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Using Twitter for instructional communities: one teacher reflects

How can instructors use Twitter?  One teacher, and author of a book on learning communities, offers this observation: faculty can quickly form peer learning networks.

I could look inside the minds of motivated peers to learn about the new projects they were undertaking, the research reports they were studying, and Web sites they were exploring. As my comfort with Twitter grew—a process that took a few months, as is typical for new users—I became an active contributor to this knowledge network.

Note, too, this essential tip for growing a Twitter network: “I also followed Twitter users who were recommended by digital peers or whom I knew in person.”

(via DaisyPhD through the Emerging Social Software Diigo group)

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Posted on February 3, 2010 at 9:44 am by Bryan Alexander · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: Best Practices, Communications · Tagged with: , , ,

Two changes to the Web experience from Google

Google added two services this week, one to its core Web search, which have subtle implications for teaching and learning.

Social search is now added to basic Web search.  When you look at search results, an “All results/Social” option appears.  This reveals new configurations, including “My social circle” and “My social content”.  For signed-in users, the latter returns content you’ve published through Picasa, Flickr, Twitter , FriendFeed, and others.  The former points to content produced by other users whom you’ve friended through those platforms.

For example,

Google_socialsearch

As some have pointed out, the more information added to a user’s Google profile, the greater the results from social search can be.

From the side of consuming Web content, Google now lets users subscribe to Web sites which don’t publish RSS feeds. For example,

GoogleforcesRSS

For site owners who don’t want this happen, Google also lets you opt out.

Previous Liberal Education Today posts on social search can be found here.

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Posted on February 2, 2010 at 8:29 am by Bryan Alexander · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: Information Literacy

Digital storytelling for teachers: Microsoft’s guide

MicrosoftguideA new guide to digital storytelling for teachers has been published by Microsoft. There are several video clips, plus a pdf download.

Being a Microsoft publication, the texts naturally emphasize two products: Moviemaker and Photostory.

(via Helen Barrett)

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Posted on January 31, 2010 at 10:35 am by Bryan Alexander · Permalink · 3 Comments
In: Communications, Uncategorized · Tagged with: , ,

How can I use the iPhone as a notebook? Let me count the (30) ways

iPhonenotebook_Screen1How can students, faculty, and staff use the iPhone as a kind of notebook? One liberal arts researcher and teacher shares his guide to 30 apps which serve various notebook functions, from writing to multimedia.

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Posted on January 31, 2010 at 10:34 am by Bryan Alexander · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: Tools · Tagged with: , , , ,

Factery: another data search service

Another alternative search engine has launched, emphasizing facts and their social presence. Factery tries to present Web content emphasizing basic information about a query, while tracking leading Web discussions about facts.

For example, a search for “liberal education” returns leading background descriptions:

Factery

At the same time Factery displays searches of interest (not shown).

Factery seems to be in early days, but could be worth following to see if it grows educational applications.  This sort of project could be useful to consider as an alternative to default Web searches.

(via TechCrunch)

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Posted on January 30, 2010 at 8:18 pm by Bryan Alexander · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: Information Literacy · Tagged with: 

Teaching with computer games: the Chronicle weighs in

The Chronicle of Higher Education offers its take on how to teach with computer games.  The article is aimed in part at pedagogy, but also at development.

(via Nancy Millichap)

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Posted on January 27, 2010 at 2:10 pm by Bryan Alexander · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: Infrastructure Support, Pedagogy, Tools · Tagged with: 

New tablet announced by Apple

iPad_JobsA tablet device was announced by Apple today. The iPad, introduced by Steve Jobs, appears to be a multi-purpose machine, aimed at a middle ground between phone and laptop (excellent coverage here).

It runs on an Apple-built CPU, and uses a version of the iPhone operating system.  iTunes is central to media purchase and organization, as with other Apple devices.  iPhone apps will apparently play on the iPad.

Multipurpose: today’s announcement showed the iPad being used for media consumption (music, video), reading (via a newly launched service, iBooks), office productivity (via updated iWork apps), and Web browsing.  Gaming was showcased as well.

Connectivity: the iPad connects to WiFi points, and also to AT+T 3G networks.

Price ranges from $499 to over $800, depending on purchased memory and 3G connection plans.

No phone support seems to be available.  As with the iPhone, no multitasking.

And an odd glimpse of the liberal arts world, caught by Engadget, and quoted here:

“we’ve always tried to be at the intersection of technology and liberal arts”

technologyliberalarts

(thanks to Ruben Ruiz , Peter Naegele, and the commenting hordes via Twitter and Facebook!)

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Posted on January 27, 2010 at 2:00 pm by Bryan Alexander · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: Tools · Tagged with: ,

Humans increase social media use by 82%: Nielsen

Globally, the time we spend using social media in 2009 increased 82%, according to Nielsen Research.

socialmedia2009Nielsen
Leading the charge were platforms familiar to followers of NITLE research:

social networks and blogs are the most popular online category when ranked by average time spent in December, followed by online games and instant messaging. With 206.9 million unique visitors, Facebook was the No. 1 global social networking destination in December 2009 and 67% of global social media users visited the site during the month.

Within the United States, Facebook led, followed closely by the underdiscussed MySpace:

USsocial-network-growth2009Nielsen

(via ReadWriteWeb)

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Posted on January 25, 2010 at 2:48 pm by Bryan Alexander · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: Communications, Weblogs · Tagged with: ,

Papacy urges more social media

The pope called for priests to increase their use social media in the service of faith, in another sign of the growing ubiquity of Web 2.0 technologies.

Priests are thus challenged to proclaim the Gospel by employing the latest generation of audiovisual resources (images, videos, animated features, blogs, websites) which, alongside traditional means, can open up broad new vistas for dialogue, evangelization and catechesis.

(via Mashable)

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Posted on January 25, 2010 at 2:40 pm by Bryan Alexander · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: Communications · Tagged with: ,

Teen discovers pulsar in science collaboration

On another story of citizen science, a high school student discovered a pulsar.

The project in which she participated, called the Pulsar Search Collaboratory (PSC), is a joint project of the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO) and West Virginia University, funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.

(via Slashdot)

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Posted on January 23, 2010 at 2:12 pm by Bryan Alexander · Permalink · Leave a comment
In: General News · Tagged with: