The notices app in the Ultranet is a very handy way of targetting information to specific groups be they a year level or homegroup of students, the members of a collaborative space, just the teachers in your school or even just the parents; but the text editing is very basic and you can’t even provide hyperlinks…or can you?
Few people realise that you can actually format the text any way you want; add hyperlinks and even embed HTML code to display features such as videos, presentations, documents and animated objects. Here’s how:
First you need a wiki page or publication where you create your notice, editing it in exactly the same way you would any other wiki or publication – add or link to images, paste in code, format the text etc. When you are finished go to the source view of the document and copy all the code.
Here is the publication I’ve created and edited for a notice about my school’s upcoming Workshop Week:
Editing a publication
Here is the code for the publication, select and copy all the code:
Publication Source Code
Now go to your new notice. Give it a title, image, select the recipients and display dates as normal. Then, in the body of the message simply paste the code you copied from your publication or wiki and save. It’s that simple!
Editing the notice
And this is what the notice looks like in the Notice app.
Notice with Issuu document display
I keep a publication display permanently on my Home page which displays my “Coding for notices” publication, and I change it for each new notice I create. Very easy and very effective!
ProProfs Quiz maker is an easy way of making quizzes and tests for students. I have used it for library orientation, for Book Week quizzes and for tests. Here is one I did for Book Week this year that was designed to get students to look at our library Ultranet space:
Unfortunately I couldn’t actually embed the quiz in the library collaborative space because the code is of the “iframe” type. I did put it into the space in its own iframe application but that’s not my preferred option as the students then see advertisements as they are not premium members like me.
Cheered by recent successes using “iframe” embed code in Learning Tasks, this week I put my year 10’s IT test into a Learning Task. I checked out the task as a preview and from my perspective it was working perfectly.
I really shouldn’t be surprised when things go wrong but I was caught out again!
When the students opened the Learning Task there was just a great big white space where the test should have been. Luckily I had also placed a link on our class collaborative space which was the way most of the students ended up accessing the test.
I also got some of them to try using Firefox and guess what? – worked perfectly.
So, in short, ProProfs quizzes will embed in a Learning Task but not a Collaborative Space; they will display in Firefox but not in IE9.
Google Docs are terrific for sharing and collaborating; the functionality of documents, presentations and spreadsheets is nearly as good as their Office equivalents and of course you can upload your existing Word, PowerPoint and Excel files and have them converted to Google docs. I’ve not encountered any difficulty in uploading documents or images to Google docs from within the school network.
My favourite Google doc is the Google form, something that Excel has no equivalent for. Google Forms allow you to gather information from people and have it automatically collated and collected in a spreadsheet. They have all kinds of uses including surveys for research, collection of information and registration forms for event organisation. I regularly use a Google form for our staff to register for workshops to attend during our Workshop Week each term. As the registrations come in I can quickly get a visual idea of which workshops are filling up, then when registrations close I export the results to Excel for manipulation into confirmation emails and presenter rolls.
Google presentations are a useful way of putting a Powerpoint on a website (like authorSTREAM) but unlike authorSTREAM they can continue to be edited once embedded. This opens up enormous possibilities for collaboration, probably no better demonstrated than by Tom Barrett’s Interesting ways series. Here’s the one on (appropriately!) Google Forms:
With lots of fabulous ways to use Google forms with students I was very disappointed earlier this year when I found that a form would not embed in an Ultranet collaborative space. Google presentations will not embed in a collaborative space either but you can configure an iFrame application and that works very well. Of course, now I know not to expect “iframe”-type embed code to work, but I had completely forgotten that during my release 2 training last year I had embedded a Google Form into a Learning Task. I’ve tested it again and it definitely works which is great to know because Google forms have lots of applications within Learning Tasks.
Inexplicably a Google Presentation will not embed in a Learning Task (I had high hopes there!). I haven’t yet tested anything else in Learning Tasks – watch this space!
P.S. Another great use for your Google Docs account is for uploading/storing your images – very quick and simple to do. Once in Google Docs each image has its own URL which means you can use this to insert it into any suitable Ultranet application without having to upload it to your content.
Glogster is a fabulous tool creating interactive posters. Glogs are an excellent format for students to create presentations showcasing their knowledge and understanding of topics studied. There are heaps of options for customising fun and appealing graphics and text and all sorts of resources are easily linked or in the case of Youtube, placed straight on the Glog. You can read all about the benefits for students (according to Glogster) on the Glogster site. I’ve used it as an ICT newsletter for our teachers (with the secondary motive of introducing Glogster)
and as a pathfinder of resources for student research projects.
Embedding in the Ultranet
Two months ago when I embedded the aforementioned ICT newsletter in our staff resources design space the code looked like this:
<embed width=”760″ height=”1028″ wmode=”window” type=”application/x-shockwave-flash” src=”http://edu.glogster.com/flash/flash_loader.swf?ver=1306921161″ flashvars=”sl=http://edu.glogster.com/flash/glog.swf?ver=1306921161&gi=20779579&ui=8744139&li=3&fu=http://edu.glogster.com/flash/&su=http://edu.glogster.com/connector/&fn=http://edu.glogster.com/fontyedu/&embed=true&pu=http://edu.glogster.com/blog-thumbs/11/20/77/95/20779579_2.jpg&google_analytics_url=http://edu.glogster.com/js/glogsterGA.js&si=x&gw=3,8,0&gh=5,1,4″ allowfullscreen=”true”></embed>
and worked perfectly.
A few weeks later when I tried to embed the pathfinder into my library collaborative space the code looked like this:
<iframe src=”http://edu.glogster.com/glog.php?glog_id=21409784&scale=100″ width=”960″ height=”1300″ frameborder=”0″ scrolling=”no” marginheight=”0″ marginwidth=”0″ style=”overflow: hidden;”></iframe>
and wouldn’t work at all.
That actually wasn’t a surprise because I’d already had failures with code that starts with “<iframe” but it was a BIG disappointment. I got onto Glogster’s support site and posted a question about the code, specifically was there any way for them to provide “old style” embed code as an option (a la Youtube) but I haven’t had a response.
Incidentally, to make these glogs fit here I have slightly altered the code – where you see scale=100 I have changed 100 to 65, meaning 65% of the original size.
All aspects of Glogster have worked perfectly within my school’s network and internet filters.
This is the first post in what I hope to make an ongoing series.
Here in Victorian government schools we have a new-ish Learning Management System called the Ultranet. Teachers will use the Ultranet to assign and assess Learning Tasks; to collaborate with their colleagues; record and share their professional learning and create resources for their students.
The Ultranet has Web 2.0-like tools such as wikis and blogs which can be used to provide access to all kinds of resources. One of the key things I want to be able to do is to embed things I or others have created using other Web 2.0 tools – videos, podcasts, animations, documents etc. These might be resources I have prepared for my students or they might be the students own work. I have found that some things embed easily while others simply will not. My limited understanding of HTML code allows me to see the difference in the types of codes that embed and those that do not (any code that begins with “iframe” is guaranteed not to work) but sadly I don’t know what to do about it – perhaps someone will comment here and help me out.
What I do know is that it would be useful to others to know what will embed easily in the Ultranet before going to the trouble of creating something, rather than after, and that is what this series of posts will do. Each post will also describe any other issues around using the tool in the school environment – for example something in the way my school’s network and internet filters are set up prevents me from uploading to certain sites even though I can visit and embed their content.
Future posts will describe a tool or range of tools that perform a particular function, with tips and ideas about how and when to use, but for today, just a couple of quick tips.
Something as ubiquitous as Youtube doesn’t require me to explain anything about what it is and does BUT it’s worth knowing that you need to use the Old embed code for Youtube embeds to work in the Ultranet.
I’ve described authorSTREAM previously, in this post. Its embed code works fine in the Ultranet and there is no problem uploading your PPT file from within the school network (it can be scarily slow though, be patient it will get there).
Again I’ve described Issuu in this post. Embedding in the Ultranet is absolutely fine however I had to upload my PDF file from home.