Ed Tech Tools for Impact

With a growing number of tools and technologies available, how do you know which is best for you? The Ed Tech Unit has developed a list of tried-and-true educational technology tools that we feel are great options to include in your digital content strategy. We’ve organized the tools based on specific goals you may have for your county or program.

computer on table

We encourage Extension professionals to review the POST method for determining which tools to use for particular audiences you’re trying to reach and specific objectives you may have for each audience. It may be helpful to download and print this POST method worksheet for thinking through some of your goals before deciding which technology is best.

Goal: Improve Workflow, Productivity, and Communication

Be better organized
Box and Box Sync (cloud-based storage and syncing)
Evernote (capture and share ideas across devices)

Offer better communication with internal and external teams
Microsoft Lync (instant messaging – integrates with Outlook)
Slack (instant messaging and file sharing)

Communicate via text message to volunteers or program participants
Remind (mass texting)

Goal: Improve Audience Engagement During Live Programming

Gauge learning understanding
Kahoot (game-based learning)

Create adaptive programming
Poll Everywhere (live polling)

Goal: Diversify Communication Methods to Reach All Possible Audiences

Create content hub to create and store information
u.osu.edu (WordPress blogging platform)

Create an electronic newsletter
MailChimp (electronic newsletter platform – free for up to 2000 subscribers)

Create an alternative platform for communication with clientele
Twitter Chat (live chat via Twitter)
Facebook group (open, semi-private, or private groups)

Other Helpful Tools

Create branded graphics for sharing online
Canva (great for creating social media graphics)
Piktochart (great for creating infographics)

Create narrated PowerPoints
Camtasia Relay (screen and audio-capture software)

Keep in mind this is not an exhaustive list of all tools you could choose from. The above options are tools that Extension professionals in Ohio and beyond have found helpful. Jamie or Danae would be happy to discuss these tools and others in greater depth. Don’t hesitate to reach out with questions!

Content Cheat Sheet: Best times to post

Figuring out the best times to post content on social media can be puzzling. Research shows that businesses and organizations post most of their content during normal work hours (9am-5pm, Monday through Friday). However research also shows that the best times to post on social media for maximum engagement is actually outside normal business hours. Take a peek at the cheat sheet below (courtesy of TrackMaven) to gauge when may be the most appropriate times of day and days of week to post on your social media channels. Pay close attention to the “most effective” column on the far right. (Click the image for a larger view or to print).

Social media cheat sheet

While the most popular times to post on social media are well within the normal work hours, the best times to post content for engagement (likes, comments, shares) are before or after work hours during the week or on weekends. Interestingly, the best time to send an email newsletter is Thursday afternoon.

Keep in mind that Facebook page insights offers information about when your specific page followers are active online. To find out when your followers are on Facebook, go to your page and click on “Insights” along the top navigation menu. From there, click “posts” on the left hand navigation menu and you’ll see “When your fans are online” at the very top of the page. Here’s what it looks like:

When your fans are online

Use this information to decide when to post content on your social media channels. If posting on Facebook outside of normal work hours seems daunting, consider scheduling your posts. Simply click the drop-down arrow next to “post” when crafting your next post and choose “schedule” to decide on a future time/day for the content to be published.

Schedule post

Happy posting!

Questions or commnets? Contact Danae or Jamie.

Save the Date: OSU’s INNOVATE Conference + Extension Post-Conference Event

Save the Date for the 2016 Innovate conference + special Post-Conference Event for OSU Extension professionals!

May 11th & 12th 

 

From the Innovate Community blogWith Excellence as our theme for 2016, we’re sharing innovations that let educators re-imagine their instruction without sacrificing pedagogical quality and rigor. It’s fun to experiment and enjoy the novelty of cutting edge technologies, but a focus on excellence is what drives meaningful implementation.

Innovate is a time for bringing people together across disciplines and across adoption barriers. The conference is built with the educator in mind: you don’t have to be tech savvy to fully participate in this day of presentations, demonstrations and valuable dialog.

Innovate is The Ohio State University’s annual conference exploring teaching and learning with technology. The highly engaging one-day event is built upon six years of successful conferences: 95% of 2014 participants learned something that could change the way they think about or do their job, 96% reported they would like to attend a similar event in the future, and the repeat attendees every year support this number. Innovate is hosted by Ohio State’s Office of Distance Education and eLearning.

While geared toward OSU faculty, with participation numbers growing each year of the conference, so too have professional development sessions relevant to outreach education and Extension initiatives. And in 2016, the OSUE Ed Tech Unit will be hosting a post-conference event for OSU Extension on May 12th. Innovate will be held at the Ohio Union, while our Extension event will be hosted at the 4-H Center. More details can be found here.

To be updated when registration and other details for Innovate become available, you can sign up to receive email updates or follow @InnovateOSU on Twitter. We’ll also share updates here on the Ed Tech blog!

We hope to see many of our Extension colleagues this year at Innovate in May!

 

Ed Tech Learning Opportunities at OSUE Annual Conference

This year’s OSUE Annual Conference theme, “Innovation in Action”, provides the opportunity to showcase the creative, innovative programming taking place across Ohio in Extension! The Ed Tech unit is excited to offer several breakout sessions this year, alongside our annual Tech Faire (formerly the “Tech Zoo”). We’ll also be announcing a few new Ed Tech initiatives for 2016.

Ed Tech – Led Focus Sessions:

Tuesday, December 8th

Wednesday, December 9th

Tech Faire

8:00am – 6:00pm: (Ohio Stater’s Room, 2nd Floor)

Marty McFly’s 2015 hat + other BTTF props await you at the Tech Faire photo booth!

 

 

What Focus Sessions are you presenting that showcase how you’re utilizing technology in your work? Add them in the comments below and we’ll see you at #OSUE2015!

Before You Blog Best Practices Checklist

Danae and I recently walked the Live Smart Ohio blog authors through an updated version of our blogging best practices tip sheet. It includes the useful rules of thumb below to check before you hit “publish” on your next blog post, especially if you submit your blog content for peer review.

Does your post…

  • Have a good title that includes keywords?
  • Have less than 300 words in the body of your post?
  • Have a quality photo, image, infographic, or video included?
  • Have a few embedded links that readers would find helpful?
  • Have a call to action at the end? (information included that directs readers to local or statewide Extension / OSU resources)?
  • Include content that can easily be repurposed?
  • Cite your hyperlinked sources in the endnotes below the content?

More in-depth information and resource links for each tip in the list can be found in the slidedeck below.

 

We suggest bookmarking this post, or download and print the PDF to always have a copy in front of you.

Do you currently blog? Add your blog links in the comments below and tell us what you’ve been using your blog for!

10 Ways to Repurpose Content

Be Creative Image

Why Recreate When You Can Repurpose?

Repurposing content allows you to take your best content and make it available to multiple audiences in a variety of formats.

1. Expand Individual Ideas From Previous Content

Take an existing blog post or factsheet and expand on individual ideas presented. A listicle (an article presented in the form of a numbered or bulleted list) lends itself especially well to expansion.

2. Develop an Electronic Slide Set

Use a service like SlideShare to create visually stunning slide sets from PowerPoints, Word documents, PDFs, or infographics. Slide sets can be embedded on websites and blogs and shared on social media for maximum impact.

3. Create an Infographic

Blog posts, factsheets, or journal articles that are particularly data heavy can be repurposed into infographics and shared on social media or websites. Use online tools like Canva or Piktochart to create your infographics.

Infographic

4. Share Content on Social Media

Share your best content on social media including Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter. Since people use different social media platforms for different purposes, it’s important to compose unique messages for each platform. Find high quality and interesting images to accompany your posts and use online services like Canva to create content specific to each platform. Visit our blog post on royalty free images for image inspiration.

5. Send Electronic Newsletters

Use an online service like MailChimp to manage newsletter subscriptions and send your audience interesting content directly to their inbox. Be sure to include links to your most popular recent posts as well as content from other relevant sources and information about upcoming programs.

6. Create a Video Factsheet

Use a service like Camtasia Relay (free for all CFAES employees) to capture your voice and what’s happening on your screen to easily create video presentations that can be shared on social media and YouTube. You can also create short animated video clips with online services like Wideo (free and paid plans available). Check out the short Wideo I made about repurposing content!

7. Host a Webinar

Use a program like Carmen Connect to hose a webinar. Webinars allow you to expand on a topic and interact directly with your audience.

8. Host a Twitter Chat

­Create a unique and relevant #hashtag and host a Twitter chat with your audience. Choose a time and topic and invite people to participate in your Twitter chat by using your #hashtag. Encourage your audience to use a service like Twubs to curate content.

9. Repackage Content into an eBook or Guide

If you have multiple blog posts or factsheets revolving around a similar topic (e.g. sustainable gardening practices; canning vegetables; tips and tricks on managing finances), consider repackaging that similar content into a comprehensive peer-reviewed eBook or electronic guide.

10. Update and Republish Old Content

Consider updating and republishing your most popular content. This method of repurposing content works particularly well with topics that come up every year (e.g. maintaining a healthy weight around the holidays).

Be creative with how you repurpose and recycle your content!

Questions or comments? Email Danae or Jamie.

Even Easier-to-Use CFAES and Extension Branded Images!

We have great news and not-so-great news this morning. Yesterday, we shared the link to a Buckeye Box folder that housed easy-to-use branded images. The not-so-great news: we’ve deleted this Buckeye Box folder. The great news? = the reason why! What we didn’t realize, was that this resource already exists! CFAES Communications now offers branded college and University background images, art, in addition to logos in .jpg and .png formats.

This 4-H Background image is one of many image resources available on the CFAES Communications site.

This 4-H Background image is one of many image resources available on the CFAES Communications site.

We apologize for the confusion. As we had mentioned in the previous post, if you have trouble using an image in it’s current format, do not see a desired image available, or just have a general branding question, please contact Jamie or Danae and we will help or contact the appropriate parties within the college.

 

2015 Video Creation Workshops Registration

Registration is now OPEN for this Fall’s Video Creation Workshops!

Back by popular demand! Our video workshops were a hit last year, and they’re back for 2015!

OSU South Centers / Piketon | October 15th

OSU Marion Campus | October 21st

Mahoning County Extension Office | November 5th

What will be covered:

  • Video shooting best practices (suggested equipment, lighting, sound, etc.)
  • How to edit in iMovie (Mac users)
  • How to edit in Pinnacle Studio (PC users)
  • Where to upload and share your videos.
  • Where to find more video creation resources in Buckeye Box.

The workshops will be facilitated by Mitch Moser, Amanda Raines, Danae Wolfe, and Jamie Seger, depending upon location.

Participants will receive an email with detailed information approximately 10 – 7 days before the date of the workshop. However, if you do not have iMovie or Pinnacle, it is suggested that you go ahead and download one or the other program immediately after registering. These are hands-on workshops and participants will be expected to engage during the entire day. iMovie typically comes preloaded on Mac computers, while Pinnacle is $59.99 and can be purchased here.

Registration is now open!  These workshops reached capacity last year, so make sure you register for a seat before they “sell out!”

Click here to register! 

Contact Jamie Seger or Danae Wolfe with questions.

Best Royalty-Free Image Sources

Camera

Images are a wonderful, and almost necessary, addition to blog and social media posts, marketing materials, and websites. A great photograph can help convey your message and grab your audience’s attention. Research suggests that social media posts, for example, garner more attention than text-only posts, but finding high quality and royalty free images can be a drag!

While a Google image search may help you in diagnosing a pest or plant disease, it is NOT a proper way to find images for use in marketing or educational materials. Many of the images you may find via Google image search are not licensed for public use. If you find an image online that you would like to use, but cannot find any licensing information, you should attempt to contact the original author for permission. Not receiving an answer from the author is not implied permission. If you do not hear from the author, it is best to find a suitable image licensed under Creative Commons.

If you need a refresher on the types of Creative Commons licenses and allowable image uses, you should watch this helpful video.

The following royalty-free image resources can serve as a starting point in your image search. This is not an exhaustive list, but the resources here offer fairly extensive image libraries that cover a wide range of topic areas.

Pixabay

Pixabay tends to be my first stop when looking for high quality stock images. I don’t always find exactly what I’m looking for, but the site offers thousands of images that cover nearly every topic imaginable (unless you’re looking for something ultra-specific). All images are released under the Creative Commons CC0 license as public domain and are free to use for both personal and commercial projects with no attribution required. Be careful not to click the subtle ShutterStock ads that will take you to the fee-based ShutterStock website.

Foodies Feed

FoodiesFeed offers searchable, high quality, and beautifully colorful photos of food. You’ll find tons of well-composed photos of ingredients and prepared meals, but not many shots of people. No attribution is required for using the photos. I did notice images downloaded as very large files. The image below downloaded at a size of 9.4MB so I used Photoshop to resize to something more manageable (181KB).

Lemons

Public Domain Archive

Public Domain Archive has a nice, though limited, supply of public domain images that are high quality and free to use. All images are released under the Creative Commons CC0 license as public domain and can be used for both personal and commercial projects with no attribution required.

Unsplash

Unsplash features a variety of high quality and searchable images. You can even subscribe to receive 10 new photos in your inbox every 10 days. All images are released under the Creative Commons CC0 license as public domain and are free to use for both personal and commercial projects with no attribution required. Below is an example of the great images available on Unsplash.

photo-1423483641154-5411ec9c0ddf

Free Images

Free Images offers many great images that are free for editorial purposes including education. When used for an editorial purpose you should provide proper credit to “FreeImages.com/Artist’s Member Name.”

Public Domain Pictures

Public Domain Pictures is a repository of free amateur images available for download. The free images are released under the Creative Commons CC0 license. Be sure not to click the many ads for fee-based stock photography sites.

Flickr Creative Commons

Flickr offers millions of photos licensed under Creative Commons. You can search for images by each type of Creative Commons license. Always make sure to follow license restrictions for each photo you’re using.

Getty

Another great resource for free images is Getty, though you can only embed free Getty images on websites, blogs, or social media. You will not be able to use free Getty images for printing, PowerPoints, use in 4-H project books, etc.

RGB Stock

RGB Stock offers a lot of great stock photos, all with Creative Commons CC0 license. You will have to register for a free account to download images, but it’s worth it for free access to high quality images!

CFAES Photo Library

The CFAES Photo Library is a great place to find images that represent OSU landmarks, programs, and people.

Bugwood

If you’re looking for images of plants, insects, and plant diseases, Bugwood is one of the best! The database is searchable and offers tons of great species-specific images. When downloading and using Bugwood images, you MUST provide attribution. Images are licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 and Creative Commons Attribution/Non-commercial 3.0. If you’d like to use photos for a commercial purpose (e.g. in a bulletin that will be sold), you must get approval from the image author.

If you’re ever in doubt about allowable uses for stock images, check out the website’s about page. Most sites offer additional information about the licensing of their images and appropriate uses.

Whether you take your own photographs or download images from stock sites, keep the following in mind:

  • Your images should be relevant to their use
  • You should use only high quality and in-focus images
  • When required by the image license, provide proper attribution
  • Never use an image without permission, unless licensed under Creative Commons

If you’re interested in creating great graphics with the images you find (without learning Photoshop), I encourage you to check out our blog post on Canva.

Questions? Contact Danae.