I had fun going overboard on making this promo video for 50+ Web 2.0 Ways to Tell a Story

This was created for today’s keynote at the Learning Connections District Champions meeting in Toronto. When Deb invited me to speak she asked me to do a video she could use to summarize the workshop after it ended. I really should have just turned on the web cam and blabbed away, and I might have been done in an hour.

But I had this half idea to piece together a message from it using the tools themselves, so I wrote a script, and assigned tools for each line. For the tools that have audio or video capability, I use it directly; otherwise, I made voice-overs in iMovie. To capture the animated/bviudeo segments, I did screen capture with iShowU.

The slides for today’s session are posted on Slideshare

This was a highly charged group! They are all leading and techie teachers from the districts across Ontario that work with this project. Part of this new version of my presentation/workshops is a new wiki (discussed below(, but I wanted to try a different approach in a hands on workshop. Typically, I do my overview, and have people get ago at making a story of their own choosing with any of the tools.

In the vein of doing the same story in multiple tools (like I did originally with my Dominoe story), in the part where I do some audience suggestions for a story prompt, I asked the group (of about 40) to put and organize their ideas on an open google doc where I had set a starting prompt:

The Most Amazing Thing Happened Yesterday at the CN Tower

The plan, which pretty much fell apart, is that the group would create an outline that would be the basis for them using in the later section. It was fun to see 40 people madly toss ideas into a wiki, but it became a mish mosh, with Steohen harper, a homeless person, Charlie Sheen, hockey, and the Queen making appearances. The doc is still there, but I turned off the public editing — bit.ly/lc11-story-prompt.

In a rare occurrence for this activity, Elvis did NOT make an appearance.

For the next part, where I talk about finding media, I wanted a way for them to create a pool of images, maybe video, they could find using the sources provided on the wiki– I asked them to post some information to a google form. This did work, with about 34 people adding something. If I did it again, I’d simplify the form. Some people got tripped up in trying to pick the license- next time, I would just have a checkbox to confirm what they found was licensed for re-use. It did being up questions and a few of them were not familiar with the various creative commons flavors.

I was also not quite clear that when they shared the URL for a flickr photo page, that I did not give them enough detail on where they need to go to get the actual file if they opted to use it.

But all of this hardly mattered, because once in the game, they were all deeply immersed. I’m waiting to see what kind of things they produce.

And as usual, they all had a first good laugh at Blabberize but then as I watched what people were trying, that was one of the most common ones chosen.

A highlight for me came later, when one of the participants, a principal told me how she put this funny tool to use right away by doing a quick skype with a teacher at her school who was dealing with a troublesome student. Here she is telling me in a video I recorded on my iPhone:

As alluded to earlier, this qworkshop used the newest version of the wiki (I am still working on) at http://50ways.wikispaces.com/). The first version (http://cogdogroo.wiksipaces.com/50+Ways) is still on the wiki I made for my 2007 visit to Australia, and I’ve been wanting to redo it in a new structure, and especially, open more doors for ways people can produce it (although the original is in a wiki I locked all the pages because, frankly, some editors kept messing it up!).

In the time since, I’ve learned some good tricks to use in Wikispaces. The big one is that each of the tool pages is locked still, but I have three sections on each that CAN be edited, because the Description, Examples, and Feedback content are stand alone along wiki pages that are open to edits; I can incorporate them into the tool page by using one of the widgets.

On the old wiki’s tools page, all the tools were described in a long monster scrolling list. In the new one, wiki, the tools are organized in a main page by using page tags to put them into categories (by type of tool), which is nicely updated as I add new tool pages. Each tool, then has its own page, including:

  • link to the category page for the type of tools (this allows me to put something like Slideroll into both the Slideshow category and the Video one).
  • A Screen shot of the editing interface
  • Descrption*
  • Link to and embedded version of the Dominoe story created in the tool.
  • List of examples of other content created in the same tool*
  • A list of comments/advice from people who have used the tool before*

*All three of these sections are opened to edits.

As an example, let’s look at this portion of the page for One True Media

Again, only I, as lord and master of the wiki, can edit this page directly. But anyone who joins the wiki has access to edit the content that provides the text on the red box; they are actually editing a different wiki page that is unlocked. They can go to the page and click “edit” via the link in the green box, but by checking the “editable” box in the “Include Wiki Page” widget, it enables that small EDIT link which opens up the content to be edited and returns to the enclosing page when done.

I ask anywhere people add examples or content, that they “sign” their contributions by appending the 4 tilde (~~~~) string, which when publishes, records a time stamp and link to the author.

It’s my hope, then I can get some people involved with adding examples, feedback, and even improving my descriptions.

As of tonight, I am still 15 tools short of having moved all of the old ones over, plus a batch of brand new ones sitting in the entryway. I want to get these loaded, as I have been procrastinating this a long while. It has also been good to review the ways some of the tools have evolved (and some have gone to the Island of Lost/Dead Tools).

It’s interesting to note that a good number of these are still around since I first spotted them in 2007, ones that have obscure names like Image Loop, Rock You, Comic Sketch. It’s nice to see that my 4 year old, infrequently used logins still work. It’s also interesing to see that some, which likely were one person experiments, have become mainstreamed:

  • Kerpoof is now a part of Disney.
  • Tabblo was purchased and supported by HP
  • Tikatok is now owned by Barnes and Noble

Quite a few of them have gone to a tiered model,. where you get advanced features by paying for membership (Xtranormal is close to falling off the list since you can only do one basic movie with the free account), and others seem to be trying to make money be offering print services.

Oh, the other new thing has been using another set of tags to indicate what kinds of media the tools can use (e/g/ can upload audio, can import photos from Picassa and Facebook), so that there is a grid to choose tools by Media Capability.

I’ll get another chance to try this all out next week, when I get to do another iteration of 50+ Ways at Baruch College in New York City.

This is, easily, one of my projects that has grown a lot of legs, and I want to keep them moving along. I’m open to ideas on the site

Profile Picture for Alan Levine aka CogDog
An early 90s builder of the web and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person.

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