Tuesday, October 31, 2006

PowerPoint compression tools

Diehard MS Powerpoint fans are always looking for ways to optimize the usually-big files for browser use inside online courses, etc. These two tools were mentioned recently on the webct users' list. Each one was praised highly by the person who recommended it. Both have a free trial and a low cost when you want to purchase it.

Optimise & compress PowerPoint® files up to 95%
No proprietary plug-ins or viewers are needed.
The .ppt file format remains at all times.
A true plug-in… no stepping in & out of PowerPoint®.
Simple to use… no expert knowledge required.
Easy to install & manage.

Reduces your PowerPoint® file size by up to 96%.
Your original presentation doesn´t get modified; PPTminimizer creates an optimized copy instead.
Transparent Integration in Outlook®, Windows-Explorer® and PowerPoint®!
Save time: No need to zip/unzip anymore.
Due to the integrated E-mail function of PPTminimizer, the presentations can be sent directly after the optimization.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

ESL Resources for Instructors and Students

Check out this newest collection of links on my Resources site.

Bedford Handbook Online Resources

Lots of free goodies here at the "companion web site for The Bedford Handbook. Includes online resources for writing, gramma, and research. No charge. No activation code required." Includes peer review tools, grammar helpers, writing and research tools, and special sections for Instructors & students.

OpenLearn at Open University

(Britain)From a BBC News article: "The OU is making its educational resources available free on the net for anyone in the world to use. It aims to make 5,000 hours' worth of material available by April 2008 - not only for learners, but for educators to adapt and use for their own purposes." Open University says, "Open content provides the opportunity for access to high-quality learning materials which would not otherwise be available and affordable to many groups within both the developed and developing worlds...We want to lead the learning revolution, experimenting with new models of content and technologies. OpenLearn is a huge step towards this aim. The philosophy of open access and sharing knowledge - a cornerstone of this project - matches the founding principles of the Open University."

The complete work of Charles Darwin

"The largest collection of Darwin's writings ever assembled...contains every Darwin publication as well as many of his handwritten manuscripts. All told there are more than 50,000 searchable text pages and 40,000 images. There is also the most comprehensive Darwin bibliography ever published and the largest manuscript catalogue ever assembled. More than 150 ancillary texts are also included, ranging from reference works to contemporary reviews, obituaries, descriptions of Darwin's Beagle specimens and important works for understanding Darwin's context. Free audio mp3 versions of his works are also available."

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Education meets Second Life: virtual world education departments

About 4 or 5 years ago my partner was "addicted to" the multi-user micro world, Ultima Online. They called it a "game" but it was a full, rich underworld, populated by millions of people of all ages, but dominated by youth. At the time, we (both of us teachers) thought what an amazing education tool it could be if we were to set up a school within that world. A "real" (academic) school where students could earn real-world graduation credits. Why not?.... the game already used real-world money for property transactions and more. Students could earn not only course credits and degrees for the "real" world, but in doing so could also earn other items that would be of value to them in their virtual world.

Of course, we didn't take that idea any further, and now in 2006 the rest of the "real world" is catching up to our idea. Will they acknowledge that we were the first to think of it? Ya right. Nevertheless, I'm glad it's finally happening. Academia, welcome to your Second Life.

Second Life lands B.C. campus

Sloodle - 3D Learning Management System

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Women of Web 2.0

"Women of Web 2.0 is for all who are using the tools of the internet whether it be in a classroom setting, leading seminars, authoring books, maintaining blogs or wikis, or just enjoying the tools of the internet in an educational and exciting way."

Robin Good's Official Guide to Web Conferencing and Live Presentation Tools

A rich resource for web conferencing Systems reviews, comparisons. Also: recommended solutions; key strengths & weaknessees; functionality; terminology; and a directory of vendors. One-stop shopping :)

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

WebCT VISTA - Adding News Feeds to your Course

A tutorial from Georgia Southern University.

edHelper.com - Teacher & Student resources

Many teaching and student resources under a clear Table of Contents, includes a wide variety of subject areas and levels: Math, Reading Comprehension, Themes, Lesson Plans, and Worksheets.

Math Resources

The following were recommended by a colleague who teaches math.

Math.com: Recommended by a colleague who teaches math. Site has Math help at all levels: practice, tutoring, tools, games, and homework help.

SOS Math.com: "...free resource for math review material from Algebra to Differential Equations."

A-Plus Math.com: "...web site was developed to help students improve their math skills interactively." Headings include: Flashcards, Game Room, Homework Helper, Worksheets.

PurpleMath.com: Lots of help for students and resources for teachers. Lessons, homework guidelines, study skills, and links to reviewed internet sites.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Create a Podcast using Powerpoint

Randolph Decker's posting in eGram about a quick technique for converting your favorite Powerpoint presentations into podcasts.

AskAway: Virtual Reference Service

The province of British Columbia and BC's public and post-secondary libraries have launched a new reference service that uses a live, chat-based format to offer immediate, interactive and knowledgeable help online.

The AskAway website uses special software to connect BC residents with librarians from 46 public libraries across the province. It also connects with 100 librarians from 20 BC colleges and universities to provide specialist resources for post-secondary students, including access to academic research databases: