Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Day 2--Lots of Work in Several Topics and Second Life

We started off discussing RSS, with a great assist from Joel (check back later for video!), who shared his enthusiasm for his new RSS aggregator of choice, Netvibes, then moved on to Google Alerts for email notifications keyed to topics. We went to FlipVideo pretty quickly, discussing the amazing little device and its uses in the classroom, from showing students their presentations or performances immediately after their work (via a television connected directly to the device) to uploading simply via the usb connected to the device (using the software installed on the device, not your computer) and editing quickly with the software's built-in editing software) and then doing further editing using the free Windows Movie Maker software. The movies in this previous post (click the pic above to view this movie clip) was done with that software between 7:45 and 8:40 or so this very morning, taken with a FlipVideo aimed at my laptop screen for much of the time and slapped together with explanatory slides in Movie Maker.

Our participants had a great deal of reflective time today, reflected (sorry for the pun) in the wiki. We are quickly populating the wiki with information that will be useful for teachers everywhere. While the teachers worked this morning I chatted with my San Antonian friend Jeremy Koester about Second Life (and First Life:) over Skype, ran a test call for my friend Elaine Shuck in South Dakota, played a portion of Ian Jukes's NECC 2007 presentation podcast and a portion of Maureen Yoder's presentation at the same conference, and answered questions from clearly fired-up, enthusiastic new Web 2.0 users. Check back here for more--I'm already wishing we had two weeks instead of just one! Maybe next year we do one week at the beginning of the summer and another at the end: That would be an interesting exercise.

After lunch we dove (dived?) headfirst into blogs and blogging. We looked at my own stable of blogs, and I shared that my own first blog was created during my trip to Japan in 2002. Since then, Blogger has evolved. As recently as just a few weeks ago, improvements enabling the addition of widgets to the navigation bar have made the experience of creating and maintaining a blog even more intuitive. A big difference between the first iteration of the Internet and Web 2.0 is that in order to create a webpage one used to have to have at least a working knowledge of html coding: Now, it's as easy as reading the computer screen and typing and clicking.

The introduction of Second Life to the assembled teachers went south pretty fast. A few amongst us were just plain confused by the whole notion of a MUVE. The driving question we will pursue, formulated by this first experience with avatars and virtual spaces, will be "What's the point?" We closed the day by viewing Josh Levy's "machinima" series of videos "Social Change in Second Life." Hopefully that may set the tone for our visit with my Second Life educator friend Jeremy Koester early tomorrow morning. Jeremy's the creator of the Second Life Google Group, "Gaming and Learning in Second Life," and he's working hard to develop the group toward benefitting teaching and learning. Let's see how, tomorrow. After Jeremy's visit, we'll be exploring professional (and avocational) discussion groups, along with an in-depth look at the "Discussion" feature of wikis. Then we'll choose from several alternative focii for the afternoon. I'm suggesting Skype, My Space, and a more thorough look at templates and widgets for blogs. We'll have the learner's needs driving that bus in the afternoon, now that they are becoming more defined.

View the wiki by clicking on its name in the navbar to the right. It's groooooooooowing!

I encourage you to comment on this blog if you find any of it useful, enlightening, or encouraging for your own work!

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