Monday, September 14, 2009
... a liberated product is one which has built-in features that make it easy (and free) to remove your data from the product in the event that you'd like to take it elsewhere....This feature has huge implications for using Google tools for ePortfolio development. Just as they announced last month that you could transfer a Google Site from a GoogleApps for Education domain to another Google account you own, this looks like a systemic approach to data portability, to transfer data out of Google, should you so choose. This is an open standards approach which will be interesting to watch. The only thing is... where else would I put that data? Are other cloud computing companies going to follow suit?
We've already liberated over half of all Google products, from our popular blogging platform Blogger, to our email service Gmail, and Google developer tools including App Engine. In the upcoming months, we also plan to liberate Google Sites and Google Docs (batch-export).
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Video Sharing Website
For another website project that I am developing, with a lot of webinar videos that we want to embed, we found Motionbox.com. The site allows longer videos, which can be viewed in full screen mode, and allows 750 MB of movies stored for free. However, for $29.95 per year, the Premium service allows unlimited video storage, maintains the original video file, and also allows the video to be downloaded into iPod/iPhone format. When logged in, the web page includes the code for embedding the video clip into another web page, such as this blog. The digital story below was developed at a workshop in 2005, focusing on the importance of developing digital family stories. We need online spaces to store these "legacy" stories!
Maybe when I upgrade my iPhone, I'll be able to record videos, too!!!
I've been concerned about finding online spaces to store full quality video, not the low quality videos I see on YouTube. Premium Motionbox accounts also allow storage and downloading HD videos (just requires a high speed Internet connection). The normal playback is High-Quality, Low-Bandwidth (SD). I hope their business model is profitable enough to make this service viable for years to come. It meets a real need for families to store their video memorabilia.
Sunday, April 20, 2008
- ElephantDrive - 1 GB free space, Email: YES - URI: NO
- DropBoks - 1 GB free space, Email: NO - URI: NO
- 4shared.com - 5 GB free space, Email: YES - URI: YES (very nice interface, but free account expires with 30 days of non-use)
- bluestring.com from AOL (more of a digital storytelling service, saving specific file types -- audio, video, images -- but not PDFs)
- openomy - 1 GB free space, Email: NO - URI: YES
- allmydata.com - 1 GB free space, Email: YES - URI: YES (one of my favorites, so far)
- hp upline - unable to set up account
- mozy home free - 2 GB free space, Email: NO - URI: NO (not a file sharing service, only a back-up/file syncronization service; requires client software download)
- getdropbox - 2 GB free space, Email: YES - URI: YES (still in beta, not giving out passwords or downloading software, yet) - The video demo on their website looks impressive.
- scribd - unlimited free space, Email: YES - URI: YES (this site calls itself the YouTube for Office/PDF files, but only stores these specific types of documents, not audio or video files)
- idrive - 2 GB free space, Email: ? - URI: ? (Windows only client software download required)
- divshare.com - 5 GB free space, Email: YES - URI: YES (another of my favorites)
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
Portfolios in the Cloud
In my reading, I found a new and interesting provider of personal digital document storage: Wells Fargo Bank! Their vSafe service will provide their customers online space to store and organize copies of important documents. "By protecting information in an electronically secure and centralized location, customers can easily access and recover copies of critical documents in the event of a natural disaster, theft or hard drive crash, or while traveling." I had not anticipated that online document storage would be provided by a financial institution, but security and privacy is a basic requirement of that industry. In the digital age, they could provide a digital safe deposit box for our important personal information. [I wonder if they would also allow hyperlinks to selected files? I have often compared financial portfolios (documenting the accumulation of fiscal capital) with portfolios in education (documenting the development of human capital).] But at $4.95 a month for 1 gigabyte, $9.95 a month for 3 gigabytes and $14.95 for 6 gigabytes of storage, it is fairly pricey for the increased security.
According to another article in Backup Review, another company in the Education market, School Web Lockers, is offering online storage of student and teacher work, accessible from home as well as school. "All School Web Lockers are backed up daily and preserved from year-to-year to allow students to easily create a portfolio of work." Again, I wonder if they allow hyperlinks to selected files from one of the many e-portfolio authoring tools.
Online Storage Videos
- Drop Box - (YouTube video) (in private beta)
- Desktop on Demand - (YouTube video)
- AOL's XDrive - (BlipTV video) (1 GB free)
- Carbonite - (YouTube video) (not a free site - $50/year for "unlimited" backup storage)
- Roxio's BackonTrack - (YouTube video) (a product that you buy)
- Windows Live Sky Drive - (MSN video) (5 GB free)
Sunday, March 30, 2008
Online File Storage Research
- Six Free Online Storage Services
- The Best Free Online File Storage
- Yahoo Group: Online Storage and Sharing
- Free Online File Storage
- 2008 Online Storage Services Report (the most current comparison)
- Box.net (I've had an account for more than a year, but haven't really used the service.) 1 GB free storage, maximum file size 10 MB (would not accept the MP3 file of my 12 minute 11.4 MB presentation) without an account upgrade. I had to edit the file down to less than 10 MB. Even then, it hung up in the middle of uploading the 9.9 MB MP3 file, and I was never able to add it to my account. Requires an upgraded account to create a permanent URI.
Email: YES - URI: NO
- Omnidrive (When I tried to sign up for an account, I received the following message: We have currently reached server capacity and there are no more accounts available during the beta period. We expect to launch Omnidrive 1.0 during April, 2008.) That's too bad. Based on the features and description, it looks the most promising. 1 GB free storage
Email: ? - URI: ? (website says YES to both)
- MediaMax (I read bad reviews, so I signed up with some reservations.) 25 GB free storage. I was able to upload files, either individually or as a batch. I uploaded an MP3 file, but it was too large to be downloaded without an account upgrade. It accepted the smaller file. After I transferred the files into a Hosted Folder, it showed the URL to link to each file. Files can also be shared by email. This was the most trouble-free and intuitive of the sites that I tried.
Email: YES - URI: YES
- esnips.com - A very easy site to set up. I was able to upload my PDF files, but it rejected the MP3 file that I created, with the statement "Publish failed Suspected copyright infringement - upload denied." That won't work if students want to upload audio samples that they create. 5 GB free storage
Email: YES - URI: NO
- Adrive - Very easy to set up and upload both PDF and MP3 files. No file size limit. A single click shares the file, and the list of shared files includes the URI. However, clicking on the link goes to a web page that downloads the file. 50 GB free storage
Email: YES - URI: NO
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Digital Archive for Life Diagram
I developed this diagram as part of my presentations on e-portfolios for lifelong/life-wide learning. As shown here, a "digital archive for life" can follow an individual from informal learning in the family (and the popular development of scrapbooks), into formal education and professional development, and serve as a "memory enhancer" as we reach our post-retirement years.
Thursday, February 21, 2008
Google Announces Medical Records Online
- Google launches online personal health records project (Computerworld)
- Google to Store Patients' Health Records (Associated Press)
- Google to kick-start medical records program with Cleveland Clinic (CNET News)
...the company became interested in entering the personal health records (PHR) business when Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf Coast and countless paper-based medical records were lost in the aftermath of the storm.Even more people lost a lot of personal memorabilia during that storm, which I referenced in a blog entry at the time. Although not as life-critical as medical records, our personal and professional documents are part of the legacy that we leave for later generations. Having a personal online archive of a variety of digital media, for use in a variety of contexts, is a natural extension of these personal health records. Just as medical records primarily document the development and change in our physical bodies, a digital archive/ePortfolio can document the development and change in our cognitive domain. Medical records are primarily developed by medical professionals and confidentiality is required by law; a digital archive/ePortfolio is created by the individual, often within a social environment, and confidentiality should be under individual control.
Labels: digital preservation
Tuesday, February 19, 2008
Web 2.0 Tools & Online Storage
I have also been doing some research on the different tools that can be used for online storage, as I found Google's March 2006 vision of "a place for users to store 100% of their data online.”
- "Google Plans Service to Store Users' Data" (Wall Street Journal, November 27, 2007) - includes a good comparison of different virtual storage services available:
- "Google GDrive coming soon?" (from downloadsquad blog, November 27, 2007, including a history of the GDrive developments) - Apparently the project has been called Platypus or simply "My Stuff" although that name is the name of the new open source ePortfolio system created by the Open University in the U.K.
To effectively use any of these virtual storage solutions as the digital archive for any e-portfolio system (or "lifetime personal web space"), they need to have the capability of OmniDrive and Box.net to "share files by creating a Web address that others can access." If I were to make a wish, I'd like an interface like YouTube or Picasa, that provides the HTML or URL to easily embed or copy/paste a hyperlink. I'm also hoping that the new interface allows more seamless integration between the different Google Apps (dare I hope "drag and drop" within a single window?). Now I have to switch between multiple windows to copy URLs for links to different documents. I hope the Google virtual storage service becomes available soon, and I hope it also works seamlessly with a Mac (not just Windows).
Saturday, August 04, 2007
CARPE Research and MyLifeBits
Friday, July 13, 2007
In this article, I have outlined my vision for digital stories of development, or Online Personal Learning Environments which may eventually replace what we currently call “electronic portfolios” in education. Based on the concept of “lifetime personal web space,” this online archive of a life’s collection of artifacts and memorabilia, both personal and professional, has the potential to change the current paradigm of electronic portfolios, mostly institution-bound, and focus instead on the individual or the family as the center for creating the digital archive, which can be used in a variety of contexts across the lifespan, from schools to universities to the workplace. Finally, this archive can be used to develop personal histories and reflective narratives to preserve our stories for future generations. A possible scenario is followed by the challenges faced when developing this service for widespread dissemination.
Friday, June 01, 2007
Digital Preservation of ePortfolios
I've recently become interested in the durability of ePortfolios -- as I describe in this piece here (ePortfolios, Durability, and the Black Binder Test). I was wondering if you've heard of any attempts to decouple the interface and presentation of ePortfolios from the storage of the artifacts (and optionally the reflections) -- say through using Amazon S3 or some other 3rd party space that could be truly owned by the student or faculty member regardless of where they wind up. Is anyone moving in this direction?My first e-portfolio was created in 1997 (10 years ago), using Adobe Acrobat and pressed to a CD. I still have a copy of that portfolio (on my hard drive) and I assume the original would be readable, if I could find the CD. Most of the systems that you mentioned in your blog entry all allow exporting the portfolio into an HTML archive that can be stored on any online system that the learner "owns". So the solution to the problem that you pose is to store these portfolios in an online system. The challenge is finding systems that will be around for a while. I pay an annual fee for my online storage, and I am exploring GoogleApps. Yahoo is too small for portfolios, and I don't know if I should trust some of the online storage systems like box.net. There are other free systems out there, like ourmedia.org, but I don't think they handle entire HTML archives.
I think if portfolios are stored in HTML (ASCII text) or PDF formats, those are the two formats approved by the Library of Congress for digital preservation. There are other issues for preserving audio and video, but WWW-compatible universal formats should be safe for the next ten years. The next step would be XML formats, which the European ePortfolio community is trying to address. There are also now IMS ePortfolio standards, but I'm not sure that the commercial providers in the U.S. all conform to that standard. But virtually all of them allow exporting a portfolio to disk archive.
You can look at my study of online portfolios (I am up to 25 versions of my portfolio). If I was able to download a copy, I posted it on my web server and created a link to it. You will also notice that all of my artifacts are web links to artifacts that are posted on one of my web servers. So, I am modeling the concept of "lifetime personal web space" which Cohn & Hibbits advocated in their 2004 Educause article. The issue of digital preservation is real, but has been solved, at least in the short term (10 years). The real question becomes whether these portfolios can last as long as their paper versions (50+ years).
This is not just an issue with ePortfolios. What about all of the digital photographs and other digital documents that we collect? Some historians are concerned that we may have a "hole in history" because so much of our data is now stored in digital formats, which are one hard drive crash away from extinction. So, backing up our data to online servers becomes more critical. I try to model that process, but at a cost. I hope I have instilled those same values in my children. Of course, I wrote in an earlier blog entry about the tragedy of New Orleans and the loss of memories and physical memorabilia that happens in these type of disasters. So, establishing digital archives online becomes even more important.
Saturday, September 24, 2005
Digital Archive for Life
I mourned for the devastation of New Orleans. I have many fond memories of that city: my first trip there for ISTE's last Tel-Ed conference in 1998, over a Halloween weekend, where we gaped at the antics on Bourbon Street; the two weekends that my husband and I spent there before and after a Caribbean cruise that left from the dock behind the RiverCenter Mall; the NECC conference in 2004, held in that infamous convention center; my PT3 visit to the University of New Orleans to talk about ePortfolios on their Lake Pontchartrain campus; another PT3 keynote address to another group of student teachers at a conference at Loyola University; and at least one AERA conference held there. It was such a good conference city; I hope New Orleans returns to its vibrancy. I've heard of several education conferences that were scheduled in New Orleans that are being moved to other locations. It makes me sad. The city needs the revenue more than ever!
But on a less personal note (for me), what I found especially poignant about the Katrina news stories were the pictures of the "lost" children that CNN showed last week. They say that showing those pictures resulted in at least a dozen solved cases. But I was also concerned about the devastation that the citizens of Louisiana endured. In addition to the tragic loss of lives and homes, hurricanes also wipe out family artifacts, physical memorabilia including family photographs and videos. I remember the story of the man who kept a diary every day of his adult life, only to have it wiped out when his New Orleans home was flooded. I remember all of the silhouettes on CNN after Hurricane Katrina, where families no longer had the photographs of their missing children to post online. However, in a few instances, teachers who saw student names listed on TV, sent in their photos to the CNN website. This anecdote illustrates the central role that schools can play in the preservation of these artifacts. How can schools help families to preserve these artifacts in multimedia formats, and post them online in free websites like OurMedia.org?
There is a movement in Canada and Europe to establish an electronic portfolio for every citizen by 2010. As I wrote in an earlier blog entry, the potential of e-portfolios to support lifelong and life wide learning is limited only by our current technologies, limited experience, and narrow vision. Instead of an e-portfolio, a concept that is not widely understood, what would happen if every citizen was issued personal web server space that they would own for a lifetime? Like a virtual indexed filing cabinet, this Digital Archive for Life (DAL) would provide space to store the raw materials for e-portfolios, archives of family records, genealogy and digital stories, autobiographies, child development data (such as digital versions of New Zealand's "Plunket books"), evidence of personal and professional accomplishments, and all kinds of personal information. From cradle to grave, we could store and celebrate the results of lifelong and life wide learning. And in cases of tragedies, like hurricanes or floods or the isolated cases of home fires, or the more likely catastrophic hard drive crash, we would have our memories preserved.
The other issue that the victims of Katrina faced was the loss of personal records: health records, financial records, the documentation of our lives that we all take for granted... until it is destroyed. I remember the stories of the doctors who had to use their best professional guesses as to prior health history while practicing what they said was worse than 3rd World medicine! Who knows if they would have access to the Internet in a disaster, but what if we had a smart card that we could carry in our purses or wallets, just as we usually never leave home without our credit cards, where our medical history could be stored for just these types of emergencies. I understand that these cards are used in Germany to store medical history and health care information. In the richest country in the world, why don't we have access to this type of information? This subject was briefly mentioned tonight on CNN, of having more electronic medical records. Perhaps that is a deficit of our decentralized health care system, but that is also a topic for someone else's blog!
But the point of this blog entry is not to advocate for more cards to carry in my purse. This information needs to be stored online, in a server bank that is built like the Internet, to be able to withstand a catastrophic event, with redundancies and security, as a place to store our personal information, artifacts, memories. I pay $7.77 a month for 5 GB of server space to store my electronicportfolios.org website (and I don't use 20% of it!). I just received notice that .Mac accounts have increased storage space to 1 GB for $99 a year (it's about time!). This is not a lot of money out of my pocket. But I'm a techie... it's what I do. Where is the easy-to-use webspace for the average citizen to store their essential information? Yahoo only gives 15 MB. The Gmail service from Google offers 2.5GB of e-mail storage! They also host the Blogger service, that I use to create this blog. That is all a good start. But what we need is that Digital Archive for Life, where we can store our most important information... so that we won't lose our favorite digital photographs due to a hard drive crash. Backups to CD-Recordable discs or even DVD aren't the long-term answer. Who knows how long that media will last, or can be read, and physical media can be destroyed in a disaster? We need reasonable online storage space, with a transparent, idiot-proof content management to organize it... our own personal archivist!
I used to advocate for portfolios stored to CD-ROM (or now DVD). I realize now that is an interim solution. Just in the last week, I've experienced the weaknesses of online portfolio systems that go down for technical reasons; I've also been frustrated when the network in a school is down, making training nearly impossible. But that is no reason not to move in this direction. What we really need are online repositories for high quality content (including DVD-quality video, not the emaciated versions of movies that individuals can stream today). Some day, we will have the bandwidth to handle that type of data, as corporations and cable companies are able to do today. But what do families do with their precious family memorabilia? That is our challenge! Anyone want to join me in this pursuit?
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