BP8_Communities of Practice

I definitely took some time to think about the communities that I am apart of and then figure out which ones I wanted to pursue. I was able to narrow my multitude of communities down to Voice123.com for voice-over acting and recordings, Planet5Dblog.com and Slickdeals.net.

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I had heard of Voice123.com a few months ago but kept putting off researching it until my life slowed down a bit. Well that never happened and probably won’t for a few more years so what better time to jump on this horse than when an assignment calls for it? Voice123.com is for people who are looking for jobs, tips and tricks about the voice-over industry. I have been doing voice-over work and voice acting for a few years now and I think it’s about time for me to take it a little more seriously. I would love it if I could eventually turn this into some solid part time work.  The voice123.com community seems to be a very solid community to be plugged into.  I signed up but have not been able to edit together a demo reel of my current voice-over work so I was not able to upload it to my profile just yet. Over the course of the next 6 hours I received at least 10 emails about voice-over jobs that met some of the criteria that I put in my profile. I am really looking forward to connecting with this community more as I try to find that free time in my already too hectic life.

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The next community I found was based off of a long time love I have had with photography. Now with the purchase of my new DSLR camera that can take incredibly crisp photos it can also record video at a higher quality than what we see on High-Def TVs. Planet5DBlog.com is moderated by one person but has an entire community of those who love DSLRs. These people have been apparently be interacting, commenting on each other’s posts and sharing thoughts since June of 2012. So being a relatively new community I am looking forward to learning from them and hopefully taking my newfound knowledge to my video shoots.

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The final community that I chose was one that I had to include because of my daily participation. I have been apart of Slickdeals.net about a year now and I absolutely love it. The content is completely user generated where individuals post deals for just about anything you can think of to share with others. I have been able to post a few great deals that I have found but nothing too spectacular. I am not sure where some of these people learn about what coupons can stack with what but I am certainly appreciative of this community. I have always been one to look for the deals and to save a buck or two but this site takes it to the whole next level where this has become a bit of a hobby for me. The Slickdeals.net community is one that is not afraid to call you out if you post a bad deal but if you are honest about being new to the process they’ll usually take it easy on you.

BP7_Social Number Commercial

Here is a commercial for my new favorite piece of emerging technology: Social Number

BP6_Gloster

What’s that you say? You have many types of students who learn with all different parts of their brain and you’re not sure how to entice them all with one elements?

Look no further quizzical on-looker! I have found the astounding, super-captivating, one-size-fits all tool for all your wow-ing needs: Glogster!

Glogster is a visually based tool that allows you to very simply and creatively put together a digital flyer for your class or corporate team. This flyer can include graphics (both ones you provide of some stock that Glogster has), text (with different fonts, colors and sizes), as well as videos! You can use different shapes to border your content and even skew it to give it a different feel. On top of it all, you can begin your creative process with a template or start from scratch.

Glogster Screenshot

I personally like the idea of having a video included in a flyer because you can convey so much more information through the same amount of real estate. The process that I went through to create a sample for the class that I teach was a quick and painless process. I went in a little skeptical, not knowing if I was going to want to review this tool, but everything flowed so smoothly the next thing I knew I was complete and was writing this review.

The only down side that I see is that it is only free for the first 30 days and then it becomes a paid subscription. However, on the same coin, one of the subscription options really can play very well to the corporate or larger school angle allowing for multiple accounts to create tons of different “flyers” for many different needs. It does seem to be primarily geared toward educational purposes but I can see where this could be quite useful in the corporate environment.

When all is said and done and you’re getting ready to show the world your awesomeness, you can categorize it based off your discipline, select which grade it is intended for and then tag the heck out of it. Finally, you can share the URL where ever you like… even HERE.

BP5_The same but different

The following reviews are both similar but have far reaching capabilities for vastly different audiences.

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Greg Lunsford’s review of Mindflash.com can easily be considered more for a corporate trainer but can easily be incorporated within a classroom. The ability to create your own work/curriculum/training through presentation software and then implement it in this cloud based tool is a great way to reach a wider audience.

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Nicole Baselice’s review of Ten Marks seemed to really work toward a younger audience but I can see how it could easily be used with a college crowd as well. One of the bigger features that stood out to me about this tool was that parents could be included with result information from this online tool. Also, with an app on the iPad it brings an educational element to the “digital native” to allow for more familiarity with the platform in which he or she is working within.

BP4_ipadio

This blog can be heard here through the tool that I am about to review.

The next Emerging piece of technology is a phone! Ok, not actually the phone itself but what you can do with it. A new Web 2.0 tool call ipadio is a tool where all you need to sign up is a phone number and an email address. After you sign up, you are given a phone number and a pin number to call. You call into the number, enter your pin and start talking and when you’re done, hang up. The audio file is recorded as an .mp3 and saved to your profile.Screen Shot 2013-03-11 at 12.15.03 PM

The uses for this tool are so incredibly far reaching it is ridiculous. This is basically the audio version of twitter. Say you get an idea and you can’t use your hands because you’re driving, your cooking, you recently broke both of your thumbs in an old school Street Fighter II tournament, whatever. You call the dedicated number and boom, your idea, reminder, rant, soapbox, little nugget of the day is saved in digital form in the cloud for those who are following you can listen, then comment, embed your audio, as well as subscribe to your rants.

I personally have so much trouble containing my ideas, thoughts and rants in Twitter, so I may just give this bad-boy a whirl to see how it works out for me and the tens of people who want to listen to me go on rants.

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My initial tour on the site landed me pretty quickly on the corporate end of their website were they are pushing and describing their service. But on the same hand, I was able to learn about the far-reaching capabilities of the service. The implications for ipadio are to help many with disabilities, medical issues, corporate and safety notifications. You can also do live broadcasting to reach virtually anyone immediately.

After navigating back to the main part of the site I did find it quite easy to peruse through, find people’s RSS feeds, follow them, listen to their 30-second to 30-minute schpeels, and embed their recording as this one has been.

The content of the site comes across as very corporate but organized and easy to find. Besides the corporate side that I found the content is just about all user generated. I do not see much on the end with issues for privacy since you are in control of the recordings you are posting as well as the comments you are approving. The only thing I can see someone maybe concerned about is that I did not see a way to limit who embeds your content and where they embed it.

The whole process that I went through to find this tool, review it, try it and subsequently really enjoy was great. Even to the point were I was able to tell you this blog post excites me. I may just have to start including this in my regular routine of social networking.

BP3_But wait, there’s more…tools!

I recently had the opportunity to review a few other blogs out there in cyber space.

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The first one I found was Kellen Harkins‘ thoughts about Protopage. Go check it out because she was an avid iGoogle user, and since that fell of the face of the Earth, her thoughts may help you find your new dashboard home.

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Cayla Paustain‘s review of Symbaloo was next. This is such a great tool (for me anyway) that I have adopted it as my own personal dashboard in place of Chrome’s Awesome New Tab extension.

BP2_Social Number

The emerging piece of technology I found is a social network called Social Number. This network seems to be similar to most other social networking sites but it is completely anonymous.

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When I was looking for a tool that would help me in my action research project I needed a place where educators could be completely honest about his or her experience. This works perfectly for that because besides an email address to have for back-end/admin purposes, you are just a number and can share as little or as much about yourself as you wish.

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The usability is pretty consistent with most other social networking sites. After signing up and perusing what the site has to offer it is quite user friendly. I have found it very easy to navigate around, join a group, create my own group called “The Teacher’s Lounge”, as well as add “pals”.

The content can be a little sketchy. Given the anonymity of the site, people can then act and say whatever they want. So besides the random (in my opinion) inappropriate comment, Social Number looks like a pretty promising place to go for completely honest feedback with no repercussions for your statements, thoughts or feelings.

This plays perfectly into the idea of privacy. Everything about this site’s privacy is completely controlled by the user so there is no chance of a comment or a piece of information getting to the wrong person, or organization.

There is no cost for this site, which helps bring in new users. There are no ads either, so I am not sure how the site is able to stay running. Since it’s free and anonymous  I hope you will join Social Number and the Teacher’s Lounge to help give your honest feedback about you experience as an educator.

I do find it interesting that for so long people have fought tirelessly to have their own voice and stand out in the crowd and not be “just a number”. Here we have come full circle and now it seems the ability to not be known and literally be a number is the main draw of the site.

Overall, I think this can be a very helpful tool and like I mentioned, as a place for people all over the world to share their honest opinion, experience, frustrations, struggles and successes about being a teacher and what keeps them motivated is going to be crucial for my action research.

BP1_Personal Dashboard

My dashboard is great for me because it is easy to use and very customizable. I am able to add anything I want as bookmarks and widgets. I can simultaneously be productive and waste time all at once.

Google Chrome has its own unique dashboard right out of the box but with the multitude of extensions that are available I found an extension that organizes extensions. It’s called Awesome Screen Shot 2013-03-06 at 5.16.52 PMNew Tab Page and it really is awesome. It defaults with some common links to Google, Amazon, Facebook, etc. but it also allows you to add your other extensions and create your own bookmarks with specific logos, and icons. Essentially, this is a visual bookmark folder that makes things that much easier to find. Sometime I mis-click a bookmark and open the wrong page. Not with this!

What happens if you fill up all the of the given boxes? I’m glad you asked! You can scroll to the right and find more space to keep those bookmarks and widgets rolling in.

Here are a few other links to widgets I use: