Google Applications for Educational Technologists

There is some fun discussion about Google going on in EDUC-8813. Here is my latest contribution…

Charnette,

Thanks for the link to Google Suggest. Somehow that had escaped my notice for several months. But I have been enjoying watching Google release so many exciting new applications (if only in beta). I’ve tried most, and have incorporated several into my daily routines. For instance…

Google News, which is now customizable.

Google Alerts, which allow Google to be researching for you 24/7 and leaving gems in your inbox. This really needs to be available as an RSS feed. (NOTE: The new MSN Search is available as an RSS feed.)

Google Maps, which is essentially the same as Mapquest, but it is easier to use and more feature rich… and it looks beautiful.

Blogger (of course), which is by far the easiest free blogging available for entry users, and one of the most customizable for advanced users. Google only acquired this though, rather than creating it.

Check out Google Services and Google Help Center to discover more cool applications.

Of course, on Windows, the new desktop search, Picassa, and of course the Google Toolbar are must haves.

Nope. I don’t own any Google stock. :(

They just have a lot of really smart people working there.

Of course, Google’s autolink feature in the new beta of the Toolbar is causing quite a backlash of public opinion right now, too.

-Mark

Apple Learning Interchange

Yet another response to a classmates’ post…

Militza,

APD is an excellent, albeit commercial, site. A related site that I share often, which is also linked off of APD, is the ALI, the Apple Learning Interchage., a site dedicated to “igniting conversation, imagination, and improvement in education.” For those who are teaching with, or considering teachign with, Apple hardware and software this can be an ideal resource with a great deal of media rich inspiration. However, I have often shared this with Windows users, because as with many lesson plan ideas, once the essence of the plan is grasped, a teacher can mold it to fit his or her particular circumstances and students.

Check out the audio and video tour of the site. (You may need quicktime installed for this.)

-Mark

Google Scholar and Questia

Written in response to a post by my professor…

I, too, have been using and enjoying Google Scholar. When I initially discovered it, I had an interesting exchange with the Walden Librarians (which I will try to locate and post for the class, though I have since changed machines and did not back up that email where I thought I did). In any case, they were predictably skeptical, conservative, and cautionary in their response… they had only discovered it days before me and had just begun playing with it. At the time they sent me a very thoughtful critique of the tool (which I’ll look for… or see if they can send me again to share with you), in which their greatest concern was Google’s lack of openness about the criteria used to determine whether or not a source is “scholarly” and worthy of being included in the database. Experience seems to show that while some chaff gets through, it is far more efficient that digging through an ordinary google search for academic sources.

Eventually, the Walden Librarians embraced the tool with a simple (and apt) warning about articles which might cost money to access in their entirety.

Also, as with gopher in the early 90s, I am dissapointed in the low number of full text articles available on Google Scholar.

I often share with my fellow students that I have been using www.questia.com very successfully. The Walden Librarians also cautioned that the quality and selection might not be comparable to what we already have access to at Walden, but at least in the case of Educational Technology I have found the selection plentiful and extremely current. Early on they cautioned that it was “an undergraduate resource” but have since backed off of that stance as well and accepted it as another resources students can choose to have access to. I have found the cost ($119/year when I signed up) to be a reasonable trade off for access to tens of thousands of relevant volumes, all searchable and cut-and-paste-able, from my desk.

-Mark

Alvin Toffler and 21st Century Skills

Another response to a colleague’s post…

As the 21st century is upon us, students are required to solve complex problems, possess global awareness, and use resources that exist outside the school setting. Alvin Toffler stated, “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who can learn, relearn, and unlearn.” (1980). I believe technology can nurture artistic expression and create opportunities for students to do meaningful work. All students need access to high-level and high interest software as well as having the ability to feel comfortable with the tools of the Information Age. Schools must use technology to increase their productivity and efficiency.

Evelyn,

I’ve seen (and appreciated) this Toffler quote often. In fact, it is used by the North Central Regional Educational Laboratory in their enGauge project, which defines a framework of 21st Century Skills for students (and truthfully, for anyone).

The difficulty for classroom teachers, and for educational technology planners, is that most states do not currently measure or place any formal value on these skills, though the public, business community, and academia may be crying for them. My former boss, Steven Glyer, Director of Educational Technology in the Newport-Mesa Unified School District (where an ambitious high school redesign effort is underway), is calling for a system of metrics by which these skills can be measured, and thus reported to school boards and the public. A local school board need not let the state test scores be the final word in assessing their schools, if the community decides to place value on something else. Glyer want a tool that will allow him to deliver evidence that these skills are being mastered. I agree with him that this is one of the great challenges faced by educational technology today.

I have made a habit of sharing the enGauge project with each of my classes over the past few quarters (and as your name is familiar to me you may have seen this before), but I can now add something more to the discussion. I recently attended the first Orange County High School Summit where we were lucky enough to hear Dr. Daggett speak and present his Rigor/Relevance Framework and many of his High School Resources. He also discussed the 3 R’s of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which has taken a clear interest in redesigning high schools.

In any case, I think we have yet to rise to the challenge of Toffler’s statement, and the sooner we do, the better. It certainly seems that you had a great impact moving your district in the right direction in your role as Director of Academic and Technology Training Services. I hope that none of us in this class will ever abide the complacency of the past.

-Mark

Educational Technology Planning Guides

Written in response to a colleague’s post this week…

Staff Professional Development is planned by our building principal based on our five-year plan which was developed by the staff… I want to show them how using technology will benefit both them and their students.

Lisa,

You seem to be going at this in the right way. The California Department of Education (CDE) publishes an Educational Technology Planning Guide, which I think is worth sharing here. As a site technology coordinator I considered this my bible, and I think it can be a valuable resource for any leader involved in educational technology planning.

The general premise is that any educational technology plan must begin with curriculum and ways that technology can support or enhance the delivery and mastery of curriculum. When a site is beginning the tech planning process or considering spending money to upgrade the technology at their site, I always direct the conversation toward the curricular goals of the site.

The guide then calls for planners to consider what kind of staff development will be needed to help teachers integrate the necessary (or desired) technologies into the curriculum. The staff development portion of the plan should address each curricular goal, and should not introduce anything that is not related to a curricular goal… though some productivity and data management applications (such as email and online grade books) may not be directly related to curricular goals.

It is only after curriculum and staff development have been addressed, that planners can then move on to considering what hardware, software, infrastructure, and technical support are required to support the curriculum and staff development goals.

Funding and budgeting is addressed only after the needs in the previous three categories are established.

The fifth and final section of the plan (according to the original – and best – version of the state guide) is Monitoring and Evaluation. The idea is to establish systems for monitoring the implementation of the ed tech plan and to determine in what ways the effectiveness of the plan will be evaluated.

Later versions of the plan also included the need to base all decisions on research (a potentially fool hardy thing in this field, I believe, at least if “research
is used in it’s most strict academic sense; there are times when solutions are evident, but have not been formally studied – and yes, I realize this may be slightly iconoclastic to write this in a phd program). The latest version also includes a requirement to articulate the k12 programs with adult ed programs in terms of technology use. While this is relevant to many California school districts, I think this section of the plan is less relevant to other educational technology planners, and less essential to the process of educational technology planning.

But the five sections discussed above have often served as a quick checklist for me when working on various projects.

1.) Curriculum
2.) Staff Development
3.) Infrastructure
4.) Funding & Budgeting
5.) Monitoring & Evaluation

Whether you are in California or not I recommend you explore this resource, if you have not already.

Incidentally, when googling this guide, which is far faster than navigating to it via the CDE website, I discovered that Apple has a similar Educational Technology Planning Guide available online, along with a great graphically organized representation of the process (pictured here). I’ve included this link below as well.

-Mark

References

Commission on Technology in Learning. (2001). Technology Planning Guid.e Available online at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ls/et/rd/edtechguide.asp

Apple Computer. (2005). Technology Planning Guide. Available online at http://www.apple.com/education/planning/

Leadership and Educational Technology: Estancia High School, Summer 2002

I debated whether or not to include this post in the blog. It is quite self-praising, but I was writing to the prompt, and I suppose if I am writing any thing ed tech related, I might as well share it here…

All of you must have been in some type of Leadership position in your career. Please share with the class a brief scenario related to educational technology, and how you were able to exercise leadership in this situation.

Boy, I think I generate an example of this each day at the OCDE. :)

However, I think my most unqualified success came in the summer of 2002, when I was a site tech coordinator at Estancia High School. I was able to overcome each of the “factors inhibiting integration of technology” (Cafolla and Knee, 1995, p. 556), and I feel that my leadership (along with the leadership of others) was a powerful reason why.

In short, my IT partner, Derek Kinsey, and I transformed the educational technology infrastructure and use at the high school in one summer. We integrated six disparate Windows NT and Mac OS 9 networks into a single integrated network of Windows 2000 and Mac OS X clients (authenticating via Active Directory) which allowed students to log into any machine (Mac or Windows) with their own unique and secure password to work on their documents and projects anywhere on campus, in classrooms, computer labs, the library, or on our campus wide wi-fi network. This integration allowed previously impossible forms of collaboration between students and staff, and brought previously unknown security, stability, and redundancy to the data on the network.

This was only successful because following the hard work of implementing these changes during the summer, we delivered two full days of training for all faculty and staff prior to the first day of school in September. Through out the year this was followed up by “period-by-period” training for small groups of teachers on their prep. periods in our new 12 seat training lab (built during the summer in a space in the library previously used for storage… we added windows to the doors, power, networking, new furniture, and a projector). We also put a work order procedure in place and worked tirelessly to meet teacher’s needs, many of which were simply training (or coaching) needs. In these ways, we were able to avoid, if only for fourteen months while the team was intact, the pitfall of “inadequate teacher training” (Cafolla and Knee, 1995, p. 557) I am happy to take much of the credit for this, as it was my constant focus on the educators’ needs, and my ability to communicate them to all parties, that made this possible.

When it came to “insufficient funding” (Cafolla and Knee, 1995, p. 557), we were simply lucky. Our TSST funds (the maintenance portion of California’s Digital High School initiative) had been cut, but over the course of the two years that we planned, implemented, and supported these changes, a private and anonymous donor had provided almost $250,000 to our school, which was in a low socio-economic neighborhood and lacked the wealthy foundations available just across town. Much of this funding was spent on hardware, software, infrastructure, and professional development. Though we were lucky, I confident in presenting a vision to various committees and securing the funding we needed to make each stage of the project a reality.

Derek Kinsey, from whom I learned much of what I know about computer networking was in his position as the site tech for only a short time as a stepping stone to a higher position at the district office. He was highly over qualified for the work he was doing, and had strong ties to the district IT leadership. His IT expertise, my educational experience, and my ability to listen to Derek without being put off by his confidence allowed us to avoid purchasing “inappropriate hardware and software” (Cafolla and Knee, 1995, p. 557) for the school.

Again, I think we were very lucky that we did not face very much “resistance to change” (Cafolla and Knee, 1995, p. 557) at Estancia. I have since come to appreciate what an amazing and willing staff we worked with in those years. However, as I have seen others who have generated resistance among the staff, and because I know how much resistance even Derek could cause if I did not deliver his message for him in diplomatic teacher-speak, I think I can claim some measure of responsibility for leading the school past the danger of resistance as well.

However, the bottom line at Estancia was that the entire team came together at the right time and place. Our principal, Thomas Antal understood our vision and knew enough to fund it and otherwise “stay out of the way.” (This is a gross oversimplification of his dedication to understanding and providing for the improvement of the school.) The assistant principal was probably the most amazing member of the team, as she deftly handled the staff needs, the technical needs, and her over-zealous tech coordinator and technician. There is no doubt in my mind that the project would have surely failed if either of these administrators were not providing their brand of leadership to the team. At our level, Derek and I provided, the impetus, the vision, and the model of what our school could become with the technologies we were integrating. Others without whom the project could not have flown, and who also provided a great deal of leadership and modeling, were our student technicians, who did much of the work and lead the way for many other students. Most of the student techs were students or former students of mine (and I have since hired several of them). Again, though I was certainly not the ranking member of the team, I think it was my leadership as Educational Technology Coordinator that brought the whole team together.

It definitely feels a bit strange to “toot my own horn” so much in this post, but I suppose the prompt did ask how I was able to exercise leadership. I hope that this has at least been an inspirational story for some of you. :)

-Mark

PS – A year later, when the school was between technicians, I upgraded the network to Windows XP, OS X version 10.2 Jaguar, and Windows 2003 server. Two months later I left the site to serve as the ed tech coordinator of secondary schools.

PPS – Just recently, after much neglect, the site’s redundant servers experienced what can only be described as a multiple catastrophic disk failure… as the story was related to me… when a UPS, which had been slated for replacement months earlier finally gave out during a blackout, causing one disk in a RAID array (which was already a disk short as I understand it) to fail. During an attempt to restore the data from a redundant server, human error lead to breaking a second RAID array (by pulling out the wrong hot swapable drive) thus rendering all the data unrecoverable by conventional means. Derek and I had also left the site with a backup server and nightly scripts, but the server had apparently also filled up months before, so the backup script had been stopped. Long story short… the site lost ALL DATA. Luckily, we had also drilled most of the staff into making their own backups. Well, this time Derek returned to the site and they got upgraded yet again, but it is sad how quickly something like that can fall apart in the absence of all the elements (including leadership) that made it work in the first place.

Reference

Cafolla, R., Knee, R. (1995). Factors limiting technology integration in education: the leadership gap. Technology and Teacher Education Annual.

Wagner’s Critique of TechLearning.com

Written for EDUC-8813 Management of Technology for Educaiton…

1. Brief description of site.

Most of you have probably encountered this site before, but as it is the top result when I Google Educational Technology Leadership and because it is the self described “Resource for Education Technology Leaders” I thought I would spend the time to write about it and share it here.

There are sections of the site dedicated to Teachers, Technology Coordinators, and Administrators, so each of us aught to be able to find relevant information. Links to these sections span the top of the page. The left hand column contains additional links to T&L Magazine (Technology and Learning Magazine, with which I also suspect many of you are familiar), Educator’s Outlook (a related publication from the looks of it, though I had not previously spent time investigating it), Digital Media (including a bit on “The Art of Digital Story Telling”), School CIO (a newsletter for K-12 technology leaders), Resources (with many links), and T&L events (which are mostly online). Because we are all writing so much about educational technology as a part of our work at Walden, it is also worth noting that there are multiple opportunities to contribute to the site and to the publications. ;)

2. One specific example of what the site offers

Under the Technology Coordinator section of the site, the top link is an article titled “13 Tech Support Strategies”, which are categorized into three sections: (1.) Standardize, (2.) Centralize, and (3.) Document. The article concludes with links to other sources of tech support advice.

3. Why I find the site useful

I now apply very strict rules of paper management in my office and my home. I keep nothing that I can access online. So the most valuable aspect of this site is the availability of Technology & Learning Magazine and the other publications, including archives of past editions. All of the articles are searchable and cut-and-paste-able, making them more valuable to me than the print version. For instance, using the search function on the main page, I was able to quickly locate all of the resources related to blogs listed at the URL below. This represents the equivalent of a garage full of back issues, and hours of time free to flip through them.

http://www.techlearning.com/search/resultsw.jhtml?queryText=blog

I hope this has been a useful introduction (or re-introduction) to techlearning.com … and I am glad to be posting again after a bit of an absence due to a conference, a heavy workload at the OCDE Ed Tech Dept. … and the birth of my first nephew!

-Mark

MMORPGs in Education

I mentioned one of my research interests of the past year, my professor was interested, and I wrote this in response. I thought it would also make a good early entry on this new blog…

I would be interested in knowing what were the results (briefly) of this study.

Dr. Hazari,

I am considering using my KAM and Dissertation research to more formally study the potential of Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games to serve as constructivist learning environments. So far this year, I have done a good deal of reading, have completed a related formal study for EDUC-8437, and have spent a good deal of time exploring the games myself. (It may surprise you to learn I was not at all a video gamer myself before becoming interest in the project, and I had never played a multiplayer online game… though I did grow up playing traditional role playing games.)

I started in with my reading on what I consider to be the three primary books on the subject, which I mentioned in our week 1 forum as well… Marc Prensky’s Digital Game-Based Learning (2001), James Gee’s What Video Games Have to Teach Us About Learning and Literacy (2003), and Clark Aldrich’s Simulations and the Future of Learning (2004). I am also reading Justine Cassell and Henry Jenkin’s From Barbie to Mortal Kombat: Gender and Computer Games.

Surpisingly, though Prensky seemed open to the potential of Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs), he spent little time exploring and discussing them. Aldrich, even more surprisingly, is actually opposed to their use as teaching and learning environments, due to the lack of teacher control available. This smacks of twentieth-century thinking to me. :)

James Gee included some very inspirational passages about his own experiences with MMORPGs and projections about their future in education. However, it may be my readings and interpretations of Seymour Papert, actually, that have given me the most hope for MMORPGs as context-rich, inquiry-facilitating, and socially negotiated learning spaces.

It is worth noting that I began my investigation with a focus on Massively Multiplayer Online Role Playing Games (MMORPGs), but have since focused more narrowly on simply multiplayer games, which tend not to require a persistent game-world, and which do allow a great deal more control for the game-master/teacher. This is in part due to the validity of some of Aldrich’s concerns, and in part because of my recent personal experience with the games.

I found exploring the worlds of Everquest, Star Wars Galaxies, and Final Fantasy XI to be exciting and powerful learning experiences, but only for a short while. Very soon I came to feel the lack of a coherent story… and the lack of any serious role playing on the part of the players. In contrast, a game like Neverwinter Nights, which still allows up to 64 players (enough for most classes), and which is not-persistent, can allow a game-master/teacher to taylor a scenario for his or her students, to adjust as the students play, and to maintain both the quality of the experience and the participation of the students by starting and stopping the game world any time (or at pre-determined “class” times.) It is also highly customizable. The folks over at educationarcade.org at MIT have created a Revolutionary War game out of what was originally very dungeons and dragons oriented material. :)

As for the formal study I did for EDUC-8437, I studied teachers perceptions of the potential of MMORPGs as constructivist learning environments, with an eye for their comfort level with computers, constructivism, video games, and MMORPGs. The study compared the perceptions of teachers of different ages. While their comfort levels with computers and video games were predictably varied by age, their comfort with constructivism was in no way related to age, and their confort with MMORPGs was related only to their knowledge of them. It was an interesting place to start in terms of the relationship of these games to the educational world, but was limited in many ways by the need to complete the project for 8847… as I suspect my KAMs and Dissertation will be similarly limited.

By the way, see the Daedalus Project to read a good deal of great research into social aspects of MMORPGs.

I hope that was brief enough for something I’ve investigated for almost a year. ;)

I’d be happy to chat with anyone about it more… here or via email, IM (AV if possible… I have an iSight), or by phone. Come to think of it… anyone interested in doing a related project for this class?

-Mark

A response to “Teachers and Technology: Beliefs and Practices” (2002)

A response to an article read for class. The prompt is in italics below…

Comment on the TEACHERS AND TECHNOLOGY… article.

Wagner’s 10 Responses to TEACHERS AND TECHNOLOGY

1. “Does technology add value to the curriculum?” (p. 2)

Is this the right question to be asking? I suggest that it might be more important to ask whether a technology can aid in delivery (teaching and learning) of the curriculum or whether a technology can make t possible to deliver new curriculum? The trouble with the the initial question is that encourages people to judge the value of technology based on a curriculum that was generated in a time before that technology was available. It is time to start considering 21st Century Skills in addition (or in place of) traditional curriculum.

2. “Are games engaging, nonrepetitive, and challenging?” (p. 3)

In the wake of a year studying the potential of video games in education, I find this question to be an insightful and mature inquiry into the value of a game. I suggest that this same question can be asked of any educational technology… and indeed any curriculum delivery method. For anyone interested in this topic, consider Marc Prensky’s Digital Game-Based Learning (2001), James Gee’s What Video Games have to Teach us About Learning and Literacy (2003), and Clark Aldrich’s Simulations and the Future of Learning (2004). For anyone in the area, James Gee will be speaking at UC Irvine at 2pm on March 23rd. See also the Education Arcade for information on related projects… and note that their games in education conference is coming up prior to E3 in LA.

3. Sixty-one percent of teachers responded that they had not observed software that “helps” learning, and 67% reported that they did not use software that saves time in teaching and learning. (p. 8)

On the face of it this seems like a tragedy, and it forms the basis for the authors’ later recommendations. Perhaps, though, this is another instance of asking the wrong question. I put “help” in quotes because I think this might be a very vague and misleading term. It is difficult to imagine software that can actively help students learn, though perhaps a good deal of software can provide an environment or tools that can facilitate learning. Also, perhaps the power of most software is not in being able to save time, but in being able to do things that we could not do before. I doubt that technology has saved me time in my educational career (on the whole – it certainly saves me time in some tasks), but it has certainly allowed me to do a great many things I could not have done previously.

4. A surprising 47% of respondents did not feel more confident in information found in books than in information found online. (p. 8)

The authors offer some possible interpretations, but they seem to not consider that perhaps this is simply because a great deal of very valuable information exists in some very reliable sources online.

5. “Clearly there is a need to either develop more high-quality educational software in all areas… and/or to provide opportunities for teachers to learn more about it.” (p. 9)

I wonder why the authors (and others) seem to ignore the power of open ended software. David H. Jonassen offers some amazing uses of simple office software in his books Computers as Mindtools for Schools and Learning to Solve Problems with Technology. This is to say nothing of what teachers are doing with blogs and other read/write web applications in education. See Weblogg-ed for good discussion on this topic, and great links to actual teacher and student blogs.

6. Sixty-eight percent of respondents agreed that “Chatrooms can encourage isolated students to find like minded peer groups.” (p. 9)

This may be the most encouraging response (and most progressive) question in the study, but the most tragic part of the paper was the comment that followed:

7. “… once regulated [chatrooms] could be an avenue of communication.” (p. 10)

Wow. Clearly I need to arm myself with some research to combat this sort of thinking, but as this post is plenty lengthy, I’ll move along. At any rate, the next bit is particularly uplifting…

8. One hundred percent of the respondents agreed that “Collaborative computer-based activities can create inviting educational contexts for students.” (p. 10)

That’s 100%! Wow. I am also sympathetic to the author’s conclusion that “classroom context is a very important, if not crucial, determining factor for the positive incorporation of computer and technology-based activities.” I would drop the word “classroom” in favor of the word “educational,” though. “Classroom” is far to limiting in the age of distance education and student handhelds with probeware out getting students back in the field behind the school to do their science projects. :)

Conversely,

9. Sixty percent agreed that computers can isolate students! (p. 10)

I suppose I should not be so surprised by the dichotomy offered by these two responses. The value of computers (and any technology) lies in how it is used by people. Students can use computers to be social, or to be isolated. Students can use books, paper, and pencil in the same way. Consider passing notes in class, or doodling in the library during lunch.

10. “I still believe in books… and hope that they won’t be phased out of the life of children’s education.” (p. 11)

I’m happy to report as a former English teacher that I hold no such sentimental values. I’m sure books will play a role where they are more valuable (for whatever reason) than other technologies, and the they will be replaced where appropriate. I have a sort of bias against paper, and have difficulty when teachers want to print everything out (especially email), but I am mildly sympathetic to the fact that there is a lack of software that facilitates easy electronic annotation of student’s papers. Newer versions of MS Office can do this, but it is not yet quite as convenient as being able to circle, underline, and draw arrows. The tablet PC’s journaling features come close to this, but these are far from ubiquitous.

That’s ten. What a silly, arbitrary, and tiring number to impose on oneself. ;)

-Mark

Reference:

Iding, M., Crosby, M. E., Speitel, T. (2002). Teachers and technology: beliefs and practices. Int’l J of Instructional Media Vol. 29(2).

Get started with FURL (A “killer app” of the read/write web)

My brother James and I got into an interesting conversation on the phone last night about the competitive edge that information, and thus information technologies can give in any industry… and my brother is a performing artist. This of course cuts right to the heart of what educational technology is all about… closing the digital divide, not only in terms of hardware and software, but in terms of the knowledge of how best to use it.

To make a long story short he asked me to share with him two things that I find very valuable. I thought that if I were going to take the time to prepare something for him, I might as well share it here.

The first thing he was interested in was the way I use FURL. Near as I can tell the name comes from a play on the word “referral” and the acronym URL (universal resource locator, better known as a web address). The idea is that you can FURL any site that you find interesting. You can even include annotations as you do this. The address of the FURLed site (and your annotations) will be saved in a free online archive… something like an online bookmark you can access from anywhere. Better yet, anyone can access it from anywhere. People can even subscribe to your archive through an RSS feed. (The wikipedia provides the definition I’ve linked to here… and the wikipedia is another read/write web technology you should investigate if you haven’t yet. Well, back to FURL.)

To get started using FURL, head on over to www.furl.net, create your free account.

You might also check out the What is FURL? and How do people use FURL? links.

One key to FURLs ease of use is to install the FURL or FURL!! button (or both) on your browser’s bookmark bar. Then, as you read an interesting web site, you can simply click the button to FURL the site (and annotate it if you so chose). Once you have created your account at FURL, click on My Tools to get the FURL button(s).

My most recently FURLed sites, a link to my FURL archive, and the URL of my FURL feed are provided in a box on the right side of this blog’s main page.

-Mark