Sunday, March 04, 2007

Stumbling around the web

There are so many things I want to blog about tonight but my bandwidth is not my best friend again in Bangladesh. However, I must share with you all some of my most recent discoveries online. I really love reading other peoples blogs and trying out what they recommend. Sometimes I need to read about it 2 or 3 or more times before trying. So, if you have heard about these Web 2.0 tools before and not tried them yet maybe I can encourage you to 'take 5' and explore.

First of all, you may notice my new sidebar tool called 'NeoCounter'. This comes from NeoWorx and provides a counter that will display the number of visitors and their flag. How cool is that? There are other options as well including NeoEarth, NeoFlags and NeoBoard. I customised the NeoCounter option and installed this feature into my blog template exactly a week ago and sat back to see what would happen. Well, my blog has had 213 visitors from 43 countries in one week!. I am amazed but not sure how all of these counters and statistical data collecting devices correlate Feedburner tonight has the figure 131 readers (is this per week?, subscription?). However I love seeing the colourful flags of NeoCounter and reading the growing list of country names each day.

Have you found StumbleUpon yet? This is great fun. After registering you can install a toolbar to your browser that allows you to click and it will randomly find an interesting website based on your preferences eg education, music, sport etc. As you find these sites you have the option to give them the 'thumbs up' or 'thumbs down', meaning you like that type of website and want more or not. Not only that but you can login to the StumbleUpon website and have a personal page where your website preferences and likes and dislikes are recorded. Not only that, you can network with other stumblers and choose friends that have the same likes as yourself! One of the best websites I have found so far, amongst a few very interesting ones, is Musicovery. This provides streamed radio based on genre, era and mood of music. It provides a set of files that are represented in mind-map fashion and will play consecutively until the theme ends (about 1 hour), unless you select another option and change the course. This is so much fun and useful for education. At your fingertips is 70's rock, 50's jazz, 60's blues etc. Not to mention a great tool for the odd party (80's dance music anyone?).

Another find this week is Pluggd. According to the Read/Write web this is a vertical search application that presents information in 'fundamentally new, different and intelligent ways'. This time the search is for podcasts. Similar to StumbleUpon you can sign up for free and have customised suggestions and be able to bookmark and share with other users. Social networking once again!

Finally, quote of the week from my bloglines goes to Miguel Guhlin in his writing about The buck stops here!, with
"The tsunami has hit education." Read his blog post for context but he refers to the need for and the inevitability of change and that connectivity and creativity are related on a level that can be blogged about in the same paragraph. Yes, I agree the tsunami has hit and washed away any doubt we have that acknowledgement, gratification and constructivist knowledge building via online connections enhances and supports learning. We cannot go back to the way it was before, we can only continue to build on what we have, refine it, improve it and use it. And this will take creative and dedicated people, many of whom will be educators in their own right and leaders in the eyes of the connected community.

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