Friday, January 20, 2006

ICT Lecture: Read/Write Web, Web 2.0, Web: The Next Generation, ...

There are loads of things I want to blog about following last Friday's lectures but I have been completely snowed under with marking. Can I state here for the record: I hate marking. No, that's not right, I really hate marking. Don't get me wrong, I know how important assessment is but I hate the process of sitting down with thirty-odd 3500 word essays and knowing that you have no choice but to get on with it and mark them all. However, I am getting through them slowly but... er... slowly, and I think I have earned some time off to blog.

So here is part one with a brief description of what I was talking about at the start of my lecture and some links that will hopefully be of some use. A link to a streamed video feed of both my lecture and Ewan's will follow in the next post.

Chris left a comment on my previous post about whether students should get lecturer's notes or if they should make their own. Here's my presentation. As I said to Chris, I am not sure how much use it is to students without the addition of their own notes from the lecture. A couple of comments on it before continuing. Firstly, I did a copy and paste from my previous presentation but forgot to change the 2 to a 3 on the title screen - so it still says "Teaching and the Internet 2" instead of "Teaching and the Internet 3". Sorry. Secondly, I didn't have enough time to show all the slides and skipped the last few to go straight to some demonstrations. I was going to use my iPod and iTunes as a way in to talk about and the social tagging and community building it supports, but I decided to go straight in to instead. I've posted about before. If you want to see the kind of music I listen to, have a look at my page. I'll say a bit more about in my next post.

Darth Tater's iPod
Darth Tater's iPod,
originally uploaded by DavidDMuir.
The Darth Tater photo used in the presentation has already caused a bit of discussion. A student emailed me because she was having and an argument with her son. He said it was a potato, she said it was an egg. He was right of course, but mum could salvage a bit of pride because he thought it was a Spud Trooper. Here's a picture of both in case you are interested. If you go to my Darth Tater photo, you'll see that it has gathered a few comments. Feel free to add your own ideas about why Darth is listening to U2. (Again, I'll say a bit more about Flickr in my next post.)

My lecture started with some thoughts about searching the web. My argument was that search engines are trying to get even smarter and that we should use them to do the grunt work as much as possible. To illustrate this I used Teoma and demonstrated how it shows suggestions on how to refine your search as well as collections of links from experts and enthusiasts. I also showed some of Google's tools: Personalised Search and Google Suggest, before briefly touching on Google Map and Google Earth. I didn't take the time to demonstrate Google Earth, but if you haven't already installed it - what are you waiting for? I think there are all sorts of educational uses for this type of software. See for example Ollie Bray on how he uses it for land use studies and for annotating with an Interactive Whiteboard. Also, have a look at the Google Earth Community for all sorts suggestions on educational uses of Google Earth. They are not all geography based, for example I saw one that was a maths exercises involving Spanish football pitches!

Please leave a comment here if you have any good ideas about using Google Earth in the classroom.

Before leaving searches and moving on to social networking tools, I mentioned how you can use search engine technology to keep track of the stuff on your own computer. This appeals to me as it seems much more sensible to let the computer look after where stuff is rather than trying to force the user to develop more effective filing habits. I like the way these tools don't just look at file names, but look at the content too. I also like it that they are so fast. I've talked about flat hierachies before, so in this post I'll just give you links to Copernic (the one I use on my Windoze machine), Desktop Google and Yahoo Desktop Search. The Macintosh has this capability already built in to OS X. It is called Spotlight. Can anyone recommend any others?

That's all for now. In the next post I'll concentrate on social networking tools and give you the link to the video of our lectures. Before I can do that though... I have to mark a few more assignments.

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