Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Searching and Sharing Made Interesting and Easy

A couple of weeks ago, I was introduced to a couple of great Web 2.0 tools that I think would be great in a classroom and might make a teacher's life a little easier and maybe a student's interest level increase.

I don't know about you, but I'm always looking for search engines that make web searching a little more interesting than text based links. But I'm also looking for time savers when it comes to finding web pages. I really like this new tool called SpaceTime 3D. Those of you who have used Cooliris will know what I am talking about. Cooliris gives you the ability to search for photos from either Google images or Yahoo images galleries and present them in 3D format. You can move your mouse over the photos and scroll through a list with one click, rather than having to go each page and view an image individually. It's a great add-on in Firefox and a great resource for searching images fast and easy, but I digress.

I did a quick search for Credenda Virtual in the SpaceTime and this is what came up for an image. What this search engine does is loads a number of pages in sequence that the searcher can scroll through without having to go to each page individually.

To get a larger view, just click on the above image. But this hopefully gives you an idea of the potential of a tool like this. Now a drawback might be bandwidth issues. Because it pre-loads the web pages in the background it does use up more bandwidth.

Another feature SpaceTime 3D offers is a separate browser that can be downloaded and used outside of Firefox, IE, or Safari. With this browser, you can save your searches and go back and forth between stacked search windows.

I see how youth are attracted to images and I think that this search engine may increase the levels of engagement for students. For myself, I really get tired of browsing through pages of searches to find what I am looking for. I've used add-on tools like SearchPreview in Firefox, because I want to see a snapshot of what the search list has found so I don't have to visit one page at a time and which can be a huge time-waster. So this is one tool that was shared with me recently, that I thought be of some value in our classroom.

The other Web 2.0 tool is LiveBinder. Wow. What a great tool! I recently completed a digital portfolio for myself and this tool really impressed me and worked well at placing all my webpages, videos, and resources that I have created in Wikispaces, Ning, LinkedIn in one hosted environment. Imagine a tool that will allow your students to work in groups and create different media resources that they can place in one location and share with other group members or with the teacher.

Some of the features include:

  • View URL links within a binder page
  • Upload Word docs, or PDF's that are embedded in the a page
  • Create tabs and subtabs for organizing information
  • Upload media: Quicktime, SWF, and more into a page
  • Use it for classroom presentations
  • Build a library of resources for students to access
  • Create group projects to share with other group members

Here's a quick overview of LiveBinders for Teachers.

Once you've created your LiveBinder, you can share it our by email, Twitter, Facebook, or embed it like I'm doing here. Check it out.

Pretty cool, Eh? Can you tell I'm Canadian? Hope you enjoy this quick tour in my LiveBinder. It's just a smattering of some of the work I have done in the past year, and work I continue to do. Check it out.
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