Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Carrot2 Cluster Search

I've been trying out the Carrot2 cluster search engine. It reminded me of the old Vivisimo, or Clusty as it is now known.
Carrot2 is an Open Source Search Results Clustering Engine (beta) which organizes or clusters search results (via a cluster tree) into thematic groups.
It features a number of movable tabs (select sources) and options, highlighted search terms and more. There is also a standalone GUI clustering tool, search plugin for Firefox 2 and IE7 and search box (added to my sidebar).

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Cogdogroo in SouthOz

I'm looking forward to Alan Levine's visit to Adelaide tomorrow as part of his Cogdogroo tour DownUnder in October, 2007.
Alan has already caught up with Michael Coghlan and Graham Wegner, sampling some real SouthOz hospitality and conversations - with Twitter featuring prominently.
Check out the Twitter Life Cycle diagram to see where Michael and Graham sit on the adoption curve.

Online travel guide

Schmap provides access to world wide travel guides with a choice of free online, interactive or (downloadable) desktop options, incorporating photos (with Creative Commons licensing from global communities), slideshows and reviews. Schmap maps can be zoomed or printed and links can be shared by e-mail, sent to a mobile phone or embedded in a blog as schmapplets.

Current coverage is for Europe, North America and Australia/New Zealand with a focus on the main cities, including Adelaide, capital city of South Australia (SouthOz).

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Spatial Information Day success

I attended the recent Spatial Information Day (SID) which was held at the Wine Centre in Adelaide, South Australia. (Aug. 2007). Spatial Information Day's (SID) provide opportunities to showcase innovative spatial technologies and projects.

The event was an outstanding success, highlighting the diversity of projects and geospatial technologies, high level of expertise, potential careers in the geospatial industry using Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and valuable networking opportunities. The beautiful venue, brilliant weather (late winter) and excellent South Australian hospitality topped off a memorable day.

The presentations are now available on the website.
Examples include :
'Global initiatives on environmental assessment & early warning: outlook to contributions of remote sensing & related geospatial technologies';
'Post Tsunami Banda Aceh - illustrative & spatial overview';
'Practical support for local level change: how spatial information can assist Aboriginal management of heritage at the local level in South Australia';
'The (South Australian) State Land & Soil Information Framework - what is it and what can it do?'
'Managing the Small Plague Grasshopper Control Program using GIS';
'Integration of Spatial Tools for Prioritisation of the River Murray Floodplain' & many more.

SID is already in my calendar for 2008.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Mahara (open source) PLE

I discovered Mahara while doing some research on Personalised Learning Environments (PLEs) and e-Portfolios. Mahara emanates from New Zealand and means 'think' or 'thought' in Te Reo Māori. It is a "fully featured open source electronic portfolio, weblog, resume builder and social networking system, connecting users and creating online communities." It stands out from many others in its aim to be more student-centric.

Mahara has an impressive range of tools designed to allow users to "demonstrate their life-long learning, skills and development over time" and the ability for users to select and control who can see their Artefacts. Discussion around a Roadmap about self assessment grids is worth following. Check the lernenzwei 'GPS for Learning' project for more information.

Mahara features include a file repository, blogging tool (creation of Artefacts), all important social networking capabilities and a résumé builder. All Artefacts have built-in metadata to aid discovery. Check the website for more technical considerations.

Another area of interest is the JISC (UK) SPLASH project in higher education which aims to "provide a more personalised learning experience....and ... management of artefacts," developed by the creative efforts of learners using popular Web2.0 mashup technology.

David Delgado's posting "On E-learning 2.0 and the Personal Learning Environment (PLE)" provides an excellent visualization and definition of a PLE as "systems that help learners take control of and manage their own learning, they are distributed, social and learner-centric." He uses another open source product, Elgg (which I have experimented with in recent years)and complements this with a range of Web2.0 tools and Moodle.

So much to explore! The PLE tag in Del.icio.us has been great!

Monday, August 06, 2007

Classroom2.0 on Ning

I've recently joined a Ning community, "Classroom2.0," as you can see by my new badge on this blog.
Classroom2.0 is a "social networking site for those interested in the practical application of computer technology (especially Web 2.0) in the classroom and in their own professional development."
I think Ning has great potential for teachers/educators setting up their own social networks and exploring the potential of Web2.0. I've recommended setting up a community in Ning for a couple of local groups of educators, getting started in social networkiing.

8 Random Things Meme

I've been tagged by Jo McLeay with the '8 Random Things Meme.'

After a quick bit of research, decided to give it a go.
Here are the rules:
  1. Let others know who tagged you.
  2. Players start with 8 random facts about themselves.
  3. Those who are tagged should post these rules and their 8 random facts.
  4. Players tag 8 other people and notify them they have been tagged.

My 8 random things meme.

1. I’m an occasional blogger, member of a web2.0/blogging group, nicknamed 'net2blazers', an explorer in the world of Web2.0 and especially into social bookmarking.

2. Have an avid interest in politics and love to discuss issues with others, especially in this election year (Federal) in Australia.

3. Consider myself to be a bit of a greenie and we have just installed more rainwater tanks in our home this year. We save and recycle water, recycle and compost etc..

4. I came to live in Oz while still at school. I have lived in 3 continents, including Europe and Africa. I once lived on a farm in Ireland and had my own pony.

5. I love the web and spend a lot of time on the computer at home but multi-tasking is the go!

6. I love reading. I’ve always had a voracious appetite for reading and English was my favourite subject at school. Thank heavens for RSS and aggregation!

7. Passionate about SouthOz (South Australia) and its charms. Under-rated by many but has great beaches, seafood, cafes and restaurants, wines and wineries, outback, climate, home of the Leafy Sea Dragon and Coopers, Tour Down Under and Festivals and friendly people.

8. Still one to go! Most interesting (?) clip on the Internet Archive: “Duck and Cover” – sign of the times (1951).

Thursday, June 07, 2007

What does RSS mean to you?

Kerrie Smith asks the question, 'What does RSS mean to you? Do you use it?' on her education.au blog 'You are never alone'.

Kerrie writes ....
"Web 2.0, blogs, wikis, virtual environments, and social networking tools are not going to go away. If we have any sort of online life then they are going to increasingly be part of the way that we work. And yet when I conduct face to face workshops and begin to talk about RSS, eyes glaze over, and clearly my audience largely do not know what I am referring to. "

I can relate to Kerrie's lament and have posted my comments to Kerrie's blog posting and repeat some of my response here.

Discovering the power of RSS some years ago, I have done my best to share understandings with colleagues/other educators/students with some success. I have also experienced the …’talk about RSS, eyes glaze over’… syndrome. Practical and relevant examples do help in demystifying this but there’s a big pool of internet users, including educators, unaware of the vast potential of the Read/Write (Web2.0) world.

Luckily, there are also many talented, inspiring and generous folk who are making a difference in this area through social networking, online conferences etc. RSS underpins so much in the connected, collaborative world and is now much more pervasive, tools abound and are simple to use! Understanding and using aggregation is a necessary skill to be information literate.

I have been reading recently about the Queensland Government Department of Education's introduction of an ICT Pedagogical Licence (and their 'Smart Classrooms Professional Development Framework'). These initiatives provide support for educators and 21st century learning environments in a connected Web2.0 world. A positive step!
(And fewer instances of 'eyes glazed over' in Kerrie's future workshops!)

Add your vote: Best 100 Web2.0 sites

There's only a few days left to make your vote count in the Webware 'Best 100 Web2.0 sites' awards. Webware has whittled the field down from over 5,000 nominations to 25 Web2.0 tools and services in each of 10 categories.

I found it difficult to make just one selection in many of the categories eg. Browsing, Community, Data, Media, Productivity and Publishing. Voting closes on June 11th and the winners will be announced on Webware on June 18th.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Recommended reading (Folksonomies)

Recommended reading from the past month for anyone interested in this topic.
European Schoolnet - Insight (Observatory for new technologies and education) has released a special research report 'Folksonomies, social bookmarking and tagging: state-of-the-art' by Research Analyst, Riina Vuorikari, (May 10, 2007)

Sunday, May 27, 2007

K12 Online Conference 2007

The call for proposals for this year's K12 Online Conference (following on from the highly successful, inaugural 2006 conference) is being publicised in the blogosphere. The conference will be held in October (15-19 and 22-26) 2007. (Deadline for proposals is June 18th, 2007)

Educators "interested in the use of Web 2.0 tools in classrooms and professional practice" should bookmark this site. Check the conference strands below.
All presentations will be available and archived under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported.

The conference theme is "Playing with Boundaries" and some suggested topics and opportunities to provide input can be found on the conference blog.

The Conference has been organised into 4 strands over the two weeks:
Strand A: 'Classroom 2.0' and Strand B: 'New Tools' during Week 1 and
Strand A: 'Professional Learning Networks' and Strand B: 'Obstacles to Opportunities' during Week 2.

The 2007 K12 Online Conference is not to be missed!

Friday, April 20, 2007

OLPC - deployment in Nigeria

CNet News has a news item, via a photo gallery, 'Nigerian students power up their laptops' outlining the deployment of the first of Nicholas Negroponte's 'Hundred Dollar Laptop' One Laptop per Child (OLPC) education program in Africa and the Middle East. The XO Children's Machines were introduced to the students and teachers at the two room, 150 student school close to the Nigerian capital, Abuja. In addition to the laptops, OLPC has 'installed a satellite dish, power generator and modem to give the school electricity and Internet connectivity'.

The photo gallery captures the first stages of the changes in the learning journey of these young Nigerian students, with opportunities to construct their own learning, collaborate and communicate in the connected world beyond the physical space of their crowded classroom. Contrast the images of the drawing of a computer on the classroom wall, pre-OLPC, with the experimentation and wonder as they begin to customise their new learning tools.

Friday, March 30, 2007

Image Gallery for Education

The E2BN Image Gallery is one part of the E2BN Digital Media Assets Resource Library which is an evolving resource for educators.
This resource is provided by Digital Media Assets with the aim of providing resources which 'can enrich teaching and learning, engaging students and providing opportunities for the creative use of ICT in lessons.'

The Image Gallery provides a range of good quality photos, organised by categories. Albums can be viewed as a slideshow and registered users can upload (and annotate) photos to albums. The site refers to a moderation component with 'some submissions subject to approval by E2BN Gallery Administrators.'

The database is searchable and all photos have 'been provided freely for Educational use only. They are NOT copyright free and users should read the conditions of use.
This resource is not in the league of Flickr, which is a fabulous resource and it has many third party tools which add to its value. The Creative Commons licensing option is great! However, access to Flickr is likely to be blocked in many schools.

The E2BN Digital Media Assets Resource Library is a developing resource with the addition of a video/audio gallery and a section on creating and editing digital assets and useful links.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Explore the potential

Scratch, JotForm and Many Eyes all look quite promising for educators to explore.

Scratch (imagine, program share) is a free download (Windows or Mac) of a new programming language designed to appeal to young people, to enhance their creativity, design and technological fluency.
It has been developed by the Lifelong Kindergarten group at the MIT Media Lab.

The program makes it 'easy for young people to create interactive stories, animations, games, music and art.' The website provides tutorials on creating, learning and programming with Scratch and the opportunity to share projects.

JotForm is an intuitive, easy to use, web-based WYSIWYG form builder. Outputs can be collected in a spreadsheet. Limits on the free version include 100 e-mails per day & file uploads limited to 10 MBs per account.

Many Eyes! is an amazing data visualization tool. Check the website for a wide range of examples and interact with the data. Many Eyes! claims to be able to 'harness the collective intelligence of the net for insight and analysis.'

Merging Flickr and Yahoo! ID

A quick check of my blog tonight and I noticed my SouthOz Flickr badge was empty! Over to my Flickr page and I was greeted with the message below.
"On March 20th, 2007 we'll be discontinuing the old email-based Flickr sign in system. From that point on, everyone will have to use a Yahoo! ID to sign in to Flickr."

Apparently there are some big changes in the wind which have necessitated the merging of my Flickr and Yahoo! IDs before being able to 'continue using your account.'

Flickr is such a fantastic service, I can't complain about the merging process and new sign-on process but Yahoo! does require more personal details than many other web services!
Now my Flickr badge is back on track!
Have you checked your Flickr account lately?

Sunday, March 11, 2007

SXSW 2007: (Under 18s)

Internet safety and teen social behaviour based around social networking continues to be a hot topic. A recent SXSW 2007 panel presentation is especially timely with increased Australian media interest in Web2.0 tools, in particular You Tube and My Space, with local, high profile stories involving teenagers, bullying, errors of judgement and worse.

These stories present largely negative aspects of internet use and feed an ever increasing risk averse attitude banning school access to a range of Web2.0 sites. This has at least served to raise awareness about social networking services amongst less internet savvy parents and educators and presented opportunities for discussion and exploration of the issues.

Sean Ammirati provides a rundown on a panel presentation at the2007 SXSW interactive in Austin, Texas on the Read Write Web: SXSW: Under 18 Blogs, Wikis & Social Networks. This highlighted Danah Boyd's contextual information about the changing lives of young people in the digital age and the question, "What is the reality when it comes to dangers for young people online?"
She explained the background to the concept of 'Age Segregation' for teens, (14 - 17 years old) where 'society creates separate activities for teenagers...' and the only difference in the age of the internet and social networking tools is that 'in the last few years they have begun doing it online.' And in a big way!

Danah Boyd highlighted four points in her panel presentation that educators could make use of in those 'teachable moments' when discussing issues such as those raised in the media.
These are:
(1) Persistence - ... longevity of online comments (2) Searchability (3) Replicability - ... eg IM conversations in other places ... and (4) Invisible Audiences.
Those 'teachable moments' rely on teachers themselves being fully aware of the issues and grasping opportunities to increase the information literacies of young people growing up in an always on, connected world. Those opportunities are sorely restricted where extreme filtering prevents access for teachers and students.

As I write this, I have just seen that Graham Wegner, Teaching Generation Z, has added his views on 'online presence' and internet safety in an extensive post about Identity/you/me/them/us on his blog.
".... I reckon educators need to be having open, awareness raising conversations with their students and logically covering all of the bases that assist these kids to be safe, ethical and in control."
He has put out an open invitation to anyone interested in collaborating on development of support resources aimed at middle school. Count me in, Graham.

In an era when schools are expected to add road safety, education about drugs, health, fitness, nutrition and obesity, sex education, financial literacy and more to the curriculum, Graham's suggestions make sense for 21st century learning environments.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Best of Web2.0 (2006)

Dion Hinchliffe's "The Best of Web2.0 software (2006) " a sequel to his enormously popular "best of ... in 2005" has already been viewed over 17,000 times.
Dion rates 2006 as "one of the most remarkable growth surges in Web application history."
Winners (and runners up) in many categories would probably bring no arguments (eg. MySpace in Social Networks, YouTube in Social Media Sharing and Zoho Office2.0 suite in this category.

However, I was very surprised to see him rate StumbleUpon ahead of del.icio.us in social bookmarking. I rate Pageflakes just ahead of Netvibes in personal start pages with YourMinis (recently relaunched as reviewed by Techcrunch) a definite watch in this space.
Dion predicts a bright future for mashups in 2007 and this is an area I intend to explore further and all things Ajax in 2007.
Meanwhile, Flickr goes from strength to strength.

Dion's article highlights the growing number of quality web apps in many Web2.0 categories and the huge growth in interest and adoption of these (largely free) tools which are changing the ways we operate, communicate, collaborate, relate ...
And how much of this is evident in education, particularly the schools sector?

"We have begun moving all our software, data, and even our social activities onto the Web en masse and the demand for high-quality online sites and applications that support this shift in primary focus from the PC to the Internet." (Dion Hinchliffe)

Dion's excellent Web2.0 Journal along with Techcrunch, Programmable Web (mashups), Shambles in S.E. Asia Web2.0 and eHub, are favourite sources of up to date information, views and reviews.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Cool Tools to explore

So many cool tools to explore with potential for use by educators (for professional learning and classroom) and students!

Tiny Map provides a simple web app based on Googlemaps, waypoints and embedded notes to quickly create a map and unique URL/code for each map. The example here represents Victoria Square, the centre of the city of Adelaide, South Australia.

Other tools with potential include: Woophy (not in the Flickr league (a favourite) but an interesting map-based interface, themed photo contest and ratings);

Yahoo! Pipes (create data mashups and remix popular feed types); Sketchr (Draw, save and share your online art); Yugma (free web conferencing service); Flash Earth; Basecamp (project management); Leafletter (mini website); Letterpop; Mapwing – virtual tours; Scrapblogs; Many Eyes (data visualisation) and more, including a variety of mashups, audio and geospatial tools.

The open source authoring tool, eXe , particularly the 0.20.2 (ready to run version) is very promising. It includes i-devices and pedagogical tips and facilitates re-mixing content, including Media Wiki content. eXe is an e-learning tool that provides professional web-publishing capabilities that can be easily referenced or imported by learning management systems. I use Moodle. Content can be exported, including SCORM objects. Forum activity suggests an increasing user base.

Any comments or examples from educators using any of these (or similar) tools?

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Visualising the Journey

A colleague, Ian, is utilising the nifty features now available in more and more sites integrating Web2.0 functionality to share his cycling exploits on his Riding the Trail blog.
Ian's latest post, 'Record your rides with Bikely!' provides an example whereby cyclists can share knowledge about their favourite bicycle routes using Bikely. Check out his latest journey from Adelaide to Goolwa in South Australia, enhanced by the visualisation and interactivity afforded by GoogleMaps.
I too, look forward to further enhancements in sharing the knowledge with the ability to add geocoded photos (eg from Flickr) to the trail. This has been promised in the next version of Bikely.
Timely, in view of the fabulous Tour Down Under about to begin in SouthOz next week!