As we have alluded to in previous posts, Google Reader has undergone a radical transformation, and KRED and I are currently reassessing our feed reader options. The redesign has us thrown a bit. For the last two years, I have been using Google Reader to keep my many feeds organized, bookmark articles for reading when I had down time, and share interesting finds effortlessly with friends and colleagues. However, with the push to have more users taking advantage of Google Plus (Google’s Facebook-equivalent social networking site), there has been a paring down or incorporation of the tools’ best attributes to enhance Google Plus. While Google Plus is being tweaked, the former standalone tools are being changed in dramatic ways, and Google Reader fell victim in this latest redesign. With that being said, I am not left with a second tool that has shifted so dramatically it is no longer useful to me.
So, what happens now?
The up and downs with the tool Delicious has caused me to sit back and reevaluate our relationship. As I mentioned in a post just a few months ago, Delicious had been my bookmarking tool, my way to share links with colleagues and students, and a great way to keep current by following those in my field who were using the tool. But also over the past year, there were rumors that Delicious would be no more. Then, Avos bought the tool from Yahoo! and it seemed that all was well for me to continue using the utility without major upset. I was so confident that I assigned students a task using Delicious as an assignment to help them learn a new tool for organization while compiling resources for an upcoming presentation. Right before they were set to submit the assignment, Delicious redesigned their user interface. The tag description option was no longer a feature, so their intro paragraph had to be written separately. Interface changes confused students who were already shakily trying to learn a new tool and woke up to “everything looking different all of a sudden!”
While this served as a good lesson for being flexible and improvising when life changes, it was disappointing that a favorite assignment was no longer a viable option in Delicious. So, needless to say I am not thrilled with the new look and the missing features. And I am not the only one. I was stubbornly holding on hopes that Delicious would stay relevant, but I think it’s time I give up the dream. With this development, I have started to look into the tool Diigo; which, ” coincidentally” has an easy import function to migrate your Delicious bookmarks. I know many colleagues who have been using Diigo and have had a strong preference for it, and I am starting to see why. I’m already enjoying the highlighting feature, the Firefox plugin, and the integration with Twitter. As I explore and get more comfortable with it, I will have a full report for you here on Research Salad.
This weekend, I am participating in the SUNY COIL Institute’s workshop on human societies and digital learning. The purpose of this weekend is to bring together institutions who are participating in the human societies track of the institute who are working to develop online learning modules with partner institutions around the world. The program which I support as a graduate assistant is working with a partner in Ghana to create a module that integrates global citizenship into business, education, and first year learning. As a result, I had the opportunity to participate in this fantastic workshop and gain perspectives on these themes, as well as the innovative and practical applications of technology to create the most meaningful learning experience possible. Two large themes that I want to concentrate on for this blog post are both the opportunities that online learning afford and the need for global citizenship education to be integrated into our teaching.
My post on Cliffort Stoll’s book, Cuckoo’s Egg: Tracking a Spy Through the Maze of Computer Espionage, started me off on a “Clifford” tangent. I realized that three Cliffords, all related, in my mind at least, to reading, books, early literacy, the Internet, Red stuff (yes, the KGB was paying the hackers Stoll tracked) and libraries, are worth writing about.
The first Clifford of course is Stoll who went on after Cuckoo’s Egg to write cautionary tales about over dependence on technology including Silicon Snake Oil: Second Thoughts on the Information Highway. Doing something else just now reading about scholarly publishing in the Journal of Electronic Publishing, I fell upon the “Editor’s Gloss: Silicon Snake Oil and Branding” the editor refers to Stoll’s point of view when she explores digital publishing worries from the 1990’s. How publishing has changed since 1997!