Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Digital Writing Workshop Companion Site

If you haven't looked around the companion website to Troy Hicks's The Digital Writing Workshop, here's a link to access the site:

Digital Writing Workshop Wiki

On the site, you'll find a host of links to access information. There are chapter-by-chapter links as well as links to videos and audio resources. Here is snapshot of part of the homepage of the wiki.

Take a few minutes now to explore the site, and let us know what you recommend to others.

Here's a VoiceThread from the site. Bill Gaskin opens each slide, and his colleagues continue the discussion.  Each slide corresponds to another chapter in the book.


Suggestion: bookmark the wiki site, and return to it for specific resources. There is plenty to explore.

Too Many Options, Too Many Choices

Every day it seems I come across another way to expand teachers' professional development. We no longer need to rely on our school systems or attending conferences to keep up to date. Much is available to us at our fingertips.

For instance, I use a variety of tools to curate resources that I find online. These include Pinterest, Diigo, Scoop.It, Live Binders, and Pocket, as well as the iPad apps Flipbook and Zite.

Recently, I signed up for another resource, which looks promising not so much as a curating tool, which it is, but as a visually appealing way to share resources on a particular topic. The tool is Edcanvas, which is an appropriate name for what this tool does.

Given the emphasis on pushing for the integration of digital storytelling in the curriculum, I thought    I would share an example I found from a colleague who has been using EdCanvas. This specific Edcanvas focuses on digital storytelling. Edcanvas: Digital Storytelling, by Kimberly Powell. 

Once you sign up for an account, you can save canvases others have created to your own account for future reference. In that regard, this site reminds me of LiveBinders, another resource to check out if you have not already.

Edcanvas is fairly new, but I like the various options it offers for sharing. In addition to sharing a canvas by providing a direct link to it, canvases can be sent to and shared through accounts like YouTube, Flickr, Blogger, and Twitter. Here is a screen capture of Kimberly's Digital Storytelling Canvas. Note where I have marked with arrows the options to Play, Copy, and Share (+, which when clicked opens a list of places to share a canvas.)

When you hit the Play Canvas (see arrow in upper left corner), the resources that have been archived on that canvas will play as slide show. Additionally, from the main page of a canvas, you can click on the chain icon to go directly to an archived resource, and then if that resource is of interest to you, click on its image to go directly to the resource on the Internet. 

In some ways, Edcanvas reminds me of Pinterest, but Edcanvas seems easier to use for sharing resources on a specific topic or area of interest. Overall, I like the slide view and the ease of sharing canvases with others as well as copying a canvas to your own Edcanvas account.

The site features on its Gallery page canvases others have created by subject areas. Here is a partial screen capture to show how featured canvases are organized by subject area.

Edcanvas is intended for educational use as its name implies. When you have a few moments, look into Edcanvas: Digital Storytelling, by Kimberly Powell. This example will offer a glimpse of how Edcanvas works for curating and sharing and how to navigate around a canvas. 

Happy exploring, and if you do explore, please leave a comment to let us know your impressions.