This is getting tougher, being ‘technology minded’. I spent 4 days at the National Educational Computing Conference in Atlanta and another week at a Discovery Educators Network conference. I feel like small child on Halloween evening being given free reign over Willy Wonka’s factory! I am trying to survive my own diabetic technology coma! Today’s blog isn’t just about blogging in the classroom, but these online tools may well influence your classroom technology experience and, in return, provide your blogging experience with some seeds for growth.

Edublogs.org They just had a major update and changed much of their home page. It shouldn’t effect any of the blog use, but has enhanced some of their posting tools. For instance, posting videos is now much easier using their updated tools. It is still based on the WordPress engine, but they have added some nice tools for educators.

PBWiki.com I am a huge fan of these guys. If you haven’t delved into wikis yet, it’s okay. Think of blogs as your two-way communication tool and wikis as your collaborative communication and document creation tool. PBWiki is a very nice wiki because it is visually easy on the eyes, pretty simple to start using, and FREE. Contact your local tech guru for more on wikis, or, visit wikipedia.com for a huge active wiki.

Twitter.com This summer’s new guilty pleasure. I’ve known about Twitter for some time but have effectively avoided it. It is basically a website that asks, “What are you doing?” You follow other people’s Tweets and they follow yours. Previously, I saw it as a time-wasting site for me to tell everyone that I was washing the dog… because you cared. 😉 Now, I follow people who write, “After washing the dog, I found this great educational technology site…” Lots of sharing.

IM Clients Yeah, instant messaging is old. But it is also in almost every communication device. Cell phones, Skype, Yahoo, Google, and various other websites and applications all allow you to text message or instant message people. It wasn’t unusual to meet people this summer who have three or more IM accounts. So finding a good IM client, or computer application that follows all of your IM account from one place, is becoming a more important tool. Clinging to my Mac world, Adium has been good for keeping track of multiple accounts and many people.

Flickr.com Really, any online photo-sharing tool at this point, but Flickr is very popular because of it’s sharing tools. Why share photos when there are so many already out on the internet? Consider the private photo collection a teacher has about the 1970’s energy crisis. Elementary could use photos the teacher put in there in their own media presentations. Older students could use images in an assessment and place them on a GoogleEarth map to show subject recall. High school students could go take photos that showed understanding and upload them to the class Flickr for group projects. Cross-country comparative photo projects would be amazingly easy. And the great thing is that most of these sharing services are still free.

So, talking with family has become more entertaining. “Yeah, I know she has a collection of blogs on her wiki because she twittered it.” They look at me and just shake their heads. However, my payback comes from my 7yr old who announced this morning, “I went through a hole to go buy a doodle with my jellybeans.” I’m now exploring ToonTown.com to make sure I stay in his loop of influence, but I’m still considering getting him an 8-track player for Christmas.

Advertisements