Nebulla of Multimedia

Let’s go pilots! Come on.

I’m going out tonight-I’m feelin’ alright
Gonna explore it all out
Wanna check out some sites – really get it right
Yeah, I wanna share and shout
No inhibitions-make some connections
Get my ideas on-line
I might have to act netiquettely-correct
But I’m gonna have a good time

The best thing about takin’ EDES 501
Is the prerogative to have a little fun…
oh, oh, ohhhhhhh…

(With apologies to Shania Twain…)


“Mash ups, presentations, online searching and sharing”…sounds a little like blind dating.  Here we go pilots, into the world of searching for the right tools, rather like searching for the right man.  We will see what qualities we like in each presentation tool as we “blind date” several that we have been “fixed up” with, thanks to Dr.B and online “matching” sites.

First though, we need to figure out why one should use the tools.  What is wrong with sticking with the status quo?  What if I like being a bachelorette in with my comfy word docs and video cassettes and simple PowerPoint?  I am not sure I want to deal with this kind of change…mash ups and such.  What the heck is a “mash up”, anyway? 

Getting its name from the music industry (a “mashup” is a remix of two or more songs), http://www.deitel.com/ResourceCenters/Web20/Mashups/tabid/977/Default.aspx states “A web application mashup combines complementary functionality from multiple web sites, e.g., combining Google Maps with Craigslist apartment listings to display on a map all of the apartments for rent in a particular neighborhood.”  That actually makes sense; by using a variety of different websites, users can create a multi-sensory experience for an audience.  How would it work in an educational setting? 

“Learning is a continuous conversation among many participants… [by using] these [web-based] tools, we can build complex networks of resources to tap into, allowing us to find more information, more teachers, and more learning.”(Richardson, 2007).  Okay, I have to agree with Richardson, building a better network of resources is a good idea, and I must agree that using the technology I am comfortable with (yes, I used a video cassette last week and a tape recorder!!! the week before) is not the best way to reach or teach our current generation of learners.  It is time to learn more about multimedia sharing sites.  Direction!  I need direction!


Gleep! Gleep!  All mapping systems down!  Trailfire not available…must navigate like Luke S those many years ago in the Galaxy of Far Far Away…with not even a whisper from Obi-Wan to guide me…  Or… I could google “Best presentation sharing sites”…

There are also several sites listed by Dr. B to explore.  So here we go pilots, prepare for blind dating, mashup style!


Bachelor #1: Animoto

Coming into a planetary system…not under any kind of fire…planet up ahead looks like it could have a suitable landing platform.  Must get into range to use webcam…Ani…Anikin?  Eek, back back, oh, wait…Animoto…phew.  Seem to recall seeing a few of these creatures back on Planet Youtube…yes, seem quite clever, even those created by 9-year-olds.  Crew agrees that we should prepare for landing at http://animoto.com/.

Kat once again decides that she will be subject of experimentation on this planet.  It may have something to do with her desire to be in the spotlight, I suspect, but we have agreed.  Our preparations in the photosharing nebula have served us well.

Wow, so quickly we created some “animotos”.  http://animoto.com/projects

What a friendly planet!  Simple to find our way around and to try things out.  I will definitely use this tool with the recruits in our classroom blog this year!

I can also use animoto to document happenings in the classrooms.  Could be a “promotional tool” for elective choices among the recruits.  Easy to make short, creative collages with photos, text and music.  Limitations with free accounts, but less choice is sometimes better.

This pilot is satisfied with animoto.  Nothing too flashy, but simple and easy enough to get along with (with the exception of having difficulties embedding the animotos into WordPress).  Will definitely be giving you a “call” again, animoto.


Bachelor #2: Voicethread

http://voicethread4education.wikispaces.com/a VoiceThread is an online media album that can hold essentially any type of media (images, documents and videos) and allows people to make comments in 5 different ways – using voice (with a microphone or telephone), text, audio file, or video (with a webcam) – and share them with anyone they wish. A VoiceThread allows group conversations to be collected and shared in one place, from anywhere in the world.

Went to http://voicethread.com/ and tried to be convinced to land.  Ho hum.  Sorry voicethread.  I kind of like the idea, but cannot see using it for my personal life.  My use of speech tools on the internet is limited to Skype, and even with that, I prefer to use the telephone.  (I  can move around and do housework that way!).  I could see experimenting with voicethread as a oral responding piece for my English recruits.  What I will do is check out your dating history, Mr. Voicethread, and see what other bachelorettes have to say about you…

Last year you dated a lovely little wiki, who has nice things to say about you at http://voicethread.com/#u13101.b125699: These 7th graders were to use voicethread to add to a digital image project to depict their entire seventh grade experience with (JUST!) six photos.  I checked out the projects and while the students did do nice work, they did not seem to actually use their voices.  I was unsure if that was due to choice or inability.  Personally, I think animoto, PowerPoint or Youtube would be a better choice for this kind of project.

If I worked with recruits who first language is not Chardonnaian, I would consider using Mr. Voicethread for pronunciation and experience with the language.  My young male crew member has started Late French Immersion and may be tempted to use this site to hear actual French speakers describing their reactions to an image.  For now, he is content to play with the online translator supplied by Google (http://translate.google.com/?hl=en).

Sorry Bachelor Voicethread, you look appealing from a distance, but when I got close enough for a landing, I chose to conserve my fuel instead.


Bachelor #3: Slideshare

Slideshare is listed #5 from http://www.c4lpt.co.uk/recommended/2011.html . That’s like the girlfriends saying “he is a pretty good catch”.  Let’s send Mr. SS a text.  Hmmm, he seems to be sending up promotional media…http://www.slideshare.net/AmitRanjan/quick-tour?from=ss_embed  Appealing.  It does seem like we might go in for a landing…

“Hello, WebWanderer:  You can use SlideShare to:

  • View & download presentations, documents, pdfs etc on any topic
  • Share on Facebook and Twitter
  • Embed into blogs, websites & wikis
  • Upload all types of media files: presentations (ppt, pptx, Keynote), documents (doc, docx, pdf) and video
  • Create a webinar or audio presentation using our slidecasting tool  
  • Use SlideShare events to send conference invites, archive slide decks, publicise your event etc
  • Build cool mashups & widgets using our free APIs (for developers)”

I do need a bit more convincing before I give out my number though…

Sent in a landing crew. 

Since our time together was limited, I explained to Mr. SS that I could not create a show with him, but what I could do was share some slideshows my recruits created for Fine Arts last voyage.  The Bachelor agreed, so I uploaded a dozen recruit PowerPoint presentations.  Slideshare is a good planet for storage and for showcasing artistic creations, which is the primary reason I have recruits make them in Fine Arts.  The best part about using an online source is that they now have access to their own creations and can access them outside of the ship to share with their families on their home planets.

Checked in with Bachelor #3 just two hours later and saw that first show had 24 views.  24 strangers viewing something with my recruits name on it…Gleep! Gleep!  All systems on alert – privacy settings were activated but only on my information, not on what I uploaded.  Quick action has now resulted in viewing possible by only me.  For future use, I will remind recruits to make shows anonymous, with “handles”, or first names only.  This bachelor moves a bit faster than a ship full of Glingots on shore leave in Chardonnay!

Slideshare took me back to his place and I took a look around searching for “Bullying”, “Mime” and several other topics of interest based on the courses I teach the teen recruits.  Slideshare is not a large enough community yet to have slideshows of the topics I teach at an appropriate level, but I have hope that they will in the future.  They will have the ones I intend to create, for a start!

But one thing is certain; I will be calling on Bachelor Slideshare again, either as an entire ship of recruits, or just me on my solo pod to deposit Slideshows I have created. (But with which presentation software / site? That is tomorrow’s voyage!)

***NOTE:  At posting: Even though all privacy settings are now at maximum level, show mentioned above now has 27 viewings…HOW???  Must take evasive action and delete all uploads.  Bachelor Slideshare seems a bit of a stalker.***


Bachelor #4: Prezi

Oooo, the introductory video makes it sound so easy-peasy to get to know Mr. Prezi.  http://prezi.com/“The best part, you can start a prezi now, for a presentation you have tomorrow.” Ha ha, like we don’t all know that each slide represents an hour’s worth of time.  But, why not see what this bachelor can do?  Landing thrusters on…

At first glance, Mr. Prezi seems like an updated, highly polished PowerPoint. Mr. Prezi wants to take me on a tour.  “Fasten your seatbelt” he said.  Why? Oh dear, watched several prezi presentations and now feel like I have been to Earth favourite “Disneyland” and rode the Mad Hatters Teacups several times, but did not take my anti-nauseants.  Not sure if I can promote something I cannot watch.  More info needed.


Conducted a little research.  Actually, I typed in “Prezi makes me ill” in my Google search box and found an eloquent article by Steve Jobs “Prezi or PowerPoint?” (http://www.meetcom.com/prezi.html) that said everything I would like to say about Prezi, and more:

  • [Prezi] could replace certain uses of PowerPoint 
  • [Using Prezi] can be a big advantage in meetings where the presenter wants to share information in a more interactive way 
  • a linear PowerPoint slide show would often be the better final presentation tool. People need the structure offered in an “outline” based presentation tool like PowerPoint.  There is so much free flowing, overflowing, information out in the world, the process of developing a linear story is often important in the final communication of the message. 

At the bottom of the page, a comment by reader Alton Cole echoes my thoughts exactly:

“Prezzi makes me sea sick – all that zooming and swooping and . . . .”

This Web Wanderer is a little ill at the moment as well.  Prezi is perhaps a bit young for me.  I think I need something a bit more settled, or settling. http://friendfeed.com/scobleizer/1ea0891c/i-made-promise-years-ago-to-never-use-powerpoint has received some interesting suggestions for presentation sites as well: MindManager, Keynote, Mindmeister…perhaps they are better suited to my older navigation system.

************************************************************************************************************Bachelor #5: Vuvox

Circled this bachelor for a bit.  Seems like most of the others in this neighbourhood of videosharing/storage…had the thought that if our ship created and stored online, then our young crew members could access their videoed memories.  As it is, we create using computer software and store on “CDs”.  There are benefits and drawbacks to both systems. 

My co-pilot is ultra-cautious when it comes to privacy, so CDs suit us well.  I watched several “featured” vuvox collage creations starring a young boy (http://vuvox.posterous.com/). From watching just two, I could figure out the boy’s name, almost precisely where he lives, what his hobbies are and so on.  The pilots on board this ship are not as willing to share that kind of information.

This would be a site to show recruits, along with several others, to allow for individual creativity.  The end result is “cleaner” than Youtube, and allows for more creative editing, rather like a photo sharing site.  It would not be for personal use.

*************************************************************************************************************Bachelor #6: MyJugaad

http://myjugaad.in/ – seems comparable to an old friend, iGoogle; while this site was somewhat sparse and had limited examples, I was intrigued enough to research a bit further.  There was information about what a “Jugaad” found on: http://www.linkedin.com/answers/management/organizational-development/MGM_ODV/598120-4996762.  Basically, a jugaad is something that is thrown together creatively with whatever means possible to move the whole thing forward.  The pilots at http://smallbiztrends.com/2009/09/33-useful-presentation-tools.html describe Bachelor MyJugaad as “a slideshow for webpages, which are sourced either from popular websites such as del.icio.us (for best webpages), digg, google news, flickr, youtube, etc. or from a list provided by you or from your RSS feed(s). This image shows their tour where they explain – just type in a search term and as the results come in, you can turn it straight into a slideshow.

Although I do not want to experiment with such a mash-up site at this time, it was fun to learn a new word! 


Bachelor #7: Advanced Dynamic Application for creating Multimedia, aka “ADAM”

Found at http://www.adamsapp.com/:
Adam brings life to your dusty old static documents. With a flick of your wrist and a click of a button, you can add videos, HTML, stylized text and more to a static PDF or image file.
In less than 20 minutes, you can have a dynamic web page to showcase your products, services and multimedia content. It’s uber simple, from print to web in four ridiculously easy steps.
Upload a PDF or Image file
2. Add Hotspots to your Document
3. Insert content into the Hotspot (video, text, music, HTML)
4. Put the link code on your website.
SHAZAM! In a matter of moments, you’ve taken that boring non-interactive document and turned it into a valuable sales and marketing tool for your organization. Neat huh?

Curious enough to watch demo, especially as the word “Shazam” was used… http://www.adamsapp.com/demo.php – Wow, easily one of the most boring and non-understandable demos I have ever seen.  Sorry Adam, we are not hitting it off.  Not even going to call you for a date.


 Bachelor #8: Cooliris (formerly PicLens, I can see why he changed his name…)

From http://www.cooliris.com/desktop/:  Turn Internet Explorer into your ultimate media browser.  Cooliris is a browser plug-in that revolutionizes how you find, view, and share photos and videos.  Whether you’re browsing the Web or your desktop, Cooliris presents media on an infinte “3D wall” that lets you enjoy content without clicking page to page.

(From http://www.erodov.com/forums/cooliris-review/17998.html, reviewed by initpidzero)

Oh..kay…gotta admit, it does look good.  Viewed demo at: http://www.cooliris.com/desktop/how-to-launch-and-use/ – cool iris.  This bachelor seems a slicker version of Google images, Facebook photos and more.  Shows up with a Porsche and takes you to dinner at a fancy name brand restaurant where the chef is trying to make a statement with how he presents the food on the plate.  You are not really my style, cooliris.  I like a hotdog from the street vendor.  I don’t want to give you all my info and invite you back to the ship.  But, undoubtedly, you will work for someone who is looking for something a little more fast-pasted the typically used search engine capabilities.


Bachelor #9: Bubbl.us

This cutie pie can be found at: http://www.bubbl.us/.  We hit it off very quickly and began “brainstorming”.  I found it easy to create a mindmap:

Bubbl.us would get along with the recruits and would transfer well to online publications, word documents, slideshows and other multimedia.  I don’t often add brainstorming as part of the requirement for a finished product, but this site can enhance student learning by forcing recruits to look at the entire process from the beginning (and make it a bit more fun at the same time!).

Bubbl.us makes it into the Bachelor Finals.


Bachelor #10: Google Earth

This bachelor comes from a respected family and I already know his background and have liked him for years.  We have “fooled around a bit” in the past, but now that he has matured, I would like to get to know him again.

https://docs.google.com/present/view?id=dhn2vcv5_175fp5qg9d3 has twenty-five ideas on how to better use Google earth, one of which I can do right now.  I am currently reading Stephanie Meyer’s “Twilight”, so I played around a bit and got some street views of several of the places mentioned in the novel (I cannot believe she didn’t make up names!).  Recruits would have fun with this “geotagging” aspect of GE, and could put images into their presentations of novels during lit circle wrap ups, for instance.  Setting would be actually seen with the eyes, rather than just imagined in the brain.


Reflections on the “dating scene” of multimedia and presentation sites:

It must come as no surprise that I have had very limited experience with web-based multimedia presentation tools.  It was challenging to limit the number of tools to explore, but to take the necessary time to explore in-depth as well.  This process will be continuous over my next several years as a classroom teacher and parent, as my own little pilots foray further into web tools. 

It is nice to be able to show others what I have found so far in the course, and to suggest tools that might help them.  Recently, I suggested several social bookmarking sites to a friend taking some coursework, and a photosharing site to my sister who is getting married next week.  I know that several of the presenting tools explored in this post will become recommendations as well. 

There were so many sites that I could have visited!  So many “mashups” to be created!  Eric Schnell (2007) says: “The potential combinations of data sources that can be used in creating a mashup are virtually as limitless as the number of information resources available on the web.” The key is to allow students to explore on their own and to show me the end results.  Although I had difficulty embedding several sites into WordPress, I will be sure to lead them to Animoto, Slideshare and Prezi, (even though I had a somewhat negative experience there) and mention the others.  It was certainly an experience meeting all the “Bachelors” and my instruction of the “recruits” can only benefit because of it. 

Finally, I hope that if/when I secure a position as a TL, that I have many opportunities to use these tools.  Booktalks, novel studies, author bios, setting mapping…and more can be enhanced by their use.  There is little or no use of any web-based tools at my current site, so it is difficult to make reference to whether they are working in the school at this moment, but luckily the administration is pro technology and we have access to computers on a regular basis.  I plan on integrating these tools into my English and Drama classes over the next few months and introducing the results to my staff.  Hopefully through being a leader in this area, many of our students will become familiar with the many resources the internet has to offer in their future educational and personal lives.

Looks like I have my next mission, commander!


Static Resources:

Richardson, W. (2006). Blogs, wikis and podcasts. Thousand Oaks, California: Corwin Press. (As a Kindle download from Amazon – note: no page numbers available to use for direct quotes)

Schnell, Eric. (2007) Mashups and web services.  In Nancy Courtney (Ed), Library 2.0 and beyond: Innovative Technologies and tomorrow’s user (pp. 35-48). Westport, CT: Libraries Unlimited.

Websites visited:





One comment

  1. Brilliant theme!

    “but less choice is sometimes better.” True!

    Suggestions: use Vodpod to embed Animoto et al. into WordPress.

    “Slideshare is a good planet for storage and for showcasing artistic creations, which is the primary reason I have recruits make them in Fine Arts.” – ah yes – portfolio usage!

    Oh, I’m glad you thought to explore Bubbl. The best part is you can make your bubbles explode (yeah, I’m easily entertained).

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