• The Zen of Cutting Paper Published 2009-03-25 under ,

    peace Given the choice of clip art or scissors with construction paper, which would you choose to create your next presentation? Read on to hear the story of one presentation where this technologist decided to go "unplug".

    You are asked to create a presentation on 21st Century Skills to be given to the school board next week. Your first step ... sit down at the computer, fire up PowerPoint or Keynote and get stared! OK, we are educators. We know that this approach is a bit hasty. We need a plan.

    Being the presentation guru, you outline the goals of the presentation and key points that you want to convey to your audience. You then outline the approach - decide what you are going to say. Finally you think about the content remembering that each slide (the visuals) should enhance what you are saying.

    After you have the plan, you return to your computer and begin crafting the presentation. This is where I took a different path in a recent presentation. Normally I follow my traditional method - opening Fireworks, developing a visual template, and filling each page/slide with text/images according to my outline. [note: I use Fireworks instead of Powerpoint as it gives me better control and more options. When done, I usually output the file as a PDF.]

    This time, I took a few of my daughter's coloring books (with permission of course) and found images consistent with my plan. I cut these images out and glued them to pieces of large construction paper. The process of cutting and gluing was much more satisfactory than moving the mouse around the screen. It also allowed me to enlist the help of my daughter - her condition for using her coloring book. I had a great time working with her and the end product was unique. The presentation went over really well and they all loved my "mystery slide" that I through in. It was the page Ruby constructed on her own with her favorite pictures. While it did not tie directly into the topic, it was a source for humor as the audience tried to guess its relevance.

    The next time you give a presentation, or better yet, you assign your kids to create a Powerpoint, consider the low tech solution. We did this in a recent tech ed forum and the results were fantastic.

  • Developing Your Delicious Network Published 2009-03-19 under , ,

    delicious man Social networks are wonderful, but how do you develop one? This post looks at ideas for adding to your network of Delicious users - you will be surprised what you find.

    Do you have a Delicious Network? You know, a network of Delicious users that you follow to see what wonderful things they are bookmarking. What? You don't! Well - you are in for a treat.

    Note: if you are new to Delicious and social bookmarking, read my earlier post: What is Delicious?

    Delicious - the social bookmarking site - has a feature called your Network where you select other Delicious users to follow. When you go to your Network page on Delicious.com you will see a list of the most recent bookmarks created by folks in your network. Remember, really smart people surround themselves with even smarter people. Your Delicious Network is a place where you can piggyback on the smarts of others.

    Here is my network. These folks represent learners that I respect and I can't tell you how many ideas and resources that I have gotten from the bookmarks created by my network. Someone recently asked how I keep up to date on some much that is on the web. My Delicious Network!

    During my presentation on use of Delicious as a tool for educators at the 2009 CUE Conference, I was asked how I developed my Delicious Network. The short answer is that I don't really remember how I got started (it was a while ago). But this got me thinking: how does one develop a social network?

    Here are a few ideas that I can share (one actually is not mine) and I would love to hear of your ideas.

    Vicki Davis Online
    • From Blogs As you read your favorite blogs, look for the author's Delicious user name. For example, Vicki Davis - aka CoolCatTeacher is known as brightideasguru. (see image to right)
    • Referrals Take a look at who other Delicious users have in their network. If you look at Will Richardson's network, you will have a list of hundreds of folks to follow. (Actually, he only has 55 in his network)
    • Explore - Look for Fans As mentioned, Will follows 55 folks in his network. But there are over 1000 others that are fans of Will. These are delicious users who have added Will to their network. Clicking on their name will give you a list of their bookmarks. If you find someone interesting - that is someone that bookmarks regularly and has similar tastes in topics - add him/her to your network.
    • Reverse Engineer Go to Delicious and search for a topic of interest - say "calculus visualization". Be sure to select "search everyone's bookmarks", and you will get not only a list of some interesting sites/resources, you will also see who has included them in their bookmarks. On the right will be a number. This is the total number of other Delicious users who have bookmarked that same link. Click on the number and you can see each of their Delicious screen (user) names. What is even better - you can also see the comments that they included when the bookmarked the site. Good commentators can make for good folks to add to your network.
    • delicious4teachers During my presentation, someone (sorry - forgot your name) turned me onto delicious4teachers, a PBwiki PBworks wiki where you can find teachers using Delicious by subject and because it is a wiki, add your name to your areas of interest.
    • Ask! Finally, ask those that you think are continually looking to improve themselves. Ask them if they have a Delicious account. If they do, great - add them to your network. If not, talk them into creating one. I have encouraged several colleagues to join Delicious and they are part of my network.

    Don't forget, I would love to include you in my network. Just drop me a line via rob [at] digiwalks [dot] org.

  • What is Delicious? Published 2009-03-09 under , ,

    delicious logo A primer on social bookmarking - in case you want to "get on board".

    At the CUE conference this year I presented Delicious: Innovation in Education. Rachel, one of the attendees, offered a very interesting comment: "I love Delicious and have been trying to get other teachers to use it for years. But no one seems to know about it [Delicious or social bookmarking ]." I suggested the presentation thinking most folks know of Delicious and are using some form of social bookmarking. Goes to show - you should always test your assumptions!

    With this comment fresh in my mind, I offer this primer on Delicious and social bookmarking. Actually, this is more of a resource for finding out more about this very useful (and for me - indispensable) tool.

    • Before you do anything, check out the Common Craft video on social networking. It is a great introduction and like all of their videos - entertaining.
    • Next, go to Educause and check out 7 Things You Should Know About Social Networking. Educause's "7 Things You Should Know" series is a great place to get information on most Web 2.0 technologies from an educators standpoint.
    • Of course, Wikipedia has an entry on Social Bookmarking for those that want even more information.
    • OK, now you are sold. Time to get started with a Delicious account. Delicious has a Getting Started guide that walks you through the process.
    • If you want to read more, check out "Delicious in Education" by Gabriela Grosseck. It is not light reading but offers a some good ideas.
    • Finally, you can see all of my links relating to Delicious and social bookmarking here. Yes, it is a link to Delicious - all of my bookmarks tagged with "del.icio.us".
    • In a future post, I will be talking more about using Delicious to develop a professional learning network. [link to post coming here]