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.