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Posts Tagged ‘tools’

ASCUE Conference Ideas

July 11, 2011 Leave a comment

I just got back from  attending the Association of Small Computer Users in Education (ASCUE). (Ok so it has been a couple of weeks.) This year I happen to be the President of the association. The keynote was Tom Kuhlmann from Articulate. He writes the Rapid Elearning Blog and is my elearning hero. He has a knack for breaking down the process of course design down to some simple steps. He also did a session on PowerPoint and showed how we probably use PowerPoint to about 20% of its abilities. And it is not the tool, it is the user that produces “bad” PowerPoint.

Cool Tools

My presentation was about the “cool” tools I found in the last year. I have featured some of them in previous posts. If you are looking for a different kind of blog posting tool, try Posterous. You can e-mail your pictures, videos and words and Posterous will arrange your blog for you. Perhaps you are looking for a way for your students to brainstorm or organize a project. This online stickie note application might do the trick. Lino allows you to do this, and what I like is students don’t have to have an account. This is handy for workshops and meetings too.

I have a lot of flash card creation links but StudyBlue seems to be a nice one that is flexible and has notes and cards out there that others have created. Ok, so you have been trying to do that important work in your life and e-mail and Twitter just keeps interrupting. Download this app and you can schedule time when those applications can’t bother you.

I think the biggest hit was RedKid. It is a website that allows you to customize signs and images. We created an ASCUE vodka as  you see below.

So I will finish with a free webinar tool (AnyMeeting) that so far seems to be a great substitute for some of the pricier webinar tools. Some of the features include sending surveys to the attendees after the webinar as well as the standard screen sharing, webcam and audio features. It also gives you the option of voice over IP or telephone conferencing.

I hope you find something useful with these new tools. Leave and comment and let me know how you use them.

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

Faculty and Student Support Using Screenr

May 18, 2011 1 comment

I have been doing more support in the last few weeks than usual so this is on my mind. I often get e-mails from faculty asking how to do something in our learning management system. (which we are in the process of changing) Sometimes the faculty are forwarding questions their students had that they could not answer. Rather than just answer in words to that one person, I create a quick screen-cast in Screenr. This allows me to better answer their question as well as create an archived answer if I should get the question again.

screenr logo

If you are not familiar with Screenr, I encourage you to try it out. Yes, it is another screen-casting tool like so many out there but I believe Screenr is better. There is no figuring out screen size or all that. You just drag the handles to the screen area you want to cover. It gives a nice count-down to prepare you for your big debut. Just recently added is the ability to sign into Screenr with Twitter, Facebook, Google, or Yahoo. The web based application is platform independent.

When you have finished your masterpiece, you can copy the URL, or two different types of embed codes. You can also download the mp4 file which could then be edited with another product. It also makes it easy to tweet your screen-cast or upload it to Youtube with simple clicks. I have used many of these types of products and this is by far the easiest and most mistake proof. Oh and did I mention that it is FREE.

It has really come in handy lately. And don’t worry if your screen-casts are not perfect. People just want the answer. For the last faculty member who had a student “how to” question, I created a quick screen-cast and sent her the link. She then posted the link in the learning management system so that other students would benefit too. So maybe it took me 5 minutes to do but it answered what was sure to be a lot of similar questions. I have also used Screenr in conjunction with my Eno (smart) board. I am able to capture my work on the white board to post for students later. (https://janethurn.wordpress.com/2010/09/22/some-of-my-favorite-things-part-1/)

Here is a link to my Screenr page. Give Screenr a try!

What is a QR code and why do I care?

April 14, 2011 1 comment

I just got back from the Ohio Learning Network’s spring Colloquium. I saw some old friends and colleagues and made some new ones. It was only a day and a half but it got my creative juices flowing. Ohio has some folks doing some great work with technology in education. The keynote was also interesting. It was Silke Fleischer from Ativ software. She started the company which makes conference apps for all the smart phone platforms. She did a great talk about the future being now and it is so true. You will be hearing about some of the ideas I got from this conference over the next few posts.

qr code for video

QR Codes

I had heard of them and seen them on some ads etc. but had not thought of them as useful in education. Well why not! Let me back up a bit and explain a QR code. If you have a smart phone which more and more of us do,( According to Gartner, smart phone sales have grown 96% from 3rd quarter 2009 to 3rd quarter 2010) you can download an app that will scan QR codes such as the one above. This can then take you to a link, text, contact information, e-mail address, global position, calendar event, etc. If you have a smart phone, scan the code above and see what happens. The apps I have used are free.

So I started thinking of some possible uses. I will list some here but I want to hear from some of you as well. My first simple thought is to put them outside our office doors  with our contact information, office hours etc. If a student needs us and we are not there, scan the code and get our information into their phone for use later. Then I thought about putting an informational video on YouTube that might have the information they need about us. Or maybe your roll is something that includes frequently ask questions. Your code might take them to an FAQ web page to get started. Or maybe there is a form that is hanging outside your door. Quit killing trees and put a pdf online and a code that links to it. The financial aid window is closed. Why not hang up a code that links to their web page. So you see the sky is the limit here! I also thought about putting them in my lms next to a presentation link. If they can scan it in their phone, they can watch the presentation with fewer clicks on their phone.

How do I make one for myself?

So far my favorite is qrdroid.com.  It does not just apply to just android, you can use it to universally create a QR code. It is nice because it has lots of options for what type of information you want to link to. It also allows for colors other than black. This process takes no time at all. There are other computer apps out there for creating the codes so list them in the comments if you have a favorite.

Share your ideas for using QR codes!

Categories: tech gadgets Tags: ,

Khan Academy Revolution

April 3, 2011 Leave a comment

The Khan Academy is receiving more and more attention, especially since Bill Gates has taken notice. This idea of free education for all who wish to take advantage is catching on. This tool that Salman Khan has created is simple yet so powerful. He started by creating videos to tutor some relatives and now he is educating the masses. Grade school kids to college students to those just wanting to learn something new can take advantage of this resource. Hundreds of videos covering simple addition to differential equations with biology and chemistry in between is covered. AND to make it even more useful, there are exercises created to practice what you learn! Check out this video to see what I mean.



One way this could be useful is in an inverted classroom. They are piloting such a classroom. Students watch the videos at home but then work on exercises in class. The instructor can personally work with students who are struggling. Instructors can detect this from the dashboard. Students can assist their peers as well if they have already successfully navigated a particular topic. Students can earn virtual trinkets and stars as they work their way through the topics. They can process as their own rate.

Best of all this is all freely accessible to everyone who can get to a computer on the Internet. Teachers or tutors can be coaches for any student they want. What a valuable and useful treasure chest of information open to all.

Put it on your MUST check out list.

Categories: e-learning, software Tags: ,

A few of my favorite things….(part 2)

October 4, 2010 6 comments

Gadgets, gadgets and more gadgets. Sometimes I am accused of having too many. (can there be too many?!) But again sometimes the proper gadget (tool) can enhance teaching and learning. So I will continue to outline some of my favorites.

Entourage Edge
My latest gadget has helped me go “green”. It is the Entourage Edge. It is a two screen tablet. On one side is an Android touch device and on the other an e-reader. It was designed with the student in mind. Although I have not used it in the classroom, I take it to every meeting and that is all I take. No paper, note pad, or pen needed. I can put the pdfs on it that always accompany a good meeting. These pdfs can be virtually marked and highlighted on the Edge. And I can take notes on the virtual note pad. Those notes can be converted to pdf and sent out after the meeting if I wish (in hand written form which I actually like). All my committee and project notes are in one place along with the agendas, minutes, etc.

You can also purchase books and textbooks from the store as well as download apps (app list is growing all the time). This device improves nearly monthly and I have high hopes for it. I can’t see why every student and faculty member would not want one of these. I have to say that I could have gotten an Ipad instead but this just matched the way I work much better.

Document Camera
Another device that I use in the classroom is this document camera by Avermedia. This device is small and portable. I can put it away when not in use and easily set it up when I need it. I love to have students work on problems or worksheets in class then take their work and show it to the rest of the class. I can also take a still of what is under the camera and save it. I can even make videos with sound with this device. The price is very reasonable too. It marks the end of the overhead projector as far as I am concerned.

document camera

Cameras

I find it essential to have a couple of different cameras for the classroom. These days there are a large array of affordable models. I have a still camera to take pictures of equipment or classroom activities (as in this post). It is the Canon Powershot  Elph which is the 2nd Powershot I have had and I like them very much. I have two movie cameras. I started with the original Flip mino camera which is so handy to take a quick video. This camera was used for this video.

I then discovered the Kodak Zi 8 that is an HD video camera and has an external mic port. That is really nice for doing demos and YouTube videos. In this video I do a demo of some lab equipment and it is in HD. If you teach a lab course or similar course, you might consider making a video the students view prior to lab day. It can include the set up and view of equipment as well as safety warnings. It can save a lot of time come lab day. You could have a quick quiz (use clickers!) before the lab starts to be sure they watched the video.

This semester I am hoping to turn some students loose with Flip video cameras and see what they can do. I am thinking of having them teach a short lesson for the other students. I will let you know how that turns out! We have Flips on reserve in our library but many students have video cameras on their phones.


camera pic

Now you might be asking yourself…self…how did she take this picture of all her cameras? Well, I did it with my Motorola Droid smart phone which is another of my very favorite things. I often use it now to take a quick picture or video as it is such a good camera. I will be doing a blog post on the Droid at some point but if you are in the market for a smart phone that does it all…choose an Android phone and I love the Droid. The number of free apps you can get is astonishing. The very least thing it does is make phone calls.

So leave a comment about some of your favorite gadgets. I would love to see what other folks are using for teaching and learning! More to come!

Be Careful What You Ask For….

September 21, 2010 1 comment

I have entered the blog world to offer up my tech teaching and learning knowledge. I also plan on having some guest bloggers. I hope that perhaps a few find these posts useful. They are designed to not take up a huge part of your busy day. I will be also adding some links to my favorite tools etc. by category. You can also check out my Delicious site to see all of my finds. I don’t necessarily use all of these. I just have them handy if someone else could use them.

That brings my to my first useful tip. Technology tools, programs, devices, and applications are just that….tools. Choosing the correct tool, depends on what you are trying to accomplish or build.

which tool?The choices can be overwhelming until you narrow down exactly what you want your students (or yourself) to do. And what works for some may not work for you. I have been looking for a To Do list that would keep me on task better. You would think that Outlook would do the trick. But it never has. So I finally tried ToDoist. It has worked pretty well for me so far. There are many apps and programs for keeping To Do lists but this is the one that works best for how I function. So figure out what it is you want to do with technology before you start looking through the many tools that are out there.

have a plan

I will try to give good uses for the tools and tips I provide so you can be sure to select the right tool for the job.

Categories: general tip Tags: