Schoolers

I'm so excited about a spur of the moment project I started today in my sixth grade computer science class. We just finished group reports in our millennial/computer terms wiki, and our next topic to cover is graphing. For the past two quarters, I've done a rather dry assignment involving temperatures of cities around the world in Google Docs and Spreadsheets. I decided I wanted to explore an Ogle Earth blog posting forwarded by Chris Walsh to the GCT community, and I began by trying out the Google LookUp formula within Google Spreadsheets. Essentially, you enter certain search terms into this formula, data is found by Google, and entered into the specified cell. See this blog posting in the official Google blog for more information and check out the hunt itself. I need to add more complete directions and polish it a bit, but I may post about this over at the Infinite Thinking Machine when the project is finished. So far, my students' reactions have been really positive... they had no idea about the calculator features in Google Search and many said that this alone would help them with their homework. Another thing to note is a suggestion from my colleague, Marty. She thought it would be great to use autofill with this Lookup formula, to say, find statistics for a set of pro baseball players. Unfortunately, autofill doesn't seem to be a feature with Google Spreadsheets yet!

Friday 5: More Cool Tools

Friday 5: More Cool Tools

Hi Everyone -

In February, I had the opportunity to help with the second Google Teacher's Academy in New York. Along with two other GTA leaders, I participated in a "Cool Tools Duel" in which we presented a couple of our favorite edtech resources. Everyone present then voted via applause for the overall favorite. This activity inspired a long list of other cool tools within the Google Certified Teachers community, and I thought I'd share a few of my favorites this week. The third Google Teachers Academy just wrapped this week in Southern California, so welcome to any new Google Certified Teachers who may have joined the Friday 5!

Enjoy and think summer,

Lucy Gray

1) VoiceThread

This site was recommended recently by my ADE friend, Valerie Becker, and I'm looking forward to exploring it further. At VoiceThread, you upload photos (or directly import them from your Flickr account) and a slide show is created. You then can add audio and text narration, and have others comment on the photos in a similar manner. Check out this document for information on how you can set up VoiceThread to for classroom use.

2) Gliffy

Here's an online alternative for concept mapping. There are some nice Web 2.0-like features in Gliffy, such as the ability to blog about a drawing as well as to add collaborators to a file. Via Chris Walsh.


Create multimedia, interactive time lines for free at this web site. This is a nice resource for personal use because several sets of guiding questions regarding various life scenarios are presented. For instance, there is a set of travel questions that will lead you to reflect and document on a trip. Via Kevin Jarrett.

4) Math Thinking Blocks

This is an online visualization tool for helping students with math. In the module I sampled, I was given a story problem in which I had to figure out the total cost of two items. I was guided through three steps to solve this problem which included visual guides and feedback. I found this to be a really unusual as well as useful tool for helping students with math. You really need to try this one out!  Via Kevin Jarrett.

5) The Generator Blog

This was suggested in the GCT community by Alix Pleshette. This blog contains a growing list of web sites in which you can generate general silliness. For instance, you can add your own picture to an image of a cereal box, make a banner for a web page, or create your own customized Hollywood sign. You might want to screen any of the sites listed here first before using with students, though. Some of them do not look appropriate for kids.

To subscribe to the Friday 5 Google Group, visit this page.

NECC 2007 Workshop Resources

Excuse multiple crossposts -

Julene Reed and I are teaching a workshop at NECC on global collaboration, and I've set up a series of resources to demonstrate during this class. I hope that these resources will live on as people become interested in sharing resources used to teach global awareness concepts. Please consider jumping in and joining any of these groups. Some of them are already seeded with material, but others are just getting started. Feel free to pass this info on to anyone you know that also might be interested.

If you are presenting on a simliar topic at NECC, please think about "crosspollinating" material in these spaces as well.

1) Global Education Ning group

2) Global Education Flickr group

3) Global Ed Google Group

4) Global Education Collaborative Wikispace

5) I'm tagging any resources I bookmark with the tag globalawareness in Furl and in

6) Google Calendar for Global Education - enter your NECC global awareness events here, for instance.

If you think of other similar resources we should include, please send me suggestions.  Thanks!!!

Friday 5: Best of the 2007 Webby Awards

Hi All -

The Webby Awards were recently announced, and here are a few of my favorite sites culled from the long list of nominees and winners. Check out the entire list here if you would like more!


Lucy Gray



This site has a great search tool: One feature includes searching for poetry-related images within the foundation's Flickr groups.

2) Best Stuff in the World

#2 and #3 on this week's list fall under the category of social networks, sites that revolve around user generated content. Best Stuff in the World has people rate and compare anything and everything.

3) - The Social Music Revolution

Listen to and buy music here at this site.

4) The Gapminder World 2006

I think I've mentioned this site in a previous Friday 5, but it's worth another mention. This site uses graphics to represent data in interesting ways.

5) Smithsonian Photography Initiative

This site has search capabilities which allow one to easily browse photos, create a personalized collection, and share it with others.

Friday 5: Will Richardson Workshop

Friday 5: Best of Will Richardson

Hi All -

On Friday and Saturday, teachers and administrators from several area independent schools gathered at the Francis Parker School here in Chicago to learn from classroom blogging guru, Will Richardson. Will is a former high school teacher and early adopter of Web 2.0 technologies, now consulting in school districts across the country. His blog, Weblogg-ed, is widely read by many educators. All in all, it was a productive and enlightening workshop; this week's list represents a handful of sites that were discussed.

Take care,

Lucy Gray


1) Gcast

Gcast is a podcast hosting service. Users can make recordings via phone amongst many other features.

2) Wikinomics

This is the accompanying web site to a popular book written by Don Tapscott and Anthony Williams. Will recommended this business book as its message apparently has potential implications for education. Interestingly, the web site includes a blog and a wiki where community members are authoring additional chapters of the book.

3) Remote Access blog by Clarence Fisher

Will referenced Clarence's work several times during the workshop. There's an interesting graphic on emerging technologies and services included in Clarence's May 5 post.

4) 21Classes

Will consulted on this student-friendly blogging service.

5) A Web of Connections: Why the Read/Write Web Changes Everything

Will relies on wikis for presentations nowadays, not slideware.

While browsing sites during the workshop, I found two others worth sharing that were not directly a part of the workshop:

6) Using Google Earth for Earth Science and Remote Sensing

7) Celebration of Teaching and Learning: Multimedia Resources from Thirteen/WNET and WLIW

This conference had a great line-up of speakers. For those of us unable to attend in person, videos of several presentations are online for viewing.

The Global Education Collaborative

Link: The Global Education Collaborative.

Excuse the multiple cross-postings on various listservs etc....

Please consider joining a Ning community on global education:

At the National Educational Computing Conference to be held in Atlanta, Georgia this June, fellow Apple Distinguished Educator Julene Reed and I will be hosting a workshop on global collaboration. I plan on utilizing a variety of tools and resources throughout this hands-on class, including Ning, a service that allows one to establish a custom social networking site. I am hoping to seed this site with people and content in preparation for this workshop, and I would like to invite anyone to jump in and participate.

I've made a few prior attempts at creating an online meeting space for those interested in global collaboration which included the establishment of a .Mac group and a blog. While I still plan on posting to these resources, I think this environment might be more inviting because it allows for the posting of photos, videos, and RSS feeds. Users can make their own custom personal pages, contribute to discussion forums, network with other like-minded individuals, and comment on these features. I've been inspired by the success of Steve Hargadon's Classroom 2.0 and School 2.0 Ning communities, particularly by the forum conversations in the Classroom 2.0 one.

I also hope that this will also serve as a hub for anyone who will be presenting at conferences on various global education topics. Please consider uploading any relevant files including presentation slides. You can upload slides to sites such as SlideShare and Scribd, which I think, will give you the html code to embed videos in a Ning community. If you need help with any of this, just let me know.. it's pretty easy. Of course, you can probably also save slideshows as Quicktime files and upload them directly, too.

Please let me know if you have any questions...

Continue reading "The Global Education Collaborative" »

Friday 5: Using Chat and Instant Messaging in the Classroom

My students have found me online. I haven't decided if this is a good thing, or not, quite yet, but it definitely has me to thinking about using chat and instant messaging to communicate with students.

In my sixth grade computer science class, our discussion about instant messaging started when a student asked me about my user name for a class wiki project. I explained that I use the same user name (elemenous) for all my accounts, including the AOL Instant Messaging service (AIM), and my students perked up immediately. They were surprised that a teacher, of all people, actually used AIM, and I bet one class that many more teachers use an instant messaging service than they realized. I also explained that I use chat regularly to communicate with other teachers around the world, and that it's been wonderful tool for exchanging files and learning from other educators.

So, since this discussion, the number of kids instant messaging me after school has jumped from 1 kid last week to about 8 kids last night. I think I had 4 different chat windows open on my computer, and it was difficult for me to multitask. I noticed that the conversations are markedly different than the ones I have with adults. When I chat with an adult, I usually am pinging them for a specific reason such as tech help or to share a resource. With kids, however, it seems as if they are sort aimlessly IMing each other and me. This is a social tool for them, and they must be chatting with lots of other people because often our conversations go dead as if they were busy elsewhere. Sixth graders, IMHO, have not learned the fine art of  carrying on an online conversation. Interestingly enough, though, one of my students told me that most of the grade-level "drama" happens within instant messaging conversations after school. One kid said he's learned to hit certain keys to quit IMing quickly when his mother approaches as he's not supposed to be online during homework time. Another kid said his mother took away his keyboard because she thought his computer habits were too distracting for him. (I'm making a mental note of this tactic for when my children hit middle school.) It's fascinating to see how important this tool has become to kids; I feel like I've been let into the club a bit as they have been reaching out to me via IMing.

Generally, I think using instant messaging and chat rooms in the context of learning is not something most teachers want to incorporate into their curricula; it's a matter of digital natives versus digital immigrants. We immigrants have been slow to realize that this tool is wildly popular amongst adolescents, and that if we frame its use properly, chatting via instant messaging or inchat rooms might actually empower learning. So this week, I've compiled a slew of related articles that might help you understand this phenomenon.

Take care and have a great weekend,

Lucy Gray

1)   Strategies For Using Chat
Academic Distance Learning Center, Webster University, Saint Louis, Missouri

2)    Let's Chat: Chat Rooms in Elementary School

3)   Educause | Resources | Resource Center Abstract

4)   PC World - Internet Tips: A Grown-Up's Guide to Instant Messaging

5)   Moving at the Speed of Creativity>Blog Archive> The Case for Instant Messaging in the Classroom

6)   Experimental College at Tufts | Instant Messaging: R U Online! RU? | By Robert Farmer

7)     Spiral Notebook > IM in the Mood for Chat

8)     Apple - Education - iChat AV and iSight in the Classroom: Lesson Plans

9)     iChatCollaboration.pdf from Goochland County Public Schools

The Friday 5 Search Engine

I've made a customized Google search engine using sites I commonly use when compiling Friday 5 lists. It's now listed on the left-hand side of my blog along with a box that allows people to subscribe to the Friday 5 in Google Groups. If you ask to contribute to this search engine, you can add relevant sites. It is also possible to add the search engine to your blog, homepage, or Google start page.

I can see teachers using Google Co-Op to make customized engines for various units of study. I think it's a pretty handy way to direct students research instead of just letting them loose on the Internet.

Friday 5: Creating Comics

Hi All -

I've been working with a science class this week in which kids are creating newspapers on genetically modified foods. Some kids are drawing political cartoons and I showed them how to scan their work, import these files into Comic Life and add fun touches including captions, speech bubbles, and various graphical enhancements. This project got me thinking about other useful tools for creating comics and thus, this week's theme was born!

Have fun exploring these tools!

Lucy Gray

1) Comic Life

This is one of my favorite pieces of software, and I believe it comes installed on new Macs. iPhoto is integrated into Comic Life, and you can publish directly to a .Mac account as well.

2) ReadWriteThink: Student Materials: Comic Creator

This web site generally has great tools and lessons for students and teachers.

3) Make Beliefs Comix

This site seems kid friendly!

4) Comeeko

This site lets you create comics with photos. It is a social web site, too, meaning that you can rate and comment on users' comics if you choose. I would recommend using this site for teachers to possibly create materials, but NOT for student projects, as the content does not seem to be screened for the k-12 arena.

5) ToonDoo - The Cartoon Strip Creator

Again, this is a social site and you may want to take a look around this site before using it with students.

6) The Comic Book Project at Teachers College, Columbia University

I found this link while looking for comic resources, and it looks like an interesting project for hand-drawn comics. Take a look at the online gallery of student work.

Let’s make it a Good Friday for the blogging world : Thoughts From A Technospud

Link:  Let’s make it a Good Friday for the blogging world : Thoughts From A Technospud.

In response to a recent cyberbullying incident that's garnered a huge amount of attention, Jennifer Wagner of the Thoughts from  a Technospud blog has made a request of the those who blog. She is encouraging fellow bloggers to take a moment today to recognize other bloggers who have been supportive in the blogosphere. I'm not sure if I am supposed to comment in the blogs of these people, or comment in a post on my own blog, so I am going with the latter option and tagging it "cybercompliment". Here are the people I'd like to thank:

1) A marketing person for this landscaping company. I can't remember the marketing person's name, but she wrote me after reading a post I had written about Margate Park. Here is the link I actually referenced in this post that's now in a password protected blog. Anyway, this was the first time I realized that people really do indeed read and respond to blogs. Blogs as a way to connect with others was completely foreign to me.

2) Garr Reynolds of Presentation Zen fame. He noticed a post I had written about a student presenting at the Apple Store and he incorporated the story into his own post. I had read Garr's stuff previously, so when I received an email from him regarding Sam, I was blown away. What was this business professor with a popular blog in Japan doing contacting me?!?!?!? Again, the reach of the blogosphere was evident and it made me ponder how the Internet has forever changed our ability to connect, network, and derive meaning from others around the world.

3) Tim Lauer and others who held a blogging workshop at NECC 2004 in New Orleans. This was really the first time I explored the concept of blogs.  Here's a post from Anne Davis's blog about that event.

Thanks again, everyone!

Google Earth Meme Update

There's a new entry to the Google Earth Teacher Meme. Thanks to Marilyn DiPasquale for her .kmz file. Marilyn asked me how to created this file and put it in the Google Earth Community, so I'm copying and pasting the instructions I sent to her via email. To participate in this particular project, click on the aforementioned Googel Earth Teacher Meme link and you will see instructions. To create your own collection of .kmz files, follow the instructions below.

1) Make sure you register with the Google Earth Community site.

2) In Google Earth, each participant saves their .kmz file by going to File>Save>Save Place As> and then they browse to the place on their computer where they are going to save their file. This way they have a copy.

3) Then, they send this to me as an attachment or in GE, they go to File>Email>Placemark and send me the file that way.

4) Once I received the files, I made a folder in Google Earth (Add>Folder), selected it and saved it to My Places (File>Save>Save to My Places). I made folders in the same manner within this folder for each person participating.

5) I then opened the .kmz files from the emails sent to me and I selected those, moved them to their respective folders, and saved the entire enclosing folder again by going to File>Save Place As. I noted where I saved that .kmz file.

6) I then went to the Google Earth Community web site, found a forum that looks appropriate for posting my project, and I made a post describing the project. It's fairly self-explanatory; the first step was to create a new topic in a forum. The forum I chose was Education>Educators.

7) After creating my new topic post and entering relevant info, I clicked the continue button at the bottom of the page, and on the next page, there is a place for uploading files. This is where I uploaded the saved .kmz file and then I clicked the button that says ok, submit.  Note that it's helpful to save your post to your favorites within the Google Earth Community so that you can find it easily again.

8) To make additions, I open my .kmz file in Google earth, make additions in the manner described in Step 5, save again, and then visit my post in the Google Earth Community. There is an edit button on the post, and I go through and reupload my new edited .kmz file. There is a link that says to view it in Google Earth and one to view it in Google Maps. I usually look at the Google Maps one to make sure I uploaded files correctly.

Friday 5: More Web 2.0 Sites

If you've followed the Friday 5 for awhile, you probably already know that I am a fan of an internet phenomenon known as Web 2.0. According to Wikipedia, Web 2.0 is, "a phrase coined by O'Reilly Media in 2004, [that] refers to a perceived second generation of Web-based services—such as social networking sites, wikis, communication tools, and folksonomies—that emphasize online collaboration and sharing among users." The second coming of the Internet includes web sites that you might have heard of, such as Flickr, Blogger,, You Tube, and MySpace. Each of these sites serves a different purpose; what they have in common is that they depend on user generated content. This content is easily shared with others using something called RSS feeds, and interaction with others is encouraged via comments, tags, ratings and linking to other sites. Web sites that fit this Web 2.0 genre bring people to together, allow others to collaborate, and help distribute content that can be used in new and different ways. I encourage you to try out one of these services to discover the power of Web 2.0. Flickr, a photo sharing site, is a great place to start.

This week's Friday 5 contains a few sites that are new to me. If you are really into these kind of web applications, make sure you check out this comprehensive list of other Web 2.0 sites.

Take care,

Lucy Gray


1.    Swivel

Swivel allows users to upload data, make charts and graphs, and share it with other in multiple ways. I first read about Swivel in Wired magazine, and it appears like it's not quite perfect and still in beta testing. Because it is so new, there's not a ton of data to look at, but I imagine this will change over time. Here's some data on Chicago Public Schools that can be viewed in different charts and graphs, for instance. It will be interesting to see how educators adapt Swivel for classroom use.

3.    Quimble

Quimble lets you develop online polls that can be made public or private. I heard about this service recently on the EDTECH listserv.

4.     Scribd

Kathy Shrock recently blogged about Scribd, which lets you upload PowerPoint presentations and other files. I like the nifty feature that reads this material to the viewer. Other similar sites worth checking out are SlideShare and ThinkFree.

5. ToonDoo

This site was mentioned on Steve Hargadon's new Classroom 2.0 Ning site, where educators are discussing how to incorporate Web 2.0 technologies into classrooms. ToonDo allows users to create and share cartoons using a bank of clip art. It's definitely nifty, but I'd hold off referring kids to this site as I ran into a cartoon that was not particularly kid friendly that was featured in the archive section of this site. As with any site where material is shared, it's wise to take a look around before deciding whether something is appropriate for kids. ToonDoo, however, is very handy for teachers looking to create a graphic for a newsletter, web site, presentation, etc.

Join the Classroom 2.0 Wiki

Link: classroom2dot0 - home . Steve Hargadon, a fellow Infinite Thinking Machine blogger, has started a collaborative document known as a wiki that focuses on using new technologies in the classroom. These web sites and applications are known collectively as Web 2.0 technologies, meaning that they represent the second coming of the Internet. This wave focuses on user generated, collaborative content.  Check out this wiki and think about how you can incorporate things like Google Docs and Spreadsheets, social bookmarking services, and video conferencing into your curricula. This site is definitely worth exploring. Steve has also started a social networking site for Classroom 2.0 stuff at Ning and the link is here. His goal seems to be to bring practical ideas for implementing these interactive and powerful technologies into classrooms, so please consider exploring,and possibly contributing to, his forums for making this happen!

My Beloit Circle

Link: My Beloit Circle.

Edublogger Will Richardson recently blogged about Barack Obama's website that has incorporated Web 2.0/ social networking technology, and I was reminded of his post when I was recently invited to join my alma mater's new venture.

It looks like social networking is going mainstream a bit more as Beloit College recently launched a new alum feature called My Beloit Circle. It's sort of a cross between Linked In and Classmates. The company running this site also does it for other organizatons.

A couple of thoughts as I've delved into this.... first, I wonder how much time busy people will really invest in this. I've played around with My Beloit Circle quite a bit as I'm naturally interested in this stuff, but is the average user really ready for this? Secondly, I entered the feed from my blog into a field in my profile, and it's pretty cool how my recent blog entries pop up in a certain section along with posts from other Beloit alum bloggers. I noticed that I was the oldest person listed there by far and I'm only 40! Thirdly, it's really difficult to see who's registered so far because the search feature doesn't let you browse past the first page if you search by class year. The only other way to see if someone belongs to this online community is they are a connection of yours ala Linked In's style of networking. Finally, I think a really useful feature is group creation. Anyone can create a group for others to join and network within. There are groups for alum organizations in cities, for teams, and for people working in certain professions.

At any rate, it will be interesting to see how this online community develops. At the very least, it's clever to keep your alums tied to the school and hopefully, donations, too. (By the way, I haven't seen anything in this community yet regarding fundraising.)

Live From New York...

Link: Google For Educators.

I'm sleepless in the city that never sleeps as I'm visiting New York to help with the second Google Teachers Academy. I'm holed up in my cozy little hotel room at the Pod Hotel, which reminds me very much of the hotel in which I stayed in Berlin last summer. I suppose I am just too wound up after a stressful day of travel which included losing my luggage.

Pictures to come....