instructional technology

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


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.


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.”

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.



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.


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!



















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.


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


SimplyBox is an online tool that allows you to collect and organize parts of web pages (called items) that you find important and want to share with others. Each collection of items becomes a box and each box can contain items on any subject/category you want. 

SimplyBox also works well with other social tools such as: Facebook, Google, YouTube, Blogs, etc. 

SimplyBox does not work with Safari yet, but plans are that it will soon. Once you begin using SimplyBox it installs a toolbar as seen below:




According to the SimplyBox Blog:

“SimplyBox can play different roles in education. For some it is a fantastic research tool. For others it enhances virtual learning/tutoring. Students like it for writing papers. But what many educators are telling us is that the biggest value our solution offers is the improvement in the learning collaboration between teacher and student.”

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