Thursday, January 27, 2011

Readability - Make Web Pages Easier to Read

Ever go to a web page that is so cluttered you can hardly read the text?  Here is a tool for you.  You can easily install it into you Firefox, Safari, or Chrome browser to help make the webpage cleaner to read or print.  The company, Arc90, put it together so you could simplify what you were reading.  It is a nice tool, one that students might find helpful when doing research.  Watch the tutorial below, it is really simple. This link will take you to their website where you can set your preferences and install Readability.

Readability - Installation Video for Firefox, Safari & Chrome from Arc90 on Vimeo.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Tagxedo - Word Cloud Made Easy

You see word clouds all over the place.  Wordle does an excellent job of creating word clouds, but I was introduced to another site that made it so easy.

Tagxedo took the words from my blog and enclosed them in the shape that I could choose, a speech bubble.  You can easily modify the colors, theme, fonts, orientation, and layout.  There are many choices for shapes, and you have the ability to save into different sizes and formats.  I would recommend this site for easy creation of a cloud that you could use to illustrate your point.

The thing I found quite helpful was that you could bring the words in from a website, a blog, a twitter account, a delicious account, etc.  You can also cut and paste your text from other sources as well.  Give it a try.  I think it is an awesome way to illustrate frequently used and key words from your writing.  Once you submit your words for processing, you will soon see the shape you asked for.  All of the characteristics of the shape are then modifiable, so you can make it look the way you want.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

EDUCON - Almost Here

A week from now, I'll be in Philadelphia.  EDUCON 2.3 will be taking place at the Science Leadership Academy.  It will be a wonderful opportunity to learn from and meet some of the very people that I follow on Twitter.  I will have the chance to spend a couple of days in sessions covering a variety of topics.  I think I'll get to see:

Chris Craft and Michael Wacker talk about online professional development.  It will be interesting to see how other districts are using online PD as we are developing some for ourselves.

Troy Hicks and Christina Cantrill talk about digital writing.  I am interested in hearing Troy Hicks speak and getting the opportunity to meet him.  I will also get to hear him in February at the Dublin Literacy Conference.

Chris Lehmann, principal at SLA, is speaking about how we can take the learning that occurs at EDUCON back to our districts and continue to work on the topics we have heard about.  How do we keep contact with those we learn from and support each other moving forward.

Karl Fisch is part of a panel discussion about the questions - Can Schools Support Student Innovation?  His blog, The Fischbowl,  is one that I read frequently.

Dean Shareski and Darren Kuropatwa are talking about teaching visual literacy and using youtube.  They will be very interesting.  I met Dean at BLC10 this past summer, so it will be interesting to see him again.  I enjoy reading his posts and hearing about what he is doing.  Both of these guys are people I follow on Twitter and read their blogs.

As you can see, there is a wealth of knowledge attending ECUCON, and I believe it will be an outstanding weekend to learn and develop more relationships.  I think more people should attend these types of workshops.  I will keep you posted as to how it goes and what I find out.  Follow me on twitter, @ssibberson,  or follow the hashtag #EDUCON.  It will be interesting and thought-provoking, I am sure.