Talk It Out With YackPack

17 09 2010

Another great collaborative tool is YackPack.

YackPack can be described as a system of audio emails. First you create a user group, or “pack” as they call it, and then you invite others.  YackPack allows up to 49 different packs per email address, so you can have some office packs, hobby packs and family packs as well.

Example of YackPack user interface

When you want to send a message, you can select the whole pack, or just the members that you want to talk to, and record your message. You can listen to the play back, re-record if necessary and then poof!

Hit send at the message is gone. No more adding addresses from your address book (and getting someone else by mistake….done that a few times!) and no need to add any typing at all in fact. Just record and click send.

Another cool feature is that in YackPack the messages are stored for playback again and again. To see if you have a message, the person who sent you the message will have a green bar under their face or Avatar picture.

Simple…Easy…Almost Effortless Communication

I see YackPack as a great collaborative tool because it is a useful communication tool. Let’s say that an educator or a librarian has a group of people they are helping and typing is an issue for the people they are working with. With YackPack typing is not an issue, messages can be sent verbally. If the person that you are trying to connect with is not on-line, no problem, the message is sent and will wait.  In that sense YackPack is like a Web 2.0 answering machine.

Have you used YackPack for as a communication tool? Have you used YackPack for any kind of group projects? What do you think of YackPack?


Wikis as Educational and Information Tools

14 09 2010
image of collaboration


Aright I admit, I like to ponder about life in general and I was wondering if we really use some of the older Web 2.0 technologies to the fullest.

Sometimes as information professionals we get so caught up in new technologies that we can forget about older Web 2.0 technologies, such as wikis. My point, I guess, is do we spend time rethinking the possibilities for Web 2.0 technologies. For instance some information professionals are using wikis to collaboratively create Readers’ Advisory information, which is ingenious. But are we rethinking wikis often enough?

Then this article came out in the Chronicle of Higher Education about a crowdsourcing project called “Transcribe Bentham.” The project uses MediaWiki as the collaborative tool that allows all of the participants to … well transcribe the manuscripts of Jeremy Bentham.

I thought this was a great way to use wikis because it seems to repurpose an older Web 2.0 technology into an ongoing a current tend like digitalization.

How do you use wikis? Do you feel like you are getting the most out of Web 2.0 technologies?

Ohio Teen Bloggers in a High School

28 08 2010

A different Ohioan twist on blogging –  Middleton Bloggers.

First, what is it about Ohio? They seem to be very pro-active with connecting their youth and Web 2.0 technologies. I mean first the library in Worthington with a teen blog, and now a high school is giving out credit for seniors to blog about their last year in high school.

Is it madness? Have they taken leave of their senses in Ohio? Or are they exploring the ways they can engage their youth in the community through Web 2.0 projects?

This school is so excited about blogging that they have 6 teen bloggers who are getting credit for blogging about their senior year. In addition these seniors are learning the art of sharing information with their peers in a way that all parties involved benefit.

Maybe there is something in the water in Ohio but in my opinion it is a breath of fresh air.

Way to use blogging to unite, educate and build a body of knowledge Ohio, something we can all learn from.


Blogs as Educational and Information Tools

28 08 2010

I know, I know, blogs are not new and many Information Professionals and Librarians already have blogs. But I am not talking, here, about creating a blog for personal and professional purposes. I am talking about using a blog as educational information tool.

Blogs are a Web 2.0 technology that allows for content be shared with readers. But more importantly, blogs are platforms that also allow space for readers to comment. This is the area I was thinking we could build from.

Libraries need to build connections with their community and they need to be seen as that “connection place” that promotes community. Communication builds connections and connections build communities. So I am talking about creating blogs with the purpose of building a community though two-way communication and with the purpose of creating connections between public libraries and their users.

One fantastic blog example of community building is the Worthingteens blog supported by the the Worthington Ohio Public Library. The teen librarians who created Worthingteens provide a space for community and a connection for Worthington’s teens.

Libraries need to hear from their users and users need to know what their 21st century library has to offer. So why not use “social media” to be more social?  One more thought that comes to mind is a blog to promote readers’ advisory services to users and allow the users to share their opinions of the books. This could be a 21st Century Library Book Discussion where patrons interested could share their thoughts and views of different books for all to read.

In a nutshell… Web 2.0 is about social networking, connecting and collaboration, right? By adding our information perspective, libraries can create meaningful blogs that are about social literacy, engaging users both locally and worldwide.

How do you use blogs as an educational information tool?

Thank you for reading,