Is this the end?
June 23, 2011 2 Comments
I’ll start with Presentation sharing. It’s very basic but it’s often something we need to do as researchers. We get asked to present somewhere and need to leave our slides in a place where the audience can return to them after the presentation. There are loads of other reasons too but I think that’s the most common. I think the one people are most familiar with is SlideShare. SlideShare is very easy to use and, unless you are doing presentations as a business, you only need a free account. SlideRocket is a smashing program, you can have lots of fun playing with it 🙂 You can import a presentation from PowerPoint or you can create on in SlideRocket. There a places where you can store your own images, there are interactions such as “voting” that you can place in your presentation and loads more. The fantastic thing is it’s free 🙂 If you want to use your presentations for working/collaborating/sharing with other people in your discipline SlideRocket is definitely a useful program to consider.
Scibd is really something rather different. Scribd isn’t just for a PowerPoint type presentation, Scribd is for publishing. Write a book if you want to, publish an article or a diary – this is where you can start to get published. Fantastic can’t recommend this enough!
Now we get on to Virtual Worlds. The RIN Social Media guide includes World of Warcraft in this section and although people do use it as a social meeting area I don’t think it’s as much use in that way as some of the OpenSim worlds are (Open Simulator is the platform the worlds are built on). Although the OpenSim worlds are catching up fast the Second Life Virtual World is still streets ahead of the others. Admittedly the graphics in World of Warcraft are better but it is not as flexible as the more community focused Virtual Worlds.
Why would researchers want to use Virtual Worlds? I use Second Life for meeting friends and colleagues from all over the world. I also run a monthly Research Seminar on teaching in Virtual Worlds where international speakers present their research. I tend to like Second Life because it is the most mature world. It’s been around since 2003, there is a general large community and, usually, loads of people from your discipline area. That means there is lots of help and lots of goods for you to buy or to get for free. Why a Virtual World rather than Skype or Blackboard Collaborate? Although there is a fairly steep learning curve in Virtual Worlds (it takes 30-60 minutes for people to feel comfortable when in a supportive group), the majority of people who use them say that they feel far more as if they are “with” the other people than in other media. People who use Virtual Worlds us it for all sorts of reasons and cover a wide range or researchers, educators, service providers, enthusiasts and businesses, for example Healthcare services, IBM, Universities (e.g. Nottingham, Glasgow Caladonian, Imperial College, etc), emergency services, armed forces, music lovers (from Country and Western to Choral music). If you have collaborators from all over the world, you meet frequently, want to display or create things together and want to be able to record your meetings, you should definitely consider a Virtual World. If you are not keen on Second Life I suggest you look at the OpenSim ReactionGrid Virtual World, that is the next one I would choose.
Here endeth our sessions for researchers. Well they are sort of for other people as well but I’ve been trying to remember to explain why these technologies might, especially, be helpful researchers. I’m thinking of picking on Librarians next but do keep following as there are always apps/programs that are useful to all 🙂