Monday, March 23, 2009

Week 5 - Virtual Worlds

To successfully complete No. 5 - Virtual Worlds you must...

READ this blog post.
DO and THINK about the information in the "Learn More About" activities.
LEARN by completing the Hands On Activities, including reading the Important Tips.

Your total time commitment is about 45 minutes.

Introduction to Virtual Worlds
A virtual world is a computer-based simulated environment created and maintained for user inhabitation and interactions through text based or grahpical reprentations known as avatars. Virtual environments are being used in a variety of contexts: classroom teching, informal learning, distance learning, business and e-applications.

There are a growning number of businesses and other organizations turning to 3-D environments to eliminate communication issues and other obstacles to collaboration. In addition, virtual workds offer interactivity and freedom of movement that other collaboration tools such as web, video and teleconference lack.

Learning More about "Virtual Worlds"
1. Read this web page summary of Vitual worlds at (Time Commitment 10 minutes)
2. Watch this YouTube video, Virtual Social Worlds and the Future of Learning. (Time Commitment 9:42 minutes)
3. Watch this YouTube video, Virtual Word Tour 2008. (Time Commitment 8:05 minutes)

Hands On Activities

Due to restrictions on software downloads on library staff computers, there is no hands on activity for this blog post.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Week 4 - Social Computing

To successfully complete No. 4 - Social Computing you must...

READ this blog post.
DO and THINK about the information in the "Learn More About" activities.
LEARN by completing the Hands On Activities, including reading the Important Tips.

Your total time commitment is about 45 minutes.

Introduction to Social Computing

Humans are funamentally social. From birth, we interact with each other. In the process, we gain an understanding and deveop a proficieny in spoken and written expression and social interactions. In other words, we gain a social context that we apply to living.

We all know that using the web can be a solitary experience. When others are present, we can transform our experience online into something more. It's natural that we want to translate our social contexts into the digital world. But, how is it possible?

Social software and social technology are the answer. They allow people, regardless of location, to interact online. Social computing is the concept of creating or reusing social conventions and social contexts online through the use of computer software and technology. Or in other words, social computing is the use of technology to bring people together online to connect, work and play.

"Learn More about Social Computing"

1. Watch this video on YouTube, What is Social Computing? (Time commitment 51 seconds)
2. Read this Wikipedia article, Social Computing. (Time commitment 5 - 10 minutes)
3. Listen to this podcast the first five minutes of this 17 minute podcast, Social Computing a Boon for Business. (Time commitment 5 minutes)

"Hands On Activity"
1. Read a recent blog post from either Inside VBPL or VBPL Talks.
2. Comment on what you read.
Congrats! You just engaged in social computing.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Week 3 - Privacy

To successfully complete No. 3 - Privacy you must...

READ this blog post.
DO and THINK about the information in the "Learn More About" activities.
LEARN by completing the Hands On Activities, including reading the Important Tips.

Your total time commitment is about 45 minutes.

Introduction to Privacy
Everything we do online creates a transaction record. Technology makes the collection and storing of that data both easy and inexpensive. As a result, governments and companies store, process and analyze vast amounts of information from Internet users / consumers. In the U.S., it seems that privacy is the individual right of a consumer that can be traded for a benefit --- especially the free use of the Internet or an Internet service.

Consumer advocates say that online data collection and tracking is going too far. Here's an example: On your next visit to, your welcome page recommends a book based on your heart disease. You just had an EKG at your last doctor's visit. Creepy? No, it's something called behavioral marketing. It's really big!

Marketers say consumers benefit from seeing advertising that's relevant to their interests. They further contend that consumer are willing to relinguish some personal data to get free access to Internet content. After all, advertising pays for the free stuff. Here's an example: On your next visit to Facebook, you see an ad that says 40 and fat. You just had your forty birthday. You could lose a few pounds. You click on the ad to see how the person in the picture got those amazing results?

Where is the balance between data collection and user privacy? In the United States, public policies on privacy date to 1973, when the U.S. Deparmtne of Health, Education and Welfare set seminal guidelines for the fair use of computerized personal information. Advocates point out that these policies where crafted based on who you are. Today, we need to look at privacy based on more than who we are; it's also what we do.

Learn More About Privacy
1. Browse the 20 page report, Online Privacy --- A Tutorial for Parents and Teachers from TrustE, a nonprofti that sets guidelines for online privacy and awards a seal of approval for companies meeting those guidelines. (Time commitment 10 - 20 minutes)
2. Go to Technorati's blog tag page --- privacy at Select one post; read it and share what you learned with your peers. (10 minutes)

Hands On Activity

1. Visit the Federal Trade Commission's web site at
2. Read about one recent case. They are often posted under the hot links. Here is an example: Sony BMG Music
3. Let a friend or co-worker about what you discovered.

Hungry for More?
1. Read the new recommendations for industry self regulations from the Federal Trade Commission at
2. Check out the privacy Coalition's web site at
3. Review the EPIC's Online Guide to Privacy Resources at
4. Share with a kid or concerned parent, the Kidz Privacy web site at
5. Keep informed! Go to the Privacy Rights ClearingHouse web site at

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Week 2 - Aggregators

To successfully complete No. - Aggregators you must...

READ this blog post.
DO and THINK about the information in the "Learn More About" activities.
LEARN by completing the Hands On Activities, including reading the Important Tips. Your total time commitment is about 45 minutes.

Introduction to Aggregators

There is an explosion of information and innovation swirling around you on the web. What can you do? Take a look at an aggregator. It can help you manage your digital lifestyle. How? An aggregator serves to provide web users with one, simple interface to the widely dispersed, frequently changing information landscape that surrounds them. Aggregators are not limited to RSS. There are hordes of them appearing on the web.

Social aggregators let you centralize and syndicate your online life. You can use an aggregator with your OpenID account so that all of your contact information is centralized and available for use on any new service that you join. You will save time and effort by eliminating the need to edit and update your profile information spread out over the web. I use a Friendfeed app in Facebook to keep up.

For your specialized interests, there are one page aggregators that look and feel like web portals. By using one, you can stay on top of all the latest news and developments.

For photography, try Mashfot. Users can find the latest news and popular links relating to photography and view the latest photographs from various photo sharing websites. View photos from Flickr and 23, news from Digg and Blogs, and links from Del.icious and Blinklist, etc...

I use originalsignal to track what's happening with gadgets. In truth, it is a huge aggregator for news and developments concerning the web, technology, entertainment, business and the world. You can customize its look and feel, grab RSS for all or just one "signal", share with other, post a gadget for signal on your site or view/use it on your portal device.

Try one of several media aggregators! The Internet TV Charts allows you to track the most popular online video clips each week from four leading Internet TV sites. All the best video clips, are on one page.

One of my favorite aggregators is Popurls. Popurls gives you the latest buzz about web sites, social sites and aggregating sites. Viewers get headlines from sites such as Digg,, Reddit, Newsvine, and TailRank as well as media from Flickr, Youtube, Odeo, iFilm, and more. If you are trying to find what’s new and buzzing on the web, Popurls is the place to look.

If you love the micro-blogging service Twitter, there are 12 aggregators and web trend sites that help you filter the Twittersphere. Imagine that! There is so little time to tweet. :) But, that is ok because you have at least 12 different ways to tweet smarter!

If you don't find an aggregator that suits your needs, then build one. SpeedyFeed allows you to import your favorite feeds and display them in a one page format like Popurls.

"Learn More About" Aggregators
1. Read this Wikipedia article, Aggregator (Time commitment 5 - 10 minutes). This is a new article so it changes often.
2. Read this article from Socialwebtools, Top 10 Top Social Aggregators and get a feel for how you might use one. (10 - 20 minutes)

Important Tips, Tricks
1. Anything that you share with an online community such as Facebook becomes property of the community. You have no future control over it. So, don't share it if you want it private now or at some point in the future.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Week 1 - Avatars

To successfully complete No. - Avatars you must...

READ this blog post.
DO and THINK about the information in the "Learn More About" activities.
LEARN by completing the Hands On Activities, including reading the Important Tips.

Your total time commitment is about 45 minutes.

Introduction to Avatars

In an digital environment, an avatar is a graphical representation of self; the form can be one, two or three dimensional. It can be male, female, animal, robot, or even a plate of spaghetti.

An avatar is an object that represents the user or gamer in the digital environment; it may often conform to the personality connected with the computer user or gamer. Just as often, an avatar will be the reverse alter-ego of the computer user or gamer.

Avatars are used in many different web-based platforms or services including forum, communities, chat, online gaming and social networking sites.

"Learn More About Avatars"
1. Read the article, Avatars (Computing) (Time commitment 15 minutes)
2. Watch this fun YouTube video, "Create Your Own Avatar" at (Time 3:50 minutes)
3. Listen to this podcast (Time 1:34 minutes)

"Hands On Activity"
1. Go to
2. Select the gender of your avatar.
3. Give your avatar a special look. Select
"Change your Look". Choose a body type,
face, hair, clothes, accessories and more.

NOTE: Your avatar appears in the large
box at left. Your choices appear in the smaller
boxes at right.

4. OPTIONAL --- Save your avatar. Fill
out the online form that appears when you
select save.

Meez 3D avatar avatars games

Important - Tips, Hints and Tricks
1. Not all features under "change your look" are free at You earn the coins used to pay for non-free items from signing up for an account, a newsletters, etc...
2. If you want to save your avatar for later use, you will need to create a free account.
3. You can export your avatar for use on web sites, blogs etc...
4. You can add all kinds of cool things like backgrounds and animations.

Friday, November 21, 2008

What's It All About?

From February 23 to May 4, 2009, the Virginia Beach Public Library will offer Beyond 2.0 - Playful Teamwork, a life-long learning and team collaboration experience for library staff. The program is designed to:

  • enhance business practices through the use of technology to improve internal operations and communications and enhance services to citizens
  • contribute to a fun, playful workplace that inspires collaboration among library staff members
  • expand library staff's knowledge base
  • foster implementation of web 2.0 skills

The Beyond 2.0 program is be comprised of two parts:

A learning based blog
A staff collaboration opportunity

Beyond 2.0 Blog --- A Learning Blog

This blog will feature weekly blog posts that stretch across five consecutive weeks beginning on February 23 and ending in March 2009. Five topics will be discussed; one topic per week.

The weekly topics are common themes visible across the web:

social computing
virtual worlds

Participants are not required to register. In addition, they do not have to record their work. Before beginning, all participants are encouraged to discuss their participation with their supervisor.