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Showing posts from 2009

Web 2.0 Tools: Create

Classtools Description: This site allows you to create flash based games but it also has templates for thinking diagrams such as Fishbone or Venn. The finished games can then be hosted on your own website. The interfaces for each activity are basic & easy to use. There’s a way for you to enter your text based information, click save and embed into blog or web page. Uses: · Lesson reinforcement · Content delivery Examples: · Staff Meeting Activity, · · more samples are provided at the web site Notes: The web site is a little “glitchy”. For example, the first two times I clicked on the link to take me to the jigsaw activity, I got a blank page or page not found message. On the third try, the interface came up. After creating my first interactivity, I tried to use the save as html feature & the file that it gave me, would not open. I used the embed into blog or web page feature to get a U

Web 2.0 Tools : Collaborate

Meetsee Description: This team meeting tool is a little bit different as it uses a 3D virtual office for the meetings to take place. You can create your own 3D space and share files, webcams, presentations with colleagues in the space. I can see students enjoying the use of this tool…Adobe Connect meets Second Life. Uses: · Collaboration · Tutoring · Socializing Examples · NotesThere’s a free plan & 3 pay/months plans. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to register for the free plan. It just wouldn’t work. I emailed their customer support department & got no response. I decided to add this tool to the list anyway because I think it has a lot of appeal for student learners & may help to provide more of a feeling of the instructor actually “being there” for online discussions or tutoring.

Web 2.0 Tools: Communicate

Since my time to share about the web 2.0 tools I researched during our Staff Mtg Owau session was cancelled, I thought I'd post my research here anyway. I will make 3 separate posts, one for each of the sections we were asked to align with. The first one, Communicate, can be found here with two tools that I selected. Selfcast This site allows anyone to create a live broadcast at the click of a button with a web cam. You can create your own channel which includes a blog, chat room and information panel. Broadcast live, around the world in minutes. This might be a good application for schools that do their own “newscast” type daily announcements. Yaplet Description: Yaplet is a simple tool that allows you to collaborate over a web page using a chat window. Go to, enter the URL for the web site you want to visit, and Yaplet will open the page with an extra chat window to the side. Your friends, students, coworkers, et

Adobe Acrobat Portfolio

A few months ago in our meeting we discussed the option of using Adobe Acrobat Portfolio for the courses we currently teach. We recently used in for one of the CBOCE courses to submit portfolios for review electronically. This expedites the process, but also allows you to customize and add your logo for identification or authorship. Below you will find a video created to explain how to assemble your portfolio in Adobe Acrobat Pro 9.

Google Wave Owau for 12/22

In preparation for our 12/22 Google Wave owau session, I've compiled the YouTube videos I've blogged about with basic background information. In addition, I've created a new wave and have invited those of you who are already on my contact list. Looking forward to our owau session tomorrow. BTW, I finally got my own 25 invitations to send out. :) See you on Google Wave! ( Dorothy What is Google Wave? 2 minute YouTube video: Google Wave in 10 minutes video: Google Wave developer's preview video:

Online Professional Development

Marilyn Bowen, Mississippi Schools Career and Technical Education Leanne Long, Mississippi Schools This webinar was focused on teachers learning online. What does an online adult educator look like? Teachers plans, designs and incoporates strategies to encourage active learning, interaction, participation, and collaboration in an online learning environment - modeling best practices using learning styles. The teacher provides online leadership in a manner that promotes student success through regular feedback, prompt response, and clear expecations. A teacher develops and delivers assessments, projects, and assignments that meet standards-based learning goals and assesses learning progress by measuring student achievement learning goals. She highlighed and gave tips on discussions. To ensure quality discussion, these tips should be taken into consideration. You will find during the session that discussion board participation will be evaluated and will fulfill a requirement of comp

Transforming Professional Development Through Professional Learning Communities

Best of Bb World 2009 Presentation Jill Montoya (, Online PD Coordinator, Jeffco Public Schools Colorado School District - 85,000 students, 6,000 teachers Need: Content specialists are few with lots of teachers to service. Balancing frustration with current PD offerings. Look towards innovation (ongoing, time sensitive, and accessible) Put everything on Blackboard so that teachers begin to use it to access resources - "Lead the horse to water" Reduction of printing costs - documents are now digitized Advantages of putting PD online - heard from all participants in the course My Content tab - UShare, grass roots lesson plan sharing tool Teachers have access to curriculum alignment resources, employee information through the Bb 9 content system. PeopleSoft Integration - 24-48 hour turnaround once someone gets hired to automatically enroll them in Bb with appropriate role (e.g. 3rd grade teacher) 46 Graduate level courses - once they complete they

Audio Capture Webinar 12/3/09

This webinar by Soundforge actually focused on audio capture for streaming from a lecture setting rather than a controlled desktop recording. Some of the information could be useful for workshops or other big group activities. Tips included: Choose a mic for the setting and number of speakers - omnidirectional for wider range but more background noise, or unidirectional for a single speaker. Mic the speaker when you can. Lavolier or lipstick mics, overhead or pressure zone (e.g. gooseneck) mics can work in the right range. For large rooms parabolic mics work well IF they are precisely aimed. Gated mics that turn on when a person speaks can work but may have a slight delay before they are audible. Automatic mixers can work - they provides gating and can stack people when several want to speak at once. A DSP - digital signal processor , part of an automatic system can be very helpful if it automatically turns off the loudspeaker in the area when a mic is turned on. This incr

Acrobat Tech Talk: Making PDF files comply with Section 508 12/0/09

Today's webinar drove home the point that making a PDF accessible goes beyond clicking Adobe's built-in Accessibility Checker. To effectively use screen readers and other assistive devices, the structure and reading order of a document has to be be logical ordered and explicitly defined. The View tags panel displays each html structure tag - line breaks, column breaks, table headers, row and cells and images in the document. "Walk the tag list", one tag after the other, observing which text or image element highlights. This check to see if the assistive device will bring the right information to the listener in the right order. It's easy to THINK your document is accessible when it's not because: the "Accessiblity checker" will report missing alt (explanatory) tags, but not faulty tagging. the View > "Read out loud" feature is not a screen reader, so it can't read structures such as tables. This feature does not satisfy 508 re

Tips and Tricks for the 2007 Microsoft Office System

Microsoft Outlook 2007 Calendar offers several nice options . Multiple shared calendars can be viewed side by side. By dragging one over the other, they can be temporarily blended into a combined calendar. Groups can be created by clicking the Groups icon on the top toolbar. Check common available times and schedule meetings with email invite. Attachments > Options > Shared attachments . allows group members to edit just one document. File > Infpath> leads to customizable fillable feedback forms that are sent to a group. Organize with mail Filters and customize Tool options . Back-up mail folders with File Import and Export > Export to a Fle > Personal Folder file (.pst) Notes from this webinar are in the Share VSDL folder in Webinars/MSOutlook_091209.doc

Camtasia Owau

Our owau on December 10th with be Camtasia 6. All of you have a lot more experience with this program that Davie and I do, and functionally it's relatively unchanged. But it's reportedly easier to use and you can record in H264 video for good quality at a reasonable size. It exports to various sizes, and movies can be uploaded to for free (2 GB storage, 2 GB bandwidth or 5 GB and 200 MB bandwidth for $9.95 a month). It still converts Powerpoint shows, has a variety of call outs and hotspots and allows multiple audio and video tracks. The best way to say hui and refamiliarize yourself with Camtasia is to watch their overview video tutorial or do a print tutorial. If you choose the video tutorial scroll down and many other short tutorials, just like...Apple! And just like Apple, they're good! Click here to see them. For our owau please watch the overview and one other tutorial that interests you and we'll share. If you prefer text tutorials

PowerPoint on Steroids

eLearning DevCon 2010 Preview Session Presenter: Garin Hess, CEO of Rapid Intake I attended part of the Webinar this morning along with some of you. I just have some quick points of how the presentation started off and what was the premise. I didn't get to see the tools in action yet so those of you who watch the archive can post more in the comments. Poll: How many people in the audience know how to use PowerPoint to create presentations? 99% This is why PowerPoint has become a tool to create eLearning. The question is do we know how to use it effectively. Session will cover: why a converted PowerPoint can be "poison" People begin to associate eLearning content with a converted PowerPoint. If a PowerPoint does not undergo some reconstruction, people will find this content boring. Use additional tools in a rapid development environment to boost its effectiveness. how a converted PowerPoint on "steroids" can play a part in instructional design M. David

MS Excel has EXCELLED!

It has been a couple years since I have built macros in MS Excel so I went to go look for some resources. Wow, and I found many out there. This was was exceptionally good. It breaks it down into various sections that you may be looking for. It even goes into visual basic application (VBA). Check it out.

Conferences for 2010

A friend of mines, who works for Microsoft, sent me some interesting conferences coming up regarding to distance learning or online learning. Not sure if any of you are interested. Some have virtual segments, so you don't actually have to go. Here are the links to those conferences: American Society for Training and Development Instructional Technology Council United States Distance Learning Association (maybe submit for an award?) Networked Learning Conference (okay, because he is international relations for MS, I don't think we would travel to Denmark; however, he said they have an online version of the conference. I guess we would need to look into this.) Just a few from all different areas. I pretty sure everyone has their specific ones they like to attend, but just thought I would throw these out there.

Shift Happens

Okay, so I hope you read well because it says "SHIFT" and not the other word. This video was shared with me by a colleague and it is Education 3.0. If you watch halfway through the video it starts to talk about online learning and where it is heading. However, most of the information they present is in the post-secondary environment, but they provide more information about the trends of online learning. Take a look. Let me know what you think.

A'o Kumu program is on the right track!

Technology is advancing and so are the teachers in New Jersey. Teachers are slowly integrating the use of Web 2.0 tools — the so-called second generation of the web that includes creative, collaborative, shared content. Students are writing on wiki pages, blogging about their classroom activities, recording audio files for band practice, videoconferencing with people around the globe and chatting online about literature. Read the article - Also, to support the integration of culture-based learning and technology resulting in some type of impact on students, Education Week published an article in January 2008 that shows the evidence on effects of culture-based teaching. This was a very interesting article and only supports our initiatives. You can access the article from here .

21st Century Skills Resources

We talk about 21st century skills and many times teachers struggle to understand what this looks like. Dorothy's blog put the concepts and skills together very well from the webinar she had. I thought I would share the site that has a great resource for teachers who need to understand this in teacher language to gain concrete examples - . They cover the core content areas and break it down by different grades as to the skill definition, interdisciplinary theme and student samples. This is definitely a handy resource.

Zamzar for online file conversion is a free online file conversion service that couldn't be easier. It converts image, document, video, audio and pdf files. Upside is it's easy, free and it works on over 75 kinds of files. Downside is it could time time, although they are adding servers to speed things up. Needless to say, you don't want to use it for confidential documents. You also lose "control" of PDF content since they can be converted to Word or Open Office, but give it a try! How easy is that?

Need teaching strategies?

Although distance learning is structure through a platform, we still use many of the foundational strategies to teach. New Horizons for Learning ( ) has many teaching and learning strategies that are research-based. They even have a section on multicultural education. They also have strategies for cognitive coaching, which we can incorporate in a distance learning environment. Just another great resource that we can add to our "teacher tool box" for distance learning.

"Dad, I need an iPhone to do my homework."

With the new iPhone application from Blackboard, many students are finding ways to convince parents to purchase the newest technology with no help from some of the phone operating system companies, but do you think this is supporting learning or just giving kids a new reason as to why the need an new phone, or in this case an iPhone? This comes from a recent article posted in the New York Times on October 26, 2009. What are you thoughts on this. Buy the kid the iPhone?

Google Wave is here!

Okay, it is not quite here, but it is in progress. Google wave is an online real-time communication and communication tool. Google states that a wave can be both a conversation and a document where people can discuss and work together using rich formatted text, maps, photos, videos, and more. Because this is real-time people can see as you type, edit, and interact with you as you communicate through a live transmission. Any participant in your forum can reply anywhere in the message, edit content or add participants at any point during the process. Oh, and you can play back what everyone said. Worried about typing and spelling in your real-time conversations? Well, Google has server-based models that provide suggestions as you type and correct spelling. Wave brings new meaning to the social networking and social gadgets. The Google API is more for the developer. Currently, they are allowing developers to "play in their sandbox." All this good stuff can be available now?

Google Squared

Ever looking to do some comparison research? Googlel Squared extracts data from web pages and presents them in search results as squares in an online spreadsheet. Google is looking for data structures on the web that imply facts, and then grabbing it for the Squared results. So, if I was looking for a small dog the return results would provide me with names, descriptions, size, weight, origin, etc., in columns and rows. Take stab at it and try it out. Go to

21st Century Literacy

I recently read an article in the NEAToday magazine sharing about what it means as educators to being literate in the digital world. It means more than reading words on a printed page and turning to digital tools such as blogs, wikis, videos, ans social media to initiate higher levels of student engagement. Read the article and watch the video clips posted. It is very interest. We know they are out there, but educators are trying to figure out how to incorporate them. Go to to learn more.

What's new in Adobe Acrobat 9?

Between versions 8 and 9 is not much; however, they have improved on some of the features. You can easily capture websites in a PDF with the HTML links embedded in the document. A neat feature in Acrobat 9 is comparing two PDF files where changes are highlighted indicating the revisions made from the first to the last version. Acrobat 9 still had the ongoing feature of converting any Microsoft Office product by using the PDF Maker and sending it through or your own server. A new feature is creating a live collaboration session of the same document so that everyone can see the same document. However, this does require and Adobe ID, which can be obtain by registering through Didn't you hate it that you had to create each box or field for creating forms? Well, Acrobat 9 now allows you to create forms in a second. Using the forms wizard you can now create a document to a form in a matter of clicks. Neverthelesss, there may be those fields that still need

Bb - Best of Presentation: FLVS

Best of BbWorld: How to Take Online Learning to the Next Level: Highly Interactive Virtual Education Overview of FLVS Enrollment is at over 250,000+ - grown explonentially, from 10,000 in the year 2000-2001 1300 employees - 1000 are teachers State pays only when the student has successfully completed Implement Grade forgiveness - try to get them to pass, retake courses or resubmit assignments until it meets standards Every 3-5 years - rewrite course (80%+ of the content) 30-40% of students who enroll are in a failing situation Work with all 67 school districts in Florida. 17 schools have opted to franchise from FLVS which allows them use of content, CMS and professional development Look at login stats and see that students typically login from 10am - 10pm Each student is paired up with an FLVS instructor. Instructor makes monthly phone calls to parents and sometimes weekly phone calls with students Gaming Course - Conspiracy Code Semester long American History course (1 credi

Blackboard - Community Engagement

I had a WebEx session with Frank Marshall and Mike Petersen about the community engagement system. We were hoping that this solution would allow us to cross authenticate across Bb servers so that we could create seamless access for E-School students. HVLN is currently looking at switching to Bb so we thought it would be an opportune time to look at options. At this time, it doesn't seem like the community system is meant to be used in that way. What it can do is create different domains and levels of access to manage their domains. So I could see KS as an institution investing in this solution and all campuses having their own domain or tab. Web Presence One of the things that Mike did emphasize is that some schools are using the Blackboard Community Engage system as their public Web presence. The tabs become different areas (i.e. parents, community, etc.) and then each area can be built out with modules like a course. It was an interesting feature to consider since we are lo

Adobe Connect/Presenter

I decided to do a little bit of best practices and presenter video features. This is to tag onto Clinton's Webinar "Tips for Teaching..." Joan gave me some resources during her research. One of them was a lobby flash file for the Adobe Connect Room. This helps orient users before a synchronous session and also allows users to know that something is happening on the screen so they know they are connected. I added the two .swf files to the /vsdl room on the Adobe Connect server. I also decided to experiment with breakout rooms so we'll have a little fun with that. You can use breakout rooms with up to 50 participants. It's a way to have smaller group discussion. Here's a few resources for more information: For presenter, I'll just be showing an example of importing video into the slide and on the sidebar. Here's a resource from Joan that has quick tut

"Why Can't Suzie Write?: Designing a Writing Program for the At-Risk Student"

Dona Young is the author of Writing from the Core and Which comes First, the Comma or the Pause? She describes five steps to make a difference in designing a writing program for students entering college needing remediation to bring them up to college level reading and writing . Step 1. Become an active Researcher Use quantitative and qualitative measures in your design. Quantitative measure give us an accurate idea of what our students know and more importantly, what they don't know. Qualitative feedback allows us to have a constant and steady stream to help us connect with the students' learning needs and their perceptions about learning. These can be very informal but gives you an idea of what your students are thinking. Step 2. use the Taxonomy of Educational Objectives to identify learning gaps. Follow Bloom's Taxonomy to understand why some students work so hard and make so little progress. The hierarchical levels are Knowledge, Comprehension, Applicatio

Tips for teaching synchronous virtual classes

This webinar focused on engagement techniques for synchronous virtual classes that have 10-30 people. There were many useful techniques discussed such as: Create engagement every 3-5 minutes as studies show that participants mentally check out every 7 minutes. Some ways of of creating engagement are: Breaks, re-energizes participants. Display a timer that counts down from 10 min. Storytelling, people remember stories more than plain facts. Thinking, have participants do an activity that involves thinking and give them time to do it. Tests, participants do best when they know an evaluation is coming up. Multiple voices, especially a man and a woman's voice keep participants interested. Humor, participants can hear your emotions so tell an appropriate joke to lighten the mood. Smile when speaking as it changes your voice. Enjoy yourself, if you don't no one else will. Managing Questions Questions usually fall in to four categories: technology, activity instructions, program

Digital Disconnect

Aloha all, I recently attended a webinar called "Digital Content" and sponsored by Project Tomorrow. Project Tomorrow organizes the Speak Up survey given every year to students, parents, teachers and administrators across the nation to examine students growing desire for online learning and how schools are meeting that need. What I found interesting were the disconnects between what students want and what they're really getting. It seems like the adults know that students are very technologically savvy and even prefer technology as a means to communicate and socialize, but they don't realize how much students want to be able to apply that to their learning. Students report "powering down" to go to school. School administrators also reported that their teachers were not trained to integrate digital content, but the teachers reported that they felt comfortable using it. Teacher did report that they needed support in identifying digital content that would be

More links

Here are a couple of good links to add to our previous blog postings. ... Ko marey's link to the free cheatsheets for 14 different types of software at the Free Technology f or Teachers blog. Print and keep next to your computer for fast reference. Found a good review of Captivate 4 that describes its new features and candidly comments on their usefulness. Nicely done. htt p://