Quote of the Month

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

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Connected Through the History of Our Lives

Under the heading of Content Resources using the following Standards for 21st Century Learners, 2.1.4 Use technology and other information tools to analyze and organize information, 2.4.4 Develop directions for future investigations and 3.1.2 Participate and collaborate as members of a social and intellectual network of learners, the American Association of School Librarians selected six websites for the 2012 Best Websites for Teaching and Learning 2012.  One of those sites named is Historypin.  In the about section the creators of Historypin state:

Historypin is a way for millions of people to come together, from across different generations, cultures and places, to share small glimpses of the past and to build up the huge story of human history.

This UK based not-for-profit company, We Are What We Do, has partnered with Google to provide its services.  Without cost to users they request that parent or guardian permission be obtained by anyone under the age of 16.  If this is to be used in a classroom setting, whether one account is accessed by many or accounts by individual students are established, consent must be acquired.

To register you must have a Google email account.  Across the top of the home page in the upper right-hand corner is a series of buttons.  If you already have an account click the Login tab.  When you have entered in your password, the next screen asks your permission for Historypin to use your email address only.

When you have allowed permission you are taken to your channel on Historypin.  Your channel gives an overview of everything you have done on Historypin.  At this page you can pin, view your tours (a series of content linked together), collections (groups of pins by topic, theme or event) or statistics as well as altering your account or channel settings.  In your channel settings you can add a link to your blog, post your Twitter name, or link to your Facebook or Google+ accounts.

You can also upload photos/logo to add to your profile, a banner across the top or as a background image.  There are several choices of two-tone color choices for borders and text.  If you choose (which I recommend) to go into the account and channel settings and make changes, the list of options/recommendations in the center also changes.  You are encouraged to pin, create a collection or tour, explore the map or see other people's channels.

Before pinning I wanted to explore the map.  When that choice is selected another screen is superimposed on the map asking you for a username, whether you accept the terms and conditions, are 16 or older or have permission and if you desire Historypin emails and notifications sent to you.  An email is quickly sent asking for confirmation of your registration to the list.

At the map you can search for pins by place, narrowing the search down by date or subject.  You can choose to have the thumbnails shown or not and go to full screen.  You can manipulate the map by zooming in and out, by clicking and dragging it, using the directional button or switch to satellite view.

There were no pins in my hometown nor in my current location.  I decided to try some pins using photographs taken by my father during WWII when he was stationed on Adak, Shemya Island and Attu in the Aleutian Islands, Alaska.  Photographs must be digital.

When I had the photos in digital format I clicked Pin.  At the next screen you are asked if you want to add photos, video or audio.  To add video or audio it must be uploaded to YouTube, listing it as public, using the long link at the share button and then posting the video/audio link into the pin.

To add images to your channel click photos under the I want to add.  A new page appears.  Shrink your Historypin window opening up your Pictures folder on your computer, shrinking it also.  All you need to do is click and drag the photos from your picture folder to the Historypin page.  They upload automatically.  (Historypin asks that .jpg and .png files be 5MB or less.)

At this point you can add more images, delete images, pin them to the map, or pin them later.  I decided to jump right in and begin to pin.  When you click Pin to map a new window pops up asking you to give the selected picture a title, description and tags, separated by commas.  By default your images are copyright protected.

In order for the picture to actually be pinned you must know the approximate date and place.  If the image was taken at "street view" it will be blended  with Google Street View.  When you are done you are asked if you wish to share your pins via 318+ various social networks, blog formats, curation tools, email, by creating a PDF document or printing it out.

Here is a link to the channel which I created showing pictures taken on Adak and Shemya Island between September 16, 1942 and June 3, 1943.  To see them on the map click on either the pink Map or Explore the Map tabs.  Enter in either Adak or Shemya.

When you click on a pinned image it enlarges from the thumbnail.  If you mouse over the image you will have the ability to zoom in and view it in more detail.  By clicking on the small notepad with pencil in the lower right-hand corner numerous options for collaboration and connection are presented.

When you are logged in you can always edit or delete your work.  There are very thorough, extensive FAQ and How To Guide sections making this a user-friendly application.  You will be hard-pressed to find a better tool for documenting family histories, a community history or perhaps the history of your school building.  Historypin is one of those websites where you could spend hours creating and still not want to leave. Thank you AASL.

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