Saturday, November 15, 2008

Chattanooga State Offers Introduction to Second Life Class

Second Life is a 3D virtual world where online users can socialize, connect, and create immersive environments that mimic the real world or explode into fantasy. Developed by Linden Labs, Second Life (SL for short) has engaged millions of users through a free downloadable online viewer. Users assume a SL persona, or avatar, as a "resident" and then explore such diverse worlds as virtual theaters, realistic hospital simulations, and eye-popping worlds of science, history and art. Additionally, your avatar will interact with other avatars through voice, motion, and text.

This course gives six hours of hands-on instruction. While not a technical course, students will learn fundamentals of creating avatars, environments, and objects and be introduced to the power of scripting. Students will learn to take photographs and make SL movies, an art form known as machinima. The course will conclude with explorations into applications of SL in education, business, social networks and visual arts.

November 22, December 6 & 13
2:00-4:00 p.m.
CBIH room 230
$85 for this six hour class

To register, call 423-697-3100.

Instructors: Larry Miller, PhD, Learning Strategist, Erlanger Health System, and Andrew Duncan, Programmer Analyst, Chattanooga State Technical Community College.

Pay over the phone with a VISA, MasterCard, or Discover card. Or, you may mail check or bring payment to Chattanooga State Continuing Education Department, 4501 Amnicola Highway, Chattanooga, TN, 37406.

Check out a Blog on Second Life at Chattanooga State -

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I am Hooked on Facebook

Facebook is one of the “killer apps” of social networking. Like so many of the great Web 2.0 applications, Facebook wasn’t created by some huge software company. Mark Zuckerberg, now the 24-year-old C.E.O of Facebook, started it in his dorm room at Harvard (in 2004) and the site quickly amassed nine million users. Initially, Facebook was restricted to college students, or at least to those with a .edu E-mail domain. It competes with MySpace and has rapidly gained popularity, especially since the .edu requirement was dropped in

As is typical of Web 2.0, social networking is at the heart of Facebook. Users can join groups (networks) organized by city, workplace, school, or hobby – or you can start your own group. For example, there is a group called NICU Nurses with hundreds of Facebook users and a new group Erlanger Health System with only a few. It is simple to add friends and send them messages, and update your own personal profile. Many Facebook people add photos or videos as well.

Facebook underwent a major upgrade a few months ago. Long-time users were upset, but I really like the new features. The biggest change was with the News Feed, a built-in service that actively broadcasts changes in a user’s page to every one of his or her friends. The News Feed has been described as “like a social gazette from the 18th century” giving one a long list of up-to-the-minute stream of everything that’s going on about their friends, around the clock, all in one place.

Frankly, Facebook can be addicting. It can also border on annoying. However, I really feel like I have been in touch with many friends and relatives in a new way that has been a lot of fun. Interestingly enough, the biggest growth for Facebook is no longer among the young. Facebook has really caught on among boomers and others. If you sign up, you can “friend” me by searching for Lawrence G. Miller and then click on “add as friend.”

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

iGoogle - and maybe you should as well

iGoogle is a customizable Web “start page”that automatically loads when your Web browser launches or when you click on the browser “home” button. iGoogle supports the use of specially developed "gadgets" to display content on your home page. These gadgets vary from the useful to the whimsical. For example, on my iGoogle page, I have the time and date; a list I created of frequently used Websites as bookmarks; a Google news feed with the 5 top stories; the weather in lovely Hixson, TN; a quick search area for Wikipedia; a link to my Gmail; and the Google driving directions tool. You can create a second page on iGoogle with an additional tab, and I have some other things on this.

To get started, launch Then click at the top of the page on “more.” This will present a pull-down menu, from which you select “even more” at the bottom. This will bring you to “More Google Products” where you see a list on the left under “Search.” Go down to iGoogle and click to get started. You can “add stuff” from your new iGoogle start page – the link is on the far right side. Once you have selected the gadgets you want, you have the ability to customize the look with themes and also drag the individual elements around on the start page to your heart’s content.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

143 and counting – I am LinkedIn

Building a professional network is what LinkedIn is all about. I like to describe it as Facebook for professionals – only nobody will offer you a hug, a kiss, or a plant while LinkedIn. You build your professional network by finding and inviting people who can (and want to) add value to your chosen professional pursuit. Connect with them and be connected by them. According to LinkedIn, “Your network should be made of people whose value is measured by the amount and quality of knowledge and resources available within your network. . . Generally it's not about the number of connections you may have or connecting for connecting's sake. Your network should be about quality of knowledge, resources, skills and advocacy that LinkedIn can help unlock.”

A true social network, you build your connections by first creating a profile based upon your education, work history, community service, awards, etc. Each area of the profile can be an opportunity to connect with other. The other main strategy is to connect with groups. For example, I belong to several groups, including Chattanoogans, Professional Second Lifers, and MERLOT. I cannot tell you how many people I have reconnected with through LinkedIn, but it has surprised me. Of course, you can E-mail within from within the environment. A primary activity within LinkedIn is related to looking for jobs. Apparently, many large companies use LinkedIn for talent recruitment.

One of my favorite tech Bloggers, Guy Kawasaki, has written a very good piece, Ten Ways to Use LinkedIn. BTW, I have added Guy’s Blog to the Blog List below.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Web 2.0 Blog List

A new feature of this Blog is the Web 2.0 Blog List. You will find it at the very bottom, so scroll on down. The first post is from Alex Berger, a 23 -year old student at Arizona State University. If you want some insight into how the digitally savvy young people look at learning and the world, then read it. | A Place For Intellectual Musings

More Blogs relevant to Web 2.0 will follow

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Wetpaint - Create a Wiki

Wetpaint's Website allows one a easy way to create free wiki websites. They invite you to "please touch: create or join a wiki. . . build a community around whatever you love" You have probably known of Wikipedia - it's the online encyclopedia that is literally created by a community of users. Wikipedia has grown rapidly into one of the largest reference sources, attracting at nearly a billion users in 2008. There are some other wiki-generators, but I really like Wetpaint for its look and easy of use. You can watch several videos to find out more here.

Wikis are often used by groups to create a content-based Website with a restricted community of users – in other words, a private wiki. However, like other Web 2.0 applications, Wetpaint can take to existing wikis that may be something to join or at least to build from. In addition to being a tool to create a social website that anyone can easily edit and contribute to, there are many existing Wikis that can be accessed. For example, you can see the Efficient MD Wiki or WikiBirdFlu.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Tell a story in 5 frames - Visual story telling with Flickr

Flickr is probably my favorite Web 2.0 application. A previous post on this Blog covers Flickr’s basics, but there is a clever use of this Web tool related to storytelling. A group exists for Flickr users who want to meet this challenge: can you tell a story with just five images?

The guidelines for having your story accepted for inclusion in this group state:

A good story has characters in action with a beginning, middle, and an ending. Fortunately a lot of information can be given in a single photograph, enhancing the limitations of five photographs for your story. Location, time, and atmosphere aid viewer imagination. Keep standards of pictorial beauty, but pack as many story telling elements in one photograph as possible to develop an action.

1st photo: establish characters and location.

2nd photo: create a situation with possibilities of what might happen.

3rd photo: involve the characters in the situation.

4th photo: build to probable outcomes

5th photo: have a logical, but surprising, end.

This is a real challenge – the brevity and succinctness of the stories that are accepted into the pool are truly impressive. Sure, there are some that are lame, or at least puny, but try it yourself. Teachers might consider this as a possible student project.

Friday, April 18, 2008

The Complete Work of Charles Darwin Online

OK, this isn't really a Web 2.0 application, but it is a very interesting site that is reflective of the massive effort underway on many fronts to digitize books and other writings. In addition to the largest Darwin bibliography and manuscript catalog ever published; through Darwin Online you can access Darwin's complete publications and thousands of handwritten manuscripts, such as 1st editions of Voyage of the Beagle, Zoology, Descent of Man, all editions of Origin of Species, and Darwin’s Autobiography.

Darwin Online is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, and is managed by the University of Cambridge.

Thursday, April 17, 2008 offers a way to create your flowchart online. Like a true Web 2.0 application, there is no software to install and no download. Basically you simply register and then start. has an interface that is generally easy to use, so you can be up and running in a short time. A team can collaborate in real-time when creating a flowchart as all collaborating parties can chat and design at the same time.

With, you have the use of simple drawing tools (lines, arrows, and B├ęzier curves) and a selection of objects (flowchart objects, clipart) to work with. You can also upload your original art and use it in your Flowchart. Flowcharts can be shared with the community. You can even sell your flowchart creations. The final output of your Flowchart as a PDF or PNG format file The PNG is a relatively high resolution format that works well for Power Point and other Microsoft Office applications.

To see how it works, you can view their demo here View Demo

or you can visit their main site and get started here