If you can’t be there (or if you are like me you are only here for a day), here are some nifty, easy resources that will help you join in on some of the really cool and awesome stuff going on in Philly this year.
ISTE’s Daily Leader: A pdf newspaper that highlights all things ISTE and also announces schedule changes, additions, etc to the program.
Subscribe to the #ISTE11 Paper.li daily. Powered by the tweets of ISTE attendees, it provides a rich resource of ISTE happenings. Many tweets also share links to content that is being presented during conference sessions. Another great thing is that that it will continue to have momenteum at least a couple of weeks after the coference.
Follow the #ISTE11 Hashtag on twitter. You don’t need to be a tweeter to following #ISTE11 on Twitter. Simply go to the Twitter.com and enter #ISTE11 as a search term and viola, you will have a steady stream of tweeting ISTERs to follow.
ISTEUnplugged – Steve Hargadon & Friends will be broadcasting sessions from the Bloggers Cafe at ISTE. Unplugged started last year (I think) from Denver and had a great success. Unplugged is like a unconference during the conference where folks can gather and generate their own sessions on the fly, and some are even Ustreamed or viewable via Elluminate/Bb Collaborate so Tune In!
Are there other great ways to follow ISTE from a far? Share your ideas and links
Here are five sites that each offer a specific purpose and tool set for your face-to-face or online presentation needs. From the most basic (showing an image), to the more sophisticated (multimedia mashups), all of these sites can be used by students and instructors to effectively convey content and foster engagement.
Keeping It Basic
Drop Mocks works with your Google account and is perhaps the simplest tool I’ve seen yet. All you do is just drag your image file on to the web browser screen and…. viola! Your presentation is born. If you don’t think anything is that easy, just watch this demo. Each Drop Mock generates a URL for easy sharing. I appreciate the simplicity and recommend Drop Mocks when you need to create an image-based slide show on the fly. Also, this is a fairly easy tool for young children to use too.
At this time, Drop Mocks only works in the latest versions of Google Chrome or Firefox 4. Also, you can only use common image file formats such as jpg, png, gif, and tiff. Each drop mock generates a URL for easy sharing, but no embed codes at this time. Despite this, it’s still pretty easy and slick.
Moving Beyond Slides
Prezi was the belle of the ball in 2010 and it seems everyone is still buzzing about this alternative presentation tool. This Prezi ,created by Adam Somlai-Fischer, is both a great prezi example that explains how Prezi’s are different than traditional slideshows. Overall, Prezi allows you to break a way from bulleted text and sequential viewing of your slides. You can still use images (and bulleted text) and you can even embed video. If you work best brainstorming and organizing with mind maps, then Prezi may feel very fluid and natural to you.
I did a review of VuVox last week (full review here). In summary, VuVox lets you do a lot, without needing a lot of high-tech know-how. Students and teachers can generate impressive multimedia collages and panoramas of their work. VuVox can easily import RSS feeds, and your photo collections from Flickr, Picasa, and Smug Mug. Add soundtracks and annotate your creations with comments and links to other websites. I find at its core, you can do a lot with VuVox , whether its making a static presentation, or creating interactive content. View an example from the NIHF STEM School in Akron, Ohio or one about Second Life.
Amplify Your Existing Slides
myBrainShark is the individual, free version, of the Brainshark product suite. Brainshark allows you to upload PowerPoints, MS Word documents, and pictures that you can then narrate and share with friend, co-workers, students, etc (you get the point). The site also provides a podcast and video recording option too. And….drum roll please, you can add your Prezi into Brainshark too. Brainshark is a great option if you are looking to personalize and add audio to your work, but do not require responses or audio feedback from your viewers. This is an excellent tool for students to generate presentations in as well. Presenters can even record audio by calling in on their phones. The downside: to use the free version you must leave your content viewable to the public.
Engage and Interact
I describe VoiceThread as an “audio/visual discussion board.” I often turn to Voicethreads when needing to facilitate discussion about a topic. This is a favorite site for educators desiring a way to create more engagement, interaction, and feedback on academic work. This is also an excellent tool for students to present their own content and solicit feedback.
Unlike the previous examples, Voicethread really is a service that you load your pre-designed content into (usually developed in PowerPoint, but PDFs, image files, documents, and movie files). So while you are not authoring content from scratch in Voicethread, you are using Voicethread to enhance the learning experience by engaging viewers in direct conversation and interaction throughout the piece. Because of its audio and video features, many people forget that Voicethread is a not live broadcasting tool. Comments are recorded and listened to at the viewers convenience. Voicethreads can be made public or private, making this a great choice in the education community. Some excellent examples include of Voicethread include:
There are many, many, more presentations tools to consider. While this posting was more focused on visual and interactive options, other educator favorites include Google Presentation (part of Google docs) and Slideshare for posting Powerpoints for viewing. In the next year expect to see some new releases that blend social media features into the presentation experience. I am particularly looking forward to testing Storify.
I seem to be on a data visualization kick this week. Yesterday I highlighted the coolness of Many Eyes for text analysis. On the same day one of my favorite tweeps, @ToughLoveforX, shared Revisit, a project by Moritz Stefaner who is a freelance “information visualizer.” As soon as I clicked on Revisit, I was smitten from both my visual data geek tendencies and as an educator.
Stefaner’s Revisit allows you to “see” the connections happening across various Twitter streams and hashtags. As a professional development provider and educator, Twitter is one of those tools that can take a while for someone to get the gist of (See earlier post on DABEL model for Social Media PD). One of the common complaints I hear from my students and colleagues is that Twitter is so hard to follow. Often I will introduce TweetDeck or Twitterfall (etc), as helpful tools to follow the progression of conversations. Some of my students and workshop attendees will then “get it” a bit more, but there is always a group of visual learners that are really trying to conceptualize the relationships of the tweets; particularly retweets and how people are truly connected. This is where Revisit is particularly powerful.
I did a sample infographic of the #edchat hashtag from 8/7/2010 at 11:30am EST. Click here to interact with this example (give it about 3 seconds to load). Also note, to the right of the Revisit screen, you can also type in your own search terms.
Stefaner comments this as a great way to create a Twitter wall for conferences, offices, and I would propose classrooms as well. Imagine visualizing your backchannel conversations in this way and seeing the connections come to life, as well as visualizing the major influencers and branches in the dialogue.
Individuals and organizations can download the source code for their own stand alone implementations. Stefaner does note that due to current API limitations the only the tweets from the last 8 days are captured and retweets via the Twitter website are not captured. However, as an immediate infographic and quick analysis tool, it’s very effective. I invite you all to Revisit, and see your Twitter experiences in a new way.
Social Media can be a fun topic to teach educators and colleagues about. It is often an overwhelming concept for new users of social media tools to grasp. I think I described this on #edchat the other day as “Social Media is like breathing water to new people.” I’d like to revise that comment to that it probably feels more like a being a fish trying to swim without fins!
I recently gave a lecture/workshop to 32 Ph.D candidates at Lesley University. They were taking a special topics course in new media in scholarship, and I was asked to help them think about using tools like Twitter, Mendeley, and social bookmarking sites to assist with their scholarly networking. While at least 3/4 of the class were active Facebookers, people were a bit miffed, and some a tad petrified, about using Twitter. To get us going, I used my DABEL model which stands for: Deepen Apply Brainstorm Engage and Learn. In the context of social media and research, I presented the following goals for the afternoon:
Deepen our knowledge and understanding of social media
Apply social media ideas and concepts to the practice of research and inquiry
Brainstorm opportunities for using social media and other digital media tools to strengthen research goals and projects
Engage in inquisitive “play” with featured tools (Twitter, Wallwisher, MindMeister, Wordle)
Learn new pathways for collaboration and analysis
I find a lot of adult learners are so worried about “screwing up” the computer or looking dumb they are unable to hear about the purpose and potential of technology. Intrinsically, many adults assume they must master a tool before they can use it, as this is how many of us were taught in school (back in ye old dark ages). Setting the tone with DABEL is a great way to give permission for inquiry, exploration, and play. This also provides a balance on applying known theory and practice, to new media and tools.
After giving the class a couple of videos that presented some thought-provoking stats and commentary, the conversation immediately started rocking. One of the faculty in the room said it felt like driving down the autobahn in a convertible. (I believe this was a compliment.)
I scaffolded our exploration with “easy” tools that I had set up for them in their Blackboard course site. One was a link to wallwiser, where they could post their research questions and topics. This was easy, fun and slightly addictive to a few students. By the time we arrived at Twitter the skepticism was there, but there was openness to consider and try it since they had successfully dabbled in a few previous tools and we engaged in dialogue and brainstorming on how to use them professionally and for school.
Below is the full presentation. I haven’t seen DABEL used before, so I am claiming it as my own little acronym. Contact me if you’ve seen it. And if you want to use it, great; let me know how it worked and it’s extra nice if you cite this post as your source!