How many of you have anxiety dreams? (Since we’re VR professionals, I recognize that this is a silly question to ask.) How many of you have a repeated anxiety dream motif?
Some of us may dream of having our teeth fall out. (SLIDE+click) Or not remembering our locker combination. (SLIDE+click) Or about scary clowns.
My anxiety dream is this: I’m back in high school track and “running “ a race. Except that everyone else is moving, and I’m just running in place. I’m getting tired and going nowhere all at once. I don’t look nearly as happy as this woman.
The race ends, everyone is leaving, and I’m still out there. Talk about a metaphor for fear that I can’t keep up. Because even my “id” is afraid of falling behind, this may just qualify me as the perfect person to help you learn how to keep up what sometimes seems impossible: and that’s technology.
Because this session is all about demonstrating “stuff,” I’ll not only be giving you tips on how to stay on top of trends, but demonstrating the technologies you can use to do so along the way. The first technique for keeping up is the one that’s most commonly used by our Engaging Tech group, and that’s the regular use of RSS feeds and an RSS reader.
Most of you probably recognize this icon, and I’m sure most of you know what RSS stands for—Real Simple Syndication. RSS is essentially a protocol that lets users subscribe to online content using an RSS “reader” or “aggregator,” which checks subscribed Web pages and automatically downloads new content. Because Web 2.0 is characterized by frequent updates, and technology is always changing, it can take a lot of time and dedication to keep up with your favorite sources. RSS feeds allow you to follow your favorite sources by bringing the information to you from multiple locations.
Sites that allow you to subscribe to feeds usually display an RSS logo, and may also allow for “item level” feeds, such as one from a particular section of the New York Times instead of to the whole paper. This feed is for the Bits column, which along with David Pogue’s blog is a favorite of our group.
To use RSS Technology, you first need to pick a reader, like Google Reader. A reader allows you to view your updated information and organize that information into categories.
You access your reader through your web browser, and add sources to your reader by following a two-step process for subscribing to RSS Feeds.
First, you’ll click on the “RSS Icon” on the blog or site to which you’d like to subscribe.
) If the site is user-friendly enough, it may offer you the option of subscribing directly to your reader from the page that opens up after the RSS icon is clicked. If so, just choose select your reader and you will be subscribed to that site.
If not, copy the URL provided for the “feed,”…
into the “Add Subscription” box in your Reader, and click “add.”
I am now subscribed to the “Mashable” blog.When my reader is open, I can view the number of new posts in my subscription list on the left, or the content of the posts in the window on the right. The final key to using RSS to keep up with information is consistent practice. New web-based media is incredibly easy to update, which means you can easily look up after a two or three week absence and have hundred of new posts to filter. Be selective in your subscriptions. Among the Engaging Technologies group, there are those of us who set aside 15 minutes a day to go to our RSS reader and browse our updated resources, and those who do it for a longer period of time once a week. The trick is to make the time to open your RSS reader regularly, to skim the headlines of your various feeds, read the new posts that appeal to you,
and marking posts you’d like to revist with a “Like” note or categorize them and make them easy to return to by assigning an appropriate tag.
Another efficient way to organize and access information that interests you is through social bookmarking sites like De.li.cious. (SLIDE) Social bookmarking is a method for Internet users to share, organize, search, and manage bookmarks of web resources in an online environment. This means that you don’t need to be on a particular computer or using a specific web browser to access your bookmarks. While Delicious is good for managing personal booksmarks, it’s also a great tool for aggregating information resources for faculty and colleagues.
For this Engaging Technologies Technologies session, we created a Delicious site accessible through the following URL: http://www.delicious.com/ETvra2010or by searching De.li.cious for the tag “ETvra2010”This site contains links to resources for each of the specific topics we’re covering, as well as to all of our favorite general resources for “keeping up” with technology. All of these resources are “tagged” with appropriate keywords that will help you look at them by category, including: “video,” “semantic_web,” and “general.” It’s easy to create your own Delicious site, so let me quickly take you through the process of how we established our Engaging Technologies Delicious resources as an example.
First, you need to establish either a De.li.cious or Yahoo account. You can have more than one account on De.li.cious, but for the purpose of creating a site that could be edited by multiple people-without requiring that they have access to any of my personal information, I decided to establish a Yahoo account named for our group and with a password I could distribute to our entire Engaging Tech team.
When you login to De.li.cious using a new ID, You will be prompted to establish a name for your Delicious site. It’s this name that will form the final part of your Delicious URL. For this site, I chose ETvra2010. The URL for the site is http://delicious.com/ETvra2010
When you establish a Delicious URL, it will also ask you if you’d like to add Delicious bookmarklets to your web browser bar. These little icons are highly useful for easily accessing your Delicious site (the “My Delicious” bookmarklet) or for bookmarking a new resource in Delicious. (the “” bookmarklet).Then, you be prompted to either begin adding bookmarks to Delicious, or to import existing bookmarks that reside in your web browser.
To add a new bookmark, enter a URL and click “next.” I’m adding the 2010 Horizon report, an inspiring general reference on technology trends in higher education that we highly recommend you read.
Then you start. You can either type in new tags, or select them from your list of tags you’ve used before. For the Horizon report, I have selected the tags ETvra2010 and vra2010, which are included with all bookmarks on the Engaging New Technology site, as well as “general” to signify that this is a general information source. I made these selections by clicking on the tags on the “All My Tags” list.
When I hit “save,” (SLIDE) it returns me to the list of resources. This is the same view you will see when you access the Engaging Technologies Delicious site.
To reiterate, this can be done in two ways:Typing in the URL http://www.delicious.com/ETvra2010Or going to Delicious, and searching by the tag “ETvra2010”
Now, all of this goes a long way toward making me feel like the world of new technology isn’t passing me by. (SLIDE) In fact, it makes me feel positive cheetah-like, though I recently read that cheetahs can only sustain top speed for short distances, so my next anxiety dream will probably involved me as a cheetah being chased by a pack of lions. Still, the leg up the use of RSS Feeds and the Engaging Tech Delicious site gives me should make for fewer running in place dreams, and it does give me the illusion that I’m fast enough to yell “eat my dust”. I hope it will do the same for you.