Anyone who has ever tried to organize an event or to get
a group of people to respond to a simple question knows
how tough it is to filter and organize the answers into
coherent, usable form. That’s where CircleUp comes in
handy. Use this site to send an e-mail or instant message to
a group of people; then wait for it to return a consolidated
summary of responses to you. It’s simple, it’s free, and it will
liberate you from the recurring feeling that you’re herding
cats whenever you try to coordinate an activity involving
more than two people.
Are foreign movies better watched with subtitles or with
dubbed dialog? Is it okay to cry at work? If these are the
kinds of issues that keep you awake at night, you are not
alone. BuzzDash lets you participate in, comment on, and
see the results of numerous quick opinion polls. The polls
are organized by topic, such as movies, football, and politi-
cians; and if you have a burning question you want
answered, you can create your own survey.
If you spend more time than you should Googling folks, you
need to check out Spock, a search engine designed to dig up
information about people. Start by typing in a name, or a
search term that describes a group of people. The site then
searches through various social networking sites such as
MySpace and Friendster, along with general Web sites, and
reports on what it finds. For many searches, you get multiple
categories of links. For instance, type in Barack Obama, and
you get groupings like Democrat, senator, and 2008 presi-
dential candidate. Click any link, and you’ll find pages related
to both Obama and the larger category.
If you are an information hound, you probably spend lots of
time jumping from Web site to Web site. With PopURLs, you
no longer need to waste time hopping around the Internet.
An aggregator of all things informative, PopURLs features
massive lists of headlines, videos, blogs, and content from a
long list of sites.
One nice bonus is that you can search some of the sites—
Del.icio.us, Flickr, and Wikipedia, among others—straight
from PopURLs. It is also easy to tweak the way PopURLs
looks and works, including customizing the layout of the
feeds so you can put the ones you view most regularly on
top. The scrapbook is a particularly useful feature; just click
the ‘Add to Scrapbook’ button next to any headline, and
PopURLs will save it (and up to 19 other favorite items).
Data and graph fanatics, you have a home. Swivel holds a
mind-boggling array of charts and graphs from a line graph
illustrating the relationship between wine consumption and
crime in the United States over the past 30 years to a pie
chart showing the percentage breakdown of bird flu cases in
14 Asian countries. The most outstanding feature of the site
is its ability to integrate different charts containing seemingly unrelated data. Want to compare the national crime
rate to the cost of a first-class stamp, or to total hours of
media use in U.S. households, over the same period of time?
Now you can.
Source: PC World, www.pcworld.com, “ 25 Web Sites
TECHNOLOGY CENTER CONTINUED FROM PAGE 32
The Offline Challenges of Online Video
for formal or archival use, but they may be perfect for publicizing upcoming events, highlighting recent events, and
recruiting student or staff participation and employment.
As illustrated vividly by Gallaudet University’s ongoing
video blog, videos have the potential to cross communication
barriers and enable widespread communication. As current
research into video games is explored, video and other non-text media may foster communication with students with
learning disabilities, different learning styles, or injuries and
disabilities. Similarly, online video may be useful in some
forms of counseling and related educational efforts.
Although online videos present many challenges and open
our campuses to wider audiences than ever before, online
video sites like You Tube present unique and low-cost opportunities for student affairs administrators and scholars. More
importantly, they are actively and vigorously used by students
in ways that we must begin to understand. Given the changes
these types of technologies bring to popular culture, mass
media, communication, and politics, we must shorten our
learning curves on these tools and their effects.
Kevin R. Guidry is a doctoral student in the higher education and
student affairs program at Indiana University in Bloomington and a
project associate at the National Survey of Student Engagement. He was
formerly an information technology fellow at University of the South in