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4
Nov

Late Night Post

Posting from my Android phone tonight after a day full of emerging technology and department partying. A day full of colleagues and talking shop. Loved it. Good thing I get to do it again tomorrow. This is what is great about Maricopa.

3
Nov

Tips for Creating Audio for Multimedia Projects

I’ve been assigning multimedia projects for students for years, and I’m always pleasantly surprised with what my students give me. With absolutely no training, they have managed to present some pretty exciting projects that include audio, video, photos and various other types of media. They have used wikis, blogs, webpages, Google Sites and even Web 2.0 tools to display their masterpieces. And I’ve provided little to no training, just suggestions for tools to use. I’m rarely disappointed.
This semester, however, I thought I’d raise the bar a little and provide a little training in the form of short videos introducing a tool and briefly showing them how to use it. I’m curious to see if more students will choose to use the tools and thus produce even better multimedia projects. Well, we’ll see. Projects are due on Sunday. Below is one of the short videos I created for them to introduce using audio in their projects. I introduce Audacity, AudioPal, AudioBoo and iPadio.

Audacity 

Audacity is free, open source software for recording and editing sounds. It is available for Mac OS X, Microsoft Windows, GNU/Linux, and other operating systems.

More Audio Podcasting Tools

  • AudioBoo is a mobile & web platform that effortlessly allows you to record and upload audio for your students or the rest of the world to hear.
  • ipadio allows you to broadcast from any phone to the Internet live.  Phone blog, collect audio data, record and update the world, or simply let your mates know what you’re doing – ipadio is integrated with Social Media & Blogging platforms.
  • AudioPal: anyone with a personal website or blog can easily add audio to their site. Engage your visitors by creating an instantly interactive website using AudioPal. Just create your message and embed your flash audio player.

2
Nov

Digging in Diigo for Inspiration

It’s only the 2nd day of NaBloPoMo and I’m already having trouble finding inspiration for blog posts. To help give me some ideas on what to share with you, I decided to visit Diigo. This is where I stash anything that I find of interest that I hope to visit again soon. There is a ton of stuff in there, and I have to admit, I do more stashing than I do revisiting the content. Some day. Well, today is that day apparently.

As I sit here and reflect on my usage of Diigo as an archival service for my interests, I’m feeling that sharing with you about how I use it might be as beneficial as sharing what I have there. Let’s focus on the former. I switch over from Delicious to Diigo a couple of years ago after I saw what @rrodrigo was doing with it, and Delicious had just been bought out by Yahoo! I felt that my “brain” was being messed with, so I needed to switch to a safer place that wasn’t going to disappear on me. Diigo was the choice, mostly for the added features over what Delicious was offering.

I had started using social bookmarking in my ENG102 research paper writing class, and I desperately needed an easier way to group students together by class and have them engage with each other online over their shared research projects. This was cumbersome in Delicious, but proved to be a breeze in Diigo, as Diigo has Groups, and is set up for teachers to easily add students and organize them in these groups. I was in heaven after I discovered this. But the best features that really sold me on Diigo were the annotation tools. I love that my students can highlight sections of a web page and make notes. They can comment on pages that have been saved and “Like” links that have been saved. And we can even have a discussion forum right in the middle of it all. It’s truly awesome for shared research assignments.

My students love it because it’s easy to use. They have lots of tools to make Diigo easy to use. They include Bookmarklets and browser addons. Students were able to simple drag the Diigolet up to their Bookmarks Toolbar. And there are tons of mobile apps and Web Services. My favorite is Save to delicious, which automatically cross-posts to your delicious account. I couldn’t just abandon Delicious. We go way back.

I also use Diigo as part of my Personal Learning Network (PLN). I’ve subscribed to groups and even created a group for CyberSalonAZ. One group that I’ve found great resources in is Diigo In Education. Once you subscribe to a group, you can select to get daily updates on new content via email. It’s easy to keep up with the posts when they come to email. You can also choose to have no email or maybe a weekly update. You should all join our CyberSalonAZ Diigo group and start sharing. See below for joining and seeing what we’ve saved recently.

 

Diigo Image from http://www.customicondesign.com

1
Nov

National Blog Posting Month

It’s National Blog Posting Month: http://nablopomo.blogher.com/ meaning you commit to blogging daily for the month of November. I know not everyone can keep up with that hefty goal, but how about committing to one a week? It sure beats trying to do NaNoWriMo: National Novel Writing Month.  No thank you on that one, although I know some of you have done this. Last year I did NaNoVloMo (Videos) and NaNoExeMo (Exercise) – Yes, I made the last one up, but I did do it.

Anyway, if anyone is interested in posting to their blogs for NaBloPoMo, REMEMBER to cross post to the CyberSalon blog. I think most of you are already set up for that. Just use the tag or category you set up. It might be fun to read about some of the cool things you all are doing. Come on. Don’t be shy. Let’s give CyberSalonAZ a little jolt of technology infusion blogging. It’s lonely over there.

21
Jun

Setting Up Cross Posting on a Few Accounts for DS106

Dailyshoot: Water in a Vase by dr.coop
Dailyshoot: Water in a Vase, a photo by dr.coop on Flickr.

Dailyshoot: Water in a Vase.

I normally don’t blog my Dailyshoot photos on my educational technology blog, but it’s summer and I’m doing DS106 again, so what the heck. This is normally what I use Posterous for. I love how you can post something in one place and have it repost everywhere else. Posterous owns that. What I want to learn today is how to add tags and categories, or can I even do that. I guess I’ll find out. Posterous can, but I’m not sure about Flickr. This is pretty basic. Just type in a box.

Okay, so apparently it will post to a category if you set up that category as you default. That’s good to know.

Via Flickr:
Make a photograph of water in one form or another today.
@dailyshoot #ds583 day 2 for #ds106

20
Jun

DS106 Assignment #1 Introduction

Just getting started with round two of DS106. Maybe I’ll get a littler further along this summer, as I supposedly have less to do in the summer. Made this Animoto video by recording a podcast in Audacity and then uploading it and some of my favorite pics to Animoto. I had to remix it a few times before it was good enough. Took about 15 minutes total. Enjoy.

12
Mar

Setting Up the CyberSalonAZ Network

Step 1: Install WordPress

Cheryl purchased the cybersalonaz.com domain name and installed WordPress to her existing Dreamhost server. Mary Jane Onnen donated $20 to pay for two years of domain name registration. Installation of WordPress can be quite simple, as most hosting companies have 1 click install. However, Cheryl decided she wanted for the site to be as secure as possible, so she did a manual install through sftp. You’ll have to talk to her about what all she did.

Step 2: Create a Network

Cheryl created the network in WordPress 3.1 and chose to use the subdirectories option. She basically followed the directions for doing so on the WordPress Codex page (Create a Network). I think this can probably be the most challenging step, but if you follow directions it’s not hard. When you set up a network in WordPress, you have the option of either using subdirectories or subdomains for the network blogs you create. For example, in my setup for my class, all my students have their own blogs. I had to decide what I wanted the URL to their site to look like:

  • Sub-domains — like site1.eng101online.com and site2.eng101online.com
  • Sub-directories — like eng102online.com/site1 and eng102online.com/site2

Cheryl chose subdirectories because it was easier to set up. When I chose subdomains on my ENG101online site, I had to open a help ticket for my hosting account to ask them to set it up for me. Keep that in mind if you like that option.

Step 3: Install Plugins

We both installed BuddyPress, Achievements for BuddyPress, FeedWordPress, BP Posts on Profile plugins, and set the Akismet API key for the spam filter. If you’ve ever installed plugins on a WordPress blog, you know how easy this is. The hardest part was finding the right plug in. When I did a search for BuddyPress, there were so many plugins that the main plugin didn’t even show up on the first page of results. One I found it though, it was 1 click install. So quickly I’ll explain these main plugins and our reasons for installing them. First, BP adds the social networking features to the WordPress network we set up. To simplify what it is, let’s just say BP is Facebook added to your WordPress. It adds member profile pages, groups, activity streams, friends and friendship requests.

Next is the Achievements for BuddyPress plugin. I’m most excited about this plugin, so of course we had to install it right away. If you’re not familiar with the concept of gamification or social gaming, I’ll be posting more on this later. It basically turns your site into a gaming site where members can earn points, awards and badges for doing certain activities or actions that are determined by the site administrator. As an example, I set up an “event” achievement with the condition of: “The user rejects a friendship request from someone.” When a user performs this event, he automatically earns a badge called the “Asshole Badge.” I just used a image I found on the internet for the badge. I also set it up so the asshole earns 5 points for his efforts.

Connecting our existing individual blogs to the site is important, so we installed the FeedWordPress and BP Posts on Profile plugins. The first is an Atom/RSS aggregator for WordPress. You set up feeds that you choose, and FeedWordPress syndicates posts from those sources into your WordPress posts table. So most of our members have personal blogs where they currently blog about technology and education, and we can now grab the RSS of those existing blogs and have those posts post to the new site’s main page. It’s a really cool plugin in that it automatically maps up with existing users who have the same user name or email address if is listed in the RSS feed. The BP Posts on Profile plugin takes those aggregated posts and displays the posts on the members profile page. So when you’re looking a members profile, there is a posts tab. In that tab, it displays all the posts they have posted.

Lastly, Cheryl set up Akismet by plugging in her API key. As most already know, Akismet protects your blog from comment and trackback spam.

Step 4: Choose a Theme

I chose a BuddyPress theme I purchased for my ENG101online course. We’re not sure it’s the best theme for us yet, but for now we are working with it. It’s called BPSlick and I purchased it for $30. It was the best looking BuddyPress theme I’d seen, and it was recommended by Boone Gorges when we attended his workshop at Wordcamp Phoenix in January. There aren’t many BP themes out there yet -not nearly as many as there are for WP. Cheryl created the purple header to match in Photoshop.

Step 5: Play & Learn

Play with it and learn how to do whatever it is you want to do with your own social network. My first need was: How do I get a RSS feed for a Twitter list? Twitter provides an RSS feed for user tweets, but not for lists. I searched high and low and found that I can do it with Yahoo! Pipes! Yep, Pipes. Check it out: http://pipes.yahoo.com/pipes/pipe.info?_id=fb60de5ff93e81319e3c5fa207b9b276 Someone already created the pipe, so all you have to do is type in your username and the name of the list you want the feed for. Sweet! I created a page on the network called Tweets and I posted the feed to Twitter list: @soul4real/Maricopa.

10
Feb

Five Card Story: Yearning for Knowledge

Five Card Story: Yearning for Knowledge

a ds106 story created by soul4real


flickr photo by pakalko21


flickr photo by HelenaRAmos


flickr photo by PUBLIreflexions


flickr photo by duncandonuts56


flickr photo by les.epinards

Here I sit gazing out the window, looking for knowledge. Is it out this window? Or down this road and across the great divide? I needn’t go very far, as knowledge can be obtained just by using a mouse. But don’t snooze on that or you’ll miss out on all the bright new ideas that are shining bright and ready to consume.


10
Feb

DS106 Radio (Not Really) Live Show

Welcome to another episode of Pimp My Class. Click the link to listen. Tonight’s show will take you back to old school storytelling. We got a letter from Anna in Cave Creek who wanted to know if there were simple audio tools to use in the classroom for storytelling. Why yes, Anna, let’s Pimp Your Class with some easy to use audio tools.

Assignment Description: Come up with an hour-long, themed show for #ds106 Radio that you both conceptualize and produce, then deliver on-the-air live over. It can be an ongoing show, or a one-time affair.

So I’m taking a stab at radio show hosting. Someone be sure to tell me to keep my day job. I created a radio bumper, 3 mini commercials all rolled into a 5 minute episode of a show I created called Pimp My Class. I recorded in Audacity and added a few sound effects and StackTraxx music which I have a license for.

Links for tonight’s show:

Transcript:

You are listening to ds106 radio with soul4real broadcasting live from Phoenix, Arizona.

Welcome to another episode of Pimp My Class. Tonight’s show will take you back to old school storytelling. We got a letter from Anna in Cave Creek who wanted to know if there were simple audio tools to use in the classroom for storytelling. Why yes, Anna, let’s Pimp Your Class with some easy to use audio tools, but first…

Old school storytelling is all about the story and the storyteller. A good story was conveyed through words, and often by improvisation or embellishment.(Much like I’m doing now) Stories have been shared in every culture as a means of entertainment, education, cultural preservation and in order to instill moral values. The same is true today, but storytelling has certainly changed. Today’s storytellers have so many other tools other than the spoken word or movement of the body to convey the story. Today we have endless types of media, including a ton of Web 2.0 tools that can create everything from a still photo to mashups of video to help us tell a story. It can all be quite over stimulating. However, there are many purists still out there that believe storytelling should be only about the narrative. Just sit down. Unplug. Listen. Just like in the old days when we would all gather around the radio to listen to an episode of the Lone Ranger. SCRRRRRR! Okay, okay. Yeah, I wasn’t alive in the 1930’s, and I’m not buying this purists crap either. Gimme a good old fashioned Web 2.0 created story any day. In fact, let’s get right down to my top 3 super techie story telling audio tools.

First is AudioBoo. There’s nothing better than telling a story around a picture, but who has time to take a picture, go home, transfer it to your computer, pretty it up, and then upload it to the web? Then you’re only half way done. You still have to record the story. Back up there a sec. Snap a picture with your fancy smart phone, open up your AudioBoo app, record your story about the picture you just took, attach the photo and send the whole thing to AudioBoo with the push of a button. AudioBoo then posts your story for the whole world to see and hear just like magic. Truly awesome sauce, don’t you think?

Okay, number two on my list is iPadio. Again, who has time for old technology. That would be desktop computers and uploading photos and stories to the web, in case you forgot. iPadio is another tool that lets you use your mobile phone to create audio. iPadio gives you a toll free number to call, so just dial the number and start telling your story. When you’re finished, hang up and your show is live on the web. In fact, if you wanted to actually be live, you can do a live storytelling broadcast. Totally rad, right?

Finally there is AudioPal for those time when you are stuck in a boring textbased discussion forum reading endless boring diatribes about whatever the teacher has assigned. Let’s assume you are not the teacher. That would be bad. But anyway, why not bust out in story right in the middle of that boring discussion with AudioPal. AudioPal lets you record audio directly to the web browser using a microphone or your telephone. And if you’re truly lazy, you can use text to speech. Any way you choose you get your story recorded, and AudioPal will email you the embed code to your story. You can then embed your story right into the discussion, so when all the other bored students get to your post, they get a surprise story to brighten their day, and all is right in the world once again. Okay, well, maybe not, but anyway, Anna you can pimp your class by introducing any of these storytelling methods into your class. I hope that helps and good luck to you.

Okay, that’s it’s for tonight’s episode of Pimp My Class. If you would like to get some tips on how to pimp your class, send your email to dr.coop at yahoo.com. Until then, this is soul4real signing off. Have a great evening.

5
Feb

Random Assignment for DS106 – Playlist Story

As I was scanning through the DS106 RSS feed reading posts and listening to lots of content, I came across an assignment that had to do with writing a story using your music playlist. I couldn’t find the “official” assignment anywhere on the ds106.us website. I’m still trying to figure it all out. Anyway, this assignment was a bit less academic than the one I was currently working on (reading and reflecting), so I thought I’d give it a whirl. It looks like someone named Colleen created her own assignment. The jist of it is:

Using Windows Media Player*, construct a playlist of songs (using song titles only) that can go together to form a sentence, a poem, a new song, etc. When you are done, print your screen, paste it in paint and upload it to your blog, flickr, etc., tagging it.

By passing the Windows Media Player for iTunes (does anyone use WMP anymore?), I got started making my story. Interestingly enough my story ended up being quite a depressing love story. I recall someone else making a similar comment on his on music playlist story. I guess writing poetry is easier if there is a sad story in it.