Tag Archives: tools

Using Storify to gather information

Here’s a quick test of Storify, using a quick Twitter meme that popped up in Charlotte on Saturday.

A group of local folks launched a meme about advice for the Democratic National Convention, being held in Charlotte in September 2012.

Storify is getting lots of attention because of some people’s use of it to gather information from social media out of Egypt.

Another similar tool, Intersect, out of the Seattle area, is out there as well. Both tools look promising; I hope both tools keep in mind the importance of visuals as well as words.

For searches out of Storify for specific images in Flickr, I was a little frustrated. I could find specific, Creative Commons images from a Flickr contact within Flickr, but couldn’t find the same image quickly in Storify’s search. Still too early to tell what was going on there: my unfamiliarity with the Storify tool, or perhaps an incomplete database of available Flickr images.

One more note: Storify gives an embed script. A quick trial in WordPress.com shows the script getting stripped out. Perhaps it works in WordPress.org.

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Lessons about technology

Amanda Toler has done an excellent job in her Each One Teach One project in researching the issues of technology in K-12 education.

She has a 5-year-old. I have a 17-year-old. So I offer some perspective, and I hope much of it applies to the use of technology beyond the classroom.

My child entered public schools in 1995, just before computer labs became the flavor of the year at well-equipped schools. She’s wrapping up her senior year now, and she has benefited from online Flash chemistry simulations, turnitin.com verification of papers and online college applications.

Through the years, some themes emerged that apply broadly, to businesses and media as well as classrooms.

GIGO: Garbage in, garbage out. An online grade report for students and parents does no good if teachers lack the time or training to input the data.
Hardware solutions to software problems won’t get us anywhere. We can’t just throw money at it. I’ve seen boxes of brand new computers sitting at a school a month after school began, waiting for someone with the time and talent to plug them in. Meanwhile, older printers had been taken away, and students without home computer access desperately needed to print college application forms at school.
TMI (Too Much Information) exists: Email alerts of opportunities and information can be emotionally overwhelming and clog in boxes at the same time. It’s like subscribing to too many magazines or newspapers — if they just pile up at home and make you feel guilty every time you see them, you’re likely to opt out of a subscription, whether it’s paper or email.
Social mores, fads and friends have huge impact: The IM craze of middle school at times degenerated into meanness for some. But a whole generation learned to type, quickly.
Documentation and certification lag behind new developments: The public-school curriculum and testing of technology skills is often outdated before it becomes adopted. Successful students need to go way beyond the basic levels of skills the state of North Carolina currently requires.
One good teacher is a gift to be cherished: In seventh grade, a teacher came up with a class project of planning and budgeting for a trip around the state. Students had to research different cities and the price of hotels, restaurants and attractions in each city, then add up costs for the entire trip. The students mapped the trip as well. (This was before Mapquest. Believe it or not, such a time existed.) This project was a killer, especially with dial-up access, but it gave students lasting experience in finding information on the Internet.