Monday, July 31, 2006

SocialStudyGames ~ Research, News & Resources

"I created this site in October, 2004 as a way to share all of the great resources I am finding in the course of my doctoral research into the social aspects of gaming. ... I wanted to be able to cull the best resources together to... give us all a greater holistic understanding of this emerging area. ... the social/psychological facet of games research ... a repository of resources, both original content and links to all the great stuff scattered all over the Web."

MindStorm: The Web 2.0 Gateway

They offer lots of information for Ajax Developers, plus a selection of pre-made FREE "web widgets to enhance your blog or website".

Here's an example -- a widget that AUTOMATICALLY searches for YouTube videos on the topic of "Education". CLICK TO SEE THE WIDGET EXAMPLE. LINK-NOTES: Clicking on the link will open a new window on my site's page about Web 2.0. From the example, clicking a video's thumbnail will take you to the YouTube site. Close that browser window to come back here. Thanks!

Videoblogging and VodCasting in Education

A full page of information and links in the wwwTools For Education newsletter. Subtitles include: Resources for Beginners; Examples of Videoblogs; Educational Practice; Class Work; For Teachers; For Professional Development; Student Videoblogs; Educational Videoblogs and Vodcasts; Resource Lists; Directories; Books.

ESL using Archie Comics

Each comic comes with a Learning Guide that has a complete transcript of the lesson including a glossary, sample sentences, comprehension questions and cultural notes.
"My name is PatC. I am a former middle school science teacher who now works for Archie Comics. I wanted to let you know about the ESL podcast I am producing on the Archie site. The podcast started out as something for students that I teach once a week (an ESL class) but I am having so much fun doing the podcasts that I am making them available for free to others."

Error Message Generator

This is fun, and might also be used to create popup messages in your course pages? Error Generator will create your image for you, then you can save it to use with an image-mapping program (to activate the buttons on the image) and/or a popup javascript. ~ Author Biographies & Their Literary Works

FREE ONLINE. "...our site is the Reader's Ultimate Resource for Published Authors. Get the alphabetical list of authors. See the Biography picture and read Literary works of the eminent authors by clicking on their name." Categories of works available are extensive -- short stories, poetry, fiction, non-fiction, plays, novels, essays, children's literature, and more.

Tools for Math Education

The newsletter wwwTools For Teachers has a whole issue devoted to this topic. Subheadings include Roles for ICTs in Math Ed; Motivational Maths; Concerning Hardware; Some Useful Software; Lessons & Activities; For Students; Collections of Resources (huge list of links); Toolbox; Professional Reading; Books. You math teachers will be on this page a while!

Sunday, July 30, 2006 - get an answer box of your own

You can put an answer look-up box within your course pages, on your website, etc. Several options available for shape n size of box. Here's just one -- TRY IT OUT! - Teacher Toolkit

This is a grrrreat site with LOTS of stuff! Lesson plan tools, free downloads, how-to's, and so much more.
Give your students instant access to the reference material they need for papers and research. Add 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 three million topics.

Aperto Elearning Solutions

Aperto eLearning Solutions: "...focuses on integrating innovative Open Source technologies with commercial learning management systems (LMS), such as WebCT and Blackboard. Aperto was created by WebCT co-founder Sasan Salari, who left WebCT in January 2006 after eleven years. Sasan saw a significant interest by higher- and further-education institutions to embrace the use of new community-building technologies in conjunction with their LMS." Aperto has now partnered with Elgg (see next item here).

ELGG Learning Landscape: This system was mentioned by Kevin Reeve as one way of including a blogging tool in a course; Elgg is one of the WebCT powerlinks. "Elgg is a hybrid of weblogging, e-portfolios and social networking. It is hoped this combination of features will provide an engaging environment for learners to create their own learning space and then connect to others, forming online communities of learning. ... There are two options to get an Elgg account. You can register for an individual account hosted by Elgg or you can take the system and install it on your own server. Elgg is an open source application. ... Elgg has been developed to serve as a stand alone personal learning landscape or as a complimentary addition to existing learning environments. Elgg has been developed to serve as a stand alone personal learning landscape or as a complimentary addition to existing learning environments. The emphasis with Elgg is very much on the learner."

ALSO: In a WebCT forum posting, Sasan Salari offers this: "Further to Kevin's message regarding Elgg and WebCT, you might also want to have a look at the Flash demo that I created, which shows the integration and some of the Elgg capabilities."

Web 2.0 - more about it

What is it?

"The term Web 2.0 refers to a second generation of services available on the World Wide Web that lets people collaborate and share information online. In contrast to the first generation, Web 2.0 gives users an experience closer to desktop applications than the traditional static Web pages. Web 2.0 applications often use a combination of techniques devised in the late 1990s, including public web service APIs (dating from 1998), Ajax (1998), and web syndication (1997). They often allow for mass publishing (web-based social software). " Source: Wikipedia, about Web 2.0.

Bravenet's Webmaster Tips n Tricks newsletter's July'06 issue is devoted to Web 2.0 -- ideas, info, applications, etc. (I guess that link won't be permanent -- I looked everywhere on their site for archive links but they seem to only link to the current issue. Sorry. BUT! search their site for lots of resources. Just in case, here are a few of the items mentioned in this July issue:

Scriptaculous: "The Scriptaculous Javascript Library is the most widely used and distributed of the web 2.0 effects libraries. It contains many cool features and effects such as dragging and dropping, grow/shrink, animate position, highlighting and much more."

Rico: "Another very popular web 2.0 effects library. It's an open-source javascript library providing full ajax support, drag and drop management, cinematic effects and more."

Prototype: "The javascript base code that many effects libraries have been written on. The Prototype framework is intended to simplify development for dynamic web applications. Basically, it reduces many of the repetitive javascript code pieces that you would commonly use for creating dynamic effects and other javascript-based applications."

E-Learning 2.0 - Why the New Tools? Stephen Downes. Here's the link to his powerpoint presentation. Then link to the comment blog about the presentation and Stephen's ideas.

Web2.0Slides: "...a self-running slide show of over 1,400 of the best Web2.0 sites. It's categorized by tags and sorted alphabetically. What's cool about it? You can click on any site in the left-hand column to pause the slide show and surf around. When you're done, simply click PLAY, and it will begin right where you left off. Perfect for Web 2.0 couch 'taters. But if you're antsy and want to click around on sites, go right ahead—it won't stop the show."

Please visit my NEW page for my Resources Site: Web 2.0

Javascript Pop up window generator

The most flexible and powerful tool of its kind on the web, use this JavaScript wizard to instantly create, customize, and add pop up or pop under windows to your site! Control precisely the frequency of the window, whether it's once per browser session or any desired period (ie: once every 24 hours). For the uninitiated, a popup refers to a secondary, usually smaller window that loads on top of the main window, and contains a separate HTML document inside of it. To create your own popup, just follow the three simple steps below, and grab the generated code. It's that simple!

Wimpy MP3 Button Generator

So you can use MP3s: "Wimpy Button is a quick and painless way to add a single sound to your web page. Wimpy Button does not require any kind of back-end server-side scripting... just standard old HTML." Cost is $19.95. Embeds the audio player right in the HTML page, with Play and Stop buttons.

Using Audio Files on your webpage

Partners in Rhyme makes it very simple to embed an audio file as bg music (or whatever) , complete with a very simple interactive control bar to give your page visitor the option to play or turn it off. But remember -- 'embed' is now a deprecated HTML element, though it still works in most browsers. ("IE supports embed as long as the visitor has the appropriate player already installed. If not, they get an error and a generic broken-plugin icon, but no help. " -- quote is from the site below...)

Bye Bye Embed is an even better article because it addresses the combo of object/embed to make your audio work in all browsers. This article, however, goes beyond that to provide code that works without 'embed' -- for all sorts of media: Google Video, You Tube, WinMedia Player & Quicktime.

AJAX: Web-Based Software, full-featured

Ajax has an MS-Word-like online word processor -- create a new file or open a .doc file from your drive, save to your hard drive, publish to the web, share & collaborate, all right from a website. They have other applications too, including a Sketch app, spreadsheet (xls) app, Tunes player, video mixing (eyespot), and more. This is from the Ajax blog:
The Wall Street Journal published an article titled “Is It Time to Dump Your Desktop?” In it the author reflects on the possibility for businesses to switch to web-based software once it is “good enough” for a big percentage of users. In this article, Ajax 13 was mentioned as one of the companies that is producing online alternatives to Micrsoft's widely used Office software. The appeal that the low cost alternatives have, continues to create a growing threat to the MS Office Suite.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Goal-Setting and Self-Regulation in Online Courses: The Basics

Linking thinking - Self-directed learning in the digital age:
"This study was undertaken to explore the extent to which and ways in which Information and Communication Technologies or ICT (basically global networks of computers and other associated digital devices) have impacted on learning. Instead of looking at learning in formal education and training settings, I have chosen to consider the dynamics of independent self-directed learning, especially that which is undertaken by adults."......"Adult learners are beneficiaries of self-regulation because it allows them to create order out of an often chaotic existence, and it helps them organize time, energies, and resources. This is a vital element as adults seek to balance career, family, travel, goals, dreams, and responsibilities. The following are steps that will help the adult learner build skills needed for self-regulation..."

Linking thinking - Self-directed learning in the digital age

"This study was undertaken to explore the extent to which and ways in which Information and Communication Technologies or ICT (basically global networks of computers and other associated digital devices) have impacted on learning. Instead of looking at learning in formal education and training settings, I have chosen to consider the dynamics of independent self-directed learning, especially that which is undertaken by adults. "

"...the world's first marketplace, launched in April of 2006, where smart educators can buy and sell original course materials. The time has finally arrived for the power of the internet to meet the power of our best educational minds." It's not just an exchange site; there are tools to help you find material and there's a "...7-Part Evaluation Process? Or, how will potential buyers know if they can trust that materials for sale are good?"

Synchronous Discussion in Online Courses: A Pedagogical Strategy for Taming the Chat Beast

Craig Smith says he has "...devised a protocol for virtual classroom etiquette—or "chatiquette"—based on research on classroom discourse and conversational turn-taking." He actually lists his rules within this article, so check it out!
"Online instructors, particularly those who have recently begun to incorporate online components in their teaching, have good reason to feel concerned about the potential for chat sessions to become less than productive in their courses. However, the protocol of virtual class chatiquette may serve as a helpful tool as they seek to tame the chat beast in their online courses while still ensuring that synchronous communication maintains the immediacy and vitality that is often lacking in asynchronous communication. Although I am still chat room avoidant, these guidelines helped me to overcome my fears and utilize such technology more effectively and productively in my own teaching."

Better Questions for Learning Professionals

from Tony Karrer's eLearning Technology blog:
"Now, let me start this diatribe with a brief rant on the importance of asking the right questions. In my mind, it is THE most important skill or ability to have....What Questions Are We Asking? ...My guess is that just as most learning professionals can tell you the problems with the interactivity question, they can similarly suggest lots of much better questions that might be appropriate instead..."

When to Wiki & When to Blog? Differences?

"Blogs and wikis, because they are different spaces, manifest/take advantage of/engage different epistemic and rhetorical possibilities and serve different rhetorical and epistemic ends. They engage different rhetorics: one topical, carved from the inside out; the other chronological, staying on top of things. "