Posts filed under ‘Collaborate’

SKRBL

http://www.skrbl.com/

What is it?

Skrbl is a web based application. It is a simple and easy online multi use whiteboard. It can be your own private online clipboard which can save your data, or it can be used by a team as a “shared session” where you can collaborate with colleagues, friends, and family. You are able to access the clipboard and/or sessions from any computer connected to the internet because it is web based. There are no new tools to learn. There is nothing to install and nothing to download. It is free if used privately and $10.00 a month introductory price for a team.

What does it do?

Skrbl is capable of doing a variety of things. It has been described as a “Powerful Collaboration Made Simple.” You can sketch, text, share files, and upload pictures on a common shared space. You can co-browse the web, annotate shared documents, video phone and skype calls. Additionally, freehand drawings can be created; pictures can be uploaded from your desktop or the web. There are multiple languages to be used. It has also been described as the “next best thing to being in the same room.” The team can focus on work and skrbl takes care of syncing and saving.

You can use skrbl to brainstorm. You can use the whiteboard to write down whatever comes to mind. You can use it alone or with a team.

You can use skrbl for meeting notes, to record observations, delegate tasks and responsibilities. It is efficient in that all attendees to a meeting, if they were part of the team, could record their notes, make additions, corrections while saving time and resources. Using it for meetings could avoid miscommunications.

You can use skrbl as an online clipboard. It acts like “things to do” or “catch all” where you can write schedules, telephone numbers, doctor’s appointments or reminders. You can access it anytime or anywhere, where there is internet. It can be shared with a team or marked private.

You can use skrbl as a bulletin board. You can post announcements, notices, notes, deadlines, updates… for a team as they complete projects. Instead of using emails with a long list of to: or cc: the bulletin board can be used to announce certain things to a team.

What are the infrastructure and technical requirements for this tool?

Skrbl’s currently supported browsers include:

· Internet Explorer 6

· Internet Explorer 7

· Firefox 1.5 and 2

The team addition has a 250 MB file storage and can have 5 users with unlimited guests. The free addition has a file storage of 10 MB and can have one single user with unlimited guests.

How can you use it effectively in instruction?

In the blog, it shared that a teacher used skrbl in his classroom. He had invited 19 students to discuss Steinbeck. They were collaborating on the skrbl whiteboard. They read, responded and reacted by writing, commenting and discussing. Students described the experience as the opportunity to keep “our wheels rolling.”

I think it could be used by a teacher in the intermediate grades for the study of Junior Great Books, gifted and talented novels and challenge books. The teacher could act as the facilitator and teach the students to use the features of skrbl to react, respond and discuss the texts. I also think that teachers could use skrbl to teach and have students learn mathematics.

Teachers could teach students how to use the features of skrbl for them to complete group activities and projects. Some projects our students have completed where they can use skrbl include:

· The Multicultural Fair

· State Research

· Career Fair

· Safe Racer

What are other educational applications for this tool?

Since skrbl is a powerful collaboration tool, it could be used by teachers and staff members to accomplish many activities, including the following:

· Committee Work

· Grade level lesson study

· Preparation of a professional development

· Polishing and refining meeting notes as to eliminate miscommunication

· Share instructional strategies

· Posting of announcements for future meetings, deadlines, etc.

· Analyzing data and making instructional decisions by getting input from several educators

What are the limitations and cautions related to the use of this tool?

· The school system may filter out skrbl and not allow access

· There is a limit to the size of a file

· The team introductory price is $10.00 a month. However, you do not know what it will be in the future.

What are the management considerations for this tool?

· Users would probably need to have sophisticated technology skills and fluency to use skrbl

· Users would need to learn to use each feature of skrbl.

· There may be resistance to use skrbl.

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June 30, 2008 at 5:30 pm 1 comment

Chatmaker

· What is it? What does it do?

o Chatmaker is a site that allows you to make your own chat rooms and easily invite others.

o Chatmaker’s chatroom is extremely easy and instantaneous, which means that people might use it for quick and private communications.

o Plus I really liked that it doesn’t require registration.

o Just type the title of your chatroom in the box on the homepage, and then send the link that is provided in the lower box to the people you want to join. My title was “JHU Cohort.” I then instant messaged my colleagues who looked like they were logged on to elc, but no one got back to me…So needless to say at that time of night, I was the only one in my chatroom, chatting to myself…so sad.

· What are the infrastructure and technical requirements for this tool?

o As long as the site Chatmaker isn’t blocked and you can copy and paste a link, you can chat with anyone!

· How can you use it effectively in instruction?

o This could be so fun for the students to have mystery chatpals either in our own school, another local school, or a school in another state or country!

o I could see a chatroom for students who are all trying to perform the same type of science experiment for the bcps science fair. They could chat about failure, success, and etc.

· What are other education applications for this tool?

o Teachers could create a chatroom with parents, collegues from other schools in the same content area, or even cohort members to discuss numerous topics, concerns, etc.

· What are the limitations and cautions related to use of this tool?

o Not sure if this is blocked on bcps.

o Can’t find any cautions, since one has to be invited to come into the chatroom.

· What are the management considerations for this tool?

o Making sure all invitees can be online at a certain specific time.

o Teaching students proper language and manners when in a chatroom.

June 18, 2008 at 4:01 pm 2 comments

MediaMax/The Linkup

What is it? What does it do?

Media Max is now called The Linkup. The Linkup is a social network for file sharing. According to The Linkup homepage, it is a place to easily send and receive files with friends and store massive amounts of files. Uploaded files can be public or protected files. Basic accounts are free and uses can subscribe (starting at $5.95/month) for accounts with more storage.

What are the infrastructure and technical requirements for this tool?

Uploaded files can be public or protected files. Basic accounts are free and uses can subscribe (starting at $5.95/month) for accounts with more storage. I tried to set up a free account. It was easy to do – all that is needed is a user name, email address, and password. To activate the account, the user has to check her email and click the activation link. When I tried to do this, I got the following message:

We’re sorry but an error has occurred. This error has been logged and The Linkup support has been notified. Please go back and try again to see if the error still exists.

I continued to try, but received the same message each time. I set up a different account using my home email address instead of school address, but I received the same message. Perhaps a paid account would work better.

How can you use it effectively in instruction?

If this site was working properly, teachers could certainly use it to work on common projects and share lessons or resources with each other. At school, it would probably be easier for students to use the shared folder on the BCPS server. If students were working on group projects outside of school, they may be able to use this; however, I do not see it as practical at the elementary school level. Other tools are more readily available and easier to use. Also, we cannot assume at this point that every student has functioning internet access at home. The Linkup may be useful for our group project for this class; however, the site is not working properly at this time. It would be a good place to store videos and photographs because it has a lot of storage capacity.

What are the limitations and cautions related to the use of this tool?

Presently, the obvious limitation is that an error message occurs when trying to activate an account. I think this tool could be very useful for teachers and administrators more than for students.

What are the management considerations for this tool?

One consideration is that this tool requires users to pay monthly fees after the free trial period. The fees would have to come from the school budget unless it was district funded. Other free sites are available such as Write Board that seem more practical.

June 15, 2008 at 9:18 pm Leave a comment

WiZiQ

http://www.wiziq.com

What is it? What does it do?

WiZiQ (read Wiz IQ) is a FREE web-based platform for teachers and students. It contains a state-of-the-art virtual classroom, as well as the ability to create and share online educational content and tests, as well as make connections with others who have similar subject interests. Options within the virtual classroom include:

  • Ability to post images, PowerPoint presentations and documents
  • Audio and video sharing
  • Live chat
  • Control Privileges over the session

According to the WiZiQ website, “the Virtual Classroom allows the participants to communicate using video and audio with a headset or through text chat, and to share whiteboards, presentations, documents and images.”

WiZiQ has been compared to Elluminate, but prides itself in having additional features that make it a unique (and free) Web 2.0 tool.

All the synchronous sessions on WiZiQ are automatically recorded so users can revisit and also search for a certain topic at their convenience.

WiZiQ also lets the user create content online and then convert it to a sharable format.

On WiZiQ, users can enter a subject and locate other WiZiQ users who share similar interests. The site also allows individuals to contact other members to exchange knowledge, ideas and content. While I was exploring the site, I came across a user I knew and was able to send her an email, asking her thoughts about the WiZiQ platform.

What are the infrastructure and technical requirements for this tool?

Signing up for an account to WiZiQ is easy and, most importantly, free! Individuals are required to enter an email address, and a password, along with their name to activate an account. To get started, the user follows a set of simple directions:

  1. Invite contacts to join WiZiQ or search for members who share your subjects on WiZiQ and invite them to the virtual classroom.
  2. Schedule online sessions with your contacts or fellow members.
  3. Meet in the virtual classroom to share and exchange knowledge live and online.

How can you use it effectively in instruction?

WiZiQ houses a large collection of presentations for the teacher to access. These presentations are categorized by instructional levels as well as content/topics. Teachers can also find professional development presentations as well. Within the members section of WiZiQ, teachers can connect with hundreds of other members and browse content or questions about a variety of topics to expand their knowledge and understanding, while gleaning ideas and strategies from other educators around the world.

What are other education applications for this tool?

Using the virtual classroom features found within WiZiQ, a teacher may be able to conduct synchronous meetings with other teachers, parents, or students. These chats could be saved on the WiZiQ site and accessed by individuals at other times that are convenient for their own viewing purposes. WiZiQ does provide a privacy feature that can limit the viewing of recorded chats to only individuals invited to the presentation. Teachers could do a “Back to School Night” recording, showcase student work, or provide parent training regarding such topics as science fair projects, special education procedures, or volunteer training sessions.

What are the limitations and cautions related to use of this tool?

In the near future, WiZiQ will be offering some advanced features for a monthly subscription fee, but the basic features on WiZiQ will continue be free.

Within the WiZiQ Terms of User Agreement, services are listed as not available to minors under the age of 14. If a teacher wanted to conduct an online synchronous chat with younger students, parent membership would be required, as well as adult supervision of the minor participating within the online experience or accessing recorded chats on the WiZiQ site.

What are the management considerations for this tool?

According to the WiZiQ website; “WiZiQ puts learners and teachers together regardless of the boundaries and enables live, online teaching for absolutely no cost to the teacher or the student.”

Scheduling online presentations for your students, colleagues, or students’ parents may require significant management and planning. It would also be important to address technology access for individuals attempting to access the information presented online. For individuals who lack technology at home or broadband internet connections, alternative access may need to be considered.

Teachers using the WiZiQ site for resources and collaboration with other members may want to explore several of the synchronous training presentations that have been recorded and stored on the site. These presentations will provide the viewer with additional information regarding the variety of features found within the WiZiQ platform and its virtual classroom.

June 15, 2008 at 9:17 pm 1 comment

Gliffy

What is it? What does it do?

Gliffy (http://www.gliffy.com/) is the world’s first net-native business software. Net-native means that the software was built specifically for the internet and is found only on the internet. It was founded by Chris Kohlhardt and Clint Dickson in San Francisco, California. Gliffy comes from the word “glyph,” meaning a symbol or character that displays information non-verbally. Therefore, Gliffy is an online diagramming service that helps users communicate with a combination of shapes, texts, and lines. Using Gliffy, users can create various flowcharts, floorplans, and diagrams. In an article on Edutopia, Gliffy was described as “a combination flow-chart and brainstorming tool mixed with a social, collaborative wiki” (O’Neal 2008).

What are the infrastructure and technical requirements for this tool?

In order to use Gliffy, an individual needs to have a web browser with Macromedia Flash 7 or better. However, according to Macromedia, 99% of U.S. web browsers are configured with Flash 7 so most individuals who are interested in using Gliffy already have the technical requirements to use the software. Gliffy works on Macs, Linux systems, and Microsoft Windows. Individuals may sign up for a one month free trial of Gliffy Basic, which includes the use of up to five public diagrams. A public diagram is a read-only version of the diagram that anyone on the internet may access. However, only those whom the individual invites may edit the document through the Gliffy Online Editor. An individual may also choose to sign up for Gliffy Premium, which is $5 a month for unlimited private and public access. That is, a diagram may be set to private and viewed only by the creator of the document and those whom the creator specifically invites. Those who are invited to view a private document may also forward or publish the document to others. Larger organizations and academic institutions and/or groups may receive Gliffy Premium for volume prices. For example, an academic group may pay $12.50 a month for 10 users. All pricing information is clearly stated on the gliffy website.

How can you use it effectively in instruction?

Gliffy is an excellent tool for differentiating the content, process, or product within a lesson. The variety of shapes and tools contained within the diagrams are also great for visual learners and they offer a way for content information to be organized for special needs students. It has rich text features, including various font sizes, styles, and colors. Gliffy may also be used for a teacher or student to take notes on during a lesson. Students may use it in the prewriting stage of a written composition. Since it is easy to use, requiring individuals only to drag and drop symbols to create the diagrams, it may also be used as part of a “Must Do” or “May Do” activity during reading / language arts independent work.

What are other education applications for this tool?

A huge benefit to Gliffy is that it can be used for collaboration. Once a Gliffy diagram is created, e-mail addresses of those whom an individual would like to share the diagrams with may be entered. An e-mail is then sent to those people, which contains a link for them to create a free basic account and a temporary password that can be used to allow them to login and see the diagram. The diagrams may also be placed on a wiki or a blog. If a Gliffy document is linked to a blog, the Gliffy document is a live one, allowing others to make changes and additions. Any changes to the original are reflected within the blog links so the most recent document is always the one being viewed. However, a copy of the original document is always maintained in case the creator wants to restore the diagram back to the original version. As a result of these features, students may use Gliffy to collaborate on ideas for projects. Teachers are easily able to track the changes made through the blog.

What are the limitations and cautions related to this tool?

Unlike Kidspiration and Inspiration, Gliffy does not require any software purchases and it is, therefore, more accessible to students, parents, and schools. However, there are some limitations to Gliffy. There are a limited number of projects that can be worked on without signing up for the Premium Service, which requires money. Also, when using Gliffy, it can be a bit challenging to align objects placed in diagrams.

What are the management considerations for this tool?

In order to effectively use Gliffy, students need to have an understanding of how to read and interpret a flow chart. Students are able to import their own images and backgrounds so teachers will need to monitor the appropriateness of the images. Teachers will also need to be aware of any changes made by students who are using the collaborative feature of Gliffy and make sure the changes are content-focused and productive.

References:

http://www.gliffy.com

O’Neal, C. (January 21, 2008). Get Graphic with Gliffy: Sharing Mind Maps Online. Edutopia (Online). Available: http://www.edutopia.org/gliffy-mind-maps (Retrieved: 2008, June 8).

You Tube Video. Gliffy: Create Great-Looking Drawings in a Snap. Available: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=N0UgI-FVIKo

June 15, 2008 at 9:16 pm 5 comments

Zoho Show 2.0

www.zohoshow.com

What is it? What does it do?

Zoho Show is an online presentation tool similar to Microsoft Powerpoint.

It is a free presentation tool that can be accessed anywhere, any time, by anyone.

You can upload presentations into Zoho Show or you can create original presentations on the site.

Zoho Show offers a complete editor with many presentation features such as text formatting, background themes, color, bullets, and clipart.

What are the infrastructure and technical requirements for this tool?

The advantage of using Zoho Show is that it is browser dependent and does not require the purchase of a software program.

Zoho Show can be accessed on Windows and Macintosh computers. All you need is a computer with internet access.

How can you use it effectively in instruction?

The program is useful for working collaboratively on presentations and students can easily share their work.

Like Powerpoint, Zoho Show is another fun way to present information in a graphic manner.

Teachers can use Zoho Show to have students work on projects at home and school without worrying about access or home computers lacking software.

What are other education applications for this tool?

The presentations you generate in Zoho Show are private and are accessible only by you.They are protected by your Zoho ID/password authentication. However, presentations can be shared with others or made public if you choose.

You can save a Zoho Show and play it even if you do not have internet connectivity.

Remote presentations can also be created.

What are the limitations and cautions related to use of this tool?

At this time Zoho Show presentations cannot be printed.

Transitional effects cannot be inserted between slides.

What are the management considerations for this tool?

The user needs to have an account and password. Therefore, students would need to be capable of logging onto the site. Aside from that, Zoho Show is readily available via an internet connection. So, it can be easily used within a lab situation.

June 15, 2008 at 9:16 pm 7 comments

Scrapblog

What is it? What does it do?

Scrapblog allows users to create scrapbooks by importing photos. The scrapbook pages look beautiful, just like regular scrapbook pages that someone might spend hours creating. On Scrapblog, you can simply drag and drop photographs into shapes and boarders. Users can choose a theme for each page or use blank pages. elements suchs as shapes, borders, transitions, and music can be added. It is very easy to use.

Wat are the infrastructure and technical requirements for this tool? An internet connection and your digital phots are all that is needed.

How can you use it effectively in instruction?

Scrapblog can be used in many of the same ways as PhotoStory. Students can create on-line scrapbooks of field trips, school projects, or special activities and send them to their parents or do class presentations. Students could also use Scrapblog to create scrapbooks of different periods in time, geographical regions, or settings from a story. Many classroom applications are possible.

What are the limitations and cautions related to use of this tool? Check the policy regarding posting students’ photographs. Make sure students did not opt-out.

What are the management considerations for this tool? It is very easy to use. Teachers will need to monitor students’ photographs, help them download photos on the computer, set up blog or projector for sharing.

June 13, 2008 at 11:38 am 6 comments

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