Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Kathy Dryburgh photo...

In case you run into me in Second Life, here is what Kathy Dryburgh looks like.

Kathy Dryburgh

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Sunday, March 25, 2007

Kathy Dryburgh's trip to Second Life

Well, I have had my avatar (Kathy Dryburgh) in Second Life since last December, but just took the time today to both edit it (so it looked a little more like me) and spend some time figuring out how the interface works. My home is the ISTE Second Life building, and I met some ed tech folks who helped me out with some of the things I did not know how to do (like point!) There is a lot to learn, but at least I feel comfortable with the interface now and will make time to attend ISTE sessions and talks in the environment.

I felt like I was on a real trip, so I took some photos while I was visiting. You can view the small photo album here if you wish.

If you have not tried Second Life give it a try. Once you do, and once the real-time audio functionality is available for all later this spring, you will imagine all types of educational uses of it! Even without the interactive audio, it is a fun and interesting concept to explore. Look me up when you are using it!

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Saturday, March 24, 2007

Googlepedia rocks!

Michael Miller has recently written a wonderful, easy-to-read, reference book entitled Googlepedia, which includes information about many of the Google tools -- everything from Google Search to Google Earth to Froogle and everything in-between! This 700+ page book is full of explanations and tips and tricks for using each one of the Google tools.

I consider myself a pretty experienced searcher and I always start on the advanced search page of Google, and suggest others do, too, but Miller provides lots of tips that are applicable to both the simple and advanced search boxes.

For example, in just four pages in the book I learned:

  • Capitalization in the search terms does not matter to the Google engine.

  • The order you put the words in the search box DOES matter. Google gives the first word more weight than the second, etc., so always lead with the most important word in your search (if you are not using a phrase)

  • If you are creating the search yourself, and using Boolean search terms, remember to capitalize OR and NOT and AND so they are not ignored as stop words.

  • Google does not allow stemming with a wildcard character, but automatically returns results that include variations of the search terms like plurals and other forms of the word (i.e. educator, educators)

  • If you want to limit your hits a bit, you can search just the text that appears on the Web page (and eliminate the search term when appears in the URL or title tag of a page) by typing the word "intext:" in front of your keywords (without the quotation marks.

If you want to become a more proficient searcher, as well as learn how to navigate Blogger, Google Maps, Google Desktop, Google Blog Search, Picasa, and many more of the Google tools, buy this book!

MLA Citation (created by submitting the ISBN number to Ottobib.com, a great site to show your students!)

Miller, Michael. Googlepedia. Indianapolis: Que, 2006.

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Friday, March 16, 2007

Facebook as an "official" communications tool

I am putting together a school district brochure and I wanted to use a picture from last year in which two recent graduates from our high school appear. Since the picture was taken by my son, I went into Facebook and requested permission for use from the photographer and the two subjects using the messaging function within Facebook.

Besides having the answers back from all involved in less than an hour, the message page, when printed out, includes both my initial request and their answer, and is date and time-stamped.

Social networking at its best!


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Saturday, March 10, 2007

Scribd, part 2

There is also a way to embed the created document into a blog page or Web page, and thanks to one of the co-founders for reminding me of how to do that. (The resulting Flash document had to be made a little smaller for this blog's format.) The FAQ's of Scribd may be found here to find out more.

One other thought...for those that have to create a PDF file, the "download as PDF file" is a very useful component, too!

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Friday, March 09, 2007


Okay...this is tool is cool! Sign up for a free account, and upload a PDF, DOC, PPT, XLS, TXT, etc. to their library, where it is turned into an Adobe Flash Paper document. It will be a public document, however.

Here is one that I uploaded:

What I find really fascinating is that the text of the document can be read-aloud to the person viewing the presentation! (Click on the little gray control panel on the right!)

In addition, the user can download the document as PDF, plain text, and the read-aloud audio can be downloaded as an MP3 file! What easier way to get a document onto an audio player-- simply upload it to Scribd, download the MP3, and load it onto an iPod or other audio device!

I find this too cool for words. The ease-of-use is extraordinary!

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