On the Saturday before ISTE 2011, the CB&A team had the opportunity to attend EduBloggerCon in Philadelphia. Now in its fifth year, the all-day "unconference" is organized by Steve Hargadon, founder of Classroom 2.0, and designed for those interested in social media in education. Rather than determining the presenters and sessions ahead of time, the unconference is organized collaboratively in real-time by participants on-site. As an added bonus, EduBloggerCon is a free event for all.
After attending fascinating sessions on hot topics such as mobile technology, flipped classrooms and digital textbooks, the Web 2.0 Smackdown offered participants the opportunity to present their favorite Web 2.0 tool to the audience in two minutes or less. More than 30 online resources were shared in less than an hour, many of which I was not familiar with. Here are a few of my favorites from the Web 2.0 Smackdown:
Qwiki's goal is to improve the way people experience information. The company delivers information in a format that's quintessentially human - via storytelling instead of search. A recent article from EdReach called Qwiki the next best platform for digital storytelling. Qwiki highlights an "Education Qwiki of the Day" to support educators in the classroom. To see Qwiki in action, check out the page for Bacon (yum!).
Nota is a collaborative web platform that allows you to create, share and collaborate on presentations and other forms of online material. Users can integrate text, video, maps, clip art, and photos into a presentation, and then instantly embed their work in blogs or social networks to share and collaborate with friends. To watch a tour of Nota, visit http://notaland.com/about.
AnswerGarden is a minimalistic feedback tool. Educators can use it in the classroom to evaluate comprehension, or companies can employ it as a creative brainstorming tool. Users ask a simple question, and can share, export or embed to collect answers from participants. The answers are represented as a word cloud with the most popular responses shown in the largest typeface. A sample AnswerGarden is available here.
LucidChart provides online flowchart software that helps you communicate visually. The web-based platform offers a simple user interface with drag and drop functionality, in addition to a Community Library that features hundreds of examples uploaded by users. LucidChart also enables real-time collaboration, allowing colleagues to work on projects simultaneously. Several flowchart examples can be viewed here.
Scoop.it offers users the opportunity to "be the curator of your favorite topic." Visitors use the website to create topic-centric media by collecting gems among relevant social media streams, and publishing them to blogs or social media networks. Mashable named Scoop.it a promising curation tool and described it as "Tumblr without the blog." To view an education example on Scoop.it, go to The Best of Web 2.0.
If you're a fan of Flickr, you're going to love Tag Galaxy. After entering a search word, users are immediately transferred to a "galaxy" with the original word in the center, and associated ideas orbiting around it. When you click on the word in the center, a globe populates with pictures from Flickr that are tagged with that word. Click on one of the orbiting words and tags related to that word start to orbit as well.
Skloog is a bookmarking site that lets you create shortcuts to your favorite sites, bookmark pages that you would like to refer back to in the future, and organize and arrange all of this information for instant access. Unlike other bookmarking sites, Skloog enables you to arrange bookmarks into categories. To view a demo of Skloog, visit http://www.skloog.com/about.cfm.
Storybird is a service that makes it simple for families and friends to create short, visual stories together that they can share and print. The website reverses the process of storytelling by starting with the image and unlocking the story inside. Users choose an artist or theme, and then write a corresponding story. Storybirds can be shared through social networks, or printed. Sample Storybirds are available here.
oneword facilitates a simple writing exercise. One word is posted at the top of the screen, and users have sixty seconds to write about it. After the time has expired, what you wrote is emailed to you and posted online with contributions from others on the same word. The idea behind oneword is to encourage a writing flow.
The Week in Rap provides a weekly summary of news headlines in the form of a short rap video. The website was created by Flocabulary and is designed to engage teens in current events. To get the "rap" on this week's news, visit theweekinrap.com.
If you could attend the Web 2.0 Smackdown, what online tool would you share?