Meaningful Meanderings

Chris Mark's Blogfolio

Voice Thread – a Great Community Tool July 21, 2010

Out of all the assignments and Web 2.0 tools studied so far in IT 860, I thought this one had the most potential. I had never used Voice Thread before and was not quite sure as to what to expect. Voice Thread is a digital story telling program an article I read referred to it as a “group audio blog”. Voice thread allows users to upload PowerPoint presentation, pictures and videos and narrate this content by adding audio comments or text comments. Others are then invited to the Voice Thread where they can see and hear the content and also add comments through voice, text or doodling on the image. The required assignment involved uploading at least 10 slides from a presentation and adding voice to them through the comment feature. It was quite easy to do. The only problem I had was that my PowerPoint slides lost some of their formatting in the conversion process. Some of my text became larger and some text moved on my slide. I had to keep going back and changing my slide so that it would look right after Voice Thread converted it. Other than this “glitch” it was fine. I did my presentation on a project I did my Organizational Behavior class this summer. I found the narration to go smoothly. It was fun to listen to and read the various comments left my classmates on my slides. It was also interesting to listen to their presentation and leave comments for them. We have a class with very diverse interests. The URL to my Voice Thread is:

 http://voicethread.com/share/1240739

I think there is a lot of potential for educators using this Web 2.0 tool. The Voice Thread site itself has a Library section with many examples of things teachers can do with this technology. Most of the examples were geared toward the K-12 group, but there were a few examples of use in higher education. I am designing my Introduction to Human Resource class to be online in spring of 2011 and could see where I can use Voice Thread. I am trying to come up with ways to make the online class more personal rather than the strict use of a course management system such as Blackboard. Since I won’t be seeing my students face-to-face I want to give them a sense of who I am and share some of the experience I have had in the Human Resource field. This would be a great means to do this. I can narrate a PowerPoint and ask questions and have them comment. I could show a short video and get their reactions to the content. As I design the course I think I can come up with several unique ways to integrate into my class to gain a sense of presence and community. Overall I think this is one the best tools and look forward to using it soon.

 

I Made a Drop Using Drop.io

Filed under: file sharing,Second Life,Web 2.0 — Christine Mark @ 5:25 pm
Tags: , ,

I had never heard of Drop.io before I completed an assignment about how it is used.  Drop.io is an online private sharing and real-time collaboration service that is designed to be simple. It allows users to create ‘drops’ that are used for uploading and sharing documents, images, video, audio, and other digital content.  Drop.io does not require users to create accounts and set up passwords.  Users can’t search on Drop.io for content.   I was initially surprised to read that Drop.io was named one of Time Magazine‘s 50 Best Websites of 2009.  After learning more about Drop.io and trying out some of the features I was no longer surprised that it made the best Website list. It is a simple concept based on users dropping files which include documents, images, videos and audio files.

I created a drop on the Drop.io Website.  Drop.io generates an email address, a phone number to leave recorded messages and a phone number for conference calls.  The assignment was to create an audio file using the phone number generated by Drop.io.  I did an audio tutorial on the “social side” of Second Life and specifically how to find and attend events in music venues.  The following is my URL:

http://drop.io/it860project 

So in essence I created a podcast.  What an easy way to create a podcast after doing it the traditional way.  Sharing the URL of the drop allows others to listen to the podcast and then they can call the generated phone number and leave an audio file as well.  It was very interesting to listen to everyone’s podcast.

I think Drop.io is a great tool for educators.  I can store files online and have my students access them here from any computer.  Each drop has a limit of 100mb, but users can create multiple drops all for free.  I can leave audio messages for students about assignments coming up or changes in our schedule.  I could have students create podcasts and share them with each other.  I also think it would be a great tool for group collaboration.  Group members could add files to the initial drop and leave messages for each other.  I think Drop.io is an innovative tool with many uses that I hope to discover as I integrate it into my collection of Web 2.0 tools.

 

I Have a Video on YouTube!!!

 

  

I learned a lot about screencasting as a Web 2.0 tool including how it could be used for education.  This assignment required that a tutorial be constructed using ScreenToaster, a Web 2.0 tool for creating a screencast and then be uploaded onto YouTube where it could be viewed and shared.  I always wanted to learn how to use Camtasia, a software screencasting program that is quite expensive.  Camtasia was the package used by educators before all the free Web 2.0 applications became available.   In looking at the resource material provided I was surprised at how many free Web 2.0 tools are available for screencasting.  I had used Jing in a previous class and found it to be very easy to use; however, there is a five minute limit on the free version.  Other than that I did not experience with others tools.  The assignment was supposed to use ScreenToaster.  The day I went to do my project, ScreenToaster was down.  It was later discovered that they were converting it to paid product and would no longer be free.  This is the downside of using free Web 2.0 tools in addition to there usually being some restrictions on the free version of the tool.  I decided to complete the project using ScreenCastle.  There really was not much to learn about this tool as it so easy.  I did my screencast on setting up a network using Ning.  I simply pressed a button and starting talking and moved from screen to screen.  The next part was to upload the screencast to YouTube.  I already had a YouTube account so it just a matter of uploading the video.  YouTube takes care of file conversion and everything else.  All in all the process was very easy.  Here is my video:

There are many educational uses for this tool.  It allows teachers and instructors to create tutorials for students.  For example, I used to teach Microsoft Office and definitely could have used it to demonstrate various Excel, Word and Access features for my students.  Most students have the same issues with aspects like formulas so it makes sense to produce a video and have students watch it.  The video can also be placed on a Website, blog or Wiki for students to access.  I think this is a great tool that is so easy for any teacher or instructor to use and sharing on YouTube is a piece of cake!!!

 

Scribd (I am Published!!!)

Filed under: file sharing,Instructional Technology Program,Web 2.0 — Christine Mark @ 1:55 pm
Tags: ,

I had no idea how the assignment concerning the use of Scribd or Yudu would turn out.  I had never used either of these Web 2.0 tools.  I choose to learn more about Scribd.  The concept of Scribd is so simple.  It is to documents what YouTube is to video.  It also contains features of several other Web 2.0 tools such as the ability to follow what others are publishing and the ability to be interactive.  It is a place for users to publish their documents and share with the internet community.  These documents can consist of PDF files, Word documents, PowerPoint spreadsheets and just about anything.  The first step was to establish an account with Scribd.  This was relatively easy to do allowing the user to build a public profile.  I think it would be helpful to put the type of research or research interests one has as it allows others with similar interests to share ideas and content. The URL of my Scribd account is:

http://www.scribd.com/christine_mark

Scribd allows a user to upload documents as well as search for documents uploaded by other users.  There is an “Explore” tab that allows users to look through documents by category.  The categories and content is quite extensive.

I can see this being used in education, especially in the research area.  If I am doing research on a topic along with another person or group of persons, we can use this tool to upload different materials for analysis such as PowerPoint presentations and other documents.  I also present at several different conferences during the year and can see how I could use Scribd to post any handout materials I would normally make copies of and pass out at my sessions.  This allows participants to decide if they want the materials rather than wasting paper and my having to carry them all over the country.  Also, when a person goes to Scribd to get my materials they can also see what other documents I uploaded and look at them as well.  I think it a great way to share interests.  I could also see students using this tool to upload their papers and research and then read each others and make comments about them.  It would also be fun for students to see how many people access their documents since Scridb displays these statistics.

All in all, I think this is a great tool for collaboration and accessing documents other people upload.  I can see using this in the future!!!