What’s in your right-click menu?
I think this is a very revealing space. Here’s mine.
There are items in here for gathering information like Zotero and Diigo. (See margins for details.)
I could use bookmarklets for each of these tools but right-click seems to have less friction between the task at hand and getting it done.
I love Pocket because it allows me to save and LISTEN to posts and articles on my phone later (on the tractor, in the field, walking, commuting). I think of this as personal curation. I listen as a way to identify any piece of information that might need a deeper look so that I can share it or include it as I synthesize it in a blog post or article.
SnagIt is in my right-click menu. I have keyboard combinations like command+shift+4 on my Mac that will do an immediate screencapture, but often I want to annotate the image for an online class, personal creation, or sharing with a colleague.
Share on (Better) Tweetdeck uses an add-on to bring more tools to my favorite Twitter client. The video below shows just how quickly you can go from content to sharing that content—three clicks.
Last, I use Add This for sharing to other digital spaces.
This extension allows you to add hundreds of networking tools that you might want to share to.
I have not included all of the items in my context menu or discussed how to add them. That’s what Google is for. And please don’t get me started on bookmarklets and other extensions. I judge all of these tools by a simple yardstick question: do they help me gather, make sense of, and share my digital world? If they do that very well, then here they stay until something else better supplants them.
I know well that others have these better tools or better workflows, so share your right-click goodies with me no matter how idiosyncratic they might seem so that I can get better at sharing back at you. You can go to the comments below or you can use Hypothes.is to share in the margins here.
What follows is the product of Kris Shaffer‘s Hypothes.is Aggregator. Find more info here on how it works and how to install on your WordPress blog. I annotated a recent Audrey Watters post about the history and hyperbole surrounding Virtual Reality hardware and software.
It’s a bit of a mess on my end at this stage, but what you are seeing is Shaffer’s plug-in gathering all of the annotations with “VRedhype” tags. If you are like me, when you are working in the margins you don’t take time to tag. Well…time to unlearn the old and learn the new. Advice to self: tag this stuff.
The next question is simply, “How do I curate this mess and, inevitably, why bother? Next, wouldn’t it be fine to get some playful response from the author? Fourth, how do I integrate (or should I even bother) this into the centrifuge of knowledge that seems to spin ever on and ever faster? In the spirit of infinite play I can dismiss all of these questions and party on, but as a teacher who wants to share the wealth with my fellow learners…I gotta curate and share.
Here is what you get when you run this through the Hypothes.is Aggregator plug-in on this site.
[hypothesis tags = ‘VRedhype’]
There is another way to aggregate my tag, “VRedhype”. Run it through Jon Udell’s machine instead. It retains more here and looks a bit like the Diigo Outliner. He explains more in his happily lucid post for Hypothes.is.
That version is below this text. It is considerably more coherent, but unlike Shaffer’s, there is more manual handling to be done, more friction. Now, Udell and Shaffer need to join forces and add Udell’s machine to Shaffer’s plug-in.
Virtual simulations promise that learning experiences can be undertaken more safely (and sometimes more cost-effectively).
I recall my most recent introduction to VR was one of the early NYT attempts. This one showed a food drop in Sudan. I really felt something new with that VR video. I felt empathy because I was surrounded (something I could see AND feel around me) by folks who were racing to get at the parachuting food palettes drifting down and landing. The point being that the experience was embodied. For some small percentage of people VR is incredibly embodied–they get very powerful motion sickness.
So what do we do with these tools that improve upon how we seek, make sense of, and share the world around us?
That would be an ideal question to pursue in the comments and the margins.
Often when you read tech pedagogy articles you get listicles. For example, you get “Top 10 Education Tech Blogs” or “The Best Ways to Use Padlet” or “7 Tools for Creating Classroom Blogs”. All good stuff. Not complaining. But I want to share how I am using tech not only in the classroom but professionally and personally. What follows is one of those stories without lists. And if you are open to it, you can annotate in the margins by going to this link which allows you to use Hypothes.is to comment on the sides. I hope that conversation will be one part “director’s commentary” and reader’s zoo.
One of my favorite partners in creating is Kevin Hodgson. In a recent post, “Resonation Points: Practicing Noticing and Connecting”, Kevin leapfrogged across a lily pad of ideas and spaces, distinctly non-listicle:
CLMOOC–>noticing–>Mary Ann Reilly’s post “Love is a Story in Five Parts“–>using the app SUPER–>using the app Legend to pull out a notable quote from Wendy’s postcard project–>back to SUPER with a response to Anna via Melissa–>my shell game post–> a conclusion.
My name for these is ‘feldgangs’, field walks. Imagine you personal learning network as a series of meadows with fervid hedgerow margins full of life and pastures, an ecosystem of nearly infinite complexity. In a feldgang we pull out what we notice. And what do we notice? We don’t know until we go field walking. Or as Kevin says and I steal for a Pablo poster:
I responded in Kevin’s comments:
Then I translated it into a poem
Tech pedagogy has more to do with how you use your repertoire to make sense and create and share and reciprocate than it does with dazzling others with your technical capacity. All of these tools are simple and derive from engaging with others online at the most basic level–text. It all ripples out from there, from the comment and conversation and noticing what is happening on your feldgangs to the sharing and showing of the path.
Another way of thinking about it is what Nick Sousanis calls “unflattening” or what the writer James Scott refers to as “making legible” or what James Gray names “liminal thinking” or what Mike Caulfield offers us with Wikity and federated wikification or what Venkatesh Rao deems is ‘breaking smart’.
In other words all tech pedagogy and tech are about is helping us connect so that we can make and share meaning. Pedagogy is learning turned inside out. Tech pedagogy is just another way to turn ourselves inside out. The reason we make a big deal about it is that it is a new way of doing and being that we pretty much suck at. We are all just making one feldgang after another and coming back with a aptly round stone, a feather, a Solomon’s Seal dug up from the hedgerow and dirt under our fingernails. If tech isn’t connected to life it is an inert idea, not even usefully dead like a possum that feeds a vulture or a blade of orchard grass hay from the pasture. I think it is more like setting a luna moth free.
Today’s post strays into a briar patch where only rabbits feel comfortable: the sense that the noise of the net is drowning the inner signal that is trying to get out of ourselves, our voice.
Here are five short screencasts that don’t even begin to scratch the high pressure stream of data that is my Internet life.
Chrome Address Bars
And what about mobile apps and YouTube channels and Roku and Chromecast and…my question to you dear readers, “Is there any controlling this giant game of “Crack the Whip” or the feeling of being a wee child tethered on the end and losing his grip?
I hope you don’t listen and watch all of the vids above. Just scrub through them and let us think about what our tech hath wrought and what we might do about it if anything.
When I get confused I write poems. They help settle the silt in the muddy glass of water. Here is one. It helped me find the signal.
Dragonfly in a Bucket
in the sheep’s
It’s not dead.
I lift it
from the water
and hold it
to the sun.
Do you need free? As in “copyright free, CCBY, public domain sounds and music for a student or personal project” free? If so, your options are extraordinary and here are a few of them.
The Free Music Archive (FMA) is always first on my list of sites to find free music (and sounds, too). If you and your students need to get up to speed on Creative Commons and legal sharing of music , then please check out the FAQ from FMA and watch the best presentation I have seen to date on using ‘free music’ (also from FMA). There are apps as well.
Incompetech has collections of free, mostly CCBY music. All you have to do is give proper attribution. I really like this one.
First stop, Freesound. Click on the sample below for a simple and subtle train stop.
Next, Zapsplat. They are new and don’t have nearly as extensive a sound library as Freesound, but what I have used is quite good. They also have free music (which I have not tried yet). If you kick in a donation (they are volunteer-run and no salaries are paid to anyone), you can get a few more benefits. It is quite robust even if you don’t donate.
And maybe you want to make your own SFX? Watch this YouTube vid by Ryan Connoly of Film Riot and get some ideas about how SFX are made.
Editing/Sharing Sound Online
Twisted Wave is a simple, easy to use sound editing tool. Here is a file edited. I cut 30 seconds from the end and I added fade in and fade out along with normalizing it.
SoundCloud Pro is my favorite storage space and with the recent infusion of money from Twitter I don’t worry about it’s longer term success as much. SoundCloud works with TwistedWave and other apps, but the best part about it is that it allows you upload any sounds to share publicly (or privately). It allows folks to annotate those files. It is in many ways the YouTube of sound. And…this is so cool I am beside myself… soon you will be able to turn your sound files into vinyl records.
And there is always, Audacity, the open source work horse of audio editing. Free. Free. Free.
I think the best advice I can give you is to just have fun and then make stuff, your own music and your own SFX. It has never been better for those who are not particularly gifted musically to have some fun making music.
Incredibox–this goes in the Internet rabbit hole and where the hell did that hour disappear to.
Hatnote–Hatnote is a fascinating big data visualization project which tries to recreate the sound and sight of Wikipedia as it is being created. I have used this as ambient music and saved it to SoundCloud and Google Drive. I just use my SoundCloud app to record and upload. Then I use the TwistedWave bookmarklet to bring it into that app to be edited.
I paste a new file (my poem) on top of the Hatnote file and ‘Bob’s your very uncle’ something new under the sun.
The value to me personally and professionally in using these files and making new rags from old is that creation makes me feel good. Or as Heather Harvilesky remarked the other day.
Summer Reading Doo-Dads.
Here are some summer reading projects you and your students might find interesting. First, the adults
Here are some for students that I “borrowed” from the Tech Chicks (I highly recommend their podcast as a source for ways to make your classes work better with tech.):
And while you’re at it you can listen to Webb Wilder’s song “The Rest (will take of itself)” from his album “Doo Dad” while you explore these links.
I have a few mobile apps that I use because they help me express a feeling or idea in ways that text alone cannot. One of those apps is Legend. The app is a way to bring kinetic type to your tweets, Facebook, and blog posts. It works on Android and iOS ($1.99)systems.
You might think of it as texting and emoji on the next level.
What Legend does is offer you a choice of animated text and color schemes. You take it from there. Here are some recent images I have made. You make some too and send them in texts and blog posts and tweets and wherever you think you need something with a stronger signal than text alone. Perfect for quotes, but you can see that uploading your own images is also possible. Fun. That’s why mobile is so popular with the younglings.
Some websites are cool tools unto themselves. I am going to share a few of those today. They have proven to be artesian wells of knowledge and prompts to action. I hope you enjoy them as well.
1. Open Culture
This site consistently pegs my “this-is-way-interesting” meter. Just check out the John Cage clip.
2. ProfHacker I think this is a powerful touchstone for new ideas that inspire my pedagogy. I don’t always agree with their point of view, but I do value it. Here is a good one from the recent past. I used it to help me with a summer course I am teaching.
3. Robin Good’s Content Curation. I think the word “plethora” in the dictionary has a picture of Robin Good next to it. His steady aggregation and clear curation of useful tools keeps the good stuff coming. Here is a recent discovery for all you budding curators, Rebel Mouse. His Communication Tools site is also a source for more use-filled ideas and tools.
4. KQED Education. These folks are a source for all kinds of short and long-term projects for your classroom and professional development. I love the collaborative work they do in their “Do Now” section especially. I used one of these topics on ‘de-extinction’ for a unit on critique for freshman composition class last Fall.
5. Kevin’s Meandering Mind. If you teach middle grades, then you can’t go wrong with reading Kevin Hodgson’s webpage or following him on Twitter. We have some pretty lively discussions there in the comments sections and on the margins using Hypothes.is.
I love fountain pens. I love what you can do with a decent one. But I love cheap, too. That is why I am a denizen of bargain pen sites like Jetpens and Goulet Pens. (They also sell very expensive, boutique pens, too.)
My wife accuses me of being a pen porn video addict. OK. My name is tellio. I am addicted to cheap fountain pens. Below is a video of a recent purchase reviewed by Matt Armstrong from “The Pen Habit”.
I also love new ideas like refillable marker pens. I have always hated throwing away the plastic parts of pens and now I don’t have to. I use the Platinum Preppy Refillable Marker Pen. (You can also get refillable highlighter pens that use fountain pen ink and replaceable tips.)
It is a simple task to crossover from the analog to the digital. Just use MyScriptFont to create a font from your handwriting. In this case I took my new best pen friend, my Jinhao 450, and marked up the font template that MyScriptFont provides.
Scan it after you have used your fav fountain pen to mark in the squares where the letters go. Unfortunately, my scanner only goes up to 600dpi and I think you need twice that resolution. I also tried to take a picture with my phone but that was an interesting failure. So I will update you as soon as I can find a scanner with better rez. My point here is that the joy of analog and the joy of digital need not be mutually exclusive.