May 7

A Crowdfunded Plan for a 3D Printer in Every School

Makerbot has a plan to use crowdfunding to get a 3D printer into every school.

3D Printing is taking off.  However, while 3D Printers have gradually been coming down in price, they are still cost prohibitive for most school (and school systems).  With Makerbot’s Crowdfunding initiative, perhaps this may change.

3D Printing can be used in wide range of areas within schools.  Teachers and Students in just about any subject area can find clever ways to use 3D printed models in the classroom.  If you are interested in applying for a crowdfunded 3D printer, check out Makerbot’s link on donorchoose.org.

For more information on 3D Printing, check out these links …

March 15

Web-Based News is Officially More Popular Than Print Newspapers

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The Pew Research Center has reported than people officially now get their news from the web more than from print media.  The trend towards digital news has been growing for some time.  The wise members of the “old media” community have recognized this and have worked towards newer business models   A good comparison can be made with educators who refuse to embrace technology as tools in the classroom.

February 6

Is it time to say goodbye to Moodle?

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This week, I have been playing with the “Canvas” Learning Management System (LMS).

I have 5 years of experience with using Moodle in my classrooms.  For what I needed at the time, Moodle was fairly sufficient.  However, Moodle’s development seems to have slowed the past few years.  In fact, Moodle’s integration of “Web 2.0” seems non-existent.  On the other hand, Canvas seems to embrace the “Web 2.0” features (collaboration tools, conferencing options, Google Doc Integration, Social Network Integration, etc).  In addition, Canvas’ User Interface seems cleaner and smoother than Moodle’s interface on the frontend and the administrative backend.

 

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January 10

The big drawback of using “free” online resources

This week, I was searching for video hosting / sharing options with privacy options.  I found several references to VidMe.  Everything I read about VidMe looked promising, including their option of preventing others from forwarding privately marked videos.

"(V)ideos shared using VidMe work only for the intended recipient and cannot be forwarded, downloaded or become viral without the video owner’s approval…Links to videos shared using VidMe work only for the intended recipient and become inoperable if they are forwarded to anyone else."

Unfortunately, when I visited their site this week, I found a message stating that as of 10/12/10, Vidme has disabled the uploading of videos and that all videos have been permanently deleted.  I cannot find any more information on the web about the reason for the shut down. 

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November 21

Google Voice App finally in iTunes

This past week, I read some good news that the Google Voice App finally has made it into the iTunes App Store. 

Moments after downloading the App, I got the bad news.  The Google Voice App is only for iPhones.  For reasons currently unknown, Google has left out iPod Touch (and iPad) support for the App.  Hopefully, Google will release an update of their native App for iPod Touch and iPAd support.  Until then, the Google Voice Web App works fairly well and will have to suffice.

August 9

Turned off my Twitter Widgets

I have temporarily turned off my Twitter Widgets.  My blog page was taking an extremely long time to load.  After turning off the Twitter widgets, the load problems have stopped.  I am guessing this might still be related to the Denial of Service attacks on Twitter this past week.  So, for now, all but one of my Twitter plugins and widgets are de-activated.

April 28

Run most of your Productivity Apps on a USB Drive

USB Drives are getting larger and cheaper every month.  A few years ago, my first 1gb drive cost $70.  Today, I can get a 32gb USB drive for that much.  Back then, the common size for drive was 128mb.  Currently, the common size I am seeing is 4gb.

Now that USB drives 4gb and larger are common, Portable Applications are a great choice to include on your USB drive.  I had played with the PortableApps.com Suite several years ago, but when I only had a 2gb drive, the suite of applications was not very convenient for me.  The PortableApps Suite took up most of the 2 gigabytes of space on my USB Drive.  Today, I am using an 8gb drive and now have plenty of room for my documents and a plethora of portable applications.  Portable Applications are generally small or refined programs that do not require an installation process on your computer to run.  These apps were either designed this way, or altered to allow them to be “portable”.  Personally, I try to run as many “portable” applications as possible because every “installed” application contributes to the eventual slowdown that all Windows-based computers get as time goes by.

There are portable applications to cover probably 90% of what most typical PC users need.  The PortableApps.com Suite includes an Email Appication (Mozilla Thunderbird), Office Suite (Open Office), Antivirus (ClamWin-A/V), IM Chat Client for Yahoo, AIM, and MSN (PidginIM), PDF Viewer (Sumatra PDF), MediaPlayer (CoolPlayer+), and Web Browser (Mozilla Firefox).  There are dozens of other portable applications that can be found at pendriveapps.com and everythingusb.com.  The list of portable applications grows everyday.

The main advantage of using portable apps is that you can easily take your data and work with you.  Since all of your work files and settings are on your USB drive, you can take the drive to another workstation and not have to worry if that computer has the same version of word processor or presentation software.

Of course, there is a disadvantage to this as well.  If you are prone to losing stuff (keys, wallet, phone, etc), then you might not want to put all of your data in just a USB drive.

If you do choose to use portable apps on your USB drive, I strongly recommend backing up your data on a regular basis.

April 28

Updating several old posts from my queue

Over the next few days, I will be publishing several old posts from my draft queue.  I had planned on adding these posts a few times per week.  However, my free time became scarce, and I just kept adding them to my draft pages.  Hopefully, I will be able to clear out my queue soon.