Using web tools to let students reach the public

I want to learn about how to use new web-interaction tools for teaching classes that have a public product. Students in the Brown public humanities program do exhibitions and programs for the public, and it would be good to add web outreach projects to those. A few of the tools that I’ve played with, but want to know more about:
•    Crossroads (shared markup of documents)
•    Voicethread (commenting on images, words, video)
•    Dipity  (creation of timelines)
•    Omeka  (collections)
•    Flickr (images)
And I’m sure there are others… I’d like to know more about them, especially tools that can be combined with oral history projects.
Several challenges here…
One is doing these as group projects – how to get a class, or several small groups from a class, to work together on these.
Another is how to automate the process of moving between these tools, and more traditional databases. Can we, for example, pull pictures from a historical society’s PastPerfect system, put the pictures onto Flickr, the objects in Omeka, and display a timeline on Dipity, without doing it all by hand. Can we take a community-curated collection from Flickr and move it into Omeka, or into a library system with better long-term storage, metadata, control, etc., without having to re-enter the data that’s there – and to continue to collect data from the public and capture it long-term?
Lots of questions!


2 Responses to “Using web tools to let students reach the public”

  1. Arden Kirkland Says:

    I’m also very interested in such tools, and actively experimenting with some. I think a big issue is interoperability – each tool serves a different purpose, so we need to easily move data and images from one to the next. I also know horror stories of faculty projects that were put into one tool and lost when that tool became obsolete (or the IT person who knew how to use it left for another job). So, it’s important to have a stable back end for digital objects to live in more permanently. I’m trying to solve that for myself,and would love to talk about it.

  2. thowe Says:

    I was fascinated by Voicethread, which I’d not seen before–I couldn’t find anything on Crossroads, though, which looks like something I’d definitely like to test drive in my courses. I’d love to learn more about these, too.