Tag Archives: Web 2.0

Love Your Librarian!

I do–they teach me about things like drop.io

Did you know you can call from your cell phone and leave an MP3 file for someone?!

For those without readily available internet or computer access, but with ubiquitous cell phone access, this can be away to interact online with peers and colleagues. I imagine there are other uses, but a school librarian who shared this with me is having her students call in their original poetry for National Poetry Week.

And this may yet add to my VOIP iTouch cell phone toolbox!

While built for larger collaboration ideas, drop.io is one of those ‘no way!’ amazing internet tools. Wonder how else we can use it??


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So Much to Learn!

TechSoup publishes a great list of free online webinars on 2.0 topics.

I often schedule time to attend or listen to webinars over lunchtime, or on a particular day of the week as a break. They’re also great learning tools for interns, and I include relevant webinars as part of a volunteer intern’s training plan.

How do you squeeze in time for online learning? Have any favorite sites or learning strategies to recommend?

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Web-Based Meeting & Presentation Glom

Over the past six months, I’ve experiemented with a number of tools for both web presentations and virtual meetings (and even learned to think about the difference between the two!). I’ve used ReadyTalk, GoToMeeting, AdobeConnect and Skype (with a plug-in).

GoToMeeting was dismissed in one instance in favor of ReadyTalk’s larger capacity, recording capability, and integrated voice and presentation link. In another instance, the audio only connected via phone and not online.

ReadyTalk has a great low-cost subscription on TechSoup (and a free trial online). Plus, they have free webinars available to anyone, awesome customer service, and they are a Colorado-based company. What more can you ask for?

Being the Luddite I am, though, I’m going to hang with Skype for the time being.

Mostly, I need an online meeting tool, but since those can drag on, it’s nice to be able to share screens and chat. Unyte is a plug-in for Skype that does just that. So does Mikogo, apparently. I haven’t tried either, but as a comfortable Skype user, they are next on my list. This dual-solution is not going to be the best for formal presenations like trainings, or recordings.

My other favorite tool for sharing info online, though it doesn’t really count as a presentation tool per se and it doesn’t have audio, is the free, recordable ‘chat’ function of CoverItLive.

Other tools I’ll try:

  • Wiggio 10 participants, dial in only via long-distance #. Good ongoing collaboration tool, as it calendars dates, has a chat and a message function, and allows file upload and management. No cost (September 2009)
  • Jing is a lot more hip–it’s more into instant sharing, and you can also record a training on your computer via screen shots, e.g. going through a PowerPoint. It’s currently free and the site says it plays well with other upgrade plug-ins.
  • Vyew has options for both phone and VoIP audio, and lots of control feature like hand-raising and polling.
  • Plus–I’ve heard these are worth investigating: dimdim, vimeo, moodle, yugma, audacity, google moderator, and glance…
  • Idealware covers some of the web conferencing tools out there. Today, many are full-featured enough to fulfill needs for online meetings. So, if you’re holding meetings rather than conducting trainings online, check out some of the free online conferencing tools–they may just meet your needs and are overlooked when you think about webinars and online training.

    Lastly, TechSoup is the best resource for any kind of tech comparison or reference for non-profits seeking software solutions–and they recently held a webinar on producing webinars. Listen to the recording and find lots of helpful ‘how-to’ info here.

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    Leaf Peeping

    The Internet allows us a glimpse at an ever-expanding world, and as Michael Pollan precociously noted in his 2002 Botany of Desire, might actually be a viable industry some day :-). Its pervasiveness into our everyday lives makes a good ol’ fashioned glimpse out the window seem like a whole new revelation.

    In my case, that glimpse recently took the form of a mother-daughter trip to Maine–not just the coast and the spectrum of fall leaves, but some of the urban areas worn down by the passing of the mills (both lumber and woolen) and the North Woods of Thoreau and hardiness.


    The Internet now affords us the chance to collaborate, to collectively plan by sharing documents via software, email, and ‘track changes’ features. I recently installed Microsoft’s Office Live and will be giving that a go as an alternative to file sharing sites. Turning to spreadsheets as a way to create and share a schedule is recognizing their ability categorize data–and a step gingerly taken by those who now have the familiarity of word processing fully integrated to their work at the computer.

    To plan a weeklong trip, my mom and I first shared just such a spreadsheet–with dates, times, reservations, weblinks and ideas–trading latest updates via email. In our Web 2.5 world, of course, there’s always a clever tool lurking around the corner. Wanting to update the proposed schedule at odd hours and not knowing if there were any updates from my travel buddy, select activities from a list of choices, and see how far we could journey each day–not to mention the growing file of car, hotel and plane reservations–created a need for something more current than a document emailed back and forth. Information overload began to take hold, just s it does for any business trip or conference. Enter:

    A site I’d used before, TripIt, proved immensely valuable in collaborative travel planning. By using TripIt’s online, interactive itenerary planning, the current version was always in play. With both my mom and I signed up as travelers, each could edit the itenerary with suggested activities, weather reports, travel directions, key phone numbers, and our reservations–including links to interactive maps, attractions’ websites and online check-in.

    And, in a miracle of modern technology, once you’ve booked reservations, you simply email them to your TripIt account whwere they are posted to your trip’s website; a long list of compatible reservations systems include airlines, Evite, StubHub, HI Hostels, hotels, Expedia, OpenTable, Amtrak, car rentals, SuperShuttle, and AAA as well as specific travel agency and online booking sites. I found it useful to block out driving times, hold hotel reservations and directions, and insert notes about activities such as the days and hours of museums, as well as links to restaurants for later booking dinner reservations. As the trip approached, I was able to all at once print out the maps and directions I’d previously stored online, as well as a copy of the final itenerary.

    Using TripIt proved to be a paperless way to manage the number of reservations involved in long-distance travel and to share the details of my travel with others. A friend who travels frequently for work uses TripIt to share her exact flight plans with her spouse. An office where one person makes travel arrangements for others could make clever use of TripIt for holding reservations, receipts, and iteneraries. I can see its usefulness for non-profit travel to meetings and conferences–anyone using this in a business situation who can comment to its effectiveness?

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    Making Web 2.0 Work

    Web 2.0 tools present a vast array of opportunities—for companies that know how to use them.

    Here’s an article that speaks to the corporate manager about how to make these new technologies work. A few of my rephrasings of their critical factors to success:

    1. The new bottom-up culture needs support and participation from leadership. Well, actually, the article really advocates that the leadership take an active role in becoming a role model and leading in this effort, but my experience tells me that busy non-profit executives who aren’t already bought into Web 2.0 technologies aren’t going to be leading adopters.

    2. Web 2.0 needs to be integrated into existing work, not another ‘to-do’. That’s true of so many issues, for example–diversity. Instsead of making new ideas into new projects, examine ways that the concepts can be woven into existing operations.

    3. Social media brings the masses to you, so the sooner leadership gest over the fear of the risk and embraces it as a new challenge, the sooner the bridge is opened to invite two-way communication with a wider audience.

    Skype is a great example of a beginning tool. Once you can convince someone to sign up for an account, and download and test software, a Skype call speaks loudly as a Web 2.0 ambassador through its ease of use.

    That first step is the hardest, but the only way to make Web 2.0 work is by trying.

    The lovely folks over at the Corporation for National and Community Service and their helper Northwest Regional Education Labs presents an overview of social media articles and a glossary, intended to reach an audience of AmeriCorps, VISTA and SeniorCorps members beginning to dabble in Web 2.0.

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    Volunteer Time Equals Computer Use

    While this interactive graphic from the New York Times has many fascinating aspects, one of the most thought-provoking for me is the trendline for volunteering.

    According to the NYT, Americans spend about an hour a week on volunteer activities, including tutoring, coaching teams, working in a soup kitchen, ushering at church and handing out political fliers. That averages to less than 10 minutes a day, which peaks mid-morning and in the evening, and is about equal for men and women. Further striking is that the unemployed spend only slightly more time volunteering than the employed.

    How Different Groups Spend Their Day

    How Different Groups Spend Their Day

    Is that the ‘busiest people get the most done’ syndrom, or a lack of awareness that volunteerism during unemployment could be a very satisfying, motivating and skill-building experience, or something in-between??

    What I’m most struck by is that volunteerism is equal in time spent on the computer. So, with all the Facebooking and emailing that we hear about, people are spending an equal amount of minutes volunteering. Or has volunteering taken a cut to give over time to online activities?

    And even more awe-inspiring is how to capture more of this time–online or otherwise–and engage the unemployed and employed alike in community improvement and volunteerism. Are we as organizations doing enough to combine online activities and volunteerism, are we making the best use of volunteers’ time? So many questions, so little time.

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    Book Review: slide:ology

    slide:ology: The Art and Science of Creating Great Presentations
    By Nancy Duarte

    WOW! An amazing overview of graphics and editing for anyone who puts together PowerPoints or any other presentation materials–worth a good overview.

    Top Four Tips
    1. “If you want to be a great presenter, you must think like a designer.”

    2. Follow the 10:20:30 Principle–no more than 10 slides or 20 minutes, and no font smaller than 30 point.

    3. Create unity through a presentation template for your organization–with editable title, informational, transition, quote and closing slides.

    4. GoogleDocs offers hundreds of free, downloadable files to save and use as slide background.

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