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.

6 thoughts on “Skimming connections and content

  1. Hi Judy,
    Sorry I left 2 comments very similar to each other..I did not think the first one went through! I am putting the link to your blog site in a wiki site if you do not mind. I am taking an online course in technology in the classroom and this week’s assignment is to set up a wiki with a group of colleagues. We have a useful blog sites page where you will be found! I have to go now because I have to figure this wikitocious stuff out! Our wiki is called wikitacular!

  2. Something you said really caught my eye: “Living and breathing online.” I am returning to teaching after having been out of the field for a decade and am simultaneously pursuing a Master of Education in Instructional Technology degree. I wanted to learn about the tools that my students use so that I could effectively integrate. I have learned so much – I could barely operate our DVD / VCR / TV and now I am blogging, creating wikis, downloading feeds and photosharing. I am concerned about Facebook though, as the students want to “friend” everyone it seems; however, I want to “live and breathe” online with my friends and colleagues as well. Some teachers have told me that they tell their students that they will not grant friendship permission until they grqaduate. How do you feel about using this tool when one is in the secondary education teaching profession? I definitely see the value in wikis and blogs for collaboration potential for students, but I am still hesitant about jumping in with both feet with this social networking tool.

    • Hi Christine, thanks for your response to the post. I was interested in your question about Facebook. For now, I don’t let my student’s friend me, as I actually use FB as a strong professional network – and the news feed would be filled with irrelevant things to me if kids were also my friends. However, should I have a library FB account, the situation would be totally different. Other teachers I know do have connections with their students – which is fine too. It really depends on the individual and what they do with their FB account I think. So many possibilities!!

  3. Hi Judy,
    I love the Save the Words website; its a great visual and I think my 8th grade students would love it. I am new to blogging and have not tweeted quite yet, but plan on doing so. I like your philosophy on teaching and technology, and your blog site will be a great resource to me since you are soooo experienced with technology and I am not!
    I appreciate the advice on Feedly and skimming and I’m sure I will utilize sometime.

  4. Hi Judy,
    I love Save-the-words, and I know my students will as well; only downfall is they might find a way to make a game out of it by running the mouse over as many words as possible to hear the funny voices (8th graders). Thanks for the link and the ideas about skimming and Feedly. I just subscribed to Google Reader so it is new to me; I’ll stick with it for awhile. I have a feeling tweeting is in my near future..I’m quite behind the times but trying!

  5. Great post, Judy, full of fantastic tips, and a justification for not blogging as frequently. I’m going to try out Feedly because, frankly, Google Reader is getting on my nerves – loading or not loading, looking ugly. Love the word. Also try ‘spizzerinktum’; I love that word. It means a person who possesses initiative, vim, vigor, efficiency, intelligent persistency and an overmastering will to succeeed.

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