Sunday, April 12, 2009

Back Channeling, Kindle, and Techy Tips

Techy Tips
This is a wonderful little scheme growing bigger by the day. The lessons are limited to single slides. If you are just sticking your toe in the Web 2.0 waters, what a great place to visit for some simple, yet worthwhile methods! If you have brief techy ideas to share, email a request to Mark Clarkson for editing privileges and add to a Google Docs collaboration that will only become richer as time goes on. (Be sure to check out Tip #23).

Using Twitter at Conferences
I've made considerable reference to Twitter in the Drive-thru. It is the main source of my professional reading. But if forming your own professional network of tweeters does not appeal to you, you should still sign up for an account before you head off to the next conference. Twitter is now commonly used for back channeling at professional gatherings, sometimes to the point of distraction. This is accomplished by means of "hashtags" which allow users to tweet about a conference with each other while it occurs. This may be conducted by channels officially established by conference organizers or simply by attendees. Michael Coté does a nice job describing this phenomenon.

Book End
I admit that I have been fascinated by Kindle -- Amazon's Wireless Reading Device -- ever since it was introduced. I couldn't justify purchasing one (now $359), because I am not a voracious reader and the device has rather limited functionality. But in Slate, editor-in-chief Jacob Weisberg makes some remarkable statements about the latest iteration of the device. Weisberg asserts that "Kindle 2 signals . . . that printed books, the most important artifacts of human civilization, are going to join newspapers and magazines on the road to obsolescence. " I was surprised to learn that "Amazon . . .is selling most new books at a loss to get everyone hooked on the Kindle" and in the future " could become the only publisher a best-selling author needs." I recommend that you read the entire piece for more thought-provoking stuff like this.

Screen capture of slide #1, "Techy Things for not so Techy Teachers".

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