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Friday, April 30, 2010

Daily Spotlight on Education 04/30/2010

  • For those who work with those with autism, this is a report on how the iPad helps those with autism communicate.

    tags: education, autism, edu_trends, edu_news

  • This is in Spanish but some of my friends out there may like this site. This is from one of the founders, Raul, who just sent me an email:

    "Greetings, First I would like to congratulate you for your blog, I have seen it recently and I have noticed that you deal with subjects related to educational teaching. Thus, I would like to tell you about a new project that we have developed in ADRformacion. We call it “educaplay”, and it is a platform, completely free, to create and use scorm compatible multimedia educational activities. In this platform you can make up crosswords activities, guessing riddles, dialogues, word grids, etc. In short, we are very excited about the project, we are still in the developing phase and we had thought it might be of interest for your blog followers. Here is the link, http://www.educaplay.com/ "

    tags: education, gaming, edu_newapp

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Daily Spotlight on Education 04/29/2010

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Anne Collier: On-line Safety 3.0: Rethinking Net Safety Together

I was on-line planning the Citizenship, Gridizenship: Online Community Building for Self-Sustaining Safety at ISTE this year (Monday morning at 8:30 am!) with some amazing co-presenters (Anne Collier, Marianne Malmstrom and Bron Stuckey.) Marianne gave me the link to this presentation from Anne Collier and I've started watching and think this is something you should listen to in your on-line PD this week.

Today I asked a person just finishing her masters the most important thing she learned from her program and she said, "I learned that I can learn everything I need to know on-line."  Quite sage advice. But you've got to commit the time and go out and get it.  You don't get smarter by rubbing Einstein's head and a computer doesn't make you smarter either.  It is what you and where you tune those antennae. 

I first "met" Anne (author of Net Family News) when I saw her on the PBS Growing Up On-line video series we use for Digiteen.  Now, it is an honor to call her a friend.

About the talk:

Online Safety 3.0: Rethinking Net Safety Together

A March 2010 talk for educators given by ConnectSafely co-director Anne Collier (or rather her avatar, Anny Khandr) and edited by Knowclue Kidd (aka Marianne Malmstrom). Set in the underwater Paideia Coliseum in Second Life, Anny's talk was part of a series on digital citizenship and safety presented by Atlantis Seekers (http://atlantisseekers.ning.com). Its aim is to help educators break through the myths and hype about how youth are using social media and consider what we're learning from the growing bodies of both social-media and youth-risk research. (Anne is also founder and editor of NetFamilyNews.org.)
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Daily Spotlight on Education 04/28/2010

  • This very interesting search engine uses a neat keyword feature at the top that I really like. Unfortunately they have quite a few google ads, but still, if you're struggling, then it could be useful.

    tags: education, learning

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Daily Spotlight on Education 04/27/2010

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Would you Be Willing to help Judge @NetGenEd ?

Hi everyone! It is that time again.  If you want to understand more about Flat Classroom projects and the video assessment portion, now is your time. In fact, many have volunteered their time as a judge and gone on to start their own projects.  So, we're issuing an open invitation to educators and those involved in the technology field to spend 1 - 2 hours judging the NetGenEd videos.  Each video is pre-screened by two people and sent up for 2nd level judging and then to our final meta judge to determine the best of the project! We've got some great videos planned and would love to see some new faces.

Here is the note from my good friend, Julie Lindsay, who is the organizer for the judges for this project! Please join us!

We have many classrooms around the world busily collaborating and creating their final multimedia piece to submit for judging.  The deadline for submission of multimedia for the internal judging processes as well as the global competition organised by Don Tapscott is May 10.

There are two types of awards for this project: Video Challenge Awards and NetGenEd Awards. The Video Challenge awards are given by Don Tapscott's office and are not related to the rubric that we have created for the NetGenEd project. The NetGenEd project awards are based upon our grading rubric for the project. Just because a student receives an award for the NetGenEd project does not mean they have won a Video Challenge Award and vice versa.

If you are still able to judge for us starting May 11 for about one week we now ask that you do the following:
  1. Read material on the judges wiki at http://netgened2010.flatclassroomproject.org/Judges 
  2. Follow these instructions:

How do I sign up to judge?

  1. Click "Join this Space" in the top left corner of this page.
  2. As you put in your information, make sure that you complete the comment box with your name, location, and the topic that you would like to join. (This will send us your e-mail address and all information submitted is private.)
  3. Wait for approval - you will receive an e-mail noting your approval.
  4. If you are already a member of this wiki, continue with the following points.
  5. Join the NetGenEd Judges Group on the Ning to get announcements and updates.
  6. Return to this page.
  7. Add your information to the topic of your choice below (first to wiki it gets it! include a hyperlink to your bio). You may add your name more than once.
  8. Be available to review/judge videos from May 11 for about one week. (Will take 1-2  hours at most.)
IN ADDITION: There will be a Judges meeting held in the first week of May. Watch out for an online meeting invitation and respond with your availability.

Please circulate this in your circles!  We'd appreciate it so very much!

Go Visual! Sikulli Script Can Help IT Administrators Automate!


I'm totally fascinated by the possibilities for Sikuli Script as programming gets easier. This lets you use the sikuli interface and instead of having to know the object names, you can take screenshots of the buttons you want the computer to click and it will use a "visual search engine" to find that on the screen and click it.  This is the next iteration of programming and just phenomenal.

I can see all kinds of applications for those who have to automate tasks!

This is what they say about it on their website:

Sikuli is a visual technology to search and automate graphical user interfaces (GUI) using images (screenshots). The first release of Sikuli contains Sikuli Script, a visual scripting API for Jython, and Sikuli IDE, an integrated development environment for writing visual scripts with screenshots easily. Sikuli Script automates anything you see on the screen without internal API's support. You can programmatically control a web page, a desktop application running on Windows/Linux/Mac OS X, or even an iphone application running in an emulator. 

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Daily Spotlight on Education 04/26/2010

  • I don't really understand all about this project out of MIT but want to learn more about it. After watching the demo, I can see HUGE applications for IT administrators and support staff who have certain people and machines that need the same repetitive things done that they just cannot remember. Look at this sikuli script feature - it is GREAT!)

    Thi s is what they say on their site:

    "ikuli is a visual technology to search and automate graphical user interfaces (GUI) using images (screenshots). The first release of Sikuli contains Sikuli Script, a visual scripting API for Jython, and Sikuli IDE, an integrated development environment for writing visual scripts with screenshots easily. Sikuli Script automates anything you see on the screen without internal API's support. You can programmatically control a web page, a desktop application running on Windows/Linux/Mac OS X, or even an iphone application running in an emulator. "

    tags: education, learning, programming, innovation, edu_newapp

  • This is a cool opportunity for teachers who have smartboards -how about pulling this ebook up onto your screen to read together and then take the quiz. This one is free.

    In my email:

    "Each month, Sylvan Dell will feature a different eBook for free at www.SylvanDellPublishing.com! View the entire eBook in English and Spanish, absolutely free with no login required. Just click and read! April's featured eBook is one of our newest titles, Newton and Me, about a boy and his dog, Newton. Join them as they discover the laws of force and motion in thier everyday activities. After reading, take the quizzes and complete the For Creative Minds activities on the Newton homepage. Great for a fun, educational summer activity!"

    tags: education, learning, literature, elementary_teacher, reading_teacher

  • Use this to create an encrypted drive for your financial records if you have them on your laptop! Remember to backup the folder as well! It is free.

    I would also recommend this for those who have private files on their computer like guidance counselors.

    tags: education, productivity, opensource, edu_trends

  • If you need video for the web, this handy video search engine is a POWERFUL tool. If you're watching web video on your home tv, it is a great site for that as well!

    tags: education, homeautomation, multi-media, edu_trends, edu_newapp

  • For those who teach Greek Mythology, you can now watch Jim Henson's The Storyteller on-line. We've been watching this on Netflix over the weekend and my children have been enthralled with stories from ancient mythology. It is a well worth piece. The only note is that in the trailer for one of the episodes there was a tad bit of nudity (sort of) - one of those things to just make sure you screen to make sure it isn't there. It was on the Icarus and DEadelus movie, however, if you fast forward past the intro it shouldn't be a problem.

    tags: education, learning, mythology, literature

  • An older article about turning an OLD PC into a home media server.

    tags: education, hometheater, home_automation

  • Another free option for hooking up your computer to your tv. You really can do this with an old computer. This program lets you control the laptop interface using your remote control on your tv. Just hookup the laptop.

    tags: education, hometheater, home_automation

  • Switching different desktops is a breeze. I'm setting up different desktops for different tasks I have going as part of my effort to "firewall" my time between tasks. This is another cool tool recommended by Gina Tripani and the people at lifehacker

    tags: education, productivity, learning

  • Checking out this tool recommended by Lifehacker.

    This is what the site says it does:

    "Samurize is an advanced system monitoring and desktop enhancement engine for Windows 2000/XP/2003/Vista. IT professionals, overclockers, gamers and desktop modders alike use Samurize for system information, weather reports, news headlines and much much more. And best of all, Samurize is 100% free!"

    tags: education, productivity, learning

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Virtual Desktops with Dexpot: A Cool Tool!

My official "birthday gift to you" post (last year was my most popular post of the year which still draws traffic and remains current 122 for you: Cool Cat Teacher's Favorite Apps and Sites) will have to come a bit later in the week as we have progress reports going out tomorrow. Many thanks to everyone who has sent tweets, Facebook messages, and emails. You are all blessings.

Meanwhile, I've found the coolest tool that I highly recommend called Dexpot which lets you have multiple screens - like virtual monitors to switch between.  So, you can literally have 4 screens configured differently for different tasks (I have 8) and then you can swap between them easily as needed. (Like one screen may be watching an ftp and another for checking email with your Toodledo list up on the other.)

The two tips I have for you is that if you use it and need to install programs, turn it OFF or you may get a Windows blue screen of death (I got one while setting up my virtual encrypted drive for financial records using TrueCrypt a free opensource way to create partitioned encrypted drives - good idea for guidance counselors and those who have super private data on a laptop.)

Second recommendation is that it will make NO sense at all unless you read the short documentation [pdf] - it helped me and although some of the screenshots in the manual are in another language, you can still get the point.

Meanwhile, I've got to grade until 2 am and our air conditioner has decided to go on Spring BREAK!  Hope you all have as delightful of a day as I have had!
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Daily Spotlight on Education 04/25/2010

  • This very simple device invented by Jerry Seinfeld (can you believe it?) is also similar to what Benjamin Franklin used to help him focus on virtues. Select something you feel you need to do every day and then use this tool as a widget on your igoogle page or in Chrome. I love mine!

    tags: education, learning

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Meet Your First Task BEFORE You Meet Your Email!

OK, so, I have an obsession with organizing books for about the last 10 years and have just finished my thirtieth book.  You can ask my college roommate (Dena - God bless her used to put all my clothes in my closet just so she could not be embarrassed - she just threw them in - WHAT A MESS!) or you could ask my Mom.

I just finished Upgrade Your Life: The Lifehacker Guide to Working Smarter, Faster, Better by Gina Trapani in one evening and learned so much. (Honestly, I'd read Bit Literacy: Productivity in the Age of Information and E-mail Overload by Mark Hurst FIRST and then you'll be ready for Gina's book of tips and tricks.)

I had a lot to do today but have a list of the "hacks" in her book to start with.  I want you to meet what I'm lovingly calling "Tim."  OK, his real name is F. TIM (First Thing in the Morning) but this handy trick is a winner.  You see, Gina said that a study determined that there are these super-productive technology people and they call them "alpha geeks."  THey get so much done because of their habits.  And one of the consistent habits is that they DO NOT check email first thing in the morning. That's right - NOT FIRST THING.  Her suggestion was to have a "First Thing in the Morning" folder and have it smack dab in the middle of your desk.  When you finish your day, put the most important thing in that folder and when you get to the office DO THAT FIRST before checking email.

Did you know that it takes 15 minutes to get into a "flow state" of maximum productivity and that if you stay in your email ALL DAY LONG you're constantly a victim of whatever email comes into your box?

I've been at inbox zero now for over a week following the principles I used from Bit Literacy - they are much more simple than anything I have read and resonate with me.  So, now, I have three times during the day to check my email and then I"m focusing on getting other things DONE.  I've always been one to go off-line or unplug when I have work to do.

OK, so Kip and I are going to take his AMAZING KEY LIME PIE out to my parents house now and I've gotta run.  But I'll tell you, this one trick is perhaps the best one I"ve read in a long time.  Onwards and upwards!
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Daily Spotlight on Education 04/24/2010

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Friday, April 23, 2010

The New Digital Classroom, Building Expertise through Technology (Video)

Oh my goodness, I was up well past midnight this past Wednesday night.  Not because of my ears (thank goodness -- those of you who follow me on Twitter know that the last two weeks I've been fighting with a horrific double ear infection.)  Honestly, it was because I was so excited. I learned so much from Dr. David Rose in this webinar, I hardly felt like a participant.

Dr. Rose is a leading researcher in education and has so many accolades but I think the thing I liked about him most is that I could actually understand everything he shared in the webinar! This session was choc full of research.

But perhaps the thing I liked the best was when Wayne D'Orio made the point that both of us (Dr. Rose in his Harvard grad student classroom and I in my high school classroom in South Georgia) were echoing that the use of technology has caused us both to be renewed and excited about teaching again. We're both feeling like we connect better with our students! What a powerful story.

Thank you to Tyler Reed and the folks at Scholastic for putting together this webinar. They have a lot of other webinars that I'm going to go back and listen to.  Take advantage of the free learning that is presented to you, it makes a huge difference!

We discussed a lot about those with disabilities and teaching with technology and student engagement.

Daily Spotlight on Education 04/23/2010

  • Just got this in my inbox. I think this may interest some of you out there. Bottom line is that research is evolving!

    As you know, only 8% members of the Scientific Research Society agreed that 'peer review works well as it is.' (Chubin and Hackett, 1990; p.192)

    "A recent U.S. Supreme Court decision and an analysis of the peer review system substantiate complaints about this fundamental aspect of scientific research." (Horrobin, 2001)

    Horrobin concludes that peer review "is a non-validated charade whose processes generate results little better than does chance." (Horrobin, 2001) This has been statistically proven and reported by an increasing number of journal editors.

    But, "Peer Review is one of the sacred pillars of the scientific edifice" (Goodstein, 2000), it is a necessary condition in quality assurance for Scientific/Engineering publications, and "Peer Review is central to the organization of modern science…why not apply scientific [and engineering] methods to the peer review process" (Horrobin, 2001)."

    tags: education, learning, research

  • This is a great article for psychology or current events classes to discuss. How many people have seen the news media publicly acknowledge misreporting in the Toyota Acceleration series of articles?

    As with so many things, all it takes is one report to cause mass hysteria.

    tags: education, news

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Class Chats: Connecting Elementary Kids in Powerful Ways (Spread the word!)

FYI. For those of you who have been emailing me, I use the Logitech Quickcam Fusion as a great option for kids because of the privacy and avatar options. (They have the option of having a cartoon as their face which tracks with their speaking!

Back in Early March while I was off at MACUL, I received an email on my school account from Cherrie MacInnes from Washington Street School in Brewer Maine.  This amazing woman E-mailed me on a Sunday morning with the following message:

"Dear Administrators and Third Grade Teachers,
The 3rd graders at Washington Street School in Brewer, Maine are on aquest to google chat with a third grade classroom from every state in ourcountry. Students from W.S.S. would share interesting facts about Maine and your students would reciprocate with some interesting facts about your state. The conference would be a one time lesson lasting between 20 - 30minutes. My class will record the date of our video conference facts on a large map of the United States and keep a journal as well. We will learn alot about the USA and meet a lot of great 3rd graders along the way!All that is needed is a computer with a built in or attached cameraand an internet connection.  Video chats can include an entire 3rd gradeclass, a small group or individuals. We want this to be convenient and easy for you!If you are interested in helping us to reach our goal, please contact Mrs. MacInnes at {email removed}. We look forward to hearing from you."

So, when I replied she had already set up with other classrooms but mentioned that some other teachers at her school are doing this and mentioned that her school had set up a really neat website called classchats (www.classchats.com)  I had asked her if she had told her story.  Here was her answer.

>>>> Hi Vicki,
>>>> I'll be glad to help out any teacher interested. The tech teachers in my
>>>> district have created a web site: www.classchats.com
>>>> We're hoping it will grow and provide a place for classroom teachers to
>>>> connect.
>>>> I have not shared our story at any type of conference. Our project will
>>>> be in the newspaper, Education Week in a week or two and in Weekly Reader's
>>>> May 7th issue. It's been a really exciting learning experience for all
>>>> involved.
>>>> Thank you, Cherrie

So, then I told her I wanted to share her story with you.  Here is how they got started.

 My classroom did a web conference project with a 3rd grade classroom in Minnesota. The interest level was so high and there was such a positive energy that I didn't want it to end. So I came up with the idea of trying to chat with a 3rd grade classroom in every state. I didn't know if teacher would be receptive to doing this but their enthusiasm and interest has been so exciting. I know there are other teachers in our country using web conferencing to enhance learning but it was very interesting that not one teacher in all 50 states who responded had ever done this before. Their tech people have been helping them; some schools have gone out and purchased web cams so that teachers could participate. South Dakota ended up on the front page of their local newspaper. It's been such an unexpected and exciting experience. I'm so pleased that teachers within our initial group are now conferencing with each other. I wanted to figure out how to create some type of data base to connect with teachers. It took me four weeks of emailing hundreds of schools inevery state to reach our goal. I don't think people will want to participate if connecting with teachers is that much work. Luckily the tech people at my school have supported this project and shared the same excitement...enough to work together to create the web site. I'm hoping that people will join and eventually have an accessible place to connect with educators around the world.

Thank you for your interest, Cherrie

Now this is a story that needs spreading! This is what is happening - beginners are getting out there, making the connections happen and DOING IT along with amazing IT integrators MAKING IT HAPPEN.  I get dozens of press releases in my inbox daily but this is a story that actually deserves one.

So, consider this my press release for Classchats and Cherrie.  I'm asking the blogosphere to share what they are doing, get teachers to sign up and help elementary classrooms connect.

I am reminded of what video conferencing guru Jody Kennedy from White Plains City Schools in New York told me when I talked about how she got started:

"We got started with a series of low-risk, high energy experiences. I got excited and it spread."

You can't get lower barrier to entry than Skype or Google Chat and a $30 webcam from Wal-Mart.

There are no excuses any more.  Will you help me spread the word about what they are doing? They haven't asked for any publicity - they didn't reach out to anyone except other classrooms.  These are the types of grassroots efforts that need our support, encouragement, and praise.

Way to go Cherrie!  You are a hero to me!

Daily Spotlight on Education 04/22/2010

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Free Webinar from Dr. David Rose (founder of CAST, UDL Pioneer) starting now #experttalks

This is late notice, but I just realized that I didn't share with you all about the webinar happening in just moments with Dr. David Rose as part of Scholastic's #experttalks series. 

I'll be there via Skype but really, I'm looking forward to what he has to say. You'll be able to ask questions if you join in or follow the twitterstream at #experttalks.

Hope to see some of you there - http://teacher.scholastic.com/experttalks/webcast4.htm

It will go from 3:30 pm - 4:30 pm EDT 4/21/2010

Daily Spotlight on Education 04/21/2010

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Daily Spotlight on Education 04/20/2010

  • From my email today:

    "Turning Technologies, a leader in the student response industry, is sponsoring a webinar, “Simple Strategies That Provide Big Improvement,” that will take place on 4/30 at 2pm ET. It is part of the eSchool News free webinar series. During this workshop, participants will learn how to promote team-based, short-term thought and action, effectively use data to progress monitor student gains, produce immediate and frequent wins, and tools that can help you increase student achievement."

  • ARticle on copyright infringement lawas and how this is being interpreted in Ireland.

  • Information on how to submit your sample is here.

    Most of the information you'll need to write about our free scan offer is on the ASPEX site. I can answer any other questions you have about the promotion as well, so just send those my way. The submission process is simple:

    1. Instruct your readers to download and print this form from the ASPEX website.

    2. They'll fill out the form and mail it along with the sample they want scanned to:

    ASPEX Corporation
    Free Sample Submissions
    175 Sheffield Dr.
    Delmont, PA 15626

    3. Once ASPEX has completed the scan, the images and report will be posted on ASPEX's website here.

    Note: It should take about 2 weeks for the results to post to the ASPEX website, and we will also notify submitters via email. If you want your samples returned, please say so on your submission form.

    Again, if you need any other info or help writing the post just let me know. The one thing we'd like you to include is a link from the words "Scanning Electron Microscope" to this URL: "http://www.aspexcorp.com/products/sem.html" and to also include those words in the title. For example, "Get your dead bugs and rotten food scanned with a Scanning Electron Microscope from ASPEX." If you can get your post up within the next week, we'd appreciate it.

    You are encouraged to send in your own samples as well -this is as much for you as it is for your readers. Please consider posting your results on your site too, when you get your results back!

  • This is fascinating.

    Ms. Davis, I found your website not too long ago and wanted to tell you that I really enjoy your blog. Loved the posts about your "Daily Spotlight on Education." You make an a lot of important information easy to follow and it definitely seems like you got a great thing going for you. Keep up your great work and best of luck to you in the future. My name is Jeffrey and I'm with ASPEX, a leading producer of Scanning Electron Microscopes (SEM) and Microanalysis software. Our company recently kicked off a "Send Us Your Sample" campaign, which allows anyone to mail us an object of their choosing and have it scanned for free under one of our powerful desktop SEMs. Since your blog primarily deals with education, this would be a great opportunity for some of your educators to get some samples done for their class. People can send us a broken iPhone, an old toothbrush, or even a dead insect...anything they want to see a picture of under a powerful microscope. It's pretty cool. Once we receive the samples, we'll notify senders of their results via email. You can view other reports we've done here: http://www.aspexcorp.com/resources/send_sample.html Since we started this campaign, we've seen a lot of interest from professionals, educators and students all around the globe. Given the focus of your website, I wanted to contact you about posting the information about "Send Us Your Sample" on your blog. We have recently posted a YouTube video that shows how we go about sampling and how to demo our SEM. We would love to partner with you to spread the word about this offer in a blog post so more people get the unique opportunity to have something scanned by an SEM. We also have our "Name That Sample" Campaign in which we put up a sample and the person who guesses correctly, or closest, wins a Brand New Netbook! Just another way of interactivity within your blog. Encourage your readers to Name That Sample! We can talk about details if you're interested. Thanks and I look forward to hearing from you.
Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Bill MacKenty: Responding and Answering to my student

Bill MacKenty - Educational Technologist probably doesn't even know me but he has endeared himself to me for responding to my student, Trent, a student on the NetGenEducation project seeking answers.

You can read Trent's question and Bill's answer over on Bill's blog, but I wanted to say thank you to Bill for responding and for taking the time to answer. He didn't know Trent was a student or that his teacher happened to blog - he just shows his all-around niceness and kindness by responding so professionally to Trent.  These are the kinds of people I like to work with - those who do what is good and right without anyone looking.

I'd also like to make a point that many of us are contacted by people and we know not who they are, but we should do our best to respond as best we can just because it is in the ethic and responsibility of sharing.

My Dad always said, "You can tell a lot about a man by how he treats children and animals - those he has no benefit from being kind to."

And Bill, whether you are the self proclaimed chief zucchini or just a really smart dude, thank you for taking the time to give such a great answer about educational gaming.

Daily Spotlight on Education 04/18/2010

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

What is the deal with this Ning thing? (Reflections on the End of Free Networks)

Image representing Ning as depicted in CrunchBaseImage via CrunchBase
Lots of comments running through Twitter about Ning's decision to take away free networks from education.  While it would have been nice for Ning to notify us in a more direct way, they didn't and here are some of my thoughts.

1 - Ning SHOULD Make Money
First and foremost, Ning is a for-profit company and they have a right and an obligation to their investors to make a PROFIT. I appreciate that they understood the power of free networks where STUDENTS were involved as well as keeping politically favorable in treating those networks with kids under 18 with "kid gloves" so to speak as it relates to advertising.

While I disagree with their decision and point out that wikispaces has built a seemingly profitable model off of add-free sites for educators - this is Ning's company and Ning's right to do as they wish!

2 - Ning SHOULD Be Ready to Step Up
That being said, I think that Ning's lack of communication with educators who had free networks is going to have to change.  When we PAY for a service we expect a higher level of communication and thus far when you contact ning you receive NO communication.  I can say this because when we've had issues we've tried for months to get responses and nary receive an email.

The Fact is that Ning is CUTTING staff and CUTTING free networks - if they indeed are charging us - I for one will expect responses and to have a person who can actually help us with our issues for a change!

For anyone who has been deeply involved in administering Ning networks, this isn't really a surprise.

Additionally, Ning should offer backup alternatives and other alternatives for us that we WILL PAY FOR to keep a copy of what we have on the network.  They have a profit making opportunity here and should use it.  However, I think they are just going to downsize and go from there. 

3- Put our Heads Together and Make Wise Choices

I'm not one for panic mode - yes, Julie and I have 7 networks or so that we use with Flat Classroom™ projects that have thus far been FREE for all participants because of the sponsors and funders of our projects.  We'll have to look at what we can do to either keep it free or defray costs.  But one thing we're not going to do is panic.

This isn't the end of the world.  We can pull data out (rip the videos out with zamzar and download helper) and we can at least export the names of those in the network.

I'm hoping that Ning will be rational and make good business decisions but just as they have a right and obligation to make money they also have a right to make overwhelmingly DUMB business decisions and miss the potential profit that they could make. 

So, let's see what happens.  Meanwhile - this message from my friend Steve Hargadon bears printing in entirity here for those who are having level heads and deciding what to do with their networks.

Ning Changes and the Impact on Educational Communities
Posted: 15 Apr 2010 04:07 PM PDT
The news today of changes to Ning, based on a purported (but I think likely authentic) internal memo from the new Ning CEO, is reasonably going to cause some concern in the education community.  Ning has facilitated a pretty historic change in the connecting of educators, often in self-directed ways, through the ability to "create your own social network."

If there are changes coming to Ning, then as a community we'll want to work together to respond and to help each other.  Some initial thoughts are below.  I'm also going to open up a live Elluminate session on Tuesday, April 20th, at 5pm Pacific Daylight Time (US) / 8pm Eastern Daylight Time (US) / 12am Wednesday GMT (international conversions here).  Let's gather information and then use that time to talk about what is currently known and what the potential courses of action are for existing network creators.  We'll use the FutureofEducation.com Elluminate room:  log in at http://tr.im/futureofed. I'll open up the room 30 minutes before the event if you want to come in early, and we'll run as long as is needed. To make sure that your computer is configured for Elluminate, please visit http://www.elluminate.com/support.

Some initial thoughts:
§ If you have an exiting Ning network, while you can only export the networks membership, I'd suggest doing that now just to be safe.  (In your network go to Manage > Members and then look for the link at the bottom of the page to export.)  I don't think it's appropriate to import those members into any other system without their express consent, but you will want to have their email addresses in a worst-case scenario.
§ I'd urge some thoughtfulness at this stage.  It's not clear what Ning's long-term intentions are for educational networks, and once your user data is backed up, speculating before Ning makes any official decisions or announcements is not likely to provide you with a practical outcome right now.  
§ We know at Elluminate that our LearnCentral.org network's user interface does not yet match the Ning experience, but hopefully, for some of you, LearnCentral becomes an attractive alternative to Ning.  Our model is different than Ning's:  we're creating a single education-wide network with stronger group capabilities, and we're doing so for free because it's a great introduction to the already existing paid services that Elluminate offers.  There will be some scrutiny of commercial models right now given this turn of events, and hopefully we end up looking pretty good in this regard.
§ The Ning networks that I run are all ones where I pay for premium services.  While it's not clear from the above-mentioned Ning memo what or how many premium services will be required to continue your Ning network, I don't have any concerns about my existing networks at this point.  You can see a list of them some way down the left side of this blog page.  Some of them are generously sustained by organizations who support the financial costs, and I can explain how I approached and then have worked with those organizations in our Elluminate session if that's a route you want to go.  
§ I'm also glad, time permitting, to work with individual networks whose continued existence is important to our larger community, as was the case with the Library 2.0 network Bill Drew had grown for some years but which he was going to shut down and we were able to find sponsorship for (hurrah, Brentwood School librarians!).  Feel free to contact me directly at steve@hargadon.com in this regard if and when it becomes clear what Ning's new policies will be.
This does seem like a dramatic turn of events, but something really powerful has happened in the education world, for which Ning has been a great springboard.  Educational networking, however, is now more powerful than one company's services alone.  The road may not be completely smooth, but we will figure this out together. :)

I am not sure those who cover social media really understand what these networks have meant to education. It has meant that we could have safe, partitioned spaces to teach our students on-line safety without having to take them into the larger pool of social media. It has meant that we could connect in many places around the world that do not have access to social networks (China, etc.) and it has meant some amazing breakthroughs in global collaboration.

However, those of us that are committed to flattening the classroom and are driven to connect our classrooms on a global basis - this Ning situation is yet another obstacle that we must overcome because truly, the world isn't Flat - it is made Flat by those who scoop away at the hills one shovel full at a time.

Scoop. Scoop. Scoop.
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Daily Spotlight on Education 04/17/2010

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Daily Spotlight on Education 04/14/2010

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Flat Classroom Project 10-1 Award Videos: See What the Students Say!

While I"m fighting a nasty double ear infection, I've been confined to my bed in the evenings with my laptop confiscated by my dear husband - so am snagging 5 minutes before I get my hair cut to share with you the links to our really amazingly cool Flat Classroom ™ winning videos from our last project - as most of you know - we run this project now 3 times a year. (For more information - see our website http://www.flatclassroomproject.com - yes, I know it is a .com but no, we don't charge anything! Still as grassroots as ever.)

Julie Lindsay just sent this out - and I hear that the top three videos are just amazing.

Student and multimedia information
9.C.1 The Journey ,by Salvador A., WHS, USA
Title of video: The Journey

Find more videos like this on Flat Classroom Project

Second Place

Student and multimedia information:
10.D.2 Virtual Communication by Yaroslav Loginov, Sotogrande International School, Spain
Title of video: Virtual Communication

Find more videos like this on Flat Classroom Project

Third Place (Tie)

Student and multimedia information
11.F.2 Mu Ji H's Wireless Connectivity by Mu Ji Hwang, QA, Qatar
Title of video: Wireless Connectivity

............... AND ...............

Student and multimedia information
4.A.1 The Internet is a Shelf by Kellie E, MCAHS, USA
Title of video: The Internet is a Shelf

Find more videos like this on Flat Classroom Project

Great work! We had over 70 videos for this last project! Lots and lots of work!
Congratulations to all students and teachers, and a big thank you to all advisors, judges, and supporters of the finishing Flat Classroom Project 10-1.
All details of the winning videos on the wiki at http://flatclassroom10-1.flatclassroomproject.org/Awards
To view the recording of the Awards, click the link below:
View the Elluminate Live! recording

All multimedia submitted for judging can be found on the Master Video List
We encourage you to watch, review and leave supportive comments for the students.

Thanks everyone for your support and hard work!

Julie Lindsay and Vicki Davis
Flat Classroom Project ™

ISTE 2010 Schedule and a Flat Classroom Workshop

While it is on my mind, I wanted to share some upcoming dates with you:

June 8 - Opening Keynote TNT Conference
Teaching and Technology Conference
Bismarck, North Dakota USA

ISTE 2010
Citizenship, Gridizenship: Online Community Building for Self-Sustaining Safety [Formal Session : Panel] (50012999)
Scheduled: Monday, 6/28/2010,  8:30am–9:30am 

MF343L Digiteacher Workshop: Digital Citizenship within a Project-Based Learning Environment [Workshop : Lab-Based] (50085973)
Scheduled: Monday, 6/28/2010,  12:30pm–7:30pm 

Seven Steps to Flatten Your Classroom
[Formal Session: Lecture]
Wednesday, 6/30/2010, 10:30am–11:30am 

TF446B Flat Classroom Workshop: 7 Steps to Global Collaboration
[Workshop: BYOL(w)]
Tuesday, 6/29/2010, 12:30pm–7:30pm 

BW301 Wonderful World of Wikis: Practical Classroom Wikis for All Ages [Formal Session : BYOL(s)] (50011006)   (This is already sold out! Adam Frey (wikispaces co-founder) and I do this together) - Who has heard of such?)
Scheduled: Wednesday, 6/30/2010,  8:30am–9:30am 

BW317 Bookmarks, PLNs, and More: Supercharge your Learning, Teaching, and Research [Formal Session : BYOL(s)] (50088331)
Scheduled: Wednesday, 6/30/2010,  1:30pm–2:30pm 

Flat Classroom Workshop in St. Louis
Julie and I do one of these every 2 years and we will be back in St.Louis.  July 13-14, 2010

FlatClassroom Conference 2011
February 25-27, 2011
Beijing, China

I'll announce the conference schedule for 2010-2011 school year as all that is left on these is to get the contracts done.  Hope to meet some of you in these places! 

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