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Thursday, June 29, 2006

My New Net Discussion Group



I am passionate about educating adults about the New Internet as well as the children I teach on a daily basis. My little hometown of Camilla, Georgia has an incredible new community gathering spot called Camilla Java. Not only do they serve great coffee but they have a huge dance floor upstairs where they teach shag dancing on Friday nights. They have discussion groups that meet and I have started one entitled the "New Net Discussion Group." Our first meeting was today and next one will be on Wednesday, July 19th at noon, if you're around Camilla, join us!

This is targeted to busy adults who want to learn more about these new things on the Internet . We have created a blog http://newnetgroup.blogspot.com and my participants have been invited to contribute.

I blogged the notes about the meeting which include an explanation of RSS and how to set up a Net Vibes account. This is a great place to start for a beginner. I am welcoming people who are just beginning on the New Net to join us there to participate in discussion about how to do things on the New Net.

I also educated the group about the DOPA act and encouraged them to write letters. Most people have no idea what is going on.

This is about making a difference where you are.

It is tempting to stay comfy and cozy on the edublogosphere where we have many who agree with us. Are you getting out and sharing this knowledge with others? If you have a group of people who want to know more, why don't you start a New Net Discussion group. I'll add you as collaborators and can share some of the powerpoint and handouts that I'm using offline. Just e-mail me.

I'm hoping to start some spinoff blogs and wikis for the betterment of the community here including those that would work to preserve history, share news, keep up to date, and of course, educate teenagers!

Meanwhile, here is a reprint of some of the most helpful information for those who like to link to this blog instead.


Notes from the New Net Group Discussion Meeting held today:



The Magic Button of the New Internet
We began by discussing the "magic button." This Button usually has the words RSS on it. RSS stands for "Really Simple Syndication" but I like to call it "Really Simple Subscriptions."

What does RSS do?
Just as Foghorn Leghorn says, "Look at me, Boy", an RSS feed lets a web page tell you "Look at me, I've got something new to tell you." Right now, people take twenty or thirty minutes a day to look at several websites for information. Sometimes you read something just to realize that you've already read that yesterday! Using these RSS buttons you can subscribe to the websites you read the most and have it all on one page! The computer will tell you if its new or not!

This little box (called a chicklet like the gum many of us chewed as kids) is the backbone of this Incredible new Internet and allows us to do more with less time! (Remember, the button may look different and be more like the one shown on your right! They all do the same thing, though!)

How do I use the RSS?

I used Net Vibes to demonstrate how you can use RSS to put customized information on a page. Here are the simple steps: (there are other ways to do this, but this is the easy way.)

Set up an account

1) Go to www.netvibes.com and click Sign In to set up an account
2) Delete anything you don't want on your page by pointing your mouse in the top right hand corner of the little boxes. An x will appear. Click the x and you can delete the box.
3) Type the name of your page up at the top.

Find information to add to your page
1) Look for the RSS or XML button or words on web page. (This is called the "feed.")
2) Click on the button and it will take you to a page with a lot of words on it that says XML
3) Click in the address box at the top to select the text.
4) Right click on the highlighted text and select copy.
5) Go to your net vibes page
6) Click Add Content in the top left Corner
7) Click Add Feed
8) Right click in the blank box and select paste
9) Click Add
You can move it around on the page by moving your mouse on the top bar of any box. Your arrow will turn into a four pointed arrow (I call the snowflake). You can then click and drag that box anywhere on the page.

I showed you several places that you can get feeds for your Net Vibes Page:

Customized Google News - http://news.google.com - Search for your topic and then click the RSS button to get the feed for that news search. Here is the feed for the Camilla, Georgia News.

Weather - To add the weather, click the Add Content Button and then there is a weather button. Type in the name of your city and then add it to your page.

New Movies that are coming out this week. Click Add Content. Paste this feed in the box.

http://movies.go.com/xml/rss/intheaters


New DVDs out this week. Click Add Content. Paste this feed in the box and add it to your page.

http://movies.go.com/xml/rss/dvd.xml


Healthy Recipes. Click Add Content. Paste this feed in the box and add it to your page.

http://rss.allrecipes.com/


My Christian podcast feed is: http://www.godcast.org/rss.xml Add it to your page like you did the others.

Startup on your NetVibes Page


You may want to make NetVibes your startup page now that it is so useful. To do this in Internet Explorer:
1) Make sure you are on your NetVibes Page
2) Go to Tools --> Internet Options on the menubar at the top of your page.
3) Click on the General Tab at the top of the box.
4) Click on Use Current.


We were running short on time so I gave you a brief overview of some New Internet Technologies:

Blogging - came from the term web log. We discussed several political influences from blogs and a little about how they work.

Wiki - A quick way to make web pages and cooperate with others. You can look at the Wiki I use at school at http://westwood.wikispaces.com. Wikipedia is the most well known wiki. You can use them to create documents together with others.

Internet telephone - A way you can make calls over the Internet. This is also called IP Telephony and I recommended that you use Skype

Podcasting - Audio files availabe on the Internet in mp3 format. You do not need an ipod to listen and can listen just by clicking on them and listening to them on your computer

Open Source software - Free software you can use that downloads on your Computer. Tommy has used Open Office and recommends it highly. You can download Open Office at http://www.openoffice.org/ (Beware, it is a large file.)

Web Apps - Usually free software that you use on the Internet. I recommended Writely for word processing, Gliffy for graphics, Airset for calendars, and Google Earth for maps. You have the ability to save it and edit and use it from any computer.


What are you doing to share information about the New Internet?

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