University of Vermont

Center for Teaching and Learning

Multimedia Tools

For improving Student Engagement

On this page, we've collected information about a variety of web-based tools that can be used to make both student assignments and faculty presentations more engaging.

Omeka

What is it?

small screenshot of OmekaOmeka is a searchable database that allows for descriptive data about each object (photographs or documents). Once images or documents are uploaded they can be organized into exhibits with a narrative.



⇓ A glimpse of what Omeka looks like
screenshot of Omeka
⇓ Basics
Scan a document, photograph an object, or download an image, then upload it to Omeka and provide searchable metadata (citation and basic descriptive information). Build an exhibit by organizing the images, writing the narrative, and choosing a template that showcases your work to best advantage.
⇓ Where to start
There are two options:
1) UVM’s own Omeka server can be used for classes or class groups to create public exhibits. Several of our current exhibits have been made in conjunction with the Fleming Museum and Library Special Collections to explore, research, and contextualize objects and materials from each.
2) Individual students, faculty or staff can also create projects using Omeka's free server at Omeka.net. These projects can be private or public. To learn more about Omeka, and to learn how we might help your class design, build, and assess a document or object-based project, contact Hope Greenberg at the CTL: hope.greenberg@uvm.edu.
⇓ Assignment Examples
This links to all the projects on our UVM Omeka site:http://badger.uvm.edu/omeka. In addition, a number of non-UVM projects can be found here: http://info.omeka.net/showcase/ and here: http://teachinghistory.org/digital-classroom/tech-for-teachers/25115.

ThingLink

What is it?

small screenshot of ThingLinkThingLink is program for annotating images. Take any image--a photograph, a map, a graph, a cartoon, an art work--and add markers. Click the marker to see text, images, or links to other web sites.

» www.thinglink.com

⇓ Why use ThingLink?

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, ThingLink provides a way to display those words in context. It is best suited to activities that involve identification, brief explication, or exploring connections. The examples shown in the "Assignment Ideas" section show how it has been used to identify parts of a process, explain the meaning of details in a political cartoon, point out specific areas for focus in an artwork, build a listener's guide to examples of composers' works, and define terms in an equation.

⇓ A glimpse of what ThingLink looks like
screenshot of ThingLink interface
⇓ How to use ThingLink

Basics: Upload an image of a photo, painting, map, cartoon, screenshot, or document to your ThingLink account. Click anywhere on the image to place a pin. The pin has a pop-up window. Fill it in with text, other images, links to web sites, online videos, or even links to other annotated ThingLink images.

Here is a 5-minute tutorial video made by Hope Greenberg

⇓ Assignment Ideas
Here are six examples of ThingLink projects:



Pinterest

What is it?

small screenshot of PinterestPinterest is an image bookmarking tool for pulling together an assortment of image-based resources without violating copyright, then pinning them to one long “Board” for browsing. Boards can be shared with others.

» www.pinterest.com

⇓ A glimpse of what Pinterest looks like
screenshot of Pinterest
⇓ Basics
Get an account at pinterest.com. Create one or more Boards then go searching the web for images. When you find an image, click the Pinterest icon and indicate which Board it should be pinned to. Provide a description if you choose. Once on your Board, images will be displayed in the order you pinned them. Although you can move them around one at a time the general idea is to collect an assortment of images as a visual overview, not as an organized or keyword searchable database.
⇓ Where to start
Take a look at this basic (silent) introduction. Pinterest is a fairly simple program so you may not need our help but we will be happy to talk to you about it and about project or assignments ideas.
⇓ Assignment Examples
Pinterest is a good tool for brainstorming, collecting a large group of images for later winnowing, for saving images for later reference or use, or for sharing images among members of a group.
It works well for assignments or projects where you need to:
- Collect images that represent an idea or topic, then briefly describe each.
- Collect multiple images that support a thesis, select the best three and describe why they support it.
- Use a shared board to collect images as a group and determine which to use.

Annotation Studio

What is it?

small screenshot of PinterestDesigned for academic use, this open-source online program provides a place for you to upload a document, then annotate it with text, images, video, or links. You can share the document with a an online site for uploading a document (.txt, a collaborative text annotation site.

» www.annotationstudio.org/

⇓ A glimpse of what Annotation Studio looks like
screenshot of Annotation Studio
⇓ Basics
Register for a free Annotation Studio account, upload a document and “publish” it. Then annotate it with text, images, video, or links to websites. Invite others to view or add their own annotations.
⇓ Where to start
Annotation Studio has several short “Getting Started” videos that will walk you through the process and show you how it works. We would love to work with you to design a class or group annotation project.
⇓ Assignment Examples
Additional projects or examples are described in these Brief Case Studies

TouchCast

What is it?

small screenshot of TouchcastWhat is it: a way to embed images or links to web services at specific points in a video. (Currently available for iPad, Windows 7 and up, Mac OSX version is in beta.)

» www.touchcast.com

⇓ A glimpse of what TouchCast looks like
screenshot of TouchCast
⇓ Basics

Create the resources you want to embed then record your video, and embed these resources (TouchCast calls them vApps) as you record. For example, you could create a Google form and embed that at a specific point in your video, or create a link to a Blackboard quiz and embed that link. While playing, the video will pause at that point to allow the viewer to follow the link.

⇓ Where to start
Learn a bit more about the features here: www.touchcast.com/product/
⇓Examples

Here’s a basic example from Liz Meredith's Touchcast for Middle School Geology class that includes an embedded poll, a Google Form, and links to websites.
The BBC has created this (professional) TouchCast describing a cat's life on the farm.
And Dr. Ayelet Segal has created the book "Engaging with the YouTube Generation: Touchcast Educator Guide" that provides several more examples.

VideoAnt

What is it?

small screenshot of videoantWhat is it: a site to post a video and add a list of text comments linked to specific time points in the video. The comments appear as a liston the side.

» ant.umn.edu/

⇓ A glimpse of what VideoAnt looks like
small screenshot of videoant A sample of annotations on a video about the University of Vermont and its surrounding areas. See how it works.
⇓ Basics
The videos can be from YouTube or your own videos stored on the web. Copy the address of the video, and paste it into the Add Video box in VideoAnt. Start the video then click an icon to add text comments. These annotations are listed, with timestamps, alongside the video. You can scroll through the annotations or jump to an annotation by clicking its marker in the video’s timeline.
⇓ Where to start
Learn a bit more about the features and how to get started from Nathan Hall's blog post.
⇓ Assignment Examples

- Analyze details in a narrative film (of course!): possible directorial intention, camera work, lighting, plot points, character development, etc..
- Have students record their presentations, then use VideoAnt to comment on them.
- One of my favorite examples: instead of creating a lab safety manual, a video was recorded of two student "actors" doing everything wrong in the lab: eating lunch over the petri dishes, handling dangerous chemicals without gloves, leaning over a lit bunsen burner, etc. Students were then asked to annotate the video by marking all errors they saw.


Micropublishing

Micropublishing apps provide design templates and server space so that you or your students can create "one-pagers"--well-designed web pages into which they can pour their text, images, videos, and links--without having to learn complex web editing or coding. For instance, you may want to create a syllabus or course description page that is image-rich and includes videos. Your students could create illustrated essays without having to learn complex coding or designing. Or you or your students could create concise infographics or flyers.

The following examples include two apps designed to create long-form web pages with room for lots of text and images: Populr.me and Strikingly, and two designed for creating short-form pages for things like infographics, flyers, or brochures: Canva and Piktochart.

Populr.me and Strikingly

What are they?

small screenshot of populrThey are: "one-pager" web page creation apps. They allow you to create a single long-form, image-rich, web page based on one of their templates, then publish and share it online from their site.

» www.populr.me

» www.strikingly.com

⇓ A glimpse of what Populr.me and Strikingly look like
small screenshot of populr
Sample Populr.me syllabus.
Other education templates.
A design portfolio made with Strikingly.
⇓ Basics
Collect your images and write your text. Create a New Page and choose from a wide range of templates. Replace the existing images and content with your own. You can also adjust the background, fonts, and colors. When done, publish your page. You can send others a link to the page, or include that link in web pages, blogs, or even your Blackboard courses.
⇓ Where to start
Set up your account at either populr.me or strikingly.com and begin adding pages. The free editions allow you to publish pages for free but may include their logo on your page as well as limit the file size of any individual page. (Students can get a logo-free Populr.me account here.) They both use drag and drop editing, and allow for sharing. Pay versions allow for more options. Both provide good Help resources. They each provide a robust set of templates but you may find that you prefer one company's design aesthetic over another. Both create web pages that display equally well on laptops and mobile devices with no coding necessary.
⇓ Assignment Examples
Both have been used by faculty to create course descriptions, or resources for students. Populr.me comes with some templates designed specifically for syllabi, though Strikingly can easily be adapted for the same use. Both can be used to create a splashy "home page", CVs or resumés, online portfolios, posters that explain and summarize a topic, newsletters, resource guides, analyses, or for essays that include images and videos.

Canva and Piktochart

What are they?

small screenshot of piktochartThey are: "one-pager" web page creation apps. They allow you to create short-form, image-rich, objects like infographics, posters, flyers, even multi-page slides (like PowerPoint slides).

» www.canva.com
» www.piktochart.com

⇓ A glimpse of what Canva and Piktochart look like
small screenshot of canva
Canva editing screen: click to see a sample infographic. Piktochart editing screen: click to see sample infographic.
⇓ Basics
Collect your images and write your text. Create a new object based on a range of templates. Replace the existing images and content with your own. You can also adjust the background, fonts, and colors. When done, publish your page. You can send others a link to the page, or include that link in web pages, blogs, or even your Blackboard courses. They can also be downloaded for print (Piktochart: png, pdf; Canva: jpg, png, pdf)
⇓ Where to start
Set up your account at either canva.com or piktochart.com and begin creating your designs. The free editions allow you to publish pages for free but may include their logo on your page. They both use drag and drop editing, and allow for sharing. Pay versions allow for more options. Both provide good Help resources. They each provide a robust set of templates but you may find that you prefer one company's design aesthetic over another.
⇓ Assignment Examples
These apps encourage you and your students to think about your work in more visual terms, as well as in more concise language. They also encourage students to think about audience: who will view this poster, who will read this infographic. Their ability to create presentation slides also gives students a more image-rich alternative to PowerPoint that draws from a broader range of template designs.

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