Saturday, January 30, 2010

Thing 6 - Ning is Cool, man...Crazy Cool

I dig Ning. Ning is a cool cat. Ning also sounds cool. I appreciate how it's a one syllable word - easy to pronounce.

I had never heard about Ning before doing "23 Things", but after looking through the site I can see a huge potential for it. It's the next step in the evolution of the social network. Five years ago MySpace was hip. Now only the australopithecine types use it. Facebook is the trendy thing now, but soon it will follow the steps of homo habilis - extinct. Whereas I won't get a facebook account, I will definitely sign up for a Ning account after more research. There's so much Ning has to offer. Ning connects people with similar interests and allows you to put up a site of your own which could be something that you are passionate about, a hobbie, something you want to sell, buy, etc. I can see a class creating it where they can put up projects or if there is a certain cause the class is working on it can use it to connect with other people in the world. Such as if a class is working on Neanderthals (a worthy subject), it can create a site, upload videos, blogs, info and have people from all over communicating with each other.

Ning is something I am going to really look into. I need to step away now and absorb it all. There are so many possibilities that my smaller brain is pounding hard against my sagittal crest.

Thing 5 - A Linked Network

It seems like LinkedIn has been around forever. People usually come upon a LinkedIn account by accident. Maybe, hypothetically, they have googled someone from their past. They want to see a picture and all the pertinent information, but the only thing that pops up is some LinkedIn account. And there never seems to be any worthwhile information - "So and So is in the Buisiness field". La dee da. How is someone with multiple restraining orders supposed to get information from LinkedIn? Hypothetically speaking, of course.

But going over the training activity gave me a new insight to LinkedIn. I do see it as a valuable resource. It's not just something that lists one's profession. I see it now as a networking tool with many positive advantages. You can actually build a business network and make contacts with people in your field and people that share the same interests. I did a group search for science teachers and joined NSTA which has great articles, ideas and contacts. Interestingly the very first article listed was about students with computers lead to higher performance.

So now I know I will be on LinkedIn much more - searching for information that will help me with my career, education, teaching and interests and finding people from my past. Hypothetically.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Thing 3 & Thing 4 - Thinking about Blogging

Reading through the assigned blogs I notice a few contrasts with standard writing that really stand out to me.
1. The voices of the authors really come out. You can really "hear" who the authors are and what their personalities are.
2. The passion is really evident. They seem to really care about what they are writing about. This makes sense as why would someone spend time on their own personal blog unless they had to.
In reading .
3. Standard writing rules and etiquette are bent some. The authors don't need to follow a typical 3-paragraph format or grammar rules. They can be much less formal in their writing - a more casual approach that is acceptable and maybe even accepted.

Blog reading is quick and fast. It's meant to be. The writing is succinct and easy to read. It's supposed to be. It's written on the fly and read on the fly. As noted before, when writing the blog the emotions of the author come pouring out and thus it's more like talking. So reading is more like listening.

Commenting and reading comments on blogs is what makes blogging meaningful and interactive. It makes the post more meaningful when people are reading the authors thoughts. It also will cause the author to be more passionate and thorough in their presentation because they know many people of many different views are reading and will be commenting. It's not like writing for just one teacher or for a group of like minded people that you might find in a journal. Comments give the author and reader feedback. As I read comments I get important perspectives to the blog. It lets me know that there are people out there with differing or similar positions. The comments help me understand and see new things.

All of these things I have written on are really evident on On Dy/Dan's blog about assigning homework. I can hear Dan's voice and his passion come out. His writing is easy to read and it is though I am in his classroom listening to it. And obviously it is a hot topic because there are 240 comments on the subject. The comments helped me solidify and clarify my opinion on the subject matter, but also helped me see new points on the topic.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Thing 2 - What do I look forward to in "23 Things"?

As I peruse the list of 23 things, I must admit it brings a smile to my face. I look forward to everything on the list. Even things I know about already such as YouTube, I am figuring that I will learn much more from the tutorials than I already know. So I am looking forward to learning about all the 23 things on this list, even if I learn only one little thing or at the very least if something I have already learned is reinforced, I will consider it a success. I also look forward to being able to go at my own pace and am eagerly awaiting the next "thing" to work on!

Thing 1 - Why 23 Things?

One might think the sole reason to do this 23 things activity is to get my required tech hours in. Or to win that cool prize of a USB/MP3 player. But I feel learning this technology becomes more important than doing something because I have to or getting something for it. The world of technology is moving at breakneck speed and we all need to be on board not so we're at the cutting edge, but so that we can just keep up.

As a teacher, it is important to not only be able to keep up with our students but also to be able to incorporate all of these new technologies in our education system. Students are always connected, the world is now connected so we need to be as well.

I look forward to learning these new ways of connecting as I go through "23 Things".