I’m always on the lookout for collaborative web tools and ways to use technology to replace traditional activities in the classroom. I’ve attended several conferences and workshops where the speakers have used Wallwisher as a way to collect information and start discussions with groups of people. While I saw some uses for it, there was always something that seemed to be lacking for me.
Because of Twitter, I found Stixy. This is also a collaborative tool of sorts, and I have found that it has quite a few features that I like which Wallwisher does not have. However, I’m still not sure this is a tool I am going to run out and use.
I thought I would set up a comparison of the two, then ask my readers to help me decide:
- What uses (if any) do each site provide in the classroom? In professional development?
- Is one of them better than the other? Do they each have their own unique purpose?
I’ll talk about Wallwisher first, since it was the first one I learned about and it is the one I’ve seen used most often. I’ve set up a public page for you to visit and try it out: www.wallwisher.com/wall/cruelshoes. Feel free to add your own notes, move mine around, etc. Here are the things I like:
- it is very easy to use. Just double click on the page and you can start adding text or links to media
- it is very easy to set up a page to share publicly and you can have some control over what the URL will be
- there is room for a lot of notes on a Wallwisher page. It will expand as more notes are added.
- it is very easy to share the URL or post it to several social networking sites
- it is possible to subscribe to an RSS feed of a Wallwisher page to keep track of updates to it
The things I don’t like about Wallwisher:
- a rather limited choice of backgrounds which I mostly find annoying
- When adding media, Wallwisher will only add links to it – it won’t add a thumbnail of an image or an embedded video
- there is a limit of 160 characters on notes. While it is good for us to be concise, sometimes it just takes more than 160 characters
- there is no freedom to change the font type, size, colors, bold or italics, etc. A Wallwisher page with a lot of notes starts looking a little dull.
Next up, Stixy. When I first experimented with Stixy, I could see that it was much more powerful than Wallwisher in many respects. I set up a test Stixyboard: http://www.stixy.com/guest/74748 so that you can try it out, as well. You’ll need the password cruelshoes to get in. Things I like about Stixy:
- When I set up a Stixyboard, I can either set it up to be private (only able to be viewed by people I specifically share to), public (with a link to share), or public, but requiring a password (which is how I set this one up). Anyone with a link and the password can edit it.
- When adding photos, the picture itself if embedded in the page.
- I can add to-do items and documents for viewers to download
- there are more options for how I want my font to look
- Stixyboards are large to begin with and can be made larger by adding an item on the far right side (see the scroll bar across the bottom?)
- you can choose to be notified of updates to the Stixyboard and you can send messages out to everyone to whom the board is shared
Things I don’t like:
- I can’t see a way to embed a video or webpage in the Stixyboard
- I can’t add layers to my Stixyboard. I think this could serve as an interactive notebook if I could add additional layers or pages to my Stixyboard
- I can’t give my Stixyboard a custom name to make it easier for me and my collaborators to remember
Overall, I think Stixy has more features that make it a better collaborative tool for projects. It might be easier to set up a Wallwisher page for quick sticky-note kinds of needs where all that is needed is brainstorming from an audience. In the classroom, I think Stixy would be useful for teams of students to collect and share information for a project or to keep their own work organized.
Visually, Stixy is better than Wallwisher, although there does not appear to be a way to change the background. I don’t see this as a negative, however, as I think students tend to get a little bogged down with choosing cutesy and distracting backgrounds.
Those are my two cents. Try both of them out and comment here to let me know what you think.