Organizing the web efficiently

Information is everywhere. On a given day, the amount of new information and content that is created is beyond our comprehension. The number is constantly moving at a rate like no other in time. This is what is known as “infowhelm”.

At one point in time, all of the information that was deemed credible and academically vetted was found in a library. Libraries are vast collections of information primarily in bound, paper format. In order to get your ideas bound, you had to go through a publishing process and have your work vetted by a panel of editors or academics that deemed your work, your conclusions, appropriate for publication. While the publishing process is still in tact, the outlets for “publication” – depending on what your definition of publication is – have increased exponentially.

In 1993, Encarta published the first Encyclopedia on a digital disc. This seemingly small event sparked the transition to digital formats and ushered in a new era of information acquisition. Since this time, the library and publishing industry have changed dramatically. So much so, that in 2009, the Encarta Encyclopedia was discontinued in favor of the crowdsourced encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

So how do we find what we’re looking for and know that it is credible? How can we be so sure of information credibility when it is being published faster than it can be processed or vetted for credibility. How do we stay informed and know what we’re being fed is credible.

This is the world we live in; the world of infowhelm.

Below are two videos detailing infowhelm and conversely, the dangers of filtering the web .Watch each piece and provide a response in the form of a blog post. Please cover each video in your post and compare and contrast the two messages.

How do we find a middle ground?

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Digging through the weeds

Yesterday we talked about the concept of “infowhelm” and the struggle to evaluate credible information and personalize information while also avoiding “filter bubbles”.

Today i’d like you to research two articles on the web that deal with “infowhelm” and avoiding filter bubbles. Once you have gathered your articles, read them, analyze and respond in a new blog post. Articles should be from the past 5 years (2008-2012). Also, this search should not be a wikipedia page, but a credible source that you evaluated.

In your posts, make sure you link or cite your article when you reference it in each post.

Searching 101:

1. Use “…” to focus your search
2. Use the Google sidebar to narrow your timeline, location search, etc.

In your posts, make sure you provide the link to each article. You should compare and contrast each piece and incorporate evidence and citations when necessary. Categorize this post as Web 2.0

Finally, comment on at least two blogs from the Web 2.0 classes. You can comment on a blog from a different class. The purpose of the comment should be to continue and evolve a conversation. A comment such as, “great post!” Or “I like your ideas!” Will not suffice.

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How can we make best use of this medium?

Clay Shirky talks about the changing landscape of how information is disseminated to the mass. Taking us back to the first form of mass communication, the printing press, Mr. Shirky shares stories of how new social media communication is changing, and shaping history.

During this lecture, I would like you to share your thoughts on Twitter using a hashtag #dlit3 or #dlit6. This filter will help us aggregate the information we share on this video. It will also create an archive for our less than profound moment in history when we watched this video. However, Twitter is reshaping the way information and history is passed down to generations.

After watching this piece, I would like you to write a reflection post on this talk. What is Mr. Shirky’s message to us all? Why does he focus on China? How did this type of mass communication shape the 2008 election? What is our responsibility in this “iReport” culture?

In conjunction with your post, find a recent news article that covers an event that was shaped by the use of social media. Think about recent major news stories that were dominated by Twitter. How did the public shape the message?

Common Core Standards:

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Make your bloggy shine

Today I want you to continue designing your blog. Give it life. Give it a look and a feel. Add some widgets. And then, give it a voice.

Also, I’m adding some new procedures for your blog below. Make sure you understand that each of these sections will serve as a participation grade. Posts will also be assessed on quality or writing, engagement, and timeliness.

  1. About me section – This should briefly highlight who you are, what you do, and why you are amazing. Also, if you have a video or embed-able media from our first project, you can add that as well. If you have a picture of yourself, add the picture
  2. Your Secret Public Journal – This category of posts will be posted once a week. It will be due at the end of each week by the end of the day on Friday. These posts should be a weekly reflection on your experience in the class, interesting or outrageous happenings through the week. Each of these posts should be categorized as “My secret public journal
  3. Digital Lit Posts – These posts will be for our class and due every Monday. Each Monday, by the start of class, you should have a post up on your blog relating to a current event in the world of technology.

    The entry will simply be a reaction post to the article you selected. It should not just summarize the post, but it should blend your summary with how you felt about the article. Each of these posts should be categorized as “Digital Lit“. Please include the article link in the post as well. Title and length are up to you, but you should be thorough with your reaction to the article.

    You should be prepared to discuss these posts every Monday in class.


Posted in 12.W.6 | 1 Comment

Living in the Cloud Design Project

Problem: No one knows how to effectively use Google Drive, Evernote, and Dropbox cloud based applications
Develop a plan to introduce the features of each application as if you were teaching it to a group of novice users. Imagine that your team just created this application and have to get users hooked or excited to use it. What features will you show them? How will you reach the masses? How will you make your application stand out amongst the competition? 
This is entirely up to your group. You can choose to…
…create a short video
…create a documentary on the application
…create a satire of the app (i.e. Daily Show)
…create a website for the app
…create a music video for the app
…create or remix something I haven’t listed


1. There will be three groups, one for each application. Each group will be in a design competition to create the best marketing design for their respective application. The best product design will receive ten extra points. Design projects will be judged by a panel of teachers, students, and administrators.

2. Everyone in the group must have a role that is documented on a shared Google doc.

  • Create a google doc > title it with your group name > share it with group and me. While you will each have a team, you may have sub groups within each team working on different projects.
  • Include timelines for job completion and any problems you encounter
  • Each group member will receive an individual grade, not a group grade. So make sure your work stands out on the Google Doc.

3. Active participation is a big part of this project. In order for any good team to succeed, all members must be on the same page and working in sync with each other. While you will be logging your daily progress on the team docs and in the Google form, observations will be conducted daily to assess progress and participation.

4. Steps to design success…
Once teams are formed, you will want to organize and hold your initial meeting. This meeting should be the first step towards planning and organizing. Groups will want to designate a project manager to oversee everything in the group and be responsible for communicating between all group members. Teams should also design a timeline and roles for each member of the group. Your timeline should include deadlines that the project manager will oversee.


25% Creativity

  • Product is unique and engaging.
  • Product’s design is intuitive
  • Creative risks were taken to produce this product

25% Collaboration

  • Team organized daily and effectively
  • Team communicated daily and beyond the classroom
  • There is evidence of consistent communication channels

25% Design

  • Product shows evidence of creativity, uniqueness and innovative thinking
  • Design is intuitive
  • Product is clean and error free

25% Spelling and Mechanics

  • There are no errors in spelling or grammar
  • Presentation or demonstration is thorough and engaging
  • Planning notes and timeline are organized and clear

We will begin design presentations on Monday, March 4

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Collaborative Instruction: WordPress

There are two ways to teach a new concept: 1) I stand in front of the room and show you through direct instruction, or 2) I let you explore the concept, tinker, fail, and learn. I prefer the second.

Over the course of this week we will be engaging in an exercise in collaborative instruction. And, we will be reviewing the WordPress dashboard for the web-based application and for the iPad. Each group will pick a section, familiarize themselves with that section, and then present a short lesson with a script that will outline how to use their respective sections. Here are some of the sections we will cover:

  • Writing a Post and adding a page
  • Organizing Past Posts with categories or Tags
  • Adding Photos and Videos
  • Adding a Widget
  • Changing the look and appearance
  • Adding a Blog roll or Favorite link list
  • Writing a Post on the iPad
  • Adding Media from the iPad
  • Moderating Comments
  • Privacy Settings

What’s expected of each group…

  1. Sign up for a WordPress account using your personal email. Your username should be some combination of your first and last name.
  2. Learn the section that you have been assigned to. Understand the application from basic functions to more advanced functions.
  3. A thorough overview of your section in the form of a script that includes screenshots (Example). Use Jing for screenshots and post your photos and script on a google doc. Make sure to share the goole doc with all members of your group and with me.
  4. A brief presentation of your section. The presentation should cover all of the features of your section.

We will present the sections on Friday.

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Get your blog on

Today we start blogging. Funny word with mass appeal. A blog can be your public journal or it could be your way to connect and build conversation with a larger group of people you may have never had the ability to connect with before. The power of the Internet is that it brings us all together and allows us to connect and share like never before.

However, when one starts a blog, he or she sets out with a goal. What do I want to say? Who do I want to reach? These are the essential questions every blogger must ask before setting out on this journey. A blog also opens the doors for criticism, both constructive and incendiary. The goal is to always take the higher road and be confident in what you are writing. Plus, bloggers should always write with purpose and employ the conventions of the English language (or whatever language you prefer). And remember, with each keystroke of your blog, you are adding to your digital dossier. So, be mindful and keen on what you post.

Over the course of this semester we will be blogging and using this medium to build our class portfolios. The goal is to find your voice and connect with an audience. Some of the posts will be on something you find interesting, while others will be prompted by me.


Blog Design

As we work through the WordPress interface, we will discover new features and aesthetics that you can incorporate on your site. Be mindful of choosing a theme and design that you feel will fit your voice or your personality. Before we create our own blogs, I want you to research some blogs that our currently running.

1. Research some successful blogs – What blogs are appealing to you and why? Is the mission of the blogger clear? Why do you feel this blog is successful?

2. Find blogs – I want you to find two blogs and compare and contrast each blog. What is appealing about them? Are they successful? Do they garner a lot of comments? Do they promote conversation?

3. Present your blog – Each of you will present your design, the blogs you reviewed, and how your blog can promote your work and empower your voice. You can present your blogs in groups of two or individually.

Each presentation should include the following…

  1. The name and link of the blog (make sure it is a relatively current – check for the last post date)
  2. Why is the blog appealing? What is its intended purpose? Audience?
  3. Does the author respond to readers via comments?
  4. How is the writing style? Does it differ from a journalistic style?
  5. How credible is this blog?

We will present blogs on Wednesday.

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