Friday, September 25, 2009

Google Sidewiki - Rocks!!!!

Released recently Google Sidewiki gives blogging and web surfing a whole new meaning. It is located as the name suggests on the side of any website you are visiting (you have to install a plugin in order for it to work). If you want to make a new entry, all you have to do is slide open Sidewiki and start typing.

Cool, if you highlight a word on the website it's added to the wiki and you can then start talking about it. How many times have you forgotten something you thought was important while reading?

So if you are reading something on a site and so are your friends or any one for this matter, all the entries made about the page will be displayed to everyone (Kind of open wiki for the web page). Quite powerful I'd say for students and teachers who venture out on the net to seek information. Now you can make meaning, collaborate and gather feedback. A powerful tool to encourage students.

If you want you can plug the entries you create using Sidewiki to your blog (Blogger only).

If you are visiting a site and someone has already started a wiki on it, Sidewiki will automatically pick it up and will appear on the left hand side of the page. If the page has none, you can start one.

Here is what people had to say about Wikipedia:


Thursday, September 10, 2009

Twitter v Facebook -- FB wins, it 'enhances your intelligence', Twitter doesn't :-(

A study done at University of Stirling in Scotland shows Twitter may not be good for your brain as it 'weakens the working memory'. The argument is justified by the researcher by concluding that Twitter needs no decoding of information hence the mind is not working to build new nerve connections. Facebook on the other hand requires your mind to think because it has apps like Sodoku and others. (You can read more about this here)

Well for me having used Twitter for the last year or so and Facebook for more then 2 years, it is exactly the opposite.

I think the sample in the research done at University of Stirling were making minimal use of Twitter, not exactly the way I have been using it. For me it gets me thinking every time a read a twit. People I am following have similar interest to me in the field of education. News, publications and blogs are frequently posted, just yesterday in 1 hour I received about 200 twits from a person attending a conference in US on Virtual worlds in education. Twitter has evolved over the years. It is no longer just 140 characters. Twitter has become a powerful tool with the ability to link out to pictures, videos, audios and almost all the popular apps used on the net. It creates a very rich multimedia environment. Twitter for me generates curiosity, helps build critical thinking skills, builds networks, helps me keep up to date with the happenings around the world and area of my interest and is instant.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Mum, six year old and dial up

My colleague brought in her 6 old year daughter to work today; she had to stay behind from school because of some ‘unknown’ illness (I am sure we all have been there with our parents). I’ll call the little one Mia. Mia is just like any other 6 year old, she is full of energy, loves to run and play, enjoys pie and donut, she also as I found out loves to play games online.

You must be thinking where am I going this is, right?

Well today at morning tea something life changing happened for Mia’s mum. We were talking to Mia and she was telling us how she loves little kid stories and somehow we ended up talking about Internet. So Mia’s mum goes:

Mum: so Mia would you like broadband?
(Mia without any hesitation goes)
Mia: Yap (with quite a lot of energy and enthusiasm)
Mum: what do you think about dial up?
(Mia with a sad face but in a funny tone)
Mia: Boooooooo!!!! I can’t play Disney games, Mum!

Now we all here at work have been telling Mia’s mum to get rid of painful dial up and to get broadband but No!!!!

Moral of the story!!!

Get broadband Mum for God sake. The kid knows more then you!!!
And also that times have changed, you wouldn't fine many 6 year olds who haven't used a computer. They have been on the net and from a very early age realise the benefits.

Monday, September 7, 2009

100 essential tools for teachers :-)

A list of 100 tools for teachers to empower, engage/motivate and interact/collaborate.

View the list here.

Google Wave – how will it change the online learning landscape?

That is Google Wave – in a nutshell having read few postings online (since Google Wave is not out yet):

• Has real time components, mainly that you’ll be able to see what the second person is typing character by character
• Openness, ability to embed your blogs, website, twitter and video etc
• Google applications and others – similar to Facebook, you’ll be able to use apps put out by third party developers since Google Wave is Open source.
• Google Wave Wiki
• Playback, apparently you’ll be able to play back any part of Google Wave to trace the progress.
• Drag and drop file sharing
• Social presence - networking and collaboration. Google Wave is said to even have a project management tool.

Now putting Google Wave together with the already impressive collection of Google tools (Calender, Blogger, iGoogle, Google Reader, Groups, Google Docs, Google Talk, Google Map …. you get the picture), where does it leave the ‘primitive’ LMS systems as education and mainly blended learning approach and Personal Learning Environment gathers momentum.

Google Wave will probably change the online learning landscape, as we know it. On every investment, one expects at least some positive return. As far as LMS’s go the students actually get none! All the work they do in a course over the semester is lost as the courses on LMS’s are recycled for use next semester. As far as the notion of ePortfolios go, Google Wave will have a huge impact upon selection of what tool to go with and a positive spin for the students who’ll be able to showcase all of three years work to prospect employees.

Highly networked students ready to tackle anything that is thrown at them. I wish I had an eportfolio when I finished my undergraduate degree. I find myself going through boxes of paper when looking for information (well I have moved on from it now, LOVE Google search and to some extent Youtube).
If learning is social then the networks we build along the way is critical. Nurturing the relationship and learning from each other at the same time should be a life long process. ICT plays a very important role in this process, critically the skills needed and the need to instill it in the learning process is equally important.

Google Wave provides all the tools needed and more for free. Do institutes need to look deeper at what is it they want from delivering courses online?

If a teacher-controlled environment in needed then LMS is the way to go. On the other hand a learner-centred, engaging and truly preparing a students for what the future may throw at them is needed then handing the power to students is important. The power to reflect, critic their won work and at the same time that of the peers, to collaborate and to start a never ending journey that of Life long learning then a platform that is not institutionally controlled, is readily accessible and reliable is needed.

Youtube seek-peek at Google Wave:

Shorter version (10 mins only - highlights)

The revolution begins: EDUPUNK!!!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

How the LMS market stacks up.


Amazed to see that Bb still has a huge hold on the market. I am sure things will take a turn in a few years time as Open Source establishes itself further.