DEN March Madness Mashup - Early Upsets and Bracket Reflections

Bracket  from NCAA 2011 March Madness On Deman...Image by big swift via Flickr
As I'm engrossed in the NCAA March Madness, watching VCU take down the remaining #1 seed Kansas, I'm reminded of the Discovery Educator Network's own March Madness, hosted on Bracketeers. First of all, how cool is the site Bracketeers? I could see teachers designing class projects where students create brackets related to subject matter - famous artists, writers, poets, chemical elements, biological species, even mathematical formulas. If students back up their reasoning for their seedings and matchups, one could imagine a reasonable bracket created for almost any topic, and with March Madness a yearly event that captures the attention of millions, why not offer a related tool to engage our students? There's still time to create a bracket, but onto the DEN's own competition and how my picks fared in the early matchups.

With the #16 seed Movie Maker/iMovie dominating #1 seed JayCut, clearly the seedings are a bit skewed, though there remain some interesting matchups among the other members of the Sweet 16. The #2 vs. #15 seed matchup features Voki (2) and Blabberize (15). Both are carrying 50% of the vote going into the final hours. Having seen Voki used in our classrooms and promoting it recently as part of my Alternatives to Powerpoint presentations, the create your own avatar application got my vote.  We'll see how the final tallies turn out.

As we are getting more teachers to use VoiceThread in the classroom, I'm discovering more and more uses for the visually engaging tool to encourage discussion. I'll be sharing many of these later in the summer. Unfortunately, VoiceThread looks to be going down to Edmodo in the first round. Another of my picks likely making an early exit is Prezi, who drew the powerhouse Glogster in the early matchup.  I don't know of too many high schools using Glogster, but it seems to be quite popular with younger students. I love Prezi for many reasons, but mostly for its non-linear approach to getting ideas out there and then creating a presentation from these brainstorms.

While my bracket got busted with Voicethread and Prezi, I do have Animoto and Wikispaces moving on, and for good reason.  Animoto is a great tool for creating videos from images, text, and other video clips. The company has made great improvements over the past two years, and continues to be very supportive of educational use of their product. Similarly, Wikispaces makes it very simple and efficient to develop a Wiki page, and I find their layout, design, and overall interface to be quite intuitive despite not using it on a regular basis.

Depending on when you read this, you might be able to help decide the outcome of Voki vs. Blabberize, determine the final matchup, or simply gain more insights on valuable Web 2.0 Tools. It will be interesting to see how the next round plays out and which tool will ultimately become the champion.

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