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learning.now: at the crossroads of Internet culture & education with host Andy Carvin

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Cool Tools archive

November212008

The Live Piracy Map: A Treasure Trove for Student Discussion

It seems you can barely turn on the TV without hearing stories about the rash of piracy incidents that’s been taking place off the coast of Somalia. While it’s tempting to crack wise with references to parrots and peg legs,...

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October312008

Crowdsourcing to Capture Voting Problems

The longest presidential election in history is almost over, and now it’s time to vote. As well all know, sometimes things go wrong at the polling stations. And now the Web 2.0 community is pulling together so we can all...

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September122008

It’s All About the Tags

I’ve gotten a number of questions from people over the last week about how I pulled together all of the content that’s on display at my website, Hurricanes08.org. It’s easier than it looks - and it’s all about the tags....

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August152008

A Blueprint for 21st Century Engagement

This week, PBS Teachers rolled out its curricular guide for the 2008 election. It offers teachers a range of online tools created by the public broadcasting community to encourage civic engagement, embracing social media with each lesson plan....

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August012008

On Order: Half a Million Classmate PCs to Portugal

This week, Intel announced a major partnership with the government of Portugual to supply half a million low-cost Classmate PCs to Portuguese primary school students. One can only imagine the disappointment of MIT’s One Laptop Per Child initiative, but that...

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July182008

Going Ape over APIs

When educators talk about Web 2.0, they often focus on the community and publishing aspects of it - social networks, blogs, user-generated content and the like. And while these tools come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, there’s...

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July012008

PBS Teachers Embraces Social Networking and Bookmarking Tools

Visitors to the PBS Teachers website will see something new today. It’s called PBS Teachers Connect, and it’s the first step in bringing social networking to the website....

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May232008

Coming to a School Near You: Gigapixel Photography?

If that five-megapixel camera isn’t cutting it for your students any more, have I got the gizmo for you. Carnegie Mellon University is prototyping a robotic camera mount that will allow any consumer digital camera to capture gigapixel-resolution - yes,...

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April252008

SlideShare and VoiceThread: Not Your Father’s Film Strip

For those of you who get as bored as I do watching PowerPoints and other passive slide presentations, there’s a new generation of presentation tools embracing interaction, discussion and community building. I’ve been particularly fascinated by the educational potential of...

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March142008

Should Video Games Replace Classroom Learning?

If you’re wondering why my eyes look so bloodshot and my voice is so hoarse, it’s because I just left Austin, TX and the annual South By Southwest Interactive Festival (SXSWi), one of the most exciting events on the digital...

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March052008

Human-Powered Search: Just What the Teacher Ordered?

Educators have lamented the quality of search results since the invention of the first search engine. All too often the results pages are littered with links that are useless in the classroom - or worse. But what if those search...

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March012008

MediaWiki Embraces Social Networking

MediaWiki, the wiki tool used by Wikipedia and thousands of other wiki sites around the world, just got a lot more powerful. The for-profit companion project to Wikipedia announced this week that they were releasing free tools that will allow...

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February262008

MacArthur Foundation Announces Digital Media and Learning Grants

You may recall a blog post of mine from a few months ago when I encouraged readers to pitch innovative education projects to the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur, which was interested in investing resources in the development of...

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February012008

Dude, Where’s My Laptop?

Last November, MIT’s One Laptop Per Child program (OLPC) launched an initiative that would allow individuals to purchase their very own XO laptop - better known as the $100 laptop - while making a donation so that another laptop would...

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January072008

It’s Time for a More Open Timeline Tool

There’s no shortage of online services offering free tools for building your own timeline. But what potential do they have for use in the classroom, and how might they be improved?...

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December182007

Collaborative Writing, 140 Characters at a Time

A teacher in suburban Washington DC has launched a collaborative writing initiative using the messaging tool Twitter. Prepare to be concise!...

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December122007

More than Just Blogging: the 2007 EduBlog Awards

It’s that time of year again - the winners of the annual Edublog Awards have been announced. And despite the name having the word “blog” in it, the awards cover a whole range of educational projects, including wikis, social networks...

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November162007

One Story, 50 Tools, Infinite Possibilities

Educator Alan Levine has proven the adage that there’s more than one side to every story by demonstrating 50 multimedia techniques to present the same tale. The result is an extraordinary collection of online creativity tools, with demonstrations of how...

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October182007

Ten Questions for Presidential Candidates, Including One of Yours?

Move over YouTube debates, now for something meatier! A coalition of blogs and news organizations is using Web 2.0 tools to create another exciting experiment in interactive presidential debates. It might even be a chance for your students to pose...

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September252007

Buy One Laptop, Give One Free

It shouldn’t come as a huge surprise that the developers of the so-called $100 laptop have changed their minds and decided to make the device available to the U.S. market. But that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to stroll down...

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September122007

Steve Fossett, The Mechanical Turk and Educational Crowdsourcing

Earlier this week I spent part of my lunch break searching for aviator Steve Fossett. And I didn’t even have to leave my desk to do it. It’s an example of what’s known as crowdsourcing, and its educational potential can’t...

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August242007

Bringing the Universe - Real and Imagined - Into the Classroom

The rest of the universe got a little closer to your classroom this week when Google announced the addition of high-resolution space images to its Google Earth tool. And if the real universe isn’t good enough for you, there’s even...

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July172007

Intel and the $100 Laptop: What Does it Mean for U.S. Schools?

Last Friday, I nearly did a spit-take when I saw the headline: after years of acrimony, computer chip manufacturer Intel is forming a partnership with MIT’s so-called $100 laptop program. It’s big news, no doubt, but how will the move...

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May012007

The iPod of the Beholder: Can MP3 Players Enhance Learning?

First it was cell phones, and now it’s iPods. K-12 schools around the country are beginning to ban students from carrying MP3 players, fearing they may use them for cheating. Yet at least one university is embracing the exact opposite...

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April202007

Setting Up Shop in Second Life

What happens when a bunch of edtech enthusiasts decide to set up offices in a virtual reality space? Honestly, I have no idea - which is why I’m so excited about the Center for Advanced Virtual Education in Second Life....

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November222006

Course Forge: Posting Your Entire Curriculum Online

Last week a Washington state school district announced an ambitious plan to put its entire curriculum online for public access. They’re one of the first K-12 districts to follow the lead of higher education’s open courseware movement, which is changing...

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November032006

The Semantic Web and the Online Educational Experience

Yesterday, the inventor of the World Wide Web announced the formation of a new research center to study how the Web really works. (Yes, it’s such an amorphous and complicated space that even he doesn’t understand it.) And the work...

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October032006

CyberOne: A Glimpse of the Future Classroom?

While there is no shortage of educators experimenting with interactive tools like blogging, wikis, immersive virtual environments and the like, Harvard Law School’s CyberOne course is throwing the entire Web 2.0 playbook at one group of very eager students. Does...

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September182006

RSS Feeds: Making Your Favorite Websites Come to You

If you’ve ever spent any time visiting blogs (including this one), you may have noticed a little button somewhere on the page that looks something like this: or like this: On the face of it, they may seem like just...

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August142006

Back to School: Five Predictions and a Waffle

It’s that time of year, kids - we’re going back to school. (Okay, I’m not going back to school, but millions of educators and students are, so there’s a good chance this applies to you.) In honor of the start...

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August012006

Encouraging Student Creativity with Creative Commons

I’m often amazed by the lack of discussion in education technology circles about copyright. Sure, people talk about it occasionally, but given the increasing number of young people (read: millions of them) uploading their own content to the Internet, it...

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July172006

Insuring Online Content is Accessible to All Students

Can you spot the difference between these photos? If not, maybe you should ask a student who’s blind. Their answer will demonstrate the importance of the new accessible digital media guidelines published last week....

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July142006
June262006

Getting to Know Wikipedia

Last week we took a look at the role wikis are playing in promoting educational blogging. Today I’d like to introduce you to the mother of all wikis: Wikipedia....

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June192006

Using a Wiki to Promote Educational Blogging

Steve Hargadon is a man with a mission. A blogger, computer entrepreneur and parent of four school-aged children, Hargadon recognized the potential of blogging as an educational tool, yet worried the hype over sites like MySpace was scaring some teachers...

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June142006

What’s the Fuss About FOSS?
Part 2: A Chat with David Thornburg

In my last post, I discussed the basics of free and open source software (FOSS). Now I’m going to turn to award-winning author and edtech advocate David Thornburg to offer an educational perspective. David is the founder of the Thornburg...

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June122006

What’s the Fuss About FOSS?
Part 1: An Intro to Free and Open Source Software

If you take a look at some of the comment threads that have taken place on this blog, you’re bound to find some posts by readers talking about “open source” software. For example, Tom Hoffmann recently posted comments on the...

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May052006

Tag - You’re Delicious!

Some of you may have already noticed in the right column of this blog a little box that says DEL.ICIO.US LINKS. A couple people have already emailed me saying how cool this is, but I would guess that for every...

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