Monday, May 31, 2010

Episode 108 - Did you quit Facebook?

Tech Talk 4 Teachers

It’s Monday May 31st, 2010 and welcome to episode 108 of TechTalk4Teachers, I’m Tom Grissom. Today in the United States it is Memorial Day where Americans pause to recognize and honor those that have made the ultimate sacrifice in serving our country and protecting our freedom. Memorial Day also marks the beginning of summer time activities as schools are wrapping up the school year. Many schools in our local area held graduation ceremonies this past weekend and have dismissed students for the summer.

Right Click Here to Download MP3
(9 minutes 20 seconds)

Today is also Quit Facebook Day where some users of the Facebook service have pledged to delete their Facebook accounts today to protest privacy concerns and other recent changes of policies at Facebook. We will see how many actually follow-through and delete their Facebook account after today.

I have provided a link in the show notes to the Quit Facebook Day website and as of the time of this posting only 31,994 people had committed to quitting Facebook at this website so it looks like this campaign may have minimal impact upon Facebook with its 400 million plus membership.

Facebook is used by the large majority of college students at our university and students need to understand the potential use and misuse of social networking services. This past week Mark Zuckerberg announced more changes at Facebook aimed to appease some users of the Facebook service by offering one-click privacy settings to help protect Facebook accounts. A link is provided in the show notes to learn more.

Previous changes to Facebook privacy settings had over 70 settings that users could change and were very complex to manage. The most recent change provides a much simpler interface for privacy settings. Even with the most recent changes Facebook users should be aware that all it takes is one inappropriately checked Facebook setting to cause your account to become public. If you use the Facebook service you need to be aware of and change your privacy settings to your preferred level of sharing.

Summer time is also a great time to catch up on listening to educational podcasts. One of the great things about podcasting is that you have a variety of content to choose from and listen to when it is convenient for you. This time-shifting has been a huge productivity boost for myself as I have been exposed to many podcasts from around the world that I otherwise would not have had the opportunity to listen to.

Another benefit of podcasts is that they can expand your knowledge and perspective if you purposefully choose what you listen to. We all need a little recreational time and there are many entertaining podcast choices out there to choose from. There are also many great educational podcasts that will increase your knowledge on any given subject. A little bit of purposeful searching can yield some treasures for your summer listening pleasure. For example, it has been interesting listening to educational technology podcasts from Australia where they are just beginning the winter season. I have been interested in Australian schools since the mid-1990’s when they pioneered many distance learning delivery methods and pedagogies. Presently some Australian schools are rolling out some massive netbook projects where each child gets a netbook for their learning needs. I will provide a link in the show notes if you are interested in learning what some of our Australian friends are up to.

Australian Netbook Projects:

Since this is the beginning of summer break for many teachers in the US I hope you take some time for relaxing but also realize that this is the perfect time to sharpen your skills by listening to podcasts of interest to you. If you find some great educational podcasts please share your selections with the TechTalk4Teachers audience by sending an email to Appropriate selections will be shared with fellow listeners in a future episode so please contribute your choices.

The month of May also witnessed the Google I/O conference where Google went on a tear of new developments and announced new API’s for developers and updated the developer community with new tools and products.

Here are a few of the many announcements made at Google I/O this month.
Google has thrown its weight behind the developing to the HTML 5 standard and also announced support of Adobe’s Flash player 10.1 for the new Froyo Android 2.2 operating system that includes a host of new features.

All attendees of Google I/O received the HTC Evo Android phone with front facing camera for video chats:

Android 2.2 will be rolling out in the coming weeks for certain models. Happily the Droid is on the list of phones that will be receiving this 2.2 update. The biggest feature that I have wanted since I purchased my Droid last year, appears to soon be a reality. Version 2.2 of Android will allow tethering. Tethering allows you to connect your phone to a PC to get access to the Internet using 3G and 4G services. This will essentially turn my Droid into a mobile hotspot somewhat like a Mifi so I can connect my laptop to the Internet through my Droid phone. Of course the big questions will be the speed of the connection and how much it will ultimately cost. I hope that there will not be a monthly Gigabyte bandwidth limit as is currently the case with my wireless data modem from Verizon that is capped at 5GB per month. Currently I could easily exceed the allotted 5GB per month if I were not watching my usage closely.

One of the most anticipated announcements made at the I/O conference is that Google TV will be rolling out in the fall. I suspect that many network TV executives are re-evaluating business models now that Google TV has thrown their hat into the ring of the TV business. Google TV is where the Web meets TV and TV meets the Web. Google TV will be built into certain new models of Sony TV’s and will also be built as a stand-alone box by Logitech and other manufacturers. Imagine having an overlay on your TV screen that pops up a Google Search box on the TV screen. You can type in your search and Google TV will display the results and you can mark for your programming choices. The big news here is that Google TV is integrated into the viewing experience. Many techies have their PC’s already connected to large screen HDTV’s but Google TV integrates the experience into an easier to use and more consumer friendly approach. It reminded me a lot of Windows Media Center when I watched the demos. Time will tell if Google TV is accepted by consumers but you should be seeing Google TV devices this fall at Best Buy stores in the US.

Over the past few years the line has become blurred between phones and computers with the introduction of smart phones and now Google is trying to blur the line between TV’s and computers. I have not heard anyone calling it smart TV yet as I believe that term is an oxymoron ;) What I believe is most interesting is that Google TV will have a built-in browser so you will have access to the entire Internet on your TV. Since Google TV is built upon Android and Google Chrome, it will only be a matter of time before we see thousands of apps from the Android Marketplace designed for Google TV in our living rooms.

Regardless of the success of Google TV the digital evolution continues as the Internet and broadband connectivity are producing more options for consumers. As cloud computing becomes more pervasive we will continue to see devices and services merge into the cloud. I have provided a link in the show notes that explains Google TV further, along with a video, if you are interested in learning more.

Google TV

Technology Pick of the Week

My Technology Pick of the Week this week is a summary article from TechCrunch that provides a short history of YouTube along with some interesting statistics. Last month I shared a blog entry that featured some interesting statistics about the Internet in general and this weeks pick specifically highlights YouTube. Since YouTube is a Google property I suspect you will be seeing some cross-pollination between YouTube and Google TV in the coming months.

A link is provided in the show notes to a couple of articles on YouTube:

Tech Crunch YouTube Article

YouTube now streams over two billion videos per day and over 70 percent of traffic comes from outside the United States.

Another site from has taken some of the statistics provided by YouTube and placed them into an easily readable format.

Take some time and review just how much the world of YouTube has changed in just five years, these stats speak for themselves and should put to rest any of the criticism that YouTube is just a passing fad. Now the challenge for educators is to harness some of this power by providing useful content rather than endless cat playing piano videos ;)

That wraps it up for episode 108 of Tech Talk for Teachers. Show notes for this episode and archived episodes are available on the web at the EIU Instructional Technology Center website at To leave a comment or suggestion, please send an email to or leave a comment on the Tech Talk for Teachers blog. Until next time, this is Tom Grissom. Keep on learning…

Tom Grissom, Ph.D.