Archive for August, 2008

I you still don’t grasp RSS….

August 27, 2008 Leave a comment

A new video about Google Reader from the folks at Common Craft:

Categories: Class Activities

Trapping Frustrations!

August 24, 2008 3 comments

I have to admit that I was surprised to see most of you frustrated with the process of finding the information you need and with expressions of too much information out there. Yet your topic was about how to proceed to trap and process the information your want and the many tools that are available to accomplish this.

A lot of the tools (applications) that we have been experiencing this quarter are all about new types of technologies that give us more control in managing the information flow of the Internet. There are more advanced methods for using search engines like Google, and there are many specialized search engines that perform differently that Google. RSS allows us to collect our favorite sites that are useful to us, and allow us to quickly and conveniently scan the latest additions to those sites and choose which articles are of interest to us. We have found new tools that assist us in continuously scanning a particular topic and get updated emails when changes occur; customized search functions with Google and other engines to go after our primary topics of interest; sites that tell us when there are changes to a selected or targeted site; a bot that can be scripted to tell us when certain kinds of information is changed or available, and our growing of a personal learning environment that pulls together all of our resources and experiences of creating.

My concern is that it may be assumed that these tools along with social networking and forming a trusting community of learners is a simple thing to occur. We read about something and expect it to happen. But each of these processes are new to most of you, and have not been extensively practiced. It is not easy to understand how some of them benefit you. And there is always the difficulty we face trying to change and instill new habits and processes into our lives. All of these activities take practice and time to develop the skills necessary to use them effectively. They will not suddenly make sense to everyone. You have to adjust, make a concerted effort, and most of all, you have to want to improve your skills. We are fortunate to have a trusting and capable group to share our learning experiences with. You may have some fear of expressing yourselves, but so far it is only helping each of us to grow. The benefits of becoming skilled at managing the information you need is a lifelong learning process that continues to become richer and more valuable to you as you move from student to career professional.

Give it time. Practice even when you don’t want to or it doesn’t make a lot of sense to you. It will come. And with it, the joy that you are in control. That you truly can find whatever you need in a critical career decision. And remember too, that it is not just about formal or academic learning, but informal learning also. It can bring rewards in all aspects of your life.

Categories: Class Activities

Alex and Sara’s Sites Address Correction

August 17, 2008 Leave a comment

Alex has a corrected blog address listed in Sum08 – please check his blog and make comments when you get an opportunity.

Sara has also had an incorrect address and she has posted all of the assignments, please visit her site as soon as possible in Sum08.

Categories: Class Activities

Note Taking Tools

August 1, 2008 Leave a comment

LifeHacker is an interesting blog related to the Getting Things Done principle – based on a book by David Allen which will be part of our course at a later session. This article about Note Taking tools describes the top five tools in that category, based on an online survey by LifeHacker (which is also available). The top five include: Evernote (Mac & Win versions, plus web version), pen(cil) and paper (has some very interesting links such as a Geek to Live: Take great notes article by editor Gina Trapani), Microsoft One Note, Google Notebook, and Personal Wiki (GTDTiddlyWiki).

I would also add the Zoho Notebook, one of the many excellent Zoho productivity applications (all free and web based), and one of my favorites.

The article is valuable if you just evaluate some of the products and your current process of taking notes – a major part of learning about how you learn – and adding some new support for your self-directed learning skills. So whether you are ready for web based tools, new types of desktop based tools, or even new ways to approach the ol reliable pen(cil) and paper, there is something here for you to evaluate and ponder.

Categories: Class Activities