Friday, July 11, 2008

Re-visiting old sites.

Well... when I say "old", some are fairly new. :-) What I mean is, I'll be using this post to look again at some sites I'd looked at in the past but have now realised that I missed something, have discovered they can do something new, or got excited again about the educational potential.

This post was prompted by an item from Terry Freedman - Increasing the conversation. He talks (among other things) about using Seesmic to post two minute video tips. I think I had come across Seesmic before but after watching Terry, I decided to go and try it out for myself. You can go to Seesmic and see the results of my experiments so far, or just watch my first attempt below:
It has to be said that while recording videos and sending replies is very easy, the interface is more than a little rough. Finding your way about is tricky to say the least. However, a final plus point is that the community seems very responsive. For example, within minutes of me complaining that you couldn't delete video, someone had posted a reply telling me how to do it.

Also, thanks to Terry's post, I found my way to Tom Barrett's blog and from there to Tom's Seesmic videos. I watched him talking about VoiceThread in a video about Online Collaboration. I thought VoiceThread was about annotating videos but I had obviously got it confused with a completely different site (which I will need to look up again too). I had played briefly with VoiceThread last year and clearly thought it had potential (I posted a Powerpoint presentation and a picture of a computer lab in October 2007) but never got around to using it with students. That's something I'll need to put right next session. However, the most interesting thing about Tom's post was his ideas for using VoiceThread as a way of encouraging peer assessment. Brilliant!

Finally, and I'm not sure how I got to it from Terry and Tom's stuff, somehow I ended up at Picnik. I used to use Picnik (a free, reasonably powerful, online photo editing application) to edit many of my Flickr photos but since it was integrated into Flickr, I have not been back to the main Picnik site. This was clearly a mistake. The Flickr version of Picnik still has a number of effects and tools that are labelled as Premium - that is, you have to take out a paid subscription to Picnik before you can use them. However, I discovered that the Picnik website is now advert supported and you can access features that were previously only for Premium users. You can see the results of me playing with these tools in my Guitar Hero Polaroid here, as well as in my HDR-ish landscape and in my Orton-ish flower. Quick, easy and free - brilliant!

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John said...

Hi David,
I was writing about picnik yesterday too. My class used it a couple of times last session, it seemed to work well for 10 year olds once we had got round a network problem or two.

I ran up a quick screencast of picnik for openSourceCPD it is on the Picnik page might be of interest although picnik is so easy to use it doesn't need much explaination.

Chris said...

Thanks for the link to the Picnik site - I've been using it on flickr to tidy up squint horizons, but didn't realise the fun stuff on the site itself. More time wasted ...