It is Tuesday, April 8, 2008 and I have complicated my life even further by creating an account on WordPress.com. Why, you may ask? Well, I have been learning a lot lately about Web 2.0 tools. The first workshop I attended Friday, March 7, at CUE was Mark Wagner showing us some of the ins and outs of this online social networking. He compared WordPress to some of the other blogs and since he was impressed with it and I have seen quite a few others switching to it, I decided to give it a try. it’s free and it can’t hurt to set up and account.
I’ve been in a mood the last month of trying just about everything i can get my hands on. I think the fire was really lit the day I started my own STAT NING for teachers in the PSD of the LCMS. (You’d have to be one of us to understand all that lingo but it works for me.)
That was actually on Feb 28.
Also right now, just inches beside me, I am installing SUSE Linux on my “old” Dell Inspiron 1000. I had Windows on it but kept getting the blue screen of death, crashing, etc. My wife refused to even use it anymore for AOL to play her POGO games and switched to the desktop computer we have in the bonus room. So now I have another toy to play with.
I was reluctant for several years to get into the open source software, Linux, and web 2.0 tools. I had heard a lot about them at the 2006 NECC at San Diego. I met Steve Hargadon there or at least saw him presenting about many of the great open source tools such as Moodle. I even got a free CD on Linspire but didn’t install it until just a few weeks ago. It wsa something at CUE this year that got me going. I sent out initiations to about 100 people in my PSW district to joining my NING the night I left for CUE. While I was at CUE, I kept an eye on it and watched the membership grow. I went to some great workshops while there and one of them, Elliot somebody, had a handout with the Linux distribution website and all the goodies one can choose from while there.
After I got home I think I installed the Linspire first. The one that had been sitting around for alomst two years. It was impressive even without installing it. Then I downloaded Edubuntu and Freespire from the distro web site. I took one of the dozens of old ocomputers I had sitting in the garage and installed Frespire on it. Not too hard. There was even open source software to download for free to burn the images I downloaded for free on to some blank CDs. Ok, now put that on hold and then jump over to Twitter.
I’m not sure exactly when that started but it’s only be a week or two. For days, I just kept joining one thing after another. I think it was Larry Wooster’s question about how we are, or aren’t, using web 2.0 tools in our classroom. I offered a suggestion of how I had kids contribute a Photo Story file to the web. Is that really web 2.0? Maybe not, it was the act of contributing something to the Internet but it wasn’t really two-way interactive kinds of Web 2.0 tools others were talking about. I was still really in the dark, I guess. So I just kept at it day after day. I started following more people who were in the Web 2.0 vein and others who were following them. There we re links to click on for free webinars, web sites they referred to I had to click on and try out. I started to keep a list by my computer of all the names I was hearing about just to keep them all straight.
OK, so there you have the confessions of a technology coordinator finally trying to get caught up with the social networking trends of Web 2.0 tools today. I guess the more I try it out and use the terminology in the right way, I won’t sound so ignorant anymore. Trying to get others to finally try what I am trying, now that’s a different matter. Who knows how long it will take the fire to catch on. Most teachers I know have their hands full just trying to do what they have to do each day to survive. Some are having fun with these tools but most are where I was a couple years back. Vaguely aware of many new technologies on the horizon and trying to stay out of the way from getting run over by them.