Barriers to Entry

Barriers to entry are obstacles that keep us from getting into something new.  It's the learning curve of Twitter.  It's the clunky interface in the blog editor or confusing options in the settings page.  It could be the costly equipment or the distance something is from our home.  Sometimes it's not knowing anyone else who is doing it.  Sometimes it's knowing that everyone else is doing it.  If the barrier is too steep, then no entry will be made.

Most barriers to entry have a few things in common- time and fear.  New things are always going to take time to learn.  I read that it takes 10,000 hours of doing something to become a master at it.  Getting the basics takes a fraction of that, but it can still be daunting.

Fear is the most basic reaction to something new.  Most of us fear change on some level.  Getting out of our comfort zone can be a huge barrier to entry.  Don't dismiss it.

Like many of you, I've tried to show Twitter, blogging, and various online tools to staff members at school over the years.  It seldom bears fruit.  The barrier to entry is usually too high to get people moving.  I need to be more mindful of these barriers and do what I can help others overcome them.

I'm convinced that all of this technology stuff isn't for everyone.  But like my Twitter pal, Paula, wrote- something is.  To all of you plugging away at sharing tech ideas, keep at it.  And I'll keep at it too.

Envolve: A Facebook-Like Chat Room for Your Site or Blog

I have experimented with Plugoo chat ( on my blog as a quick and easy way for students and parents to contact me. It's simple and syncs up to my Google Talk account which I use from my BlackBerry.

I saw this today on Read Write Web and it's a little different. This lets you have a multi user Facebook style chat on your blog or site. This could add an extra dimension of real time collaboration to what students are working on. It could be a viable back channel during discussions and keep everything in a one stop location.

The free plan supports up to 5 simultaneous users. Prices and numbers of simultaneous users go up from there. It might be worth looking in to if you need something like this.

Does anyone know of something better or alternatives?

Easily Resize Images Online

I stumbled across this site yesterday when I needed to resize an image for a blog post. This site is great for people like me who can't figure out how to resize photos with complex applications, and are too cheap to buy Photoshop.

There are 3 basic steps:

1. Upload your image

2. Use the buttons to set the image size and/or crop

3. Click the resize button and download your new image

It is simple and worked out well for me. Check it out at