Next week I facilitate a workshop designed to assist Year 11 students find some useful online tools to support their learning, especially research, collaboration, organisation, study and presentation.
There will be a very, very brief presentation and overview of each tool and then students will be free to experiment, exploring the tools of use/interest to them.
Do you mind checking out this list and suggesting some more tools?
Also, are any of the below best avoided by Year 11?
Here’s the list
Tame the web
Instapaper: a read later bookmarking service
Readability: remove the clutter around the webpage you’re reading
bit.ly: shorten your links
Sharing & Collaboration
Diigo: another social bookmarking tool
Google Docs: collaborate on documents with peers online at home
Creative Commons for Images and Sound
Creative Commons (Australia): understand licenses
Flickr: the largest photo sharing site
Flickr ‘The Commons’: search the great public photographic collections
Soundzabound: royalty free music for schools
mindmeister: free mindmapping tool
bubbl.us: organise brainstorms
Evernote: synch files with all your devices
Dropbox: free online storage
Netvibes: dashboard everything
iGoogle: customise your homepage with a variety of widgets
Wetpaint: free site where you create websites that mix all the best features of wikis, blogs, forums and social networks
Wordle: generate word clouds
GAPMINDER: unveils the beauty of statistics while revealing trends
Newsmap.jp - a mashup of headlines that shows new patterns
Research & Answers
Google Alerts: keep up to date with topics of interest
Wolfram Alpha: enter what you want to calculate
Project Gutenburg (Australia): free ebooks
bibme: a free automatic bibliography generator
Noodletools: guides you through the research process
BRAINFLIPS: online flashcards
Prezi: astonishing presentations
This search engine accesses “nine other search engines all at once” and does not collect your data. Increasingly, privacy and the regulations which govern the internet are being debated widely, as online life assumes more and more importance to citizens of our planet.
It seems that Startpage have the right idea and will grow in popularity rapidly, assuming your average punter finds out about it.
Here’s the very cheesy Australian version of their video:
Read Write Web recently posted a story that I thought would garner more comments. I suspect it only had three, as most people agree with Europe’s 17 Golden Rules for Keeping Safe on Social Networks but are breaking some of them out of neccessity.
This is what I mean. The following three ‘European rules’
- When joining a social networking site use your personal e-mail address (not your company e-maill address)
- Use a pseudonym
- Do not mix your business contacts with your friend contacts
are the ones I break. Do you?
1. I use my professional DET email address, not because I want to particularly but because my other email address are filtered at work. Years ago it was no problem to access Yahoo, Hotmail etc. but the SIBE ended all that in 2006. It is not that I want to access during work time, it is just that it makes sense to be able to do so if you need, so since 2006, I have used my professional email address for basically everything.
2. When I started using the internet, in 1996, pseudonyms were all anyone seemed to use. Nowadays, I do not know many people who continue to do this exclusively.
3. Now this is challenging and I’d like to hear from anyone who is managing this separation of the various worlds of their life effectively. I gave up on it years ago for a number of reasons but mostly, it was just impossible anyway. I think that rejecting the Facebook ‘friend request’ from work or a business colleague may have other interpersonal consequences. I routinely ’ignore’ with students for reasons explained here. You may choose to do this for a colleague but the person would really have to bug you. Privacy setting are the key for most, no doubt about it. I suspect that it all depends on the stage of life one is at and that need for privacy depends on lifestyle and the type of employment.
I think we all are learning as the era unfolds. The above European suggestions are sensible but for many, just too unwieldy and difficult to carry out. The more one has ‘an identity’ online the more it is possible to piece together the complete person. However, I suspect, that identity theft is more easily done to someone with a limited online life than a person with a complete profile. Agree?
Should we place the European advice in context considering the history of the 20th century?
Do Australians, with a continent for a country and a very different history, for better or worse, have a less paranoid, more reckless attitude towards online safety?
The following passage, from Tim O’Reilly‘s musings on the question, Pattern Recognition, made me reflect about the challenges of staying ‘educated’ and being and ‘educator’ in our ever-shifting culture:
“It used to be the case that there was a canon, a body of knowledge shared by all educated men and women. Now, we need the skills of a scout, the ability to learn, to follow a trail, to make sense out of faint clues, and to recognize the way forward through confused thickets. We need a sense of direction that carries us onward through the wood despite our twists and turns. We need “soft eyes” that take in everything we see, not just what we are looking for.
The information river rushes by. Usenet, email, the world wide web, RSS, twitter: each generation carrying us faster than the one before. But patterns remain.
You can map a river as well as you can map a mountain or a wood. You just need to remember that the sandbars may have moved the next time you come by.”
This is at the heart of the challenge for schools. We do need to ‘map’ and assist students chart their courses but, it is fundamental to our role, that we keep remembering, the map is not necessarily the territory. *
I continue to enjoy daily missives from Seth Godin, ostensibly an advertising and business ‘guru’, increasingly the source of some practical, coherent thinking about the impact of the internet on society. His latest blog post, about libraries, illustrates the point made by O’Reilly:
Once again, the net turns things upside down. The information is free now. No need to pool tax money to buy reference books. What we need to spend the money on are leaders, sherpas and teachers who will push everyone from kids to seniors to get very aggressive in finding and using information and in connecting with and leading others.
Godin’s notion of a ‘sherpa’ guiding others to the top of a well-known territory works for me. Funnily enough, although it more poignant for me than I care to detail, this made me think of a Michael Leunig cartoon, from many years ago, that really impacted on me significantly at a critical juncture in my life.
Learning is similar. Triumphs have a way of just leading the thoughtful learner to more questing, often with a nagging sense that there’s just nowhere near enough time to explore all that fascinates (or is needed).
What mountains to climb then? Is that the question a skilful teacher or librarian will be able to help their students understand, as they ascend?
Enough of the sherpa thing.
The map has changed. The internet has changed the way we think, as we envision and navigate the unfolding text of our culture. The river will always have new sandbars; it flows rapidly. We need to be mindful that our old maps do not flush students into an ocean that is no longer there.
Senator Conroy’s recent announcement about the censorship of the internet in Australia has disturbed and perturbed Australians who reflect intelligently on the nature of our civil society and the freedoms we enjoy.
The benignly titled press release, ‘Measures to improve safety of the internet for families’ has been released in the week before christmas in an attempt to escape analysis from a distracted public and journalists.
Please find the time to understand this censorship and express your disgust! Consider emailing Senator Conroy about this fundamentally important issue of internet censorship in Australia via the GetUp site.
Many people have stopped following Kevin Rudd on twitter in protest too.