Hello Reader (s). I’m over here now!

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Twitter bought Posterous last March, basically as a talent acquisition, for an undisclosed amount, possibly between $5 million and $10 million. The founder of Posterous, Sachin Agarwal, is now Twitter’s product manager, and apparently the Posterous team has been fully assimilated into the Twitter organization.  Just as well I guess, as Posterous will be closed as of April 30th 2013.

When I first heard the news, I was truly saddened.  I’d been a Posterous user for several years, and had referred so many students and fellow teachers to the blogging site over the years, that it felt like a familair friend was being executed.  Well – that’s a bit over-dramatic…but…

I have a blog on Blogger.com that has now accumulated so much dust I can no longer look at it without dressing a la Kim and Aggie and wearing industrial-thickness rubber gloves and a gasmask.  It’s a dithersome place – the theme of the blog keeps getting re-purposed, I never send links to the content as there’s not much of interest there anyway, and even though it looks slick and is very easy to use, I’m thinking that it’s probably time to shut it down for good and concentrate on one blog only.  So, on the advice of a few fellow Learning Technologists, I migrated my Posterous blog to my Tumblr account (incredibly easy to do – here’s a link)…and now here it is, same content, new, shiny home.

But what to do with it?  I notice other Learning Techniologists have very academic technology-related blogs that, though well-worth a read and insanely useful, don’t really match my personality or work with my embarrassingly poor attention span.  (Yes – it’s all about me.)  I notice that all my Tumblr activity is subsumed into this blog, so articles about the advantages of various online content curation sites now sit next to Buffy the Vampire Slayer gifs and Doctor Who videos.  I should thin this out – have at least two separate blogs – one academic and technology based, one more laid back, more general…but I think I like the blurred edges. This could end up working very much like my 2 Facebook accounts linhked to both my professional and my ‘outside office hours’ profiles…but I find that more and more, I use the day to day profile for everything. 

And so I will with this blog.  Yes, it’s about Edutechy stuff (read the title!), but read on and you’ll notice the word ‘Wonderland’ there too.  It’s the same title I have given my Facebook page (unashamed promotion…and a link here) and I want it to have the same ethos: because it’s for everyone.  Not just fellow Learning Technologists.  Not just those working in education who have an interest in using technology to enhance their students’ experiences and learning. It’s my wonderland, I’m building it, it has a definitive ‘slant’…and you’re welcome to join in. 

So don’t expect the technological knowledge, the wisdom and academic rigour that come from others’ blogs. Expect a technological joi de vivre that includes technology in post-compulsory education, links to nerdy things that may interest or bore you in equal measure.  Maybe I’ll sort things into categories…maybe it’ll just be a rather ponderous journey.  Who knows.  I’ve not written it yet!

 

Posterous, Pins, Pearls, Projects and…Alliteration

Two content curation sites that have been around for a little while but suddenly seem to be very much a part of the web 2.0 zeitgeist are Pinterest and Pearltrees.  Needing to be seen as someone who is cutting edge (or as close to the cutting edge as this middle aged Cornish woman can get) I’ve been playing with them both over the past couple of weeks.

 

Pearltrees describes itself succinctly as: ‘A place to collect, organize and share everything you like on the web’.  Predominantly then, it’s another bookmarking tool albeit a visual one, with bookmarks forming as detailed or simple a mind map as the user desires.  Great for learners with dyslexia then, and people who like to organise things fluidly and (I loathe this term, but will say it anyway) ‘visually’ rather than in bulleted lists.  I’m a bulleted list person who doesn’t believe in visual learners, or the concept of learning styles at all by trade, but signed up feeling oddly excited.  I must get out more…

 

It’s so bloody quick and easy to set up a personal ‘pearl tree’, I initially thought that I must have done something wrong!  Simply visit the Pearltrees website, Install the ‘Pearler’ button to your browser (I’ve managed to do this successfully with IE8, Firefox and Safari – not sure about Opera or Chrome yet), click on it whenever a web page / site catches your eye, drop it into your pearl tree (or, if you’re a hyper-organised freaker, a sub-pearltree) and Robert, as ever, is your uncle.

 

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Pinterest is, as the website simply declares:  ‘An online pin board where users can organise and share the things they love’. It really is that simple too.  Again, a button can be installed on your browser, and as soon as you see an image that catches your eye, clicking on this button will allow you to pin it to one of your pin boards. 

 

Both sites have complementary iPhone / Pad apps, with Pearltrees even allowing the user to install the ‘Pearler’ button on their iOS browser’s toolbar.  However, as yet neither is available for Android phones or tablets.  (Incidentally, I own a BlackBerry, but won’t even be looking to see if RIM is going to produce or buy-in OS-specific apps for both sites.  As BlackBerry seems to be losing ground in the smartphone and tablet race, I won’t be holding my breath either!)

 

How then can these sites be used in education?  Via Pearltrees, friends can team up with to view and add to specific sets or sub sets of your Pearl tree and other users can comment on the web sites you’ve ‘pearled’.  The same goes for Pinterest, with other ‘pinners’ able to contribute to your virtual pin boards (should you so desire) and comment on and re-pin to their own boards the items you have already pinned.  So the whole sharing, ‘spreading the word’ and collaboration thing is there.  And as well as collaboration these sites both provide quick but dynamic ways of gathering evidence, could be a way to gather one’s thoughts in preparation for an assignment, may provide opportunities for peer assessment, project work / organisation or even, perhaps, presentations?  I’m also wondering whether they could be used as ePortfolios in some way? 

Thoughts:  and may I be struck down by lightening for sweeping, possibly misogynist comments…but  Pinterest currently seems to be very much a girl thing – lots of pin boards about shoes, fashion, baking, etc.  Could this affect its popularity or public perception?  I’m only saying…

 

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