SpicyNodes and Flowboard: Adding Bling to Your Story

The two featured apps in this blog post allow you to tell your story with some flare.  SpicyNodes allows you to create interactive features on your website that invite visitors to interact with your content.  Flowboard allows Apple users to create, share, and present visual stories that can be shared on the web. The work from both of these apps is stored in cloud, allowing for anywhere, anytime access to the materials.


Spicynodes is a web-based tool that allows you to create an interactive concept map that can include information about your department, division, or group.  Each node on the map can include information, images, videos and links.  The visual nature of the concept map encourages website visitors to explore the content.  Spicynodes are stored in the cloud, giving you embed code to include in your website or blog.  This enables changes to the main Spicynodes map without having to change your website.  Some interesting uses of this tool within Student Affairs: a visual depiction of the division of student affairs, how to navigate the student conduct process, a presentation with links on how to apply for housing (including images of the dorms and dorm room types).


Flowboard  is an iPad app (Android users—no updates yet on when this will be available for you) that allows you to take images from Dropbox, Facebook, Google Images, Box, and Instragram and create really beautiful image galleries.  Users can add buttons, videos, and captions to create an interactive experience for website visitors.  Once created, you can share the Flowboard URL on a website or a blog.  This tool is great for creating rapid galleries around an event where you have a series of images captured on Instagram or other social media tools.  Additionally, the Flowboard published file can be accessed offline on an iPad to be utilized for presentations.  Imaging having an event where you take pictures the first hour.  The images can be quickly uploaded to Flowboard and become a rotating image gallery that can be displayed throughout the remainder of the event.  The Flowboard tools will make the presentation look polished and professional.

What tools are you using to add bling to your websites or blogs? Please share with links in the comments section below.

– Dr. Jennifer Sparrow is the Senior Director for Networked Ventures and Emerging Technologies.  She works with all departments at Virginia Tech to match emerging technologies with the learning, research, and outreach goals of the university.

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