Imbee added info

I looked at the “Terms” part of Imbee and read as with other sites that they are not responsible for the information posted. This puts the responsibility on the users to watch what they say and do. This works only if the parents of the users are monitoring what they do. Without this parental involvement kids can still get themselves in trouble using this site. 

Imbee Social Networking

My first reaction is “I thought social networking took place face-to-face”. I guess not. The good news is that Imbee provides parents and teachers with a relatively safe area for their “tweens” to hang out online. With all of the scarey stuff out there it is nice to have a place to let your kids go. It must also be acknowledge that kids will be online and anyone who is not is going to be left out. Even when kids are not online their conversations many time revolve around being online. Pop-up adds are on the site so there is the commercial aspect to this site but overall this is a good place to go but with all of the regular precautions for safe surfing.  

Blogs, Wikis, Twitters

There is a saying that “The only thing that is constant is change”. Wikis and Twitters are an example of this. Appealing to the need to be new and different some new categories of blogs have emerged. For those of verbal excess there is the Twitter which limits the size of the post. Somewhere betweeen the web site and a blog is the Wiki which allows anyone (see wikipedia) to post or modify content.

As with other technologies the information contained is only as good as the person posting the information. The good news, I guess is that we are told that the error rate for Wikipedia for example is not too different from the traditional encyclopedia.    

To Blog or not to Blog

Another of the technologies I am looking at is “Blogs”. This technology is less structured and is more open to the inclusion of useless information. By that I mean the credentials of a blogger include merely the interest in a subject and a means of posting on the blog. Some attempts are being made to “rein in” those who misuse this technology in order to post incorrect, abusive, or threatening information. A “Bloggers Code of Conduct” (see links) has been suggested but these are guidelines and have no consequences. We are asked to voluntarily regulate ourselves. As Rodney King said “why can’t we all get along?” Basically blogs are safe places to express ones opinions without consequences. It is a self-regulated medium for the most part and is like going to a virtual flea market, Very hard to find the treasures amoung the junk. Some questions I have are Why should I care what others have to say? and Why should anyone care what I have to say?. This mode of communicating by its nature is limited in its usefulness in the classroom. 

Dipity Two

Dipity does provide another tool for the student taking a history or social studies class but it does require the standard basic skills needed for any research which may be too challenging for some. They must collect factual information from a friend or relative and accuratly place it in their time line. Also, a time line is useful in only a few instances so Dipity does not have the broad flexibility that Word or PowerPoint have. But when appropriate Dipity is easy to use and can be used to create interesting presentations.   

Dipity

This is another site I was introduced to in a previous class. Dipity allows the user to make timelines with an interesting twist, the addition of images. The students can create a standard timeline and add images or photos in order to enhance their creation. I created a short one as an example and included a new wrinkle. I included actual events from my families past. In this case the timeline was about World War II and I included some factual information about one of my uncles who fought during the war. This added bit of information personalizes the presentation and makes it more interesting to the creator and his/her audience.

Here’s the “A Bit” part

Merely reading numbers and entering them in a spreadsheet is “tizzywork” (I just made this up, it stands for “technology busy work”). As an added stimulant to the students grey cells they will address the following question: Using a reputable weather data site they will discover the temperatures and precipitation for the same time period ten years ago and discuss whether (sorry for the pun) based on their data “global warming” is true or not. Once again we see that technology is a tool and in itself cannot teach…yet.