Welcome to Modern Educator

Here on this blog I hope to get a conversation going amongst students, teachers, administrators, and parents about who, what, when, why, and where we should teach technology skills for the 21st century. I am technology teacher at Truckee High School in Truckee, CA and currently teach classes like digital media, e-learning, applications, and keyboarding -- yes...still important! :) Please Join the Conversation!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Google Reader - Stay Informed Efficiently

 Google Reader is a great web utility to use to efficiently manage all of the blogs you follow. Rather than remember all of the web site addresses for each of your blogs or subscribe via feeds, which bookmarks a blog on your computer in your Favorites tab, Google Reader tracks all of the posts uploaded to any blog you subscribe to using "Add to Google". 

Now, with all of your blogs archived in this cloud based utility you can access them on any Internet enabled device like your desktop computer, laptop, iPad, or Smart phone.  So, whenever you have a few extra minutes you can peruse through a lot of information specific to your interests.  This will really help anyone to stay more informed with topics important to them.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Facebook and our Social World - Online and Offline

My wife and I debate Facebook and its relevancy in our lives on a regular basis.  We both have Facebook accounts (along with 1 out of every 10 people in the world) but only I use this social media site on a regular basis.  I enjoy connecting with friends on a daily basis online from close by and with those who live far away.  My wife on the other hand seems to still want that face to face contact with her friends and is not interested, nor necessarily comfortable with sharing her life with them online.  Needless to say, it provides for some interesting and passionate conversations at the dinner table.  Even more interesting when my 12 year old daughter joins in the conversation. 

Some say Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, had a simple but revolutionary idea that resulted in 600 million people signing up for his companies web site, http://www.facebook.com/ - "where others saw the Internet as a network of computers, Zuckerberg saw it as a network of people."  Time Magazine

He is reshaping the Internet into a system based on gathering information from trusted social connections versus random data providers.  He is connecting people together to continue their daily lives online versus the Internet of the past where users were living virtual lives hidden behind screen names and avatars. 

As I reflect on the recent article in Time Magazine, Person of the Year: Mark Zuckerbeg I find this social concept of the web quite enlightening.  One of my students told me after reading the article in my web 2.0 class that; "it makes perfect sense Mr. Halvorsen, I don't buy clothes that the fashion experts tell me to wear, I buy what my friends are wearing."  Looking at that, I guess the fashion as well as all industries now have to move quicker and embrace this online social networking phenomenon because they can not wait for word of their products to spread from trade show, to the big city stores, and then to the stores in neighborhoods across the U.S. or the world for that matter.  These companies who first have "our" friends talking about their products on Facebook and other social media sites are the ones who are most likely to succeed since Zuckerberg seems to have proven that three "likes" by our trusted connections online is worth more than a thousand recommendations by experts and corporations.  I think we still want to know what the experts think; we just seem to want to hear that source of information through our friends network.  Today, users of the Internet are expecting, possibly demanding, that the news come to them via social networks versus requiring them to go out and research it on their own.  This transformation taking place, lead by Facebook and other sites like Google, is creating an entirely new set of skills and knowledge for today's workforce.  Students today should be aware of this and be exploring what it is that they need to learn in school to be successful in this new tech-social era.  All kinds of new jobs are popping up like social media management and programming web 2.0 applications.

Not convinced that this concept is a powerful one?  Watch what takes place each minute on Facebook 24 hrs a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year all across the globe!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Even the President of the United States has a YouTube Channel

Why would students need to study digital portfolios and learn skills to use services like YouTube, Facebook, and blogging.......hmm....maybe we need to ask President Barack Obama.