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MapSkip Blog

Archive for March, 2009

Export for Student Stories

Saturday, March 28th, 2009 by Thomas

We’ve added the story export feature to the My Students section of our teacher account interface.

It works very similar to the standard story export, but it creates one text file with the stories for all student accounts associated with the teacher account. This allows teachers on MapSkip to one-click export all student stories for offline review and archiving.

While offline review is the anticipated use for this new feature, please let us know if you find a new creative way to use the exported stories!

Story Export

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009 by Thomas

MapSkip is part of a whole galaxy of Web 2.0 sites that invite users to add their creative output to an online database that these users have no control over. And while we have a clear policy in regards to user content (see the link to our Privacy Policy and Copyright in the footer of every page), it doesn’t do our users much good to own their stories if there is no easy way to get their data back.

So to fix this issue we have now added a story export feature to MapSkip - if you are logged in and go to the My Passport page and click on the My Stories link, you will find a “Export All Your Stories” link just under the row of tabs.

This feature opens a new window and the MapSkip site will create a simple text page with all of your stories as one long list. At this point you can simply save this page from your browser’s File menu, or you can cut and paste stories into a word processor on your computer.

Classroom Tool Improvements

Sunday, March 22nd, 2009 by Thomas

We are still adding new improvements to the teacher interface of MapSkip:

Today’s update will assist teachers with the task of reviewing comments made by their students - in the Student Comments tab it is now possible to just review comments made within the last 7 days.

Also, to gain a quick overview of the comments made, the teacher can just roll over each of the listed story links in this tab and a small layer will pop up with the text of the comment.

new_comment_feature.jpg

 

Joy in Their Lives

Saturday, March 21st, 2009 by Thomas

 Found this today on Twitter:

picture this: two of my boys -arms around each others’ shoulders - reading your kids Mapskip comments; smiles; joy in their lives; thank you

We were so touched by this tweet… we couldn’t have been wishing for a better reaction by our youngest users on the site.

img_9999_2.jpgThe situation in the class room described above is part of an ongoing project between Nespelem Elementary School in Coulee Dam, WA and Presbyterian Day School in Memphis, TN. The teachers in both schools have succeeded in bringing their students together in work assignments and cultural echanges with wikis, Skype calls and also with shared stories, sound recordings and photos on MapSkip.

Judging from this blogpost by Ms. Edwards, one of the teachers at Nespelem, the project has been very successful and it is quite amazing to read about how the students have been utilizing a number of available Web 2.0 tools to achieve their assignments.

These kids are the next generation of true pionieers of the Web!

And may I just point out that both Kazumi and me were delighted to see this photo of MapSkip in the classroom. Thank you. :)

Passport Improvements

Sunday, March 15th, 2009 by Thomas

We’ve overhauled the My Passport display for all of our users - there were too many usability and performance issues with the accordion-style interface and our content volume has frankly outgrown the old design.

The new design is now utilizing tabs for the different pages of the My Passport section:

newtabs.jpg

In addition, teachers will now find a second set of tabs in the My Students area of the passport section:

teachertabs.jpg

Students & Stories is the previously existing list of students and their stories and Student Comments is a new feature that allows the teacher to review all comments written by the class on one page. In addition, student comments can  now also be disabled if necessary.

Managing Student Stories

Tuesday, March 10th, 2009 by Thomas

The teacher interface on MapSkip’s My Passport page is currently undergoing some changes, as you have maybe noticed by the slight layout tweaks over the last few days.

One of the first new features is now the ability to disable/re-enable student stories. Teachers can now disable accidental student stories from the My Passport page with a single click. The story will be listed in red once it is disabled, and only the teacher has at that point access to the story for further review or to re-enable it at a later point.

story-enable-disable.jpg

As always, please let us know in the comments below or through our contact us page if you have any issues with these new features or further suggestions.

New Streamlined Map Interface

Sunday, March 8th, 2009 by Thomas

Here in the MapSkip headquarters the wheels never stop! We’ve been experimenting with integrating the Google Earth plug-in on the homepage, but have been met with some unfortunate technical issues that will delay the 3D-map for a while longer.

But as a side effect of this, we’ve streamlined the in-map interface. All the different map types can now be picked through a  drop-down menu, which frees up valuable real estate. The new menu and the filter drop-down are now tidily stowed away in the top right corner of the map on our homepage.

new-map-interface.jpg

New Classroom Story Tools

Saturday, March 7th, 2009 by Thomas

We have to admit, we were surprised by the eager reaction to our new classroom features!

Several projects have been kicked off with quite a number of stories - both Memphis and Adelaide come to mind, where we have reached a hundred stories each.

To make all of these stories more accessible, we’ve extended the classroom toolbox with an open/close feature and a previous and next button that allows the user to easily jump from story to story within one classroom project:

classroom-tools.jpg

 Thanks to all the students who are taking part in these projects!