Sunday, November 18, 2007

Web 2.0: It's About Connecting People

Well, I am usually the last one to cheer a large corporate behemoth for something they have done, but I'll do it here. Nokia, has put out a short video explaining Web 2.0. I think the visuals are neat, the lyrics are pretty good and the tune is definitely catchy.

What does Web 2.0 mean to you? How can we connect with other people? How valuable is this to me? To You? To all of us? How small has the world become? We ordered a MicroSD card from a guy who was selling them on eBay at a pretty good price. Looked at the price, including the shipping and the shipping time and decided to give it a try... We looked to see where the seller is from... Try Hong Kong! Going back to Negroponte's premise in 'Being Digital' that it was far easier to transport bits than atoms, and it still is, but it looks like that transporting atoms is getting easier all the time.

The Lyrics: (This is the best I could by listening myself.)

Why is it so complicated?
Shouldn’t it be simply stated?
If some one mentions multi-channel
Smack them with a plywood paddle.

Web 2.0, it’s a great idea
You can blog while shopping in Ikea.
I can Twango from Djbleezi
And bid on eBay when on the Zambezi.

Web two point zero, lets keep it simple
It’s all about connecting people

My cat does lots of stupid things
I love that cat to bits
I posted her on YouTube
And she’s got a million hits.

Don’t miss the kids when you’re not home
Don’t miss them puke
Don’t miss them groan
With 2.0 you’ll see them live
Beamed straight down your RIM 95

For dating it could not be better
There’s a hundred ways to go and get her.
Two point 0 can be a dating disaster
Because sometimes I get dumped so much faster

Web two point zero, lets keep it simple
It’s all about connecting people

Wondering teenager, do not stress
You can track them down with GPS.

Facebook, YouTube, eBay, Flickr
MySpace, Moove, Google, Twitter

With Web two point zero
You have the means
To carry the world in the back of your jeans

Thanks to you Web two point 0
There’s no such thing as good-bye
But know when you ‘poke’ my Facebook
I can see it you and not reply

Web two point zero
Let’s keep it simple
simple, simple, simple
Web two point zero, lets keep it simple
It’s all about connecting people

For all the words and made up names
For all the hype and buzz
Its been about connecting people
Like it always was
Like it always was

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Just Getting a Little Easier...

In preparation for my talk at the CLHS/CUE Conference in Monterey at the end of November, I was doing a little research on some of the things that Picasa and other tools can really do and how they can best be used in education. I have found several tools that can be used in conjunction with Picasa and give teachers and students greater flexibility in the ways they can create multimedia content for the web.

While the basis of the talk I am doing is centered around Picasa, there are other tools available that will make it easier for anyone and everyone to create dynamic online content. One of the issues that arose as I began the process of planning this talk and the types of activities that I wanted participants to complete was... where were they going to get the content? I can't expect everyone to have a memory stick with a bunch of pictures on it ready to work from, so where are they going to get the content. Two places.... First, we will go through the process of taking pictures from your cell phone and uploading them to the Internet and then back to Picasa to create content. There is a great new blog from Liz Kolb, titled: "From Toy to Tool" that discusses ways to use cell phones in class. The second is from the computer itself. If you wanted to, you can create content using the 'Paint' application. You can take screen shots of web pages or other images and then using the 'Paint' application to add diagrams or highlight certain parts of the image.

Picasa: A Google tool with really two versions. The desktop version organizes all of the pictures and graphics on your computer, allows you to do some basic editing. (Far easier than Photoshop!) You can then upload your pictures to the Picasa Web Albums and share with family and friends and create online slide shows with captions on each picture. Once finished, you can copy and paste the 'embed' tag into any html page and have the slide show play within your page. I have used this process on this blog a few times earlier this year. (I'm doing a separate session on Saturday at CLHS/CUE Conference in Monterey!)

Animoto: I blogged on this last month, but a cooler version of the Picasa slide show that has some trick photo transitions and allows you to add music to your slide show. The site has some music from independent artists you can choose from or upload your own.

VoiceThread: A new tool that allows you to upload pictures to create a slide show and add voice overs (Several per page with multiple users. Voicethread refers to them as 'identities.') This would be great if you were teaching a process or wanted to have students narrate their artwork, etc. Imagine having a picture and recording each student's voice reaction to it... The possibilities are endless.

Photostory: A Microsoft tool that is free from the Microsoft site as a download. You will have to validate your version of Windows to download the application, but it is a very easy install. The way Photostory works is that you upload pictures which become slides. I am working on a test Photostory from one of my PowerPoints that I use for one of the large presentations that I do. Once you load the images, you can change the order and select the way pictures or slides transition from one to the next. You can then record a voice over for each slide. Not quite full motion video, but its free and you can do lots of amazing things with it.

The process of allowing students to create multimedia projects and posting them on the Internet has become easy and accessible for almost any student. A basic computer and cell phone give you access to a wealth of content and editing options. The only limits are your own imagination. If you have other tools that you use that I haven't mentioned here? Drop me a note!

Hope to see many of you in Monterey in a few weeks. If you aren't going to be in Monterey, stay tuned for more 'Google Almanac' presentations in the coming months.