Tag Archives: tech tools

Andrea Hornick’s Journeys – Digital Media Meets Fine Art with WIC iPads

Andrea Hornick – an artist, shaman, and Fine Arts Lecturer in Penn’s School of Design – recently used WIC’s iPads in the Classroom Program to create an immersive art gallery experience.

1_blessbucks_betty 6_Performance_View_Dinner_Savery owl

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image of timeline ticker

TimelineJS, the Story of WIC, and Dogs of the Web

Hi everyone!  My name is Chava Spivak-Birndorf, and I’m a new graduate intern at the Weigle Information Commons.  In the short time I’ve been here so far, I’ve been impressed by everything WIC does to bring innovative uses of technology and digital media to the Penn community.  WIC just turned 10 on April 5th, and I’m excited to join in as we celebrate everything that we love about WIC!

If you’ve visited our website recently, you may have seen our new interactive timeline.  My coworker Lahari showed me TimelineJS, an open-source tool that allows users to create interactive timelines using a Google spreadsheet.  Last year, Lahari used TimelineJS to start working on a timeline of notable events at WIC.  With WIC coming up on double digits, it seemed like the perfect time to finish the timeline and share WIC’s story.

image of WIC timelineDid we leave out any of your favorite events from WIC’s history?

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Make Your Data Analysis Shine: Prism 6

prism6

Hello, there! My name is Claire Witherel and I’m a new Intern at the Weigle Information Commons. I’m currently a PhD student at Drexel University studying Biomedical Engineering with research focused in Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering. As a professional student (I mean, I’ve been in college for almost 10 years now!), I know how frustrating it can be to know the right tool to use for your homework, research, or work, but the learning curve will just take too much time to get the job done. This is where I can help. I absolutely love to assist students in finding useful research tools that make their work shine and guide them through the nitty gritty parts of mastering a new tool.
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Instagram, Vine, & Snapchat: Storytelling Through Social Media

The power of a compelling narrative has always been an easy draw for me, particularly in the travel narratives of others. Wanderlust piques my interest, but the story captures my attention, and I’m not alone. Narratives and storytelling are fundamental to human experience. Doris Lessing writes, “A story is how we construct our experiences,” and as products of an increasingly digital world, this sense of construction is nowhere more tangible than in our engagement with social media.

Each time we post, tweet, or snap to impart information to others,  we also contribute to and shape the narratives of our lives. In turn, our followers interpret, engage with, and respond to what we’ve shared. As an information student, I am especially focused on the information habits of others: how do other people interpret information, and, consequently, which methods are best to reach the widest audience?

This past summer, I wanted to share my own travel stories easily and instantaneously with family and friends. Before and during my travels, I wondered how best to translate these experiences for others beyond a photo album or the occasional post of media on Facebook.

So I investigated and considered the storytelling capabilities of three social media apps: Instagram, Vine, and Snapchat.

Collage of Instagram, Vine, and Snapchat Logos

Instagram‘s optional filters and simple editing tools enable users to design a cohesive and aesthetically pleasing narrative. Its accessible interface fuels creativity in its users, and interesting angles, unusual subjects, and attention to details are all hallmarks of Instagram’s most attention-grabbing photos and videos. Videos may last from 3 to 15 seconds, providing for a momentary glimpse into the user’s experiences. I also found the add a location feature helpful to connect with other users, who also linked their posts to my location. In this way, our media becomes a collaborative effort in sharing our diverse perceptions of the landmarks we encountered.

Twitter’s Vine is the app I used least during my travels. Vine videos last approximately 6.5 seconds long and usually require some preparation beforehand, which is not often an option for the on-the-go traveler. However, this length is ideal for followers, who can review posts with ease while scrolling through their feed. Vine also offers little in terms of editing, but the initial planning required before recording combined with the time constraint, challenges Vine users to be innovative in their design. The products are often highly addictive and hilarious, and because they are experienced at lightning speed, it is much too easy to get lost in the Vine vortex.

I had initial reservations about Snapchat. Mostly because many of my friends use it almost exclusively to exchange hilarious selfies. I  mean, have you seen the rainbow mouth feature?! Yet, I soon realized that posts on Snapchat or snaps introduce a temporal element in a way that Instagram and Vine posts do not. Videos sent directly to followers may last 10 seconds at the most, and once viewed, they disappear. Users may also post their snaps continuously over the course of 24 hours to be compiled in the “my story” feature. These, too, will disappear after a 24 hour period. This ephemeral in-the-moment quality demands that your viewers follow your stories closely and nearly contemporaneously. But fear not! Users may save their snaps to their device for later viewing. Snapchat’s editing features are less extensive than those of Instagram, but in some ways, the shakiness of the camera and the background noise provide for a more authentic narrative.

Instagram, Vine, Snapchat Infographic
Created with Piktochart!

What do you think? How do you share your stories?

 

Productivity Apps for Your Sanity!

selfie of writerHi folks! My name is Meaghan Moody, and I’m a new graduate intern at the Weigle Information Commons. As I embark upon both my first semester of graduate school and of my WIC internship, I realized I was in dire need of some productivity tools to manage the mayhem.

I know it feels like the semester only just started, but midterms are bearing down on us, and it’s time to finally buckle down and get things in order.

Here are a few helpful productivity apps to aid you in this endeavor. The best news? They’re all free to you via the App Store and/or Google Play Store!

Available For: iOS, Android, Mac OS, and Windows

This easy-to-use organizer will allow you to keep track of your assignments as well as everything else in your life. Make a multitude of lists and keep them orderly and at your fingertips. You can also easily share your lists with others and sync them between devices.

  • Pocket: Save Articles and Videos to View Later Pocket Logo

Available For: iOS, Android, Mac OS, and Windows

Instead of leaving a million windows open in your browser or inundating your email, save articles and media to Pocket! This handy app will organize it all for you, allowing you to revisit your articles and media at your leisure.

Available For: iOS, Android, Mac OS, and Windows

Sometimes it’s easier to tackle your assignments if you work on them in increments of time. With Pomodoro, you can  time your tasks and breaks. Set the timer for thirty minutes and dedicate yourself to the books, and when the timer rings, enjoy a break!

Note: There are several variations of this app available. I have linked to a free lite version via the App Store.

Available For: iOS, Android, Mac OS, and Windows

Described as a “scanner in your pocket,” Office Lens allows you to keep track of documents, whiteboard notes, and even the scraps of paper from the bottom of your backpack! Printed text will become searchable, and you can convert your uploads to Word, Powerpoint, or PDF.

As always, we here at WIC are here to help you out! Check out our reservable study rooms and booths AND our awesome workshops. Don’t see a workshop on something you would like to learn? Request a custom training session!

Lightning Round on April 22

lightning
Lightning Round 2015 – April 22, 10:30 AM

As part of our Engaging Students Through Technology series, we’re glad to announce Lightning Round 2015 on April 22, 10:30 am to noon, upstairs in the Kislak Center. Join us to explore creative ideas to engage students in a fast-paced format. Each presenter will share a favorite technology tool or idea with a three-minute time limit enforced by our gong. The event is designed for faculty, graduate students and staff with interest in educational technology. Videos will be shared afterwards on the Penn Libraries YouTube Channel.

Our presenters will need to talk fast!  Maybe a chat with a friendly CWiC advisor will help  shave a few seconds here and there. We have seven presentations confirmed to date – on NVivo, Storify, Palladio, E-Draw, 3D printing (two types) and Scholarly Commons. We hope to include up to twenty topics – so please step up if you have an idea to share!

This format worked great at our last Engaging Students Through Technology Symposium though the time limit was even shorter, at just two minutes. Our playlist below includes twelve videos on topics from Annotation Studio to  CAMRA to Timeline:

We look forward to the 2015 lightning round talks!

3D Printing at the Education Commons!

The Education Commons has just acquired a few 3D printers! We have one 5th generation Makerbot, and 2 Makerbot Minis. We’ve been testing the printers and our procedures over the past week, and the printers will open for campus use on Monday, February 16. We’re excited about offering the printers for all Penn students, faculty and staff. Penn’s campus has a number of 3D printers already, including the School of Engineering’s AddLab. The printers at the Biomedical Library and here at the EC are open for any use you might be interested in.

Makerbot Replicator

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