Flipboard As a Textbook Replacement

Flipboard As a Textbook Replacement

OK…so let me clarify that title. I honestly think textbooks are on their way out…or at least I hope they are. Really it should read “Flipboard as core curation artifact for classrooms” but that wouldn’t have you here reading now would it. 🙂 I’m in love with Flipboard. I have been for awhile now….it’s one of the first apps that gets downloaded on all devices. But lately as I’ve been thinking about the death of textbooks and what might replace them I have started to dig deeper into Flipboard and really think it has a ton of potential to be that core curation body of knowledge for teachers and students. Why Flipboard: Can be installed on all devices! I mean all devices. Windows, Mac, iDevices, Android. That by itself gives it a top marks! Beautiful layout: Design matters…and Flipboard knows that. Every time I show Flipboard to a teacher or student they instantly love it…what’s not to love. Big pictures, magazine flare, beautiful transitions. Connected: You can connect Flipboard to a ton of different accounts and at the same time connect it to hashtag conversations giving you all kinds of different ways to bring information together in one space. Flipboard Magazines: This really is the game changer. Flipboard rolled out magazines a while a go. Allowing a user to create a magazine and “Flip” things into it. Others can subscribe to your magazine and see what you find interesting. You can check out my magazine here ——————————————————-> So basically a teacher would have a flipboard account….set up a magazine for thier class and then “flip” all the articles, resources, etc they want students to access into the magazine. The students subscribe to the magaizne and have all that content dispalyed beautifully on their screen….no matter what that screen is. Class as Content Curators: Of course….that would work but I think we can go farther. I don’t want the teacher finding all the content for the course. I want students to have the ability to add content to their “textbook” as well. Content that we can discuss in the classroom, that can spark conversation…the real reason we come together..to be social. What if we could have all the students in a class adding to the “textbook” have them find things that interest them on a given topic and allow them to “flip” that into our “textbook” as well. Flipboard allows...

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The Bright Side of Google Reader Leaving Us

The Bright Side of Google Reader Leaving Us

Now don’t get me wrong, the announcement that Google Reader will no longer be after July 1st came as a shocker….but then again…not really. We know where Google is headed…everything tied to Google+ and Google+ integration across all apps. Which now that I see that and treat the Google ecosystem that way, well, it turns out it is a pretty nice feature. But what this means is that apps that don’t “fit” into Google+ are probably on the outs (worried about Google Sites as well…who else uses them besides education?). So instead of getting all freaked out and sad or nervous, which is the tone of most the e-mails I have received……let’s get excited! First off Google Reader was not the first RSS Reader. I personally wouldn’t even put it into the “Early Adopter” era of RSS Readers. I had 4 others before I moved to Google Reader. But it is safe to say that Google Reader pretty much became the main RSS Reader of most people. Not because of its ease of use, but rather because it has an open API which allows sites like Feed.ly and Flipboard to connect to it. Secondly there has been very little innovation in the RSS Reader area for some time. By Google now dumping Reader, it has left a big hole in the middle of the tech world and that is where the excitement comes in. For the first time in a long time, we’re going to see some innovation in the RSS Reader area. There are engineers, companies, and programs I’m sure that are already working on some new solutions for us all. We have until July 1st, so let’s not panic and see what these innovative people come up with. It is going to mean some playing around of new systems but who doesn’t like to geek out a little now and then? Here are a couple of the things I will be looking for in my next Reader: Web-based with offline support: Much like Google Docs now works and syncs seamlessly online and offline via the Chrome browser, I want this in my next Reader Ability to have one beautiful reading experience on all my devices (iOS and Android). Really enjoying the experience of the Google+ app on all the devices….seems so sleek and fluid Ability to comment right from app: Not sure if this can be done...

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Understand RSS and make the Web Work for You

I’m a few hours away from calling a taxi and starting the 17 hour trip to Portland, Oregon (via Seattle of course) for the ITSC11 Conference e. I’ll be doing three sessions. Blended Classrooms, Blogs as E-Portfolios, and 10 Digital Tools for Digital Educators. It’s this last session that I always have the hardest time with. What 10 digitals tools should educators know about? There are so many and depending on the attendees, you never know what people really want. That’s why this session usually ends up being a great discussion starting with “What do you want to know about?” and off we go. As I’ve been thinking about the session I keep coming back to how important RSS is to the web. What seems like a such a simple piece of the larger web, this little bit of technology pushes and pulls information around the web behind the sense so gracefully that you probably use it in one form or another everyday without realizing it. Yet, if you can understand it, it becomes a very powerful way to push and pull information around the web where you want it to go.  Apple, iTunes and Podcasters have made a living off of RSS. Ever wonder why most podcasts are on a blog? Because blogs come with RSS technology built in and iTunes Podcasts run off of RSS feeds. When you “Subscribe” to a podcast in iTunes you’re just subscribing to that podcasts RSS feed. iTunes simply delivers the content to your computer.  RSS is a push and pull technology. It allows you to push and pull content around the web with ease. Many people don’t use RSS Readers anymore with them being replaced by Twitter streams, yet the use of RSS goes beyond just pulling content to you. Here are some ways that I’m using RSS at my school and in my professional life to make things easier and to tie things together.  COETAIL: COETAIL is a 5 graduate class certificate program that Kim and I run here in Asia (more on the explosion of this program soon). For each cohort we run we set up a blog such as this one I set up for the cohort in Taipei. Part of the problem I was having was when I found content to share with the participants I needed a way to push that information to this blog without...

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Netvibes.com in the classroom

Netvibes.com has been my aggregator of choice for years now. So much so that thinking of changing to another platform at this point makes my head spin. I’ve tried Pageflakes.com for a time and even Google Reader/ iGoogle. To each their own and I’m obviously a netvibes guy. Last summer I wrote a post comparing different aggregators as I was thinking there might be something better. Today thought I wanted to take Netvibes one step farther. While in Shanghai the 5th grade teachers there set every student up with an account and was able to push content to them by sharing whole tabs of RSS feeds and widgets. Our 5th grade teachers here in Bangkok are now in the process of setting every student up with a blog for reflective learning. The teachers and students needed an easy way to find and read each others blogs. Netvibes was the perfect solution. It allows you to share specific pages of your RSS feed to the public. Giving you a public URL that can be accessed by anyone. Even better, each tab is it’s own URL so you can link to that specific tab in the site. Here’s how I did it (click on a picture to enlarge): 1. Create an account at Netvibes.com 2. Create a new tab for your class and name it something that is easy to remember. I used the last name of the 5th grade teachers. 3. Next it’s time to load in the RSS feeds into the tab. There are two ways to do this. You can copy and paste the RSS URL from each blog into the Add a feed section under Add content Or you can install the FireFox extension that allows you to add feeds right from the FireFox toolbar. 4. Once you have your feeds on the page the way you like (you can simply drag and drop each widget), the next step is to make your page public so that you can link to it from your blog or anywhere else you put the hyperlink. The nice thing is you can name your public page what ever you like. I named the 5th grade page isbg5: http://www.netvibes.com/isbg5 5. That’s pretty much it. There are also other fun widgets you can put on your page. You’ll notice that I’ve embedded another web page that the students and teachers use to share...

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Connecting People or Connecting Content

aaahhhhh……I sit here in the open air lounge of the Magellan Resort, a soft breeze is blowing off the ocean as I over look the pool below and out across the bay to three islands. It’s gonna be a wonderful sunset tonight. I’m telling you overseas conferences are really hard….I mean it. 🙂 I’m continuing to think about the Web and how we use it to connect. Maybe this is all for nothing…but I can’t stop thinking about it. When it comes to building social networks or online communities I think it’s clear to understand what you are and who you are trying to build the site for and what you want them to do. For example I helped to build the community site for the EARCOS Teacher’s Conference I am now at. I choose to use a wiki for a couple of reasons. 1. Not everyone here is tech savvy….the tool of least resistance.2. The conference doesn’t need all of the features of say a Ning or full social network.3. Less is more. The wiki is meant to serve only one purpose really; to create an easy way for presenters to upload handouts, documents, and such to participants of their sessions. Before this year presenters would forward their handouts to EARCOS who dedicated a person to upload the documents to the conference website. The issue became of course that people would send multiple updates of their handouts creating work for someone else to manage those documents. My work around….put presenters in control of their own handouts. Using a wiki was the easier way to do this. Create a page for each presenter, give them accounts that allow them to upload, and get out of the way. So far the website is growing with over 120 members of 1100 conference goers joining the site before the conference even begins tomorrow. Not bad for something that is brand new to this conference. Of course the wiki can do much more than just hold documents….it allows people to connect to each other…or is that connect to content? In this case I believe the wiki serves the purpose to connect people to content. It is a network of users looking for, sharing, and using content created by others. Through this common content they will (hopefully) connect to people who have the same interests as them. Whether it be someone in the same...

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