Social Networking: We ARE the Help Desk

In a world where attempting to get help either means listening to a recorded message telling me how important my call is and providing me with a list of numerical choices, or a web page URL, where “Help” usually leads to an FAQ and an endless loop of pages which seem to never quite address my problem, I often long for the old fashioned “warm body”, who can provide direct assistance. There’s nothing quite like knowing someone upon whom you can call with a quick question, i.e. a personal contact or personal network. Or, perhaps there is: consider the power of an online social network.

Last night, I was working in Wikispaces (using Firefox browser) to develop content for an upcoming discussion about embedding resources and how embedded content might serve learner needs in a higher education environment. Since many sources of videos, sounds and other dynamic content now provide the embed code, it is easy to copy and paste it into your WYSWIG editor or use a ‘widget” as you are building your content pages. Wikispaces provides such a widget and it works well. However, I failed to use the tool provided and copied embed code for a video directly into the page editor. When I tried to preview the page, it presented a series of lines across my page and a faint box which must have been where the video should have appeared. When I tried to go back to the editor and remove the code, I could never gain access. Thinking that my page was most likely destroyed, I thought that sharing my mistake with others via Twitter might be a good thing to do. I hoped that by sharing this information, I might prevent someone else from loosing valuable time and work. Having posted my Tweet, I tried accessing the page with the Safari browser and I was able to resolve the problem, and I Tweeted about that solution as well. The big surprise was that in that very brief time span of about ten minutes, I received a Tweet offering help. Not just from anyone, but from the “mother country” of Wikispaces. WUWT? Now I cannot speak about the service which Wikispaces provides via their help link, but this welcome contact broke the mold of my “help” experience and it gave me new insight as to the power of a network and in sharing both problems and solutions in an open environment. The fact is that anyone who read my Tweet could have responded. In this case, help was just one post away. I’m converted. I’ve once again discovered that through the power of social networking, WE ARE THE HELP DESK. I may never click on a “help” link again. :=)

PS: Kudos to Wikispaces and to all of you who provide your help and links to valuable resources. Viva la network.

Photo credit: justindc under creative commons attribution

Embedding test

I am embedding a VoiceThread and then will make comments on the original VoiceThread site in order to see if these changes will be pushed forward to this embeded version in my blog.

Question: if this works, how does this differ from "subscribing"? I guess the answer is that it will not push new information forward to alert me of a new "posting", however changes to this website may be viewed when the page is refreshed.

We will see!

Follow-up -

Partial SUCCESS: the embedding test worked. I not only could see changes made to the VoiceThread site, I could actually make changes via the embedded version within my blog. Unfortunately, in this case, I tried to add an audio comment and this requires the purchase of an account for an annual fee in order to perform this function. However, I can see my image and a sound icon, even though the audio file is not being shared. Problem: in my particular blog, the sidebar hides some of the images and links to comments. Perhaps some fine tuning of my layout can solve this. This is an issue which may make this less useful.

Bottom line; this might work for certain educational purposes. Deciding to use it on a regular basis requires the purchase of an account. For limited student created work (3 VoiceThreads) this could be used for collaborative sharing and commenting. It would also be a way to make students aware of this type of technology should they desire to use it in the future.

VoiceThread Credit: Thanks to Alec Couros for allowing Thoughts on the Potential and Power of the Network to be shared and embedded.

Embedding Audio from the Iternet Archives

Embedding Historical Video from the Internet Archives

Once again, I am about...

Once again, I am about to demonstrate the various activities that can be accomplished through Jott. One of which is posting to a blog as I am doing right now. It looks like in this morning's presentation, we have a small group but an interesting cross section of our fatly(?) community and I hope they will be inspired... listen

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