Today, I am spending the evening with some exceptional teachers at Union University in Jackson, TN, with Dr. Anna Clifford's class.  We'll be discussing what characteristics of Web 2.0 make it most approachable for teachers and students.  We'll also consider what to watch out for when using these tools, too. 

Here's a list of links I'll be referencing today:
    • Delicious <http://del.icio.us/>
    • Diigo <http://www.diigo.com>
    • Google Docs <http://www.google.com/apps>
    • Jumptags <http://www.jumptags.com>
    • Trailfire <http://www.trailfire.com>
    • Twitter <http://www.twitter.com>
    • Weebly <http://www.weebly.com>
    • Zoho <http://www.zoho.com>

Here's a list on my sites:
    • Kid eLit+ <http://michaelmgrant.weebly.com>
    • Viral Notebook <http://viralnotebook.weebly.com>
    • My email <mgrant2@memphis.edu>

Download today's presentation in .pdf format (10.5 MB).

9:25 pm
We had an awesome time tonight.  I really enjoyed talking, discussing and answering.  I was so excited to hear the variety and imperativeness of the questions.  I can tell that these teachers are really considering how to implement these technologies meaningfully and efficiently into their classrooms.  Thanks for having me tonight!  Good luck to all of you, and email me if you like.

 
 

FlyInside.com is a virtual tour site specifically geared toward real estate.  About a year ago when I discovered FlyInside, it was obvious to me that this was the type of Web 2.0 tool that was created for one purpose but could be usurped for another.  So, I hijacked it for learning.  I believe this is one of the strong characteristics of Web 2.0 for learning, or as some folks are referring to Pedagogy 2.0 or eLearning 2.0.  The design characteristics that are indicative of Web 2.0 tools, I believe, also make them easy targets for repurposing…and I feel like I was right (see below).

In a nutshell.  At its bones, FlyInside is a slideshow maker, not unlike Bubbleshare or Scrapblog.  It even comes built in with the somewhat “cheesy” background music.  However, FlyInside does offer some easy navigation and some legitimate “less cheesy” looking titling/captions.  The other element that FlyInside does really well is focus on the image.  It doesn’t let you as a creator become distracted by the backgrounds and templates.  (In real estate, you care about what the living room and kitchen look like, not what nice slide background was chosen.)  So, the photo fills the screen.  So, I find this incredibly appealing, specifically where learner might best represent their learning with a digital camera.

Here are a couple of examples of preservice teacher projects of using FlyInside for curricular content.  I’d like to hear if you’ve used FlyInside or if you have hijacked other tools for your purposes.
    • Architecture of Columns by Katie Fineup
    • World War I statue photo essay by David Mars


 
 

By way of one of my favorite sites for getting things done faster, easier, more effectively or more efficiently (I'm talking about Lifehacker.com), comes a pack of free clip art for presentations, Web pages and word processing.  This simple little pack of icons, things and badges comes by "freeway" of iPresentee.com.  iPresentee describes their freebie pack as:

The background of all objects is transparent and can be used on any colored background. Each object can be changed in size, rotated, increased or decreased in opacity, fitted with shadows or even overlapped with one another to create extra effects. Keynote Objects are compatible with Keynote, iWeb, Pages, Microsoft PowerPoint and Word.

This is just my kind of score: cool and free.  These little gems with a sample of the 100+ above would be easy adds to a presentation, flyer, or Web page.  Props to iPresentee.com.  Kudos to the Lifehacker commenters that solved the download glitch.  Instructions to everyone else: Download away!

Download the pack for Mac (.dmg).
Download the pack for Windows (.zip).


 
 

I just heard about BlinkWeb today.  I haven't tried it yet, though.  Ironically, I heard about BlinkWeb from Weebly's blog.  One of the commenters (a former Weebly user - just scroll till you see the inanity) recommended jumping ship from Weebly and taking a cruise on BlinkWeb. 

From the promotional video, it does look very similar to Weebly.  Also, from the homepage, BlinkWeb is positioning itself as an Internet marketing Web site or blog.  It does include components to add e-commerce right onto your pages.  Which if you're looking to sell something, that's a good idea. 

Another site that makes creating Web site and blogs super easy is Webon.  Again, I haven't tried Webon yet.  But I'm going to be giving one or both of these guys a try really soon.  Have you tried either BlinkWeb or Webon?  If so, I'd like to know your thought about it.

 
 

Turned onto Trailfire by Dr. Kevin Oliver at NC State University, I have come to really like Trailfire as more than just bookmarking.  Intended to be used as a social bookmarking site, Trailfire allows you to collect bookmarks into a category, or "trail."  The trail is then linked linearly with navigation buttons.  You can include comments or annotation on each of the Web pages that are part of your trail. 

For me, this was a great opportunity for preservice teachers to create a self-instructional unit for students to follow.  A teacher collect a series of Web sites to be included in her trail.  Then the annotations are instruction and directions to the student.  These annotations may include critical thinking questions, notes to pay particular attention to a diagram or animation or directions to perform a task as a result of visiting the page, such as create a list or summarize a statement.

Another reason I really like Trailfire is its ease.  Students have real success with using Trailfire, and I don't have to spend a lot of time teaching them how to use it.  The support on the site is straightforward and well done. I find "it just works."  I also find because it just works, the emphasis then becomes on locating the best sources of information possible and not on learning the tool.  Another emphasis is placed on creating instruction that is meaningful and age appropriate. 

At my Jumptags, I have bookmarked a number of examples of student products created with Trailfire.  I've also located a great trail about how to use Trailfire that was created by aprilpc as part of her presentation for the K12 Online Conference.  Here's a few for you to peruse:
    • Magnetic Materials by George Richardson
    • Native Americans by Kimberly Boyd
    • World Religions by Lauren Weber

Have you used Trailfire?  If so, how?  What do you like about it?  What would you like to see improved? Here's a short tutorial on how to use Trailfire.