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On harmony and parking lots and embeddable code

I presented lots of workshops this week. In the middle of it all, it occurred to me that I needed to be more explicit about an important 2.0 concept. 

These new tools, or instruments, play best when they play together. One of those things 2.0 teachers need to know is that the things they are learning about are not really discrete applications.  We may teach them as separate apps, but they work best in concert.

As teacher or librarian or instructional designer, you act as a conducter or composer.  In any masterpiece you opt to perform, you choose the best players and combine them in powerful ways.  You don’t become an expert user of these tools until you can use them to create harmony, until you learn to embed.

Once you get even a little exposure to the basics of wikis and blogs and Nings, you begin to realize that you need support players.  As a teacher-librarian, I want to ensure that my learners can easily access the information they need when they it it. 

For me, embedding is the answer.  This past year I wikified my pathfinders and reading lists and lessons.  This year my plan is to embed the most relevant and engaging media in those web documents.  In some cases that might be my own video reminders and instruction, in other cases it may be student-produced book commercials or polls to assess opinion or learning needs.

The problem is that once you create media, you need to ensure you can share it, move it around, store it so it is handy when you need it.

To mix metaphors completely, sometimes you need to park some of your instruments in a variety of parking lots that are designed for their types. In exchange for parking in these media parking lots, your gift is embeddable code. 

Parking your videos:

A little while back, I wrote about how I’ve discovered that Nings make excellent parking lots for videos.  In addition to being a wonderful, rich tool for social networking, Nings are perfect places to upload and store videos and grab embeddable code.  When you create a separate Ning for parking your videos, you don’t have to share them as broadly as you might on the video sharing sites.

When you don’t mind sharing, Flickr works nicely too, for shorter videos.  TeacherTube and YouTube work beautifully.  But YouTube is blocked by so many districts. 

Parking your slideshows:
My favorite place to store my PowerPoints for embedding on wikis and blogs is SlideShare, despite the fact that many of presentations are too big to load.  I also use FlickrSlidr to embed slideshows from my growing number of Flickr sets.   Many of the digital storytelling applications-VoiceThread and Animoto, for instance–automatically present code for your productions.

Parking your audio:
Odeo works nicely for storing your audio.

Parking your other stuff:
Those many Google tools–for instance spreadsheets and presentations–provide code embeddable in your other 2.0 creations.  In most cases, you click on the Publish option.  Google Maps allows you to easily embed maps.  Clicking on link to this page results in lovely code.  You can customize your maps for size and get revised code. Google calendars can be embedded too.  Look under Calendar settings or Manage Calendars, click on the name of the appropriate calendar and look for the appropriate code.  I am hoping to embed a library calendar in our site this coming year.

For my polls, regular readers know I am a big fan of PollDaddy.

Of course, embeddable code is also available for media created by others.  When you find goodies for use in learning, copy the available code.  (Giving credit is a good idea.) 

IMHO, with media like video and maps and polls and slideshows and we can create symphonies out of our next reading lists and pathfinders and lessons.  

Please share your favorite parking lots for your instruments in your comments!

Joyce Valenza About Joyce Valenza

Joyce is an Assistant Professor of Teaching at Rutgers University School of Information and Communication, a technology writer, speaker, blogger and learner. Follow her on Twitter: @joycevalenza


  1. Thanks Joyce. This is a useful idea and list.

  2. Jennifer Garcia says:

    Joyce you may want to also try out as another way of parking your video. We use it for embedding our vids in the school’s many blogs and it works really well.

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