I Didn't Know You Could Do That with Free Web Tools

This article has been translated to Serbo-Croatian language by Anja Skrba from Webhostinggeeks.com.

... a web dispersed presentation of unleashed potential for the 2006 K12Online Conference

Alan Levine, Director, Member and Technology Services for the New Media Consortium a.k.a CogDogBlog http://cogdogblog.com/

There are more than enough blogs, conference presentations, Big Name Pundits, extollling the future of the Read/Write web tools like blogs and wikis (hey, they are almost "old" technologies in internet time!). Here, I am trying to demonstrate some lesser known things that you can do with common web tools or some specialized web tools that do things that would perhaps spark the interest of an educator. The only requirement is it must be completely free to use... This web site is just a launch point as we unleash the potential of:

And all of these will be intensely interconnected. Each one actually uses the tool of the topic as the presentation platform (flickr is demo-ed in flickr, del.icio.us content is hosted in a del.icio.us tag set...) While billed as "Advanced/Basic Training", rather than providing 1-2-3 recipes for these sites, this "presentation" assembles a varied collection of what is possible, with the examples and linked resources where available. I tend to aim for a more exploration mode of presenting than just showing and nothing shown requires advanced technical skill.

Finally, for each section, I am linking to an open WikiSpaces site where I invite you to add more examples, ideas, etc. Let's see what we can build.

The Big Video Introduction: Connecting with YouTube

you-tube.jpg It's no secret that the next Big Thing (or current) is the capability to easily post and share video via various free web services. For my presentation "intro" I did a hasty one take recording with my laptop's built in camera, slapped on a title in iMovie, and posted it to YouTube. You can view this rather embarassing video at:

It will also be embedded into the K12 Online Conference web site when this session is announced. It is the "opening", and provides links back here, as well as to the next demo.

The tagging features of YouTube, and how it associates clips with related content open up new ways to explore.... and the abiliity to comment in both text and video format makes for an interesting way to "talk". There are obviously many more web sites to choose from (and I am glossing over the serious pitfalls of identity and what people tend to reveal widely), but the simplicity of posting and sharing video is astounding. Directly from my YouTube page for this movie, I was able to post a blog entry to a Blogger site. In fact, you can compose a blog entry about any video you find in YouTube-- does that spell v-i-r-a-l?

Look for more links and contribute your own over at the open Wikispace set up for video sharing.

If your school or network blocks YouTube, please sue your administration. Just kidding! I put a QuickTime version up at http://cogdogblog.com/stuff/k12online06/k12online-you-tube.mov

external image 265279980_c2fb866a56_m.jpgWhat Can We Do With flickr?

Flickr is likely the richest treasure trove of "little cool things" to discover, between what is available in this photo sharing site, and what it allows third party developers to create on top of the flickr enterprise. This part of the "presentation" begins with a photo I rigged n my real desktop, and on the actual flickr link you will find the image is hyperlinked to other flickr images that offer details on syndicating flickr photos to other sites, geotagging photos, telling stories with photos, creating discussion groups, adding linked notes to your own photos, searching by drawing, spelling with photos, posting photos from a cell phone, finding creative commons licensed photos, making a presentation with flickr, and more.

So explore a few things you can do with flickr. If you have a flickr account, you can post comments on my "slides" (and you can create a free account in minutes), or you can go to my open Wikispace site to post some new ideas.

I Cannot Draw (but gliffy can)

external image T.jpgI freely admit that I have almost no ability to draw an even decent stick figure. yes, I can manipulate photos in PhotoShop, create collages from images and text, apply every filter in the book, but give me a blank space and a drawing tool, and I freeze.

So while we are seeing very interesting movements in web-based office applications (word processing, spreadsheets, presentation tools), there are not many web tools that can help generate original graphics. Gliffy (http://www.gliffy.com/) is one that shines birightly-- it has a pool of pre made shapes useful for designing flow charts, user interface elements, network diagrams- Each shape can be dropped into a canvas, modified in color, fill, etc, text can be added, and most usefu;- relationship lines can be made by connecting items.

While you may never create world class art with gliffy, but I have used it several times over the last few months to create diagrams and relationship visuals that are very useful Being online, gliffy lets you invite others to co-edit the same diagram.

I created a gliffy diagram about gliffy in about 15 minutes, and I then used gliffy's tools to get the proper code to emded it into a blogger entry. So my gliffy diagram abut gliffy is also my presentation on gliffy!:

What else can you do with web-based graphics tools? Let's start a converation over at my open WikiSpace.

Let's Play Tag (and do more) with del.icio.us

tastydemo.jpgOne of the leaders among many social bookmarking tools (see the write-up at teaching hacks), del.icio.us is a site that challenges my ability to type it, but amazes me with its subtle power. Going far beyond just bookmarking sites as favorites, del.icio.us can be your entire web resource manager, allows you to explore and identity new resources of interest, provides tools for republishing web sites you have marked, and can draw relationships between content and the people who bookmark and tag web sites.

For this part of the presentation, I tried something I was not sure would work! I collected a mixture of resources, demos, and examples that should illustrate just some of the interesting ways you can use this site-- and I have arranged them all in a del.icio.us set of links under my own custom "tag". They are collected to go somewhat in linear order, but you can pick and chooe your path:

There are likely many more things you know about using del.icio.us- head over to my open WikiSpace to contribute your ideas and examples.

Putting Together A Big Show in Slideshare

slideshare-icon.jpgPowerPoint-- I bet your ancestors used that on the Pinto or Santa Maria to create their presentations about their plans for the new land ;-) New web tools are sprouting left and right that enable you to create, publish, and easily share presentations in more web friendly formats, typically flash. For this demo, I used one that is still in beta, but is rather powerful since it converts content created in PowerPoint, and makes it truly zip in a YouTube like interface (see the article on TechCrunch).

The presentation I made in slideshare has been published to a Blogger site, and covers not only this particular web tool, but others including Thumbstacks, empressr, BubbleShare, S5, even Blogger itself. Look for it at:

And just today (October 23, 2006), the folks at slideshare wrote that it is now open to the public, so you can see the full range of features, including full screen playback at http://slideshare.net/cogdog/wow-webbased-presentations/

Do you have another example of a great web presentation tool or an example of some good education content created in one? Toss it into my open WikiSpace set up for collecting these resources.

About This Wiki Site....

So this is not your grandmother's PowerPoint... as a "presentation", I am spreading bits and pieces of it across the web, using the tools themselves. This wiki page, hosted on the wonderful, free WikiSpaces site, is a place to link to the other content, just in case you cannot quite find it as easily as I have hope (it is a big web out there). This wiki is one I use to host a few presentations, and is one that only I can edit... but I use a second WikiSpaces site as an open site for times when I want people to contribute.... two different wikis, two different purposes. For exampe, a few weeks ago, I posted an entry on my blog to try and get some ideas for this presentation, and folks responded quite nicely (thanks!).

There are gobs of great wiki tools to choose from- I also am a fan of PBWiki which has feature for feature match for WikiSpaces. That is a thing to take note of-- I cannot say which of the many available tools is "best" since there are so many, and I don't use or know them all, but it's easy to find others with experience.

Alan Levine • October 16, 2006 • cogdogblog@gmail.comhttp://cogdogblog.com/http://www.nmc.org/