Friday, 2 August 2013

Learning about edcmooc tools 4 - Make your life easier

1. Pinterest
A quick and easy way to store things. It is visual, so a great way to quickly check back and remember things. I tend to use it as a storehouse of re-usable material (eg collecting Creative Commons images), but you can also present your work on here, or use it to archive research material.

2. Diigo
Store all those articles and webpages you have read or want to read. Diigo is a bookmarking site, you can also create a group and have multiple people post to it. My only problem is that it just adds to your workload, so to make life easier I suggest pulling out a quote from the article you are bookmarking that got your attention, or adding your comment after reading it, and why you thought it worthy of bookmarking.

3. Netvibes
I like the way this tool searches social networking sites, news, and blogs for you. I can get a quick snapshot of activity in a very short space of time. It does feel a bit incomplete though, and there must be lots missing. Why not go a step further with NetVibes and get it to write an article or summary for you? Ask it to aggregate all content on, say, "edcmooc" from the past 6 months and produce an article, infographic, and series of questions all gleaned from this content. Press "reminx" and it will do the same thing, but come up with different results. 

Learning about edcmooc tools 3 - getting new ideas

1. Twitter
A brilliant way to get ideas - using hashtags and tweetchats was the best way to generate ideas.

2. WallWisher
Writing ideas on napkins, post it's, and then pinning them to walls, tables, cork boards has always been a great way to jot ideas down quickly and take that first step to getting them organised. WallWisher is the online equivalent. I have also seeen people using it to give people virtual birthday/leaving cards when their friends/colleagues are in far flung locations.

3. Google Hangouts
Why spend ages communicating by writing alone? Use Skype or Hangouts and speak to the people you want to. When we tried it in edcmooc I found it very motivating - even though the connections were a bit shaky.

4. Facebook
This worked quite well. Probably because it was a medium people were familiar and comfortable with. The problem was that many things got lost in a sea of words. Because of the volume of people on there, it's still a good way to get instant feedback or opinion - for example by using the voting tool

5. Evernote
Get every little thought down in one place. I would love it if there was a button on Evernote that said "write up my blog post". It would take all my little notes and ideas, and present them as a weekly blog, so that I didn't have to write it. 

Learning about #edcmooc tools 2 - Presenting your work differently

1. PowerPoint, Prezi, SlideRocket
People have told me they prefer PowerPoint still, despite it being old and familiar. I still think it's a good way to get some ideas down quickly and present them easily. It's not how you present anyway, it's what you are saying. Prezi has whistles and bells, but whenever I have used it it has taken me a disproportionately long time to prepare a presentation than to deliver it. SlideRocket is maybe a nice compromise between the two. I had a try with it below (NB - I still actually prefer PowerPoint because it is so simple to use...)

2. Glogster & Smore
They could be two characters from the Hobbit, but they are actually good ways to make posters. These are interesting ways to break up your linear presentation, and present ideas a little more randomly. The danger is overkill, as has happened with infographics.

3. Quadblogging
This worked a treat. Knowing you have an audience motivates you to write in the first place, and stimulates you to improve your writing. It also touches on the next theme - "getting new ideas"

4. Storify
I really liked this tool. A nice way to make a story out of the constant stream of information on the internet. I made two stories by searching for what the Twitter world found #fascinating and #poetic. The results were quite random, but I liked it for that http://storify.com/chrisswift

5. ThingLink
This lets you add notes to your photos. Share a photo of your classroom, and annotate it with this tool. What is there to discover within a simple photo?

6. VideoScribe & GoAnimate
Two ways to quickly animate your ideas. The process of doing them is different to just writing something down on PowerPoint, or in a blog. You have to think a little differently and creatively, and I think you are also thinking about your audience reaction a bit more too. Both of which are good things when you present your ideas to others.