What's on here?

Cool finds, new technologies and useful hints for all things online teaching and learning

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Sync Office Docs with Google Apps

This may have been around for some time but I just found it!  I really recommend all EdTech students to install this application for sure.  Once this is installed it adds a new tab to your MS Office applications (Word, Excel and Powerpoint) that allows you to save all of your Office documents to your Google Docs account. It also gives you an easy way to access your documents from any computer just by logging into your Google account.

Another nice feature is the document sharing.  Even if two or more people are editing the same document at the same time, Offisync keeps everything updated in real time. This is a great feature for teams who are working on a project together.

It's a free download so why not use it?  I can see a real benefit for students who do homework both at home and school on different computers. This application could put a small dent in flash drive sales!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Voki Avatars in your Online Class Pages

Get a Voki now!

Press the Play button to hear the message. This is an interesting feature you can use to provide your learners with short, one-minute messages. Sprinkled throughout your course environment, these avatars can serve as assistants to your online learners.  They can also be used to provide a focal point or to highlight certain elements of your course you want to make sure your learners do not miss.

There are many avatars that you can customize in any number of different ways. There are animals, political figures and many more. The figure you select and customize depends on the message you want to convey. You can also customize the voice, accent and even language. If you want to record your own message you can do that as well. The process is very intuitive and extremely easy to use. 

The only downfall I can see is that if you want to create a new message, you need to create your avatar all over again. I think it would be better if you could have a default avatar saved and then create new messages for that same avatar. Maybe this is something the folks at Voki would consider in future generations of the application.

At any rate, I plan on having this avatar show up to class at least once each week. I'll be interested to see the learners' reactions to this new face in our online course room!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Top 8 Education Blogs

With the 2010 EduBlog Awards just out, there are many lists of top educational blogs circulating around. It's great to share these. Each list I find contains new sites I hadn't seen yet that are full of great ideas and information.

Thanks to Joan Vandervelde  (University of Wisconsin - Stout) for this list!

With her motivational posts, Lisa Nielsen excels at pushing educators to move beyond the limits of traditional pedagogy. Recent post: “Turn Texting Teens Into Published Novelists.”

Eight National Board Certified teachers provide a forum for active dialogue about pressing educational issues such as collaboration, virtual schools, and parent involvement.

Higher Ed
Michelle Pacansky-Brock shares insights and new innovations in e-learning. The excellent Shared Resources area includes a guide for creating a 21st century syllabus.

A Millennial Professor’s View of Higher Education
Dr. Jennifer T. Edwards’ blog focuses on using communication technology to enhance teaching and learning. Recent post: “Google vs. Blackboard: Is It a Reality?”

Dr. Lora Helvie-Mason’s “tell-it-like-it-is” postings provide amusing and insightful reflections on how to improve teaching and communication within the higher ed system.

Friday, December 10, 2010

LearnCast.com - MLearning Arrives

LearnCast is a relatively new arrival on the mobile learning scene. At first glance this appears to be a pretty useful tool for developing mobile learning solutions. The interface is very easy to use and it supports all types of documents and media including PDF files, video and audio files. Developed modules can be made public or private and once developed can even be sold to the public.  Modules are pushed to users via several methods including email links, SMS texts and is iPod/Droid compatible. Download the free app and check out some of the courses that have been put on there. It is quite minimal right now but should start getting some attention in the near future. 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

RSA Animate - Changing Education Paradigms

Not so much for the advertisement at the end as for the enormous amount of thought-provoking content within the presentation. This video takes a very interesting approach to education today - an approach I completely agree with!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What's This Blog For Anyway?

Let's get this show started!  I am an instructor and professor who teaches both face-to-face and online. I teach a range of technology-related courses including basic computer literacy, educational technology and Internet design for teachers. This site will help my students (and others) explore cool tools and other useful information that will help them learn. This blog will continually strive to keep emerging technologies in the forefront. It's hard to keep up so I'm going to do my best to keep a running list as sort of a historical development trend of educational technologies as they arrive. I am anxiously awaiting them!!