If you missed Steve Dembo‘s (aka Teach 42) Discovery Education webinar, Something for Nothing: The Best of Web 2.0, then you might not know you no longer need to use your telephone to connect to a DiscoveryWebEx presentation. Nothing beats hearing Dembo direct, but if you missed the streaming–or you want to revisit a packed hour of great new tools–you can check out the Discovery Webinar Archives. If you are new to the Discovery Educator Network, you really want to explore the wealth of resources available to you when become a STAR Discovery Educator, because the DEN takes social networking to the next level. Now would be the perfect time to pitch a plug for tomorrow’s history-in-the-making Virtual Conference National Event, ground-breaking with local break out sessions at 30 different sites. It’s not too late to register. Thank you, Tracy Standhart, for a great blog. (I borrowed your image.)
Steve’s list of cool tools began with 6 photo-related sites. Want to capture your stories and save them permanently? Then you want OurStoryWidget, created by Word Press, the weblog platform Discovery uses. OurStory lets you save stories, photos, and videos on a collaborative timeline. And that notion–collaboration–was a theme running throughout most of what Steve shared, an indicator of how embedded social networking has become in our lives.
When Steve mentioned the K12 Online Conference, I connected, because I used a segment on social networking by Jeff Utecht in my Digital English class. K12 Online made a big splash when it premiered, but has since lost some of its buzz. You really might want to revisit this site, because it hold a wealth of 21st century learning we can all use in our classrooms.
Kerpoff is a great early childhood tool that takes digital storytelling into a different kind of venue. But don’t let the elementary school look-and-feel fool you; it’s just a great tool with lots of built-in elasticity for mindful yet playful super-doodling, helping kids to connect online and create together. For the children in your lives, or the child in you, this easy web 2.0 site will engage and delight!
We all know Flickr and most of us probably use it for photo sharing, but according to Steve, there are 3 new tools that will make Flickr your first choice for managing your photo world, if it isn’t already. Uploading and organizing was always easy because you could +Add Notes, but now you can edit your photos as well. Flickr’s edit defaults to Picnik, one of Steve’s earlier blog best-of-the-week sites. What’s great about Picnik: edit in a click, no registration, education friendly (not blocked in most schools), adjusts red eye and colors. Got to love Picnik, which you can, of course, use independently of Flickr.
If Steve loves FlauntR, that’s good enough for me. When he says, “incredibly robust,” he wasn’t kidding. How about it integrates with facebook, Picasa, flickr, myspace, orkut, hi5, Windows Live Spaces, Word Press, Live Journal, Blogger, and iGoogle. Not enough reasons to love FlauntR yet? It can make images for mobile devices. Or your best ever Valentine’s Day card. This one’s just got to be my new favorite tool.
By invitation only (email Steve, but after tomorrow), you can browse collaboratively with others inside your own Photophlow room. Interesting way to browse photos, however, because if you are online within your room (account), you see everyone else’s photo uploads. Despite a short browse through this site, it is definitely the most interesting social browsing I’ve seen yet. Definitely a network, because acceptance to the site, for now, is a very private by invitation only. Can you imagine the possibilities for collaborative learning with the CFF Mac laptops. We just had our one day Apple Out-of-the-Box training, and I can’t remember which application had the option to share your photos over your wireless network, but Photophlow and Mac should be a great combination.
The next 2 websites are not Web 2.0 tools, but neat. The World Clock has an almost unlimited number of uses in any discipline. You have to check out the website, and if you are a math teacher who said you could not integrate technology into your classroom, here’s the easiest and best place to start, and the tool is user-friendly. You’ll want to bookmark the website, because googling world clock will likely not get you to this one easily.
Steve’s taught us to teach our students about their new permanent record. We get to see the updated version at PETE&C, where Steve is Tuesday’s Keynote Speaker. So I think about my digital footprint, but now we can think about our eco footprint at the same time using Blackle, which is Google gone black. Same search engine, just black. Why? Because it’s environmentally friendly. Google is a white screen, and white uses the most wattage; black uses the least. If your eyes can tolerate the black screen and you life Firefox, there’s a Brackle plug-in waiting for you to install. At the moment that I accessed Blackle, 438,890.943 Watt hours had been saved.
Back to Web 2.0. Poll Everywhere. Just like it sounds. Free for 100 votes; after that, it’s a purchase, but the site is considering offering educators a package deal, making it your new best poll tool, and economically friendly as well. What makes this poll fun and different: online polling, text messaging polling, embedded into a website, PowerPoint; download results as a spreadsheet or RSS feed. I wish I knew about Poll Everywhere two weeks ago when I made my mid-term for my digital English class. Yet another bona fide educational opportunity to legitimize cell phones in the classroom. And a better polling tool, by far.
‘Tis the conference season, so a timely reminder from Steve about David Warlick‘s hitchhikr, the virtual way to hitchhike onto a conference and blogs connected to it. Hitchhikr for PETE&C: right here. Back to Steve’s kindergarten teacher roots for his next pick: Kindersay. Is there a better way to learn to read? You see the word (or letter), image, and you hear a person say it. There’s a word bank of 300-400 and growing, but this site is hard to beat for first-level language as students learn to read and write, collaboratively.
Not just another social network chat, Twitter is a solid educational tool, or can be. Steve’s Twitter group is a collection of educators almost without exception. Or they are technology integrators, or both. The learning that happens inside this group is off the charts. Steve said that he sent a twitter feed yesterday, asking his group if they could list their favorite Web 2.0 tools. That’s how he found World Clock and now we all have it. The value of this kind of collaborative learning: priceless.
Zamzar is one of my favorites. I use it so frequently that I cannot imagine life without it. A great converter, it is fast, free, educationally friendly. It converts almost anything to anything else you want it to be. The list is endless, so for one stop conversions, this is my pick as well. The last item, like Zamzar, is a converter. ConvertTube will allow you to convert online video like YouTube to more popular formats like wmv, mov, mp4,mp3, 3gp. If you haven’t joined us for a Discovery webinar, you really should, because Discovery Education always brings you cutting edge technology, before the edge is cut.