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August 29, 2008

Podcasting in a busy week

This week has been hurried, time pressed for homework. Nonetheless, I was able to fish a bit for environmental science education-oriented podcasts...and there are many. Of the 200+ results returned for a podcast alley search for 'environmental education', I was impressed particularly by Nature Notebook and EarthNews Radio. The former is a short intro to nature facts. The latter is a snapshot of environmental issues. There are also good resources like Grist updates, etc.

Overall, I am intrigued with podcasting...but not sure how to really make use of the technology. They are indeed easy to create (at least in a mediocre way). But, the market is increasingly competative for podcasts. And, I am not sure how often people really listen to them. Personally, I have an IPod completely packed with music. I tried the podcast subscription...but never listened. I am also aware of a couple Extension programs that heard similar feedback when they explored the possibility of using podcasts. It seems like there is a lot to learn about effectively marketing these casts...perhaps from Mark Seely?

August 18, 2008

A Little Video

Once upon a time, I read an interview of the person who manages Google's open-source applications business - blogger, google reader, picasa, etc. He said that long ago he ran out of room to store the information flow that comes his way over the internet everyday...so he looks for technology that allows him to throw interesting ideas in the "cloud" of cyberspace. They are there if he needs them, easily retrievable but not a drain on his mental or human resources.

I completely appreciate the ability to store, share, print, mashup, etc. my visual media - the beauty of web 2.0 video/audio/picture technology. For example, it is wonderful to quickly store, organize and share photos from workshops. I easily upload, build into slide-shows and share family pics on the blog.

Last year, we purchased in ESE two stocked and easy to use video kits that are available to program teams that want to shoot and use video.

Finally, I am now a growing ANIMOTO addict. This may be a useful way of building professional-looking promotional shorts for our programs? In the meantime, I play with the family photos.

August 14, 2008

Exploring RSS Feeds

I am an addict on the mend. RSS was such a wonderful invention to efficiently keep me abreast of new content on useful sites - everything in my case from academic journals to the hometown newspaper. Once aboard google reader and surfing the various feed search engines, I quickly became addicted - trying hard to scan hundreds of new posts daily, weekly. Over time, I have been able to cut back to the most useful few...and a check once weekly or so.

Addictions aside, I have found RSS to be so useful for networking purposes. In the case of the blog created by students in my course (see last post) it enabled easy promotion of their content - a real and wide audience. We are currently capitalizing on RSS to enable efficient regional office ride-sharing and national knowledge sharing.

One of the things that I really appreciated about Google Reader is the analytics available - my ability to easily see where I spend my time. As noted in my case, RSS can fairly easily result in information overload for users...or a tough time getting information into the flood effectively for producers. Personally, I am working to better understand ways of bubbling information to the surface of the flood.

August 4, 2008

Blogging

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I am a happy blogger. Using the U-Think platform, I involved a group of graduate students in co-authoring the Research and Issues in Science Education: Challenging our Minds and Methods (http://blog.lib.umn.edu/meyer179/umdenvironmentaleducation/) blog for a course on science education research. Though I learned a few things and would definately craft the assignment a bit differently next time, it worked very well. The students used the technology with little effort. We were able to share the blog with EE professionals across MN. And I learned a lot about blogs through the process.

Around a year after our son was born, my wife and I also used Google's Blogger (http://www.blogger.com/) to create a family blog. With parents in Oregon, Philadelphia and various points between, the blog enables us to make quick and frequent updates. It also provides us a sort of free-organized archive of family memories, and the ability for family to participate in the conversation.

From these experiences, I see a lot of potential for blog technology in Extension programming. They are so easy to use for both staff and participants, inexpensive in both time and $$, and fluid to many uses.