The Instructional Design Interest Group (IDIG) had a “Web 2.0 Smack Down” on productivity tools during their bi-monthly “Greet and Grow” meeting on Sept. 25, 2012 at 3:30 in Poe 512. Attendees shared useful web applications and discussed their potential uses in educational settings. Below is an overview of what was presented during the meeting.
You can also watch a Mediasite recording of the meeting.
Patty Brown – Readability and Picasa
Patty Brown, Instructional Designer for the Biomanufacturing Training and Education Center (BTEC), shared information a personal productivity tool called Readability, which allows you to download “cleaned up” versions web pages for reading on your computer, smartphone, or tablet. You can add it to your browser for free, or download a free app.
Brown also showed how she uses Picasa to create a gallery with certain images that are open to the world. However, others requested access to all of BTEC’s albums. These images are identified by lecture and number, subject, location, provenance, and usage rights.
Bethany Smith – Diigo, Widgetbox, Tiki-Toki, and lino
Bethany Smith, Director of the College of Education’s Media, Education and Technology Resource Center (METRC), shared an online productivity tool she uses called Diigo. Diigo makes you more productive with web research and information sharing. If you are teaching, you can create groups of students to do research or collect information on a topic and share with the group – including annotations and sticky notes. Having previously used Delicious, she was able to transition easily by importing her bookmarks into Diigo. She also has Twitter and Moodle tied together, so that everything she adds to her favorites on Twitter is automatically saved to her Diigo bookmarks. Take a tour of Diigo to learn more.
Smith also demonstrated some uses of Widgetbox, which allows you to make a widget out of anything. She showed an example: a Pinterest widget for the teaching materials she puts on her Pinterest board.
Next, she showed a web-based timeline creation tool called Tiki-Toki that allows multimedia embedding. In an activity, she had each student create a timeline of what he/she considered the 10 most important events leading to the development of the Internet. Dippity was recommended as an alternative timeline tool.
The last thing Smith shared was lino, a virtual note and photo sharing board. She uses it in her course’s opening activity where students post responses to introductory course questions in the form of sticky notes on a board for all students to see.
Cleo Manuson – Jing, Acrobat X, and DELTA Online Course Quality Review
Cleo Magnuson, Instructional Designer for DELTA, recommended some different approaches to giving students feedback. She suggested using a screencasting program called Jing, which is free for recordings of five minutes or less. She demonstrated integrating Jing into the Moodle Assignment tool to give feedback. Another tool that she recommends for providing feedback is Adobe Acrobat X Pro. She has created tutorials for using both programs, and they can be accessed in the full DELTAwire article about providing feedback in an online course.
She also discussed a new page on the DELTA website that describes the DELTA Online Course Quality Review service available for online components of blended courses or fully online courses. Using an adapted approach to the Quality Matters™ Rubric (2011-13 HE Edition), instructional designers evaluate the strengths of a course’s components and suggest improvements through an Action Plan for the faculty member to use.
Andy Click – Wordle
Andy Click, Technology Support Technician for DELTA, discussed word clouds and their potential applications. He recommended using Wordle to create word clouds. This filters a collection of words through an engine to make a visual representation where more frequent words are larger. According to Andy, these can be used as a road map to the main points of a large body of text. He also suggested using word clouds to identify overused words or use as a decoration for course banners. Other recommended word cloud creators were ABCYA for its visual design qualities and Teagxedo for creating of word clouds arranged into image-based shapes.
Cathi Phillips – Tumblr
Cathi Phillips, Instructional Designer for DELTA, explained how using Tumblr solved the instructional challenge of replicating the experience of a face-to-face lab for a Robotics course she worked on. In it, students needed to upload images, video, and text of their progress in building their robots. She explained how and why Tumblr was used in the course. Likened to a simplistic form of blogging, Tumblr has a user interface that makes uploading and commenting simple and easy.
Dede Nelson – Scribblar
Dede Nelson, Instructional Designer for NC State, demonstrated Scribblar, a free interactive whiteboard. With it, you can upload PowerPoint, Word, or PDF files and annotate them. Scribblar is object oriented, so you can move things around or modify them individually. It features a LaTeX editor for mathematical equations and supports Wolfram|Alpha. It also allows you to save live sessions including text chat and actions.
The Instructional Design Interest Group was created as a way to bring together faculty and staff who have interests in the different aspects of instructional design including layouts, best practices, useful tools for learning and assessment.
Find out more about the Instructional Design Interest Group and see the calendar of upcoming meetings at the DELTA web page.