Muddling through the blogosphere

Live from Sacramento – Classroom 2.0 Workshop


Steve Hargadon, tireless in his efforts to bring teachers on board with Web 2.0 possibilities, led the way at yet another Classroom 2.0 event. I’m very glad I was able to attend the Friday session and part of Saturday’s. As a result, here are some new tools I’ll be adding to my toolkit and/or now have better understanding of their potential:

Friday Session

  • – Concept of a drop box. Create content; add files (e.g., add Word file and it will convert to web-based format). You can call in a message and it will convert it to an MP3 file. Very cool! You can email content in. You can even get a conference call number (for synchronous use of offers a “dizzying array of features!” Thanks to Jeff Karlsen, Sac City CC, for sharing this tool.
  • Google Maps – While not a new tool for me, for too long I’ve continued to be a consumer, not a producer. But with Joe Wood leading the way, I’m motivated to start playing with Google Maps and to start working it into K12 curriculum examples. It’s really the easiest way for students to create Google Earth pieces, since G Maps offers a rich text toolbar, which Google Earth does not.  Think of the 4th grade missions report, for instance. Students can create tours in G Maps and then save as a Google Earth file, giving classmates the thrill of flying into their mission (hard to do with the sugar cube version;-).  Might just be a starting point of some student-created Google Lit Trips! For a window into Joe’s Google presentations, checkout his wiki.
  • Zack Dowell led a session on backchanneling, which he described as “putting tech in everyone’ s hands.” We went live with Today’s Meet . Love the simple, clean interface! Zack’s session included some discussion on appropriate vs. inappropriate uses of backchanneling. I think backchanneling is great way to promote interactive listening during those hour-long videos a science or social studies teacher regularly integrates into a lesson plan. Of course, like any tool, things can get a bit out of hand. Watch as via backchanneling an audience turns into a mob: South by Southwest Conference.  I’ll be adding a feed from Zack’s Delicious bookmarks: even more important than backchanneling, Zack is involved with the Plant a Row Project in El Dorado County (hey, talk about a good use of Google Maps!).
  • Ever wish you had unlimited storage space for backing up your work?! Grace Esteban shared – free storage backup – 50 gigabytes!
  • How about a tour Google Earth led  by a college history professor?! Stuart Graybill put GE into a nutshell: ” You can do things you can’t do with a flat map.” He started with GE’s opening world globe screen, used the control bar to disable borders, and invited us to consider the earliest movement of human beings from Asia to the Americas. Historians are now questioning the walking across the Bering Straits theory. Google has added underwater images, which makes it easy to see that with during a time of lower sea levels, more land allowed for “hopping” from one continent to the next.I loved Stuart’s example of the Northwest Ordinance, our nation’s 1787 document that required, amongst other things, that land be laid out in squares.  So “fly over” US cities or farming communities – such as our very own Yolo County – and the impact of that ordinance become visible as you view the grid-like squareness that was required by law. Jump from Yolo County to Normandy, France, to compare two totally different ways of laying out land.Wondering if you want to download the latest version of Google Earth? This video on New! Google Earth 5 was all I needed to click the download button.

Saturday Afternoon Speed Demos (Sorry, I was over at the A3WP during the morning session, so my notes do not include Kristen Hokanson’s Elluminate session on copyright or Larry Ferlazzo‘s ELL session)

  • – Think of it as “youtube” for documents.
  • slideshare – lets you embed audio – and the audio will match. You can also embed YouTube videos.
  • netvibes – like igoogle – lets you create a page with content – then you can share that page (e.g., – give to your class). Others can use the page. You can add an RSS tab. For instance, if I wanted to do as Steve does and have notification come into my Netvibes page anytime someone references me in Twitter, I could add rss search on @gailhd on Twitter. (Note to self: I need to start playing with this app.)
  • Delicous vs. Diigo – I still like Delicious and continue to use it, but at the same time, continue to move more into Diigo.  It’s still a huge wow factor to me that I can “stick it to the Internet” via Diigo’s highlighting, commenting, sticky-noting, etc., tools.  But it’s the Diigo Groups option that has really brought me on board.  Whether through a public group such as Discovery Educators’ Network (DEN) or a private group such as the NWP Digital Is group, I look forward to the almost daily gems that arrive in my Diigo account – and via email.Alice recommends starting students (and teachers) with the diigolet toobar. To add it via IE, right click and add to favorites. You can then pluck it out of your favorites. Students will need the diigolet applet on their computers – and they’ll need to be signed in. Thanks to Diigo Educator Acconts – you can set up students under 13.

    OK, trivia fact: Delicious invented the whole concept of tagging
  • twitter – Interesting discussion. Steve, who claims to “not really get Twitter,” asked us to describe it to the non-users. We started with concept of Twitter hash tags – “peer-reviewed connected tissue.” We also discussed fact that unlike RSS feeds, which are updated periodically, Twitter updates are instant! Just lIke text messaging, but recipient part not built in – but anybody can get access. It’s a text message = 40404. You can direct message via d_name, which is easier than a cell phone number.  Also, by clicking on a fellow Tweeter’s following box, you can redirect their Tweets to your  phone (haven’t used this feature yet).

    Trivia fact: Twitter was invented by same guy who invented Blogger
  • Jory Hadsell ended the day with a great demo on screencasting using Jing.  The ability to annotate screens can be very useful for a teacher wanting to introduce, review, or extend a concept. Although my department has paid for SnagIt, I do recommend Jing to teachers.

Did I mention that the Classroom 2.0 Sacramento get together was free?! Many thanks to Steve Hargadon for his vision and support and to Melissa Green and Sac City College collegues for hosting the event!


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