Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Twitter & Copyright

As Twitter continues to engage the attention of microbloggers and media outlets alike, we may need to more carefully consider who owns the ideas being shared 140 or fewer characters at a time. The fact that Twitter has a built-in mechanism for filing copyright claims, underscores the reality that the Twitterverse exists in both the virual world and the real world.

The Law and Public Communication
According to The Independent, last week saw Courtney Love charged with libel, for comments made on Twitter. If short messages can get you into this kind of legal trouble, maybe the unauthorized use of tweets will one day lead to copyright claims? Yesterday's "Are Tweets Copyrighted" post by Mark Cuban has resulted in a number of comments, all considering the potential for such litigation.

Your Tweets are Public; are they Quoteable?
With media outlets now quoting the Twitterati, it may be time to consider licensing our tweets for such use. Will the reference of one's Twitter ID within a stream of scrolling tweets be enough to satisfy your attribution requirements?

Following Will Richardson's micro-response, I'd like to suggest that it might be worth taking the extra step of formally licensing your Tweets. As one who encourages students and teachers alike, to license their creative work, I've recently applied Creative Commons licensing directly to my Twitter page.

How Should We Behave?
The use of the retweet (RT) or partial retweet (PRT) is one more way that we can reference the origins the ideas in our posts. These few characters of attribution are one step in demonstrating a respect for copyright.

Is Copyright being Reconsidered by Twitter?
Although Twitter is functioning perfectly well for tweets, the Twitter Terms of Use page is giving a cryptic "Something is Technically Wrong" error tonight!

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Slidecasting: Where Learning Happens on the Back-Channel

While many have yet to discover the wonders of intentional back-channel discussions, Peter Purgathofer and his colleages at the University of Technology, in Vienna Austria, have continued to develop Slidecasting 2.0 as a way to focus back-channel discussions in a way that engages students in active, participatory learning.

If you ever find yourself preparing slideshows, or presenting workshops in a lecture format, you'll be very interested to learn more about Slidecasting, and to revel in Peter's passion for learning.

If you'd like to learn more about the origins of this project, check out the Slidecasting 2.0 Blog or visit our first conversation from the spring of 2008.

Friday, March 27, 2009

A Few Good Wikis

Major Mark Rea at the United States Military Academy at West Point is making use of video technology and Wetpaint Wikis to engage cadets in their learning about Military Movement. Today at noon, I had a brief conversation with Mark about how he's leveraging these technologies to teach aspiring military leaders.

Mark Rea’s Wetpaint Wikis
Military Movement/Gymnastics
Mark's Podcast Archive
Army Unit Fitness
Ultimate Frisbee
Faculty Development

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Top Ten Tech Tools (Spring 2009)

For the past many months, Jane Hart of the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies has been compiling lists of preferred e-learning tools, including my Top Ten Learning Technologies.

As we head into spring of 2009, I'm a bit surprised to find that my revised list now includes seven free web tools!

1. Blip.tv: Much of the creative work I do in support of e-teachers, is now in the form of video tutorials. For ease of upload, ultra-clear Flash conversions, and the ability to attach Creative Commons licensing to my work, my main PD Channel is at Blip.tv.

2. ScreenFlow: Optimized for OS 10.5, this is still most polished screen capture utility available. It's the best tool out there for creating engaging software demos and tutorials, but for PC users will have to stick with other options.

3. G-Mail: Simple, reliable, sortable, with effective filters (including spam filters) and plenty of room for large files and archives. The included writing tools and survey tools form a significant part of my 'cloud office'.

4. Skype: In communicating with educators around the world, it seems almost too easy to engage in rich conversations for free, courtesy of Skype. Although I also use Google Video Chat, Adobe Connect, iChat, and DimDim, the recent addition of screen-sharing to Skype, makes it my number one tool for connecting!

5. Blogger: I'm here many times a week, as this tool is responsible for hosting my blog: The Clever Sheep.

6. Tweetdeck: In the past, I've listed Twitter as the tool, but as my Twitter habit has led me to make greater use of hashtags and groups, Tweetdeck has become my tool of choice. On my iPhone, it's Twitterific, that I use to keep in touch.

7. Garageband: I've now produced over 170 episodes of my podcast, Teacher 2.0 using this tool, and although I'm now using the iLife '09 version, this app is still a staple in my e-learning work.

8. Compfight: I continue to make frequent use of Flickr's Creative Commons, but the elegant, user-friendly tool I use to access images, is Compfight

9. Keynote: Oooh-la-la! Stunning graphics, transitions and exports to clickable movie files, what more could you ask for in presentation software? I post my completed shows on Slideshare, but the live presentations take full advantage of this polished presentation powerhouse.

10. WetPaint: With so many of my projects calling for collaborative development of e-learning solutions, I've found myself spending more and more time on wikis. With free sites for educators, and unparalleled community tools, WetPaint wikis are the backbone of Twitter for Teachers, and The Golden Fleece Wiki.

Although I'm sad to see ScreenSteps, Google Reader, and Adobe Connect fall out of my top ten, I've found my time with these tools to be increasingly fragmented. As more and more of my work is done with cloud apps, a good case can also be made for Firefox as a top ten tool. Maybe next update?

Photo Credit: Yoppy

Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Power of Choice

Being able to remix off-the-shelf materials in order to create a unique product, is looking more and more like the future of retail. Is this also the future of education?

In the marketplace, Nike had a head start with an online tool that allows customers to create individualized footwear. Now new players, like Flip Video Designs, are joining the fray.

Does this model of allowing the consumer to select and create custom designs, fit with approaches that could be harnessed for student and teacher education? That's the topic for today's podcast.

Related Link:
Richard Baraniuk: Goodbye, textbooks; hello, open-source learning

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Some Things Never Change...

Facing the realities of today's digital world, print journalism, music, and television are all evolving to meet the demands of their increasingly tech savvy audiences. Newspapers, musicians and media producers have all had to adapt to the social realities of a hyper-connected world.

Today's podcast considers how educators might similarly adapt, to ensure their own academic relevance. Real change begins through thoughtful conversations...

Social Media is Here to Stay... Now What? by Danah Boyd
10 Ways Newspapers are using Social Media to Save the Industry

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Twitter as Searchable Thought Stream

Fresh on the heels of the first ever Educhat, I'm glad to share with you the discovery that Twitter is a Search Engine! While it doesn't necessarily search facts and content, it does search the most current thoughts and ramblings of millions of Twitterers.

If you'd like to see how magical a search of Twitter can be, try your own query at Twitter Search. There are a number of search operators you can employ, or you can augment your search by using the Advanced Twitter Search.

Thanks to M-T Hacks, I now read the pulse of the globe related to select Google searches in Firefox. I'm not sure how long Google will allow this script to work, but it's a fascinating way to see who's saying what related to the search terms you employ. In the screen capture below, you'll note that another Firefox plug-in, Feedly, allows my searches to reference RSS feeds from my Google Reader account.

At least for the time being, I'm happy that Firefox, Google, and a number of creative developers are playing nicely together. Still, I'm left wondering what might this mean for the future of search?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Why is the Fail Whale Smiling?

Yesterday, I had a chance to meet with over 130 educators who signed in to the Classroom 2.0 Live meeting, in an attempt to answer the question:

What is Twitter, and why should it matter to educators?

In attempting to answer this question, I condensed my thoughts to coincide with a number of sample tweets, which I paired with Creative Commons licensed images. The resulting slideshow goes a long way in demonstrating how people around the world are leveraging this powerful little micro-blogging tool.

While I do plan to update this presentation as new uses emerge, I was pleasantly surprised to see my work-in-progress slideshow highlighted as one of the 'Top Presentations of the Day' on Slideshare. My only regret is that I failed to use this opportunity to highlight the first organized Educhat, scheduled for:

Monday, March 9th from 8:30 - 9:30 p.m. Eastern Time.

If you have the time, the recorded Classroom 2.0 Live session adds complementary context to the presentation.

Thursday, March 5, 2009


A few days ago, I shared brief overviews of a number of e-Portfolio Tools, and I am now exploring how students and teachers can use these tools to collect and share evidence of learning.

In order to help me explain the ease of use of one specific e-portfolio tool, I recently took advantage of an opportunity to meet with Steve Greenwood and Peter Frasca, two lead members of the development team at Drop.io. In this podcast, Steve and Peter highlight a number of educational applications of their media sharing tool; in addition, they provide insight into the commitment, teamwork and values that ensure the continued evolution of Drop.io.

If you or someone you know is actively enploying e-portfolio tools, I'd love to share your story in this space... Feel free to drop me a line!

The PICOL Project

What happens when educators allow students to use their varying creative talents in producing unique works in order to meet course expectations?

The PICOL project is one example, that might herald the creation of a new open source visual language. The interview below gives you some insight into how Melih Bilgil created an original icon set that has the potential for changing the way we communicate ideas in digital media.

The video Melih produced to demonstrate the potential for the PICOL project, is outstanding start to his e-portfolio! After learning more about this story, maybe you'll join me in recommending that this project be showcased at TED?

Monday, March 2, 2009

The Launch of Educhat

For the past many weeks, bloggers and other journalists have been leveraging Twitter to host live synchronous chats on a variety of topics related to the field journalism. On Monday evenings in Twitter you'll notice a spike in the use of the hashtag #journchat as a wide-ranging discussion is hosted by a user with the same name.

What might happen if educators take a cue from Journchat?

Over at the Twitter for Teachers evolving e-book, there are many uses of Twitter being shared, and one event that we'd like to launch is the first formal Educhat.

When will the first Educhat take place?
The first formal Educhat is slated for next Monday, March 9th, from 8:30-9:30 Eastern Time. The first chat will last one hour, with future chats lasting from 1-2 hours in length.

What do I need in order to participate?

1] Follow Educhat on Twitter
2] The use of a tool like Tweetdeck, Monitter, or TweetGrid is recommended to follow the discussion.
3] If so inclined, suggest a question/topic.
4] Set aside time to participate.
5] Use the tag #educhat in your responses.

Who hosts the meetings?

I've created a Twitter ID called Educhat that can be shared among moderators of the discussion, any given week. To participate, you simply need to follow this user, and to respond to the prompts.

What will we talk about?

Questions and topics are now being accepted in an online survey over at the Educhat page. While we could discuss many topics in a given evening, it is currently thought that each week would see discussions focused on a single broad topic. Topics might include: Assessment & Evaluation; Boys and Reading; Media in the Classroom; Personal Learning Networks; Google Tools; Communicating with the Community; Web 2.0 Apps; Role Playing; Assessment & Evaluation

Why use Twitter?
Twitter allows anyone and everyone to respond, and offers a simple way to collect the responses of participants. As opposed to a live audio chat, the microblog interface allows you to split your attention among lesson planning; television shows; parenting and the engaging conversation via Educhat.

What if I miss it?

The entire discussion will be accessible by simply searching the tag #educhat via Twitter Search.

Will you join us?
Please feel free to leave a comment on Why? or Why not?

Photo Credit: Wordle

Three Milestones

This weekend was a milestone weekend. My online network led me to blast through three milestones in what has become my ongoing social learning experiment.

1] Thanks to a number of coincidental weekend retweets, my Slideshare presentation: Creative Commons: What Every Educator needs to Know, passed 3000 views in its first month online.

2] The Teacher 2.0 Podcast had episode download number 50,000!

3] My Twitter tribe surpassed the 1000 mark, the same weekend that I found followee number 500. How could I resist sending my 3000th tweet?

It's been about a year and a half since I've engaged these diverse channels in publicly sharing my personal learning, and though these numbers in some way quantify the number of folks I've been networking with, these values pale when I consider the rich learning these connections have led me to experience, both as a teacher and as a student.