February 27, 2008

Evoca + skype

Hello everyone!

I have just learned that evoca has a new feature - a skype call recorder. I know that it is possible to record skype calls using Audacity (some people report having difficulties recording both ends of the call) and powergramo, but recording a call with evoca was extremely simple.

All you have to do it create an evoca account and add evoca-skype-recorder as your skype contact. When you are in a call, you add the evoca contact to the call, and that's it! Your call recording will be stored in your evoca account. The first time you use it, you have to confirm your evoca account through a link sent to you through a skype message (it takes a few seconds).

Here is my first skype call recording, it's me and Nina Liakos:

The only pitfall is that you can only record up to 15 minutes for free. To record more than that you have to go pro in evoca and pay $29.95 a year.

February 19, 2008

Which wiki? Which blog?

Following the idea of my previous post - a contrastive review of voicethread, splashcast and qlipboard -, here goes a contrastive analysis of wiki and blog hosts, but I won't do it alone...

During BaW08, I came up with the idea of having two collaborative google spreadsheets, one to compare blog hosts and the other to compare wiki hosts. So I set up the spreadsheets and wrote my impressions (following the idea of positive aspects in blue and negative ones in red). Then I sent an invitation to Bawers, for them to include their impressions too, and some of them did. Now I would like to open this discussion to all webheads and anybody else who ends up here. The idea is simple: write your impressions about the hosts already there, add any other host you would like and start writing the first impressions, and add your name as one of the contributors. Also feel free to use the spreadsheets in your classes, workshops, presentations, talks, or for any other purpose you would like, after all, this is the webheads spirit.

The spreadsheets' names - blog combat and wiki combat - were inspired in a kind of article a cars magazine in Brazil (4 rodas - 4 wheels) publishes comparing cars from different brands, for example Volkswagen Golf vs. GM Vectra GTI.

Here are the links:

February 18, 2008

Voicethread x Splashcast x Qlipboard

Voicethread, Splashcast and Qlipboard are all tools that unite pictures and voice in slideshows. In order to compare them, I created a virtual tour around Brasília (my hometown) in each one of them. The tour is the same: same pictuers and same narration, because the idea was to really compare all the features offered. So here are the results followed by my review. Positive aspects are in blue and negative ones in red.
If there is any wrong information here (or extra information which I did not initially include), it was probably because I didn't explore the tools fully, so feel free to tell me and I'll readily update the reviews.

You can also check my own personal examples using voicethread and splashcast with my EFL students in the first semester of 2008.

Enjoy your tour!

  • The easiest to use. Dashboard is really user-friendly, with simple functions like upload and record.
  • Comments can be left in voice or text forms
  • Voice comments can be added with a cell phone too
  • Comments are attached to specific pictures
  • Comments are added to the original narration
  • Pictures can be uploaded from your computer, flickr, facebook or you can just type their urls
  • Besides pictures, you can also upload videos and documents
  • Powerpoint/impress slides can be easily uploaded
  • You can embed full-sized or small-sized versions
  • There is comment moderation option
  • It lets you doodle with the images, but only while you're recording
  • You can create only 3 threads for free in the same account
  • You can only add voice by recording online. You cannot record first, add effects, treat the audio and then upload the mp3 file.
  • Visitors need to sign up for a voicethread account in order to leave comments.

  • Easy, but not as easy as voicethread. Dashboard is not as user-friendly because it offers more options, like designation of channels and players (which you need to create in order to get the html code).
  • Pictures can be uploaded from your computer, flickr, or you can just type their urls
  • You can record online or use any other audio recorder to make an mp3 file to be uploaded to one specific picture later
  • Besides pictures, you can also upload videos and documents
  • Comments are attached to specific pictures
  • Comments can be left in voice, video or text forms
  • Unlimited number of shows can be created for free
  • Comments are stored in a separate "comments" area
  • Visitors don't need to have a splashcast account in order to leave comments
  • You can't doodle with the pictures (which might be good...)
  • There is no comment moderation option (but comments can be easily deleted)

(online version):
The most traditional one is the offline version, which I
  • It lets you doodle a lot with the picture, with pen, highlighter and text options. You can also change the colors of your drawing and texts
  • There is no need to sign up for an account
  • It allows only voice comments
  • The most limited one because it doesn't create a slideshow connecting the pictures, but just one picture with voice narration

The idea of this review is not to make one tool look good and the other(s) bad. I believe their particular features fit different purposes. So the choice of which tool to use in an activity lies in the goals of the activity.

February 12, 2008

Creating comic strips

Pixton is a website that allows you to create comic strips. The fun thing is that they let you change some features of the stick characters and, in the advanced editing options (which doesn't mean "for advanced users" for it is very intuitive and user-friendly), they also have some very cool pre-set objects and backgrounds that can be added to the scenes.

Check out this one I created for Baw08ers that feel overwhelmed with the quantity of tools suggested and explored. You can also remix my comic strip!

February 11, 2008

A little more on slideshows

This one was suggested by webhead Rita Zeinstejer.

GifUp is a "gif animation" and "avatar generator" website. What I particularly liked about it is the fact that it creates a nice photo slideshow with pictures taken from your webcam, uploaded from your computer, or searched from any website (a flickr search is already included).

In this example, I used the "Create an animation from Flickr images" option. I typed the word "Brasília" (my hometown), clicked on the pics I actually wanted in my animation, and that's it! My animation was ready with html code and a link to advertise my animation. I probably spent some whole 2 minutes doing everything.

GIF animations generator gifup.com

February 9, 2008

Photo slideshows

Here goes my first update in 2008!

Working with Carla Arena and Erika Cruvinel at Casa Thomas Jefferson as one of our website content managers, one of our jobs is to cover the events that happen at our school and publish them in our website. For a long time, we have been using free photo slideshows to do this, for example slide (my favorite), bubbleshare, picture trail, rock you (I know JA loves this one) and others. Here is an example of a slideshow of our Thanksgiving celebration we created using slide:

However, in mid 2007, through the LWC group (Learning With Computers), I discovered animoto - a website that creates a more modern photo presentation, and all you have to do is add the pictures and choose a song from their song bank (or upload your own song). Animoto already has a group of effects that are added to your video according to beat of the song used. You can create an unlimited number of 30-second videos for free, or pay (not much) to create longer videos. Here is an example of a video I created about CTJ's Teachers' Day party (Oct. 15, 2007). Turn up the volume:

After you create the video, you can send the link by email, get the html code to embed it (just as I have done here) or download it and use it any other way you would like.

Have fun!

I'm back!

Hello world (again)!

It's good to be back. I created this blog exactly one year ago as I was taking my first EVO session ever - Becoming a Webhead 2007. I created it as a place to test the tools we were working with, and now, as I am engaged in Becoming a Webhead 2008, reading people's blogs and wikis made feel like taking blogging more seriously. I've worked a lot with blogs with my students in 2007 (check links on the right), but I never had my own personal blog, so I decided to make this one my own personal weblog for edutech and other EFL/ESL experiences and issues.

Questions, comments, criticisms, suggestions and advice are all more than welcome. Also feel free to to subscribe my blog to your reader for I'm determined to keep it updated.

And if this is your first visit to my blog, don't forget to add yourself to my frappr map.