LazyFeed – more real-time news

Although this has been around for a few months I have only been trying it out for a week. I thought I would give it a try to see how easy it was to use and how useful it might be.

LazyFeed allows you to create real-time, personalized blog searches. Information is gathered all over the blogosphere and sorted by a simple system of tags.  To use it you simply type in a tag or single-word search term and LazyFeed combs through millions of blogs and on-line video and image sites to find the information. LazyFeed returns videos, photos, and blog posts tagged with your topic tag term.

It is very easy and painless to sign on to develop your own list of topics. Once signed you are then prompted to add any term as a topic, which essentially means the search is saved and results will be returned in real time, so you get up-to-the-minute information.

You can enter as many topic searches as you like and then just let the the new feeds roll in. Your own space is called Monitor and each of the searches comes up as a large thumbnail or tile. At any time you can add more or delete those that are not useful.

If you want to view a a particular search more closely just click on the tile and it then enlarges to screen size for easy reading of the extra details about the entry. All contents are sorted by time and the latest contents are always at the top. To see the post click again to take you to the source.

There are also some drawbacks.

  • Users can’t refine searches so you need think very carefully about the  search terms you use.
  • There’s no way to tell LazyFeed to look for certain types of content within certain domains or accounts.
  • There is no way to limit the stream to certain types of media or block certain tags (such as “marketing”) from appearing in the results.

Overall LazyFeed is a neat little tool that you don’t have to do much to use. You don’t have to look at it all the time, just check it when you want/need to.  It does not store up all the changes like the RSS aggregators so you don’t feel overwhemed if you have not looked at it in a while. I have discovered some interesting reading from using it.

Making a paperless school!

We are at a notebook school. We have been trying to cut back on paper use in school for some time now but with little real success. This was mentioned again in a recent meeting and we are trying to work out why our paper consumption has not decreased any major way. Then yesterday I was reading some blogs and stumbled on the post in the one below.

 It is about what we, teachers, students and admin staff,  in schools might do for Earth Day, which is a day designed to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth’s environment, and is on 22nd April.

The post was about  Shelly Blake-Plock’s Earth Day Paperless Classroom Pledge. Over 800 teachers so far have signed-up and pledged to go paperless on Earth Day.

  1. Click here to add your name and pledge!
  2. And click here to see everybody who’s pledged so far!

This weekend we have all been encouraged to participate in Earth Hour so could we go for a day without using paper in our school?

  • Our students work with notebook computers and so can upload their work to the relevant student workspaces or email the teachers. There should be no need to print any work out.
  • If we collect our student work online then we should be able to mark it on-line. We should not need to print it out to mark the work. No-one needs to print out assignments at our school. They can be uploaded into workspaces or emailed. Some do this, so far others don’t but we could try to change this, at least on some occasions.
  • If some want to do look at any articles for topics it would be an ideal opportunity to use Diigo. I have been using Diigo for a while but it was shown to all at school recently with great approval for the applications it offers.  We have also been building an online  supply of topical articles, especially for Geography, that could be downloaded by students onto their computers rather than printed.
  • All our students have access to scanners as well and we have been encouraging then to scan text rather than photocopy. As I work in the library, we can try to remind students about the scanning option – it is cheaper for them anyway (and many boys love to save their money). Trying to remind them not to print from afar may be more difficult.
  • We have our daily bulletin on-line and so I wont need to use the printed one with my pastoral care group in the morning.We generally email our newsletters home and upload them to the school webpage so that is a saving but we still seem print out a few hard copies.

I have discussed the idea with the SRC co-ordinator and she is going to take it to the student leaders and the environment committee will come on board.In fact the students I have talked to are quite keen to give it a try. Next job is to tackle the staff!

Useful sites (weekly)

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

40 inspirational speeches – a montage

I first saw this video when my students showed it to me this morning. It was a good way to end our pastoral care session for the week.

Created by Matthew Belinke in December 2008, it is a very clever montage. I also went to look at the post about the video on the Overthingking it blog.

He had the full transcript of the dialogue in the video and also offered “some behind-the-scenes notes for editing nerds only.” The boys enjoyed the whole but also had fun discussing the editing and what other speeches might work. I guess it might be interesting to have students try creat a version for themselves by taking some dialogue/passages from classic books and remaking them into another different but coherent passage. They would also have to choose images and music/sound that would fit in with the text they create. This would be put together as a storyboard then the film/video created.

Students reading (or not)

I liked this video (from HeinemannVideos). One of my main aims as a teacher librarian is to help students become not just competent readers but young people who enjoy reading. When I was at university (a long time ago now!) it was suggested to me by one of my lecturers that giving young people some choice played a big part in increasing their reading. Over the years this has been reinforced by much research and by my own observations. This video supports the lesson I received many years ago.

Some quotes why they don’t read:

  • “The books they we were given to read were a little dull, and people who don’t like reading were immediately turned of them. This creates a big problem.”
  • “If you are interested in what you are reading, you want to read more…”

And one final quote:  “Let people choose their own books…work it into the curriculum ….It’s way more important for people to find joy in what they are reading not be forced to read it just because it is a classic.”

Give them the choice to find a subject matter they like, a book that suits their reading level and then get them into the habit of reading. Let them find out that reading can be enjoyable and them help them develop from there.

Some other rules that I try to follow:

  • never belittle their choices
  • allow them not to like a book, (it is alright because I don’t like every book I pick up to read) but try to help them understand what it was that they did not like.
  • I am always ready to talk about what I am reading and ask for their advice
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