Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Tool duel - I wanted TPack

One of my big criticism of technology presentations is that they are sometimes a random collection of tools embedded in a dialogue about how technology can change the word but hasn't yet. That has been the case for at least a portion of many of the sessions I went to today. This last session was pretty much there for the whole time. Dean Shareski and Will Richardson (both of whom had sessions I enjoyed earlier) showed a series of tools:

  • Picnic for photoediting - many glog-like features. I have used it and like it.
  • Map a list to turn spreadsheets into maps. I haven't played much with this, but really like the idea. I have only used it twice before.
  • We emailed Posterous as group. It is an online place that functions as a repository for images, text etc.
  • Tube chop allows you to take a video off youtube and keep just a section of a part of it. You get a URL with a part of the video
  • Geogreeting sends a message using letters and a map. Dean called it a niche tool - I think it is a non-tool. No thinking here, so I scorned it by not linking it
  • Big Huge Labs is for creating things using images. Makes callendars, trading cards, posters etc.
  • Evernote - like Onenote, it is a tool where you store notes, links, audio and pics for you to file. Superior to one note because on a variety of platforms like your phone). I like this one.
  • Skitch is a screen capture tool that allows you to edit the image and posts it to skitch, flickr or in Evernote. I have used this quite a bit.
  • Jing is a screencapture tool that captures what you are looking at on your computer and you can turn it into a movie. Then you can talk and your video camera tapes you and adds it to your video. I use Screenr, but Jing is good.
  • Mindmeister is a standard mindmapping tool. It allows you to make a map and collaborate or share it. You pay, though, which is why I don't promote it.
  • Instapaper marks something to read later on kindle, paper, computer etc.
  • Readability is a good tool for striping out adds. I use the Firefox add-on, so I linked to that
I had used all of these tools before and wished that a bit more time was taken to connect these web 2.0 tools and student outcomes. It is easy to use a variety of tools and still make no impact on students. I think I am a bad audience for this sort of thing because I am not a geek - I don't like technology for the sake of technology. Technology, pedagogy and content knowledge (TPack) must be married.
I stopped blogging for the last several items each of them raised, and they ended on talking about the value of the iPad. Will said you need one just for the racing game. Yawn, I have no need for tech speed. However, it seemed to be invigorating for all the tool men out there :-)


  1. Yeah, the thing is (as a man) I was already sold on the iPad from a pure geek/testosterone perspective. But then, without a camera, the iPad won't come equipped with an app that takes a picture of your room and shows you the results of your planned remodeling. Racing it is.

    Oh, were we talking about education here?

  2. I use many of these tools in my personal life. I'll have to think about how to apply them to my professional life. And May is now renamed iPad month at our house :)

  3. Anna, I know you will think about how to use them effectively because you understand technology well and are a very reflective teacher. However, I thibk for teachers who are less comfortable with technology or included to think about pedagogy, we need to make the "how and why to use it in your classroom" explicit.

    Don't think Mike doesn't mention the fact that you and Ian love the iPad... It is a lot like when Ian mentions that Mike and I have cats. :-)