30 June 2008

NECC 2008

Is it just NECC that does such a great job of including those of us not in attendance? WOW!!!

Already have been able to participate, second-hand, in one session of Edubloggercon and NECC's first keynote.

We2.0 Smackdown created a wiki to share all the great info presented in this one session. You can view a video, "listen to" the conversation taking place (Cover it Live), and find out about some Web 2.0 tools.

Here's the CoveritLive blogging session for James Suroweicki's Wisdom of Crowds opening keynote.

I'd also recommend checking out the podcasts that will be available. There's a Cover It Live session and one on copyright that I'm looking forward to.

Checkout twitter... lots of links there too.

26 June 2008

Searchme UPDATE

WOW!!! I just went to Searchme and have discovered that now the creators have short demo videos available on the home page about new features. Take time to view them. It's worth it. Great feature have been added! Now this visual search engine includes images and videos in addition to the web. And what's even more exciting is the ability to create stacks. Your own set of webpages, images, and videos for a specific topic of your choosing. Stacks can be shared in a variety of ways, though they have a message that pops up that says stacks can only be saved on your machine. So I'm not sure how long or even if the stack below will appear here.

The only problem I have is with videos. Sometimes they begin playing automatically within Searchme so be prepared for that in the stack below.

(Well, I'm having trouble embedding the code given by Searchme. The stack shows up beautifully when I preview, but when I want to publish I get an html error which I don't know how to fix.)

I'm going to try to add the url instead, K12OnlineConference

24 June 2008


I'm still planning to work on the PLE2 modules. In fact I have one other site to explore from module 1, Jing Project, "an always-ready program that instantly captures and shares images and video…from your computer to anywhere."

I get sidetracked so easily. I saw a tweet about a new way to search called Searchme. I just had to try it out myself. Searchme is still in public beta after being released in March 2008, so it may not find everything you want/need.

There are a few simple settings on the first search screen. The first allows you to filter out adult content. That feature makes the search engine safe for "school use". The second allows you to select from two background colors (black or very light blue, which are named Night and Day). The last setting allows you the option of opening links in the current window/tab or in a new window/tab. I choose new tab and the link opened so quickly that I had several tabs open cause I clicked more than once.

As you enter a search term, categories will appear to help narrow the focus of your search. Instead of a textual list of websites, Searchme displays images of the websites it finds. A scrollbar below the central image allows you to move forward and/or backward to view website images before clicking the link. If you still need text there is an arrow below the scrollbar that will display a smaller image and the text we are all used to seeing.

Here's a short video(3 min)demonstrating the use of Searchme.

I think that this search engine will be useful for those students who are visual learners. It should make a search easier for them. It's not as boring as using a traditional search engine.

Turbo Tagger

20 June 2008

PLE (Personal Learning Environment) 2.0

I'm at it again...join me.

Last summer or was it two summers ago??? I convinced a peer to take an online learning adventure, School Library Learning 2.0 (SLL2) with me. It was offered (and still is) by the California School Library Association and is modified from Learning 2.0's 23 Things.

I believe that I first learned about this online course, PLE2, through twitter. It was originally offered in February and March 2008, however, the course was setup with self-directed learning modules and supportive websites of the Web 2.0 tools that the course included. There are six modules altogether.

The first module includes general resources about Web 2.0 and various tools that can be used with pictures. SLL2 covered Flickr, Flickr mashups, and 3rd party sites. PLE2 includes tools that I didn't remember using so I tried them all.

The home of fd's Flickr Toys includes toys, games, and utilities which allow you to mashup digital pictures. I had already used several toys so I tried a couple of others: Hockneyizer and Mosaic Maker. Here's a link to my Hockneyized pic and a mosaic I created with a few of my favorite Flickr pics. Big Huge Labs works well with my Flickr photos and you can upload from your machine, Photobucket or URL.

Dumpr offers a couple of photo effects similar to BigHugeLabs, but many that are completely different. Here's a sketch I created from one of my photos. I didn't register for the site, though, I had to authorize access to my Flickr photos. You can also upload from Picassa, MySpace, Zooomr, or URL.

"makes your photos fabulous with easy to use yet powerful editing tools. Tweak to your heart’s content, then get creative with oodles of effects, fonts, shapes, and frames. It's fast, easy, and fun."
And it really is!!! Picnik is going to be a favorite of mine. It's so easy to edit and doctor a photo. You don't have to register, just start using it.

Here are the original and the edited photos.

This collection consists of thousands of images that have been donated by students, teachers, and amateur photographers for educational use.

16 June 2008


Wordle is a fun site to create what I call word art.

Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes. The images you create with Wordle are yours to use however you like. You can print them out, or save them to the Wordle gallery to share with your friends.

Here's a link to my del.icio.us wordle.

Since the word clouds created by Wordle are Java applets you don't have any embed codes to allow you to post your Wordle creations. Instead you can take a screenshot or do as I did and print to a pdf. Then I used the snapshot tool to copy the Wordle image, pasted into Paint, and saved as a jpeg. Below are a couple other examples of my del.icio.us Wordle.

Thanks to John Pederson for his twitter post, OMG! My Wordle. http://skitch.com/t/rp8 and to Vicki Davis' Cool Cat Teacher Blog: A little Taxonomy with your Folksonomy and finally to Jonathan Feinberg the creator of Wordle.

08 June 2008


I read a blog post at A Library By Any Other Name about Apture. Look for the Apture links that were created for Texas, Chihuahua, and Oatmail Raisin Cookies. Texas and Chihuahua have a W enclosed by a box in front of the underlined word, which stands for a Wikipedia entry. Cookies has a camera, which stands for a picture.

When you go to http://apture.com you will see a demo of Apture without sound. Submit your email and complete the signup process. You will receive an email from Apture that you'll have to click on the link that is sent to confirm your registration. OR if you go to http://apture.com/experience, you will see across the top of the page three choices: About Apture, Experience Apture, and Add Apture to your Website. Click on Add Apture to your website. If you haven't signed up yet, the signup process will appear.

If you have created an account, Sign In. The first thing you have to do is add a new site. This would be your website or blog. Click on the link and enter the name and url. Just follow the rest of the steps to configure and install Apture. Once you have gone thru this process, I think that I got a tutorial that I could go thru with a basic explanation of how Apture works.

You have to complete an entry first. Then you go back and insert the Apture links by highlighting a term, name, whatever. A popup window will appear with various choices for the type of links available. To add the Apture links you just need to be viewing your website or blog. I don't think that you even need to be signed in to your blog account, but you do have to be signed into Apture.
There is an Apture dashboard that appears when you press the "e" key. You can sign in from the dashboard. I haven't needed to go back to the main apture site.

Once you get past the installation and tutorial I don't think that you'll have any problems figuring out how to use Apture. You'll find a wiki with documentation about using Apture, if you want to read more here. And of course, checkout Apture's blog.

Apture is a great tool for making your blog or website a multimedia experience! Not just Wikipedia or pictures, but also sound and video. I love it.

03 June 2008

May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture Award

I just got done watching & listening to David Macaulay's 2008 May Hill Arbuthnot Honor Lecture, Thirteen Studios.

I knew that May Hill Arbuthnot was the author of one of my college reading textbooks, Children and Books, but I'm ashamed to confess that's all I remembered. I've since discovered that she also wrote another book that I read during my professional life, Children's Books Too Good To Miss and even further back in elementary school when reading the "Dick & Jane" series, (that really dates me, huh?). She was also
a strong believer in the efficacy of direct speech.... a forthright vigorous lecture can set fire to a piece of literature that had failed to come to life from the printed page.
This lecture series was begun in 1969 by the ALA's Association for Library Service to Children in Mrs. Arbuthnot's name. Each year the award winner prepares a lecture considered to be a significant contribution to the field of children's literature.

David Macaulay's lecture took us on a journey from his first creative efforts in college through to the present day via his working spaces or studios. I was already familiar with some of his works, those that high school students would appreciate, but certainly not all. He is an engaging speaker, informative and humorous. Well worth the 60+ minutes. (The first 10-15 minutes are other individuals involved in preparing this year's venue, celebration, and presentation of David Macaulay.)

The video archive is available here.

01 June 2008


I decided to use iGoogle has my homepage. It has more varied and easily added content gadgets. AND I was wrong about Ajax programming not being available on iGoogle. I have since discovered that when you pass your cursor over links that a summary does appear as it does on Pageflakes.

Below are several other resources that might help you use iGoogle.

This Edublogger post, Setting Up iGoogle For Your Personal Learning.

Here's a video with basic info about setting up your iGoogle homepage by Ryan Wade.

And this video shows how to create your own gadgets by DemoGirl.

Or the slideshare below which is fairly technical.