Quote of the Month

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

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Virtual Post-It Boards---Spice Is Nice

In working my way through the list of the Top 25 Websites for Teaching and Learning 2011 by ALA AASL under the Standards for the 21st Century Learner, Manage and Organize, 2.1.2 Organize knowledge so that it is useful, 2.1.4 Use technology and other information tools to analyze and organize information, 3.1.4 Use technology and other information tools to organize and display knowledge and understanding in ways that others can view, use and assess, I began to experiment with an application called SpicyNodes

SpicyNodes states at their site:  SpicyNodes is a way to visualize online information that mimics that way that people look for things in the real world. Bits of information — such as text, links, photos, and other media — are placed into "nodes," which are then linked together in an appealing interface that invites exploration. SpicyNodes can be used for everything from mind maps and content portals to organizational charts and lesson plans. 

On site are the educational implications and practical ideas for using this in the classroom.  They do advise that if minors are using the service they are to have parental approval or direct supervision by an adult such as a teacher.  To sign up a username, password and email are requested.

Once signed in/up at your home page click on Create a new nodemap.   At the first screen enter in a title for the nodemap and a short description along with making sure that begin empty is checked; unless you are returning.  Once those items are completed to your satisfaction click on Make a new nodemap. 

The first step in making a new nodemap is editing the style.  With the free registration there are sixteen different styles from which to select.

Even if a style has been selected it can always be edited.  Next click on the Edit Content tab to place descriptions on each node, images, YouTube videos, links to pages outside the nodemap or within the nodemap, and place connectors. 

By clicking on one of the three different icons (flower, +, x) users can copy, cut, paste below, merge up or down, add nodes or delete nodes.  Colors to text and node can be changed using an extensive palette.

During the process of designing a nodemap toggling back and forth between saving and preview is very easy to do.  From preview mode users can see their creation live, get a URL for display on SpicyNodes, or the HTML code for embedding it in your blog or web site. 

This takes making an outline to a whole new visual level.  Below is the beginning of a nodemap for the annual Mock Caldecott Election held at the Charlevoix Elementary School Library Media Center each year.

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