#gr8t Tweet

For the month of March, educators who use Twitter are being encouraged to share their favorite tweet of the day by retweeting it with the tag #gr8t. The criteria for what you tag as #gr8t is personal. Share whatever you find relevant, insightful, interesting, humorous or useful.

I like this idea, essentially creating a kind of “best of” filter for Twitter where anyone (whether you use Twitter or not) can track valuable conversations, links, resources, whatever being passed around by educators. Plus it is a nice acknowledgment to the people who pass on useful resources.

If you have been hesitant to dip your toes in the Twitter waters and find out if there is substance to the hype, this might be a good time to jump in to see how powerful Twitter and micro-blogging can be. Sue Waters has set up a very good resource page for educators who want to get started using Twitter.

Even if you decide not to join Twitter right now, there are still a number of ways you can follow along with what is being tagged. The easiest is to use the Twitter search engine and search for the tag #gr8t. This will give you a current snapshot of what educators are tagging as #gr8t right now. Or you can see an aggregated list of tweets on the #gr8t wiki homepage coming from a number of different sources. I expect that over the course of this month, both of these resources will yield a bevy of useful information and resources.

Photo credit: My Twitter Class of ’08 by mallix. Used under a Creative Commons license.

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Change usernames in your Delicious network

Delicious was the first of the current breed of Web 2.0 social networks I signed up for. In retrospect, I wish it was one of the last because one of the things I didn’t quite realize then that I fully get now is that in order for these social tools to work their magic, you have to be found. And that means your name.

My Delicious name is the very unfortunate WindTech. At the time, I was heavy into freelance work with my own company, called Wind (which had nothing to do with weather, but that is another story), hence the WindTech.

Well, Wind has come and gone, but unfortunately the name WindTech has stuck on my Delicious account. I wish I could simply change it, but in Delicious, you cannot change your username. I would have to delete my account and create a new one, but that means rebuilding my network. The name doesn’t bug me that much.

But even though I cannot change my name, you can if I am in your network. A tweet from Delicious a few days ago let me know that you can now change the display names of people in your network. So, while I cannot change WindTech to Clint Lalonde, if you are in my delicious network at least you can so I appear as a real person as opposed to some semi-corporate entity in your network.

Since then I have learned the authenticity lesson of social networking – be yourself. So now when I sign up for a social network I am now me – Clint Lalonde.

Er, except on Last.fm where I am MondoCanuck. That was social network #2.

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Create an interactive wall of images with TiltViewer

Demo of TiltViewer

TiltViewer is a free, customizable 3D Flash image viewing application you can add to your site to create a lovely, interactive wall of photos. In just a few minutes I put together a demonstration page to show off the effect.

The images are being pulled from my Flickr account, and if you click on the rotate icon in the bottom right hand corner, you can the Flickr description of the image along with some other data, which could make TiltViewer a nice little flash card exercise with the image on one side and answers on the reverse.

TiltViewer also integrates with Picasa or with a folder of stand alone images on your web server. And, best of all for us D2L users, I was able to get the application working in D2L without a lot of mucking, which is a bit of a surprise since anything that uses javascript often makes D2L very unhappy. Here is what TiltViewer looks like in D2L.

TiltViewer inside D2L

If you plan to use this with stand alone photos, it does require some mucking with an XML file, but the instructions are straightforward.

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Translate feeds with Google Reader

Translate in Google Reader

I had my horizons greatly expanded this week when I discovered a feature of Google Reader I didn’t know existed. Google Reader will translate foreign language feeds into English. To access the translation feature, click on either view settings or folder settings, depending on where you currently are in Google Reader.

Now, if you have ever used Google Translate, then you know what gets spit out at the other end is often a linguistic nightmare. But it is improving and will continue to improve, and it opens up the possibilities for me to follow along with the work of my peers in other languages. Maybe someone can recommend some French speaking edtechies from Quebec I can follow?

Actually, who am I kidding. The biggest benefit for me is now the ability to follow the progress of Canadian soccer players plying their trade in Germany, Spain, Romania and the Netherlands.

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