Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Second Life Resources for Teachers (Karen Schweitzer-Guest post)

Many different universities and school systems around the globe have begun using Second Life as part of their education programs. If you are a beginner or an advanced Second Life (SL) educator who wants to learn more about incorporating this visual 3D world in the classroom, there are plenty of resources online that can help. Here are 15 good sources of information for SL educators to explore: Second Life in Education - This informational site discusses some of the educational uses of SL. SLeducation also provides links to Second Life and other virtual world resources. EDUSCAPE - This Second Life blog features tips and information for teachers who are incorporating and using SL in education. TeacherTube - TeacherTube offers several video resources for teachers who are interested in Second Life. One video worth checking out is English Village ESL in Second Life. Second Life English Blog - This unique blog features a collage of random reflections on the use of Second Life for language learning and teaching. SLED Blog - This blog is written by educators who discuss the ins and outs of using SL in K-12 education. The SLED Blog offers scholarly resources, tutorials, and event information. Annotated Bibliography of Second Life Educational Online Resources - This constantly evolving bibliography features a wide range of short articles discussing the educational benefits of using SL. The site also links to useful educational SL tutorials. ISTE Second Life - ISTE Second Life is an online virtual environment for educators to collaborate, network, and discuss online learning. This site is a great place to discuss the practices and real-life educational opportunities in Second Life. Ilene.pbworks.org - This informational site discusses a list of things educators should consider when using Second Life in education. The article discusses the use of SL, what it is, how to start, and offers several resources within SL to use. Edumuve.com - Edumuve.com is a beginner's guide to SL but also offers links for more advanced learning. Second Life Education Wiki - This educational wiki provides programs, institutes, competitions, presentations, and mailing lists. The site also offers teaching resources, lesson plans, and classroom management opportunities for SL. SLED Picayune - The SLED Picayune is a blog designed for SL educators. One of the best articles this site features is the top 10 reasons educators should use SL. Second Life Grid - Second Life Grid provides educational case studies, educator's pilot program information, and resources to connect with other educators who use SL. This is a good place for first time Second Lifers to meet and connect with more experienced educators. Twitterbox - Twitterbox is a free Twitter app that allows you to receive Twitter messages while you're inside Second Life. This is a great way for students or teachers to connect and chat. Gwyn's Beginners Guide to Second Life - Teachers new to Second Life will enjoy this beginner's guide which provides a step-by-step guide to slang, money, land, and more. Best Practices for Education in Second Life - This article, provided by Global Kids Digital Media Initiative, offers ways to develop youth through SL. The article discusses ways to use SL for social networking, interactive workshops, quizzes, contests, and more. Guest post from education writer Karen Schweitzer. Karen is the About.com Guide to Business School. She also writes about online colleges for OnlineColleges.net.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Twitter: do you know where you going to?

I was just listening to Evan Williams and he described how Twitter ended up being what they never thought it would become. First let's start with what they thought Twitter would be for. It was created to share trivial things in about 140 characters or less like "I'm mad. couldn't find a decent single bathroom while running errands downtown". What's interesting about these updates is that lots of people may receive them instantly! Thus, reducing the distance among people around the world. Isn't that neat? Here's what Twitter is becoming: 1. Twitter in Real time events,say, Hurricane Katerina. 2. Twitter for businesses (marketing) 3. Twitter for politics (Barackobama) Users' contribution to Twitter: 1. Using the syntax @profile to reply to someone (this was later built into Twitter system to made it easier to twitterers) 2. Using APIs. This means that programmers can write software that interacts with twitter. For example, a fetal kick detector that twitters when baby kicks , Kickbee, plants twittering to owners, real time Twitter search. 3. Using Twitter to help each other out (e.g. raising money for homeless people). What was not mentioned in Evan Williams's talk is that Twitter can be used: 1. for conferences 2. to broadcast news 3. to announce events 4. to provide updates on new web 2.0 tools (as some EFL teachers do) It was interesting to listen to Evan Williams talking about Twitter because it shows how people has stretched the possibilities of web 2.0 tools like Twitter to other applications or uses.

Twitter Drawback (at least in Venezuela):
I wonder why in Venezuela, South America, we cannot use Twitter in our cell phones. For some reason, we have been denied the pleasure of fully enjoying this web service. BTW, same thing happens with some other web services like Amazon; no video downloads are allowed . I wonder why? I feel frustrated every time I read "This is only available for such and such countries (generally Europe or the States)". Reducing the digital divide?
Twitter Glossary:  
Twitter (noun): the micro-blogging web service
(to) twitter (verb): to update messages via PC or cell phone.  
Tweets (noun): people's posts  
Twitterer: the one who twitters  
*Tweeps: Twitter people / followers  
*Tweet exhaustation: the flooding, never ending tweets
Tworn: Twitter porn
Twammer: Twitter spammer  

Twitter & education:
A teacher's guide to Twitter
Microblogging in Education
Educational tool: Twitter
50 ideas on using Twitter for education
Twitter in higher education
Directory of Learning Professionals on Twitter Word a day 

Graham Stanley' six things
Teaching with Twitter
More on Twitter 
The always irreverent but smart Chris Pirillo suggests 10 ways to use Twitter.  
Twhirl: A desktop client for social software such as Twitter  
Tweet Penguin: Find new Twitter followers with similar interests  
Tweet Exhaustation: An interesting article on why people can feel overwhelmed with Twitter and how to overcome this.
Filesocial: To upload documents and share with other tweeps.  
Twitstory: to back up your tweets
TwHistory: To learn about North American history in 140 words. 
Twitter Hashtags: Learn how to use hashtags

Saturday, February 28, 2009

A break - back again!

After a long a long time since I posted a message in the Ve-blog. I've been updating links and adding widgets though. On the other hand, some entries from this blog especially those related to the web-based lesson have been used as a reference for an online session given at EVO 2009 called Blog-based lesson and e-portfolios co-moderated by Teadira Pérez (ULA-AVEALMEC president), Evelyn Iquierdo (UCV - AVEALMEC secretary acting member) and myself (UCV/British Council Venezuela/ AVEALMEC secretary). So all and all the Ve-blog didn't slip into oblivion during 2008.

I've been meaning to write since I've found interesting articles and new web 2.0 tools every time I am on the net, but my work at the university and the British Council has kept me away from hitting keys on the keyboard and share with whomever happens to read this blog.

I will try to resume my writing and post more regularly this year. In the meantime, I would like to invite you to participate in the online coverage of IATEFL 2009 to be held in Cardiff from 31st March to 4th April 2009

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