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Showing posts from October, 2009

Zamzar for online file conversion

Zamzar.com 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 (http://www.newhorizons.org/index.html) 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. http://bits.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/03/27/dad-i-need-an-iphone-to-do-my-homework/

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? You are…

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 http://www.google.com/squared

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 http://www.nea.org/home/35892.htm 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 Acrobat.com 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 Adobe.com.
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 to be crea…

Bb - Best of Presentation: FLVS

Best of BbWorld: How to Take Online Learning to the Next Level: Highly Interactive Virtual Education

Overview of FLVSEnrollment is at over 250,000+ - grown explonentially, from 10,000 in the year 2000-20011300 employees - 1000 are teachersState pays only when the student has successfully completedImplement Grade forgiveness - try to get them to pass, retake courses or resubmit assignments until it meets standardsEvery 3-5 years - rewrite course (80%+ of the content)30-40% of students who enroll are in a failing situationWork with all 67 school districts in Florida. 17 schools have opted to franchise from FLVS which allows them use of content, CMS and professional developmentLook at login stats and see that students typically login from 10am - 10pmEach 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 CodeSemester long American History course (1 credit)Students are in a…

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 lookin…

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:
http://meeting.psu.edu/node/446
http://admin.adobe.acrobat.com/_a227210/breakoutroomsintro/

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 tutorials:
h…