Saturday, November 24, 2007

All a-Twitter...

Okay, I have to contribute to this conversation. If you haven't read Jen's (the blogger formerly know as TechnoSpud) blog article on Twitter, please click here. Read through the comments too. I'll wait.

Done? Great. Here's the thing. I was recently asked by someone (and to avoid name-dropping, which I really don't want to do, I won't name him) why I use Twitter. He said that he couldn't quite figure it out and wasn't sure what to make of it. This is a man I greatly respect and was very confused by why he had such a problem making heads or tails of the network. It really got me thinking about why I <3 the network. Because I do. I really do.

This is what I've come up with. Teaching is a very isolating career. If I'm having a rough day, I might actually only talk to two adults all day: the woman with whom I share a room and my husband. That is not cool, nor is it conducive to a good learning environment for me.

Since Twitter, I have felt globally connected in more ways that I can tell you. I told this man that I know a great deal about my Twitter network, either from their tweets or from their blog posts. I can tell you general locations of people, what specifically they do for a living, a bit about their personalities, and some of their likes and dislikes. If I'm feeling particularly down, I might contact @ijohnpederson to make me laugh (which I have done). If I want to know whether a French lesson I'm working on would appeal to my students, I might check with @arthus to see what his take on the lesson is. My SecondLife connection is @elemitrt. She and I used to talk all the time when I was on SL. I wish I could spend more time in-world, and when I am able to again, I know that she will be there to show me around the new places. Get the picture? I could go on, but I won't. :)

I know that it is easy to be offended by what someone types. It is often difficult to express oneself in just text. I try to give people the benefit of the doubt, and ask them about something that is disconcerting to me. I do think it is time, though, for someone to come out with the new rules of ettiquette. Something for this new, connected world. We could call it Ettiquette 2.0. Or Digital Nativettiquette. Or Twettiquette. Or Blogiquette. No matter what we decide to call it, I think it is important that somewhere we as a generation (and I don't mean in terms of age, I mean in terms of connectivity) define what is considered polite and what isn't.

Calling someone to see why they aren't tweeting might be okay, if it is someone that you would call anyway. Emailing/tweeting them and finding out why they are disconnected might be okay, though. For example, if someone wanted to let me know that they were thinking of me, an e-card would be sweet. I would feel the same way about a tweet, or an email, or even a Skype call. I would, however, be creeped out if you called my house. To be fair, I would feel the same way if we had just met at a conference. Or if we worked together, but never did anything outside of school. Fair enough?

I think the dialogue has just begun on this one. Thanks, Jen, for starting it.

Technorati Tags:
Twitter, Connectivity, Web 2.0, Beyond Podcasting, Random

Monday, November 19, 2007

Twitter on CSI???

Okay, you know your favorite R/W Web tool has gone viral when it appears on a popular CSI. Granted, this does bring up issues of cyberbullying/tmi on the internet, but nonetheless, Twitter was on CSI. Watch, and love.

Technorati Tags:
YouTube, Twitter, CSI, Random

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Oh, oh, it's MAGIX!

Hooray! Huzzah! And other such shouts of joy!

Finally, oh finally, I have found a toy for PC that is like GarageBand.'s FREE.

Yes, I said free. Well, okay, the deluxe version isn't, but the basic version is. And basic is just fine by me. It is called MAGIX, and it is a wonderful, wonderful thing.

Here is what the screenshot looks like:

It looks all complicated and scary, but in reality it is drag and drop editing at it's finest. Notice the colorcoding?

You can find MAGIX for downloading here. Good luck, and happy music making! On a PC even! Wahoo!

Technorati Tags:
MAGIX, Beyond Podcasting, Garageband

How-To...Podcast, Part II

Now that you're all set-up, let's create a podcast. This particular type of podcast is called a mash-up. This is my favorite type to create for my French classes, because it allows them to hear authentic French. If you are interested in a regular audio podcast (like, where you talk), check out the GCast icon on the left side of this page - I just created a podcast about how-to create a simple audio podcast.

Okay, so the first thing you'll want to do is import audio into audacity. Go under file, then import, then audio. You'll need to know where iTunes dumps its podcasts. Import one of your favorite podcast episodes. Open a new audacity window and repeat for as many podcasts as you want to include into your mash-up. I usually use three or four.

Next, pick the part out of each podcast that you want to include. Podcasts really shouldn't be over 6 or 7 minutes long or you'll start to lose your students. I try to limit mine to six, but students tend to be more willing to listen to longer podcasts if music is involved. In your original window, hit the record button and record your intro. Something like "Hello, and welcome to whatever the name of your podcast is. My name is your name here." or whatever else you'd like is just fine.

Once you've intro'd your podcast, then you can cut and paste from your other podcasts. Make sure to always (and I mean ALWAYS) give credit where credit is due. I usually assign a worksheet to accompany the podcast (again - it's in French, so the kids need a 'roadmap'), and at the top I indicate the sites that I took the material from. At any rate, cut and paste until you have the product you want.

Then, save the project as an audacity file. Please. Sometimes audacity crashes, and you could actually lose everything. You don't want/need that. I actually have a folder on my hard-drive that is just for audacity project files.

Once you have saved the project as an audacity project file (have I said that enough?), you may export the file. Under file, click on export. Save the file as an mp3 file (specify mp3 file!), and again, make sure it is somewhere that you will remember it. If this is the first time that you have exported a file, you'll need to find that LAME file and tell Audacity where to find it. And that's it - you've made your file.

Technically, it is not a podcast unless someone can subscribe to it - either via RSS or iTunes or whatever. My school podcasts are all uploaded onto a site that automatically sends it to iTunes. My podcasts for this site are hosted on GCast. This site is pretty nice because it is free AND will provide you a widget for your website.

If you have questions, or I didn't make something clear, please let me know. Thanks, and happy podcasting!

Technorati Tags:
Beyond Podcasting, podcasting, iTunes, How-To

Friday, November 16, 2007

One more break from podcasting...

I promise I will finish my how-to on podcasting. Really, I will. However, something is pressing on my mind that I just have to say.

Twitter is down.


And I might not make it.

Okay, a bit over dramatic? Perhaps. But I really do feel less connected than normal. I feel like I forgot to put something on this morning - pants, shirt, a jacket - something important! I'm giving a quiz today in my classes, and was looking forward to some collaboration time.

I'm just struck by how large an influence Twitter really has on me. And how much of a daily part of my life it is. I miss putting @ before people's names, or watching people rant about certain programs that aren't working for them anymore.

In the words of Vicki Davis, "Twittero, twittero, where for art thou, twittero..."

Technorati Tags:
Twitter, Beyond Podcasting, Random

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Readability Level

Okay, I know I need to finish my series on how-to podcast (and I will this weekend, I promise), but in the meantime, I thought I'd post this:

cash advance

I don't really know what this means. Should I be offended? Jane's blog was rated at genius level! I guess I shouldn't feel too bad. Jeff's blog did worse than mine (sorry, Jeff).

Technorati Tags:
Beyond Podcasting, Random