Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Finding Quick and Helpful Videos for Topics

Have you ever wanted someone to explain Wikis in Plain English, or how about Twitter in Plain English? Maybe you want to have someone explain why you should use the new "twisty" light bulbs in plain English. Well someone has done this. Common Craft has created a series of videos that can be found on YouTube. These explain in simple terms a wide variety of web applications as well as some other topics (like Electing a US President in Plain English).
You can find these short movies (around 3 minutes long) by clicking here or search on YouTube for the words "Plain English." There are several other individuals who have created "in plain English" videos. Some are pretty good, some are funny, and some are--well, not everything on the web is worth while.

Watching these won't make you an expert but at least you won't be in the dark. As always, call us if we can help you.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

ChaCha is more than a dance

Did you know that you can get a question answered on your cell phone. That's right, as they describe it,
ChaCha is like having a smart friend you can call or text for answers on your cell phone anytime for free! ChaCha works with virtually every provider and allows people with any mobile phone device - from basic flip phones to advanced smart phones - to ask any question in conversational English and receive an accurate answer as a text message in just a few minutes.
All you have to do is text your question to 242242 (ChaCha) or call 800-2ChaCha and ask your question. You'll receive the answer by a text message in a few minutes. You can get the weather, stock info (who wants that now!), scores or answers to general questions in a matter of minutes. Give it a try. Remember two things:
  1. Any charges for text messaging on your phone may apply.
  2. Students may already know about ChaCha, so watch out for cell phone texting during exams!
As always, please let us know in ITDE if we can help.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Create Easy Animations

There is another Web 2.0 application that can help you create exciting animations by using an application called GoAnimate. Here is a sample I created in only a few minutes on my MacBook.

This is an easy application to learn and the instructional videos are very helpful. You can create some interesting introductions to lessons for classroom or online classes. Give it a try and see what you can create. As always, if we can help please call us.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Here is a great application that you can use to easily create an exciting slideshow? Using ANIMOTO can make you can look like a professional.

This is one of neatest Web 2.0 application I've seen, and once you've seen it I'm sure you'll agree! Take a look at this example I created for the 2009 NUTN Conference:

I made this by simply uploading images, selecting the music from the site and ANIMOTO did the rest. Here's the best part--it was FREE! And once your done you can share your video by posting it to Facebook, Blogger, MySpace, or any number of other online sites as well as YouTube.

You need to set up an account (it's free) and then start uploading JPG or GIF images. There are some size restrictions (images need to be less than 5MB) and the free slideshow is limited to 30 seconds, but you can look pretty creative in that time. If you want to create longer shows you need to sign up for an All-Access Pass. Sounds like a catch doesn't it, but it only costs $30.00 a year for unlimited videos of extended length. I really encourage you to take a look at this site. You can use slideshows to introduce content in your classes or for showing off your children. You can even have students create slideshows for class projects. There are lots of creative uses that you can find.

Here is an example of a movie that I created (another one for the NUTN Conference) using the All-Access Pass I purchased (yes, I sprung for the $30.00) and was able to download to my computer when I finished. It's the same length because that is how long the song is.

Friday, October 10, 2008

On Good Morning America today (Friday, October 10, 2008) they did a segment about cheating on tests.  There were some fairly creative ways students had posted on YouTube exposing the way they suggested to each other.  Here are a couple of links to those videos in case you would like to check them out for yourself:

Monday, September 29, 2008

ANGEL Wingtips

As a service to our instructors, we have a blog just for ANGEL 'how-to' tips and we call it ANGEL Wingtips.  The blog address is http://angelwingtips.blogspot.com

If you have any requests for items to add to the Wingtips, please send Jeff or Angela a note or post a request on the blog and we will add it to our list.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Websites for Videos

Did you know that there are several options for finding videos that can help with student learning besides YouTube and Teacher Tube? e>Training magazine listed several sites in their September, 2008 edition. I have looked at these sites and provide a link, short description and review (graded from * for not so good to ***** for an excellent site) in the list below.
  • Blip TV a place where individuals can post their videos using any format they chose.****
  • eHow is a site with lots of instructions on how to do a variety of activities.***
  • eyejot is a sight that requires a free registration and a webcam. You can upload a video massages. Could be a nice way to introduce students to your class.****
  • FixMyMovie takes movies from your mobile phone or digital camera and improves the quality of them by increasing the resolution and brightens them up. ****
  • Instructables is a site that calls itself the world's biggest Show and Tell. Like eHow it has a lot of "how to's." All the way from how to draw graffiti to how to make a Flintstones car. *****
  • Kyte is another site with videos made and from TV shows from around the world.**
  • LearnHub is a site that offers more than videos. It describes itself, "for people who love learning and sharing knowledge with others. It is a set of tools that make learning online fun and engaging, and teaching online easy and effective." Nice site and well laid out.*****
  • LearningPortal, like LearningHub, has good materials for learning. It's just not as broad ranged.***
  • Mydeo offers free (for one month) hosting for high quality video streaming. Videos kept longer than a month have a charge.**
  • Qik is like Twitter for video. People can upload videos from their mobile phones and share them with the world. Educational value--low, uniqueness--high!**
  • SchoolTube has lots of videos uploaded from schools (primarily K-12). There are some good videos under the Educators tab.
  • Seesmic is another site where you can upload videos but it looks very cool. Videos can be linked from other sites. It appears to have good customer service. There were 16 employees on line when I reviewed the site.*****
  • SpotMixer will help you make video ads that could be uploaded to YouTube or downloaded as an MP4. Could have value for a Marketing class. There is a cost for this site.*
  • UStream is a place to broadcast your TV show, at no cost. This is really an interesting site and it has a large library of previously created shows.*****
  • Veodia is another site where you can create videos that can be uploaded to iPods, websites or even Second Life. I couldn't find any information on cost (there must be some since there is no advertising on the site.****
  • VoiceThread "is a powerful new way to talk about and share your images, documents, and videos." At least that's what they say. There is a charge, but free registration will allow some commenting, images and sharing for free. Looks interesting.***
If any of these sites are interesting to you or you would like help in using them, please give us a call in ITDE. We want to help.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Word Processing Alternatives

Buying Microsoft Office 2007 can be an expensive purchase for a college student (Microsoft lists Office 2007 Standard at $399.95, the educational price is $148.95). This product has many features a student may not use unless they are taking a computer applications course. What other options do they have. Well, there are a few applications that are available for free. That's right free!
  • IBM offers a free download of IBM Lotus Symphony which has word processor, spreadsheet and presentation programs. Symphony is complete with an installation guide and reference cards for people who have used Office.
  • Open Office is another program that requires a download to your computer. It has several applications that can be used, including databases. They claim to be the the leading open-source office software suite.
  • Google Docs is another free program that does not require you to download a program to your computer. You can even save documents at Google Docs.
  • Like Google Docs, Zoho offers applications that do not need to be downloaded to your computer. And like Google Docs, your work can be stored on their server and can then be accessed from anywhere you have computer access.
  • Buzzword, from Adobe, is another free word processor that does not have to be downloaded to your computer. It's a little different in how it works (it uses Adobe Flash), but it will still store documents. One nice thing about being able to store a document somewhere other than your computer is that others can access it. This makes collaborative working easier since everyone can access a document regardless where they are located.
So, if you have students who do not have access to word processing, spreadsheets or presentation software, you now have some options to share with them. Remember, when they submit a document they should save it in a Rich Text Format so it can easily be opened.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Adding a Video to Your Blog

Here is a sample of a video that was created on an MacBook using iMovie and uploaded to this site. Natural light was used (another way of saying I just point and shot with the built-in camera) and no script was written. Altogether it took about 5 minutes to film and upload to the Blog. All you need is a webcam, computer and an idea. You can also spend a little more time using a camcorder, lighting, and a script. Let us know if we can help. Just call or email ITDE. We want to help you help student learn.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Students Interaction with Technology

Today's students come to college with more engagement with technology than in the past. Gone are the days that an overhead projector is considered high tech. Most classrooms now have document cameras, multimedia projectors and computers that can connect students with sites around the world. Not only do the classrooms have technology, but students have cell phones, laptop computers and PDA's and they use them. Text messaging, instant messaging, social networks, wikis and blogs are part of life for our students.
How can an instructor utilize technology to engage students and promote student learning? This is the question that this blog will strive to address. We will try to find ways to introduce, and train, faculty to what is available--and maybe more importantly--to what the students are using. Instructional Technology is a dynamic element in education. Every day new applications are introduced. Current applications are revised and some are replaced. We want to keep you informed of the changes being made.
This blog will be updated at least monthly, and hopefully more often than that. Keep an eye on this site to find out more about the use of instructional technology in the classroom.