Saturday, February 28, 2009
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
My students love Picnik.com to make images for their blogs - more so than Fotoflexer.com, more so than Flauntr.com, and more so than Pixlr.com. To my surprise, yesterday I stumbled upon the slickest Firefox add-on which integrates seamlessly with Picnik! Simply put, it makes taking screenshots a breeze, and greatly speeds up importing images into the Picnik online photo editor.
For starters, you must be using Mozilla Firefox (I am quickly becoming an ardent fan of this browser). At the top of the browser menu click on Tools, and then Add-ons.
Next, select "Browse all Add-ons".
In the search box type in "picnik" (note the funny spelling) and enter.
Click "Add to Firefox".
When prompted, click "Install Now".
Restart your browser (don't worry - Firefox will restore your tabs - another reasons to love this browser).
Okay! You're ready to rock 'n roll with this add-on. I'll demo by traveling to Lovelycharts.com, a website that's caught my eye these last few days.
Let's say I'd like to take a screenshot of this new piece of webware to put in an upcoming blog post. I'll right click and choose the option "Send Page to Picnik". I can send just the visible portion of the page, or the entire page (even portions of the image below the fold).
Next, Picnik.com opens itself in a new Firefox tab and the screenshot appears. You are now ready to edit it and then save it as a .jpg! And look, no extraneous parts to crop off -- yes, very nice!
Now let's look at the other option. Say you want to edit (manipulate, add to, delete from - create a derivative) of an existing Creative Commons image. Navigate to the image and right click on it. Choose "Edit Image in Picnik".
The add-on starts up a new Firefox tab and throws the image into Picnik so you can go to town editing it and then saving it! You've just eliminated the need to download the image, navigate to the image, then upload the image. A great timesaver!
Downsides? A few. I'd love it if attribution information could be captured somehow when this is used on a single image. Of course, I can always bookmark where I found the picture using Diigo or a similar service. Additionally, I've noticed that if you use the Picnik add-on on a .jpg that has IPTC metadata embedded in it , upon saving it in Picnik.com, this file info is stripped out. Retaining this info is sometimes required for attribution purposes. Would love to see Picnik.com find a work around that preserves this metadata.
Overall, two thumbs up! A wonderful little script! Nice job, Justin Huff!
**Creative Commons Image titled Ladybug Close-Up 2 by Reini68
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Recently received a comment regarding my personal inclination towards Twitter use. Mrs. Smith wrote,
But I am saddened for you to delete your Twitter account. As a technology specialist and teacher this is an awesome tool to ask for help, get others attention to student Web 2.0 creations, share great URL's, blog posts, and more. I think you missed the concept of following LOTS - build your network, build your profile, share and post frequently, but also to update who you are following and remove those you don't like.
I hear what you're saying, but after one year of really giving it a whirl, I just don't think that it added as much to my PLN as some other forms of Web 2.0 interaction do. I guess that's the beauty of a PLN -- we can personalize our learning on an individual level and pursue those tools and interactions that
Image via CrunchBasebest bolster our professional development. Let's just say I never found my "tweet spot" with Twitter. And yes -- I've used Tweets for everything mentioned and got varied results. I'd tweet recent finds, I'd tweet recent posts I'd put up, I'd tweet and ask how others were doing, I'd tweet and make suggestions or comments on ideas posted, I'd tweet and ask for help, etc. And yes, all my tweet buddies were awesome, BUT I'm looking for something more. I want deeper professional communication than an occasional 140 character tweet. In addition to this, some of my PLN has transitioned over to Plurk; I've got an account over there and popped in a few times, but I've got to admit that I'm just not groovin' the cost-benefit anaylsis that I see when I engage in it, either (results for time spent). Perhaps this all has to do with my pers
Image via Wikipediaonality. Though an extrovertive teacher by day/profession, I'm an introvert by personality type (Myers Briggs INFJ). I prefer deeper communication (even if that means with fewer people) than, say, a large group of friends that I know only on a superficial level. I think that Twitter friendships can be either of these, but that the medium itself makes the first harder. That brings up an interesting idea, however....I wonder if there have been any studies of Twitter's acceptance and compatibility according to personality types. Hum...this would be very intriguing.
But, I don't think
Image via WikipediaI missed the point of Twitter at all. It's quite the opposite. I'm constantly trying new Web 2.0 tools. Many do what they are supposed to do -- just like ordinary tools in your toolbox. But time and efficiency matter. Where I'm at right now in my professional life, I need a power washer not a putty knife/paint scraper. Both do what they are intended to do, but one gets results much more efficiently. Blog commenting, Nings, webinar participation, and back channel commenting are, to me, PLN power washers.
By the way Mrs. Smith, thank you for leaving a comment. I feel I know you much better on this issue -- and I hope you can say the same of me -- than had it all occurred via Twitter. :)
Monday, February 9, 2009
Yes, sir, we're clippin' right along in the Web 2.0 class. We're about five weeks into our first hexter and we've covered quite a bit so far. I'm proud of how far they've come in such a short time.
- Started the semester by surveying their current web 2.0 skills
- After setting up a Google account, did an introduction to webware using Google Docs and Wordle (also served as a get-to-know-you activity at the start of the semester)
- Learned how to set up an organized iGoogle Account with tabs; also put quick links here so students could access our website, their blog, their grades and their email rapidly.
- Learned how to use Fotoflexer to create images for use in our blogs.
- Used Google Docs to create first blog post - learned how to compare software and webware, create hyperlinks and comparison tables for top webware. (series of movie tutorials).
- Learned how to create mindmaps using Bubbl.us. Compared Web 1.0 to Web 2.0 in a visual fashion. (later to be used a another blog post)
- Set up Wordpress 2.7 blogs; embedded their mindmaps and a video into some of their first posts, as well as set up a sidebar with widgets and clustrmap - Movie Series here and got these turned in last week.
- And we are currently learning about Diigo - how to use it to research/highlight info on cellphone use while driving (topic is being argued in Colorado legislature right now). Tomorrow we will be creating an online interactive poll or quiz to insert at the top of their post on this issue.
- Oh, yea, took a quiz over terms learned to date - of course, using online webware to help prepare for the real deal.
Monthly calendar here.
Sunday, February 8, 2009
Just deleted my Twitter account.
To me, interactions via Twitter have always seemed a lot like what you see when young children are engaged in parallel play. And, honestly, like Cangeloso, I'm not really sure the signal-to-noise ratio really justifies the time required to keep up on one's twitterverse.
I know, I know. Twitter's supposed to be all the rage. To be honest, I never really got a lot out of it. I had about 100 followers or so and hung in there for a year and a half or so, but felt like there was only a smattering of substantive communication going on even after more than 700 tweets on my part. For me Nings (such as Classroom 2.0), participating in online webinars, or blog commenting go deeper and have bigger, long-term relational dividends.
Guess it's just not my Web 2.0 cup of tea, though I know many others truly enjoy it. To each his/her own. Truth revealed even further, I don't really get Second Life, either. ;) Time will tell if I shall do an about face on either of these.
*image titled "parallel play" by semaphoria (Creative Commons License)