Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Random thoughts on the way to #IETC

It's that time of year again. There's a chill in the air (ok its's downright cold), the trees are bare and it's time to learn about new and exciting technologies and how they can be incorporated into an educational setting. I always look forward to seeing people that I haven't talked to other than over the internet. Sometimes the converations that happen during the "after hours" conference are even more powerful. Talking on Facebook and Twitter is all well and good, but it can never replace, those in depth discussions. I've already heard a few people in my PLN lamenting the end of IETC before it's even begun. People are asking how we keep the conversations going after we all go our separate ways. And I'm not sure I have the answers either. There are number of ways we can continue the conversations. Perhaps the best example is the most recent online global conference presented by Steve Hardigan and Lucy Gray ( forgive me if I mispelled their names - I will check and correct later if necessary). But as gre at as some of the sessions I have been able to catch a part of, it's still watching someone present. It's a conversation starter and a way to get some Professional Development; however, it's not a conversation. And neither was of designed to be. I think what way need are those conversations. I have yet to attend a state #Edcamp, hopefully, I will have that opportunity in the near future. It looked that based on the updates coming out of #EdcampKC that a derful time was had by all. And perhaps these more informal grassroots conferences are the wave of the future. But whatever the tool, I think the key will be consistency. It may be that we need to have these types of sessions on a regular basis (maybe, dare I say it, once a month). Otherwise, I think we are just reviving our engines, squealing our tires and going no where fast. I'd love your ideas about this. Please do post a comment with your opinions and ideas. My fingers are growing tired of typing on the EVO and still 118 miles to Springfield.

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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Is Anybody Out There? Am I?

I recently discovered the pretty amazing Web 2.0 Twitter tool This application will pull information from a user's feed, a list or a search for a specific hashtag and put all the links and videos together in the form of a daily newspaper.  You  no longer have to click on every link to see if it's meaningful, instead much like with an RSS feed that material comes to you.  Great concept.

I created the EdTech Early Edition using this resource and am able to keep up on my favorite subject rather easily.  Not to mention, it's getting me a LOT of mentions on Twitter because people who are quoted in the daily feed are thanking me for including them (Interestingly, is doing all the work - but shhhh, don't tell anyone).  Well, one of the articles in the November 8th, 2010 edition led me to a blog post by Jamie Forest entitled Digital Tiptoeing Along which raises the idea of an online web presence.

In the article she explains she is a student of Dean Shareski's, who had asked them to search for themselves on Google, Spezify (a relatively new visual/semantic search engine) and Persona MIT (I can't really figure out what it is) presumably to raise the issue of whether you have an identity on the web [A.K.A, a web presence].  Interestingly she only found herself once among the 3 searches and I sensed she was a bit disappointed from her statement: "I now know that my employer, my parents, my students and their parents and others cannot find anything about me that puts into question my standing as a positive role model in my community. However, neither can they find anything about me to reinforce this either."

I decided I should take the challenge as well.  Seeing as I am always signing up for new Web 2.0 utilities I figured my name would appear at the top of the list.  Instead, I found that two sites were ahead of my blog.  Why is that?  Well, a lot of it has to do with Search Engine Optimization (SEO) which is way too broad a topic to to tap into here. If you're interested in the process you can find some great information in the Seomoz Guide  One of the most important aspects of a web search has to do with backlinks (or how many times your referenced and linked to by other sites).  The two sites that were ahead of my blog when searching for my name had 30,346 and 21,199 other sites linking back to there page respectively. had 275. Ouch! I probably have no hope of ever reaching the top of a search engine with stats like that.  So that raises the question, if a blog falls on he Internet does anyone hear it?

And, I think the answer is yes.  Because, as I explained on the comment I left on Jennifer's blog (note how many backlinks I've given her so far), the websites Dean suggested using, don't truly lend themselves to finding people.  Instead sites like, and (and 23 others that can be found here) can be much more effective for finding someone online.  As EdTech specialists, we don't necessarily have the resources to shoot our blogs to the top of the search engine list.  But that doesn't mean our thoughts are any less important than those who do. 

Remember, authority on the web, is a little different than the way we have traditionally looked at it.  It's no longer about how much information you have in your field or even if you are a well respected member of an organization or educational institution.  On the web, it's all about how many people are linking back to you in a global popularity contest!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Unspecified Potential Security Risk

A spreadsheet was recently shared within the Google Apps for Education at my district. Seemed simple enough, set up a Google Site that would point to a specific file for each school. Everything seemed fine until an "Unspecified Potential Security Risk" reared it's ugly head within Internet Explorer for every user trying to access the file. After doing some research, we tried making sure the registry key HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Internet =Settings\Zones\1\180D was set to it's default of 0. It was. A little more thought led us to lowering the security settings, which also did not fix the problem. I then decided to open the file directly from Google Docs and sure enough there was no error. I copied out the link and changed on the above mentioned sites page and sure enough the problem was solved. So what was the difference in the links? The one that did not work was simply http: the solution was to change it to the more secure https: ! Sometimes its the simple things!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

You Can Lead Someone to Knowledge

This year I have been trying to get teacher's at two satellite "special education/alternative resource" schools to understand the value of a PLN (Personal Learning Network) and suggested at the beginning of the year that we set up a Ning so they could communicate with peers throughout the District, with the hope of expanding it to a GLN (Global Learning Network).  I simply asked that they come up with the name and that I would set up the site and get the ball rolling.  By January, I had 2 suggestions. [Insert sad face here].  Following the fallout of the Ning restructuring, I began investigating alternatives, namely Grouply and

I sent out another request for names and with a little poking and proding, I got some great suggestions.  We set up an online poll and the name chosen was Agents of Change! Brilliant!  Well the group has been set up for a few weeks now and the first day or two people were active.  Since last Friday...nothing [insert another sad face] .

Certainly I can continue to add content and continue to encourage the growth of this site, but I don't want it to be about me and my opinions.  So, here is my plea to my own PLN and anyone reading this post for this matter: "If you are interested in helping grow a new online community whose focus is based primarily on Technology Use in Speacial Education, come join us and help me demonstrate what it means to be part of a personal learning network at "  I can lead these teachers to a knowledge based PLN, but I can't demonstrate it's power without some interactivity.  So even if you are involved in "mainstream" ed tech, please come and join us. 

The world is a better place with you in it!

Climbing off my soapbox now....

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Transitioning from Tyro to Techhead

This week I am proud and honored to have a guest blogger at Zenodotus!  Feel free to pause the Chris Lehmann video in the next post, so you can dedicate your full attention to Heather Mason's well written content below. Without futher delay: 

When I signed up for this blog trade, I was very excited. I imagined that I would connect with another teacher struggling to make tech work in the regular classroom. Instead I got someone who actually knows what they are talking about. What could I possibly add to this conversation?

I can only add what I know. The connected classroom and the use of technology to help learning is not only for those that have knowledge and money. There are ways to incorporate it into all lessons at all levels. Technology isn’t the purpose of teaching, but it is a fantastic tool for getting kids involved in the learning. If you are just starting out, here is my advice to you. If you are a master and trying to get others on board, here is the advice that got me to start rethinking tech…maybe it will help you help others.

Start Small: One of my mistakes when I started to rethink how I worked with students was that I wanted to do everything with every class. Not easy when you don’t really know what you’re doing. Choose one class that you know will do the work and start with them. Next time add another, then another. You work the bugs out of your lessons, learn what students need to be taught (they aren’t as tech savvy as you would think), and figure out the ins and outs of the tool your using.

Pick something that works with what you already do. Rome wasn’t built in a day. Neither was a truly integrated, inquiry based, super tech classroom. Pick a lesson you think you do well then find a way to tweak it using a tool you’ve learned. You’ll find your teaching will gradually start to change.

Look for tools that change how students interact with information or each other. Power point is a great example of what not to do. If you lecture, putting your lecture points on a Power Point doesn’t really change what you are doing or how students receive the information. But if you use on online chat tool in a class discussion, you change how the kids are talking about the lesson. By using digital bookmarking, you change how kids collect information.

Don’t miss the point. Tech use isn’t the point. What you are trying to teach, what kids should be able to do is the point. If you see a tool that is really, really cool and you are dying to try it, don’t create a lesson just for it. Save it until the right lesson comes along. Glogster is a fantastic tool for helping kids create multi-media web pages showing their research. However, much of what I teach asks students to create longer, more thoughtful pieces if writing and this tool doesn’t help with that. So I don’t use it. I do, however, use sites like Edmodo where I can facilitate a class discussion where all students talk, not just those with their hands up.

Explore To start, here are some sites I use…

Edmodo – Great for providing a safe chat room and link sharing for kids of all ages

Wallwisher- A sticky note page where students can add knowledge as they learn it. (Get some ideas here).

Glogster- I know I said I didn’t use it, but it is really cool and you might like it.

Twiducate – Another chat tool. Easy to set up, easy to use.

Delicious – Changes how teachers direct student research or reading as well has how students keep track of what they find.

And if you want to know more about me, visit my blog, Teacher in Transition, or find me on Twitter (hrmason).

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Chris Lehmann at the #140Conf

I'm not going to say anything other than every person in the world should see this (I'm sure I won't be able to resist a comentary eventually, but I want to digest it for a few days first):

P.S. Sorry for the video starting as soon as you open the site, I haven't figured out how to "hack" Ippio's code to disable the autoplay.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Ning News Rocks the EdTech Community

The Edtech world was hit with what appears to amount to a magnitude 9 quake today with the announcement that Ning will be eliminating it's free service and laying off 40% of it's staff.  Thanks to Lucy Gray (@elemenous) for providing my personal aftershock!  When I read her tweet I nearly fell out of my chair!

In case you have been under a rock for the past few years, Ning has been the answer to Facebook in the educational sector.  It enabled the average user to build a "safe" online community for free and with very little effort; a walled garden, if you will. Every conference I attended this year was abuzz about the possibilities that these DIY social networks provided.  Classrooms could finally break down the walls that bind them and enlightening conversations could continue after the last bell rang. It appears that those days are over, at least when it comes to Ning.

There are alternatives and I'll get to those in just a bit.  But before I do, I need to share some things that I am still digesting as the dust settles over the news. 

First of all, I am extremely proud to be a member of the edtech community.  We rallied today after the initial shock of loosing our free resource.  There were some awesome conversations happening on Twitter, my favorite Personal Learning Network (PLN) tool.  More importantly, panic did not set in as it did during the Wild Wordle Rumpus.  Instead we came together and started discussing alternatives. Way to go!

Second, this reaffirmed a belief I have had for some time.  Web 2.0 utilities are not about the tool; rather, they are about the skillset that we learn while using them.  Will the alternatives I propose in a few moments be Ning?  No.  Will you already have the knowledge to create a new online community using a different tool? Yes!  The web is full of possibilities and alternatives!

Next, I want to thank @budtheteacher for having the courage to state the following on Twitter: "Sometimes, I think teachers have a bit too strong of an inappropriate sense of entitlement. That's not so good." (click the link if you don't believe what you just read).  A lot of us were thinking this, but didn't have the conviction to state it.  Now, don't get me wrong. I LOVE a good free tool and I have the utmost respect for educators worldwide.  However, we sometimes become so invested in our find that we put the blinders on.  As I mentioned in previous posts a lot of exciting tools are available in Beta testing.  But let's face it, money makes the world go round.  Let's keep things in perspective.  When a new food product is released, you may be lucky enough to get a free sample or two at your local grocery store, but expect to pay full boat the next time you want a taste.  Am I wrong?  That being said, I think Ning saw dollar signs and chopped off their nose to spite their face.  A number of sites will allow Beta testers to be grandfathered in at no cost or at a reduced rate.   Hopefully, this will be exactly what happens when Ning realizes the value of the communities and the content that have already been built and added to the free structure. 

Ning truly blindsided their users with this announcement and there is very little chance of finding a way to take the content created somewhere else.  That's what makes this situation unique.  With tools like Wordle or Twitter there are ways to create an escape plan.  Not so with an online community full of valuable content.  Ning has us over a barrel on this one.  From what I understand there is a petition being created to save these sites.  If that fails, I hope that members of sites like Classroom 2.0 (currently with 41,649 members) will be willing to pay a nominal fee for the upkeep of this community - I know I would!

Before I climb completely off my soapbox, there is one other thing that has been bothering me today (and this will likely loose me some followers and ignite the comments!) This also points to the sentiment of @budtheteacher's comment.  Society as a whole has no idea how to do research in cyberspace.  Seriously folks, how hard is it to type "Alternatives to Ning" or "Building free private online communities" into Google, before running around screaming that the sky is falling!

With that off my chest let's get to the heart of the matter.  What are some alternatives to Ning?

Under no circumstances do I endorse any of the following sites.  These are merely suggestions that you may want to investigate.

Let's start with Flux.  This is the closest thing I have found to Ning.  Unfortunately, it is supported by advertising,  I am not sure if they have a way to turn this off for educational sites.  Designing the layout for the page is fairly intuitive and can include discussions, videos, photos, and blogs.  While it has a great deal of administrative settings, I have yet to see a way to "lock the gate" so only invited members can join.

Offering number 2 is Groupsite.  I have some experience with Groupsite back when it was known as  It was a wonderful way to quickly build an online community and people who joined my site really seemed to like the sense of community.  Groupsite does allow you to wall your garden, but is paid for by advertising - unless you opt for one of the paid plans.  "This site is a private meeting place that provides members with a shared calendar, discussion forums, member profiles, photo gallery, file storage and more. We encourage you to upload your photo, complete your profile and participate!"  There are number of configurable settings regarding how members can interact.  However, the add-ins are fairly limited.

Jinity appears to be more of a forum than a social networking site.  It is VERY slow and not very "pretty."  While it does allow for blogging and some other basic social network functions, it just feels "clunky".  Additionally, there does not appear to make the site private.  I'd personally shy away from this one.

Let's travel "across the pond" and look at Mixx.  Another site that comes close to our old friend Ning.  You can lock down the community which allows for Blogs, Videos, Forums, Images, Groups, Wikis, Events, Files, Content Management and News.  The most difficult thing about setting up this site is the language barrier.  Sometimes the controls appear in Geman or Dutch which can be interesting.  But it is an interesting alternative.

Simply because I'm running out of steam for the evening.  The last site I want to suggest is Wetpaint.  We have been using this successfully at my district for some time.  While it is more a Wiki than an online community, it does serve the purpose of an online content management service.  Users can work collaboratively to create an end project.  There are a number of modules that can be added to make your site as customized as you like.  You can definitely choose who has control to join and make changes with Wetpaint.  In my opinion, a wiki is much more powerful than a Ning anyway!

Earlier I discovered SocialGo for the first time. It's amazing what you find when you are looking for it!  This site is impressive!  With paid and free options (each appear to be ad free), the ability to keep out unwanted users and a myriad of administrative tools this site is among the most promising of Ning alternatives.  Beyond the base features there is a widget and theme store.  Certainly worth a look.

Incidentally, as I have been writing this post over the past two hours, I have signed up for a new account at each of these sites.  Just to be able to refresh my memory and do a quick feature review.  If it's that easy to sign up and get started, any of the options have possibilities.

If you are still looking for more options take a look at "34 More Ways to Build Your Own Social Network" by TechCrunch.  Or even a Google Doc put together in the heat of the moment by scrambling EdTechGeeks that I discovered via Twitter user @courosa

Finally, if you have any experience with programming there is a surefire way to never loose your social network again and that is to build your own.  The Vivalogo list of the Top 40 Free Downloadable Open Source Social Networking Softwares will give you a great head start on creating a site that you have complete control over.  A number of these sites will provide server side hosting so that you do not have to maintain a dedicated server at you school or district. Of the 40 listed sites, my personal favorite is PHPizabi.  I had some wonderful experiences with this tool a few years back and am certain that it has improved since then.

No matter what option you choose, don't be afraid to continue to communicate and collaborate online.  The internet is growing and changing rapidly.  be proud that you are willing to be a digital pioneer and don't get discouraged when your favorite tool changes.  Remember you have the skill set to work with alternatives!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Ever have one of those days?

I've been reflecting a lot on my life recently.  I've done a lot in my short time on this ever evolving rapidly spinning planet.  Yet, as fast as the world is turning sometimes my brain does not want to keep up.  Last year I had an idea.  O.K., I had lot's of ideas:  Podcasting from my car, live reviews of web resources on and a little project I called Digital Decompression where professionals in education and technology could come and discuss the weeks events, share findings or just vent. 

I have revisited the idea of a Podcast from the car and have decided, I don't like the end result.  Because I have to concentrate on driving, trying to piece together my thoughts just didn't work well and I'd end up with a mismash of information that I would spend the majority of my Friday evening editing down to a 30 - 40 minute podcast. Not to mention I was putting too much pressure on myself to get an episode a week done.  While they turned out "OK", (hear for yourself at the idea just never got into "overdrive" - oh that was just bad. Besides, it appears that one of my esteemed colleagues Kevin Honeycutt had a similar idea with "Driving Questions in Education" but it seems he also realized that recording a podcast on the run may not be such a good idea and it turned into an exciting forum for interviewing leaders in ed-tech! Way to go Kevin, I've enjoyed these! We'll see what happens, I may still occasionally record a podcast at 55 mph, but it won't be weekly. will soon be making a triumphant return (perhaps as early as this weekend).  I have a passion for finding ways to incorporate cloud technology into educational settings and that's what Webtopia is all about.

And finally there's Digital Decompression, the true point of this post.  Digital Decompression was an idea I had that would allow Ed Geeks from around the world to get together and discuss their latest failures, findings, and trumphs.  After all, these are the components that make us who we are.  I found that the debate rooms provided for free at  provide an opportunity for up to 6 individuals to be featured using a webcam and up to 1000 participants to join the chat.  I spent months advertising and hosting the event, but only had one successful session that included all of 5 people.  Most of the time, I sat by myself in the session, waiting for someone to join me.  Of course this was before Twitter allowed me to build my incredibly strong PLN full of people willing to share ideas and hold discussions online.  I'm hoping that I can cajole the likes of @jenwagner, @stevekatz, @kevinhoneycutt, @Luke1946, @vanishingpoint, @ijohnpederson, etc...into joining me in Digital Decompression. Like the way I name dropped there?! :-) 

More to come on this in the future! Hopefully the Digital Decompression will return next week!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

The Wild Wordle Rumpus

Something I've been meaning to post about, also happened this past Saturday night. While the whole @Biodome10 fiasco was going down there was a simultaneous meltdown occuring within my PLN on Twitter. 

Apparently, for a brief moment in time Wordle disappeared.  If you are unfamiliar with Wordle, you can take any written content and Wordle will create a "pretty tag cloud" of your words.  This is absolutely a fantastic tool and I don't mean to lessen it's importance to visual literacy in any way, shape or form. 
That being said, I am glad that Jonathan Feinberg after having "received an email concerning a perceived trademark infringement on the part of the Wordle web site. In the spirit of 'better safe than sorry', ... took the site down..."  The reason I'm glad this happened (this may upset some people - but hear me out) is simply because it showed us that the wonderful world of Web 2.0 is an ever evolving universe.  Sites can suddenly go supernova and just as quickly vanish.  Too often we in education and technology latch onto a new tool and claim it's the greatest thing since sliced bread.  It is always important to hold onto just a bit of skepticism.  Fortunately, my PLN suddenly rose above the fray and immediately started sharing alternatives to Wordle:
  • Clusty Cloud Creator
  • ABCya
  • Tagul
  • and my personal favorite Wordsift from Stanford University (That not only builds a cloud but performs searches from the cloud, creates a visual thesaurus and a host of other information based on the cloud)
Bravo, PLN you proved that you are not Lemmings and that you can adjust and adapt after loosing your right arm! After the shock set in -  the feelers went out and in minutes educators were building tag clouds again.  We're they as pretty? Maybe not.  Were they as powerful? Absolutely!

Another example happened to me a few months ago as I was trying to convince someone to move their bookmarks online and start storing them in a delicious account.  Well guess what? Delicious is still free and is still owned by Yahoo, but now you have to have a free Yahoo account to sign up!  A small price to pay in my humble opinion for such a powerful tool, but for some it isn't worth the hassle.  OK, alternatives? Diigo, Clipmarks, Ma.gnolia and Stumbleupon are just a few.

My point is this: We all like free.  But nothing in life is truly free.  So many of these great Web 2.0 and now Web 3.0 apps are in Beta testing. By definition Beta means volatility! The cloud is the new Wild West of the World Wide Web and people will want to make a profit. They may come up with an amazing new application, invite you to Beta test it and suddenly six months later they go Alpha and that great utility is suddenly costing you $50 a year to use.

But if your smart (which I'm sure you are), you will learn the skills needed to use the tools.  This way you can quickly jump ship and immediately begin using the alternative free tools that just went Beta!  So, the price you pay to stay ahead of the curve is a little bit of knowledge.  Not a bad trade off!

This post may be edited later, since I am going on a few hours sleep and do indeed feel I am rambling at the moment.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Hideous Display of Abusing Social Networking

Normally, the posts that I write here at are all about Education and Technology.  Occasionally I diverge from this and hop up on my soapbox.  This post will start out that way and make it's way full circle (or not).  You see, I'm angry.

Last night I was at a neighbor's house for his daughter's birthday party.  While everyone else was watching Olympic coverage, I decided to check my Blackberry to see what my PLN (Personal Learning Network) was talking about on Twitter.  I happened to notice one RT (re-tweet) in particular that sent chills through my body:  (I will be using screenshots and hyperlinks them at this point to illustrate and prove that this really happened - pay particular attention to the time stamps)
My friend @jswiatek sent out the following post::

I wrote Jerry back and said if this is not a hoax, it really shows how powerful a tool Twitter can be.  You see, for the past few months I have been presenting at Educational Technology Conferences about the power of Twitter.  At the same time of course, I was hoping that no one was truly in this situation, but just in case I Re-Tweeted it as well:

At this point I started feeling helpless.  Who do I contact to get help to that address?  The host of the party suggested CNN and I thought that was a good idea, but I wanted to be sure before contacting a major news network.  So I excused myself and walked back to my house to do some research.  On the way I sent the following messages:

Once I was in front of a computer, it was time to research.  The first thing I did was look at @biodome10's profile:

As I am reading, the posts don't look good and the situation looks grim.  So now to find out more about @biodome10. Does he live in Chile? What is he doing there? The tweets a few hours earlier seemed pretty normal. So, I did a Google search for @biodome10 and the word hoax.  Imagine my surprise, when I came across the headline "Tweet Cheat: Fake Reporter Sparks Controversy"  (click the link to read the article) regarding a controversy @biodome10 was involved in reporting Chris Henry's death before it happened.  
Basically the report stated "At around 5 p.m., on an account with Fraley's name, photograph, and a link to the DMN Web site, Twitter user @BioDome10 released a series of tweets that claimed that Henry died. At the time, Henry was battling for his life at a North Carolina hospital, and wouldn't die for another 12 hours."'
OK, so what is going on here? Gerry Fraley is a reporter for the Dallas Morning News? Let's see what he looks like.  Time for another Google search, this time for Gerry Fraley video which turned up this link. Yup, sure looks like @biodome10 's avatar and more and more like a hoax.  But, what if he was on vacation or visiting a daughter he claimed to be trapped with.  At this point it was time to get off the web and make a personal contact.  I looked up the Dallas Morning News and found their contact number as 214-977-8222 and called.  Meanwhile, I also sent this tweet to keep my Twitter friend @jswiatek informed of what I am finding (of course by including @biodome10 whoever this is will see it as well): 

A few minutes later, I'm on the phone with the receptionist at DMN, I ask for some information on Gerry Fraley and get patched though to another department.  I explain the situation to this individual and ask if Mr. Fraley is on assignment in Chile, who after a brief pause connects me to the sports department.  The sports department seems a bit shocked that one of their reporters is buried under the rubble in Chile and assure me that he is safe and sound.  I explain that I was just a concerned citizen and expressed that someone should look into Mr. Fraley's conduct.  The person I was speaking with rather quickly came to the conclusion that the account must have been hacked (funny, since the reports I was reading all said it was an impostor).  At any rate, I asked that they look into it and if this did turn out to be some kind of sick joke suggested that he be brought up on some kind of disciplinary actions.  I was again assured that "Frails" would never do such a thing.  Before I hung up the phone, I noticed that during the time I was being shuffled around DMN @biodome10 was miraculously rescued approximately 1 minute after I called him out! I let the gentleman from DMN know he was indeed safe and sound right after I called his bluff and hung up the phone:

Now, what can be learned from this?  Certainly, don't believe everything you read on Twitter or anywhere on the web for that matter.  As far as @biodome10 is concerned you are a very sick individual.  Whether you are an imposter pretending to be Mr. Fraley, a hacker who decided this would be a good joke or it is indeed Gerry Fraley, you have a very serious problem and should be brought up on some form of charges.  What if authorities had responded to that address and others died as they were wasting time?

Second, I am certainly not sure what to believe.  It was indeed a hoax (just not sure who perpetrated it), because although @biodome10 continued for a few hours to play off that he had been rescued in Chile, his most recent tweets only a few hours later are back to being sports related:

Next, I believe I just proved what it means to be a responsible Digital Citizen.  Before believing everything that appears on your browser or cell phone, do your homework.  As you can see from start to finish it only took about an hour to expose this hoax.  Meanwhile, all of @biodome10s followers are freaking out thinking he's buried and dying.  A search on now shows that the hoax has been exposed for what it is, but last night was a different story.  Hopefully, this is the educational lesson that you can share with your students.

Climbing down off my soapbox now!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Too Much on the Brain

Until a member of the Generation XYZ crowd invents a cloning machine, we will all likely continue to have too many pokers in the fire.  In my case, it includes the following list of things I need to do just this weekend:
  • Blog a review of FETC (now that I have finally decompressed) - you will find that review on this blog hopefully by Sunday evening
  • Write a blog post about the staggering research regarding how much time kids today are "plugged in".
  • Write a blog post about staying motivated and inspired.  One of the teacher's I follow on Twitter has been having difficulty with this and I have some ideas on the matter.
  • Contact a number of presenters at FETC who asked me for more information about specific websites and utilities.  Including, Airset ( a desktop in the cloud), Sceenr (a Twitter API that allows you to perform screencaptures and download them as an MP4 file - unlike Jing) and Microsoft Tag (an app that allows you to link traditional media to digital )
  • Offload Dr. Disk's Drive Time from my Blackberry, perform post-production and upload it to Podomatic (it's already a week late)
  • Work on a presentation for my districts new implementation of Google Apps
  • Start brainstorming ideas for next years conferences (those calls for presenters will start sooner than you think) - some of my general ideas include using cell phones as a classroom tool, dealing with "disruptive technology", how current culture inspires the tech of the future, digital citizenship and maybe something on walled gardens
  •  I have to make a Best Buy run to get some cables and return some items
  • Clean my home studio so I can start producing again (my weekly live broadcast covering some exciting new web 2.0 app)
  • Backup and synch my ITunes library to an external drive
  • Continue to work on the book I've been inspired to write
  • Somehow find time to sleep and have a little fun
Whatever happened to weekends?

We'll I got the stuff in green completed. Only a third of what I wanted to accomplish, but at least it's something.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Another New Project

So, the new year is upon us and resolutions abound.  A lot of folks have started working on a 365 project that can be found at: which "aims to collect photos documenting 1 year of your life. We want to build a picture of the little day to day things that make your life so special and unique. Everyone can take part and join in! All you need is a camera."  Since I didn't find out about it until after it had already started for 2k10, I decided it was time to rekindle a project I actually started last year.  Basically, it's a podcast created from the seat of my car and recorded to my blackberry using a hands free microphone.  The sound quality isn't great but if your interested it can be found at: It is a work in progress and the first episode wasn't great (in fact I think I suggested that Y2K ended on January 31st, silly me - but give me somewhat of a break I was driving at the time!).  I expect it will continue to improve ove the course of the year!  Any suggestions would certainly be appreciated, do give a listen and let me know what you think.
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