This past couple of weeks has seen me working on a website for the library, within the Google Aps domain that we hold at MPOW. Google Sites is a wiki based ‘put the modules together’ platform and really easy to use (once you get the basics sorted out in your head!) While there are all sorts of limitations with this structure, it has been an ideal solution for me – the library desperately needed a web presence and our resident IT support (yes, there’s only one of him) is run off his feet with day to day stuff. With Google Sites, I have been able to construct a web site on my own that does the job and gets the information about the library services out there into the student’s preferred domain (and looks a bit snappy too).
Along the way, I have been able to play with lots of different learning objects – with varying forms of success. I have used Jing to create short video screen captures of different Google search functions (namely Wonder Wheel and Timeline) and link to these from my web site. In anticipation of a new intake of students in a few weeks, I have spent today putting together a short virtual library tour using Window’s Photo Story software (that I then uploaded to YouTube because Google sites has an automatic YouTube plug in and I don’t need to worry about html code embedding). Photo Story is a really simple little piece of software I came across while doing my practicum at TAFE last year (I did a virtual tour of the library as one of my projects). It doesn’t need any special equipment other than a camera and a microphone, so I whipped out the trusty iPhone, snapped a few pics of the library and surrounds, uploaded them to the computer, donned the headset/mic and away I went. Photo Story strings your pictures together in a kind of power point display, adds your narration and some funky background music and you have a little video without having worked with any kids or dogs.
While this ends up sounding like an infomercial for Google, the fact is that they are out there providing simple, low cost solutions to technology issues. MPOW has limited budget and resources, Google Aps allows us significantly improved collaboration and the ability to provide services to our customers (both staff and students).