Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Graphing Calculator for the iPod

(The link opens your iTunes application, so won't work if you don't have that.)

My buddy/colleague Randy Decker teaches Math 11/12 (British Columbia schools). He says:
"There's a free download of a Graphing Calculator on iTunes Apps Store. I'm quite impressed with it. I would recommend this application for use in Math 11 in British Columbia. It can tackle almost everything in the curriculum. Its display is far better than the Ti-83 or Ti-84. One can easily compare graphs because each is a different colour. It lacks a TVM solver. However, one can use graphs to solve some financial problems such as finding the time required to double an investment. One feature I really like is the ability to take a screenshot of a graph and email it."

Wireless tools for education

The link above is to a new page on my resources site. Please post a comment if you know of any sites about wireless for education so I can add the links to my page.

Here's something my colleague/buddy Randy Decker just told me about.

iTunes is a source of FREE wireless educational applications! Yes, it's true. Here's what to do:
  • Open iTunes and click to the Store.
  • Then select App Store.
  • Then select Education.
  • Then select Top Free Applications.

    There are more than 90 listed today! Here's a screenshot of the top 21 I found, just as a sampler for you. (Sorry, seems to make it rather small; you'll just have to do the search yourself to see things clearly.)
  • Monday, December 29, 2008

    Excellent, online learning -- tons of topics! DISCOUNT code here.

    Where can you take a 6 week course for $25? [AND I have a discount deal to offer you at the end of this!]

    I've been a student at LVS Online for about 20 different courses. They have a wide range of topics to choose from, like a community center kind of thing. The instructors are knowledgeable and really friendly.

    The way it works is:
    - On Saturday (for 6 weeks in a row) a new lesson is posted online, along with homework assignments.
    - The homework is about 2 - 4 hours a week. There's no deadlines, though; if you can't get it done that week, it's OK to relax and enjoy the process.
    - When you're done your homework, you "hand it in" -- various classes have different ways you'd do this. They tell you how, so don't worry about not knowing how to do things online.
    - The "classroom" for each course is its own private discussion forum, where you can ask questions, chat with the instructor and/or fellow students, discuss each others' work, etc. It's fun!
    - You can request to get a certificate at the end if you want, or just do it for fun and learning.

    Warning! Once you start taking classes at LVS Online, you may not want to stop. I haven't stopped yet after nearly 10 years. I'm signed up for the January session to take the "Artist's Workshop" course. Returning students only pay $20 a course.

    Here's the discount code to get a 20% discount if you're a new student. When you register, use this code:


    LVS says: "Registration ends January 7th. However, we have a 2 week late registration period and the coupon code expires January 21st."

    At least check out their huge list of courses.

    Hope you enjoy it! If you want to ask any questions by adding your comment here, I could try to answer.

    Oh ya, it would be great if you give them my name (Kate Britt) when you register. They have a system where you can earn certificates to take courses by referring new students to them. Thanks!

    Sunday, December 28, 2008

    ePortfolios: Engaged Students Create Multimedia-Rich Artifacts

    Electronic Portfolios: Engaged Students Create Multimedia-Rich Artifacts: This paper discusses a required university-wide ePortfolio Program at Clemson University.
    "We believe that by getting students excited about the work they are doing in their classes, and the above examples certainly demonstrate excitement and motivation, and encouraging them to "show off" this work in their ePortfolios they will become engaged in the ePortfolio process. By helping students understand why they should create an ePortfolio, and by scaffolding them through the process of how to create an ePortfolio our chance for a successful implementation is greater."

    Effective Practices with e-Portfolios

    "Our infoKit covers the main drivers, purposes, processes, perspectives and issues around e-portfolios."
    You can select information depending on which "stakeholder" category you belong to:
    "learners, practitioners, employers, professional bodies and insitutions -- we've highlighted particular areas of interest for each to form tailored 'pathways' through the infoKit."
    Of particular interest to me was the PDF (or Word text) download entitled Effective Practice with ePortfolios, which "draws out key points from established and innovative examples."

    txtng is gd 4 lrng

    "Texting does not erode children’s ability to read and write. On the contrary, literacy improves. The latest studies (from a team at Coventry University) have found strong positive links between the use of text language and the skills underlying success in standard English in pre-teenage children. The more abbreviations in their messages, the higher they scored on tests of reading and vocabulary. The children who were better at spelling and writing used the most textisms. And the younger they received their first phone, the higher their scores."

    The Power (and Peril) of Praising Your Kids

    New York Magazine article. A study was done on what kinds of praise to give kids, what works to encourage them, etc. I learned something....I've always thought it was a good idea to tell kids how smart they are. Not so much, apparently! Instead, the study indicates that we should "praise effort rather than intelligence" and that "giving kids the label of 'smart' does not prevent them from underperforming. It might actually be causing it." Go figure!

    I found a link to this article on a webpage about education and "Things that make you go Hmmmm...."

    Gamers do better at math

    An article that describes a study (The Effects of Modern Math Computer Games on Learners' Math Achievement and Math Course Motivation in a Public High School Setting). But math teachers already knew this, right?

    Dictionarist: Online Talking Dictionary

    A free online multilingual and talking dictionary service for translations with audio pronunciation in English, Turkish, Spanish, Portuguese, German, French, Italian, Russian, Dutch, Greek, Chinese, Japanese and Korean languages.

    YouSendIt - file transfer application

    Send, receive and track large files. Unlimited 2GB files and folders. Advanced options like password protection and certified delivery.

    They have many free options as well as their Pro applications.
    - FREE browser interface
    - FREE YouSendIt Express desktop application for Windows or Mac
    - FREE add-on plug-ins for Acrobat, Corel Draw, Photoshop, Outlook, and others

    Thursday, December 25, 2008

    Top Web-Based Online Tools

    A huge selection of in-browser tools. No Download, No Install! A growing list, continually updated by author Deniz Akay.

    For example, the site pointed me to SumoPaint. Check out "the fastest, most creative paint application on the 'net".

    Tuesday, December 16, 2008

    Ten Mistakes Writers Don’t See (But Can Easily Fix When They Do)

    An excellent article containing at least one tip for each of us who do any writing at all. "...most of the time the too close to the manuscript to make corrections. ...the 10 ouchies listed here crop up everywhere. They’re so pernicious that even respected Internet columnists are not immune."

    Friday, December 12, 2008

    Free Learning & Teaching Resources

    FreeLearning Teacher Resources
    BCcampus has launched a new service to help educators find FREE and OPEN educational resources they can reuse in their courses and customize WITHOUT CHARGE or WITHOUT SEEKING PERMISSION. Read about it here or link directly using the logo on the right. From this site, which requires no accounts or login, you can:

    Wednesday, December 10, 2008

    Lesson Corner: content creation tools for the K-12 teacher

    Check out these:

    "We are announcing a new suite of free vocabulary building tools for teachers. LessonCorner's Puzzle Makers allow teachers to find or create their own free custom word search, scramble or crossword puzzles...Teachers and Homeschoolers who want to make engaging handouts for vocabulary building exercises."
    Math Worksheet Maker:"Who are these worksheets for? Math teachers whose students need practice solving math problems. Homeschooling parents also find the worksheets useful."

    The Cheatability Factor

    A PPT presentation on cheating in Blackboard.
    "Could you be making it easy for students to cheat? What is your Cheatability factor?"
    Recommended in Ask Dr.C by Kevin Reeve.

    Monday, December 08, 2008

    100 Best YouTube Videos for Teachers

    A selection made by
    "With the increasing use of technology in classrooms, it’s no wonder that teachers have a growing interest in using YouTube and other online media sharing sites to bring information into their classrooms. Here are 100 YouTube videos that can provide supplementary information for the class, give inspiration, help you keep control of class and even provide a few laughs here and there."

    Wednesday, December 03, 2008

    Web Hosting

    I hardly ever, EVER put advertising of any kind on my blog or website. It's the principle of the thing; there's enough of that out there. So consider this a hot tip instead, because it's not just any web host I'm telling you about, it's the one I've used for years and years.

    Today I can't NOT tell you about the deal they're having at the moment. A 6-for-6 promotion.... for all new one-year term sign-ups, you pay for 6 months and GET 6 MONTHS FREE.(regular $7.77/mo)

    Here's what I like about PowWeb:

  • UNLIMITED Disk Space
  • UNLIMITED Data Transfer
  • FREE Domain
  • Host Unlimited Domains
  • Point & Click Site Builder
  • Tons of website add-on tools, including Blogging, Photo Galleries, etc.
  • E-Commerce Included
  • SSL, FTP, Stats
  • $100 in Yahoo & Google Ads Credits
  • FrontPage/Dreamweaver ready
  • 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee

    They keep adding new features all the time. For example, when I signed up there was already an outrageous amount of file space included, but now it's unlimited. Think about that!

    So if you just happen to be researching web hosts and plan to get one soon, please have a look-see at my host:
  • Monday, December 01, 2008

    Education for a Digital World: Advice, Guidelines, and Effective Practice from Around the Globe

    This FREE (Creative Commons) eBook
    "contains a comprehensive collection of proven strategies and tools for effective online teaching, based on the principles of learning as a social process. It offers practical, contemporary guidance to support e-learning decision-making, instructional choices, as well as program and course planning, and development. Practical advice, real-life examples, case studies, and useful resources supply in-depth perspectives about structuring and fostering socially engaging learning in an online environment. A plethora of e-learning topics provide insights, ideas, and usable tools. Tips and evidence-based theory guide administrators, program and course developers, project teams, and teachers through the development of online learning opportunities."
    The book was developed and written collaboratively in
    "a unique interactive, collaborative research model based on the formation of online relationships among 50 contributors from around the world representing research, administration and business communities."

    Tuesday, November 25, 2008

    FREE Flash Helper Applications

    1. SWF2mht:
    a FREE tool for embedding Flash files into HTML
    One of the biggest problems of Flash files is that they cannot be opened by a simple double-clicking in Windows Explorer. There are many solutions on how to workaround this problem, including converting them into another format, to self-executable files, or embedding them into HTML. swf2mht is a FREE tiny command line utility that performs embedding of SWF files into HTML. It creates just one file which is double clickable. When double-clicked it opens in MS Internet Explorer where you can see your Flash Movie as if it has been opened using File >> Open dialog.

    2. SWF Compress
    a FREE Flash Compression Tool
    Although most modern Flash production programs provide an MX Compression feature, there are many existing Flash files that still haven't been compressed using MX Compression algorithm yet. This tool solves this problem. Just specify source and target files locations and press Compress button. Generally, most Flash files are decreased by 40%.

    FireShot browser extension: screenshot, edit, annotate, save

    FREE screencapture tool, lets you annotate and do many things with your screenshot image, saves in various formats. You have to go to the site I've linked above and read about it to see how useful it would be -- especially to people who are creating lessons for students and want screenshot illustrations.

    Monday, November 24, 2008

    Abbreviations and acronyms dictionary

    "With more than 600,000 human-edited definitions, Acronym Finder is the world's largest and most comprehensive dictionary of acronyms, abbreviations, and initialisms. New! You can also search for more than 850,000 US and Canadian postal codes."
    They also have a handy button you can add to your Google searchbar so that looking up an acronym is just one click from your search box.

    Friday, November 21, 2008

    NinjaWords - a really fast dictionary

    In a forest of online dictionaries, here's a stand-out tree.

    I quote them:
    Why is this called Ninjawords?
    Ninjas are three things:
    >They're smart
    >They're accurate
    >They're really fast
    Ninjawords is based on these principles. Plus everyone likes ninjas.

    Look at their "Find Out More" page to see what you can do with your own dictionary searches.

    Thursday, November 20, 2008

    The Art & Science of CSS: FREE 208 page book

    No strings attached. :)
    Time limited offer.

    I just downloaded the book and had a quick glance through it. It doesn't just tell you the "how" of things, it explores CSS in the context of good website design.

    Here are a couple of snippets from their Preface and Intro:

    "Each chapter of this book will teach you how to style common web site components through practical examples. Along the way, you’ll learn many handy techniques for bringing complex designs to life in all modern browsers without needing to resort to messy hacks or superfluous presentational markup."

    "Who Should Read this Book? This book is ideal for anyone who wants to gain the practical skills involved in using CSS to make attractive web sites, especially if you’re not the type who likes to learn by memorizing a formal specification and then trying to work out which browsers implemented it completely (does anyone enjoy reading specifications?)."

    I'm looking forward to digging right in and reading every word!

    WebAIM: Resources

    WebAIM = Web Accessibility In Mind

    A rich list of resources under the headings Popular Resources, Tools, Keyboard Shortcuts, and Simulations. The sidepanel has a Getting Started "Introduction to Web Accessibility", plus Community links as well as links to the most recent articles on their blog.

    Wednesday, November 19, 2008

    How to use PPT presentations in your online course

    November, 2008: People who regularly convert from PPT for use in online courses are currently almost-unanimously** recommending the following solutions:

    1. for simple VIEWING of the presentations: convert to FLASH.
    [One recommended free application that does this: iSpring See below for description.]

    2. to allow for easy PRINTING: convert to PDF. Use Adobe Acrobat.

    3. Best: Make BOTH versions available to students.

    ** Based on the listserves I'm reading.

    iSpring: Free PowerPoint to Flash Converter

    "Flash presentations from PowerPoint in one click! FREE converter creates web friendly Flash movies from your PowerPoint content keeping its visual parameters and animation effects. Generated Flash presentation will look as if it has always been a Flash movie. Keeps most of advanced PowerPoint features....With iSpring Free you can generate .html code ready to place an .swf file on your web page or blog. iSpring wraps Flash slideshows in the attractive Player for effective navigation. iSpring supports automatic and mouse click animation step advance and looped playback."

    Thursday, October 30, 2008

    iQity Learning Suite

    IQ + Acuity = iQity. Developed by Altair Learning Management Inc. of Columbus "with and for K-12 students."
    "The IQity Learning Suite includes virtual replicas of the Homeroom, Classroom, Gradebook, Teachers’ Lounge, Courses, Assessment tools and Enrollment reports. Exclusive features include the IQity LiveBoard, where students interact in real-time with a teacher (Web-cast video, live chats, interactive pop quizzes, polling and more); online high-quality, standards-aligned curriculum; graduation Practice Tests and Study Guides tailored to standards and benchmarks for many states; ReactorTM, the most comprehensive learning object repository in the world."
    What does it cost?
    "We offer the most competitive Pricing of any LMS on the market. For many schools, IQity’s Learning Suite will be offered at no cost. For curriculum and other exclusive feature’s we offer the most competitive pricing in the nation."

    Thursday, October 23, 2008


    Posterous - "The place to post everything. Just email us. Dead simple blog by email."

    This is so fun! Instantly post anything on the web by sending an email. Attach files (many types, including .pdf, .html, .doc, .txt, image, video, mp3s) and that content will be embedded in your post. No need for membership, login, or anything! Just send an email and voila. The resulting post page has your own instant URL and lots of common blog features: the entry is dated, comments, subscription, tags, download links for the files you attached to your email, and more.

    Here's a link to my own "prePosterous" first attempt, a quick email with attachments of a few file types. (I then signed up and created my own URL, but you do NOT have to do that!)

    Thursday, October 16, 2008

    VLC media player

    Cross-platform media player and streaming server. "VLC media player is a highly portable multimedia player for various audio and video formats (MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, mp3, ogg, ...) as well as DVDs, VCDs, and various streaming protocols. It can also be used as a server to stream in unicast or multicast in IPv4 or IPv6 on a high-bandwidth network." My partner says that VLC Media Player, a FREE open source tool, is the "best media player in the world. I use it all the time. Plays everything without plugins and fuss." VLC Media Player works on Mac, GNU/Linux and Windows.

    VLC Media Tutorials: If you're going to try out VLC, these tutorials might be a good way to start: "...a series of steps on how to convert video/audio, etc."

    Web 2.0 how-to (and how not to) Design Guide

    The author explains: "In this tutorial, I describe various common graphic design elements in modern web ("2.0") design style. I then attempt to explain why they work (i.e. why they have become common), as well as how, when and where you might use each element in your designs.... If I had to sum up "Web 2.0" design in one word, it would have to be "simplicity", so that's where we'll start."

    Tip of My Tongue: Dictionary

    A unique dictionary that helps you "find that word that you've been thinking about all day but just can't seem to remember." Various ways to find the word: partial word (starts with, contains, ends with), letters (unscramble, must have, can't have), look up by synonyms you know, length of word, or sounds-like.

    Tuesday, October 14, 2008

    Converting to PDF

    I have a page on my Resources site devoted to file conversion resources. Here are a couple of new/updated entries today.

    CuteFTP: FREE. "Create PDF files on the fly. Save fillable PDF form using Reader. Add, delete, rotate, resize, reorder pages. Stamps, overlay, headers, footers, bates. Make compact PDF booklets. Digitally Sign PDF Documents."

    PrimoPDF: FREE. Recommended to me by several professionals. PrimoPDF becomes a "printer" on your applications' printer lists--instead of printing the document on paper, it puts it into a PDF. Any application that can print can make a PDF with this. "Convert to PDF from 300+ file types...optimize for print, screen, ebook, or prepress." OR you can purchase their nitroPDF Professional: "Create, edit, view, secure, form fill, annotate and sign PDF files; and do it all on-screen." (free 14 day trial) PrimoPDF gets good ratings on CNET.
    I just read that the older version 3 works better than version 4. Here's the link to version 3.

    The Pros and Cons of Uusing a LMS (Learning Management System)

  • 5 Advantages of using an LMS: An article from Microburst

  • Benefits of Instructional Technology/Learning Management Systems: from Wikibooks

  • Advantages and Disadvantages of E-Learning Management System: from
  • Saturday, October 11, 2008

    Websites for word lovers & writers "Wordsmith is a worldwide online community of some half-million readers who share a love for words, wordplay, language, and literature." Visit their Scheduled Chats page, where word lovers from all over the world meet to chat with others about words, languages, literature, and ideas.

    World Wide Words: An etymologist's delight! "...a fascinating website ... All word buffs should pay the website a visit. They will be well rewarded." [Quote from University of the Third Age (March 2004)] Categories are numerous; to name a few: Articles, Q&As, Reviews, Topical Words, Turns of Phrase, Weird Words, Pronunciation Guide. Weekly newsletter by email subscription or feed.

    WORDS.ibritt.comPlease visit the Writers' Resources tab on my WORDS website for a huge, categorized list of resources.

    Thursday, October 09, 2008

    STUDENTS: A Study Community for Homework Help in Physics, Math, Science, and Engineering

    CRAMSTER is an online study community "centered on providing understanding to [your] questions, whether they're related to homework, exam preparation, or general learning." Cramster "...brings together students, educators and subject enthusiasts... With around-the-clock expert help and a community of over 100,000 knowledgeable members, you can find the help you need, whenever you need it." "...find real help from students, educators, and subject enthusiasts. Ask a homework question. Try a practice problem. View step-by-step solutions to your textbook problems. Submit study resources. Find study tips on our blog." "Cramster is the first social learning network of its kind focused on quantitative subjects including physics, math and engineering. We foster a similar environment to a study group whether you are the one asking for or providing help."

    Online Survey Tool at

    "Create custom surveys in minutes and view tallied graphical results." They have a FREE basic version and a Pro version.

    Students: find a teacher; Teachers: register so they'll find you

    At this site students can search for the best rated teachers/tutors worldwide. [Note: Currently their focus is on India, but they're hoping the international community will help them expand.] It's free, but you have to register to use it. See this page for their notes to teachers..."We're building findguru to help people find great local instructors and school in their cities and neighborhoods. ...Whether we add the class or you do, students will find it if they search in your area (and we'll help you be discovered in the major search engines). ...See why teachers will love findguru. ...We want to take things one step at a time and try to make the experience great in our first few cities before moving on to our international neighbors."

    Create a Wiki -

    (My link is to their Education category.) "Free and flexible Wiki service where users can drag and drop content, including text, graphics, and video. A focus on ease of use. Share information by building pages or starting discussions on your favorite subject." For an example how the platform is being used by students and professors see

    Sunday, October 05, 2008

    Affixes: the Building Blocks of English

    The Dictionary of Affixes: "It is based on Michael Quinion’s book Ologies and Isms: Word Beginnings and Endings, published by Oxford University Press in 2002. This work is now out of print and has been edited and presented here as a free service. These pages contain examples of all four of the types of affixes that appear in English: prefixes, suffixes, combining forms and infixes."

    Monday, September 22, 2008

    TED: Ideas worth spreading

    "Our mission: Spreading ideas." Just discovered this (free subscription) site, and wow!
    "TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from those three worlds. Since then its scope has become ever broader....The annual conference now brings together the world's most fascinating thinkers and doers, who are challenged to give the talk of their lives (in 18 minutes). This site makes the best talks and performances from TED available to the public, for free. More than 200 talks from our archive are now available, with more added each week. These videos are released under a Creative Commons license, so they can be freely shared and reposted."
    Check out TED's theme site for How We Learn:
    "Teachers of all kinds can find fresh resources--and inspiration--in this batch of TEDTalks. Some talks may shake your worldview...others celebrate the extraordinary power of teachers and schools--and share ways you can help them. Look here for pointers to amazing classroom tools and techniques."

    Sunday, September 14, 2008

    24 Killer Portable Apps For Your USB Flash Drive

    These aren't necessarily teaching resources (the theme of my links here), but I have to link to this anyway because it's a great idea, and what teacher can't use one more great idea!

    Web 2.0 is about giving up some control

    An article by Gerry McGovern. "Web 2.0 and social media mean that for teachers a declining part of their job involves telling. An increasing part is listening to the class and facilitating them in having conversations."

    Quiz Hub ~ K-12 Interactive Learning Center

    "If you join the Quiz Hub, you will get access to hundreds of educational quiz games for English language arts, math, geography, history, earth science, biology, and chemistry." Headings are Educational Quiz Games/Samples, Favorite Educational Websites, Practice Tests for State Exams.

    Teaching and Technology

    The site author, Michael Hall, says, "Here are some additional World Wide Web sites related to teaching and technology. Many of these were suggested to me by visitors to TwET, my Teaching with Electronic Technology page." The page is full to links to Instructional Technology sites, Higher Ed sites and courses, K-12 Teaching & Tech sites, Conferences & Workshops, and Directories. Also check out that other site he refers to, Teaching with Electronic Technology.

    iSpring: Free PPT to Flash Converter

    "Free PowerPoint to Flash converter creates web friendly Flash movies from your PowerPoint content keeping its visual parameters and animation effects. Generated Flash presentation will look as if it has always been a Flash movie. ...creates high quality Flash movies with vector representation of standard PowerPoint objects and keeps most of advanced PowerPoint features. can generate .html code ready to place an .swf file on your web page or blog. ...wraps Flash slideshows in the attractive Player for effective navigation. ...supports automatic and mouse click animation step advance and looped playback. ...All iSpring Free functions are accessible in your PowerPoint through the standard toolbar."

    Sunday, September 07, 2008

    Mathematics Glossary

    Canadian site "...a glossary of terms selected to support the learning outcomes identified in the Mathematics Program of Studies. The glossary is designed for teachers to use with their students. A term that appears in multiple grade groupings will have grade appropriate information to illustrate the term. Many of the terms in the earlier grades will have real world examples, and many of the terms at all grades will have applets and/or animations to support student learning."

    Note: At this point, there are a lot of "under construction" entries in the glossary. I hope they fill this out soon!

    Saturday, September 06, 2008

    eLearning on a Shoestring

    As Stephen Downes said, "This doesn't look like much at first glance but if you keep following the links you'll find a wealth of practical information." I like their Tools, Uses & Software page--their graphic maps of tools and other elearning resources.
    You can find a 'big picture' view of a broad range of e-learning tools and their uses, in "Tools, uses and software". "Which tools to use and why" offers some ideas and recommendations for a set of particular tools for e-learning and software examples that work well.

    Thursday, August 28, 2008

    Want to Know Everything About a Website? Try Quarkbase.

    I could tell you more right here, but this article at downloadsquad says it all, so just click my title and read, then give Quarkbase a try. Pretty amazing. QuarkBase is a non-commercial site with no advertisements.

    Facebook in Education

    It's one of the more popular social networking sites among students, so here are a few articles about using it in education settings.

    Teachers use Facebook to reach students: A brief article posted on, a site operated by The Canadian Press, in which a high school teacher in Halifax explains how he uses Facebook in his teaching.

    Blackboard Sync: "Blackboard Sync is an application that delivers Blackboard course information and updates through the Facebook interface to keep students in touch and engaged with their academic studies. CLASSMATES NETWORK: Blackboard Sync enables students to connect with their classmates through Facebook, thus creating social learning opportunities. SAFE SYNC: Blackboard Sync offers several options for participation to give the institutions as much control as they need."

    Will Colleges Friend Facebook? This article talks about Schools, a Facebook application for education, developed by Inigral. "Schools upends the traditional application framework. Rather than make it available to anyone with a Facebook account, the service is based on partnerships with individual colleges that pay to allow their students access. The colleges then provide Inigral with constantly updated data feeds that allow the application to stay current with courses, clubs and other activities that students can join.... Abilene Christian University, which is already in a private beta testing phase and is set to deploy the application over the fall semester, has already gained publicity by handing out free iPhones to its incoming freshman class and being one of the earlier adopters of Google’s Apps for Education program. Kevin Christian, the university’s director of strategic partnerships, says that the university is finding it can have the benefits of 'living within the Facebook world' without ignoring 'prudent concern to retain Facebook as a true social networking site.”'Much as the university is planning to do with its new army of iPhones, Christian said some faculty members were planning on making use of the newly adopted technology in their classrooms."

    Educational Uses of Facebook: That heading is for just one section of this excellent Wiki about Facebook at LTC (Learning Technologies Center). Ignatia Webs calls it "the superb wiki of George Siemens on Facebook and its benefits as a social network service. This wiki was one of the results of a workshop he did on facebook at the University of Manitoba. The wiki gives a nice overview of when which social network was started. After that he zooms into Facebook with a good analyses on pro's and cons if you want to use it in a corporate or other environment for educational reasons."

    Thursday, August 21, 2008

    Powerpoint to video: AVI, MP4, WMV, MPEG

    On request via a comment to yesterday's post about converting Powerpoint, here's an application that converts Powerpoint to video. Wondershare's application
    "...can convert the dynamic PowerPoint presentation to real video show that can be run unattendedly with continuous loops ... an all-in-one PowerPoint to video converter. It can convert PowerPoint presentations to almost all popular video formats such as MPEG-1,MPEG-2, AVI, MP4, WMV, MOV, 3GP. Ideal for trade show, digital signature, in-store displays and ready for video podcast. Benefits of converting PowerPoint slide show to video with PPT to Video: ready for burning to DVD; upload PowerPoint to YouTube; enjoy PowerPoint on iPod; view slides without PowerPoint."

    Wednesday, August 20, 2008

    PowerPoint to Flash

    Seems this is becoming a popular way to put PPT presentations online. Here are a few applications (I'm not endorsing, just listing; haven't tried anything but Impatica.)

    Wondershare PPT2Flash Professional: "PPT2Flash Professional converts PowerPoint to Flash with great accuracy through PowerPoint 2000 to 2007. With this PowerPoint to Flash conversion tool, presenters can preserve and reproduce important elements of their PowerPoint slides, such as animations, transitions, textboxes, bullets, formatting, pictures, background, sound, movie, WordArt, AutoShapes, callouts, SmartArt, and even slide master."

    PresentationPro's PowerCONVERTER: "PowerCONVERTER accurately converts your PowerPoint presentation to Flash and retains all of your special effects, including: NEW Player format or Single file output; NEW Batch Mode Converts Multiple PowerPoints At Once; Narration & Continuous Audio; Inserted Video & Flash; Entrance & Exit Animations; Transitions; Hyperlinks; Auto Advance or On Click. PLUS you will have all the benefits of Flash: Easy distribution on the Web or CD-ROM; Greatly reduced file size; Stream the presentation with Audio and Video; A secure and tamper proof format; Single File output option for easy management; Viewing Capabilities with or without Player."

    Impatica for PowerPoint: "...simply converts the PowerPoint file into a compressed format that is optimized for streaming over the Internet. The Impatica file is typically 95% smaller than the PowerPoint HTML files...supports most of the features of PowerPoint, including text, graphics, transitions, animation effects and, of course, narration." A reviewer says: "The good: A supremely simple packing tool for PowerPoint presentations.he bad: Too pricey for casual users."

    FlashDemo's Converter: Costs a little less than most other professional converters. "Create professional-look flash presentations and e-learning courses with PowerPoint knowledge. Retain the original animations, slide transitions, timings, callouts. Preserve narration, sound, animation sound effects. Create Flash movie in extremely reduced file size. Ideal for web distribution. Compatible with PowerPoint 2007® and Windows Vista®. Extreme fast Conversion speed and easy-to-use."

    Convert using Free applications: Marshall Feldman's forum post, describing a process for converting PPT to flash using a series of free applications.

    OpenOffice's Impress: If you don't use a lot of fancy graphics in your ppt. presentations, here is an alternative that may work for you and it's free: Impress, like PowerPoint, will allow you to export a presentation as a single flash file that works much more smoothly than the multislide plus html file that the other programs create. [quoting Daniel Rubin's discussion posting.]

    Robin Good's PowerPoint to Flash Conversion Tools - Mini-Guide, Part 1: When you get to the page, you don't immediately see the list of conversion tools or the Guide; googleAds are the biggest font. But look in the narrow grey-toned column for the Guide's Table of Contents. You can't tell by looking, but each item is a link. It's an extensive guide.

    Once you have a Flash file, you have to know how to put it into a webpage. Here's one tutorial, FLASH: embedding Flash, explained, written December 31/07. "There seems to be a lot of confusion about the code needed to properly embed Flash objects within a website: it's the most frequently asked question at this site's forum. The rise of social networking sites like Myspace (who filter lots of codes) and the Eolas patent enforcement have thrown quite some confusion into the mix. In this tutorial, I'll shortly align the best options to embed Flash."

    Quiz Maker

    Wondershare QuizCreator - Create Online Quiz, Quiz Creator, Make Flash quiz, Quiz Software, Online Assessment.

    "...enables users to easily create interactive Flash-based quizzes, tests and assessments in minutes without the need for difficult programming. Users can make Flash-based quizzes from 9 question types, with images, screenshots, sounds, narrations and Flash movies integrated, and then publish Flash quizzes to Web or AICC/SCORM compliant LMS systems. QuizCreator supports customizing quiz player templates, setting feedback based on takers' responses, and tracking test results online with Quiz Management System (QMS)." [description from William Peterson, Senior E-Learning Analyst]

    Phrases: a reference/resource site

    The meanings and origins of sayings and phrases
    Phrase thesaurus
    List of sayings
    Idioms: definitions, examples, origins, dictionary, meanings

    As well as an alphabetized index and a search engine, they're categorized under headings like Shakespeare's sayings, biblical, nautical, proverbs, euphemisms, the body, nonsense/fallacies, etc. There's also a discussion forum, a Phrases Thesaurus (kewl idea!), phrase quizzes, most-popular phrase links, 'a phrase a week'. If you're into words and phrases, this is a fun site!

    Saturday, August 16, 2008

    Effective Practices | Sloan-C

    Sloan-C's Effective Practices site is worth checking out.
    "To help make quality online education accessible and affordable for anyone, anywhere, at any time, the Sloan-C community shares techniques, strategies, and practices in online education that have worked for them. All effective practices are peer reviewed to both insure quality and to give submitters some documentation for tenure and promotion files."
    They've built some good search categories for the site:
  • Search by Pillar allows you to search by the five Sloan-C pillars, the building blocks of quality online education – learning effectiveness, scale, access, faculty satisfaction, and student satisfaction – and/or subcategories within them.
  • Search by Context allows you to search by your perspectives (roles) in online learning, organizational type, or subject area domain, as well as by special cases of online learning (such as online collaboration, or large class size), and/or by subcategories within these.
  • Search by Technology allows you to search by particular technology categories – audio, video, synchronous, asynchronous, mobile, virtual, and digital resources – and/or by subcategories within them.
  • What's New returns the most recent effective practices added to the site.
  • Introduction to Second Life for Educators

    The Sloan Consortium has a few good upcoming workshops. This December 2008 workshop is just one of them.
    "Throughout this workshop participants will learn the basics of Second Life, and integrate learning theories in the use of virtual worlds. Participants will be encouraged to create activities that are student-centered and maximize the real potential of virtual worlds. A primary goal of the workshop is to get educators thinking about their classes and how the tools used in Second Life can be personalized for the learning environments that they create. The workshop will explore examples of good teaching in Second Life and move beyond PowerPoint, lecture, and passive learning. Participants will make use of asynchronous discussions, multimedia materials, reading assignments and live, interactive class sessions to collaborate, learn, and expand the range of instructional possibilities that are available to students. Registration will open soon."

    Wednesday, August 13, 2008

    "...a leading online resource for current teachers, and aspiring education students and student teachers."

    My title link is to their library of Teaching Resources & Articles. Most of those are about teacher training and teaching career resources.

    But also check out their blog, chock full of tips-n-tricks, tutorials, and more. For example, here's a list of titles in the August archives (so far):
  • 100 Awesome Classroom Videos to Learn New Teaching Techniques
  • 100 Best YouTube Videos for Teachers
  • 100+ Motivational Techniques to Take Learning to the Next Level
  • 101 Ways to Cope with Teaching Stress
  • 50 Ways to Use Wikis for a More Collaborative and Interactive Classroom

    And for you Blackboard users:
    The Ultimate Guide to BlackBoard: 100 Tips & Tutorials
  • Wednesday, August 06, 2008

    National Film Board of Canada - films now online!

    "We're opening our vaults! We have 70 years worth of groundbreaking documentaries and cutting-edge animated films and we're putting them on as fast as we can. These films are accessible to all Canadians and free of charge for home viewing. So far, you can watch over 300 films, trailers and clips; new releases and forgotten gems — available in three speeds (56k, 356k and 1000k)...We're adding new films, clips and trailers every week - so visit often. To keep posted on all the latest news, subscribe to our weekly newsletter, read our RSS feed or check out our blog."

    Urban Dictionary

    If you can't find the word anywhere else it might be in this one. Look up street lingo: words, images, sounds. Time magazine named it one of the 50 best websites of 2008. Here's their self-definition (on Facebook):
    "I am a dictionary with over a million definitions you wrote. I stand for free speech and having a good time. urban dictionary started in 1999 as a parody of, with definitions written by the people. in the last 7 years, people have written more than 2,000,000 definitions...wikipedia says it well: 'urban dictionary allows for many truths, rather than an authoritative guide.'"

    Thursday, July 31, 2008

    eBooks & Education

    An excellent coverage and links resource on the topic, provided by the wwwTools for Education website. This page covers links to articles and resources under headings that include Background Reading, Trends, Software (which eBook format?), Hardware (reading devices), eBook Pros & Cons, eBooks in Education (addressing separate level groupings), eBooks for Professional Reading, and more. Also lists links galore to examples, library services, and collections of eBooks.

    Sunday, July 27, 2008

    Have you heard about Google Lively yet?

    My title's link is to Google's site at What's Google Lively? George Siemens said, "A quick initial reaction: it’s Second Life distributed." Google says it's "a chat experience in which you can communicate and express yourself using avatars in your very own space. Choose an avatar and use it to make friends and chat. Create rooms, decorate them to your liking, and make sure to invite your friends over."

    Google Lively is a 3D Virtual environment released July 8/08. You construct your own rooms, avatars, and furniture, etc. right in your browser window on your own website or blog rather than having to go to a specific 'game' site. As Tech Crunch said, "Well, this sucks for Second Life."

    Here's an introductory video, then you can decide whether you want to link via my title.

    Monday, June 30, 2008

    WebAnywhere: A Screen Reader On the Go

    Launched June 27/08, a web-based screen reader for the web. "It requires no special software to be installed on the client machine and, therefore, enables blind people to access the web from any computer they happen to have access to that has a sound card. ...WebAnywhere's will run on any machine, even heavily locked-down public terminals, regardless of what operating system it is running and regardless of what browsers are installed." WebAnywhere reads aloud Web text on any computer with speakers or headphone connections.

    Thursday, June 12, 2008 - David Le Blanc

    Canada David LeBlanc's site has some good resources. David is a Burnaby, BC teacher who's completing his PhD at SFU on the topic of Instructional Design for Collaborative Learning in Distributed Environments, using Activity Theory. If you're curious about what that means, check out a 10 minute presentation, in which he uses video and slides to introduce the theoretical framework. David is also involved with a collaborative Moodle server community, Learning Together Apart, which offers some free-enrollment professional development courses for teachers.

    Learning Together Apart

    A Moodle site/server that "...has been established for professional educators and their learners. Courses are developed, delivered and maintained by individual instructors and supported by the collaborative participation of the members of this community." There are a few free-enrollment professional development courses, so have a look around. If you start with the first item on the menu when you get to the site, "Miscellaneous", you'll find Exploring Moodle Modules, a "Sample Course [that] will show examples of everything that you can do in Moodle".

    Ten Tips and Tricks for the Online Student

    This article is from 2004, but all the excellent tips are still relevant. I like the first one: "Read everything twice. Read everything twice." And the best one is probably #9, "Be your own guide." The author's reason for #9 is a good one -- there are still online facilitators/teachers who "have not [yet] adapted to this new classroom", whereas many students entering online learning now have been raised with the internet, with self-guidance online, and can adapt more readily to this style of learning.


    "Filamentality is a fill-in-the-blank tool that guides you through picking a topic, searching the Internet, gathering good Internet links, and turning them into online learning activities. Support is built-in along the way through Mentality Tips. In the end, you'll create a web-based activity you can share with others even if you don't know anything about HTML or serving web pages."

    "What about that crazy name? Filamentality combines the 'filaments of the web' with your 'mentality' allowing you to create a variety of formats that meet your personal or learner needs."

    Sunday, June 08, 2008

    iTunes U

    "iTunes U puts the power of the iTunes Store to work for colleges and universities, so users can easily search, download, and play course content just like they do music, movies, and TV shows. ...iTunes U delivers easy, 24/7 access [via Mac or PC] to educational content from hundreds of top colleges, universities, and educationally focused organizations across the country....Students can sync iTunes U content with any iPod or iPhone."

    "Beyond Campus is the iTunes U area that features a broad spectrum of audio and video materials from sources other than colleges and universities, such as American Public Media, PBS, the Museum of Modern Art, and Smithsonian Global Sound. ...From K–12 lesson plans to interviews with famous artists, Beyond Campus on iTunes U is constantly expanding content."

    The Prime Directives for an e-Portfolio

    10 essentials and features of ePortfolios.

    Wednesday, June 04, 2008

    Geo Education site

    "...helpful information on using Google Earth, Maps, Sky, and SketchUp in your K-12 classroom. For years, this suite of products has been identified as a powerful learning toolkit that can help your students conceptualize, visualize, share, and communicate information about the world around them. The Google for Educators team hopes these tools will empower you to bring the world's geographic information to your students in a compelling, fresh, and fun way."

    Sunday, May 25, 2008

    How to Motivate Your Students

    "...the reality of distance learning is that this rarely, if ever, happens across the board. You will, in fact, always find one or more students whose motivation is just lacking. Without motivation in an online class that student will do poorly, and you'll feel pretty bad about it as well. You can't be a cheerleader every moment, but you can present your course so that the material becomes understandable, real, and exciting! Once this happens, students will suddenly take notice because they have discovered that the subject of your course talks to and about them. Here's how."

    Tips for Delivering a Successful Online Experience

    The focus of the article is on synchronous online conferencing. "If you're new to presenting online or you're simply considering introducing it into your training repertoire, here are a few things to consider before your next presentation."

    eLearn Magazine: Education and Technology in Perspective

    I just discovered this site, chock full of Very Interesting reading that will keep my busy for a long while. Topics are very current and relevant. Categories include: Best Practices, Case Studies, Tutorials, Reviews, Research papers. Articles are grouped by Design, Technology, Usability, Business, Culture. The site "offers a community hub for e-learning professionals on the Web, providing a wealth of public forums for the free exchange of ideas. Our targeted readership includes both providers and consumers of online learning, with a special emphasis on teachers, managers, and administrators working to develop educational programs or classes on the Web." I investigated the "about us" page and discovered that one of my eLearning gurus, Stephen Downes, is on the Editorial Advisory Board, and another (more recent) personal guru, Lisa Neal, is the Editor-in-Chief. Yay for the online version of 6 degrees of separation.

    Moderating to the Max (book)

    Author Jean Bystedt. (My link is to Lisa Neal's commentary on the book.) The book's title made me think it was about moderating online discussions (online learning being my focus). The book's subtitle implies otherwise: A Full-Tilt Guide to Creative Insightful Focus Groups and Depth Interviews. However, Lisa Neal comments on some of the content of the book are very apropos for moderators of online discussions and indeed for online instructors: " I never consciously thought about how many of the skills for teaching, moderating, and presenting overlap. The introduction to the book...says that moderators need to know how to lay the ground rules for participation, help people feel comfortable, encourage responses, ask questions, probe for clarification, segue between topics, and stay on course. This is the same as teaching and presenting."

    Ten Things You Can Do in Ten Minutes To Be a More Successful e-learning Professional « Lisa Neal

    Lisa Neal addresses the question: "You need a break and, instead of heading to the coffee pot, what can you do in 10 minutes that will refresh and energize you and increase your job satisfaction and career success?"

    Serious Games for Serious Topics

    The authors, Lisa Neal & Clark Quinn, are "addressing if the design of a game, or even the fact that a game is being used, induces a sense of frivolity that lessens the impact of the learning for serious topics." Their answer is no: the article points out that "Properly done, serious games are highly effective for serious topics. While the notion of a game may seem frivolous, the design and content are not. In fact, a serious game can introduce tension and crises to simulate the realistic experience of practicing a particular skill, or depict consequences, more easily than other types of learning."

    Monday, May 19, 2008

    Blackboard Sync for Facebook

    "...delivers Blackboard course information and updates through the Facebook interface
    to keep students in touch and engaged with their academic studies." See also this explanatory blog posting by Karen Gage.

    The Blue Book: A Consumer Guide to Virtual Worlds

    Stephen Downes describes the resource better than I can:
    "This is a very useful resource, not simply because it makes clear that 'virtual world' means much much more than 'Second Life', but also because of the glossary and categorization system that informs this list of 250 virtual worlds. Descriptions are brief (not surprisingly) and contain links to the world web site. The document is PDF, but you have to download a zip file and extract it."

    italki - Language Exchange and Learning Community

    "...where you can find everything you need to learn a language. italki is a social network and an online resource for learning foreign languages."

    Copyright in Higher Education

    "Why arrange copyright? What is the importance for me? What is arranged by law? What do I need to do myself? Copyright: easier than you think! This website provides answers to the above questions. ...There are a few basic rules, which we aim to explain. The website also provides background information and suggests practical ways of dealing with copyright issues."

    10 facts about learning that are scientifically proven and interesting for teachers

    "The problem I had was whittling it down to ten!" says author Donald Clark. He concludes that "Many teaching practices are in direct opposition to the psychology of learning."

    26 Learning Games to Change the World | Mission to Learn

    The author's list of educational games that are geared towards making a difference in the world. The emphasis is on FREE games; includes browser-based games & desktop games.

    Wednesday, May 14, 2008

    Dancing with the devil: a view from Blackboard’s European conference

    What's new & coming soon in the Blackboard systems? See this blog post written by Niall Sclater, a Moodle proponent who attended the Spring '08 Bb European Conference.

    IEEE Professional Communication Society

    For Engineering & other technical professionals & students: the IEEE Professional Communications Society.
    "The PCS field of interest includes the study, development, improvement, and promotion of effective techniques for preparing, organizing, processing, editing, collecting, conserving, teaching, and disseminating any form of technical information by and to individuals and groups by any method of communication. It also includes technical, scientific, industrial, and other activities that contribute to the techniques and products used in this field."

    Wednesday, April 30, 2008

    FREE Printable Paper

    A variety of printed patterns on paper, ready for you to print and use. For example, you can print out just about any kind of graph paper you can imagine. Lined papers, music notation paper, accounting paper, decorative stationary, business cards, and more.

    Sunday, April 27, 2008

    Online Etymology Dictionary

    "This is a map of the wheel-ruts of modern English. Etymologies are not definitions; they're explanations of what our words meant and how they sounded 600 or 2,000 years ago."

    Monday, April 14, 2008

    Google Book Search

    Google Book Search
    I know, everybody knows everything about Google. But just in case you haven't seen this service (still in beta)....

    "Finding books is as easy as finding websites with Google Web Search."
  • Use keywords, phrases, quotations; you get all the books whose contents match your search terms. You might also see a few snippets - sentences of your search term in context.
  • Click on a book title and you'll see basic info like in a card catalog.
  • If a publisher or author has given permission, you'll see a full page and be able to browse within the book to see more pages.
  • If the book is out of copyright, you'll see a full page and you can page forward or back to see the full book.
  • Clicking on "Search within this book," allows you to perform more searches within the book you've selected.
  • You can click on any of the "Buy this Book" links to go straight to an online bookstore where you can buy the book. In many cases, you can also click "Find this book in a library" to find a local library where you can borrow it.
  • Sunday, April 13, 2008

    Top 100 Tools for Learning Spring 2008

    From Jane's E-Learning Pick of the Day: "The list has now been finalised from the contributions of 155 learning professionals from education, workplace learning and continuing professional development." Several viewing options; the one I prefer is by type of tool.

    Making Change: Ideas for Lively eLearning

    "In this blog, you'll find practical ideas that will help you create lively, powerful elearning for adults in the business world." I like the blog entries because they're not just theoretical suggestions; the focus is on ACTIVITY. Each entry includes very practical examples for what's being suggested or described. As just one example, I've linked to the entry entitled Which verb will keep your learners' interest? (I had fun doing the short, fun active-verbs task included in the entry.)


    If your web host doesn't offer a stat counter, this one was highly recommended to me. "A FREE yet reliable invisible web tracker, highly configurable hit counter and real-time detailed web stats. Insert a simple piece of code on your web page or blog and you will be able to analyse and monitor all the visitors to your website in real-time! Free, Fast, Responsive, Quick loading and Reliable Service. Invisible Tracking - no ads on your website. Accurate real-time website statistics with detailed visitor tracking and analysis."

    Friday, April 11, 2008

    Avoiding Plagiarism

    A helpful resource from The OWL at Perdue. A set of articles for students and teachers. Among other helpful tips, the site offers descriptions of what constitutes plagiarized work. Also included is a page of Best Practices for Teachers.

    Monday, April 07, 2008

    Word Cleaner - Doc To HTML Converters

    First a tool with a cost, followed by a free tip/trick.

    Word Cleaner: "Welcome to the easy way to convert word documents to HTML/XHTML and automatically clean up the code! Word Cleaner is the perfect tool for web designers and people who have to maintain web sites. Word Cleaner will save you hours spent tediously converting Word (and .rtf & .txt) files to HTML/XHTML and cleaning them by hand. You can also clean up existing html files. Best of all our powerful templates enable you to create processes that automate your document conversion and cleaning."

    Word-to-HTML for FREE: This trick is from Madeline Koch, a colleague in my Editor's Association of Canada. "Here's a nice and easy trick. Email the Word file to your gmail account. It will give you an option to open up the attachment in a browser window, and you then ask your browser to show the source code -- copy and paste it into your html editor, tweak it as needed and presto! A web page. Hugely grateful for whoever told me this trick!"

    WiZiQ Online Teaching, E-Learning and Live E-tutoring for Education

    "A FREE alternative to expensive conferencing tools selling as online teaching/learning software." WiZiQ is virtual classroom that's also a multimedia platform, "equipped with live audio-video communication, chat, content sharing, and session recording capabilities." Includes a whiteboard, video and audio chat, document sharing including PDF, and Microsoft PowerPoint, Word and Excel. Similar to commercial options like Adobe Connect, Webex, Elluminate, Marratech, etc. "WiZiQ brings students and teachers together regardless of the boundaries. With absolutely no cost to join or use its state-of-the-art virtual classroom, WiZiQ is becoming a vital tool in an online teacher’s or a student’s toolkit." Also check out their WiZiQ Live Class Module for Moodle.

    Saturday, April 05, 2008

    April 4/08 sunset from skyhome

    skyhome sunsets
    I never, well hardly ever, post anything but links & resources. Today I just have to do a personal post to show you yesterday's amazing sunset sky, as viewed from right here where I'm working (home office). Click the thumbnail to view.

    The Virtual Classroom Project

    Konrad Glogowski's project on the Second Life island of jokaydia (with the support of jokay Wollongong, the island's owner). Glogowski describes it:
    "Over the next three months, I will invite individual educators to design and build their ideal learning space for use as either a virtual classroom in Second Life or as a prototype for a real-life classroom. These “Educators-in-Residence” will share their vision and expertise by creating their ideal classrooms on a parcel of land designated especially for this project....The purpose of this project is to start conversations about learning in online communities, virtual worlds, and everyday physical classrooms."

    Growing up with Google: What it means to education

    Diana G. Oblinger in Chapter 1 of Emerging technologies for learning, begins with a description of the 'Net Generation'. "Today’s students bring a consumer orientation to education..." As an educator I appreciated the detailed exploration of the world of today's net student, as well as the section on what we can do for this generation (the Implications For Education section). "It is dangerous to assume that we understand students simply because we were once in the same shoes."

    Emerging trends in serious games and virtual worlds

    Sara de Freitas, in Chapter 4 of a research report, Emerging technologies for learning. "Serious games and virtual worlds allow us the potential to provide support for our learning communities, broaden our networks of learners, [and] provide tools to support creative learning activity and experience design." Also within this chapter is a helpful table of Definitions and terms of games.

    Second Life in Education (wiki)

    "This space is designed to provide an overview of the educational possibilities of virtual worlds, in particular Second Life." Within this space, Jo Kay (aka jokay Wollongong) and Sean FitzGerald (aka Sean McDunnough)...
  • document a detailed list of Educational Uses of Second Life,
  • provide a range of useful resources for educators, and
  • link to a range of handy Second Life online resources."
  • Seven Habits of Highly Connected People

    Seven Habits of Highly Connected People: By Stephen Downes, posted in Lisa Neal's blog (and soon to appear in eLearn magazine). He makes some excellent observations. If you want to learn how to expand your abilities and presence within online social networking, this is a good place to start. My favorite is "Be yourself:...Learning and communicating are not merely acts of sending content over a wire. They are about engaging in (what Wittgenstein called) a ‘Way of Life’. Having a cat is as important for a physicist as having an advanced research lab..." (So I've been thinking I'm a computer addict, but actually it's just that I'm involved in a Way Of Life.)

    Moodle: Using Learning Communities to Create an Open Source Course Management System

    In his blog post introducing this paper, Stephen Downes says: "There are many lessons to be learned from the development of Moodle, not the least of which is how the creators used learning communities to help them build a product to support learning communities." The paper was written in 2003, co-authored by the founder of Moodle, so it's a now-historical look at the beginnings of and ideas behind the Moodle open source strategy. (At the time, the paper indicated a sense of Moodle's future: "The system is already proving quite successful...")

    Thursday, April 03, 2008

    Blackboard Educator Central

    Created for Bb's K-12 Clients. "Made for districts wanting to manage and evaluate professional development activities, expand professional learning opportunities, and build powerful communities of practice."

    Getting Results

    A FREE Professional Development Course for Community College Educators. Their press releasesays: "WGBH-TV and the League for Innovation in the Community College are pleased to announce the launch of Getting Results multimedia professional development modules for training community college faculty. The modules focus on the teaching of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics specifically in Advanced Technology Education classrooms. The modules include real teachers and students in real classroom settings across the country, representing a range of fields, institutions, programs, and subject areas. Suitable for self-study, face-to-face training, or other formats of online and on-site use... Extensive curriculum, including downloadable PDF versions of web-based text, is now available online at no charge."

    3 ESL Resource Sites for learners and teachers

    This group of authors have created three ESL sites.
    "All of the content on our websites is 100% free and we update the sites with new exercises regularly."
    Learn English Feel ESL portal with free English grammar and vocabulary exercises, printable worksheets, video-based exercises, lists of American idioms and phrasal verbs, and much more. "Your one stop site for free ESL resources. Whether you're studying English, or looking to download free worksheets/handouts for class, this website will provide you with the resources that you need. ...Whether your level is Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced, you'll find what you need to help you speak and write better English. Don't miss our video-based exercises - a great way to practice listening comprehension." "One-stop source for ESL grammar and vocabulary handouts and worksheets. Our content was created by people with many years of teaching experience - so you know that you'll get handouts that adhere to high-quality standards. ...All of the worksheets are in PDF format and are arranged by category (verb tenses, articles, prepositions, etc.)"

    Business English: "One-stop source for Business English. Our content was created by people with many years of corporate experience - people who actually use Business English on an everyday basis, so you know that you'll get the best, most accurate business vocabulary, phrases, expressions, and jargon." Content is divided by topic, including accounting, sales and marketing, project management, interviews, information technology (IT), and more."

    Wednesday, April 02, 2008

    Suite101 Courses: FREE

    " offers free, fun, and accessible online learning for a wide variety of general interest courses designed with you in mind. All you have to do is pick a course or a particular lesson and simply click and learn…it's that easy!"

    Here are just 3 examples of the MANY they offer.

    For teachers:
    "Teacher's Net has you covered. Even if you currently have nothing but the knowledge of how to open programs and type a few sentences, you're going to end this course with the knowledge of how to create an entire technology base for your classroom, including integrated technology lesson plan creation, web quest creation, and even a classroom website. These are specific projects that you will have completed and entirely ready-to-use in your classroom - in one month's time." The course lessons are entitled Communications, Instructional Design, and The Virtual Classroom.

    For students:
    College Strategies: "The course is jam-packed with info that can save you time, money, and frustration. Many drop out of first year unnecessarily due to being unprepared. If you are already a freshman and feel you are overwhelmed, this course can help you too! ...There are no courses offered in college on “what to do once being accepted to college”, while it is such a big transition in life it should be mandatory. That is where this course comes in; after completion you will have more knowledge than most students in their senior years do and the ability to jumpstart your academic and social life so you get the most out of it. Right away!"

    For writers:
    Professional Writing: "By taking this two-week course, you will be. This course will provide you with enough resources and contacts to keep your career as a professional writer going long after you've stopped reading." The lessons: Basics of Writing Professionally; Hone Those Skills!; Market (and Market); Manage to Write!"

    Monday, March 31, 2008

    Webinar introduces Blackboard Release 8.0

    RELEASE 8.0 for the Bb Academic Suite (for people currently using the Bb Learning System Basic or Enterprise systems). This link will directly open a video/audio introduction, originally presented in a webinar on 12/17/07. Bb Support says,
    "This is a comprehensive webinar recording that goes over the new benefits for this release. The run time is only 30 minutes and we would highly recommend viewing this webinar prior to upgrading to Release 8.0."

    Friday, March 28, 2008

    Web 2.0 Applications (MyOffice 2.0 Setup)

    Stephen Downes calls this page "a fantastic collection of web 2.0 applications that effectively replace the standard desktop." A great one-stop resource for applications, organized into sections according to what they're used for, and complete with links to see/get them. Even if you're just learning what a Web 2.0 application is and want to see common examples, you'll recognize a lot of them!

    Tuesday, March 25, 2008

    Quotation Sources & Resources

    Check out this new page on my website, where I gathered these links for quotations research, rather than having them scattered throughout the various other pages.

    Saturday, March 22, 2008

    100s of Podcasts That Will Make You Smarter: Our Recession Special says, "Every now and then, we like to make new readers aware of our extensive Podcast Library that includes 100s of cultural and educational podcasts that will make you smarter. We guarantee that. And the best part is that they’re completely free — perfect for a recession."

    Resources for creating accessible online courses

    My resources site has 3 pages of links about accessibility:
  • Designing for Accessibility
  • Accessibility Articles, Issues, & Information
  • Adaptive Technologies

    Here are a few recent additions to my pages:

    Accessibility tutorial for course designers: Georgia Tech Research offers this FREE online tutorial, "...comprised of 10 modules that offer information, instructional techniques, and practice labs on how to make the most common needs in distance education accessible for individuals with disabilities, and enhance the usability of online materials for all students."

    Accessibility in Distance Education ~ A Resource for Faculty in Online Teaching: "The Accessibility in Distance Education (ADE) Web site focuses on helping faculty develop accessible online learning materials for people with disabilities. It is divided into five major sections, targeting common accessibility questions."

    DO-IT (Disabilities, Opportunities, Internetworking, and Technology): "DO-IT serves to increase the participation of individuals with disabilities in challenging academic programs and careers. It promotes the use of computer and networking technologies to increase independence, productivity, and participation in education and employment."

    List-serve: Designing accessible distance learning courses: Click the link for information about how to join this list-serve. "The purpose of this list is to discuss issues related to creating accessible distance learning courses. This list fosters ongoing discussion about accessible website design, policy, and practice. It is supported by DO-IT [see link above] at the University of Washington."
  • Monday, March 17, 2008

    10 Quick Tips to Make Accessible Web Sites

    From the W3C Consortium's Web Accessibility Initiative, these "ten Quick Tips summarize key concepts of accessible Web design. These tips are not complete guidelines; they are only excerpts of concepts from the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0 (WCAG 1.0)."

    Saturday, March 15, 2008

    Encyclopedia of Life

    "This is the very beginning of our exciting journey to document all species of life on Earth. Comprehensive, collaborative, ever-growing, and personalized, the Encyclopedia of Life is an ecosystem of websites that makes all key information about all life on Earth accessible to anyone, anywhere in the world." Already over a million species pages available.

    Web 3.0 has long since passed Web 2.0 in Education for 2020

    A peek into the future (2020), written in present tense. Check out the diagrams; they're interesting studies / descriptions about what Web 3.0 is, what other web aspects and trends it encompasses.

    Will Web 3.0 and 4.0 Change Education?

    If you're just getting what Web 2.0 is all about, maybe these newer terms are a bit much. But check out this at article anyway, just so you know what's being referred to.

    Educator Resources from Linden Labs, the makers of Second Life

    SLED Blog: "...dedicated to the ins and outs of K-20 education using the Second Life® world. This blog is written by educators and for educators, for those who are seasoned Second Life veterans and for those just starting out, for those who are die-hards and those who are skeptics."

    Links to listserves (mailing lists) and more: "This list is for educators interested in or currently using Second Life, and we will be using it to send out information we feel is of interest to educators and academics. This list is also an opportunity for all of you to communicate with each other, to find new colleagues and to share your experiences using Second Life for education."

    SLED Calendar: A calendar of events for Educators in SL. "The 'SLEDevents in SL' calendar anticipates events in Second Life of interest to educators. The time zone of the calendar is US Pacific/ Second Life time. Second Life events are shown in blue, and planned outages in red. Events in Real Life of interest to SL educators are shown in green in the column opposite. The calendar is kept by Bruce Sommerville for the SLED listserv community."

    Facebook 2.0

    The question isn't IF, but HOW Facebook is going to figure into the field of education via social networking. Our local paper yesterday published a comment along the lines of How dare professionals like teachers belong to such a thing as Facebook, putting themselves out there for students to read about. I was incensed at this attitude because I believe teachers (and the public) still have little idea of the power of reaching out to students where they 'live' as opposed to expecting students to come into our more formal education world to seek or expand upon their knowledge. We have so much to learn from our students, and Facebook is just one place we can begin our education. If you're not in Facebook, get there! Anyway, I digress. This link is to an article that discusses the future of Facebook and other social networking locations within education, the pros and cons, various factors and concerns that need to be addressed. How can we address them if we know little about the experience? Tracy Mitrano says,
    "...learning more about those spaces—how they operate, who is on them, and most important, how to talk about their social dynamics—is recommended. Parents can do that effectively only if they educate themselves about both the technology and the sociology of the Internet. And demonizing the technology, as is suggested even by such august public organs as Frontline, with its feature “Growing Up Online,” helps no one—not the youth who will undoubtedly use the technology, not their parents who supervise them, and not their teachers who need to understand the role that this technology plays in their development."
    See also Ms. Mitrano's article, Thoughts on Facebook, April 2006 -- which is a long time ago in social networking! In that article she discusses Five Things to Think About When Using Facebook.

    Friday, March 07, 2008

    Web 2.0 Is the Future of Education

    Steve Hargadon's blog post is a good read for everyone, especially educators because he includes a very useful and interesting list of things educators can do if they agree with his premise (the title). Kind of like a 'Start Here' guide for educators who are Web 2 newbies. I like this from the list: "Digest This Thought: The Answer to Information Overload Is to Produce More Information." Steve says,
    "I believe that the read/write Web, or what we are calling Web 2.0, will culturally, socially, intellectually, and politically have a greater impact than the advent of the printing press. I believe that we cannot even begin to imagine the changes that are going to take place as the two-way nature of the Internet begins to flower, and that even those of us who have spent time imagining this future will be astounded by what happens. I'm going to identify ten trends in this regard that I think have particular importance for education and learning, and then discuss seven steps I think educators can take to make a difference during this time."
    Social Networking in Education: Another informative article from Steve. Steve includes a long link-list to social networks used in a wide variety of ways, all connected to the world of education.

    And what's even more fun (for me anyway): Today, as I seem to be becoming a Steve Hargadon groupie, I noticed in his Social Networking article that Steve is the guy who started up Classroom 2. I mentioned Classroom 2 in a post 3 days ago and put a big graphic about it on my Web 2 resources page.... though I didn't notice his name at the time.

    Thursday, March 06, 2008

    Way off topic (not about education)

    I couldn't resist posting this. I call it Journey by Flamingo. The creator calls it "Passage to Zhong Fu".

    Created by filmguy1105.

    "Passage to Zhong Fu was originally made for the 48 Hour Film Project in Second Life but since I work for Millions of Us, one of the sponsors of the event, our team wasn't eligible to compete. That said, making this film, for me, was never about any kind of competition. Rather it was all about having a focused opportunity to create something with a set of artistic constraints not under your control. That's the competition - one against yourself - that I'm always interested in pursuing."

    Verdi Millionsofus - Director, Producer & Editor
    Poid Mahovlich - Actor, Landscaper, Set designer, props
    duckyfresh Watanabe - Actor, Wardrobe, Props, Flamingo Trainer
    Dizzy Banjo - Music

    Damanios Thetan - Flamingo Animator
    BETLOG Hax - Volcano Sculpts
    Green Fate - Special Effects
    Sebastian Saramago - Special Effects

    A Monolith Production

    Tuesday, March 04, 2008

    FLASH media: How to embed flash and still get your page to validate

    Becky, instructor at says, "There are several approved methods for validating the insertion of Flash movies. The most well-known (and pretty much the basis for all the others) is the Satay Method. I wrote up a stripped down version of this. It also addresses some accessibility issues. You probably need to update the link for the Flash plugin -- though you could leave that alt text out, if so desired."

    Designing Kick Butt Quality Online Courses

    [you can log in to this FREE course, hosted inside Blackboard. Username bbworld07, password bbworld07]
    "How do you create courses that capture students' attention and direct them through the learning process? How do you merge clean, accessible design with sound pedagogical principles? This workshop provides tools and resources you can use to up the quality of your online courses and improve the online experience for your learners."

    The Worksheet Library

    "Worksheet Library was developed and is maintained by veteran elementary teachers who have over 50 years of classroom experience. ...We develop each worksheet of our site with the goal of making it clear and simple. We want to help you reduce your planning time and spend more quality time with your students. ... our worksheets are preformatted and ready to use in your classroom. Once you find the exact worksheet you need, it is ready to print. We also provide a simple answer key for any worksheet that needs one."

    Moodle Resources

    I've just added this new page to my Resources site. I grabbed and collated all my Moodle entries from other pages so they're now in a single location. Several new resource links added today, too.


    "Wetpaint powers websites that tap the power of collaborative thinking. The heart of the Wetpaint advantage is its ability to allow anyone — especially those without technical skill — to create and contribute to websites written for and by those who share a passion or interest. To do this, Wetpaint combines the best aspects of wikis, blogs, forums and social networks so anyone can click and type on the web."

    What Makes a Successful Online Student?

    "The online students of today consist primarily of working people who are trying to better their opportunities. This however is changing, as more and more young and older people become aware of the online model. The traditional school will never go away, but the virtual classroom is a significant player in today’s educational community. Corporations are using the online model to train technical professionals while private and public universities redefine the world as their markets. The market for students is expanding rapidly. In general, the online student should possess the following qualities..."

    Internet Acronym Server

    I like their sub-title: Searching for the Meaning of L.I.F.E. since 1988. "We've been collecting acronyms from all over the Internet for the best part of two decades."

    Planning a course ~ 3 step approach

    from Cornell University. "A 2 page handout (pdf) that quickly addresses the 3 main steps in planning an online course using MOODLE. This is a very broad brush document that indicates an approach to planning."

    Preparing Teachers to Teach Online

    by Greg Kearsley & Robert Blomeyer. A version of this paper appeared in Educational Technology magazine, Jan/Feb 2004.

    Educational Wikis (EduWikis)

    "This site aims to answer one question: How can I use wikis in education?" Explore their "comprehensive list of existing educational wikis that we can learn from".

    Classroom 2.0

    "The social networking site for those interested in Web 2.0 and collaborative technologies in education." Lots of great stuff here, including news, forums, resources, groups, and the Classroom 2.0 Wiki.

    Web 2.0 in Education

    Steve Hargadon's wikispace. "Web 2.0 Is Critical to the Future of Education." "The Internet-based software programs that are generally referred to as 'Web 2.0' may have been perceived, as recently as last Spring, as the latest pet technology of the educational uber-geek or the conference presenter. However, Web 2.0 programs are rapidly becoming tools of choice for a growing body of classroom educators, who are discovering that they provide compelling teaching and learning opportunities."

    How I use wikis in the classroom

    Cool Cat Teacher, Vicki A. Davis. "I have two primary uses: classroom organization and classroom content....The wiki is my hub. I guess you could say, I have a wiki-centric classroom." While you're there, check out the rest of her Cool Cat Teacher website. I enjoy her writing style. Lots of interesting sections, articles, etc.

    Canadian Intellectual Property Office

    Canadian siteA big section about copyright. Intellectual property links. Sections about patents, trade-marks, industrial design, service standards. Printable forms, publications, newsroom.

    Technical / computer definitions, terms, glossaries, cheat sheets, product demos, white papers, blogs, and more. Definitions for thousands of the most current IT-related words. As well as a search box, "all of's words have been grouped into a series of categories and subcategories for easier browsing. This aids in searching for words about a specific topic or area of interest."

    Sunday, March 02, 2008

    Wiki Charters

    "A WikiCharter is a set of guidelines to ensure productive interaction between members of your wiki community. Here are five guidelines from the Sony Ericsson Developer World wiki provided by wiki evangelist, Stewart Mader."

    List of 20 Education Blogs

    Greg Ritter's Blog Habit post in educate/innovate explains: "I've decided to share a list of some of the educational technology blogs that make up part of my daily fix. What follows, in no particular order, are twenty of the best education blogs as judged by . . . well, me. It's a totally subjective list and it's by no means exhaustive, but all of these authors post regularly and all of them have introduced me to great new ideas at one point or another. But if you should get hooked yourself, you can't say I didn't warn you. ;-)"

    How to add YouTube videos to Blackboard course

    Not just to your Blackboard course, but to any webpage.

    YouTube - BlackboardTV Channel

    "BlackboardTV (or 'BbTV') helps e-Learning innovators -- designers, instructors, students -- visualize online teaching and learning. The education and technology videos collected in the playlists on this channel enable users throughout the global Blackboard community to see, and learn from, e-Learning innovations in K-12 schools, higher education institutions and organizations."

    See also YouTube BlackboardK12.

    Saturday, February 16, 2008


    Just go here and have some fun. Create unique images or icons for your website or course.

    Online games

    Web games to learn with. K-12 geography, chemistry, vocabulary, animals, history, math, and some quiz games.

    Icons and other Graphics for FREE: Beautiful vector graphics of all kinds. I jumped right to the royalty-free section, so that's the link I'm providing you. But just have a look at the other beautiful stuff they have to offer!

    Miha's utilities - Mihov Freeware

    The site has a bunch of great utilities. Here are just two:

    Image Resizer: A free utility that can batch resize your images in bmp, gif, and jpg picture formats. You can also convert from one format to another, rotate images, create thumbnails.

    Link Checker: Nothing more frustrating than clicking a link that's no longer valid. Don't let your website or course pages get outdated. This free downloadable utility works great.

    Free Online Video Editing Sites

    ExtremeTech has posted a review of 5 websites that let you edit your videos online for free.
    "Some people would be surprised that you can edit photos online without locally installed software, but surely video editing is too resource-intensive to be done over the web, right? Wrong! We review five online services that let you do things like scene transitions, cuts, splices, loops, audio overlays—and they're all free. We tested the following: Cuts, Eyespot, JumpCut, Motionbox, One True Media."


    Edit your images online for free.
    "Splashup, formerly Fauxto, is a powerful editing tool and photo manager. With all the features professionals use and novices want, it's easy to use, works in real-time and allows you to edit many images at once. Splashup runs in all browsers, integrates seamlessly with top photosharing sites, and even has its own file format so you can save your work in progress."

    Performance Learning Systems

    (My link above is to the teacher resources section of the website, but please explore their many professional development courses too.)
    "The mission of Performance Learning Systems, Inc. is to enhance education through the development of educational services. These services, designed to increase the effectiveness of educators and others who support excellence in education, include: seminars, Graduate courses, Consulting services, Quality instructional materials."

    Wednesday, February 13, 2008

    The Reluctant Online Professor

    "...when I was asked to put my course online, I felt quite unprepared ... I started the experience with great reluctance and trepidation. Much to my surprise, I finished it jubilantly. It turned out to be one of the best classes I have ever taught."
    Cynthia Corritore, Ph.D., describes the process in detail: creating her course (design, content, 9 main components of the course, web tools used, etc), the outcome, and lessons learned. A refreshing example to read, especially for others in a similar position, but also for experienced online instructors.

    Tuesday, February 12, 2008


    A multilingual wiki-style dictionary. "...includes a thesaurus, a rhyme guide, phrase books, language statistics, extensive appendices. ...not only the definition of a word, but also enough information to really understand it. ...etymologies, pronunciations, quotations, synonyms, antonyms, translations..."

    Free Online MIT Course Materials for High School

    MIT OpenCourseWare ~ Highlights for High School: Free Online MIT Course Materials for High School. By now most educators know that MIT has opened its courses to public access. Now they've added content for high school teachers/students. Check out their resources for the maths/sciences (calculus, biology, physics), their hands-on learning labs (chemistry, physics). Explore their section on writing: essays, technical writing, rhetoric, short stories, web design.

    Wednesday, February 06, 2008


    Want to try out Moodle but you need a server/host location? Check out this company. They offer hosting for individuals as well as organizations. They also offer user training, moodle customizations, and more.
    "Moodlerooms’ values are all about community, collaboration and communication in the interest of lifelong learning. We seek to build, facilitate and be part of a community of like-minded educators endeavoring to extend and enrich the learning experiences of their students. We also seek to foster a community of educators who understand that teaching is a collaborative thing. We believe teachers and students learn more when they share knowledge with each other, challenge each other, and inspire each other."

    Wednesday, January 30, 2008

    MS Office/Word tips and tricks

    Here are a few sites. Please post any others you have found especially useful. Thanks!

    Carol's Corner Office: Lots of tips and tricks for MS Office here. Check out her Free Word Bytes Newsletter, as well as her subscription premium newsletter and her books.

    Word for PC, Tips, Tricks, Troubleshooting: Part of the MPV website.

    Word Shortcuts: A page from the above MPV site.

    Useful MS Word links on Microsoft's website: MPV has compiled a handy list of links.

    Word Tips by Allan Wyatt: A weekly email newsletter full of tips. The writer has also published a book of tips.

    Monday, January 28, 2008

    Sloan Consortium (Sloan-C)

    "The purpose of the Sloan Consortium (Sloan-C) is to help learning organizations continually improve quality, scale, and breadth of their online programs, according to their own distinctive missions, so that education will become a part of everyday life, accessible and affordable for anyone, anywhere, at any time, in a wide variety of disciplines. Sloan-C maintains a catalog of degree and certificate programs offered by a wide range of regionally accredited member institutions, consortia, and industry partners; provides speakers and consultants to help institutions learn about online methodologies; hosts conferences and workshops to help implement and improve online programs; publishes the Sloan-C View, the Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks (JALN), and annual volumes of applied research studies; and conducts research, annual surveys on online learning and forums to inform academic, government and private sector audiences. Sloan-C also offers an awards program and an effective practices database and wiki for members to share the lessons they have learned."