Blog Post

USC Upstate's SpeedGeeking '08

USC Upstate held its first SpeedGeeking event Friday afternoon inSpartanburg, SC. The event was a chance for interested members of theuniversity and community to hear 9 rapid-fire, 10-minute presentationson uses of new technology for academic, pedagogical, and collaborativepurposes.

Here's a run down of the presentations: 

George Williams introducing Twitter ? a micro-blogging tool

Asa "micro-blogging" tool Twitter is a great technology for gettingstudents to see the value of precision and conciseness. The 140character limit on Twitter messages means any information conveyed toand from students will need to be short and to the point. Some of thepossible uses of Twitter as a classroom enhancement tool include:

  • Class Twitter feeds can provide updates on course assignments, readings, etc.
  • Partially alleviates the problem of students infrequently checking e-mail: updates and reminders can be sent via Twitter to various mobile devices
  • Collaborative class notetaking - students with laptops in class can generate "soundbites" from important information
  • Links to more classroom uses can be found on George's website here.

Kylie Prymus introducing for social bookmarking is a social bookmarkingtool that allows users to store and tag their bookmarks online.Additionally, bookmarks can be shared amongst users allowing groups oflike-minded individuals to come together to find and share links tointeresting and useful websites. By creating a course page instructors can maintain a working bilbliography ofcurrent events and encourage (or require) students to makecontributions to the page. A course page need not be astatic, one-time use bibliography either; it can persist and be usedfor multiples sections of the course in later semesters.

Dwight Lambert introducing Zotero ? a research tool

Inspired by EndNote, Zotero is a free,online tool for collecting and sorting references and citations. Unlikefree versions of EndNote, Zotero will sync across multiple computersand allows automatic reference downloads from libararies,, and many other web sites. Citations can be output intomany formats (MLA, APA, etc.) and formatted into Word and other wordprocessing programs. The only downside appears to be that it is onlyavailable as a browser plug-in for Firefox and it is unclear whether itallows you to import citations from existing EndNote libraries.

Ron Fulbright introducing Lulu ? for online self publishing

Lulu is a great tool that allows usersto upload, publish, copyright, and print hard cover copies of theirwork. Unlike the vanity presses of yesterday, Lulu is relativelyinexpensive, allows the writer to retain their own copyright, providesan authentic ISBN that indexes your book in international databases andlists your book on Additionally the writer recieves 80% ofthe purchase price of any books sold. The downsides appear to be a lackof editting support (understandable given the price) and a lack of information on how to properly format text for printing.

George Labanick introducing the Blog in Blackboard

Formerly known as the Journal, Blackboard's Blog tool allowsinstructors to set up a blog for the course as well as give students aspace to blog their own experiences with course material. Studentblogs can be set to public or private allowing them to be accessible tothe entire class or just the instructor. The Blog tool also incorporates comments and the ability to output to RSS.

Tom Davis introducing Jing to capture and share images andvideo

Jing is a free application that mimicscommercial software for capturing screen images as well as recordingvideo of what is happening on screen. Specific portions of the screencan be highlighted for recording, allowing the user to crop awayextraneous information and focus solely on relevant material. Immediateapplicaitons of Jing include creating tutorial videos for students tohelp them set up course specific functions (using del.icio.lus,Twitter, etc.). Videos and screen captures can be output to Flickr or FTP sites or stored for free on

Adam Strickland introducing OneNotedigital notebook

OneNote is an often overlooked virtualnotebook program included in Microsoft Office 2007 (alsoappeared in Office 2003). Unlike a traditional Word document, OneNoteallows text to be entered anywhere on the page and independently movedaround. Images from the web can also be pasted into the notebook, andboth text and images are taggable and searchable. OneNote integrateswith most other MS products and files can be cropped directly intoOneNote and will appear embedded in their entirety. OneNote is an easyway to organize files and notes in a way similar to but less clutteredthan keeping a variety of legal pads full of information. It alsosupports tablet pc input and includes detailed and useful help files.

Cindy Jennings introducing Doodle for easy meeting scheduling

Doodle is an easy to use, streamlinedtool for arranging meeting schedules. The online program allows you toset available meeting time slots which can e-mailed for participants tovote on the best time. Similar to Evite, Doodle can be used to sendusers e-mail messages requesting feedback. Users can also view eachother's choices. One downside to the current version is the lack of an automatic e-mail verification of the finalized time slot.

Cindy Jennings introducing iGoogle to collect RSS feeds

For those unfamiliar with RSS feedsthey are a great way to stay connected to the communities you areinterested in. Feeds can be imported from blogs and news sites andprovide you with one-line updates that allow you to quickly scan and click onstories of interest. With iGoogle you can set up multiple pages thatorganize your feeds by interest as well subdividing them into discrete categories by favorite author, etc.



*Special thanks to Cindy Jennings for inviting me to participate in and blog this wonderful event!


1 comment

this was a great event...........thanks for inviting me...........