Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Content Management Systems: Do's & Don'ts

"CMS doesn’t have to be synonymous with failure. There is no doubt that the right CMS, properly implemented, can offer real benefits to organizations of all sizes. The catch seems to be that it’s not always easy to find the right CMS, let alone a qualified team with the skills needed for a proper implementation. ...With this in mind I offer a few do’s and don’ts that could help you minimize your chances of joining the ranks of those who are unhappy with their CMS."

20 Technology Skills Every Educator Should Have

"...most educators use a variety of tools-including video, e-mail, desktop conferencing, online programs such as WebCT and Blackboard, as well as video conferencing-to teach. Thus, it is no longer acceptable for educators to be technology illiterate. With that in mind, here is a comprehensive listing of the technology skills that every educator should have. Because as computer and associated technologies continue to change and evolve, educators must continue to strive for excellence in their work. Today that includes continued time and effort to maintain and improve their technology skills (as much as some educators do not want to admit)."

The 46 Best-ever Freeware Utilities

A categorized site that truly leads to some excellent FREE software.

Project Gutenberg -- FREE books online

The link above is to the USA site; there's also an Australian site. There are 17,000 FREE books in the Project Gutenberg Online Book Catalog.
"These ebooks may be read on a computer using a simple text editor or viewer. The books are in the 'public domain' and all have been prepared by volunteers."

Google Books

In spite of the current controversy surrounding copyright issues, I think it's admirable that this and other sites are making texts more and more available. Here's what Google says about their initiative:
"In May 1961, JFK said that he was going to put a man on the moon. The idea was unthinkable at the time, but within the decade, the goal was achieved. Google Book Search is our man on the moon initiative. We see a world where all books are online and searchable. How exactly will this be done? How long exactly will it take? We aren't sure, but we're committed to making it happen."
When you get there, read their "about" page.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

8 Mistakes That Can Kill Your Web Site

From Lockergnome, a set of guidelines useful to anybody creating a webpage, whether it's a general website or to be used for your course material.
"Ever notice how some Web sites feel great, energetic, fun - you just want to linger to soak up more? And yet other sites are truly repellant. These tips will help you create a truly happening site."

Feed2Podcast - create a podcast out of your blog

Free sign-up for this service. The Feed2Podcast engine instantly turns your blog's RSS feed into a Podcast. See this explanation and review on Jake Ludington's MediaBlab.


"Wink is a Tutorial and Presentation creation software, primarily aimed at creating tutorials on how to use software (like a tutor for MS-Word/Excel etc). Using Wink you can capture screenshots, add explanations boxes, buttons, titles etc and generate a highly effective tutorial for your users. ...a standard Windows-based UI with drag-and-drop editing makes it very easy to create high quality tutorials/documentation.

It is estimated that Macromedia Flash Player is installed in more than 90% of the PCs. Using Wink you can create content viewable across the web in all these users' desktops. Similar applications sell for hundreds of dollars, while Wink is free with unrivaled features."

Virtual Professor goes WIRELESS

A new page on my Resources site, devoted to links and resources on the topic of Wireless & Handhelds for Education.

a.k.a. Pervasive eLearning

Handheld Computers in Education

This article from wwwTools for education covers definitions and background into, then offers a long, categorized & commented set of links to several excellent resources and articles on the topic. An excellent starting point!

K12 Handhelds.com

K12 Handhelds.com: A site devoted to the use of handhelds in education. Page topics include the two below, as well as Products, Classroom Solutions, Bookstore, Grants, Cool New Stuff, Professional Development, Events.

101 Great Educational uses for your handheld computer: The article groups the uses under the headings Administrative Applications, Communication and Collaboration Applications, Teaching and Learning Applications.

Getting Started: "Just getting started with handhelds? Here are some of the things that you will need to think about and resources that will help."

How PDAs Work

From the fantastic HowStuffWorks site, an excellent article for those of us who don't yet own a handheld. Explains the various types/brands, their differences in technology and use, and more.
"In this article, we take look at the PDA -- where it's been, how it is converging with other devices, and where it's headed. We also examine how PDAs work and give you some pointers on how to select one."

The Handheld Educator: Top 10 Reasons To Use Handhelds

A one-page summary of Best Practices for Handhelds in Education.
"Teachers rely on best practices, the strategies learned from experienced educators and researchers, so they can use the most effective methods to teach their students. Many components make up a best practice. Some techniques are ageless and withstand the test of time. And some that are new and innovative, like using handheld computers, show great promise."

E-learning on the move

"Over the past seven or eight years, universities and colleges in the US have been introducing wireless technology into campus life. In the UK and at universities in other countries around the world, pilot projects that started at the end of the 90s are now giving rise to 'wireless ready' learning environments, overcoming the restrictions of hard-wired technology. In the ever-more competitive national and international markets for students, this is a campus facility that universities are increasingly dangling before the eyes of potential freshmen."

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Web Album Generator - Free photo album creator software

Web Album Generator: FREE! Create online photo albums really fast. I just tried it and it's easy, very fast, simple and fun to use. Thanks to Anthony Tobin's blog posting for this one.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Kids Educational Software

Smart Neurons provides educational software for preschoolers and kids to help enhance their pre-reading skills, story building logic and imagination. ALSO check out their Resources list of education-based sites.

Royalty free stock photos

To get the FREE images you have to sign up for a free account at Fotolia. They also have images to purchase, starting at just $1 per image. They say, "Thousands of new images a day." If you're a photographer, you can sell your photos to them, setting your own price. They say, "Highest commision in the industry (up to 80%)."

Free Audio Clips

Download and use on your website. There are several different types of audio files available in this Bravenet library:
  • MIDI (Musical Instrument Digital Interface): Typically smallest in filesize
  • AU (Audio file): The sound format for Java
  • WAV (Wave file): The sound format for Windows.

Free Clipart

From the Bravenet Webmaster Resource Center - hundreds of free images to download and use on your website.

Webmaster Resource Centre

Bravenet offers an excellent all-in-one resource site. Includes Quick Reference Sheets for various types of code (HTML, CSS, more), articles, tutorials, MiniTools for your website, free clip art, fonts, scripts, and other free downloads and tools. A must-have bookmark!

Bravenet CSS Reference Sheet

What I like about this one is how thorough it is -- each entry (1) explains the property, (2) gives a list of all possible values for it (3) gives an example of how to use it. Excellent for beginners and beyond.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

TechTerms Dictionary

"The goal of the Tech Terms Computer Dictionary is to not just define computer terms, but explain them as well. While defining computer terminology may be simple, explaining what each term means is more helpful. TechTerms.org contains hundreds of computer and technology terms, all with detailed explanations."

FileInfo.net - The File Extensions Resource

"A searchable database of file extensions with detailed explanations of each file type."

50+ RSS Ideas for Educators

The title is a little misleading. The document is not just ideas, it begins with the basics -- explaining the technologies available, how they work, outlining various applications to use, illustrated tutorial on getting going, and then finally a descriptive list of ideas to get you inspired and on your way. Chock full of links to resources. EXCELLENT!

The 10 Principles of eLearning

"There are ten basic Principles of Learning that, when practiced, help us grow in understanding and make us successful in whatever we attempt to do. These ten basic Principles of Learning are really a series of actions that successful people people can take in their daily lives. In fact, since learning is such an integral part of living, these rules might more appropriately be called the basic principles of a good life."

50 ideas for Free eLearning

It's not a numbered list, but is full of good information about various free and low-cost learning environments. Starts with "5 Minute Insights" if you don't have time to read the whole document. I like the approach: outlining the types of content/communication/delivery and then commenting on each as to their role in eLearning, features, limitations, and how to do it for less.
"...A key weapon in your armoury is low cost scalable technology. Don’t panic! Whilst your budget may not stretch to commissioning a bespoke e-learning programme or buying a learning management system there is a lot you can do to make learning have an impact in your organisation. I review 15 key free or low cost technologies you can start using today to develop e and blended learning for next to nothing. From free LMSs to authoring tools, and from Podcasting to chat rooms, I’ve selected the best technologies to get you started. I also show you when and where it’s most appropriate to use them in your learning programmes. I also give you over 50 different ideas about how you could apply these technologies in your organisation to start making savings immediately and improve the effectiveness of your learning."

Friday, January 20, 2006

Sounds Tutorial: Adding Sound to Your Web Pages

A TUTORIAL from Hitmill.com.
"Code for HTML sound tags, how to have sound on your Web page. A free tutorial with code examples for coding HTML sounds and linking to sounds, as well as how to play a sound as the Web page is loading. Related links are displayed for further exploration of this topic."

Monday, January 9, 2006

Answers.com - Teachers

Previously I've told you about GuruNet. I have used their desktop know-everything tool for years. They've now changed their name to Answers.com and made their downloadable products FREE. I just discovered this new service, too -- Answers.com for Teachers. Check it out!
"Get your students learning, not searching for reference with Answers.com. Add links to Answers.com to your classroom, media center and home computers to give you and your students free, instant access to reliable facts, definitions and information on over a million topics."

Sunday, January 1, 2006

Sharing Your Media With Media RSS**

**Description: "Media RSS is a new RSS module that supplements the enclosure capabilities of RSS 2.0. RSS enclosures are already being used to syndicate audio files and images. Media RSS extends enclosures to handle other media types, such as short films or TV, as well as provide additional metadata with the media. Media RSS enables content publishers and bloggers to syndicate multimedia content such as TV and video clips, movies, images, and audio."

"With the explosive growth of podcasting, publishers are including more multimedia in their RSS feeds than ever. While the method of including media content in an RSS feed with enclosures is fairly well known, there are other methods available for including media content in RSS feeds, one of which is Media RSS. ...I'd like to think that Media RSS is going to allow RSS readers to handle media more intelligently, and take some of the burden off of publishers."

Classroom Audio Podcasting

This article defines podcasing, then describes 10 benefits of classroom podcasting.
"This article provides an overview of the benefits of classroom podcasting and showcases several exemplary classroom podcasts teachers and students can use as models when creating their own.

"We need to get serious about educating today's digital natives for the digital knowledge landscape of the twenty-first century. In many ways, the traditional, 'transmission-based' educational model of the past is insufficient for the needs of today�s learners and employers. Classroom podcasts can provide engaging opportunities for students to develop desirable skills as digital storytellers and cutting-edge communicators. The price is right, and the benefits are plentiful. Isn't it time you and your students started a classroom podcast?"

Nuvvo Free Learning Management System

Teach Online for Free.
"Nuvvo is now a free service. Increased access to knowledge and instruction is a critical benefit of online education, and a critical priority for Savvica. We hope to advance this vision by providing educators with the tools to create and conduct online courses for free."