Sunday, November 20, 2005

Kathy Schrock's Konsumer Korner

If you are a techno-gadget geek like I am, I am sure you get all types of questions around the holiday time of the year about digital cameras, camcorders, laptops, digital audio players, and many other types of gadgets that your friends and colleagues are wanting to purchase.

Today (11/20/05), in the Sunday newspaper Parade Magazine, the issue is devoted to technology gadgets, podcasting, and online shopping tips for tech. If you already recycled the Sunday paper, the archive of the articles may be found online here starting 11/28/05. Of course, as the Gadget Queen, I own many of the items in the article already. My most current purchase, due to ship this week, is the Fujitsu P1510D convertible tablet PC with the Tablet PC 2005 OS (which showed up as available last week and should show up again soon; it is back up today, 11/22/05).

As technology mentors to others, it is important we keep up with both technology tools that can impact teaching and learning, and those which our teachers and staff may be interested in for themselves. I am conducting an afterschool workshop early in December, called Kathy's Konsumer Korner, and we are spending an hour deciphering the cryptic (to some!) tech terminology found in advertisers' ads. I will also be giving a few hints on what to look for when purchasing various products. The participants are encouraged to come with questions as well as to bring their credit cards if they want some help with their first online purchase. That presentation will be available online on this page as of 11/22/05, in the Techno-Monday Workshop Handouts section.

I also have an entire presentation dealing with gadgets that I have been presenting and refining for the past year or so. The most current version in PDF format may be found here if you are interested. However, without my pithy comments, it is a bit hard to follow!


Thursday, November 17, 2005

Web 2.0

Tim O'Reilly, President and CEO of O'Reilly Media, recently wrote an article entitled "What is Web 2.0: Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software." This article discusses the evolution of the Web into its next generation of providing applications and interfaces that are significantly different than the ones we are used to via the Web. This is a business article, and rather technical at times, but it will give you a taste of the direction it seems the Internet is headed.

One of the basic tenets of Web 2.0 is that the Web is a place for remixing of content, whether by the user or by the content providers. This article, Web 2.0: Bootstrapping the Social Web, written by Richard McManus and Joshua Porter, gives a Web content designer's overview of what Web 2.0 means.

I am particularly interested in Web 2.0's concept of providing Web services and "moving away from place." I think, for our students and schools, this idea of your applications and data living on the Web, available where you are and on all types of devices, is powerful. In our schools, there are students who do not have a computer at home but use their friend's, the school library's, or the public library's computers. Applications distributed over the Web allow them access to the same software and storage of their data at any computer, no matter how locked down it is locally.

Some of the online applications and services we have students using include:

ThinkFree Office Online, an online application which provides a word processing, spreadsheet, and presentation component, an online word processing and, more importantly for our students, collaboration tool

YouSendIt, a short-term online data storage site which allows students to move a file up to it, and retrieve the file in another location

Have you found any online applications that are useful for you, your teachers, or your students? Please share!

Kathy Schrock

PS...Doug Johnson has some interesting ideas on a collaborative set of ISTE/AASL standards to help us all move towards Web 2.0 together!