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More Cool Tools and the ASCUE Conference

June 25, 2012 Leave a comment

I am freshly back from the Association of Supporting Computer Users in Education (ASCUE) conference. It was really great and I got lots of ideas that I want to share with you.

North Myrtle Beach view from Ocean Creek

One idea I liked was using Google Sites for student e-portfolios. You can create custom templates for a program, individual, or course that the students can easily access and utilize. They can upload work and customize their portfolio. Their work is then available for job interviews and keeping a running history of their college careers. This would work in high school as well.

Here is a list of gadgets that I highly recommend checking out that were talked about at the conference:

  • Swivyl camera mount: it works with iphone, ipod touch and flip type cameras. Follows the speaker. Very cool. (http://www.swivl.com/)
  • Finch Robot: for the physicists and computer programmers, this is a great robot to teach programming. Many programming languages can be used so this spans many grade levels. (http://www.finchrobot.com/)
  • One talk recommended the Aver HVC310 HD for video conferencing on a budget. I have not checked it out so can’t say but they were pleased with it.

As for other ideas my friend Tom Marcais described his school’s process of developing video tutorials for faculty and staff. The process heavily involves students which I think is great. They write the script and produce the screen captures using Screencast-o-matic. Once they are proficient, they can create music loops for the background as well. Check out the results! (http://www.youtube.com/user/tmarcais)

As for this year’s cool tools here is my link to this year’s finds: http://www.delicious.com/fyerphys/ascue12

The highlights:

  • TedEd: a collection of educational cartoons that also included lesson plans and quizzes that you can use or you can “flip” a video and create your own lesson for others to take advantage of. (http://education.ted.com/)
  • Screenleap: instant screensharing great for support and impromptu tutoring or meetings. (http://www.screenleap.com/)
  • If This, Then That: Really cool site that lets you really maximize your productivity by connecting your various accounts. For example if you favorite a Twitter post then it sends it to your e-mail (or Evernote). Or if a post goes to a favorite RSS feed then it puts it in a certain DropBox folder. (https://ifttt.com/login)
  • Remind 101: This site allows you to send texts to anyone who has signed up for your “class”. You don’t see their phone numbers and they don’t see yours. They can sign up using an e-mail address too. Great for sending students reminders and important notices. You can even schedule your texts in advance! (https://www.remind101.com/)

If you find a couple of these things helpful, you need to come to next year’s ASCUE conference in North Myrtle Beach in June. (http://ascue.org/) There were many more ideas just like these. Come join the fun!

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Summer Is Here, Time for New Technology!

May 20, 2012 1 comment

Summer is the perfect time to play with some new technology that you can add to your fall courses. Maybe create a small learning object or some piece of a lesson and see how it goes. Here are some ideas to get you started. clear logo The Center for Language Education and Research out of Michigan State University has come up with some amazing Rich Internet Applications that are definitely worth checking out. The one we are going to use for our Spanish online course is the Conversations app. It allows for completely asynchronous chats via a microphone and web cam. This is simply a fantastic tool for chatting with your students or them chatting with one another in a foreign language. I also see applications for business courses and interview practice. Take a look and try it out.

Google Drive

google drive image Have you been looking for a reason to use Google Drive instead of DropBox or some other cloud file service? Me too! Well I think I found at least one. It is called WeVideo. It is a cloud based video editor that integrates with Google Drive. It is pretty slick and allows for great collaboration. Students can create videos together in this collaborative environment then share them in just about any format. You can use it for your video editing as well.

Storyline by Articulate

It’s no secret that I am an Articulate fan and I have been DYING to spread the word about their new product, Storyline. I am not a programmer at all but I have great ideas for learning objects, activities, assessments and the like. This tool allows me to look like a rock star with no programming whatsoever. It can develop great looking simple things in minutes or you can unleash its power on some pretty detailed stuff. Drag and drop, show and do, branching, animations and more can be done with this great product. If you are in education be sure you check out the educational pricing. It would cost that alone to hire out for just one interaction. Now you have to the tool to do whatever you need. Try the 30 day trial and you will be hooked. Look for future posts on this product.

So take your lap top out on the deck and get techy! Now is the best time to play. Drop a comment on your newest, latest, greatest finds. Enjoy!

Categories: apps, e-learning, software Tags: , ,

A Day in the Life of My Ipad

January 10, 2012 3 comments

I have been debating what to put in my first post of the year. I have started 2 other posts but I have settled on this one. I thought I would take you through a day in the life of my iPad. I myself am surprised at how much I use it. I know many of my colleagues have an iPad but I never see them with it. I just don’t get it. I can’t live without mine. The iPad combined with a Kensington blue tooth keyboard is all I need.  I will warn you that I might have taken some writer’s license and combined a couple of days. But you will get the idea. While I use the iPad, I have an android phone and Windows 7 computers. I manage to have them all get along quit nicely.

Ipad in with bluetooth keyboard

7:00 am
Time to get to up. While I eat my cereal and watch the Today show, I  do a quick run through my e-mail on my iPad  to primarily delete spam. I also answer any pressing student or faculty issues.  I  take a quick turn on Words with Friends as well.

8:30 am
On the way to work I use AudioMemos to record my thoughts on an upcoming meeting. The app only records when I am talking and I can set it to ignore ambient noise. Later I can listen to my ideas and type them up in an outline.

10:10 am
Time for my class. I use TeacherPal to take attendance in my class. I can just click on their pictures and record if they are present, absent or late. I then bring up my text book  in CourseSmart so I have it to refer to for problems. I use the classroom computer for the Eno Board to record classroom notes.

11:15 am
Just got a pdf that I am supposed to print out, fill in, sign, and snail mail back. (seriously?)  I print it out, fill it in and use DocScan HD on my iPad to take a picture of it which is essentially scanning it, and I e-mail it back to the sender. I do not leave my chair.

12:30 pm
Off to a meeting. I use Drop Box to pull up the agenda that was sent to me earlier. I use Evernote to take meeting notes. When I am done, a couple clicks and I e-mail the notes to the entire group. I also look at some e-mail during the meeting and answer a couple of people with technical issues. I  look up something on the Internet that the group had a question about.

2:00 pm
At another meeting. This time I use my iPad to audio record the entire meeting. After the meeting, I send the recording  off to another person to post on the group’s website.

3:30 pm
A student sent me a question about a physics problem they were having trouble with. I use Explain Everything to record my voice and write out some hints for the solution. I can send that back to the student with a couple clicks. It appears to them as a short movie.

4:30 pm
Off to the YMCA for my workout. I use the web based workout input web site to put in my workout. During the cardio portion of my workout, I watch full episodes of DIY shows from their app.

6:00 pm
Home  and planning a tile job for the kitchen. I take some measurements but I don’t want to put them on some scrap piece of paper that I might lose. So I use Skitch on the iPad and write out my calculations. I then save that to Evernote. Now it is available on my Ipad, and phone when I go to the tile store.

7:30 pm
Time to catch up on the information of the day. I start with Flipbook on the iPad. I can quickly look over my Facebook, Twitter, Google Reader and other feeds I like to follow. It is displayed in a nice magazine type format. Then I go to Zite. Zite allows me to input topics and areas of interest and chooses articles for me to read in a newspaper like format. If I like an article, it learns what I like and gives me more of the same. In both of these apps, I can easily e-mail or retweet any of the articles I want  to my colleagues and friends.

10:00 pm
Off to bed…after another turn on Words with Friends. Better charge up  the iPad for another busy day tomorrow!

What great apps and ways do you use your Ipad? Leave suggestions in the comments!