A quick trip over at one of my favourite sites, Interactive Narratives, lead me to VuVox, a Web 2.0 multimedia authoring tool that stole my attention for about a half an hour. There could be lots of useful applications of tools like this in higher ed, in particular where multimedia development resources might be stretched, or where there is a desire for students to tell a story, explain, show understanding, or even synthesize in a multi-layered, dynamic way. Robin Good provides a nice overview/how to on the tool
During my blogging hiatus, which corresponded with my move to the Canadian Polytechnic where I now am employed and a subsequent maternity leave (identical twins!!), I was jotting down on a post-it note new tools that I thought would be useful for instructors and students, but needed more time to explore. I came back to a very tidy cubicle (thank you tidyers) but no post-it. I’m trying to recall some of those tools, and bubbl.us came to mind. I remember liking bubbl.us because like my old standby, Gliffy, it passed the 2 minute test and the drag, drop, click interface works nicely. But bubbl.us is definitely more suited to concept mapping, since connections between ideas are automatically drawn . In the past I’ve taught an online distance course where a student assignment was to submit and share a concept map–we used CMap for this purpose, but it wasn’t as seamless as we had hoped. Bubbl.us would be a good replacement–a quick visit shows that the interface is even more intuitive than before, and the ability to collaborate with others (something we love to do in our constructivist-designed online courses) is a huge plus. The usual import and export features are there, and although I haven’t tested those recently, I’m pretty confident they work quite nicely–at the very least, it’s easy to find.
About 5 years ago I started a mental “wouldn’t it be nice if…” list of technologies/software that I wish existed. I’m still reeling from excitement at a tool that my colleague Paul here at Canadian Polytechnic just pointed me to–Manyeyes, since it’s one of those *better than I hoped* tools that I can scratch off my list. Manyeyes lets you simply convert data sets to visualisation tools, and in 2.0 spirit allows comments and discussion about the data. I’m still exploring, but just a quick look at the visualisation possibilities is educational in itself–clicking on the Learn More link leads to informative descriptions of when and how the corresponding visualisation is appropriate. This alone is well worth a visit from grad students trying to get a grip on qualitative and/or quantitative research methods and data presentation. However, ethics committees will probably want you to take a look at the Terms of Service, since it’s not really suited to data that is confidential.