Meaningful Meanderings

Chris Mark's Blogfolio

Making a Panoramic 360 Degree Movie November 25, 2010

Filed under: Blogs and Education,Teaching with Technology,Web 2.0 — Christine Mark @ 7:57 pm
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This assignment involved creating a panoramic 360 degree movie using a Web 2.0 tool called Clevr.  The Web 2.0 tool Clevr has a “stitcher” which takes digital still pictures and connects them together.  It then gives the illusion of movement as it turns in a 360 degree circle.  Click below for my example. 

Panorama of Jackson Square 1 on CleVR.com

As can be seen from my example, there are areas where things appear too shadowy and not entirely connected.  I tried several times to take the pictures and in different situations.  First I tried standing on the beach in Gulfport, Mississippi and taking the pictures turning 15 degrees until I reached the starting point.  This one did not work with the Clevr stitcher as I think there was too much area which looked the same with the water, sky and sand.    I then took one inside St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans.  This one did not stitch either.  I then went outside and took the pictures standing across from Jackson Square in New Orleans.  This one turned out the best and is the one attached to this blog.  One problem I had with Clevr is that you had no way to manually stitch the photos together.  The program did all this for you and did not always attach them as well as they could have been attached.  I found it to be a bit frustrating.  I liked how easy it was to use the stitcher, but I think the performance could be improved by allowing the user more control. 

I think this Web 2.0 tool could be used to show an area or some scenery.  Students doing reports on historical places or geographical locations could use this as a great visual.  Similar programs are used in applications such as real estate to give potential buyers a virtual tour of a property.  It gives a feeling of actually being in the space and seeing everything in a room. Another great feature of Clevr is that a panorama can be shared with others through Integration with Facebook and MySpace. Panoramas can be embedded on your profile or you can send them to friends or they can be emailed. They can also be embedded in blogs and websites.  Another great feature is the ability to add hotspots to panoramas so that viewers can read notes or look at related videos. 

All in all, I found Clevr easy to use although as stated above I would like the ability to be able to stitch the photos manually.  I think this would be a great enhancement to the program.

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A Trip to the San Diego Zoo on Video CD

Filed under: Teaching with Technology,Web 2.0 — Christine Mark @ 10:34 am
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The first assignment for IT 644 was to produce a Photo CD. For this assignment I thought about my recent trip to San Diego. My husband and I went to San Diego in March of 2010 to attend and do presentations at the National Business Education Association Conference. We went to San Diego before the start of the conference so we could explore the area. We visited the San Diego Zoo on my birthday. I thought this assignment would provide an opportunity for me to display some of photos from the zoo. Click below to view:

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/11256224/christinemark-assign1.wmv

I went through the digital pictures I took at the zoo with my camera and choose 24 that I thought were very nice. I used Picnik to do some photo editing. I cropped some pictures and changed the brightness or resolution on others. Picnik was great. It was free and very easy to use and can be used for many editing functions. The next step was to use Photostory with the edited pictures to create a photo slideshow. I did run into a problem with Photostory. I discovered that Windows Vista can’t run Photostory so I could not complete my project on my laptop. Not a big deal really as I used my desktop computer in my office which has Windows XP. Using Photostory I was able to put captions and titles into the slideshow as well as transition effects and music. I choose to use Simon and Garfunkle’s It’s All Happening at the Zoo as my music.
The final file was uploaded to Dropbox. Dropbox is a great Web 2.0 tool that syncs your files online and across your computers. If you put your files into your Dropbox folder on one computer, and they’ll automatically appear on any of your other computers that also have Dropbox installed. There is also an app for smartphones and mobile devices and you can always access your files from the Dropbox website. This is a great method to organize and share files.


This first assignment used many tools that would be very beneficial in teaching and learning. Picnik could be used for any photo editing needs and it is free and extremely easy to use. Photostory was fun and easy to use and could be used by instructors to put a presentation or lesson together or have students use it to put together a presentation. I found it a great opportunity to be creative. Dropbox was the most valuable tool of all. I placed my class PowerPoint files on my Dropbox and it was very helpful when I forgot mu flash drive and could access my files online. I am definitely a fan!!!


Overall, I think this assignment contained my elements that can be used in teaching and learning and proved to fun informative, fun and creative.



 

Blogfolio for IT 644

Filed under: Blogs and Education,PhD,Uncategorized — Christine Mark @ 8:52 am
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This blogfolio is part of the course requirements for IT 644, Advanced Hypermedia Development at The University of Southern Mississippi.  This is a required course for my program, the PhD program in Instructional Design/Instructional Technology.  IT 644 is an advanced course which is concerned with the development and use of interactive, animated hypermedia products.  The emphasis of the course is using this technology for learning and sharing information.  Multimedia can be used in instructional design projects, lectures, presentations, and multimedia events. During the course i learned about many types and uses of multimedia on producing applications incorporating text, audio, graphics, animation and digitized video which effectively communicate to the user.  During this course I created several multimedia projects which I will be blogging about.

I am also an instructor at The University of Southern Mississippi in the College of Business.  I teach in the Management and International Business Department.  I teach Introduction to Management, Human Resource Management, Organizational Behavior and Introduction to Business.  I am interested in using technology in my classes and so far in my PhD program I have learned many things that I have been able to apply.  I created my own Website where students can go to get additional resources, PowerPoint presentations, videos, etc.  The address to my website is:

 http://ocean.otr.usm.edu/~w813743/homepage.html

 This has been a great resource for my students and I keep adding to it and improving it each semester.  I also used a Wiki for class discussions, until this summer.  I used Ning, a social network for classroom communication.  I used it for discussions, email communications, posting pictures and videos and for group work.  This has worked very well and the students like it because it is much like Facebook and they are used to this sort of format.  These are just a few examples of the things I was able to integrate into my teaching from my PhD program.

I am looking forward to sharing information about my journey into emerging technology.  Please feel free to leave comments.

 

Final Refelections on IT 860… July 23, 2010

I can’t believe the semester is coming to an end.  It went very fast, I think due to the magnitude and variety of things learned.  I think the course was designed very well with maximum exposure to Web 2.0 tools.  In addition to the tools that projects were completed for, the exposure to a new social network, Mixxt was also valuable.  Since Ning began charging this month, the class social network was changed.  I like Ning better, but  Mixxt proved to be good, free alternative. 

I liked the assignments dealing with the Web 2.0 tools the best and getting the hands-on exposure.  I was disappointed when ScreenToaster became unavailable, but I think it just went to show that there are many other choices and one has to remain flexible.  My favorite project was Second Life which probably comes as no surprise to anyone.  I have been a resident of SL for over two years and enjoy its many features.  It is a great tool for teaching and learning and I hope to be able to teach a complete class in this virtual world someday. 

I also appreciated the interaction between class members as well as with our instructors, Drs. Yuen and Mark.  I think they both did a great job making this class not just another online class, but one that felt inclusive and had a sense of community.  Most online classes are so cold, impersonal and one-dimensional.  It was fun meeting for training as a class in Second Life and seeing everyone’s avatars.  It truly did feel like we were meeting in person in a classroom. 

The class did make me realize how many great, useful Web 2.0 tools are available for free.  The problem is trying to determine which ones are useful and then how to integrate them into teaching.  This class really helped me sort this out.  I am going to try to use Twitter and Voice Thread in my classes during the upcoming year.  I have already integrated and used a personally designed Website, YouTube videos, Wikis and social networks (Ning) and the students were very receptive.  I am always looking for ways to improve my course content and increase student engagement and courses such as IT 860 definitely help!!!

 

Second LIfe? I Don’t Even Have Time for a First Life!!!

As part of IT 860 we learned about Second Life and how it can be used for education and learning.  I have been a resident of Second Life for about 2.5 years and I am so amazed by the potential impact on education.  Second Life is a 3-D virtual community imagined and created by its residents. It has a real economy, property ownership, and avatars (powered by people) that engage in many interactions and activities.  This is my avatar Crystal Zhangsun:

 

Our assignment for this part of the course was to participate in a symposium showcasing our research.  We were assigned an alcove area on the Golden Eagle1 Island where we put up 5 slides explaining and outlining our research.  Participants were then invited to come and walk around and ask questions.  Our alcove (see picture below) was set up with our photograph where participants could click and get a bio and they could click the title slide on our podium and get a handout.  We were not sure how the symposium would go or if anyone would come.  We were pleased that we had over 50 participants who attended, looked at the alcoves and asked questions.  It was fun to talk to the various people who came by.  They were all very encouraging and supportive of what we were doing.

 

I think the symposium provided one example of the uses of Second Life in education.  It is a great venue for sharing ideas and learning from each other.  I spoke to a teacher from France which is pretty amazing.  Classes and workshops can be designed that encourage collaboration and participation by students in a global context.  Students can meet and interact with students and teachers around the world without ever having to travel.   I can also see Second Life being used to as a way to conduct online classes.  It does create a sense of presence and community that one would not get from Blackboard.  I think SL teaching as opposed to the Blackboard environment has the following advantages:

  • Appeal to today’s visual students
  • Collaboration between campuses, disciplines, students/nonstudents
  • Distributed learning
  • Authenticity
  • Sense of Presence and connectedness
  • Social Networking w/ global reach

 

Needless to say, this was favorite assignment.  I think Dr. Mark did an outstanding job preparing the alcoves, uploading all the materials and training everyone (of course I may be a little biased…).

 

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
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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.