Request a meeting room reservation at Northside Learning Center
Web 2.0: Free Online Tools and Resources
 

Introduction

Web 2.0 tools offer us software applications that do not need to be installed on a computer. This is especially useful in light of the move toward Active Directory throughout Northside ISD. Another advantage of many Web 2.0 tools is that they tend to be simple and easy to use: a real plus for educators who may not have time to learn to use a complicated program.

Web 2.0 tools offer some advantages:

  • No installation - no sotware to install: just browse to the site, register (if needed) and begin!
  • No workorders - no installation means no need to submit a workorder before you can get started
  • No steep learning curve - Web 2.0 tools are generally simple to use
  • No cost (for basic versions of the software) - the tools presented here are free, but some offer "premium" versions of the software -- for a fee

...and a few disadvantages:

  • No tech support! - don't call the Help Desk for assistance. If you encounter a problem, you'll have to solve it yourself.
  • No security - any free service can disappear overnight, along with any files you have stored there. Keep your own backups!
  • No documentation - most of these programs have a "Help" section, but don't expect a step-by-step manual. Acrobat.com is an exception to this rule, and a link to the manual appears below.

Picnik.com (www.picnik.com/)


Picnik.com. The red oval shows the Upload button.
Picnik.com is an extremely simple application. Many users can learn to use it in 10-15 minutes. Registration is quick, free and easy. You are allowed to upload five photos at a time.

Uploading is easy: the button to upload images is on the Home part of the site, right after you login. Simply click the Upload button and browse to find the file to upload.

Use the green tabs near the top of the window to switch to the various parts of the program:

  • Home - arrival screen when you login
  • Library - your images are stored here
  • Edit - make basic changes to an image
  • Create - special effects
  • Save & Share - Resize (you can also resize in Edit) and save your image in a variety of formats. Use Save to Computer for resizing and preparing CMS Outreach images.
CMS Outreach Notes

Remember that there are two ways to measure the "size" of images: (1) the dimensions, and (2) the file size.

Recommended dimensions:
  • Maximum width of 300 pixels.
  • Height is not as critical, but 500 pixels is suggested as a maximum image height.
  • The Thumbnail size (256 pixels wide) at Photoshop.com is suitable for Outreach pages.
Maximum filesize for CMS Outreach:
  • 100K is the maximum filesize that can be uploaded for an Outreach page.

Photoshop.com (https://www.photoshop.com/)

Photoshop Express screenshot
Photoshop.com. Click the circled link to
upload your images for viewing and editing.
Photoshop.com is a free (!) Web-based product. It takes a few minutes to join, and members can upload photos and images, edit them, and save them for use in CMS Outreach pages, PowerPoint presentations, etc. It has better features -- and is easier to use -- than Microsoft Photo Manager.

Use Photoshop.com to resize images for use in Outreach pages. Outreach pages allow a maximum file size of 100K. Space availabe on Outreach pages is also a factor. A maximum height or width of 300 pixels (whichever is larger) is therefore suggested. This has the double benefit of not taking up too much content area in the page, and it speeds up the Outreach page download time.

The easiest way to use Photoshop.com to resize an image to be suitable for posting on a CMS Outreach page is to use the download feature to resample and save it in the proper size in one easy step.

  1. Once your photos are uploaded, click the My Photos to view the pictures.
  2. Hover over the image and click the Photo Options link.
  3. Choose Save Photo.
  4. In the Save Photo window that appears, select Thumbnail and click Save.
  5. Browse to a location on your computer and save the image.

Not every Northside campus can access Photoshop.com, but NISD employees can access it from home for free.

SlideShare.net (www.slideshare.net/)

SlideShare - checking status of a slideshow
SlideShare Fig. 1: Upload a slideshow (red oval)
SlideShare is a free service that lets you publish your PowerPoint slideshows online and then add them to a CMS Outreach page in a format that anyone can view!

1. Upload Files

To get started, visit the site and create an account. When you login, click the Start Uploading link (shown circled in red, in Fig. 1 to the left) on the Home page, and browse to a PowerPoint presentation that you'd like to upload.

Click the Browse and select files... button and browse to find your PowerPoint presentation(s) to upload, then click the Publish All button to make the presentation(s) available via SlideShare. Remember that any presentation you post on SlideShare is publically accessible, so be careful what you upload.

You can see your current PowerPoint presentations at any time by clicking the My Slidespace link near the top of the screen.

2. Select a Presentation and Copy the Embed Code

SlideShare Fig. 2 - select the slideshow
SlideShare Fig. 2: Select the slideshow (red oval)
In order to place a presentation in a CMS Outreach page or other Web page, you need the HTML code to embed in the page.

Start by choosing My Slidespace from the menu at the top of the SlideShare page. This page should show all files you have uploaded.

Select the title of the presentation you wish to embed in a Web page. You should be taken to a page like that in Fig. 3 (below).

Look for the Embed code, in a small box near the upper-right corner of the presentation image (Fig. 3, circled in red).

Right-click the Embed code to highlight it, then select Copy from the menu which appears.

3. Embed the code in a Web page

SlideShare Fig. 3 - Copy the Embed code
SlideShare Fig. 3: Copy the Embed code (red oval)
To embed the code in a Web page, find the place where you want the slideshow to appear. You must insert the embed code into the HTML for the page.

Important:
The presentation must remain in SlideShare for the presentation to be visible in a Web page. If you delete the presentation in SlideShare, it will disappear from your Web page!

To embed a SlideShare presentation in a CMS Outreach page:
  1. Login to CMS and select Edit Page.
  2. Choose Configure Page and scroll down to Modules:.
  3. In the New Module Type menu, select Main (HTML).
  4. In New Module Name, type Presentations.
  5. Click Add Module.
  6. Move the Presentations module to the Side Content Pane.
  7. Click Save.
  8. In the Side Content Pane of the page, scroll to the Presentations module and select Add Content.
  9. In Body: editing window, select HTML and Paste the Embed code.
  10. Click Save and Set Active.
  11. Click View Page to see the slideshow.

Acrobat.com (https://www.acrobat.com/)

Acrobat.com screenshot
Acrobat.com
This free website allows you to create, store and share PDF and other files. There is a very good manual available, so it would be counter-productive to write a set of brief instructions here. Instead, a link to the manual appears below:

Acrobat.com manual (PDF 770K)

One thing to remember is that anyone with a Photoshop.com account does not need to register to use Acrobat.com. Simply login with your Photoshop.com account information to activate your own Acrobat.com account.

This resource has only been available for a short time, so there may be a few changes as it matures.

A Few Free Resources

Wikipedia (en.wikipedia.org)
Free or Fair Use images. Browse for any subject and click any image you see to find out if you can use that image. Many of the images are either Public Domain or are available for Fair Use for educators.

morgueFile (www.morguefile.com)
Free images. The morgueFile database is quite extensive, and images are searchable by subject.

Dynamic Drive (www.dynamicdrive.com)
Free Javascript and other DHTML scripts for Web developers. The site also has a FavIcon generator.

Printer-friendly version of this exercise (PDF)