Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Commentary: Sotir: Got Tech?

"Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" Arthur C Clark

Actually, most of the Web 2.0 apps DO feel like magic to me. I've been involved in technology since before the WWW existed, and started out creating BBS, a.k.a. the infamous Bulletin Board System, uploaded through FTP transfer and requiring all kinds of magic codes to operate. Knowing what it took to upload to the Internet in the early days makes the new systems even more impressive. I look at a lot of sites, but my new favorites (and some 'oldies' but goodies) include:
Blogs and Wikis: How could I ignore my absolute favorite tools? I've been blogging since 2003, and love the transformation in how much easier it is to upload everything from photos to widgets. I also like browsing through other Ed Tech Blogs to get a sense of what else is out there. There's a list of my favorite 'others' in the right column of this Blog.
Gabcasts and Podcasts: Still make me smile every time I think about creating an audio podcast with nothing more than a regular phone and some site-generated code. Podcasts are also quite easy to create now that webcams are more plentiful. And thank you, Apple, for making the process effortless and almost instantaneous.
TinyURL: I hate long and complicated URL addresses, mostly because I never type them in correctly the first time. This cuts them down to size.
Hotlists: Wonderful tool to compartmentalize the various Websites by skill or level. We have several on this site, and I'm sure we'll make more. Anything that works to narrow done the huge and daunting amount of sites is worthwhile to both instructors and students.
Microblog and social networking sites such as Jaiku and Twitter...just because I'm busy and it's an easy way to stay connected with friends and family.
Cool Web Sites: A lot of sites that can be adapted to educational settings. SnagFilms has free full-length documentaries, and Voice Thread lets you do classroom projects using photos and audio. Webquests can be used as online lessons, and TeacherTube has an abundance of good (and safe) videos that can be incorporated into lesson plans. Webware has wonderful 2.0 apps to view, and Widgetbox will supply an endless list of widgets to apply to your applications. Sometimes a tool like SlideShare comes along, and lets you share those longer PowerPoints that never quite fit in an email and put them directly in Blogs and Wikis. BabelFish allows you to translate your posts into another language. It isn't perfect, but it certainly helps.

I have URLs for all of the above listed sites in the right hand column. You could check the list and and click or just click on any of the underlined words in this post. Did I mention that I really like things that are easy to use?