Social sharing services are classic web 2.0 tools which allow users to share and comment on multimedia materials. All major social sharing platforms have app versions for mobile devices, allowing them to be integrated into mobile learning, and there are a number of mobile-first or mobile-only social sharing services which introduce a geolocation or geosocial networking element to this kind of sharing.
Social sharing services, many of which have important educational and/or professional uses, may facilitate the sharing of resources like text (e.g., Box), audio (e.g., AudioBoom), photos (e.g., Flickr), slides (e.g, SlideShare) and videos (e.g., YouTube). Most of these services allow you to make your materials either public or private, though there may be a cost attached to the latter. Despite the apparent specialisation of these services (with a focus on text, or photos, etc) many of them, including textsharing services, in fact host multimedia documents and artefacts. Social sharing services typically offer space for commentary on the documents and artefacts being shared, as well as encouraging users to connect with each other and network around the shared content. In this sense, social sharing services are arguably a subset of social networking services. Note that social sharing services differ somewhat from document sharing applications such as Dropbox or Google Drive, which may be used to store and transfer personal files, or to share them with a limited number of contacts, but which are not intended for wider public sharing.
Naturally, social sharing services provide easy access to a large number of multimedia resources with educational value. Many of these are available under Creative Commons licences, meaning that they can generally be freely used by teachers and students. It is also possible for educators to share their own materials on these services. Students, too, can post their multimedia creations on such services, sharing them with and receiving feedback from class peers (via private channels) or the wider internet (via public channels). While many of today’s website, blog and wiki services offer inbuilt widgets for sharing multiple media, there may sometimes be advantages in storing multimedia materials on dedicated social sharing services. Firstly, you don’t use up your storage capacity on your own website, blog or wiki; and secondly, you can obtain an embed code provided by the social sharing service so that you can embed your stored documents and artefacts directly into your website, blog or wiki, and view, play and/or interact with them there. For example, the embed code for a YouTube video can be obtained by clicking the Share tab and then the Embed tab beneath the video screen; the screen capture below shows how the embed code can be obtained for the Common Craft video Social Media in Plain English. Once you have copied the embed code, you simply paste it into your website, blog or wiki, using a widget, gadget or multimedia function.
As with a number of other web 2.0 tools, the main risks for students are a lack of privacy, and inappropriate feedback. To avoid problems, private channels can be set up on social sharing services and made visible only to class members; or, in the case of public channels, students can be warned not to show their faces or include identifying information. It is also important to take into consideration copyright law, especially when it comes to reusing and sharing images. In addition to educational exemptions allowed in many legal systems, teachers and students can make use of Creative Commons materials, which can generally be freely used for educational purposes (subject to licencing conditions, such as the need to include an attribution).
There are platforms for many different kinds of social sharing, including textsharing audiosharing, photosharing, slidesharing, videosharing, and multimedia sharing. Some well-known examples of these services, each with its own variations, are listed below. Related services may also be found on the digital storytelling page.
|Box||document sharing & embedding|
|Diigo||annotating & sharing annotations on webpages|
|Flipsnack||creating & sharing flipbooks|
|Now Comment||annotating & commenting on documents|
|SocialBook||annotating & commenting on books (& videos)|
AUDIOSHARING (see also the podcasting page):
|AudioBoom||sharing audio files|
|Forvo||sharing pronunciations of words in different languages|
|Bannersnack||creating photo slideshows|
|Canva||creating with graphic design templates and tools|
|Cincopa||creating interactive photo galleries|
|Fotonea||creating photo collages|
|PhotoPeach||creating photo slideshows|
|PicMonkey||creating photo collages|
|Prezi||creating & sharing slideshows|
VIDEOSHARING (see also the videos page):
|Blabberize||creating & sharing animated photos|
|PlayPosit||annotating & sharing videos with learning tasks|
|SchoolTube||sharing educational videos|
|SendVid||securely hosting & sharing videos|
|TeacherTube||sharing educational videos|
|TED-Ed||annotating & sharing videos with learning tasks|
|Vimeo||sharing videos, with services such as quietube and SafeShare allowing removal of surrounding material when Vimeo videos are screened|
|Voki||creating & sharing animated characters|
|YouTube||sharing videos, with services such as quietube, SafeShare and ViewPure allowing removal of surrounding material when YouTube videos are screened|
|Genially||creating & sharing multimedia presentations|
|Glogster||creating & sharing multimedia posters|
|creating & sharing multimedia pin-up boards|
|Popplet||creating & sharing multimedia mind maps|
|Powtoon||creating & sharing animated multimedia videos|
|Smilebox||creating & sharing multimedia photo books|
|Thinglink||creating & sharing annotated images|
|VoiceThread||adding & sharing audio and text commentary on images|
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