turning stones

taking for a spin: tools for The Five 8s

Monthly Archives: January 2011

Qwiki Public Alpha

Sharing here an email I received from the Qwiki Team:

Qwiki Public Alpha – New Features 

Hello there!

In case you haven’t noticed yet – due to the incredible demand, we’ve opened the Qwiki alpha to all users, with several new features:

“Improve This Qwiki”
Users are invited to submit pictures and videos relevant to any Qwiki, augmenting our content in places it’s incomplete. You’re also encouraged to report any mispronounced words, and vote on the speed of the voice. Easy ways to make Qwiki better!

The Qwiki experience is no longer married to Qwiki.com. Now, you can embed Qwikis on any third party site. Just click the “Embed This” button from Qwiki’s “end screen” (you can skip to the end of each Qwiki by clicking the “Q+” button in the nav bar).

Qwikis can now be shared via Facebook, Twitter, and Email, via our new short code qwi.ki.

More details on the most recent features can be found here.

The public alpha will allow us to collect even more feedback and improve Qwiki’s first corpus, covering 3 million people, places and things. More to come…

Much love,
– The Qwiki Family


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YouTube videos minus the hodgepodge

YouTube is a great source of videos for learning. That is why many teachers clamor for schools not to block the site in campus. Because of this, schools are beginning to ease network restrictions for YouTube. When using a YouTube video in class, teachers do not like all the other clutter around the main frame in the YouTube site. The related videos, the ads, the comments and other things may distract students.

Other than downloading or embedding a video, there are other ways of clearing up the clutter. ViewPure is one tool to do just that. Just copy the YouTube URL of a particular video and paste it on to the ViewPure site. After clicking the Create button, the video is displayed on screen without the hodgepodge. You are given the option to choose a white or black background, get its short link or share on Twitter. Try ViewPure now.

This is great to use with Krunchd when you have multiple videos you want students to watch.

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Featured Video: Preview: Schooling the World

From: lostpeoplefilms

If you wanted to change an ancient culture in a generation, how would you do it?

You would change the way it educates its children.

The U.S. Government knew this in the 19th century when it forced Native American children into government boarding schools. Today, volunteers build schools in traditional societies around the world, convinced that school is the only way to a “better” life for indigenous children.

But is this true? What really happens when we replace a traditional culture’s way of learning and understanding the world with our own? Schooling the World: The White Man’s Last Burden takes a challenging, sometimes funny, ultimately deeply disturbing look at the effects of modern education on the world’s last sustainable indigenous cultures.

“Generations from now, we’ll look back and say, ‘How could we have done this kind of thing to people?”

For more information, check out http://www.schoolingtheworld.org.


Related Article:

While US waits for Superman, kids in the world are drafted as failures

Featured Video: Dan Pink’s Drive(RSA Animate)

This lively RSA Animate, adapted from Dan Pink’s talk at the RSA, illustrates the hidden truths behind what really motivates us at home and in the workplace.


DS106 Test Post

I signed up for the Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on Digital Storytelling which starts today, 10 January 2011. This will be facilitated by Jim Groom. I am not sure what to expect or if I can keep up. But I’m ready to take this for a spin.


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Share Videos in Google Docs

Google Docs

Image via Wikipedia

Google Apps has done it again. This time a new feature in Google Docs where you can upload video files and share it with others. Google Docs has actually become an inaccurate label since it kept on adding different file types to upload.

When I visited my Google Docs account yesterday, this message greeted me:

I tried it out today and liked it. Speed of uploading and processing is acceptable(depends how fast your internet connection is). Google needs to process videos that are uploaded since it uses YouTube’s player. Therefore video files supported by Google also have Youtube support. These are:

  • WebM files (Vp8 video codec and Vorbis Audio codec)
  • .MPEG4, 3GPP and MOV files – (h264 and mpeg4 video codecs and AAC audio codec)
  • .AVI (many cameras use this format – typically the video codec is MJPEG and audio is PCM)
  • .MPEGPS (MPEG2 video codec and MP2 audio)
  • .WMV
  • .FLV (Adobe – FLV1 video codec, MP3 audio)

Video files up to 1GB may be uploaded. You have to be very choosy on which videos to upload though. A standard Google Docs account allows 1GB of storage. Unless you purchase additional space, video files can easily fill that up.

After uploading, you can view your videos and share it just like sharing other files in Docs. This is very helpful for schools where YouTube is blocked and for people who, for one reason or another, do not like uploading to YouTube. Now it would be a nice add for Google Docs to include an embed code so that videos can be embedded to another site. Hopefully, next on Google Docs’ list is a feature to upload audio files. That would be amazing.

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