• 27Jan
    Author: Katherine Pisana Categories: Education, Mind Amplifying Tools Comments: 3

    Sni.ps logoLet’s talk Sni.ps! Copying and pasting has become on the web what chewing and swallowing is at mealtime (or snack time or nibbles time or whatever else you call it to make yourself feel better 😉 ) The thing is, now that we’ve learned how to transfer copied content to other places, it’s time to start doing a better job of acknowledging our sources. Giving credit where credit is due is one thing, not only because it’s nice for an author to feel appreciated, but also because the audience may want to explore further content by the same author, and without accreditation or proper acknowledgment, the connection is lost.

    And we’re all about the global connection. Whether we want to be or not, the inter connectivity of all things in all (connected) places in this world impacts all of us, from students doing real-time group projects with classmates scattered across the globe, or grandmothers being sent a stack of photos from grandchildren who simply uploaded files onto a site and had the middleman print, snip and ship then to the desired location. It’s all about the connection.

    So, how do we ensure that we keep that connection going? Well, we have to take it a step further – copy and paste turns into sni.p and paste. And what does sni.p mean? It means copy + gather source information + collect some programming code that tells the computer accessing your sni.p how to connect to its source.

    What I’ll do now is use sni.ps to copy an excerpt below of the blog entry I read that introduced me to sni.ps:

    Sni.ps Attribution Tool at EdTechPost

    The premise is simple enough – the service provides a bookmarklet that, when clicked, creates an overlay of whatever page you were looking at. This overlay allows you to then select content on that page, for which it generates ‘embed code’ to paste on your own site. Doing so will reproduce the content along with an annotated attribution link back to the original source.

    It’s awesome (and it’s free), but don’t just take my word for it, or anyone else’s word for it. Try it out yourself.

    Personally, I think I’ll be making quite a bit of use out of it when it comes to sharing videos, flash content, and any other sort of rich media that I can see value in sharing. What about you?

    Now, since you’re reading a blog about all things virtually scholastic, let’s spend a moment reflecting on how this tool impacts educational technology? Well, if you still insist that your students submit their assignments in hardcopy only, then I suppose it doesn’t affect you a bit. If, on the other hand, you provide your students with the facilities and the processes to submit and share work electronically, then you’ve just discovered a great way for them to learn more about the importance of copyright acknowledgment in a web 2.0+ world.

    Connectedness also means networked which blends into online social behaviors which impact how students learn which…should probably also impact how you teach…shouldn’t it?

  • 27Jan
    Author: Katherine Pisana Categories: Education, Mind Amplifying Tools, Technology Comments Off on Animoto


    The educational potential may not immediately jump out at you, but Animoto is a great technology to explore, and anything that can put an end to PowerPoint presentations is thumbs up in my book! But seriously, any visually-heavy educational content fits perfectly into the Animoto model.

    Teach an art history course? Imagine the impact of your presentations.
    Teach about music composition? Show the music as you play it.
    Photography course? That’s a no-brainer!
    How about architecture, drama, social networking technologies or film making?

    Tons of educational value in this tool!

    Here are some case studies available on their site. Take a look at examples of what fourth graders can do with a little imagination and some accessible technology, or how a language course can benefit from a multimedia injection.

    Interested in knowing more about how to get setup and give your students access? Click here. It’s not totally free (although there is a free basic account that allows you to create an unlimited number of videos up to 30 secs in length), but this won’t be as gutting as other pricing schemes 😉

    Have you used this technology with your students? Share your experiences 🙂

  • 26Jan
    Author: Katherine Pisana Categories: Education, Technology Comments: 2

    For those of you who’ve read through some posts on this blog, you’ll have noticed that I am quite the advocate of a technology that affords the less tech 20090126 postsavvy content developer with the opportunity to easily create flash content. I’ve published some of my materials here already, and I even started a “Learning Object Series” which was going to provide readers with a breakdown of all aspects of what a learning object can be. Not to mention all the other ideas I had in store…

    Pick up on that fleck of the past tense in that last sentence? Well, it seems that I’ll no longer be able to use that amazing technology. ‘Why?’, you may ask. Well, because recently I received an email from the Sprout Team advising me of their new pricing scheme. A technology that was previously free and accessible to all is now going to cost US$599.50/yr! Here’s the pricing scheme for those who would like a kick in the gut along with their morning coffee!

    I’m not going to dwell on the dozens and dozens of hours I’ve spent creating content using SproutBuilder. I’m not going to spend any more time feeling sorry for myself that I’ll loose all my work (because there’s no way of saving or backing up your sprout on your own machine). I won’t think a minute more about all the students who will be affected by this ‘new development’ since a number of my Sprouts are currently being used within virtual learning environments as tools for university students. I’ll even shelve all the other ideas I had for new uses of Sprouts – ideas that until a couple days ago were still cheerily sprouting in my mind. I’ll eventually move on to a new technology and probably even gain a few new skills along the way…but that’s really not the point…

    What I am quite disturbed about is the relationship between accessibility and money, and even more so, about the potential for the provider of the technology to abuse its power in order to dis-empower the user. In this case, the user was just one person – me – but what are the implications when the user is a university or a college with minimal funds available in its IT budget? The accessibility of technology is vital in today’s world. Taking a look at their pricing levels, it looks like the Sprout Team is targeting their product to high-end design firms with lots and lots of mulla to dish out, and most probably who are already Sprouters themselves and who will have to think a lot longer and harder than me about the implications of the investment they’ve already made in this fabulous new technology. Is this another sign that open source is the way of the future? At least for the disappearing middle class, it seems.

    Dear Sprout Team, let’s not get ahead of ourselves! Even sliced bread is affordable to the little guy!

    On a side note, anyone notice the strategically planted comment that the Sprout Marketing Manager planted on my blog, coincidentally only a couple days before the news broke about their new fees? …funny…

    armydavidsTo leave off on a more inspiring note, here’s a book forum discussion presented by the Cato Institute spotlighting a book written by Glenn Reynolds entitled, ‘An Army of Davids: How Markets and Technology Empower Ordinary People to Beat Big Media, Big Government, and Other Goliaths“. The latter part of this panel discussion gets quite politically heavy, but in addition to a brief glimpse into the history of beer (!), the panel discusses the implications of ideas presented in the book such as, “Technological developments are putting more and more power into the hands of more and more people.”

    My question is, what happens if technology providers become the Goliath’s? Where’s the empowerment supposed to come from then?