So, this is long overdue. But now you can follow my on Facebook and get regular updates on my blog through everyone's favorite social network!
Just click here: http://www.facebook.com/MeAndMyLaptop
I've tried several different social networking sites, including Facebook, MySpace, and Ning. Now, I'm branching out and "playing" with Twitter. I know what you might be thinking--now Twitter? You're just now discovering it? Doesn't that put you light years behind most technology enthusiasts? Well, you might be right. In fact, I've avoided Twitter for quite some time, until I decided to make the leap in order to follow The Cultural Collaboratory, a professional group of educators that I belong to.
I've actually had a Twitter account for a few months, but was strictly using my account to create screencasts using Screenr, which is a Twitter application that I absolutely LOVE! I've posted lots of videos on this blog that were created using Screenr. In my opinion, Screenr is the simplest and most intuitive screencasting application out there. I also love that I don't have to download anything, it's completely free, and I can share my screencasts immediately... but I digress.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with Twitter, it's a microblogging platform. Like other blogs, you get to publish your thoughts to an audience of followers. However, with Twitter, you can see who your followers are, and who they are following, allowing you to expand your network extensively. Twitter posts--called tweets--are limited to a mere 140 characters, which means that all of your posts have to be clear and concise.
I initially hesitated to use Twitter for blogging because I didn't want to get too wrapped up in one more blogging platform; after all, I've experience firsthand how much time can be swallowed up in one Facebook sitting. However, I have to admit that I really do like a few aspects of Twitter. I do like that tweets are brief. Also, there seems to be less emotional purging going on with Twitter than with MySpace or Facebook. Twitter seems like a better option for professional networking, where the people and organizations that I respect won't see pictures of me asleep on my sister's couch or my dogs wearing clothes. (I mean, really, some things are better left to the imagination.) So, for personal rants and keeping in touch with old friends, I'm sticking with Facebook; but for professional networking, I'm tweeting.
Want to follow me on Twitter? I'd love to have you as a follower! Better yet, see who I'm following. Or let me follow you... http://twitter.com/#!/jepilgreenss
For Internet safety reasons, I do not want my students using actual photos of themselves online. Instead, I've been compiling a list of websites that I can direct my students to where they can create fun avatars. Click on an image below for the web address where the avatar was created, or click on the hyperlinks below the images. All of the avatars below were created by me after "playing" with the websites, so I have tested each of them personally. All of the avatar creators are completely free, and none of them require any downloading.
In addition to creating avatars for Internet safety when participating in web publishing, discussion boards, and social networking, avatar can also be animated for presentations. Voki allows user to add audio files to avatars. Picture files can also be manipulated with a website such as Blabberize, or a paid program like CrazyTalk.
Note: Some website may contain unsuitable items (for example, the South Park avatar creator allows users to add alcoholic beverages to their avatar). Preview the website that you plan to use in order to make sure that it is appropriate for your students.
Top Row (L-R): South Park Avatar, Simpsons Avatar, Mii Avatar
Middle Row (L-R): Scott Pilgrim Avatar, Diary of a Wimpy Kid Avatar, Anime Avatar
Third Row (L-R): Voki Avatar (talking avatar), Stick Person Avatar, Mad Men Avatar
Bottom Row (L-R): WeeMee Avatar, Doppel Me Avatar, FaceYourManga Avatar
My Fake Wall allows user to create fake Facebook walls for fictional (or nonfictional) characters. The fake wall to the left is from the website's "Favorite Fake Walls." This would make an excellent exercise for introducing characterization. I would love to see a chemistry teacher have students create fake walls for different chemicals, or see a math teacher have students create walls for different geometric shapes or theorems.
Edmodo is, to put in simplest terms, Facebook for education. Students will find it easy to use because they are already familiar with the format. Post questions and let your students respond. Upload files, administer polls, share links, subscribe your learners to RSS feeds--there are TONS of possibilities! Organize with ease by grouping students by class. Let students respond to each other's posts as a wonderful way to brainstorm ideas and gather feedback. You can also create and maintain a class calendar. Edmodo is completely safe and secure, and students can even access it from their Smart phones.
For more information on Edmodo, visit their FAQ page here.
Dr. Jessica Pilgreen, Ed.D.