Saturday, February 28, 2009

Google Notes is No More - Enter Zotero

Did you hear? Google has announced that they will not be spending any more time developing Google Notes. Google says that they will continue to support Google Notes but not improve upon it.

Although I have used Google notes some, I have not been an avid user. I am teaching a Seminar in Writing Graduate Papers now at the University of Northern Iowa and I was going to introduce Google Notes next week. Now we will go with Zotero.

Zotero is an add-in for Firefox that helps you collect, manage and cite your research sources. The latest version is 1.0.9 but there is a beta 1.5 version. I don't know the differences, but here are some notes about it.

Here is a pretty good video overview of Zotero 1.5 from Zoteron on YouTube.

Zotero also has a series of screencasts about Version 1.09. They give you an overview, finding items, managing your library, and other features. They even show how to connect Zotero with MS Word, Google Tools, and Flock.

Do you use Zotero or Google Notebook or Zoho or ????

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Tinkering as a Mode of Knowledge Production

Tinkering as a Mode of Knowledge Production in a Digital Age: John Seely Brown from carnegie commons on Vimeo.Wow! I just visited the Generation YES Blog and enjoyed listening to John Seely Brown discuss the importance of "Tinkering" to build knowledge. He is discussing the opportunities of working with others in a world where craftspeople will work "shoulder-to-shoulder" to develop new ideas. That is what the collaborative movement is all about. It is about people coming together to work together to develop knowledge and make a better world. This is only a 10-minute video and it is WELL WORTH the time. Watch it!

You should also go to the Gen YES blog to read what Sylvia Martinez has to say about this. She always has such great insight into such topics.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Using Web 2.0 Tools with University Students

Like a rainbowImage by Lillou Merlin via Flickr
Vinnie Vrotny recently asked me about how I use Web 2.0 tools with my students. I teach Instructional Technology courses at the University of Northern Iowa. I teach an Emerging Instructional Technologies course where I use many of these tools but we integrate them throughout the rest of the courses as well. Here is a list of links to examples of how we use these tools.

Wikibook - Instead of students writing individual research papers for the course, we created an on-line collaborative wikibook. We used the actual Wikimedia software. It was interesting to see that we needed to address topics differently when writing online than when writing on paper. How to determine the length of the paper? (Not pages, but words). How to cite (Reference list? URL? Both?)

RWLDs - The information that you want students to discuss is not always in the book. We have developed Readings, Watchings, Listenings and Doings (RWLD) pages where students can find links to readings, videos, podcasts and things to do. We have found that more students do their homework with RWLDs because they are in a media form that is more appealing. I might point out that we post thes in a Blog form so that the students can subscribe to them like any other blog. Here is an example of one that I used in my Emerging Instructional Technologies course last Fall.
Google Forms - Google forms is probably the most exciting collaborative opportunity that I have found. Google has simplified the prociess of creating an online form to not much more than defining the headings on a spreadsheet. We create and use these forms to elicit student input during and after class. One application that I found interesting was using a Google form to collect evaluation information after I gave a digital portfolio workshop.

Digital Portfolios on Google Sites - Google Sites has made creating digital portfolios a snap. 5 years ago, Andrew Krumm and I created some templates for creating professional digital portfolios. These are housed at (Digital Portfolios Made Easy). Originally, we made them using Word or HTML templates. Lately, we have created Google Sites templates and all of our Educational Technology and Design students create their digital portfolios using these templates. Here are some examples Example 1 Example 2 Here is a link to an hour and 45 minute workshop on creating a digital portfolio using Google Sites

CoverItLive - Recently we have been experimenting with using an open chat line during lectures. We have been using It is moderated by another professor to ensure that discussion stays on-topic. See the next blog posting down below to actually see the transcript for one of the sessions.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Coveritlive in the Classroom

I am going to be presenting lectures today about Media Evaluation in our Educational Technology and Design here at the University of Northern Iowa. We are looking for new ways to use laptops/smart phones to make the class more interactive so we are going to incorporate so that the students will be able to discuss the materials in a back channel while I am speaking.

I created an account and am embedding the Coveritlive window here in my blog. I will have another person in the back of the lecture hall moderating the discussion while I am speaking.

You can follow along at 6:00 pm CST. We will be talking about Media Evaluation. I would love to have your input.

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