Friday, December 18, 2009

Link of the Week #7 - The Gift of Music

I've compiled a playlist of music I'm enjoying right now using the fantastic music streaming site Grooveshark.

Heading into our holiday season, I felt like sharing something slightly less academic.  Of course there are clearly some educational uses for music in the classroom.  Grooveshark makes finding specific songs and playlists simple and allows you build your own mixes from music you discover as well as music from your collection.  They also make sharing playlists and songs easy with Twitter and Facebook integration.

Have a listen and happy holidays.

Direct link:

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The Data Liberation Front

The Data Liberation Front (the Data Liberation Front)

Anyone who has followed me for a while knows that I'm a big Googlehead, but that's not to say that some day I might want to take all my Google hosted content elsewhere.

Enter the DLF - "The Data Liberation Front is an engineering team at Google whose singular goal is to make it easier for users to move their data in and out of Google products."

Hooray for data portability.  After all it's mine.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Link of the Week #6 - Google Dictionary

Google Dictionary No, this one won't save any lives or cause a camp out in front of the Apple store, but Google Dictionary is fast, accurate, and ad free (for now).

Star your favorite words. Translate some French (handy for the father of a French immersion student such as myself). Move on to more interesting and engaging tasks.

Hey, it just works.

Google Chrome Extensions: Blog This! (by Google)

Google Chrome Extensions: Blog This! (by Google)

I'm just having so much fun with Google Chrome's freshly enabled extensions. Extensions have been available for a little while now but required a few too many steps to enable for most folks. To try it out for yourself install the Google Chrome Beta and then click on the extensions link on the bottom of the Chrome tabs homepage (the one with the thumbnail shots of your most frequently visited sites) or click here. I'm using Chome's Blog This extension to make this post.


Update: Here's a screen shot of my favorite extensions so far.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Link of the Week #5 - ipadio

Here's a look at a great new phonecasting, podcasting tool called ipadio.

And here is a direct link to my ipadio page.

Here's the transcript from Spin Vox:

Good afternoon, this is link of the week no. 5 and I am testing out a phonecasting site called ipadio. I set up the account. It wasn't too difficult to do from a website and then set up 2 phones, my work phone and my home phone so that I could call from either of those phones and do an ipadio broadcast. Probably would be easier to use a cell phone if you have one which I don't but I have Dan couple little test, ipadio recordings and they turned out pretty well. I actually just did a recording using Audasity(?) which allowed me to do a little bit of editing unlike the phone call and then uploaded that Audasity(?) filed in an MP3 format to my ipadio account and.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

My Blog Isn't Blocked! ... yet

I could sit and stew over my recent day long district wide professional development workshop - going back and forth - it was a disaster, it was a success - maybe to conclude it was both.  But I'll post this reflection tonight because it can't wait and silence is the antithesis of what I set out to do on Monday.

I wanted to share tools for sharing and help build connections with educators in my county.  I learned quickly that most of the tools for sharing are blocked even for staff (Twitter, Ning, YouTube).   Unfortunately, my participants also share access to computers running Windows 98, staff computers running Deep Freeze to prevent "misuse", and a general lack of technology in the classrooms for students. So my presentation must have sounded like the "Wah Wah Wah" of the teacher from Peanuts to some.   

But I still love sharing, and I heard and saw examples yesterday of great uses of blogging in the classroom, using interactive white boards, Moodle courses and using Google Docs.  I could have focussed my session on any one of these tools and been the soul source of information, but instead small groups formed in the afternoon and I let my participants take charge.  Some shared and some received and as a group we covered more.  Hopefully, the sharing won't be completely broken by blocked access and frustration, and the process will continue.  I also admired the willingness, in spite of frustration, to explore resources like Twitter and Ning while we had access together.   

24 hours later I am responding to e-mails, tweets, and forum posts from some of my participants.  I'm excited to start the real work behind my session, making meaningful connections, sharing commonalities, and looking for answers.  And hopefully there are conversations related to our session happening beyond my network; even if it's grumbling about the fact that I talked about a lot ideas and tools that will never see the light of day in their school.

My thanks to all, and my apologies to those who were disappointed with my presentation style and content.  I welcome your feedback and look forward to keeping the conversation going.

I'd also like to share the link to our etherpad document.  It's messy and unrefined, but I love it's potential.  It's also "read only" for purposes of this blog post, just in case ; )