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.
Skype has introduced their new Skype in the Classroom initiative aimed at helping Teachers using Skype connect in a new social networking feature on their website.
While it has been around for over seven years, and many of us teachers have used Skype for a while as a means of connecting with each other in a variety of ways, Skype has not offered an easy method for teachers to connect. Previously, teachers have had to rely on education blogs and forums for finding colleagues and subject area experts for their link-ups. With Skype in the Classroom, finding fellow teachers in similar areas is now quite a bit easier.
Click here to signup for the beta version of Skype in the Classroom.
Cacoo is a web-based diagram drawing tool that allows real-time collaboration for three simultaneous users with their free account. The offer a paid account with more features and more users.
If you are looking for an easy to use diagram drawing tool that allows real-time editing from multiple users, check out Cacoo here.
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.
Do you find yourself searching the web for presentations about a topic you want to cover? Try using slidefinder.net. Think of this as presentation search engine. Type a topic into their search box, and see what presentation file results Slidefinder’s indexes have found from all over the web.
Check it out here.
Recently, I was asked to help a colleague broadcast her class to a group of teachers meeting at another location. The leader of the off-site group preferred using Skype, so we went with that option, but I decided to look into better choices for future broadcasts. Skype is a great tool for a two-way conference, but it required the teacher to either have someone man a the computer with Skype and the camera to make the call or to accept the incoming call, or to stop teaching to personally go to the computer to do the same.
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.
Visuwords is an online dictionary and thesaurus with a twist. Enter a word in their search box and in a few seconds, your screen will be filled with a visual map of definitions of verbs, nouns, adjectives, and adverbs, antonyms, synonyms, causes, derivations, and several other categorizations.
The amount of results will vary by the word searched.
Are you looking for an option for collaborating with co-workers using a microblogging site similar to Twitter, but want privacy that you cannot get on a open social network? Check out Present.ly. Present.ly allows organizations to collaborate in real-time, share documents, and communicate via mobile devices without the entire online world seeing what you are doing.
Check it out here.
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.
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.
Microsoft and Barbie are teaming up to encourage more girls to look at tech careers.
Microsoft showed off the “Computer Engineer Barbie” at its Digigirlz Summit. According to Microsoft, on 18% of women choose computer engineering career paths. Only 10% of current engineers in the U.S. are women.