February 2

LucidChart – Online Flow Charting Tool

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Lucidchart is a web-based Charting Tool for creating Flowcharts, Wireframe Diagrams, UML Diagrams for blueprint drawings, Network Layout Diagrams, Site Maps for website planning, Organization Charts, and even iPhone Mockups for Programming.  Lucidchart even offers a collaboration feature that allows to users to work on the same diagram.

Lucid offers several pricing levels including a free option that is comparable to the feature found in Microsoft’s Visio.  Click here to give it a try.


November 30

Great 3D Modeling Software for free – Sculptris

Sculptris is a free, fun piece of software that lets anyone easily create a 3D model.  Playing around with Sculptris is like being given a virtual lump of clay to create whatever you can imagine.  Sculptris is incredibly easy to use.  Within 5 minutes of trying it out, I was creating all sorts of shapes, faces, and creatures. 

Sculptris’ easy-to-use tools plus the many Youtube tutorials will help you quickly get started towards making your first 3D model masterpiece.

The program runs without installation, so you can try it out without worrying about having to install yet another program.

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August 10

Online Timeline Creation Tool

Xtimeline is an online tool for creating interactive timelines. 

Sign up is free and quick. 

After creating my account, I was able to quickly begin creating my first timeline.  I chose a title and URL for the online timeline.  Adding events with associated graphics was as easy as clicking on the add events button and browsing for a photo.  Completed timelines can be embedded on a web page or shared with others. 

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August 10

Hear Foreign Languages Spoken by their Native Speakers

Forvo is a great resource for teaching foreign languages.  Their website contains audio files of words and phrases spoken in 221 languages.  The number of words varies with each language.  Currently, Forvo has 22 Mongolian words, 23,000 German words, and 17,000 Spanish words.  Each language has a RSS feed of pending new words.  So you can subscribe to a Language Feed to keep up with new additions.

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April 29

Wix – A Flash Based Web Page Creator

Looking for a simple Drag and Drop Web Page Creator?  Try out Wix.com.  Wix is a Flash-based web page creator that lets you drag and drop various elements into your page.  You can easily add text boxes, photos, video, maps, RSS feeds, and more into your page by simply clicking on the side menu and dragging them to where you want them on your page.

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April 29

My favorite Video Editing Software

I do a lot of video editing on the computer.  For simple tasks, I will use Windows’ Movie Maker.  It is included with XP and Vista, and it does a decent job for basic editing.  For more advanced editing, I like to use Cyberlink’s Power Director.  Power Director is one of the few multimedi commercial apps that I use on a regular basis.  With Power Director, I get over 100 types of transitions effects between clips, over 70 video effects, picture in picture video and images, multiple audio tracks, multiple video output options (ranging from MPEG II to YouTube), DVD Authoring, Slideshow Wizards, and various import options (from Camcorder / webcams to DVDs).  Click here to see a full list from Cyberlink’s Website.  If you are looking for more features than Windows Movie Maker, I definitely recommend checking out Power Director.

April 28

Viddix – Mix Video with Presentation Timelines

I ran across Viddix.com recently.  Its a little hard to describe.  Basically, you can upload a video to Viddix.  Then you can add a timeline of information to play during the video. The timeline can contain text, images, RSS feeds, html code, polls, and web links.  I can see where this resource can be extremely useful for teachers who film their lectures and demonstrations.  For example, if I am filming a demonstration of graphic editing a photo, I could use screencasting software to capture the steps in to a video, then add detailed notes about how and why a particular tool affects the image.  I also really like the option to add a poll in the timeline.

Below is a very quick and simple example of what you can do?


April 28

Share your presentations online

If you need to share your presentations online, you have several options.  Here is a short list of the ones I have used…

There are dozens of others, but these are the ones that I have actually tried out.  Currently my to favorites are Slideshare.net and Zoho’s Show.  I just spent a few minutes playing with Prezi.com.  It actually takes a different approach to presentations.  I don’t have a lot of time right now to experiment with it, but it is definitely a page I am addint to my Social Bookmarks.

December 2

Easy Internet Broadcasting with Ustream

Are you looking for an option for live broadcasting over the internet?  Check out Ustream.tv.  Ustream.tv is a free service that makes it extremely easy to get started with your own Internet Broadcast.  These “Netcasts” are available to be viewed from Ustream’s website or from any website that alllows the embedding of their Flash-based viewer.  All you need is a broadband internet connection, a decent quality webcam or firewire connected digital camcorder, and an idea.  Ustream also has a record option to record the netcasts for playing back later.  I have used Ustream to broadcast school events and a few classroom projects.

November 30

Skype

Several  years ago I was travelling around the country two or three weeks.  I was looking for a tool to communicate back home with my family.  This was before the days of mobile phone family plans.  We had been using the various IM services with voice, but their voip technology lacked clarity and reliability. Then, I came across Skype.  At that point, I was still on dial-up at home, and usually on dial-up on the road.  I was very pleased with the quality of Skype voice with dial-up connections.

Skype is a free text, voice, and video messaging service. To get Skype, follow this link and sign up for an account.  Skype is available for Windows, Windows Mobile / PPC, Linux, Nokia Internet Tablets, Mac, and iPhones.  As new devices become popular, we will likely see Skype ported to them as well.

Over the years, my usage of Skype gradually decreased with the introduction of our mobile phone’s  family plan and then my career change to teaching.  I just did not need VOIP (voice over internet protocol) anymore. My Skype usage was relegated to a backup way for my family to contact me if I was working late in my first classroom (it is a mobile phone dead zone).

Recently, I have talked to several educators who have been using Skype in many unique and innovated ways.  I have talked to teachers who have used Skype in their foreign language claases to talk to individuals and even other classrooms speaking the languages they are teaching.  Some teachers have used Skype for bringing subject area experts as guest speakers.  My classes have used Skype in lessons in online conferencing and collaboration, methods of I.T. Support, and professional interviews of guests and by guests from businesses.

I know there are a lot of great ideas for using Skype in education. If you are using Skype for teaching, leave a comment and share your experiences.