There has been an explosion of Twitter users the past six months or so, which is interesting. There’s talk of the next big thing, how it is taking over for Facebook and changing the social interaction online and communication. I have used Twitter myself now for three years or so and in the beginning it was a community of three in my sphere and we kept each other updated on trivial details of our lives.

Using Twhirl from my desktop to update.

Using Twhirl from my desktop to update.

It became really useful when I set up a blog for a particular journey in the Caucasus and wanted to add a more realtime update to it other than the weekly blog entry. I embedded my tweets and my blog “came alive” with answers to the ubiquitous question “What are you doing now?” from the road.

Twitter really becomes more valuable the more interesting people you follow. I follow teachers and educators, but also journalists and musicians as well as people within the tech-industry and a nice selection of friends. Arne Krokan coined “thin tweets” and “thick tweets”, which I thought was interesting. It is actually more interesting to answer the Why? than What? in many instances. I particularly enjoy using Tweetsville for finding interesting resources and links, and hopefully share some of my own discoveries.

Twitter is constantly working on improving the expanding population of tweeters.

Twitter is constantly working on improving the expanding population of tweeters.

Surfing and reading up on edublogs across the net I realize that teachers have tried to use Twitter in their teaching, and I am intrigued by it. Nevertheless, I cannot quite see how it can be implemented in my class of ninegraders. I am familiar with Twitter Parties and Events like displayed in the screencast beneath, but I am not sure if I want to pursue it myself in my lessons.

What is true though is that I really benefit personally from the fantastic source of information, knowledge and competence which exists out there in Tweetsville. I have tried to convince others, but many shrug their head and don’t quite see the beauty of it. Personally I find that Facebook has become a dusty old interactive yearbook, whilst Twitter has taken a leap forward and keeps growing in importance to my online life.

Keep tweeting.

Useful guides for meaningful tweeting:
Art of the Tweet
Twitter is Messy

My Twitter name: mortenoddvik

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Time. I want to talk about time – and how to teach it. This term is coming to a close and I have had some good experiences with my 8th grade. In Social Studies we have worked on population distribution, migrational patterns and other aspects of globalization. The use of Gapminder when working on population and statistics was very rewarding. Next term I want to focus on history, timelines, cause-and-effect – and I aim to use interactive timeline utilities available online. I want students to use these resources to create their own timelines of historical events, add their own texts, but also resources from around the web.

The goal is to teach time sequencing, cause-and-effect as well as history. I haven’t still found exactly what I am looking for, but I have some ideas for sites I can use. Here’s a list of utilities I have come across. Other suggestions are welcome.

Dipity: Straightforward timeline utility for topics and events. Include photoes, videos, maps and links.

Timetoast: Simple interface, clarity and simplicity.

XTimeline: Seem to be popular, lots of other published timelines to be viewed.

Viewzi:I particularly like this one, it’s slick and fast – Timetoastand also several visual options to view other timelines.

Soundslides: This is a downloadable desktop application which does the same job. Slick and very intuitive.

Any other suggestions?

I am currently taking a course in Nordic literature through online studies with the University in Bergen, Nordisk. This semester we are reading and studying Nordic literature from the Viking Age and up to 1900, from Snorre Sturlasson to Henrik Ibsen. There’s lots to read and books are heavy as well as expensive. Of course there is the library, but I have discovered a great resource online, Project Runeberg, a sister project to Project Gutenberg, were they aim to digitalize and make older Swedish, Norwegian and Danish literature available online. It’s a great initiative.

So far it’s mostly Swedish and Danish literature, but some Norwegian editions are available. The romantic writer and poet Henrik Wergeland‘s “Digte” has recently been publihsed on this site, and it’s a remarkable feeling to flip through the 1853 edition of Digte with famous poems like “Jødinden” (The Jewish Girl) and others. Some books are scanned by the Google Book Search while others are scanned on private initiative.

Imagine having these Scandinavian clenodiums at our fingertips on our laptops? And it makes my reading easier.

It’s been a while since I’ve blogged, but I hope to come back stronger as the weeks progress. Summer has been fantastic with friends and family, home and abroad.

I was back at work three weeks ago and I feel it’s good to be back in the swing of things, and I’m excited to continue building up a school as we are in our third year now. I will continue experimenting and exploring the opportunities of using digital media in my lessons. An increasing number of the students have laptops, digital cameras, smartphones and what not. We need to take advantage of this. Kids use these tools on a daily basis, and school has to become competitive using its first and foremost advantage – knowledge.

I am also happy to report that I’ve finally got my hands on an iPhone 3G, and I must admit I’ll never go back to old school mobiles ever again. It’s a different world altogether. Bless my Sony Ericsson K810i – it was a fantastic phone. Thing is, iPhone is just part phone, part everything else. Of course, it’s not flawless, and some flaws are frustrating. I hope to write a post with a personal review after some more weeks of testing and working with it.

Now to sharpening pencils.