30 January 2008


I've been trying to learn how to use Wink, a freeware program.
Wink is a Tutorial and Presentation creation software, primarily aimed at creating tutorials on how to use software (like a tutor for MS-Word/Excel etc). Using Wink you can capture screenshots, add explanations boxes, buttons, titles etc and generate a highly effective tutorial for your users.

I first saw Wink in operation at my former school's website. The teacher librarian who replaced me has created a great tutorial on how to use EBSCOhost to locate a magazine article. An excellent and useful tutorial.
I'd like to create a tutorial for using Moodle for WEMTA's Battle of the Books.

23 January 2008

Zoho Sheet (Continued)

Collaboration will work. After we discovered that an incorrect email address was being used by one of the collaborators and a telephone call while using the application, I can now say that it's going to be so awesome.

Here's how:

The first person to send a Share Invite is the author. The invitee receives an email with a link to the sheet and the sheet appears in your Shared With Me folder. You can then open the sheet and make additions, edits, etc. We found that the author doesn't see the change/s until you Share-Notify Author. The author receives an email with a link and now has any changes you have made.

We also found out that chat is available if more than one user is online at the same time. Really cool.

Today's School Libraries

"Today's Library: A fun look at the schools library and how it has changed over the years."
The Henrico County (Va.) Public Schools recently produced this informative look at what school library media centers and media specialists can do to teach 21st-century literacy skills. Remixing a 1940s-era librarian vocational film with interviews with middle-school and high-school information specialists, teachers, and students, Today’s Library is an entertaining showcase of the importance of professional librarians in the educational process....
Henrico County (Va.) Public Schools Video Vault

22 January 2008

Zoho Sheet

I've been working with Zoho Sheet recently. I work with WEMTA's Battle of the Books - HS committee and it's time to start selecting titles for the 2009 Battle. I had explored Zoho Sheet last summer and I remembered it when it came time to begin developing our recommendations list. There are a few of us that compile the list and narrow it down for Battle advisors and teams to voice their opinion of the titles in April 2008. So what better way to use this online application to collaborate on this list rather than sending the xls sheet back and forth and back, etc.

Some tips for working with ZohoSheet:

  • If you are a PC MS Office user, you need to download the Zoho plugin for Microsoft Office. It's a real time saver that allows one to save a local copy and work offline in xls and then sync the revisions with Zoho.

  • If you work directly in Zoho, take your time... edits are automatically saved, but depending upon activity on the site's server, they are not always simultaneous.

  • There is not any online help...so checkout the forums and blogs for how to help. I posed a question and was answered withing 24 hours. Great response time.

Invites to share a sheet are easy to send, but I'm still waiting to see how this collaboration actually takes place. Hopefully, one of my collaborators will be able to work on it this evening, so I'll be able to see.

12 January 2008

Another SmartLink

I just finished another book, Evil Genius, by Catherine Jinks. I really enjoyed this book, though at first, I was wondering if it would be an appropriate read for our WEMTA Battle of the Books for next year. A lot of the action takes place in a "school" designed to train the world's future criminal leaders with such subjects as the philosophy of evil, the art of disguise, how to get around the law, embezzlement, forgery, and other criminal actions. The main character, Cadel Piggott, has a genius IQ and is a lonely young boy who begins to question the morality of his actions, the adults in his life, and the school after he makes an online friend. It's another YA book that appears on best book lists including Teenreads Best Books of 2007 and School Library Journal's Best Books of 2007. (Above I linked the title to LibraryThing, but no SmartLink appears)

Evil Genius (Link to GoogleBooks)
Evil Genius (Link to Barnes&Noble)

10 January 2008


Have you seen this launcher arrow before? Though much smaller, it sometimes appears next to a link for the title of a book, movie, or song. I just noticed it when I printed a list of books from the cybils blog. The blue arrow appeared in the printed document and I thought, "oh, it's just an image that didn't come thru." So I went back to cybils blog and clicked on the launcher and what do you know? A "BlueScreen" popped up with links to more info about the title. Here's an example of book BlueScreen for The Dip by Seth Godin.

Then I went to the AdaptiveBlue site and learned more about SmartLinks. The overall goal of "AdaptiveBlue is developing personalization technologies that leverage semantics and attention. " SmartLinks make your own links to books, movies, music, or stocks more useful by automatically linking to relevant and related websites.

I guess that I understand the purpose of SmartLinks, but I'm not sure how to actually use them here. I installed SmartLinks, so I'll experiment a bit.

I just finished reading Tamar by Mal Peet. It has appeared on several 2007 Best books lists including Booklist's Editor's Choice: Books for Youth and School Library Journal's Best Books of 2007 It's a great suspenseful read, though, I had figured out part of the ending ahead of time. WWII underground operations in the Netherlands came alive while reading this book. (I got it to work after linking the title to Amazon. I'll have to find out which other sites the SmartLink is created for.)

01 January 2008


As you may know I have been exploring applications from The Collaborative Web pageflake. Here's the final application I have left to examine.

With JayCut you can upload media (videos and photos) from your camera, webcam, or mobile phone. JayCut's mixer allows you to edit unwanted portions, add captions, add sounds or music to your video clips and photos and create a materpiece or "mix." Once you have created your mix you can then share, export, or embed into your website or blog.

Watch this Jaycut mix, Creating a Mix 101, for a brief explanation of the editing process. (I've tried to embed the actual JayCut video, but it's not working. I think perhaps Blogger doesn't support a flash video.)

Here's a great review of JayCut by Josh Catone of ReadWriteWeb with more technical information. I haven't actually tried to create a mix yet, so I thought you should hear from someone who has.

Well, it's awhile later and I've tried to create a mix. Since I haven't done video editing before, it took me some time to sort of understand why there are two video tracks and how to transition and add effects. I wouldn't say that I have created a masterpiece. See for yourself, here.

Thinkature (revised)

Here's another tool from The Collaborative Web.

Thinkature is a collaborative VISUAL workspace that can be marked up and chatted in using synchronous communication. You can place images and text in the workspaces and connect them in real time. The homepage's workspace is live so you can experience how easy it is to create, move, edit, draw and connect your ideas. Thinkature's workspace reminds me of the UPS television commercials.

When I go back and think about some of the other collaborative tools I have explored I think that each could have a different use. Mindmeister uses text to create a visual map with real time collaboration. I liked Mindmeister as a mapping tool and I could see it used as a tool by a teacher in a classroom discussion. Writeboard is definitely a collaborative writing tool. It is does not allow real time collaboration, however, I can see Writeboard being used to create a collaborative document, i.e. long range plan, which may not need a lot of real time collaboration. Backpack and Stu.dicio.us are two online tools where note taking, to do lists, images, etc. can be shared with others, though, not in real time. These two applications seem to be individual organizational tools which could be shared with peers. Thinkature is a real time tool that could best be used for brainstorming, laying out a new organizational chart, creating a floor plan, planning tool, etc.

New Year

Photo by jithon
What's your new year's resolution?