Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Annotated Websites In A Cloud

In 2011 the American Association of School Librarians included on their list Best Websites for Teaching and Learning under the Standards for the 20th-Century Learners, Manage and Organize a web 2.0 application that is more sophisticated than bookmarking enhancing your saving and sharing experience.  This site, iCyte, is free to a student or faculty member of an educational institution.  It allows users to to create cytes saving web pages and PDFs on their server, highlighting special sections retrievable from any computer.  Once made cytes can be searched and shared. 

To create an account enter in your first and last name, a valid educational email address, a password and agree to the iCyte privacy policy and EULA.  If your email address does not fulfill their criteria simply send them an email explaining your educational status.  I received a reply within 24 hours. 

A welcome page appears on the screen when your account information is completed and accepted.  At this page you are guided through installing the iCyte plug-in to your browser tool bar.  iCyte can be added to Internet Explorer and Firefox.  (According to their web site a bookmarklet can be addeded to Safari, Chrome and Firefox. When installation is complete your browser will close and when re-opened a screen appears immediately directing you in the creation of a cyte.

When you log in and are at your Dashboard you will be able to see the number of cytes, tags, projects and persons.  You can toggle between your Dashboard, Cytes, Settings or Logout.  What you are seeing is the overview.  If you desire you can click on Get Started for a simple three step tutorial on how to cyte a web page.

If you select the MORE button in the center of the page you are taken to a more detailed page which is the same as clicking on the Cytes tab at the top right of the Dashboard page.  This page allows the user to view cytes by projects, tags or users as well as sort existing cytes by date, email the cyte, copy the cyte or export the cyte into Excel or Word.  Actions can be done to individual cytes or to groups of cytes.  Cytes can be filtered by typing in keywords.

When you click on the VIEW CYTE button an individual cyte will appear.  At this point the cyte title, project title, tags or notes can be changed.  This cyte can be copied to another project already created or which you can add at that time.  Cytes can be shared via email, social network (Twitter, Facebook or LinkedIn) or embedded using an HTML code.  Highlights on web pages can be hidden, headers can be expanded or collapsed and the source website can be viewed.

I decided to create a project of websites used in writing reviews.  I try to include a little information about authors and illustrators in the posts for my blog. 

When you find a web page that you want to save or specific text within that page you want to highlight do so with your mouse.  Then click on the iCyte icon located on your browser tool bar.  A small inset appears asking for for the title of the cyte, the project in which you want it placed, tags and any notes.  Then simply click save.

 At any time if you want to see a list of your cytes as you are working, click on the icon to the right of the iCyte icon on the tool bar.  Your cytes will be listed in a column to the left of your screen beginning with the most recent.  Thumbnails of each of the web pages saved, the title, project, and tags will appear.  At that time you can edit those cytes or copy them.

Here is an example of a cyte that I created for the review that appeared on this blog yesterday about illustrator, Dan Santat, and the title, Tom's Tweet for which he provided the visuals,

When you click on the thumbnail you are taken to the web page.

When working on any type of project involving research, whether professional or personal, this tool is amazing.  I most certainly would recommend this to students gathering information for individual or group assignments.  When a staff member is working on a lesson including online resources, wanting to focus on a particular aspect of a site, this is the application to use.  Collaboration is as easy as filling in an email address.

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