Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Dealing with TMI

Originally uploaded by SteveHargadon
Too much information. My kids call it "511" when someone tells too much of a story (411 +). I'm way past 511, and have been closing in on 911 with this information overload, desperately needing help. Every day I find more audio, pdf, and rss content than I know how to deal with.

Part of the difficulty is the need I feel to store, hoard, save, print, and process. (Did I include "create?" ) My old habits come from the pre-Internet world I grew up in. (That's partly why the iPhone is such an amazing paradigm shift--always on Net means you don't have to store the .mp3 or video to listen to/watch it later...)

So Twitter for me has been just one more list of things to read, and a new source of worry that I might "miss" something. So I just gave it up. Went cold turkey. I stopped looking at Twitter. Turned my back on the cutting edge. But today, in one of those moments of serendipity, looking at my extra LCD monitor, and reading about Twittercamp again in the context of the Learning 2.0 Conference in Shanghai, I took a few minutes (OK, an hour) and set up the monitor for extended desktop viewing and put Twittercamp on the secondary monitor.

Wow. What a difference. Twitter feeds there, just as many as before, interesting but not compulsively interruptive. Twittercamp has new items do a slow "burst" onto the screen, so you know something new has come up, and can look over to the right spot when you want. But there is something more going on.

The old tweets just go away. Because Twittercamp is highly visual, an old tweet going away is somehow natural. Not like looking at Twitter in other forms. The posts are also placed randomly on the screen, which adds to the effect of the information being transient. As if to say, "this is possibly good information to have, but perishable." Somehow, when the tweets are off the Twittercamp screen, I don't feel that I need to have seen every one.

I can imagine having a large screen on the wall, at home or work, just giving glimpses of the lives of those in our separate spheres. Add their latest video and still images, some news feeds, and I begin to see a vision of where this technology may lead.

UPDATE: Need to mention that running on Windows, Twittercamp has had some troubles--something happens and it stops showing updates, and you have to restart the program. Maybe restart a couple of times. And I can think of one huge improvement right away: some light color coding to show how recent posts are. That would be an amazing improvement.

SECOND UPDATE: When having trouble with Twittercamp, I tried another Twitter display program (Twitteroo) and found that it, too, was not picking up feeds. So some of what I may have attributed to Twittercamp may actually be Twitter-related. More serendipity: when I had Twitteroo and Twittercamp both open, I loved hearing the Twitteroo sound announcing new tweets.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Conference 2.0

I just created a "Conference 2.0" page of ideas that I (and others) have had for bringing the tools of Web 2.0 to ed tech conferences. It all started for me with EduBloggerCon in Atlanta, and I know these ideas have been spreading through many others. Some of these ideas I have made formal proposals to do for different shows, where having someone with experience would be helpful, but I don't consider the ideas "mine" in any way. It's a fun list to look at, and hopefully we can have some fun adding to and refining the ideas. The page is at:

Panel Discussions at CUE and NECC

There has been such a positive response to the idea of setting up panel discussions for the CUE and NECC ed tech shows that I thought I'd better do some organizing.

We're currently working on two different panel topics for each of those shows. I've created a way for you to indicate your interest in participating in either or both. First, what the panels will be:

1. "Classroom 2.0: The Use of Web 2.0 and Collaborative Technologies in the Classroom." Nine of us did a 90-minute panel on this topic for the Office 2.0 show in San Francisco, and much of the fun was establishing as quickly as we could a collaborative environment with the audience. We provided the audience an online survey for the topics to be discussed, and then followed their preferences, as well as providing a mechanism for asking questions throughout (the group was small enough, as it turned out, to just have them raise their hands...). Sylvia Martinez has submitted a proposal to CUE to hold a panel discussion on this topic at their annual conference, and I am submitting one to NECC.

2. "Social Networking in Education." The use of social networking tools (Ning, Imbee, etc.) for classroom and professional development is a fascinating topic, and with the growth of the Classroom 2.0 social network, and many others, also seems to be worth focusing on. I've submitted a proposal to CUE for a panel on this as well, and will do the same for NECC.

Rather than try to keep track of information about all of you, I've set up two pages on my EdTechLive wiki where you can put in your name and information--not just for these shows, but to show your availability potentially for other shows as well. There isn't any way that all who are interested are going to be able to participate in the panels at NECC and CUE, but there are lots of other shows as well--as many have let me know! Also, I'm asking both CUE and NECC if they will provide a "Classroom 2.0" meeting area, like the Bloggers' Cafe at NECC last year, and there will surely be lots of fun organizing to do for those areas if we get them.

The page for potential panelist information for "Classroom 2.0" (Web 2.0 tools) is

The page for potential panelist information for "Social Networking in Education" is

Please go to either or both and promote yourself. (You'll have to join the wiki to be able to edit it.) Looking forward to collaborations ahead!

Thursday, September 13, 2007's Open Source Pavilion - Call for Presenters

OK, so the annual conference is not until March 0f 2008, but we have to get potential presenters for the Open Source track to submit their presentation proposals by September 16th!

Here's the submission URL:

This is always a fun show, and hope those with Free and Open Source software expertise will consider submitting to present.

K-12 Open Source Conference October 9 - 11, 2007

The first K-12 Open Minds conference is going to be held October 9 - 11, 2007, in Indianapolis, Indiana. The kick-off reception is Tuesday, the 9th, with the regular conference sessions on Wednesday and Thursday, the 10th & 11th.

For me, this is the must-attend event of the year relating to Free and Open Source Software in K-12 education. There are more tracks and topics that I already want to see than I will have time to attend. There are currently over 55 planned conference sessions, covering a the use of Linux and Open Source use in classroom, teaching, technical, and leadership aspects.

The individual registration fee is $100, or $89 each for groups of three or more. Register on the website or call Anthony Yanez, Registration Coordinator, at 800.940.6039, extension 1348.

Holding the conference in Indianapolis has two distinct advantages. The first is that nice hotel rooms are available for under $100/night at the conference location (Sheraton) if you book before the 19th of September. Considering that the last conference I went to, the hotel cost for one night was more than this conference, and three days of hotel, all combined, makes this the bargain of the year.

The second benefit is that the conference is being organized by Mike Huffman and Laura Taylor, whose rich credentials in the area of actual implementation of Free and Open Source Software in K-12 education are really unparalleled in the United States. See my interview with them, and an audio recording of their session at NECC 2007, on my EdTechLive website.

Mike is also preparing blog tags for the sessions, and I'll post on that as soon as we have that information. I hope to see a lot of you there. Wednesday night is free, and it would be fun to have dinner and socialize.

$10k Annual Scholarship for U.S. College Blogger

The Daniel Kovach Scholarship Foundation has announced the submission deadline for their annual $10,000 college blogger scholarship. Full details and the nomination form are available at:

Application Deadline: October 6, 2007
Award Dates: November 8 & 9, 2007, at the Blog World and New Media Expo in Las Vegas

  • Student blog must contain unique and interesting information (no spam bloggers)
  • Student blogger must maintain their own individual blog or blog on a community blog
  • Student blogger must currently attending full-time in post-secondary education in the United States
  • Student blogger must maintain a 3.0 GPA
  • Student blogger must be U.S. citizen or permanent resident
Any college student with a personal or professional blog is encouraged to apply. Student bloggers may also be nominated by friends or family.

Application entries will be accepted until Midnight, PST on Oct. 6th. Ten finalists will be chosen from the entries received, and public voting will begin at 9am EST on Oct. 8th to elect an exceptional student blogger for the $10,000 scholarship. The grand prizewinner will be announced at the Blog World and New Media Expo to be held November 8-9, 2007 in Las Vegas.

Site visitors, students, and other bloggers will be invited to vote for their favorite student blogs. The winning blog, as well as runners up, will be featured on the website.

Why a blogging scholarship? Students with the drive, devotion, and passion, to put their individual voice into a blog satisfy many of the mainstream scholarship criteria attached to other more traditional awards, including creativity and imagination, motivation and passion, and technical savvy. And many of them do it every day!

Exceptional bloggers are typically prolific, must be passionate about their subject matter, offer engaging and creative postings, and able to inspire and welcome commentary. The Blogging Scholarship aims to reward student blogs that stand out in design and usability, and clearly create a unique and individual "personality." Previous winners have blogged on politics, technology, and science and have proven their mettle with online communication and savvy. Winners are often experts in personal communication and expression—an increasingly rare commodity in contemporary business and society at large.

About, founded in 1999, provides free access to indexes of scholarship and grant programs. Students may search hundreds of free college money programs based on degree level, student type, or field of interest. The site also offers a spam-free search engine that frees prospective students and their parents from the cumbersome profiles required by most scholarship search services. The website has grown over the last few years into a multi-layered tool that lists scholarship and grant sources from federal, state, and private sources, along with sections devoted to student loans and lenders. The Blogging Scholarship is just one of a handful of lucrative scholarships extends to its patron students.

Contact Information:
Daniel Kovach
(919) 630-4895

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Big Questions About Web 2.0 in Education

Thursday, September 6th, at the Office 2.0 Conference in San Francisco, there will be a panel discussion on "Classroom 2.0" and the use of Web 2.0 software in education. A wiki with the panel members and more information is here.

As preparation for the panel, an Office 2.0 Conference group in our Classroom 2.0 social network has been formed to allow for the discussion of ten possible panel topics. We will be encouraging the Office 2.0 Conference attendees to join the group and participate in the discussions during and after the conference. We believe that some in the edublogosphere will be interested as well, and hope you will contribute your wisdom! The discussions have been placed in a group in order not to overwhelm the regular Classroom 2.0 dialog.

Here are links to the forum discussions in that group:
1. Is Web 2.0 a good fit for education?
2. Is Web 2.0 significant to future student achievement, workplace skills, information literacy, and digital citizenship?
3. Do we need to start teaching "digital citizenship?"
4. Are the formal structure of education changing because of online learning, and what roles can Web 2.0 software play in those changes?
5. Technology decision-making in schools: The divide between IT and the classroom, and why is it so hard to implement new technologies in education?
6. How much commercialization should be allowed in the classroom and in the school?
7. The conflict between school security issues and the innovative technologies of Web 2.0
8. Publicly shared lives: how transparent should students lives be, and is it appropriate for students to be "clickable?"
9. The training gap: professional development and rapid technological change. How do we train a huge workforce in skills that are just being understood?
10. How important is equitable access to technology, and do the tools of Web 2.0 change that?