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Edistorm: brainstorming and evaluating

If you are a regular reader of this blog, you know I am a big fan of WallWisher for backchanneling and brainstorming and planning and content analysis.  I just added Edistorm to my toolkit.

I will continue to use WallWisher because it allows me to link to and include media in my stickies, but Edistorm has some nifty features that WallWisher does not (yet).   It seems to be a living and growing app, very responsive to its users’ ideas.

Like WallWisher, Edistorm supports brainstorming using sticky notes, but it adds  a few very nifty features like:

  • the ability to choose color for sorting
  • multiple participants may sort
  • an Idea bot on the bottom of the screen responds to the action in the workspace and functions as a rhyming dictionary, thesaurus, and it suggests related words.
  • reports can be exported to PDF or Excel files or a detailed report form
  • when reports get big or complicated, a View Finder helps you locate position in the brainstorm.
  • and most important: Participants can evaluate and rate ideas by dragging green dots over to the ideas they like the most.

Users may create public and solo Edistorms at no cost, but a premium account is required for  private brainstorms. (This might be important in the elementary classroom.)

I can easily see Edistorms used successfully in the classroom and the library and for meetings (both face-to-face and virtual) for brainstorming, collaborating, planning, sorting and grouping, decision-making, evaluating, reviewing, studying, drafting, and more.  It would be especially cool on an interactive white board.

In the Edistorm blog, lead developer Michael Bollman noted a few recent updates (including an iPhone/iPad app and the ability to embed):

1) Sorting and FilteringWe have been concentrating on building out some more advanced UI features to help you filter and sort the ideas on the wall so we can see things like ideas that have changed recently, the top ideas, my ideas, recently commented, and so on. This feature greatly enhances the usability of Edistorm and allows you to better understand the information in your storm.

2) Administrator Reporting 2 new reports were added for the creator of the storm to help them analyze the data produced by the storm. The Excel report gives you a list of the ideas in the storm, who created it, its color, x and y coordinates, and other meta-data. The Wall report exports a copy of the layout of your storm to a PDF including the number of votes for each idea. More reports will follow, so if there is a specific output that you wish to see, let us know.

3) HTML in Sticky Notes Some of the most very basic HTML tags are now supported such as p, br, ul, li, a. We are currently working to allow more and more.

4) Storm ParticipantsThis widget is much more prominent as of this release. You will now see a row of avatars in the footer of the storm and will be updated as soon as a person makes any changes to the storm. In the past it was in a slide-in window that you would have to actively check, and who wants to do that?

So, whats next you ask? Well, to give you a quick insight: embedding a storm interface in your website or blog, facebook connect, new real-time updates system, a storm overview report that will export all information about the report including idea 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

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