Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Dabbling With Data

Image: "I'm not keen to shift the blame"

To begin with - excuses... 

I've been neglecting this space a little as of late, and I have a few reasons I must share to justify my absence.

First of all, Blogger is no longer supporting the hosting of their blogs on custom domains.  I've hosted the TECH Talks blog on my own site, mckiel.ca, for a couple of years and kind of enjoyed the freedom to have my own piece of the pie.  Alas, all good things must come to an end, so I've finally rolled the content forward and now have a slightly less unique URL for the TECH Talks blog - 
 If you're new to this blog - welcome!  If you're revisiting this blog following my delayed absence, you may want to re-subscribe to the blog on the right, as the feed may not behave as expected following the move...

Secondly, as seems to be the trend with several of the edubloggers whose thoughts, rants & ramblings I subscribe to, I've taken to condensing many of the ideas & information I used to share through this blog down to 140 characters or less.  Twitter has become the mortar in my PLN, and I find that it's often the first place I stumble upon news, trends & resources.  By the time I get around to browsing through my blog reader, I feel as though there's a lot of old news sitting there.  Through the people I follow on Twitter, I get links to new and noteworthy blog posts and I end up reading them as they're posted, not a week or two later through my RSS aggregator...

Thirdly, I sometimes question who actually sees the things I share here.  I'm not very well established in the blogosphere, and I really have no way to appreciate my reach.  Sure, I closely follow many bloggers - reading and commenting on their posts - giving back to my network.  But I don't have a lot of 'discussion' taking place on my blog.  Sure, I see some red dots popping up from across the globe on my clustrmap, but I sometimes question the value of saying things if there's no-one listening.  Audience matters & we all have a need to be heard.  In an era where collaboration is celebrated, we all want to feel connected and we value the conversations with (and feedback from) our peers.

And lastly, I've been kinda busy.  As is the case with educators everywhere, I occasionally feel the crunch from juggling too many projects and facing too many impending deadlines.  This sometimes leaves me struggling with what I share on this space.  I've been doing a lot of thinking lately about how I use my online spaces - I'm feeling the need to de-clutter and maximize the use of the online spaces that I have available.  I'm still in the process of re-thinking my primary vision for this space so that I can share things here with a little more clarity, rather than presenting a broad spectrum of ideas and information.

On that note, my current thought is that this space should be used to highlight and showcase some of the work that I'm currently involved with - projects & presentations - that sort of thing.  With that in mind, the following slidedeck was used to support a session that I presented and facilitated at the recent Riding The Wave of Change conference in Gimli, Manitoba.  Overall, this year's conference was fantastic, with lots of great sessions and opportunities to network and collaborate face to face with many members of my PLN :-)

If you're interested in finding out a little more about the focus of my presentation, you'll find a few more resources on the Dabbling With Data wiki that I utilized during my session to demonstrate the ability to embed Poll Everywhere polls and Google Forms surveys.  You'll also find links to a few tools that can be used to visualize data with (and for) your students.

Thanks for stopping by the TECH Talks blog :-)
I'll start writing here a little more frequently to provide you with a reason to come back soon!