Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween #edtech

Tonight's post is somewhere between glogster and wallwisher I think.  You see I'm still waiting for my invite to Pinterest.  But from some of the pinboard examples I've seen it looks like a great way to organize and share images  (and I'm hoping other items from the web).  Pinterest allows for comments and some social network aspects as well.  That's all the stream I have for tonight.  Four hours of trick or treating with the kids is enough to scare the feet off anyone.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Fare the Well Retaggr #edtech

As I prepare for a session at IETC in Springfield in a few weeks, I have been checking links to make sure the sites I mention still work.  I was disappointed to see that the social profile site Retaggr will be shutting down at the end of the month.  Hey, that's tomorrow, yikes!
So, I thought I would share an alternative I found to replace it called DandyId.  I haven't had much opportunity to explore what DandyId has to offer, but it does allow you to add a multitude of networks to your online profile. They have a free and a paid model which apparently give you access to more features like analytics.  The free version will serve my purposes for now.  If your looking for a way for people to connect with you across your networks, DandyId may just do the trick!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Yes, I Missed Fun Friday #edtech

Too be honest I collapsed when I got home last night following the insanely busy week I had.  I was going to share one of the Halloween sites @ShellTerrell has been sharing on Twitter called Halloween Horror - Pirate of the Undead Sea.  But then I got to the site and realized it was hosted on the amazing site Digital Play.  All I can say is wow!  Some of the content here is most definitely "edutainment" but most of it is stellar! What is impressive is that they review Educational Games on the blog and take it mega steps farther than I do here at Zenodotus.net.  By giving you suggestions on how to actually integrate these games into your classroom. I wouldn't quite call it a lesson plan but Digital Play categorizes each game nicely by skill level, language location.  Then give you a brief description followed by instructions for preperation, pre-play, play and post play exercises to use the game in question with your students. Digital Play is should be added to your favorite blog reader ASAP so you never miss a beat!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Testing It Out #edtech

I've been hearing a lot of good things about the online quiz builder TestMoz.  I finally got to explore it tonight and it is amazing and more importantly a breeze to use.  No registration required.  Simply go to TestMoz and click create a quiz by giving it a title and a password (this will be needed for administration purposes later).  Give the quiz a description / instructions, add a conclusion comment for the end of the quiz if you like and decise if you want the students to see their score, which answers they got right or wrong and whether to display the correct answer. You can also password protect your test. Then add questions in true/false, multiple choice, multiple response and fill in the blank format marking the correct answer along the way.  Move to the next step of TestMoz which involves clicking a big red publish button.  Save the provided link (it's the only way you'll be able to access it again) and share it and the passcode with the students.  They take the test and get their results.  You then log on as the administrator and can review the results.  TestMoz seems to be a fantastic assessment tool and I have @Chausis and @Fernandezc4  to thank for sharing it with me over the past few days.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Say What? #edtech

More appropriately, text what? Your students text. We all know that.  All we have to do is look at our own cell phone bills to see how often we as adults text.  But, we would never think of texting a student, right?  I'm not sure where I stand on tonight's application and if you are going to try it yourself, make sure it meets with your districts policies.  I'm simply sharing information. I'm fairly certain that ClassParrot would not fly (what a terrible pun) in mine.  Here is a good opportunity for a disclaimer.  I am in no way endorsing this product and if you choose to use it make sure it is with the blessing of your employer.
But, I do understand thought behind ClassParrot, which is designed to tap into a technology that students are already using, in this case texting.  Here's the basics.  You have a computer.  Your students have phones.  Using said computer you sign up for a free ClassParrot account and set up your class.  You then tell the students or parents to text a provided keyword to a number (also provided).  Once everyone is enrolled, you use ClassParrot to send messages to the participants.  You will never see the student or parents cell phone numbers but will be able to keep them up to date on "upcoming exams, send homework and reminder events" They also have a poll feature that could turn your students phones into response clickers. 
Again, I get it.  And, I think it's an interesting idea for communicationg very general information.  I could see this being used as an alternate form of communication between school and parent.  School closings, reminders about events, schedule changes, etc... But couldn't you accomplish most of the same thing with Twitter?
I'm truly interested in your opinions.  Would you ever consider using ClassParrot? Drop a comment and again I am not endorsing ClassParrot, so don't blame me if you use it and find yourself in hot water.  If you read my other disclaimer, you already know the views and opinions expressed here in no way reflect the views or opinions of my employeer.  OK, that's enough covering myself for now. :-)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Making YouTube Matter #edtech

How much time do you have in the day? I know mine consists of 24 and I need to reboot somehow.  And I don't have time to watch all the great content that is on YouTube.  Yes, I said that can you believe it?  A few years ago you would have heard me saying that YouTube was nothing but silly cat videos or teenagers acting silly. But the truth is there is a lot of great content on YouTube.  That I don't have time to watch.  But I do have time to listen.  In my car, on the golf course, going for a walk, at a really boring gathering (OK maybe that's pushing it).  TED Talks of many shapes and sizes, 140 conf, keynotes from various events, my favorite vloggers  - I can't take them all with me wherever I go as MP3s.  That's right sound files.  How you ask? Xenra I answer. A few months ago I blogged about Keepvid and it can also convert YouTube videos into MP3 files taht you can then carry on your walkman.  Xenra however, is Keepvid on HGH (Sorry, World Series on the mind).
Xenra goes beyond  Keepvid by allowing you to mix and match formats, change your bitrates and add ID3 v2 Tags to your files making it easy to keep organized.  Not only does it allow for pure MP3 download you can also convert YouTube videos to AVI, FLV, MOV, MP4, 3GP, MPG, MPEG, WAV, WMA and WMV all with the click of a few buttons with Xenra and the file sizes in many formats are generally small leaving you plenty of extra room on your favorite portable device for more.
As always, please adhere to copyright when "borrowing" videos from YouTube and adhere to personal and fair use laws.  Use your tech powers for good! I'm obviously really tires! Goodnight!

Monday, October 24, 2011

A Quinfin of a Tale #edtech

I recently subscribed to audible.com where, for a monthly subscription fee, you can download a wealth of audio books. My problem?  Getting the most bang for my buck!  While you get a short preview of the contents, it's hard to tell if that download is worth the price of admission.  Enter Quinfin, an interesting book suggestion application (not necessarily for audio books).  Presumably, you put in five books you have recently enjoyed and Quinfin appears to build a tag cloud of that list (perhaps via Amazon) and performs a book search for matching tags.  The result should be books you should enjoy reading.  Quinfin is a fairly young application and so mixing golf books with education books tends to return a rather eclectic mix.  But attempting to search for children's books or history books, was a totally different story.  The results were very nice.  If you get no results at all you can make some changes such as "loving" an author, you'll likely get similar authors.  Overall, it's a nice growing application and while I wouldn't normally recommend an application that is not consistent, I think Quinfin has some real promise.  If nothing else it's a great way to build booklists and see what others are reading.  While there does not appear to be a way to "friend" other users, I hope this aspect is coming soon.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

QR Code Game #edtech

At #EdCampChicago, I put together a QR Code challenge and my good friend @Jena_Sherry who came to the camp (and I believe participated in the challenge) shared a great QR Code tool with me tonight.  What I had done was search the internet for questions about QR Codes.  I then generated QR codes linking to a website that had the answer,printed them on posterboard and hung them around the event.  Participants then answered the question on a Google Form and a prize winner was selected from those who got the answers correct. Sound like something you could do with your students?
If your answer was yes, then visit the new QR Treasure Hunt Generator from Classtools.net.  I believe we have covered some of their products here before.  The QR Treasure Hunt Generator makes it super simple to create your own QR Code Challenge.  Simply fill out a form and this tool does the rest of the work for you.  They generate the codes which will ask your students questions they need to answer when they scan them with a QR Code reader. Turn the students loose and have them search for the codes you've printed and hung around your school or classroom.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

OCR Convert #edtech

Have you ever needed to edit data in a file that is not easily editable?  Maybe it's a locked PDF or jpeg? What you need is Optical Character Recognition software or OCR.  As little as 5 years ago this technology was expensive and did not work extremely well.  Now there are free online tools like OCR Convert that can help you access that data.  Simply select a PDF, GIF, BMP, JPEG and OCR Convert will analyze the content and produce a .txt file that you can edit in your favorite word processir. While it does not do a perfect job of extracting data into editable text, it is relatively quick and it's free.  What more could you ask for?

Friday, October 21, 2011

A Matrix of Learning #edtech

OK, it's a stretch, but with a name like neoK12 I had to go there.  This site is amazing for learners of all ages.  Going beyond the games and puzzles most sites like this offer neoK12 has a selection of "interactives" and quizes.  Many of these have prinatble versions in case you don't have access to the computers or the internet at work.  If that's not enough, neoK12 has a nicely organized repository of videos that are safe for students.  While many seem to be from YouTube they play in a format free of comments and related videos (one of my personal pet peeves).  You can tag these videos as to which grade levels for which they are appropriate.
What I really like though is the mashup neoK12 offers allowing students to create school presentations.  Students can select images from Flickr by category that are Creative Commons licensed, easily add them to slides, read about the topic on Wikipedia in an embedded article and then write about each slide on their own.  The final product is either saved to their account and/or published to the web.  Each photo gives proper attribution via Flickr.  It's not Sliderocket with all the bells and whistles but it doesn't need to be.  neoK12 offers young students the opportunity to begin creating content in a safe environment. Bravo!

I'm Just Mad About Sciffron #edtech

Yes, Sciffron.  And I think you will be too!  Sciffron is aclean online no frills writing tool where you can publish under a pen name.  Are your students not allowed to publish to the web using their real names, but you want them to get the experience of publishing to the internet?  Sciffron may just be for you! Here you can choose your own pseudonym or publish under your own name.  Anything you publish to Sciffron becomes instantly copyrighted (as is anything you write publicly on the web).  While others cannot add comments to your posts.  They can subscribe (via RSS) to them and translate them.  Making for excellent ESL assignments.  Sciffron is a simple Web 2.0 tool among all the flash and glamour of the web and somehow that's comforting!

The Dreaded Triple Post #edtech

So glad it's Friday! What I'm not to thrilled about is that life has gotten so incredibly busy!  In order to catch up i need to write three posts this evening.  First, I want to share twylah and thank my Twitter friend @sharon007 who is consistently sharing amazing tools that I never have time to look at!  Twylah may just change that however!  This Twitter aggregation tool seems to serve two purposes.  First, Twylah seems to work a lot like paper.li in the sense that it collects the links that you share and organizes them by category for a reading audience to be able to keep up with all the finds you share during the day.  Second, it seems to act a a social bookmarking tool for your own reference.  I say seem because I am still waiting for my account seeing as Twylah is in private Beta.  Two things I'm hoping to find once I'm in?  A way to subscribe to others posts and a way to search other my own and others pages.  Normally, I don't post on an untested tool.  But if it comes from sharon007, I feel comfortable recommending it.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

What's the Difference #edtech

When it come to the digital difference, the DigiDif tool from Altec  is impressive.  I was recently introduced to this storyboard tool by one of the participants in the PBL4PD project we started at the schools I support this year.  First, I must admit that they went out and found DigiDif  on their own.  Second, the tool itself while simple is powerful.  You can create multiple scenes and add the setting, lighting, actors, camera shots, audio notes and transitions by simply clicking.  There is also a sketchpad to draw out your story scenes.
Unfortunately, a double post is al I have in me tonight.  Hopefully, I'll catch up with another double post tomorrow.  Goodnight!

I'm late #edtech

OK, it's late.  Three days late.  But I had been prepping heavily for my first ICE Webinar, which I think went well.  I've had a lot of positive feedback already!  But it's time to get back to the business at hand.  My 365 project.  While I don't have the energy for a triple post tonight, I wanted to tell you about a fantastic tool I recently found called Curate.us.  Quite simply, Curate.us is a clipping tool that allows you to take snapshots of a website and embed or share it on social networks.   You can even add  a sticky note to it, which I find to be a nice touch.  Then when you place the image in your blog post or tweet, it automatically has a backlink to the site itself.  Curate.us is a great way to share information and provide attribution.  There are even some analytic tools that you can use.   Curate.us is worth a look, but for now I'm off to sleep!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I'm OK #edtech

You may notice I'm a few days behind on posts. I've been busy preparing for an ICE Webinar called Twitter for Professional Development. I will be caught up in the next day or two so stay tuned!

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Sunday, October 16, 2011

It's Going to Happen #edtech

By the start of the 2012-2013 school year, I plan to have published a book about building Professional Learning Networks in a hyper-connected world.  Incidentally, hyper-connected may just work it's way into the title thanks to @cchausis.  But none of that matters, if it doesn't get done.  Here's the thing.  I'm always thinking and having ideas that I know I should write down; but, I don't always have an easy way to do that.  I've tried writing in Office but I don't always have that file in front of me. I could carry it on a flash drive or use online storage, but that's an extra step.  Sure I could put it in the cloud in a Google Doc but trying to layout a book in Google Docs for me is just "klunky".

So, last night I discovered FastPencil and suddenly my writer's block vanished.  FastPencil allows an author to not only have a working space to write their book.  It also provides you with the services to publish and distribute in hard copy or e-pub.  Many FastPencil's services are free.  The high end services (such as professional copy editing) do have a fee associated with them.  Their is also a social network of  authors and illustrators at FastPencil.  You can connect with them and collaborate on work.  With FastPencil  you can choose if you want others to see your unfinished product or keep it secure until the final edit.  So, if your an aspiring author like myself, i may bump into you at FastPencil  one day soon!

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Mind the Gap! #edtech

If you are at all follow the work of Tim Berner-Lee (the father of the World Wide Web), you are aware that Web 3.0 is going to be all about data.  He has been encouraging everyone to upload any data they posess to the internet.  Data should not be locked away in some private facility, but rather freely available to enhance the research and development of our world.
Gapminder would make Sir Berners-Lee proud!  Founded by "Ola Rosling, Anna Rosling Rönnlund and Hans Rosling" (yes, you have probably seen his TED Talk), Gapminder  has collected global data and made it so the information can be assessed visually.  The project was originally developed to enhance their Trendalyzer project which has since been bought out by Google and I believe was turned into the Google Motion Chart Gadget.  Gapminder continues to keep their statistical tools content current making time series motion graphs freely available through Gapminder World and Gapminder countries.
While you can't add your own data easily, there is enough here for any research project.  Select your primary data from their database and and you will be presented with a motion graph that charts the data over time.  Select a second database for the other access and you have an even more powerful visual.  See this example: www.bit.ly/roCRaC displaying the Literacy rate of males over the age of 15 compared to percent of land area.  There are almost 500 data sets to mix and match at Gapminder!  They also have a teacher section that is full of ideas and resources.  So mind the Gap! And if your all about data visit Gapminder today.

Simple Spanish #edtech

The website Vedoque offers a number of free fun educational games.  But perhaps the one that impressed me the most was the Vocabulary game geared towards Kindergarten or primary school aged children. Why?  because they offer two versions.  One in English and one in Spanish.  Their are four vocabulary categories that focus on fruits, colors shapes and body parts.  If you have an English speaking student you may want to let them get familiar with the Vocabulary game before switching them to the Spanish version Vocabulario.  If you have an ESL learner, you may want to reverse the order.  While it is designed for younger students, I must admit I struggled with some of the basic Spanish vocabulary.  When your done, be sure to look at Vedoque's other offerings including typing games, number games and other offerings.  Fantastic for young children who are learning how to use a computer.  No matter how much we think they know, even digital natives have to start somewhere.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Chill, Here's my Post #edtech

Mystery Science Theater 3000 meet the internet.  Well, not quite.  But Chill is a similar concept.  It is thinking Thursday and I haven't had a ton of time to explore Chill but I think it has real potential. Basically you can create viewing rooms based on a theme and then become a video jockey and watch videos from "YouTube, Ustream, Vimeo and more"  Then there is the social networking aspect.  Build yourself an X-Box type avatar and participate in conversations with others who are watching the same series of videos.  I can see this working nicely in the "flipped classroom" model.  What a great way for a similar audience to be engaged!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Have a Story to Tell? #edtech

The final product in the Creaza Suite is Cartoonist which includes 8 different themes.  Each teme in Cartoonist has it's own set of characters, scenes and props to from which to choose.  You can also upload your own images.  All of the features you can add work based on a drag and drop interface allowing you to place and resize the objects on each canvas.  Add speech bubbles and text as well.  You can create multiple slides to lay out your story.  Cartoonist is great whether you are working on creating the next version of Dilbert or storyboarding a film or podcast!  Again you can only export your final product in the full version.  However, you can save your final work as well as print it out.  So, there is some value to the free tool.  I am hoping to review the full suite in the next few days, if Creaza is still willing to give me an upgrade to look around.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Mind Over Map #edtech

In the interest of full disclosure, before I continue my review of the Creaza suite of products, I think it important to tell you I was contacted by Creaza Education and offered an upgrade to explore the full site.  While I will be happy to accept the offer and provide a more in-depth review.  I think it is important to first analyze what the "free" version has to offer.  After all, the premise of this 365 project has been to review quality tools to which educators have free access.
That being said I am happy to report that the third tool in the suite is the mind mapping tool Mindomo.  I remember using Mindomo when it was a solo product and was very impressed with it.  Now it has been rolled into the Creaza Education suite.  It appears to be more feature rich than many of the mind mapping tools already reviewed on Zenodotus.net.  There seems to be more customization available.  For example, most mind map tools have a way to connect nodes of the map and form relationships between them.   Mindomo provides the option to color the lines and vary the type of connection between nodes.  There are also more shapes and icons available than most tools.  They allow you to add notes, hyperlinks and even multimedia to each node.  The overall flow of Mindomo is very intuitive as well.  If you can use a word processor program, Mindomo should be a breeze.  The feature I like most about Mindomo is their "Task Info" tray.  This is great for creating projects and workflow.  You can prioritize the different nodes of a project and even add an interactive icon that shows the level of completion for each task.  I wish Web 2.0 time management tools had that feature.  The one drawback of the free feature is there is no way I can see to export or print your map.
Tomorrow night we will do a quick review of the final product in the suite which I think will be the highlight of the four products.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Editing Movies with Creaza #edtech

The second piece of the Creaza puzzle is the Movie Editor.  With JayCut having been bought out by RIM and closing registration for new users there is a void in the online video editing options.  While Animoto trys it's best to impersonate such a tool, this movie editor does a nice job.  With multiple layers and a ton of different background effects Movie Editor is almost better than the old Jaycut.  While recording video and audio live on the web via a mic or webcam seems to be locked down in the free version, it appears to be another of those features that comes and goes.  If you are looking for a basic movie editor with a few extra bells and whistles that you don't have to download or install then Movie Editor may just fill the bill.
*Phew, I think I'm finally caught up with double posts.  Hopefully next week is easier.

A Suite Cheat #edtech

OK, I'm going to cheat a bit over the next few days and introduce you to the individual components of a suite of tools you can find at Creza.  I believe Creza Education is a Norwegian company.  And as I mentioned the offer an innovative toolbox of media tools.  They have a paid model as well as a free version that allows you to use the basics of each tool.
Let's start by talking about their audio editor.  While not as powerful as Audacity, it is a multitrack mixing tool that allows you to create your own audio track for videos or podcasts fully online.  No software downloads required!  The offer a number of tracks for you to get started and while I can't seem to get it to work at the moment, give you the ability to upload or record your own sound files.  The Creza Audio Editor a great way to customize audio to meet your needs while making it unique enough to circumvent concerns about copyright.  When you are happy with your masterpiece you can either share it online.  They seem to be in Beta testing and some of the features seem to come and go.  But hopefully the free version continues to evolve because the Creza Audio Editor seems to have some real potential.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Almost Forgot to Post - That Wouldn't Be Wise #edtech

That would mean a triple post tomorrow for the second time in the last week.  So this is going to be a very quick post.  If you are a fan of mind map utilities, you really need to experiment with WiseMapping.  This mind mapping tool is very easy to use and allows you to add links and icons to the branches of your map.  But WiseMapping takes the concept of brainstorming to the next and proper level by allowing for collaboration.  You can tag, share and publish your maps.  WiseMapping is definitely a tool you should explore.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Walking the Plank #edtech

In honor of Columbus Day I went searching for an online tool to teach about the history of Christopher Columbus.  I came across an online game called Walk the Plank and a version specific to Christopher Columbus.  Basically it's a 10 question (from a bank of 20) trivia game in which each correct answer makes your professor get a little closer to having to dive into the ocean.  Normally I wouldn't be to comfortable with the concept;  but, I even found it challenging and it took me 5 tries before I got the professor to Walk the Plank.  It;s a nice review after a unit on Columbus' expeditions.  I'm sure there are other games out there that focus on Columbus and I'd love to hear about them if you choose to leave a comment.  Walk the Plank offers the ability to purchase the programming necessary to generate your own quizes.  Again, I usually would not publish a site with an associated fee.  However, there are a ton of other versions of Walk the Plank freely available from other educators who have already purchased the product and generated their own versions on a variety of topics.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

ExploraTree #edtech

Feeling more than a bit under the weather today.  So this will be a quick post.  Exploratree is based on the idea of thought trees.  Somewhere between flow charts and mind maps Exploratree.  The Exploratree "idea came from observing the process of classroom enquiry". You can use the pre-built trees and customize them or generate your own from scratch.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Spark the Author in You #edtech

As many of you know, I have been trying to author a book this year among the myriad of other projects I have in the blazing bonfire that is my life.  It probably isn't going to happen this year since this 365 project seems to be eating a lot of my time.  But when I do, I may just post early versions of my work to Authonomy. What's nice about Authonomy is it gives aspiring authors a place to post their work and have it reviewed by others on the web.  Feedback is a very important part of the creative process.  This is one I'll let you explore on your own, especially since I'm running out of time.

*note to Authonomy developers - I love what you are doing here and the concept is top notch!  In the future it may be nice if the site worked better with the Chrome browser (scrolling kept locking up in Chrome), some form of Creative Commons licensing would be fantastic and finally the ability to download the books into some form of e-reader application would really be helpful.  I don't usually leave notes within one of my reviews and if you read this I hope you take it as constructive feedback because I really do believe Authonomy has a ton of value to add!

Feed Your Sensei #edtech

I am always on the lookout for quality aggregation tools and I believe I have found one in QSensei.  QSensei is an RSS reader with a twist. You build your real simple syndication the way you would with any RSS tool.  But instead of being a flat RSS feed, QSensei makes the process much more visual, shareable and (here's the best pat) searchable.    Once you have your nicely laid out grid from all your feeds you can sort by date, source, author, tags and more.  You can also click the similar button to get various articles on similar subject matter.  Email, Tweet or Facebook the subject matter so your friends and followers can read it too.  But as I mentioned, the best part of QSensei is the search feature.  The search box at the top will only search and then sort the articles in your feed.  Why is this important?  You choose those feeds because you trust them.  So, it;s a great place to conduct a reliable search to get your research started.  Phew, 13 minutes to get one more post in!

3 Posts in 30 Minutes #edtech

Yup, here comes a triple post.  Sunday got away from me. Last night was the final scramble and banquet for my golf league. So here I am two days behind with a half hour to catch up.

Earlier today an email thread was going around my place of employ for a Google + Huddle like tool.  I threw into the mix the yet untested (at least by me) Spreecast.com and also one of my personal favorites over the years Stickam.com

One that didn't make the list was a hybrid of an interactive whiteboard and Skype called LiveMinutes.  It's interesting because you can have a number of live participants actively sharing online whiteboard space or annotating a document or map and soon sharing videos. While only two participants can share their webcams on LiveMinutes at a time, the host can call anyone to the second video window.  If you want better quality audio and video you can apparently integrate Skype (haven't had enough time to play with this one yet).  As the name suggests, LiveMinutes also takes snapshots of your session and creates minutes of your meeting on the fly.  Definitely one to check out.  OK, 2 more posts in 20 minutes!

Saturday, October 1, 2011

A Trunk Full of Links #edtech

With the unveiling of the new Delicious this week (too mostly negative reviews), I though it important to talk about alternatives.  I just discovered what may end up being the only repository for my saved links in the near future: Trunk.lyTrunk.ly not only allows you to bookmark in the traditional sense but has picked up on a recent trend of link aggregation from social networks.  Much in the same vein as paper.li or Summify which were both covered in previous posts, Trunk.ly will grab any link that you post on your social networks or from your favorite blogs.  At the moment Trunk.ly allows you to aggregate from the big four (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook and Tumblr) as well as from Delicious itself, Quora, WordPress blogs, Posterous, Blogger Blogs, Google Reader, Hacker News and any RSS feed you through at it.

Trunk.ly also allows you to follow your friends links as well.  I'm not sure if these are people who also signed up for Trunk.ly or if they are finding it based on your friend lists at the social network sites.  But whatever the case, Trunk.ly is a great way to keep up on the latest links everyone is sharing!  The best part is that Trunk.ly automatically tags everything, making it real easy to organize your links.  That's more than I had planned to write for this post.  Go explore Trunk.ly yourself.  Seriously.  Why are you still reading this post.  Go check out Trunk.ly!!

Sew What #edtech

OK, I have a secret.  One of my favorite "reality" shows on television is Project Runway. I just love the drama!  But more importantly, I am a sucker for creativity.  And the contestants on that show have plenty of it!  It also makes for great background noise as I work on presentations for the upcoming conference season.
So, I started thinking, why haven't I covered any Family and Consumer Sciences Web 2.0 tools.  The answer?  I had a hard time finding any.

Sure there are a number of sites offering free patterns, recipes and guides.  But no real tools.  I'm going to try and squeeze what I do find into the waning posts of this project.  And I'm going to start with Renttherunway.  OK, so it's not your typically Web 2.0 tool - But it is an interesting concept.  Renttherunway allows you to "rent" clothing from your favorite designers that you otherwise wouldn't be able to afford off the rack.  Want to wear that Vera Wang at your next formal event but don;t want to spend $1500 on clothes that will sit in your closet?  Maybe you rent it from Renttherunway for $125?  Not sure it's going to fit?  They also ship a second size free of charge.  When your event is over and your impression made you simply ship back the clothes/accessories.

So where is the educational component?  Maybe you teach fashion in your Family and Consumer Sciences department.  Sure you can flip through the pages of Vogue, Marie Claire and Seventeen looking at outfits.  But you can't see the detail that goes into the final product.  Maybe you rent a dress from Renttherunway to show your students (just don't tear it apart to make patterns).  Am I stretching it a bit? Maybe. But maybe I also just saved you a few bucks and some closet space  for you or your daughters next formal event!.
I promise more Family and Consumer Sciences Web 2.0 tools are to come

Unfortunately, Renttherunway have yet to add men's fashions to the collection.  I know I can't afford Versace!
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