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Archive for the ‘Useful Websites’ Category

If you have not seen a Hans Rosling presentation, I suggest you immediately go here (TED Talks) and watch one of his videos.

In his videos, he uses Gapminder to display data.  Gapminder software that Rosling wrote with two of his children.  Part of the software, TrendAnalyzer, was bought by Google in 2006.  You can make your own Gapminder display by using the Google Motion gadget.

I used the Google Motion gadget to create the chart below. Note: I had technical issues embedding the working chart, so I just inserted a screen shot instead. The chart actually moves, unfortunately my picture of it does not. 😦

created from Dept. of Education data & Google Motion gadget

created from Dept. of Education data & Google Motion gadget

As a longtime fan of Tufte, the information presented using the software is presented in a way that, I imagine, Tufte would find awesome.  I encourage everyone to take a look and see if it can be used in the classroom to display large amounts of data that change over time (trends).  I can almost guarantee that students will be enthralled by the movement.  Seeing data in action is so much more powerful than just seeing a series of bar graphs.

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TweetPsych

Staying in the same vein as the last post, I found another interesting site that makes Twitter a little bit more interesting.  TweetPsych is a site that allows an user to enter any twitterer’s username and get a brief psychological profile.  It’s fairly interesting to see the results.

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I came across a really interesting site called Twicsy.  The site allows users to search images that people have linked to on twitter.

The site is interesting in that you can search for a topic (such as Iran) and get a page of results. When you hover over an image, it is englarged in a popout. When you click on the image you are directed to a page with a larger version of the image and tweets related to the image.  Very cool stuff.

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Even though school is out for the summer, I decided to do a post on classroom tools that are available free.  I’m not going to discuss GoogleDocs or Zoho or PBWiki here, these will be more visual tools – video and image tools.

photo by dcJohn

photo by dcJohn

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Issuu.com is a site that I came across a few days ago via a Twitter post by someone I follow (forgive me, but I can’t remember who).

It’s an interesting site that allows content creators to publish content.

Just a tiny bit of the content on Issuu.

Just a tiny bit of the content on Issuu.

To look at a magazine, click on the cover (or you can do a search and find content that isn’t in the featured area).  The magazine will open in a type of reader that allows the viewer to flip through the pages, zoom, and email the content.  There are also thumbnail images of different parts of the magazine that the viewer and click on and go immediately to that area.

Very interestingly, there is also a Portfolios area on the featured content section.  It appears that graphic designers, photographers, etc. have the abilty to create and upload a portfolio that others can browse through.  A very neat self-marketing idea.

Any ideas how to incorporate this into higher education?  Would faculty self-publishing content be valued by administration?   Would students self-publishing be valued by faculty and future employers?

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The first post on this blog was about ‘alternative’ ways for students to get textbooks.  Since then it seems like I’ve seen/heard variations of this discussion in several places.   Three articles came to my attention that I would like to discuss further.

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Yesterday we had a new blast of anti-Facebook sentiments as the site’s new terms of service was unveiled. For me, and a lot of other people, it was a reminder of how we must all be vigilant about protecting our personal information online.  (Facebook has since reverted to their old terms of service and are taking input from users for the next revision).

Facebook is a bear of a site to try to manage for newbies because of the vast array of contacts that you can have – friends, family, and professional contacts. You may not want all of these people to have the same access to your personal information. For example, you might want your friends to have your cell phone and personal email, but might not want your professional contacts to have that information.

Here’s an example from the Chronicle of Higher Education about a professor at Dartmouth who left her profile to more people than she intended.

Here are some more humorous examples of pictures that should never have been made public (not all on Facebook) from Dan Tynan at PC World.

Of course, these privacy can be managed with a 10-20 minute investment in tweaking the privacy settings in Facebook.   I won’t need to recreate the wheel of telling you how as Nick O’Neill of AllFacebook.com as done a wonderful job (click to read more).

For those of you not on Facebook, I would encourage you to check it out.  Look for a Facebook 101 podcast from CIT coming in April/May.

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