As I mentioned in my Telecollaborative project CityQuest2008, my students would be able to share pictures of historic sites and community landmarks with students from other countries, via an e-newsletter provided by the project’s coordinator. I found a great user-generated site, that seems to have almost the same “flavor”– My Great World.com.

Users can click on a world map to be zoomed in on that location, and then peruse .jpg files taken at that location.  It seems to have more of a personal touch thatn the satellite images from GooglEarth.  I think this would be great in Social Studies to  allow students to actually get “on the ground” in locations far from home.  One problem is that this is a Beta site, which means it’s still getting up and running.  the site itself is very professionally done–but some of the regions are lacking in photos. Fror instance, I browsed throught the Middle East countries (6th grade second quarter curriculum) gallery and Iraq, as well as Saudi Arabia had no photos as of yet.

I did find a few pics in the China region (included). North America, predictably, had several from many regions. Just a matter of time, though, with the viral nature of Web 2.0 applications–once word gets out, as I’m helping to do right now (and I’ll be uploading a few pics myself to show some support) it can be the next thing. Think “CountryBook”, or “MyCountry”.  🙂

Here is a look at the “I Have A Dream” wordle that is “embedded” in the post below. If you couldn’t view the Jing, you didn’t hear me mention that you can change the font, colors, vertical/horizontal orientation, eliminate certain languages (under “language” menu), just in the case you have an aversion to Hindi, Czech, or Dutch words and phrases.

I jinged a wordle

This is a uploaded Jing Project video of how to create a Wordle–the cool interactive mashup web 2.0 technology I mentioned in the post just prior to this. It recorded well, and uploaded well–but I still haven’t viewed it, as my computer strains when it loads.

Please push >PLAY>, and leave a comment if it runs for you, I would appreciate it. I will upload a screen capture of the Wordle that I Jinged, just in case you can’t get the “Jingcast” to play.

I Wordled Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream ” speech, which will be 45 years old in just 18 days, if you can believe that! Check it out above^.

Wordle.net

This site provides a really neat way for users to sift through text and either acquire a different perspective or reinforce the view they already had. It kind of reminds me of “refrigerator magnet” poetry, but with the ability to enlarge/shrink the font size of a particular word depending on its appearance in the text. A few dozen exotically named font colors are available as well. The site calls what it creates “word clouds”, which is a pretty apt description. Another neat thing about this site is that one doesn’t necessary have to type in specific text. Type in the URL for a blog, blog feed or any other webpage that has aan Atom or RSS feed (I’m still working on this one myself) and Wordle will process it as well.

I was curious what George W. Bush’s State of the Union speech from January 28, 2003 would look like after the Wordle treatment. President Bush’s speech was over 5400 words, but 16 words resonate today as loudly as they did that winter night–

“The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”

I put the entire text of the speech into Wordle.net, and the result is below. I also added a picture to show color, and font.
I fel that this would be a great discussion tool in every class. Social studies students could paste in parts of speechs, primary source documents, etc. Perhaps they could type in the URL of several websites as an experiment in Critical information Literacy to see what types of “word clouds” are generated. These clouds could be printed out, and students could compare them side by side. After analyzing the clouds, students could provide a written response on their findings.
I believe that Wordle would be an invaluable tool for stimulating minds and discussions in reading classes as well. Students could scan in a chapter from their reading and predict which words, ideas would have the the most prominence and why.
In a classroom, a Wordle from each chapter of a book could be posted on a bulletin board, with varying fonts, and hues, as a type of colorful, tumbling, poetic timeline.
From textbooks–might be neat to try biology–, to novels, to Shakespeare, I think they should all be fair game for the Wordle treatment.

Technorati.com

This is not necessarily a Web 2.0 application, but I thought it was interesting, so it gets posted. I’d read an article about a classroom teacher who had a program that showed where in the world the readers of his class blog lived. His students kept track of where most of their fans were. This had me wondering, “how would people from around the world find a particular blog out of the 100 million+ that are in the ‘blogosphere?’ ”

With a quick trip to Google–0.18 seconds to retrieve 10,700,000 links, to be exact–I found that there are specific blog search engines. I tried the first one,blogsearchengine.com , but it had no idea who I was.

As I was beginning to think that I may have to register my blog, I took a shot at the next one on the list,

technorati.com

This search engine knew me, knew my work, and had abstract of several of my posts–pretty cool!

However, two things I noticed:

1. It didn’t list my latest posts–perhaps it only updates once a day.

2. The search returned four videos “about ordovensky” that I’m pretty sure that

I don’t appear in–but I did not view them.

Blabberize.com It’s Free 2.0

I was at the MICCA conference for 2 days in Baltimore this spring and tried to soak up as much Web 2.0 as could. It is amazing how much is out there! I recently was going through my notes and handouts and was reminded about this site–blabberize.com–which allows for user-generated content. The very cool thing here is that the user can upload any picture, (preferably a human, but animals and inanimate objects will work) and create an audio monologue that the picture will recite. The neat thing is that the mouth of the picture will open and close in time with the words being spoken. A reading teacher could have his/her students draw a picture of Holden Caulfield in his red hunting cap and then create and record an appropriate soliloquy. A science teacher might have students research a prominent scientist, or give voice to the components of a cell. In social studies I’m looking at any number of historical figures/places/events for students to work with. What would the Nile River say? The Three Gorges Dam? Hammurabi, Gandhi, Mandela, the Sphinx, Mohammed? I have an example using Al Gore that I’m tweaking.

I will upload/edit into this post shortly.

Here’s the link to Al Gore–he refused to be embedded!:-)”

blabberize.com

Credits: Presidential candidate photos are from Official U.S Senate website
Mona Lisa is from “file not found” gallery 🙂

Gettin’ ‘Jingy’ Wit it..

jingy

Yeah, go ahead, sing along…you know you want to… 🙂

The Jing Project is an amazing tool for several reasons but the two that come quickly to mind are:

1. The Jing application allows one to capture all activity on his/her computer screen as well as make an audio recording of exactly what he/she is doing on the screen. This invaluable tool permits teachers to provide directions for students who “don’t get it” the first time–allowing them to help themselves– as he/she is personally assisting other students. The videos can also be uploaded to blogs, websites, etc. so that if a student wants/needs to refer back to it while at home, no problem! Also Jing allows parents to see the actual step by step instructions so that they can play a part at home, as well. As a parent, I think it would be awesome to be able to view a video from a teacher showing and telling exactly what is required.

Oh yeah, reason number 2…

It’s FREE!

In fact, to quote Jing’s website (Jingproject.com)”…It is TechSmith’s intent to always have a free version of Jing available…”

Awesome!

The <3 of the matter

I found this article online while doing research. It’s from the Christian Science Monitor (5/13/08) by a fellow named Justin Reich. Also, he refers to plugged-in youth as “screenagers” 🙂 –wish I’d thought of that!

Here’s a poignant quote from the article, emphasis mine:

“Our student bloggers and digital writers of all backgrounds are part of a journaling culture which America has not seen since the great age of diarists during the Transcendental movement, when Thoreau and Emerson recorded their daily lives for eventual public consumption.

Failure to harness that potential energy would prove a terrible misstep at this junction in American education

. As educators, we face two choices. We can scorn youth for their emoticons (☺), condemn their abbreviations (Th. Jefferson would have disapproved), and lament the time students spend writing in ways adults do not understand. Or,

we can embrace the writing that students do every day

, help them learn to use their social networking tools to create learning networks, and ultimately show them how the best elements of their informal communication can lead them to success in their formal writing…”
Read the full article: http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0513/p09s02-coop.html