Last week I had the good fortune to participate in a workshop led by Discovery’s own Kathy Schrock. The Stafford Public Schools under the leadership of their Technology Integrator (and CT Discovery Education Leadership Council majordomo) Lynn Reedy, were awarded a grant for this school year under the CT State Dept. of Education’s Enhancing Education Through Technology RFP. Part of the grant is exploring the use of Web 2.0 tools for collaboration. Lynne reached out to several school districts in northeast Connecticut to establish collaborative partnerships under the grant. It was a great treat for myself and members of my school district to be included in the collaboration and subsequent professional development.
Kathy Schrock’s task at this workshop was to introduce the use of real time synchronous collaboration tools with the group. As with all Kathy’s sessions you come away a bit “Schrock-ified”, as the breadth of her knowledge rolls over you like a waves crashing at Nauset Light. However, I have swum in these waters before and kept my head up for a wave that I could body surf to shore. In this session, that wave was a Web 2.o tool called Photo Peach.
Photo Peach is a web based slide show program. Beyond simpler web slide show programs Photo Peach allows you to add music to your show. It is a “free-mium” service, meaning that the initial set of services is limited, but free (for example, you are limited to 30 slides per show in the free version). You can upgrade to their premium service and unlock a more robust set of services. Like most Web 2.0 services, it requires a sign up through an email confirmation, (limiting its use as an individual student tool) and has elements of social networking as you share your “peaches” with your group of friends. In Photo Peach you can upload your own photos, or pull photos from Facebook or Picassa Web Albums. Again this does limit student use depending on your school policies and student ages. You can share your work on the site, through email links or embeddable code.
The two things that I really liked about Photo Peach were the ease of adding music to the slide show, and the option of presenting the show in a spiral view. In my district we make great use of Microsoft Photostory 3 (for Win XP machines) because it is a simple yet efective way to tell digital stories with a music background. In house it works great, but there is always that extra step to get it up to get it up to the web for sharing beyond the school. Photo Peach already is on the web so it is a more direct vehicle for sharing.
The spriral presentation does add a “cool” factor and I can see using the embeddable code to make a nice opening graphic for a wiki project page or as a widget on one of our class blogs to show off a class project, or pictures from a spring field trip. Check it out!
Surf At Nauset on PhotoPeach