In a ho-hum webinar last night, Anne (surname not given) introduced a term new to many: ‘tennis shoe learning’. That is, the learning done by people texting and web-browsing on their phones and PDAs while moving from one building or room to another. It’s a good phrase but translates badly into UK English as ‘trainer learning’ or, perhaps, ‘trainer education’ and that is the antithesis of what many still call Web2.0 learning. New-style web-enabled learning is such a personally adaptive yet socially-constructed phenomenon that the challenge for many is how to keep up with the various tools and social networks on offer. Here’s a sample from some recent trials I have been carrying out.
Should be a searchable directory of about 2,000 tools and resources with brief descriptions to help you choose. There is currently a glitch in the initial Flash file so it is running like treacle – or not at all. When it works, it is a good starting point.
A great resource for teams, workgroups, researchers and teachers alike. Allows you to upload and comment (audio) on slides (ppt). Publicly available slideshows include several educational resources of which these two caught my eye:
- Designing Education’s Future: Online, collaborative, playful and socially aware by Andy Polaine
- 101 Open Educational Resources by Zaid. A list of freely available university level materials from round the world.
A (limited) free and paid-for service where a single-page graphic can be posted and several people can use markers and leave voice comments. Useful for development work or poster presentations.
If you need a simple free-to-develop and free-to-host website, this is the site for you.
Wiki software often seems to require disproportionate amounts of learning when the alternative is to email a trusty old Word file. Zoho Wiki claims to be as easy as a wordprocessor and, once you have logged in, it really is. It is also free.
Great for collaborative working on documents (project papers, presentations) if you are all in different organisations. You need to set up private groups. (NB Do not use if you are required to keep data within, say, your company.)
Oh dear, I’m still trying to like it. Rory Cellan-Jones uses it and he’s the BBC Technology Correspondent – but do I really want to know he had his shaving gel confiscated at Gatwick? There are so many ways to send instant short messages and others fit into my life far more easily (e.g. Skype Chat – because I use Skype for online phone calls so it is on anyway).
Think of this as an old-fashioned scrapbook (complete with option for graphic embellishment) with the benefits of instant connection to any online resources. Customising it can take hours but if you do not mind casual observers finding what is on your public page and protect the elements to which it links, then it can be a very useful team/class resource base. It is probably best to set up a dedicated Yahoo account (new name) before you set up NetVibes.
Faced with a monster-sized picture-in-picture presentation to ship to the US and India, there was the belated realisation that it would not get through a standard email route. The solution was YouSendIt which, for the technical, is an ftp service. For the non-technical, it is an electronic form of DHL or FedEx. Very easy and, for occasional use, free. What is more, it got there. (Just make sure the recipient is able to download large files.)
That’s enough for one post. I’ll cover portfolio programmes and widgets another day. Meanwhile, any thoughts on the above or on other practical programs that do not consume more time than they save, post them here!