Every year, around this time, I make a presentation to Level 3 Engineers and Sports Scientists as part of a series of briefings on their dissertation project. And every year, this presentation Research Techniques and Tools serves to highlight a new web-based presentation technology.
Back in 2008, I used a flash-based tool called Flowgram (sadly no longer with us) to stitch together some PowerPoint slides with some live web pages. Last year, it was the turn of Prezi. This year, I used a combination of Google docs Presentations and live websites put together with Pearltrees to create an open learning object that is concerned with library-based research techniques and online research tools. In this case a picture really is worth a thousand words so I’ll let you explore the result for yourself.
The beauty of this technique is that Pearltree (the web-app) alows you to show the collection of web pages in slide-show mode while allowing later visitors to explore the whole collection in their own way. They can also take the entire pearl-tree and make a copy of it or link to the original. Pearl-trees can also be shared and commented on. The browser extension (only for Firefox I’m afraid) is very easy to use and makes the construction of pearl-trees as you browse a snap. And of course, as demonstrated here, the finished pearl-tree can be embedded in blogs or Blackboard, linked to, tweeted, emailed, and shared on Facebook.
Other related tools worth mentioning are Trailmeme from Xerox PARC a tool that allows you to create a map of web sites, Trailfire which is a more linear presentation, WebSlides (from Diigo) [see earlier post], and the commercial tool Curatr. Your choice depends on your starting point and what you want you or your students to achieve.