Tag Archives: del.icio.us

Top 5 Technologies You Should Already Be Using

apple cassette tape

You don't miss these, do you?

I realize that in the world of technology there are early and late adopters.  I’m not the earliest of bleeding-edge early adopters, but I do like to try out new technology and incorporate it into my teaching.  This list is a handful of tried and true technologies that are established enough to not be too buggy and problematic, user-friendly enough that just about anyone can start using them quickly, and useful enough that you’ll soon wonder how you got along without them.  In short, this is a list of tech that just about everyone can (and maybe even should) be using in 2010.

1. Social Bookmarking – Don’t let the “social” part fool you.  Delicious, Diigo and others offer a way to move your bookmarks to the cloud, meaning they are no longer saved only on one computer.  You can also: tag bookmarks with keywords to make them more searchable, get a URL to all the bookmarks tagged with the same term (for example, all of the sites I bookmarked for my presentation at the recent DMSW conference: http://delicious.com/eslchill/dmsw10), and search other people’s bookmarks to find out what people think is worth bookmarking on a given topic  (for example search for “ESL” on Delicious and you can see how many people have bookmarked each ESL site).  But wait, there’s more!  Diigo allows you to highlight and comment on webpages and then share them.  For example, take a look at my About Me page with some highlighting and sticky notes.  This can be a great tool for collaborating and compiling research.

2. Social media – Ok, here’s where the social part kicks in because Facebook and Twitter are just for fun, right?  Well, I’ve found a lot of great resources via Twitter (try a search for #iwb if you want to find resources people are posting for use with Interactive Whiteboards, for example.) And more and more people are joining Facebook making it a great resource for networking with colleagues.  Don’t want to expose your students to Facebook?  You can build your own social network using Ning!

3. URL Shorteners – These may not be necessary, but they are very handy.  Copy your long URL (the Google Map directions to your house, for example) and paste it into Tiny URL, Tr.im or a handful of others.  They give you a much shorter link that is easier to Tweet.  Not on Twitter?  They can still be useful.  Consider the website for the Unconference I’m planning for this May.  Is it easier to share tr.im/eltu2 or https://carmenwiki.osu.edu/display/eltu/?  Both take you to the same place, but I can memorized the first one.  This technology is so handy, it’s even built in to other sites, like the link provided by Diigo to my annotated About Me page that I shared in #1: http://www.diigo.com/09je0.

4. Wikipedia – Although it has become popular (but not necessary) to question it’s accuracy, Wikipedia has become the defacto knowledge bank on the internet.  Once we are clear on what it is (a secondary source: a compilation of all referenced knowledge) many of its criticisms fall down.  Access to all of this information means a reorganization of learning.  Memorizing becomes virtually unnecessary while the ability to find and retrieve relevant information becomes essential.  More importantly, at least with factual questions, we no longer have to sit and wonder anymore.  What are the lyrics to Carmen Ohio? Just get on the internet and find out!

5. Google – No, I don’t just mean search, but all the other stuff: maps, docs, calendar, etc.  It’s never been so easy to collaborate with other people.  I created a Google Maps / YouTube mashup (student created videos from around Ohio State mapped to where they were recorded) a couple of years ago, back when it involved coding every individual coordinate for every pin placed on the map as well as the contents of every bubble that popped up.  But now, just create your account and you can drag and drop most of the information where you need it — even invite people to work on the same map.  Plus, you can get a sneak peak at what the next big thing might be by checking out Google Labs.  Who wouldn’t like a pair of Google Goggles?

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Locative Media And Other Mashups

These are the slides from a presentation I made this morning at the Digital Media in a Social World Conference.  More examples, including some that were generated during the presentation, can be found in the links I tagged using Diigo and Delicious.

I’ve tried to gather as many examples of digital mashups (see Wikipedia definition #2) that, in many cases, use maps or other visual means to represent different sets of data.  Do you have a favorite example that I didn’t include?  Leave it in a comment.  I’d love to see more!

To learn more about the conference, check out the #DMSW hashtag on Twitter.

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Highlight the Web

Dont use these on your screen.

Don't use these on the internet.

I’ve recently started using Diigo to manage my bookmarks online.  It’s a lot like Delicious, which I’ve blogged about before, but has more features.  Both sites are cloud-based applications that allow you to manage your bookmarks online instead of in the browser of one computer.  So, instead of bookmarking something at the office and then not having it at home, or vice versa, bookmarks are saved to one central location.  And when I add bookmarks to Diigo, they are automatically added to Delicious, which means neither list becomes out of date.

The way I discovered Diigo was because of one of the features I like: highlighting.  Using Diigo, you can highlight sections of a web document and then forward a link to that page with the highlights (and even comments!) included.  For example, I could share this blog post.  This can be particularly useful with ESL students.  A long article may be intimidating, but a couple of paragraphs might be more manageable.

A simpler approach is a site called citebite.com.  You don’t sign up for an account, but instead copy and paste a URL and the section of text you want highlighted.  The site then gives you a URL for the result.  I could highlight this paragraph in this blog post, for example.  Comments are not available, and only one passage can be highlighted, but Citebite is a good, simple solution.

Awesomehighlighter.com falls somewhere in the middle of the other two applications.  When you enter a URL, you see the page and can then click on text you want highlighted.  Comments, in the form of sticky notes are also available.  Awesome Highlighter then provides a URL to your result page.  So, for example, I could add notes and highlighted passages to this blog post.  Unfortunately, Awurl.com, which Awesome Highlighter uses to provide URLs to the results pages, is blocked on the Ohio State network because it is a proxy / anonymizer.  Even though this is a localized problem, you might want to check that it won’t be blocked where you are before using this tool extensively.

The comment feature in applications like Adobe Acrobat, Microsoft Word, or other document editors has been used to facilitate collaboration between multiple authors and editors for a while now.  As we move closer and closer to the promises made by cloud computing, more and more of these tools are migrating to web-based applications that are becoming easier and easier to use.

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Del.icio.us links

The ubiquitous del.icio.us icon.

The ubiquitous del.icio.us icon.

I discovered Del.icio.us a while ago (back when http://del.icio.us was a clever URL — before it became delicious.com,) and maybe you did too.  Recently, I’ve found it more and more useful.

Del.icio.us is a social bookmarking tool.  Instead of storing your bookmarks in your browser, you save them to this website.  Simple enough.  The first advantage (and the reason I first moved my bookmarks to del.icio.us) is that everything becomes centralized.  I used to bookmark things at home that I needed at work and vice versa.  No longer.

Also, if you use the Firefox browser, you can get the del.icio.us add-on which adds buttons to your browser for one-touch bookmarking.  Click the tag button and bookmark a webpage, add tags to help you find your bookmark, and share it or keep it private, your choice.  Sharing bookmarks brings up a third advantage of this service: vetted links!

Do a search for a topic on del.icio.us and you can see how many people have bookmarked each search result.  Sure, this can be ‘gamed‘ just like Google searches have been.  But, when Google is just taking me to spam, I find del.icio.us searches can be surprisingly helpful.  If a couple of hundred people have bookmarked it, it’s probably worth checking out.

Finally, there is the untapped potential of del.icio.us.  At least, it’s untapped by me.  Linkrolls can be created (for a blog like this one, say) so that links are automatically updated and sorted by del.icio.us.  I could list my latest links, links I’ve tagged with ‘esltech’ or ‘blog’ etc.  Very interesting oppotunity of which I have yet to avail myself.  But, at least you have something to look forward to if you keep reading.

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