Over the past few months I’ve become an enthusiastic advocate and user of Scoop.it. It is no longer in Beta and has now gone public. It is a fantastic way to compile resources on a single topic and to share these resources with others who can choose to follow your updates. So far I have created two topics on Scoop.it because they are topics I am passionate about: Livebinders and Screencasting. I am finding new resources to add to them daily because it has an amazing curation tool that makes suggestions for me based on key words I have selected. I also use a Google alert on my topics so I can get new recommendations there. There is a Scoop.it bookmarklet you can add to your toolbar so whenever you come to a website that you would like to add to your topic, you can click on the bookmarklet and add it instantly! You can learn more about Scoop.it by reviewing their Knowledge Base.
But the real bonus is that anyone can recommend a site for me to add to my Scoop.it and I get an email notification that a recommendation is waiting for me. This is such a fantastic way for us to collaborate and learn together! These widgets below will provide you a brief preview of what I’m adding to each of the topics. They feature the last 10 “scoops” and will continuously update as new scoops are added. You can click on them to see the full Scoop.it. I would love to have you check them out and make suggestions for new sites for me to add to my topics!
Scoop.it is free to join and I hope it remains that way for a long time! Teachers could easily use this tool to pre-select websites they would like their students to use for class projects/units. The visual image from the site along with a brief description make it really easy to see what the site is about and you can click on the link and go immediately to the full site in a new tab/window. I’m sure you’re wondering about how students can use it. This is in their terms of service: “The Service is not intended for children under 13. By using the Service, you are representing that you are at least 18, or that you are at least 13 years old and have your parents’ permission to use the Service.” But teachers have found ways to work with many social media tools with their students that have similar terms of service without doing anything that is breaking the law. But the incredible value I find with the tool is the sharing, collaborating and compiling of resources I can do with my educational colleagues!
If you’re considering some live streaming, I strongly encourage you to give Mogulus (now LiveStream) a try!! I have been exploring and using the Mogulus Channel for live streaming and have been extremely impressed with how easy it is to navigate and produce online videos (both live and recorded sessions). The service has changed it’s name to LiveStream but appears to offer the same fantastic, free services I have been enjoying. This announcement was posted in the LiveStream Blog on May 19, 2009 and included the following information.
“With Livestream, anybody on the Internet who can connect a video camera to a computer can instantly stream live video worldwide, 24×7, via their own Livestream.com channels or to video players embedded on their own websites or social networks. To date, more than 300,000 people have registered and launched live video channels using Mogulus/Livestream since its introduction in 2007. “Livestream is doing for live video streaming what YouTube did for on-demand video clips,” said Max Haot, Livestream CEO and co-founder. “While we didn’t invent live streaming, we’re removing the barriers – making live video production and streaming easy and affordable for anybody to use and experience.”
I was so pleased with my experience in the creation of a special AzTEA Channel (AZ Technology in Education Alliance) that today I decided to create a personal channel to be able to stream and upload videos for our very own family around the world to stay connected in one location. The AzTEA Channel is being used to record and stream live events such as meetings, conferences, and professional development sessions. I have also included several YouTube videos just so I could explore this feature and to be able to vary the content to inspire others to try this incredible tool. I decided to name my family channel “Family and Me“–a spin-off from the delightful movie “Marley and Me” because there are so many fun, family adventures in that movie. Feel free to drop in and view either channel to see what’s possible, recognizing you’re viewing the efforts of a real beginner! I love the fact that you can embed the player for your channel on your website or wiki. You can also embed just a single video (embed code is provided for you!) It doesn’t get any easier than that!!
I just discovered a new, free online tool from Suzie Vesper’s wikispace that I’m very excited about. It is called AuthorStream (http://www.authorstream.com). It allows you to upload a PowerPoint presentation that maintains the original settings (such as text that loads one line at a time). The hyperlinks are clickable and the slides easily advance. The bonus is that you can choose the option to “Present Live” and it provides you with a discussion window where you can invite people to join you to discussion the presentation via an invite URL. It provides a fantastic alternative for making a PowerPoint presentation interactive and collaborative. I have been using SlideShare (http://www.slideshare.net) and while it has some wonderful features including the ability to add audio to your slides and make it a self-running presentation in a Slidecast, it also has some limitations. I had been frustrated by trying to get the hyperlinks in Slideshare presentations to actually work and easily move back and forth between the presentation and the link and this problem seems to be solved with AuthorStream. While I am continuing to explore the features on AuthorStream, I am very excited by the potential of the application. There are a few places where the alignment of the text changed with the uploaded presentation so that is a minor issue for me to explore. Give it a try and let me know what you think of it.
Through my EdTechTalk community I have discovered this treasure. Jing is a system that will allow you to take a screen capture or create a screen video with narration and instantly upload it to share with others. This involves a small program that will download onto your Mac or Windows computer. It is quite easy to do and you can watch a Jing video about this below. It is perfect for tutorials or for getting help from friends with troubleshooting a technology problem. It is extremely easy to use and can be saved as a URL that you can immediately share with others via Skype or email (or post on your blog or wiki). It is created by the makers of Camtasia so if you’re familiar with that this will be very familiar…but this is free. 🙂
Many edubloggers and people in the Twittersphere have been buzzing about Wordle. I have spent some time exploring it and can see what the excitement is about. It has amazing potential for inspiring critical thinking both for classrooms and in adult professional development sessions. Wordle is a very simple tool (online and free) that allows you to create word clouds from text or tagged bookmarks. Of course, I had to play with it a bit, and created several different Wordles with my tagged bookmarks in Diigo and Del.icio.us.
You just copy text in any language, paste it into Wordle and it will analyze it and create clouds from the most commonly occurring words in the text. You can then edit the shape, the colors and the font in the cloud to make it more visually appealing, and even remove words you don’t like by right-clicking on them (command-click for Macs). Try it out on some text and see what you discover. You could copy/paste text from your school newsletter or a memo from your principal and see if there are any words that emerge as larger images in your Wordle. The more frequently you use a word, the more emphasis it is getting. You could paste an article you’ve written or even a section from your resume to see if you’re over-using certain words or if key words are missing. It was very revealing in my bookmark tags to see what I considered important by what I chose to bookmark. It was amazingly accurate! It is a powerful way to visually analyze information and use it for conversation with others by asking them to share and interpret what they see. Ask a few of your colleagues to create a Wordle of their bookmark tags, print them out and then have a conversation comparing the results. 🙂
I read a fantastic blog post by José Picardo, a high school teacher at Nottingham HS in the UK entitled: Wordle: Using Word Clouds in a Lesson. He provides an excellent example for a lesson using two online newspaper articles to create and print Wordles. He asked his students to use the Wordles to try to determine what the article was about (just from the key words). He said it provides a great way for students to analyze text, vocabulary, and language in detail. It ws also a great tool for elicit speaking and creative writing. You can read the details on his blog post. (Box of Tricks: ICT and Education)
Try it out and share your results in a comment. I’d love to see more examples. 🙂
I found a great tutorial on YouTube created by a student who expains how to add a Wordle to your blog. He makes is sound very easy–and it is!
Information from the Mixwit website:
Mixwit is primarily a media mash-up platform.
Where does the music come from?
Currently we’re using two music search services, Seeqpod and Skreemr, to allow users to discover mp3 files that are publicly available on the internet. Our Mixmaker application allows people to save a list of bookmarks to those tracks. The files stay in their original location.
It’s your mix, so make something unique. Add pictures, photos, artwork, drawings… Anything you want. Make a mix of your favorite songs and artists. Post your mixtape to MySpace, Facebook, Blogger, and others. You can post it on a blog, wiki or website too.
I decided to try it out just to see how easy it was to use and to search for some of my favorite “oldies but goodies” to see if they were available for my mixwit. It was both easy and fun to create and post to my blog and now I can enjoy my mini-playlist whenever I want. Give it a try. 🙂