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Chatroulette (update)

I feel the need to publish an update to last week’s post ASAP.  As I’ve now actually tried it out…

The gist: if you have a webcam, microphone and speakers (most new laptops come with all three built in) you can chat with random people generated by the website from all over the world.

Scott and I attempted to try it out on Thursday night but the site was down and wouldn’t let us chat (-1).

So we attempted again on Friday night before Jill and Jeff arrived.  We ‘nexted’ several people (and I’ll admit, a couple ‘nexted’ us) and chatted briefly with one guy in Florida.  Overall pretty uneventful.

When Jeff and Jill arrived we decided to try it out again.  Jill wasn’t sure what was going on when she was sitting in front of my computer and all of a sudden we saw some 12 year-old boys.  She was sort of chatting, I popped in and waved, and they all burst out laughing that Jill had just been caught by her ‘mom’.  I don’t know which is funnier… that they thought Jill was young enough to be busted by her mom for being online, or that they thought I was her mom… -2 for being boring and insulting.

We quickly nexted off these 12 year-old boys as they attempted to convince me I didn’t look like a mom when all of a sudden we were greeted by something GROSSLY inappropriate.  I will spare you the details, but will warn that Chatroulette is NOT for the weak of heart.  Or anyone who is not prepared to face nudity.  Children should most definitely stay away. -5 for the people who don’t know how to use technology appropriately or maturely.

The tech teacher in me likes to know the newest fads that our students are probably falling for, so I can figure out how to harness them for educational purposes, or how to educate our students on how to protect themselves.  But when research turns into this, I’d rather not know what’s going on.

OVERALL SCORE: 3.  I’ve heard Ashton Kucher goes on, which makes it worth possibly trying again.

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Chatroulette

Yet another brilliant discovery thanks to Jaci of EverydaySassypants.  Have no idea where this rating is going to go… but before beginning, watch this video to get an idea of what exactly Chatroulette is.

I must admit I’m a bit overwhelmed.  Yet I’m also feeling the urge to try it out before giving it a real rating… perhaps I can talk others into trying it with me?

VoiceThread!

VOICETHREAD: 10!

As I’m doing some last minute preparations for the Education Technology workshops I’m presenting in NYC this weekend, I revisited a VoiceThread my students created during my second year of teaching.

VoiceThread is a free, online Web 2.0 tool that allows discussion (both written and recorded) around an image or series of images.  In my class, I uploaded an image in the center of the page, and students recorded poetry they had been writing in English class.

It’s still there, and as I was listening today it just made my day to 1) hear their poetry, and 2) be reminded of how many incredible online tools exist that gets kids genuinely excited about learning and producing their own work. AND, seriously up the quality because they know their work is online where anyone can see/hear it.

I LOVE IT.

You can hear their poetry HERE (the fourth page is the one with all the poetry they created).

Organizing my Gmail…

GMAIL’S TAG FUNCTION: 9

I’m LOVING this new part of my gmail.  Basically, gmail allows you to create a variety of different tags that you can then apply to each individual email (and color-code them!).  It’s similar to the idea of folders (as a copy of the emails are then stored under that tag), EXCEPT that you can tag emails with more than one tag.  BRILLIANT!  Sometimes you have an email that you could possibly store in two folders, and have to make the hard decision of where it goes, but now that problem is solved!

You also can create filters (similar to ‘rules’ on Outlook) to proactively tag any emails from certain people, with a certain subject line, or just containing certain words.  I went through and created a bunch of rules for friends, family, climbing and most importantly, junk e-mail.  When I went and applied them to all my emails it quickly cleaned up my inbox, now down to only 3,032 (not quite as lucky).

And from now on, any emails coming from my classic junk mail providers will automatically be archived and I’ll never have to look at them again.

I may have gone overboard out of excitement (we’ll see if there’s a need to narrow down later on), but some of my tags include:

-1 because it was a bit difficult to figure out at first, which is why I’ve gone three years without doing any sort of organizing.  Once you get the hang though, it’s awesome!  I can’t wait to figure out what else gmail has to offer…