Thursday, June 26, 2008

TechCrunch

I wanted to take a moment to tell you about an exciting website I found recently: Techcrunch.com

This is not an education site; rather, it is a newsfeed that is tuned in to the future of the internet. To quote their site directly, they are a "weblog dedicated to obsessively profiling and reviewing new Internet products and companies. In addition to covering new companies, we profile existing companies that are making an impact (commercial and/or cultural) on the new web space."

O.K., so you may be asking, "what's so great about that?" The nice thing about this site is it's clean design and layout. You can read an article without having to dig through mounds of advertising. Also, their coverage of internet companies (particularly to those dedicated to the Web 2.0 phenominon) are in depth and yet concise. You could literally spend days browsing their Company Index. I feel like a shameless promoter at this point so I'll let you decide for yourself.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Education 2.0

I've recently discovered a website that I hope will thrive and flurish. Edu20.org is a brilliant site and while the concept is not new (it is reminicent of Blackboard and Edline), it is FREE!

Edu20.org allows anyone to develop an online classroom for anytime anywhere learning.

In the example below you can see that immediately upon creating a class, the "teacher" is given multiple pages with which to work. Including resources, lessons, a calendar, a gradebook, a forum, a chat, a wiki, and the list just goes on.






In a future episode of Dr. Disk at Work, I will be setting up a "Classroom" that I will be integrating with Certification Central (one of my many projects). This wll be a guided tour through the entire process. Please check back to see when the episode will be scheduled.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

TeacherTube

By now (unless you've been on a deserted island without your laptop and mobile broadband card), you've heard of YouTube. The media uses it for news stories, bands are using it to promote themselves and students are using it for projects. YouTube is a wonderful resource to find video for just about any topic. But, because anyone anywhere in the world can post to YouTube, you have to know how to search through the "garbage" to find the treasures.

Let's use one of the most horrifying days in US history as an example and pretend we are a teacher about to discuss the tragedy with or students.

Performing a search on YouTube for 9/11. Pulls up the following Titles (along with 176,000 other "related" videos):
9/11 Coincidences (Part One)
Never before seen Video of WTC 9/11 attack
9/11 Budweiser Tribute
Fahrenheit 9/11 Trailer
Walmart Intercom: 9/11 Truth

While this is great, it certainly does not have much educational value. Additionally, there is no way to perform due research diligance to prove the sources validity. Also, some of the comments made about the vidoes contain harsh language and strong opinions. While this can certainly spark discussion, many teacher's would simply shy away from using the technology because of the added inconveniences.

So, what is our teacher to do in this situation? There is a terrific resource called TeacherTube.com. It is a resource for teachers and students to share video in a "safe" environment. Teachers can post and find videos here that are of pure educational value. Using our search of 9/11 on TeacherTube provides the following videos:

4th of July American History and 911
911
A Nation Under Attack
Hope in Time of Fear Part 1 of 3
September 11th 2001

While there are only 18 video in total on this topic, TeacherTube.com provides a good resource for quick access to educational content on the subject of your choosing.
Each video also provides a brief synopsis of the content. For example the sidebar for September 11th 2001 reads:

Tags // 911 wtc september 11 world trade centers twin towers
Channels // Career and Technology Education (CATE)
Added: 2008-03-04 by rpey120
Runtime: 03:42 Views: 1237 Comments: 0

The Channels tab provdes teachers with a quick link to their subject and grade level. It also is a great place to showcase your student videos without exposing their identities to the world! You can set up private groups and allow your students to post and see each other's work without fearing the random negative or vulgar comments that appear on YouTube.

One additional benefit is that you are able to download any video of your choosing and embed them into your website, blog or powerpoint presentations.



So in summary, TeacherTube.com is a growing video community for educators. Does it provide the glitz and glamour of YouTube? Not yet. Will you find the Mentos boys spewing pop all over some field to Beethoven's 5th? Probably not. But if you are looking for a place to gather ideas or brief videos to start a class discussion TeacherTube.com is worth a visit.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Welcome to Zenodotus

Zenodotus was a Greek scholar of grammer. He was a literary critic and an authority on Homer. Zenodotus was also the first Librarian at Alexandria. I could not think of a more fitting Blog title for a journey into technology and education.


Over the life of this Blog, I plan to share revelations I have made along my personal journey through this amazing thing called life. Everyday is a new opportunity for growth and personal discovery.


I hope this site becomes a place you visit to learn about technologic innvovations that are finding their way into the classrooms around the world.


While, I am not a teacher. I do feel connected to the educational system. My parents were both educators. I myself am a credit shy of being certified as a K-9 teacher. But towards the end of my most recent educational journey I found myself becomming more and more of what I like to call an Edu Geek--a person who finds their passion in helping provide the tools necessary to educators trying to find their way in the 21st Century Classroom.


There is a great deal of discussion about the digital divide and one-to-one computing. Making sure that all students have access to equal technology is certainly vital to the future of our Global culture. Unfortunately, and this is just my humble opinion: "placing technology in the hands of children, does nothing, until the leader's in the classroom have some understanding of the power that it truly provides."


That is my goal for this blog. To help teachers and parents begin to understand how to use technology to enhance and expand the horizons of the lives they most significantly impact.

Please understand that these are just opinions. The wonderful thing about technology is that it affords us many opprtunites to accomplish a similar goal. Just because I may suggest something, don't take my word for it go out and discover your own path! Leave comments and suggestions and help this blog expand to be a resouce in your technical library!

Enjoy
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