Last night I was online working and took the usual path of distraction (or is it procrastination) of checking in with Facebook, TweetDeck, and Google Buzz.   After a satisfactory dive into my social world, I continued my divergence from the task at hand and dove into my (much neglected) Google Reader.  I remember the days when I would diligently read down to (0), you know– that notation that indicates the number of unread items in your RSS feed?   These days it looks more like this– (1000+).  Recognize that anyone?  I started to organize feeds, clicking on favorite blogs, reading, following links, watching videos and felt that warm comfy feeling of being lost in the web.  It isn’t a fearful lost, one that causes anxiety or angst,  just a wonderful calm, peaceful lost, almost reminiscent of getting lost in a good book (although I won’t equate those the two experiences here…I said ALMOST).  I love the nuggets of information, the connections between concepts and the incredibly creative people I run across on the web. Today, I share with you some of my treasures!

Chrome Experiments (via Jeff Utecht via Google Reader)

Chrome Experiments is a showcase of innovative experiments for both JavaScript and web browsers.  These projects were created by designers and programmers from around the world using the latest open standards, including HTML5, Canvas, SVG and more.  There work is making the web faster, more fun and more open–the same spirit in which they built Google Chrome.

Here are two of my favorites: Harmony and Element Dots.  I really want to meet these people!  Talk about creative thinking!

Results from playtime with Harmony:

Google Search Stories (via Bud Hunt via Google Buzz)
The popular Parisian Love Story ad from the SuperBowl inspired Google to create a “Create Your Own” template for Google Search Stories. Try it!  Make your own!  Here’s mine: Budding Artists.

Scholar Ladies: Shoulda Got an A on it! (via Wes Fryer via Google Reader)

This landed in my reader and then later in the day I saw it again on Twitter.  It is just plain fun.  (and a great example of what kids can do!)

In celebration of National Poetry Month, my National Writing Project friend Andrea Zellner created this site.  She is incredible.  Talented.  Smart and funny too!
Andrea’s Ars Poetica (via Andrea Zellner via Twitter)

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  • Kevin Hodgson

    Hey Sara

    How about sharing your Sharpie story over at Tech Friends? I loved it and bet the rest of us will, too.



  • Penny Thompson

    Some fun stuff here, thanks.

    Related to your point about Google Reader, I haven’t checked mine in ages, either, and I realized recently I’m starting to rely on Facebook as my newsreader, too. Many of the interesting sites have FB fan pages, and people use their status updates to push whatever they are publishing out to their friends, so you can get daily updates right in your FB newsfeed. With so many interesting items (e.g.,, SITE, Punya’s blog, etc.) popping up there every day, I am less motivated to go check Google Reader. Is it possible that news readers are becoming yesterday’s obsolete technology? Of course, it could just mean that I’m lazier than most. :-)

  • Andy Saltarelli

    Thanks Sara, great post. It’s so difficult, especially at the end of semesters, to justify “playing around” on the web. Yet, playing around on the web really can shape us as academics and educators in meaningful ways. How do we connect playing with our “real” work?

    • Sara Beauchamp-Hicks

      That is a good question, Andy and one that actually drove me to “play” more. Before coming to MSU, I spent a great deal of time engaged with my network, playing, experimenting, exploring–and lately as I have tried to write about social networks and their impact on teaching and learning I found myself missing that–and feeling a bit disconnected from the “real” work I was trying to do. Despite all that I had to do, I gave myself “permission to play” and am happy to say that I was inspired and energized by my network, reconnecting with a different perspective after (nearly) the first year of grad school behind me. I find myself connecting in different ways than I did a year ago–and am writing in other spaces about that experience. I will share more here once it takes a better shape.