Saturday, September 26, 2009

Cool Tool of the Week - DeepZoomPix

Microsoft is testing an online tool called DeepZoomPix, which gives us an interesting overview to our photo albums. I chose to connect it to my Flickr account and grabbed some of my food photos. Here's the result. Pretty neat way of visualizing images.

Which of your pictures would you choose to test DeepZoomPix? Would love to see them, and I invite my friends Luiz Claudio, Rick Monteiro, Dani Lyra, Ronaldo Júnior, and André Netto to test it.

Get Microsoft Silverlight

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Blogging with Students in 5 Tips

Much has been said, written and commented about blogging for pedagogical purposes. However, never has it been enough. There's always more reading, more experimenting that can take blogging with students to another level. That's exactly what a group of new educator-bloggers has been discussing in an online session, Webtools4Educators. So, if I were to give any piece of advice, I'd stick to some ideas that have been part of my own blogging experience:

  1. Be personal. Write a post that inspires you first and then one that compels others to interact with you, your ideas, your thoughts. Here's one fantastic example of what I mean. Luiz Claudio is one of the participants of our educators' online session, and I challenged the group to blog for interaction. Here's his post that makes us get back in time, retrieve dormant memories and feel like sharing with others. So, when were your first bitten by the music bug?

  2. Challenge the mind and the senses of your audience by adding an element of surprise, unpredictability. Vary the way you post even if you've found your tone. If you blog with your guts, chances are you will stimulate others to interact with you, to express themselves. There's no formula, just a million different ways to awaken people's gregarious tendencies. One example? This post my student wrote about being a clown doctor. It was totally out of the common sense of what pre-intermediate adult students learning English would share about their lives.

  3. Promote intercultural exchanges. Blogging is about getting from the inside to the outside, pouring words out, letting yourself be carried away. Many times it has been said how blogging gives the chance for students to connect to a real audience. However, more than a real audience, I'd add the idea of a real mixed multicultural colorful audience. Find online partners that are willing to commit to your blogging projects with your students. It makes a whole difference to learn about the world having your perspective as the starting point and spinning the globe with other cultural-enriching views of the world. I just love this blogging interaction I had with a group of students in Russia and some of my former students joining the conversation. And, certainly, one of my most dear international exchanges was with a dear friend. Different groups of ours interacted on a blog for one year and a half. Not only did the students write, interact, reflect, had fun, but we, the educators-facilitators guiding the blogging experience were the ones who probably gained the most from those exchanges.

  4. Create passionate users. Ones that blog with passion - heart and soul.

  5. And closing the blogging cycle, be personal by becoming a great storyteller. That's what blogging is about - a story told, another retold, conversations blooming everywhere.

5+1 . If you let me close with this +1 bonus tip, read these two stimulating posts that inspire us to give blogging a try with our students:

And thanks Sue Waters for once again inspiring me to go beyond, to reflect and add a bit to this online community that helps me become a better person and professional every single day.

Thanks to the wonderful group of educators who have been inspiring me every single day since our online session started 5 weeks ago.