Is Qwiki the next, best platform for digital storytelling?

May 31, 2011 8:00 am

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Daniel Rezac

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The Web needs something new for education. I’ve talked about this before. Teachers have been happily using Glogster,  Voicethread, and Google Apps for the past couple of years. Then the economy went in the dumper, Silicon Valley focused on “social,”  and we’ve been quietly waiting for some of the new platforms to emerge that might have education in mind.

It’s been a long wait, but friends, we may have a winner (however, they may not know this yet). See, last week, at TechCrunch Disrupt, Qwiki announced that soon- people would be able to Qwiki themselves. From TechCrunch:

The company will soon allow you to “Qwiki yourself,” meaning you can create a personal Qwiki of the social data about yourself available on the web. The feature will combine photos and information from Facebook and other social media sites.

Here’s how I think this will work: at first, you can think people are going to go into their Facebook profile, integrate their Facebook with a Qwiki, maybe write a short biography-  this could be the evolution of the business card. Folks may have Qwiki links on their websites, and QR codes that lead to their Qwiki page. That’s really cool, but does that have education in mind? Well, not really, but it is popular culture- and my guess is this will catch on like wildfire and have a tipping point. Everyone is going to know about Qwiki very soon. Everybody is going to want their own Qwiki. The next logical step in this evolution to me is: stories.

The visual style of Qwiki lends itself perfectly to creating portfolios and original stories- and I could see teachers and students getting really excited about using a platform like that. When I think of all the poor timeline tools out there, and some of the uninspired presentation tools, I think that Qwiki could fill the void that we are lacking in new, imaginative creative platforms. When I show my students Qwiki, they constantly ask for more: “Qwiki Illinois! Qwiki Chicago!” – they ask- already using Qwiki like a verb. That’s a strong sign that the people at Qwiki have their hands on a winner. While most of the non-fiction Qwikis will already be done, thanks to Wikipedia (which is where Qwikis draw most of their data)- creating original Qwikis based off of original characters could be something of a Internet sensation. Having students create end-of-year portfolio Qwikis, could be a wonderful summative, reflective process.

Voicethread wasn’t originally intended to be an education tool, but educators jumped on it. Now they have a separate domain for education at ed.voicethread.com. Same with Glogster (edu.glogster.com). In fact, here’s a list of just a few startups that saw the light and began cornering the education market:

These companies realized post-haste, that marketing themselves to students is a great way to get buy-in for a new platform, and it has done wonders for many of these companies in terms of users (some would say that Glogster is having trouble with all the demand). Huffington Post highlighted this trend in a recent article.

Can Qwiki aim themselves at education’s way? They’ve already shown that Qwiki has a place in education, and worked with EdReach and other sites to create the Education Qwiki of the Day (EdReach sidebar). It’s actually a really nice piece of code. While educators will continue to thrive using many of the tools available to us today, I think we’re ready for a company like Qwiki to bring education into the fold and give us some new, inspiring tools to work with. Does this Qwiki give you any ideas?

View The War of the Worlds and over 3,000,000 other topics on Qwiki.





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