Qwiki – Great Presentation Tool for Teachers


Qwiki is a fairly new web tool that allows creators to make short, 2- minute presentations, incorporating many different types of web media along with a video, audio or text narration you create.

“Qwiki is very simple to use. Sign up for an account (it will be by invitation only for the next two weeks), decide what topic you want to make a Qwiki about, and then add up to six pieces of media — images, video, a Google map, etc. You can also add text to those image-heavy assets and then record a video narration to string together a visual, multimedia story.”

I found out about Qwiki in May and started using it in some of my classes. It’s an interesting and quick way to present information. When I have used QWIKIS, students have told me they enjoyed them because they were fast and got the message across using a lot of media formats they were used to seeing online.

In the post I’ve included a three part tutorial on how to create a Qwiki. I’ve also embedded a few Qwikis I have created and how I used them in my class.

QWIKI Tutorial




My Qwiki Channel

Play the Qwiki: Kevin’s Qwiki Channel

How Other Media Outlets Use Qwikis




How I’ve Used it in My Class

Google Drive Is Here


Google Drive has finally be released. Didn’t know it was even coming, that could be because you aren’t glued to your computer like I am. :)

So what is Google Drive. It’s Goggle getting into cloud storage. With Google Drive you get 5 gig of space in the Googlesphere (is that a word) and can upload whatever you want using it as a hardrive in space, then share it and work collaboratively if you choose. Drive is also tied to your Google Docs account, in fact, it  actually replaces Google Docs. All your files will remain but now instead of being stored in Google Docs, its called Google Drive.

But the cool thing is, like with DropBox, you can syn all your Google Drive content on multiple machine by loading the Google Drive Application to your computer. This is great news. Say you need to edit a paper but do not have internet access…just head over to your Google Drive folder on your computer, and all your files are right there. Edit away, and then when you have internet access again, Google Drive will sync all versions of the file automatically.

So why use Drive and not just stick with DropBox or whoever you are using for cloud storage? One really powerful feature of Google Drive is that it employs Google Search when you are looking for something in your Google Drive. So you could search for a name and it will look through the files, the text in the files, or the names of the files. Very cool. Another reason I am thinking of migrating to Google Drive is that its a Google product. I work in what was Google Docs a lot, so this would allow me to move even more towards all my work and much of my personal content being in the cloud. Extra space is also cheap. For 30 bucks a year you can bump your account to 25gig, and in doing so Google gives you an additional 25gig for your mail account. As someone who gets a lot of large emails and is now using 30% of there Gmail storage, that’s another big draw. Lastly, this is Google. When someone with that much power enters a market things change, storage gets cheaper, more functions are delivered, and Google has the juice to do it.

The people over at Edumedic have one of the best how-to posts I’ve seen about Google Drive so far. Take a look for more info. 

Are you planning to use Google Drive, or switch from DropBox to Drive?

Summer Class and Technology











Forgive the ridiculous picture, it was a part of my thesis, and it seemed to fit. For my summer media communications class we are looking into how technology has changed various forms of communication. The topics include:

  1. How do we collaborate/communicate in class this summer
  2. How has social media changed the political landscape and empowered citizens to act.
  3. Books, Newspapers and Comic Books: Ink to Pixels
  4. TV and Movies: Diversity in Viewing Habits

I plan to have the students create blogs on WordPress.com and then post on these subjects after they have gone over the material I present. We will be using WordPress, Pinterest, and Twitter for the class. There will be no book, just media that I have collected along with a video lecture I will produce. I have been dying to try and create an iBook using Apple’s new software, but that will have to wait for a Fall class I’m teaching.

For example, for the political section of the class we will be focusing on how new media has helped groups speak out and allow their voices to be heard on a global scale. I have quite a bit of material for that and have added some of the content below.

Clay Shirky: How social media can make history

Clay Shirky: How cellphones, Twitter, Facebook can make history

Clay Shirky on what the government needs to know abut social media

Small Change
Why the revolution will not be tweeted.
by Malcolm Gladwell

The Political Power of Social Media

I’m excited about the class and am looking forward to sharing the experience with you on the blog. I will be posting weekly to detail how I am using the technologies and materials I have outlined above.

Your thoughts?

16 Ways Educators Use Pinterest


I came across this great infographic from OnlineUniversities.com, by way of Edudemic. It shows 16 different ways teachers are using Pinterest for education.

I plan on using Pinterest in a summer mini I’m teaching and am looking forward to using such a “new” tool in the class. I’ll be sure to post often about how its working in the class.

Is anyone else using Pinterest in the classroom? If so, how?

Other Post About Pinterest.

What is Pinterest
Pinterest Legal Issues
Pinterest Updates License Agreement

Paper.li – Read all about it


OK, maybe not all about it, not this post anyway. I am working on a much larger post to explain how to setup and use Paper.li, but I am in the beginning stages of using this interesting piece of technology and want to understand it more.

Anyone with a Twitter or Facebook account can log-in and create a paper. paper.li provides you with easy to use tools to select your content. You choose your content streams and can create queries and searches based on Twitter users, #tags, keywords, Facebook, your own Twitter timeline, Google+ users, RSS feeds and more.

So your paper is created from the search criteria you set. There are other ways to mark content you would like to see in your paper, but that I’ll leave for a different post.

Here is the paper that I am working on. I say working on because, like I said, I’m in the learning stages of how to search for the right keywords and how they appear. Its not hard, but I think to create a paper that has everything in it you want, you need to tweak it a bit.

My Paper – Digital Life

Google Docs…What to do.








So I just read this interesting post and free ebook over on Freetech4teachers.com, about Google Docs. I respect the educator that runs the blog and so when I saw that he creates 90% of his documents in Google Docs, I started to ask myself if I should be using it more. Currently I use it very infrequently and really only to upload a file I may need to access somewhere else.

I do use DropBox quite a bit, but you don’t create content in DropBox, you just store it. Google docs lets you create papers, presentations, and even forms that can be used for simple tests that you can give your students. You can then share this content with others, or you can collaborate on it with whoever you invite.

So I decided to give it a trail run and use it exclusively for an upcoming summer mini I am teaching. I did start working on the syllabus in Word, but I just uploaded the paper to Google Docs, created a folder titled COM316, and edited the syllabus slightly to get the hang of the word processor in Google Docs. It was simple and easy.

So I’ll be creating all my assignments, presentations and whatever other digital handout I need directly in Google Docs and share them with my students in the Summer mini, which is an online class. If all goes well I’ll start using it for other classes and then maybe for all my word processing. There’s something nice about the file being right there when you need it, online, on any computer you have access to. True, you need to have internet access to get at your work, but I’m trying to remember when I was somewhere while I was working that I didn’t. The other benefit it that you can access your work through your Ipad or Ipod and update papers you are working on. No need to purchase and download Pages.

How do you use Google Docs?



Pinterest – Updated Usage Policy


Well the change to Pinterest’s usage policy changed almost as fast as the site is growing. I’ve posted some articles about Pinterest and how their usage and copyright policies had made many people worried, to the point of deleting their accounts. The first article I read on the topic was from Jeff Dunn over at EDUDEMIC titled, “The Reason I Just Deleted My Pinterest Account“. After that a series of articles around the web started talking about Pinterest’s usage policies.

The fantastic thing is that they listened to their users. They saw there was a problem and tried to fix it. The new policy is a work in progress as a I believe it will change again as the site evolves. But the main concern, that users can be sued for pinning someones copyrighted work without citation, has been “fixed”. What will happen now is similar to what occurs on YouTube when a user posts copyrighted material. The user gets an email from YouTube, the video gets pulled, no harm, no foul. YouTube has the luxury of having an amazing system in place for determining if a uploaded file has copyrighted material in it, Pinterest will rely on a copyright holder contacting them with a complaint. If you have to many complaints and pulled images, your account gets canceled.

But will that happen. Will a print maker or photographer file a complaint. If a user downloads someones image and manipulates it and tries to pass it off as theirs, I would think so. But it would seem to me that like Facebook, artists and business can only be helped with millions of people looking at pictures that link back to their sites. I have bought 2 products and 1 poster from images I have re-pinned since I started using Pinterest. As long as the pinner isn’t saying they created the work or change it, why would an artist or business not want the free advertising?

Below are some great articles on the changes of Pinterest’s new policy. One of interest is an update from Jeff Dunn where he states he will start using Pinterest again, reversing his stance after that first article last month.

Why I’ll Start Using Pinterest Again After April 6th
Pinterest Updates Privacy Policy, Terms of Service

Previous Posts on Pinterest
How to Use Pinterest
Pinterest Copyright Concerns

Pinterest Legal Issues


I have to start off by saying that I’m starting to get addicted to Pinterest I’m a very visual person and Pinterest is all about the visuals. In a previous post I posted videos on how to set up an account and how to use Pinterest. Since then I usually take a portion of the day to explore the site for interesting images that lead to interesting sites. There is a large and diverse educational presence on Pinterest and I have found some interesting tech and ideas I plan on posting about in the future. Teachers are using it to find information, but they are also using it in their classes.

This post was going to be based on that topic, teachers using Pinterest in the classroom. But in doing research I came across some articles at The Daily Dot blog that talked about some troubling legal issue that may plague Pinterest and its users. In short, since you, the user are “pinning” images from sites that do not belong to you on your board, you could be held libel for copyright infringement. Pinterest’s site claims that if this happens, you are on your own. Yes, I’m paraphrasing, but that’s the gist of it. I am of course not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV.

Am I going to stop pinning, most likely not. I believe that all sites that revolve around sharing on the web have a period where their guidelines are finding their way towards what will make content owners and users of the service happy. So look for more articles on how you can use Pinterest in your classroom.

I have collected a number of excellent articles on this issue below. What are your thoughts on Pinterest?

Legal Issues
One of the first articles on the subject

A follow up from the above article





My Pinterest Boards – Growing Daily