Tag Archives: network

5 Free Online Visual Dictionary and Thesaurus Applications

Sometimes, when I need some inspiration and ideas for words to use in a project, I take the visual route and consult a “visual thesaurus”.

These handy Web applications can help you quickly find new words for a concept you’re working with, visualize its relationship with other words, and, of course, amplify your vocabulary and aid you in avoiding repetition, replication, redundancy, and echolalia, et &…

Here are a few online visual thesaurus applications that are free to use:

SnappyWords -Soon to have its open source code available for the public, SnappyWords can came in handy when you want to share a word’s connections with others: each entry has a unique search entry URL that takes users straight to its visual “network map”. This service also provides a built-in hover-over dictionary (when you hover over each word’s node, of course).

VisuWords -Very similar to SnappyWords, this application doesn’t seem to allow direct linking to specific words. Built-in dictionary.

WordVis - This simple visual thesaurus lets you filter words by different parts of speech and categories. Once again, no direct hyperlinking to specific words is provided. Built-in dictionary.


GraphWords – This visual thesaurus has handy (am I using the word “handy” too often in this post?), I meant “commodious” social media sharing buttons for quickly sharing your word maps with friends on Facebook and Twitter. Unlike the previous services on this list, GraphWords has a drawback: no built-in dictionary is provided.

Merriam-Webster’s Visual Dictionary – This is a typical illustrated dictionary. Illustrations are available in different categories. The search mechanism (custom Google search) isn’t very effective, but the illustration work is quite comprehensive.



Using LinkedIn to Find a Job


There are many interesting ways to use the LinkedIN network to your advantage. Here are some quick tipsl:

  1. Keep your info and “resumè” up to date
  2. Join networks in which you already have connections
  3. Join networks in your area of interest and expertise (well, this one is obvious)
  4. Add friends and colleagues you have studied with and that you have worked with
  5. These colleagues will be glad to write recommendations for you (under your profile) if you also write recommendation about them
  6. Request recommendations from colleagues
  7. Write recommendations for your colleagues

More resources and tips:

A NetGener Workforce – Understanding How They Learn and What They Expect

I recently had the joy of participating of the Learning Innovation Network conference initiated by the Human Capital Institute which had its first gathering hosted by Sun Microsystems in Santa Clara, CA.

A few week ago, Jeanne Meister invited me to speak again, this time during a Webcast the HCI was promoting. It was, again, an amazing experience and in this dynamic world it has immediately generated networking opportunities with some new contacts. If you knew me personally you’d know I’m all about people, networking, socializing. Typical netgener. One of my points with the whole information dump was that I believe that the research around netgeners might be true as far as habits, ways of thinking, wys of receiving/processing/sharing information being different now than a few decades ago, and people born around the 1980′s have had better chance for exposure to this mass media technology and an ever-growing amount of information, it is more of a matter of ATTITUDE and opportunity to be around all the information (technlogy) and having a positive mindset about it than it is a matter of age.

Here is a link to Joy Kosta’s (our host) blog summarizing the webcast.

Here is Jeanne Meister’s blog.

Facebook is the Fastest-Growing Social Network

Very interesting post on TechCrunch based on Comscore data that show the growth rate of Facebook and other social networks. Facebook being the winner in this race.

What about Learning? If we want to reach learners where they are we need to, of course, know where they are and also start developing to these platforms.  Real learning in social media goes beyond delivering learning content on Facebook, it is about promoting user-generated content and sharing. Interaction amongst learners is a key factor in how learning takes place and these social networks offer great tools to mediate this interaction and make it easy. Netgeners or “Millenials” grow used to this type of technology (although I think the research on Millenials is debatable because I think the characteristics attributed have to do more with attitude and opportunity of exposure to technology than a matter of age and the year an individual is born) I do think we need to consider a shift in eLearning based on the new expectations people have regarding receiving, processing, creating and sharing content. Social networks offer a great insight into how people expect to interact with one another, providing a great approach to Constructivist learning…


Social Media Assessment and Learner Progress Tracking

Something that has bothered me is that, while the adoption of social media (Web 2.0 tools like blogs, wikis, social networks and so on) depends on a paradigm shift and require a new way of thinking “learning”, how can we assess learner progress in a modality of tools in which user-generated content can be so scattered throughout different tools? I know you might be thinking as you read: “But these are new tools, they require a new way for evaluation, progress tracking and certification…” just like I said above. But the problem is that the adoption of the tools seems to happen at a faster speed than the attitude change toward learning assessment and certification!

Instructional Designers, instructors, learners are using social media more and more to enrich learning experiences and more research is needed concerning assessment and progress tracking in this context.

Open Source Social Network Engines

No-one is impressed with the words “social networking” anymore. We used to have to explain to new comers what “Myspace” or Facebook implied. Now everyone can have their own social networks online with relatively no cost using open source solutions that I think deserve some attention:

1- www.elgg.org -> free and open source initiative. Very customizable, still need som work done, doesn’t have many of the standard features you would expect from a social network. Large developer base might bring important improvements over time.

2- www.drupal.org -> not exactly built for social networking per se, but has an enormous plugin database that can bring extra functionality, including the possibility of creating Digg-like video/news/websites/etc. aggregator that requires votes by community members so content is published.

3- http://update.peopleaggregator.org -> Myspace-like social network engine. Integration with OpenID. Still pretty “rough”, but has potential. Demo: http://www.peepagg.net/

4- www.boonex.com/products/dolphin -> more focused on “dating” but allows for customization. Many plugins have to be “purchased”, though.

5- http://www.barnraiser.org -> I can’t tell you much about it (not many communities powered by “aroundme” right now). It is open source.

6- http://civicspacelabs.org -> Drupal as a social network. Has free options for non profit organizations.

7- http://appleseed.sourceforge.net -> not much information on the website and no demos available. Open source.

8- http://lovdbyless.com -> new open source social network engine that has a lot of potential. Ruby on Rails. Some nice features and integration with Youtube and Flikr out of the box.

9- isocial – http://sourceforge.net/projects/socialnetwork -> not much info.

10- clonesumating -> should be a clone of “consumating.com”, which has been down for quite a while now. Quite a few features.

11- ozcode – http://sourceforge.net/projects/ozcode -> an ozmozr.com clone. Lets you build networks around feeds and friends.

12- http://insoshi.org -> brand new, lots of work to be done. Good for simple networks.

Also, http://www.mahara.org -> not exactly “social networking”. Good ePortfolio with some social networking around it. I don’t understand why people pay for some ePortfolio providers out there (you know what I am talking about). :) Just an example of how open source and free (as in no money or credit card necessary) can offer great features that are comparable to commercial products. :)

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