A colleague recently introduced me to the free Photosynth app for iOS that allows you to create and share immersive 360-degree panoramic photos. It’s very easy to use and creates pretty decent images that you can then share on your own website using the embed code via the photosynth.net site. Here’s an example of our very own Red Square. It took me about 10 minutes to create and publish this.
As interest in digital storytelling continues to grow at Evergreen, Academic Computing and Electronic Media have been working to find appropriate technologies to custom fit the needs of our unique and varied curriculum. In previous years we have used GarageBand plus Audacity to create enhanced audio podcasts (still images + audio). This is still a great solution for podcasters who are wanting to create a syndicated feed of serialized podcasts. The downsides include difficulty embedding a quicktime player to view podcasts from the web, dependence upon iTunes to view a larger format version, and a Mac only authoring environment.
For Fall 2011 we’re trying something new for the Energy Systems and Climate Change program. The students will be creating narrated presentations (audio + still images) but instead of learning GarageBand they are focusing their efforts on recording techniques and audio editing with Audacity. For the still image side of the equation we’re using PowerPoint – an app almost every student was already familiar with. To bring audio and still images together we’re experimenting with creating slidcasts at SlideShare.net. Slideshare.net has a built-in tool for easily synchronizing presentation slides to an audio track. Once published, the narrated presentation is available to view, share and embed; all with the option to view at full screen resolution.
Advantages: In working with the students, the slidecasting workshop took 30 minutes to complete. In the past we have spent in excess of 2 hours teaching GarageBand and then had to work individually with the faculty to get the podcasts published to the web.
Disadvantages: Slidecast (audio+slides) is still in a Flash format so iOS devices cannot playback. They can play back the slides without audio however.
Take a look at this slidecast I created as an intro to slidecasting. It provides an overview of what’s involved in creating a slidecast and also gives you a taste of the final product.
Awesome Screenshot – Capture and Annotate
This is the best I’ve seen for screenshot capture, crop and annotation and it’s all built into Firefox as an extension. A must have for the tech documenter.
Evergreen’s Academic Computing currently supports the use of Zotero for web-based bibliographic citation management. Although this tool’s focus is not social bookmarking, it does have group features like discussion forums and access to shared bookmarks and notes.
How we currently support Zotero
- installed Firefox extension in the Computer Center
- provide workshops to students
- looking in the future to running the stand-alone Zotero client app
What is Diigo?
It’s like Delicious…
- bookmarking tool – Diigo appears to be positioning themselves to pick-up Delicious users when Yahoo “sunsets” this service.
- Currently supports import of Delicious bookmarks
- similar to Delicious, Diigo uses a browser extension toolbar to create bookmarks and annotations. Minus the extension you can login and use the Diigo site to create bookmarks and browse sites via iFrames for group bookmarks and annotations
It’s like Zotero…
- can create private or public groups and share bookmarks and notes
- it does not appear to have citation management features (although community has requested)
- has an educators account that allows teachers to create student accounts and set usernames and passwords
- student accounts and activity is protected, ads are limited to educational related sponsors
- allows highlighting of website text
- creation of threaded discussion like notes (sticky notes) directly attached to websites
- profile picture attached to posts
- offline downloads of sites for reading later, iPhone/iPad app
If you want your students to manage bookmarks for later inclusion in a bibliography, Zotero is a good choice. If, however, you want students to collaboratively annotate, highlight and or discuss online the text of websites, Diigo offers a much better tool set.
If you choose to use Diigo:
- get an educators account
- make sure to get permission from all students to create accounts for them. Make sure they understand their data will be hosted outside of Evergreen’s network
- do not use their first and last name in the account creation process (Diigo is really good about emphasizing this point in the student account creation process)
- review the educator’s FAQ
- we currently do not support the Diigo browser extension in the computing labs, students will have to install the extension on their own computers, on computer systems in the Computer Center each time they log in or use the Diigo site.
- Contact me and I can show you how to set this up for your course or program