Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Mixxt - Create Your Own Social Network





Mixxt is a European based company that aims to provide its user with the ability to create their own social network for free.  Of course the free means advertisements, and you can get a Pro account to remove those, but advertisements online are basically part of our culture now and I think the average Internet user recognizes them and avoids them.

Mixxt is another option for teachers who might want to create a place for students to collaborate with them outside of school.  There are several features that are offered that can enhance the collaboration between students and teachers.  Teachers can customize and design their layout with total freedom.  You can set the network to private or public which can be very important for educators.  You can activate and deactivate several modules, making controlling your social network much easier.  You can create rich content pages and customize events as well.  You can insert media and share files with your members. 

If you are looking for a way to connect with students outside of the classroom then Mixxt might be an option worth checking out and playing around with the features.  

Hollur


Hollur is a site that allows users to create 20 second audio files.  As a member you create the file and then other members can follow you and listen to your messages.  So why 20 seconds?  Think about a voice-mail message and how long those are before you tune someone out.  For more information about Hollur I suggestion that you visit their Frequently Asked Questions for more information.  So why use audio instead of text?  Audio makes the message more personal.  Sometimes, !!! in text does not have the same effect as hearing those same exclamations in your voice. 

Some of the features include the ability to allow you to embed these messages, so you could put them on a website or blog that students use.  You can tag the recordings as well to help with organization.  Another neat feature is that you can add a link to the recordings so that if you are talking about something from the web, they can see what you are talking about as well.

So how could Hollur be used in education?  As a teacher you could create an account and then have students follow you.  You could then leave audio messages for your students explaining homework assignments or providing reminders for due dates and test dates.  Parents could follow you as well and you could leave short messages to parents letting them know about what went on in class or reminding them to sign permission forms.  If you have a Twitter account for your students you could link to this site and your messages for students.

Time Lapse Creator

A neat tool to use in collaboration with Flickr is Time-lapse Creator.  The idea is rather simple.  Take your pictures, upload them to Flickr, then use the Time-lapse Creator to put together a time-lapse of your photos.  I know that there are several districts who block access to Flickr, so teachers and students might have to work on it at home to put the time-lapse together.

I could see this being used in science classrooms taking time-lapse photos of experiments catching reactions or in Earth-Space Science classes showing the hydrologic cycle process.  I could also see it used in geography classes to show change over time as it relates to climate.  It would be neat to setup a camera and do a similar time-lapse of weather patterns outside your school.  If you teach Art, it might be worth while to have students take pictures of a project as they work on it. 

You will have to sign in to Yahoo to use this service.
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