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Considering Enterprise Version of CoveritLive

Recently the folks at CoveritLive (CiL) have announced an enterprise version of their product. Those who follow my blog know that I have used CiL in the past to blog events, such as presentations, etc… The enterprise version of CiL is free for education and so the CHSS is considering what options might be available to us in this regard and if this is an opportunity we want to consider.

This afternoon at 2:30pm EST I will be doing a run through of both the back end and front end of CiL with our CHSS Director of Technology Services, Milos Topic.

So come back to this blog at 2:30pm and just type a comment in the appropriate field below. You won’t see it now, but around 2:30pm when I “open” the event, then you will see a field for visitors to comment in.

http://www.coveritlive.com/index2.php/option=com_altcaster/task=viewaltcast/altcast_code=a53e310ab6

[UPDATE: Unlike Blogger, which allows iFrames, WordPress (.com, at least, not sure about .org) does not. So, unlike Blogger where the CoverItive session would appear right here inside the blog, you need to click the link above and it will open a separate window.]

Need help with video

I have dipped my toe in the pool of video making. I have several faculty members who will be using Second Life this semester and a request was made to produce a few “how to” videos the instructors can assign their students the first week of school. This way, when we meet as a group the second week they will be well on their way.

The first video to make is obviously how to sign up for an account. I’ll follow that up with how to change your password, how to down load the application to a computer (or flash drive), and how to navigate the start of NMC’s Orientation Island.

I’ve never made a machinima or video like this before. I’ve toyed around with doing it, but never actually tried to make a real nice one. So today, I set down to make a video of how to sign up for your account.

Here is the result:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YwJDQwMauA

This is what I did to create this video.

First, I downloaded Snapz Pro, the 14 day free trial, and shot the sign up process. I then imported the resulting .mov file into iMovie. I created the introduction, added the titles, music, sound effects, and then saved it. Then I SHARED it as a QuickTime file and saved that to my desktop. That is what I uploaded to YouTube.

The first time I did it I used the WEB option, but that was SO small, and unreadable, so I then saved it as WEB STREAMING. You see the result. The only other option I saw was “ORIGINAL”, which would have made the file too big to upload to YouTube.

I don’t know why it is so fuzzy. Any help anyone can provide would be greatly appreciated. We really need it to not be fuzzy and I have more to do for classes to start next week.

It would be useful to the community to post your comments here; however, if you’d prefer, you are welcome to email them to me directly.

Language, Race, and Power

Today I’ll be covering the MSU Center of Pedagogy 2009 Advance. We’re meeting in the 7th Floor Conference Center of University Hall on the campus of Montclair State University. See the LiveBlog below for details throughout the day AND you are invited to add your own comments, which will appear in the blog and, if you have questions, I’ll be able to ask them on your behalf.

http://www.coveritlive.com/index2.php/option=com_altcaster/task=viewaltcast/altcast_code=9305adcafb

[UPDATE: Unlike Blogger, which allows iFrames, WordPress (.com, at least, not sure about .org) does not. So, unlike Blogger where the CoverItive session would appear right here inside the blog, you need to click the link above and it will open a separate window.]

SnapSession – DimDim

For today’s SnapSession I’ve decided to look into DimDim. DimDim is a web based collaboration tool. According to their main splash page, you can – “Host web conferences for up to 20 people free.” and they claim its the “worlds easiest web conference – lets you deliver synchronized live presentations, whiteboards, and web pages while sharing voice and video over the Internet – with no download required.”

The sign up process, including glancing over the main web page, took me – literally, less than 3 minutes. They don’t ask for a ton of information up front, there is always an option to update SETTINGS and information later on. This is smart in that it gets people in fast. I suppose, they run the risk of NOT getting this information, but clearly this is a strategy of doing what is good for the user as opposed to the company.

The first time you sign in, after setting up the account, a pop up comes up that asks you if you want help setting up your preferences. One could opt out here and go right to the main page or fine-tune some of the settings. The options seemed fairly straight forward, although I did not take too much time trying to figure things out.

The main options presented (biggest buttons) are to join a meeting or host a meeting. Quite logical, since that is really what most people are coming in for. Since I didn’t have anyone to chat with at the moment, I decided to poke around a bit.

I wanted to see what would happen if I started a meeting, without someone to join me. When you start a meeting, it asks you what features you want to include – so you can say yes to voice, but no to video, or any combination of 6 or 7 things. I like the flexibility of this – options, but no bells/whistles that aren’t needed for each instance – and things can be changed for the next time. Then, before beginning, it asks you for permission to use the voice and camera – I like this a lot. This tells me they care about privacy, somewhat, but also that THEY want to make sure YOU know you are now “on.”

One thing I could not figure out, when I started the meeting it did not automatically find my built in web cam. It was picking up my voice from the mic, but not the video.

At first I thought the only way you can get people to your conference is to use the built in email invite tool. I did find that there is a way to get a URL and give it to people, but it was not intuitive as to where it was. Perhaps going through one of the tutorials would be beneficial, but the point of these SnapsSessions is to see how much can I figure out in 15 minutes without help or tutorials.

One other good note, people can dial in – they give you a phone number and pass code – so one does not even need Internet access.

Another plus, you can share your computer screen, but something needs to be installed in order to do that.

So I started the meeting and sent the URL out to my network. A few minutes later, someone signed in and joined my meeting. When she joined in I started recording the session. We were able to chat – ALMOST in real time. There was a delay of a second or two and if you don’t have a headset on, you get that “Yankee Stadium Announcer” feedback loop. So everyone needs headsets! I thought the video might work if someone joined me, but we still couldn’t figure out how it worked. If someone out there knows, please let me know.

When the preset time to end the meeting came up (that was one of the settings I played around with), it asked me if I wanted to extent the meeting – nice feature! I said yes and we continued for another few minutes.

When she signed off, I stopped the recording and a pop up let me know that each recording session is separate and that if I hit record again it would overwrite the first one. Then it asked me if I was sure I wanted to stop. When I said yes, it told me that once I ended the meeting (as opposed to the recording), it would put it together and eventually email it to me. That’s ANOTHER cool feature.

Here is what I got in the email:
You have a recorded DimDim Web Meeting session that can be viewed or downloaded.

*****

View

Click here to view Recording

Click here to view Chat Transcript

Download

Click here to download Recording

Click here to download Chat Transcript

*****

Clicking the “view recording” opened a web browser and gave me a black screen with the video only – but the audio was really pretty good.

I’d like to get a group together to test this out – a bigger group. If you’re up for it, leave a comment here or email me directly.

All in all, this product gets a thumbs up. Easy to use and fills a need. This could work for a classroom, although not as well as Wimba Classroom. But it is an alternative for small groups, impromptu groups, or meetings.

#NC08MSU Portrait of a Micro-Blogger: Have You Twittered or Plurked Recently?

Portrait of a Micro-Blogger: Have You Twittered or Plurked Recently? Presenter: Laura Nicosia

http://www.coveritlive.com/index2.php/option=com_altcaster/task=viewaltcast/altcast_code=90512404bd

[UPDATE: Unlike Blogger, which allows iFrames, WordPress (.com, at least, not sure about .org) does not. So, unlike Blogger where the CoverItive session would appear right here inside the blog, you need to click the link above and it will open a separate window.]

#NC08MSU Pageflakes vs. Blackboard: An Exploration of Content Delivery in Foreign Language Education

Pageflakes vs. Blackboard: An Exploration of Content Delivery in Foreign Language Education
Presenter:Enza Conforti

http://www.coveritlive.com/index2.php/option=com_altcaster/task=viewaltcast/altcast_code=692246821a

[UPDATE: Unlike Blogger, which allows iFrames, WordPress (.com, at least, not sure about .org) does not. So, unlike Blogger where the CoverItive session would appear right here inside the blog, you need to click the link above and it will open a separate window.]

Keynote Address: Curt Garbett, Spencer Johnson Partners

Keynote for this year’s Northeast Connect 08
http://www.coveritlive.com/index2.php/option=com_altcaster/task=viewaltcast/altcast_code=8650e01e4b

[UPDATE: Unlike Blogger, which allows iFrames, WordPress (.com, at least, not sure about .org) does not. So, unlike Blogger where the CoverItive session would appear right here inside the blog, you need to click the link above and it will open a separate window.]

Northeast Connect 08

I’m attending (and presenting at) the Northeast Connect 08 conference here at MSU today. Here is my current schedule.

8:30 – 9:30am Breakfast and Registration

9:30-10:30am Keynote Address: Curt Garbett, Spencer Johnson Partners

10:45 – 11:30a Pageflakes vs. Blackboard: An Exploration of Content Delivery in Foreign Language Education. Presenter: Enza Conforti

11:40 – 12:25p OK, So I Have My Second Life Account. What Now? Presenter: AJ Kelton

12:30-2:00pm Lunch

2:00 – 2:45p Using Second Life to Teach Difficult Concepts Presenters: Edina Renfro-Michel & AJ Kelton

3:15 – 4:00p – Learning in a Virtual Environment: Managing Emergency Preparedness and Health Security Using Second Life as a Teaching Tool Presenters: Anne Hewitt, Susan Spencer, Riad Twal & Ramesh Ramloll

4:10 – 4:55p – Portrait of a Micro-Blogger: Have You Twittered or Plurked Recently? Presenter: Laura Nicosia

I have no power in the main conference room, so I”m not sure about liveblogging and I don’t know about Internet access in breakout rooms – but I’ll post to my updates if/when a liveblog will start.

SnapSession – The Brain (mind-mapping tool)

As promised previously, I tested a product called The Brain. It is a mind-mapping tool and, to be honest, it blows away all of the others I looked it. They have a 30-day free trial of the PRO version and once that expires, you get the basic functions unless you pony up.

I remembered seeing this a few years ago and thinking it was pretty cool but, at the time, had no application for it. I’d forgotten all about it until the need for a mind-mapping tool came up.

It took me about 5 minutes (of my 15 minute allotment) to set up my account and get the product downloaded – which was actually quite simple on my Mac. I have no idea how easy or hard it is for Windows, and they also have a Linux version.

I decided to recreate what I had done in VUE – so I could show you the differences. Not only was I able to recreate what I had done, but I was able to add to it! One of the things I like most about The Brain is that the nodes move around to show relative relationships to the whole. In order to show you this properly I needed to use a product called Jing in order to record the action. Jing is usable for PC and Mac and I have it on my list of things to write about.

Here is the short video demonstration
[UPDATE: For some reason the video would not load here. Until I can get this straightened out, here is a link to where the video can be seen. http://sorry-afk.blogspot.com/2008/08/snap-session-brain-mind-mapping-tool.html]

I think you can see the difference between the static mind-maps and this. There is SO much you can also do with this, I was barely able to scratch the surface in the short time I had.

So, again, I put out the offer – instead of using VUE to chart my work in Web 2.0 apps, I’m going to use The Brain. I’m happy to revise and add by suggestion as appropriate, so please feel free to make suggestions. When I get a decent working model, I’ll post it here again.

Until then, see you next time

SnapSession – VUE Mind Mapping tool

Well – the last two days got away from me – as should be expected as we approach the start of the semester. But today I was finally able to get back to my 15 MINUTE SNAP SESSION testing and I poked around a little in VUE.

VUE stands for Visual Understanding Environment and is brought to us by the good folks at Tufts. It is a free mind-mapping tool and I decided to try and map my mind a bit. I decided to try and organize my work bringing together Web 2.0 technologies. I see a few major classifications that these technologies falls into and I wanted to try and categorize them (visually) and then list samples within each category.

I first spent some time looking at the PDF manual they provide and also the Quicktime videos they have to show off the features. This tool has some pretty cool features that make it a very robust tool, and could easy be used in place of a slide show for a presentation or lecture. It is not as intuitive to put together a map, as most of us know how to do slide presentations already, but it is much more visually appealing to show relationships between things. I suggest, if you’re interested, you visit the VUE site and check out the capabilities.

I didn’t have enough time to do something dramatic and in-depth, but here is a jpg of what I was able to do. It is VERY easy to export the work into a variety of formats, I choose JPF since I knew I’d be uploading that into this blog.

As you can see I created major categories, started putting items (actual applications) under each category and then started to show the relationships between the applications and the categories.

I was not able to move a “node” once I placed it someplace. I know there must be a way to do that, but when I click “the hand” it moved the whole map. So I was forced to leave things where I placed them.

One thing I would have liked is if you could click on an item and it moves to the center, showing the relationships in contrast to the otheres. I know another application did this, or at least I think it did. I saw it a number of years ago and it is called The Brain. I just remembered the name and found the site again, so I will probably review this next.

I like the visual nature of this – its great to show relationships between things. It’s almost like a flow chart on steroids.

Oh – the VUE map I started, I plan to complete. So if you have any ideas for major nodes, sub nodes, applications to be added, please let me know. I plan to use this in some of my presentation and also to post it someplace (not sure where yet) for others to be able to use.