Poll Everywhere is a feature packed web based response system. Not only is there a free web based version, but you can respond using standard SMS or Twitter. The results are displayed live in your browser or within Powerpoint.

Below are two live polls you can access to see exactly how Poll Everywhere works. One is a multiple choice example and the other is a free text polling example. You can vote by either of the three options shown.

Simple Text Message Voting | Poll Everywhere

Simple Text Message Voting | Poll Everywhere-2

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The purpose of the weekly Mining for Web 2.0 Technologies postings is to share favorite Web 2.0 technologies. Each week I will make a brief posting of one of my favorites hoping that you will respond with yours.

There are several Web 2.0 definitions being used, however for these postings it is simple:

Web 2.0 technologies are those that use the web to promote and provide collaborative opportunities.

Web 2.0 Mining #1 is TinyChat. TinyChat provides a means of creating a free and immediately available chat room. As you create your chat room you have several options available as shown in the image below.

TinyChat Controls

TinyChat Controls

Once created, the chat room will look similar to the one I created below.

Newly created chat room

Newly created chat room

You can start your broadcast at anytime. There is an option to personally invite attendees. As shown below you can decide whether you broadcast using your webcam, audio only, share your desktop, and even record the session.

Options

The TinyChat web site sums it up this way:

“Tinychat delivers dead simple video conferences without the extraneous ad-ons and inconvenience, making video conferencing an accessible, uncomplicated experience. It works on Windows, Mac and Linux; with Firefox, IE, Safari, and Chrome; and there is a version available for iPhones. You can have up to twelve people in a room with HQ video (200 via chat only), protected by passwords and moderators, share your desktop with them, and your conferences can be recorded and embedded on your website. But the best news is this — we can provide all of these awesome features in a package that is attractive, streamlined, and easy to understand. Tinychat is the ultimate meeting solution for those who want to meet without stress and hassle.”

Twitter is currently ‘the’ social, Web 2.0 craze (1382% yearly growth). Certainly not every social craze is worth investigating, but Twitter seems to be one that provides considerable value or worth to its many users.

Although a Twitter user since October 2007, it has just been the last year that I discovered Twitter Value. Here are five things that I feel have contributed to this value discovery:

  • Finding the right Twitter client
  • Following and being followed
  • Watching a Tweet Cloud
  • Watching a filtered Tweet stream
  • Trying it, trying it, trying it ……

Finding a Twitter client

The Twitter browser interface is not the best way to experience Twitter or to find Twitter Value. Once you begin following your tweep, the tweet flood starts and will appear to never end causing Tweet Exhaustion. One way to manage this is to parse your tweets into a manageable grouping. The best way to accomplish this functionality is to use a Twitter client like TweetDeck which runs on a Mac or PC or Nambu which is Mac only and also has an iPhone client or Seesmic Desktop which runs on a Mac or PC. Each one of these clients provides a way to display filtered tweets in a columnar fashion making it much easier to view the tweets.

TweekDeck, Seesmic Desktop, and Nambu each provide the following functionality:

  • a user defined filter by hash tags (#) or keywords which becomes a real-time filtered tweet-stream column until the user elects to remove
  • the ability to create groups
  • a column for all @replies or mentions
  • a column for direct messages

All but TweetDeck allow for multiple accounts. All but Seesmic have a Tweet Cloud.

Following and being followed

Followers (your Tweeps) are a critical part of the Twitter environment. Not only do you share with them, they all share with you. With engaged followers one has the ability to crowd-source asking for ideas, seeking help, etc.. The more followers you have that are engaged with your tweets, the more valuable crowd-sourcing becomes.

The best way to grow your followers is to follow people that have similar interests as you. Generally this will work because most people will return a follow with a follow. You can find people of similar interests by using search tools such as these:

http://www.twellow.com/

http://twitter.com/invitations/find_on_twitter

Another way to find the right tweeps is to search on a term of interest such as “academic technology” and then investigate some of the people that show up in this filtered Twitter stream by going to their Twitter homepage and looking at their current tweets. Follow the ones that look the most promising, hopefully they will follow you back.

Additionally value can be found is by following special users, these are users that do not normally share your personal interests, but they share information you are interested in. For example here is a list of Twitter accounts I follow:

  • @BreakingNews (Breaking News)
  • @TWCi  (Weather Channel)
  • @foxnews (Fox News)
  • @wsj

Here are a list of newspapers that use Twitter:

http://graphicdesignr.net/blog/2008/10/09/september-newspapers-that-use-twitter/

Here is a list of health or medical uses of Twitter:

http://medicalstudentblog.co.uk/twitter-top-100-health-and-medicine/

Here is a list of universities on Twitter:

http://twitter.pbwiki.com/Universities

Here is a list of government agencies on Twitter:

http://twitter.pbwiki.com/USGovernment

Here is a list of Police and Fire services on Twitter:

http://twitter.pbwiki.com/PoliceAndFire

Watching a Tweet Cloud

With TweetDeck and Nambu a word cloud made up of Twitter words is available. This is a great way to keep up with what is happening news wise or what is being shared via Twitter in real-time. The actual Tweet can be viewed just by clicking on a word in the Tweet Cloud. Tweet You can also watch a current Tweet Cloud at http://www.twitscoop.com.

Watching a filtered Tweet stream

Creating a Tweet stream of a filtered term or terms that you are interested in will provide a focused column of tweets. All the Twitter clients previously mentioned have this functionality. This will also expose potential Tweeps of interest that can also be followed.

Trying it, trying it, trying it ……

The final thing that can be done to find Twitter Value is being a persistent user even when value has not been realized. It will take a while to realize ways that Twitter can bring value in your particular case and it will take time to gain enough followers to be useful to you. The only way to accomplish this is being active on Twitter. Give it a try!

I am currently designing two new and very specialized rooms for our university. One of those rooms is called the Teaching & Learning Center (T&LC) which is for faculty use only. An instructional technologist oversees the T&LC and works with faculty to incorporate new and appropriate technologies into their pedagogies. Faculty can come to the T&LC where they will be exposed to the latest technologies and they can find help in creating content.

The T&LC has several workstations for faculty in addition to two sound-proof recording rooms equipped for creating video and/or audio podcasts or to do audio/video editing. There is also an area for reading and studying along with several LCD panels that will have continual podcasts or tutorials running. One LCD panel will be dedicated to a Twitter feed filtered for educational technology tweets.

The other room in called an Innovator’s Room and will be used by faculty to innovate their pedagogy. This will be done by allowing faculty to reserve the Innovator’s Room for a semester which means the Innovator’s Room is in their control for that class period all semester. Once the semester is over the faculty member will share with other faculty what worked well and what did not.

The Innovator’s Room will be equipped with modular furniture, including the podium that has all the control sytems embedded, and it can be configured however the faculty member prefers. Three of the four walls will have ceiling to floor whiteboards with eBeam units being using to turn different parts of the whiteboard into smart-boards thereby allowing electronic capture. There will be  four ceiling projectors that will be used in several ways along with two-way video and wireless mic options.

room-332-333-no-ceilingskp-sketchup-1-1

room-332-333-no-ceilingskp-sketchup-2

If you have any suggestions on improving these rooms, please leave me a comment. Thanks.

Evernote is one of those applications that when discovered, you get all geeky excited. Evernote is a capture and document archival system that works with your mobile phone (iPhone version), your desktop and your browser (you get a free web account that syncs with all the other devices) and there are both a Windows version and Mac OS X version. 

Evernote is organized in a way to allow one to store captured or archival information into a series of notebooks. Captures can be sent directly to an Evernote notebook (folder like), documents can be printed to Evernote in PDF format, or new notes/documents can be created from scratch within Evernote. You can store images, documents, web pages and page captures easily in Evernote and find them by searching for them at any time.

evernote3

One of the coolest things I discovered about Evernote was its ability to capture using the iPhone camera. Often when I am in meetings and much of the discussion is on the whiteboard, I take out my iPhone and use Evernote to capture the writing on the board. Not only have I captured writing, but it becomes searchable in EvernoteEvernote has a phenomenal OCR engine. Look at the example below. The first image is an iPhone Evernote capture of writing on a whiteboard. Following that image is an image using the same file capture  in which I did a search for the word “pipeline”. Notice it found it. Amazing OCR capabilities!

evernote1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

evernote-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Evernote is a most handy tool and one side benefit is it automatically syncs with all Evernote devices.

There is a new online office suite in town, Live Documents. What seems to set Live Documents apart from other online office-like applications is that you can use it online or offline depending on your need at the time. According to the web site:

“Our delivery model is unique – a new way that merges the richness and responsiveness of desktop software with the collaborative capabilities of web-based service to create a user experience that is congruent on both the browser and desktop.”

Live Documents “gives the choice of using either the desktop or the browser as your platform of choice and what’s more, switch seamlessly between the two at any point of time without having to sacrifice the benefits of one model for the advantages of the other.

You can create, view, edit and share documents on your desktop or your browser and your documents are automatically synchornized across both platforms without requiring any manual overheads. And if you happen to offline at any point of time, you can still open and edit your documents on your desktop – all the changes that you make are automatically cached and pushed to the server the next time you go online.”

To use Live Documents all is needed is a free account. Currently only the Presentation product is available. Give it a try and let us know what you think about it.

live-presentations-the-best-presentation-software-online-or-offline

The Pulse  is truly a revolutionary handwriting capture tool. Not only does the Pulse capture what you write, it also links audio to it! How cool is that? This means you can take notes in class and at the same time capture the lecture. You can then replay any part of the lecture by just tapping the area of interest in your notes.

A nice video demo can be found here as well as the specs on this sleek tool.

A few minor drawbacks:

  • the battery is not replaceable
  • the Pulse uses Livescribe’s specially printed paper (however it is possible to print your own paper)
  • ink cartridges must come from Livescribe

pulse