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Archive for the ‘Web 2.0 Tools’ Category

2012 Go Viral to Improve Health Challenge

2012 Go Viral to Improve Health Challenge PosterBased on the success of last spring’s event, the IOM and NAE are sponsoring the 2nd annual Go Viral to Improve Health: Health Data Collegiate Challenge. Working in interdisciplinary teams that meld technological skills with health knowledge, college students can generate powerful apps to improve health for individuals and communities. A video of last year’s first-place winners presenting their app, Sleep Bot, at the 2011 Health Data Initiative Forum is available online.

IOM and NAE need your help in reaching out to students about the challenge. Information about eligibility, judging criteria, and registration is available on the IOM website and Facebook page. A downloadable and printable flyer is available to help spread the message about this year’s student challenge. You are encouraged to help get the word out by “liking” the Go Viral to Improve Health Facebook page and forwarding information about the challenge to faculty and students who may be interested in participating. This year, a total of $10,000 in prizes will be available to the student teams who develop the best new health apps. Team registration is open until February 10, 2012.

To help teams get started, the National Library of Medicine provides API (Application Programming Interface), a set of routines that an application uses to request and carry out lower-level services performed by a computer’s operating system, for many of its resources and databases. The NLM Show Off Your Apps challenge utilized NLM API to create to create innovative software applications that use the Library’s vast collection of biomedical data, including downloadable data sets, application programming interfaces (APIs).

Health DATAbytes: A New Blog with Tips to Improve Community Health Using Data

Health DATAbytes is an online conversation featuring health experts and advocates providing examples of using data to make healthy changes to benefit communities and address health disparities. The blog postings are designed to help people with a wide range of data expertise to better understand and use data to seek funding, plan and evaluate programs, or advance public policies to promote healthier communities. In addition to the expert commentary, Health DATAbytes provides data tips and tricks, and links to upcoming data training sessions. Blog postings reflect a broad range of health topics. Recent listings include the health effects of living near major roadways, neighborhoods lacking healthy food outlets (food deserts), and the effect of state budget cuts on support services for the elderly and disabled.

Health DATAbytes is a new initiative from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, as part of its Health DATA (Data. Advocacy. Training. Assistance.) Program. The aim of this program is to make data easily understandable to a wide variety of public health and health advocacy personnel, as well as members of the general community. Another goal of the program is to increase capacity of these groups to locate and present credible data related to particular health programs.

Tools to Build a Free Website

The “Free Technology for Teachers” blog lists 10 tools that allow you to build a website for free. The posting explains, “websites are good for providing a static resource of information, blogs are good for frequent updates and communication, and a wiki is great for collaborating on the creation of a reference site” and then lists 10 tools for website creation.

Free Technology for Teachers Blog

The blog “Free Technology for Teachers,” at, provides online resources and ideas for teaching with technology. Some of the posts are specific to K-12 education but a number of posts are useful for education across the educational spectrum. You can read the blog from time to time or subscribe to their RSS feed to receive new posts.

Report on Twitter Use

The Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project reports on Twitter users. According to the report, 8% percent of the American adults who use the internet are Twitter users. Some of the groups who are notable for their relatively high levels of Twitter use include young adults, African-Americans and Latinos, and urbanites. See the full report at

Social Media and Disaster Response

The March 2010 TEDxNYED talk, “The New Volunteers: Social Media, Disaster Response And You,” was presented by Andy Carvin, Senior Strategist at NPR. In this talk, Andy gave an overview of the way the Internet and Social Media tools have changed over time to create a new set of tools and resources for responding to disasters. See

Create QR Codes Easily with Google URL Shortener

You can now easily create QR codes with Google’s URL Shortener ( To create the QR code, append “.qr” to the end of the shortened URL in your brower’s URL bar. You can then copy the QR code image from your browser.

If you’re not familiar with QR codes, see a previous discussion of QR codes in NewsBits, see

Health-Related Widgets For Your Web Site

“Widgets” or “gadgets” are small programs that you can place on your web site or blog. The federal government produces freely available widgets related to health: see Widgets are available from the FDA, CDC, and other government agencies. Topics include H1N1 flu, drug safety, and general health. To use a widget in your web site or blog, copy the code provided into your site.

Social Media Policies

Are you curious about the social media policies of other institutions? Take a look at the growing list at HLWIKI:

It includes links to policies for health care institutions.

How to Present with Twitter (Free Online Book)

Have you thought about using Twitter to engage the audience during a presentation? If so, you may wish to download a free, online book on how to use Twitter in presentations. The book discusses benefits in using Twitter in your presentations. Sections include how to “survive the experience” and how to respond to the audience. To download, see