Twitter Assignments

We find that a lot of instructors want to incorporate new technologies into their curricula as a way to engage students with tools that they’re comfortable with and would understand but aren’t always sure how to do that, particularly for tools the instructors themselves may not use on a regular basis.  Take Twitter.  When Twitter launched, people jumped out of their chairs, pointed at it and exlaimed, “That’s it! The next big thing!”  It clearly had potential.  The only problem was…no one knew for what. That’s still a problem for many people.  “Sure,” they think, “I could use Twitter…but I don’t know what I’d use it for. Especially not in the classroom.”

And while there are reports here and there of faculty using Twitter as a way to send messages to their students, or to receive questions or feedback from their students, actually using Twitter itself as a model for a class lesson is much less common.  However, it can be done and it can be done very well.

While surfing comments on the news aggregator community Reddit, I came across a link someone posted, a screenshot of an assignment that (supposedly, anyway) their History professor had given them.  I thought it was such an interesting and fun assignment that I had to post it.  Click here to read the assignment.

What will instructors think of next?  No, really–I’d like to know!

EmbedPlus Adds Extra Video Controls to YouTube Embeds

Embedding YouTube videos is a pretty useful feature, but it only gives you basic player controls. With EmbedPlus, you can start your videos at a certain time, skip self-defined chapters, add annotations, zoom, and more to tweak the video to your liking.

If you’re sharing your own video, you probably don’t need anything extra, but when you share other people’s videos, sometimes you want to tweak the video—start it at a certain point, ignore more boring parts of the video, or just add notes to the video to get your point across. YouTube doesn’t let you do this, but free service EmbedPlus adds these and some other pretty neat features to YouTube embeds.

To embed a YouTube video with EmbedPlus, just grab the YouTube link of the original video you want to share, paste it into EmbedPlus, and tweak the size, start time, and scene markers for your video. It’ll give you a new embed code that you can paste into your blog, PowerPoint, or another social network. Hit the link to check it out.

[via lifehacker]

Issuu

Issuu is a digital publishing platform that is used by a large number of publishers to publish their magazines, catalogs, and newspapers. Issuu includes an inbuilt exceptional browser that allows for life like browsing of magazines. It also includes an ability to download a published document in PDF format. Issuu allows the publication of a large number of documents. It boasts, as of date, 33 million monthly readers with over 2.4 billion impressions a month and nearly 250, 000 new publications per month. Issuu has won various awards including being one of the TIMES top 50 websites of 2009 alongside such websites as Google, Flickr, Facebook.

Issuu implements a highly realistic and customizable viewing of publications which includes items such as portfolios, books, magazine issues, newspapers, catalogues, brochures, reports and various other print media. Issuu integrates itself with various social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter to promote publications uploaded onto its website. The publications on Issuu can be viewed online and downloaded if allowed. The view itself of the publication is animated with page flips and can be easily viewed in any web browser on a full screen. It is an immensely popular website that also allows users to engage with the publications and publishers thus allowing the publishers to build and increase their audience. Continue reading

SlideRocket brings web presentations to iPhone and iPad with HTML5

Since the dawn of time, traveling professionals have sought easier ways to present on the go. Pico projectors! Netbooks! Converting presentations to video to show them on iPhones! Then there was Keynote on the iPad, and it was good. Not great, however: presenters with libraries of PPT content have had to convert them over, and keeping your decks up to date with the latest and greatest from the sales department is a drag. Wouldn’t it be better and easier if there was a nice cloud-based solution that played well with Mobile Safari?

Enter SlideRocket’s new HTML5 player; the freemium web service now supports playing back (not editing) presentations on iPhone, iPad and iPod touch with full-screen video, a handful of good-looking builds and transitions, and all the analytics and version control you want. While the normal SlideRocket player requires Flash or AIR to show content, this one works fine without them. Continue reading

Draw on and Annotate Any Web Site

The Markup.io bookmarklet turns any web page into a whiteboard where you can draw, type notes, and easily share your annotations with others.

From any web page, click the Markup.io bookmarklet to get started. Markup.io’s editing tools are layered over the site and you can draw shapes, create text notes, and alter the size of text, borders, and lines. When you’re done you simply click Publish and share the URL with your friends, coworkers, or anyone else you want to share your annotations with. Anyone who visits the link can view your notes and choose to respond, either layering their notes over yours or creating a fresh MarkUp. The people you share the link with don’t need to have the bookmark, Markup.io gives them a quick summary of what’s going on, invites them into the editing process, and automatically loads the Markup.io editing tools.

[via Lifehacker]

 

iDevice Bookmarklets

If you’re a fan of bookmarklets (as I am) and also have an iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch (which I do), this may interest you!

First, what exactly are bookmarklets?

A bookmarklet is a small JavaScript program that can be stored as a URL within a bookmark in most popular web browsers, or within hyperlinks on a web page. Because Microsoft Internet Explorer uses the term favorites instead of bookmarks, bookmarklets are also less commonly called favlets or favelets.

Bookmarklets can be saved and used like normal web page bookmarks. Therefore, they are simple “one-click” tools that can add substantial functionality to the browser. For example, they can:
▪ Modify the way a web page is displayed within the browser (i.e., change the font size, background color, etc.).
▪ Extract data from a web page (i.e., hyperlinks, images, text, etc.).
▪ Jump directly to a search engine, with the search term(s) input either from a new dialog box, or from a selection already made on a web page.
▪ Submit the page to a validation service. [via wordiQ]

If you sync your bookmarks from Safari onto your iDevice, you can simply add the bookmarklets that way.  For those of us who do not sync Safari bookmarks, technologist Chris Bray has a solution.  From his site:
I took a few minutes to copy the Javascript from all my bookmarklets and made this iPhone/iPad formatted page with all the Javascript in a selectable textarea for each bookmarklet. This way I could open up the page on my gadgets, and in about 5 minutes have all of my important bookmarklets loaded into Safari on both my iPad and my iPhone.

I know this is far from ideal, and even further from anything resembling a solution, but until some smart person comes up with a way around this, or until Apple adds some better bookmark management or add-on capabilities to mobile Safari this will have to do for now.

To access the javascript and read the step-by-step instructions, visit his webpage using Safari on your iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch:

They are relatively easy to add and will always be available until you delete them.  This way, you have an incredibly easy way to share a page on Facebook, add a note to Evernote, or shorten a URL with bit.ly!

New Google Docs

I don’t know how we missed this update, but on April 15th, Google debuted an updated Google Docs editor with real-time collaboration!  One of the biggest issues people have had with Google Docs is that it takes a little while for the edits to show up on the collaborators’ screens.  Not anymore!  It now updates in real-time, similar to Google Wave.

Check out Google’s blog for more information and instructions on how to enable this and other new features: A rebuilt, more real time Google documents