Tuesday, May 27, 2008

21 Teacher Tube

Most of know about Youtube and some of us love it, but it can be hard to find what you're looking for in the mix of videos of people cat chasing string, the neighbors kid playing t-ball or other less than desirable videos. You know what I'm talking about. Enter Teacher Tube.

Our goal is to provide an online community for sharing instructional
videos. We seek to fill a need for a more educationally focused, safe venue for
teachers, schools, and home learners. It is a site to provide anytime, anywhere
professional development with teachers teaching teachers. As well, it is a site
where teachers can post videos designed for students to view in order to learn a
concept or skill.

A safer place to direct parents, teachers, at home schools, and children for great videos!

Who wants to make the first video for MRRL?

Monday, May 19, 2008

20. Evaluating The Read/Write Web

Now that we are all aware of just how easy it is to publish on the Internet (blogs, Wikipedia edits, YouTube videos, etc.) does this change how we approach information we read on the web? For me, it does! In the past, most "published" works - that is, articles and books - went through an editorial process before they were released to a wide audience. This doesn't mean that they were all perfectly factual with no errors at all, it just means that someone other than the author saw the material and approved it for publishing. Now, a single blog post can reach just as many people as a single article printed in Time, Newsweek or any "peer-reviewed" journal - with no one but the author ever seeing it before publication. How do you ever trust what you read on the Internet then?
Well, in short, you don't. Part of the side-effect of this self-publishing phenomenon is that you are never faced with just one source for any information. Checking facts by comparing what multiple people have to say about a topic is just one way to evaluate information that you find on the Internet. It's not a bad idea to do so when you find information anywhere. There is a reason our teachers asked us to use several sources for those pesky research papers!
You can also do a "reputation check". If the site looks like it is providing the most authoritative information on a subject, check who the author is. Google him/her. See what else they have written, what others have written about them and what their backgrounds are.
Sometimes, you just have to take what you see on the 'net with a grain of salt. Stephen Abrams, of SirsiDynix, posted a press release about the information being spread on YouTube about vaccinations. The results were that almost half of the videos that were studied contained information that contradicts the "best scientific information at large". This means that people who consulted YouTube for medical information (not the best idea in the first place, really...) were not getting the whole picture when it comes to an important medical decision.
So, how do you evaluate information you find on blogs or Wikipedia - knowing that the information is put there by a human who has biases and is not perfect? Below are 2 resources that you can read to help you evaluate blogs and other user- and individual-created content as well as Wikipedia articles.


Monday, May 12, 2008

19. Flickr Revisited

There have been some changes at Flickr since we did our first lesson in LL2.0, so I thought we'd take another look at it.

What's the same: there are still free and pro accounts

Free Account:
  • 100 MB monthly upload limit (5MB per photo)
  • 3 sets
  • Photostream views limited to the 200 most recent images
  • Post any of your photos in up to 10 group pools
  • Only smaller (resized) images accessible (though the originals are saved in case you upgrade later)
Pro Account :
  • Unlimited uploads (10MB per photo)
  • Unlimited storage
  • Unlimited bandwidth
  • Unlimited photosets
  • Archiving of high-resolution original images
  • The ability to replace a photo
  • Post any of your photos in up to 60 group pools
  • Ad-free browsing and sharing

What's new or wasn't covered in our original lesson.

Picnik - you can now edit your photos after you upload them! Just click on the "edit photo" button and you can crop, rotate, remove red eye, resize, sharpen and more. You can save your edits over the old photo or as a new one.

Piknik also has a "create" tab. You can change the look of your photo here using sepia, black and white or even add snow!

Groups - groups are a way for you to share pictures with people with similar interests. You can share your pictures, browse and comment on pictures contributed by other member and participate in discussions.

To find a group that interested you, just click on the "groups" tab on your flickr page and search by keyword. Once you've found a group, join it.

You can then send any of your pictures to that group by clicking on the "send to group" button about your photo. There are some great groups for Libraries out there, do a search, what do you find?

Geotagging or Maps - this feature allows you to place your photos on a map. For a great explaniation see this video.

Privacy settings - remember you control your privacy levels on flickr. You can set privacy on each photo individually, just you, just your friends, just your family, family and friends or everyone.

Videos - Flickr now allows you to upload videos. It's as easy as uploading pictures and allows you to keep your movies and photos in the same place.

Last but not least a video

How can libraries use these tools? MRRL is using Flickr to share it's pictures and put a slideshow on our website. We've always taken pictures of events but now they are available for everyone to see. How else could be use it?

Sunday, May 4, 2008

18. Claim your online ID

With so many different services out there, how do you definitively claim certain social networking sites, blogs or other content as "yours"? This can be especially difficult if you have a common name! There are a couple of different services out there to help you with just this problem. The one that I use is called Claim ID and it is both useful and social! With this site, you can enter in all of the MySpace, Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and blog accounts you have and "claim" them as your own.
Why would you want to do this? It gives you a way to exclude blogs/social sites that may have been made by someone with a name similar to (or the same as) yours - which in some cases may be necessary! Part of protecting your online privacy is protecting your online reputation. It also gives you a starting point to let folks know what it is you have done on the web. With so many of us creating so much content, it is easy to have something you have done or created fall through the cracks. This site will allow you to point people to a single page with all of the cool things you have done so that nothing gets lost.
Claim ID is pretty easy to use. Once you have set up your account, you can add links to it. When you add a link, you are given several options. You can enter the title you want to give to that link, the description that will show up, tags for it as well as classifying it either about you, not about you or some other classification that works for you, then classifying it as by you, not by you (with the option to add the author) or in some other way that works for you. You can create groups - work stuff, personal stuff, any other kind of stuff - that help you to arrange your information the way you want it.
And that is the point of this new sort of service, after all - to give you the opportunity to manage your online identity, reputation and what exactly you want to "claim" for yourself!

One final note - you will see a lot of information on OpenID at the Claim ID website. Even if you don't feel you create all that much content (which you will be surprised once you start trying to add it all in, I bet!), you can use the Claim ID service as an OpenID provider. A nice, only slightly technical, explanation of Open ID is found at openid.net. Take a look and see if it might help you with your expanding username/password combinations!