Skimming connections and content

My – how times have changed! When I began to write this blog connecting online was a new thing, and it was all about creating a social focus for information exchange.

Now I connect and reconnect, share, distribute, collect, throw away – live and breath online to empower my day to day work, and enliven my friendships and opportunities for professional learning. The speed around this has also changed – as has the fluidity of daily interactions.

Take this blog – I don’t have to write nearly as much as I used to – even though  there is more to write about!  Why? Well,  I don’t have to write paragraphs to share – that was blogging of a couple of years ago –  I TWEET to share!! I DELICIOUS to share!!  I FACEBOOK to share!!  I VODPOD to share!!  All this is fast, effective, and  what’s more, it’s easy.

As I read my RSS feeds in my favourite reader Feedly, I can quickly tweet anything I come across that I know will interest others, and will often send the same information to my Delicious account, and off to Facebook as well.  Similar thing happens when I add a video to my Vodpod collection, only the places I can distribute information at a click are even more extensive.  Admittedly,it could get pretty crowded out there online as more and more people move to this style of thinking and connecting  …so let’s see how the next couple of years go with these tools.

We all have our own favourite ways of navigating our online spaces and sharing information – the great thing about it all is the flexibility and speed of this information gathering and distribution. The downside is that there is a LOT out there!!

A really nice tool that fits into this new mode of skimming is the Article Skimmer by The New York Times, recently highlighted at Free Technology for Teachers.

The New York Times has tons of great content everyday, but trying to sort through even a portion of it can be very time consuming. The New York Times now has a new way for readers to browse its content. The New York Times Article Skimmer is a grid of headlines and article stubs that enables you to quickly skim many articles from your choice of sixteen article categories.

It’s a lovely interface. Perfect for keeping up with the latest information, and reading it right within the skimmer interface. This is a great tool to introduce to senior students who need to keep informed of the latest developments in areas such as business, technology and world events. In terms of tracking (understanding) reader interests, it is interesting to be able to view the ‘most emailed’ articles. Another feature of the skimmer is the option for personal customization of how you access the articles. Loads of schemes and lots of different ways to view the content.

All this connecting needs words, words and more words.  I really enjoyed finding out about Save the Words, and viewing the astonishing collection of words that are falling out of favour.  From Oxford Dictionaries,  we are encouraged to introduce a new word a day into our vocabulary. I spotted a great word to adopt – my friends often tell me I should obacerate myself!

obacerate, v, 1656 -1658. to stop one’s mouth. “”When Kermit saw the huge swarm of flies, he did not say a word, but simply obacerated himself.