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Today In History

Tuesday July 31st 1928

MGM's Leo the lion roared for the first time. He introduced MGM's first talking picture, 'White Shadows on the South Seas.'


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OzProjects: Online Collaborative Learning Projects

Greetings,

Are you looking for a neat project or learning opportunity for your students. This site might just fit the bill. Called OzProjects, it’s listing of projects started by teachers in Australia which welcome and encourage participation from teachers and students in other parts of Australia, the southern continent and the world. So far there are projects involving Possums, Antarctica, Book Clubs, Sanitation and Disease and Visual Story Telling.

Check it out at:

     http://www.ozprojects.edu.au/

(Thanks to David Dillard, Educator-Gold for this link)

Enjoy :-)

John Goldsmith
cyberjohn@detools.ca
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EHow: Tutorial/Self-Help Site

Greeting,

EHow is another in the growing list of self-help web sites that have emerged over the past year of so.

I like this one because of it’s simplicity. Most other self-help sites rely on video clips to deliver knowledge or information. EHow does too but most of its content is text; good old fashioned, “Step 1, do this. Step 2, do that.”. In some cases there are pictures to help illustrate the steps while in others, not so much.

Unfortunately all the content on the site is subject to copyright so linking to the site is okay; copying from the site is not. For that, permission of the actual creator is needed, which brings up another interesting aspect to the site. All the content is created by users – people like you and I. When users contribute a how-to piece they are paid – maybe. How much depends on the number of times the article is viewed.

There’s not a lot of educational content on EHow – yet. Most of the titles deal with more mundane topics such as, “How to Tie a Tie” or “How To Fix an Extension Cord”. Nevertheless, there is a large section on computer hardware and software so a visit is definitely worthwhile.

Check it out at:

     http://www.ehow.com/

(Thanks to David P. Dillard for this link)

Enjoy

John Goldsmith
cyberjohn@detools.ca
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Web 2.0 Expo

Greetings,

If you live in British Columbia (Canada) and teach on-line then you probably know about the Spring Conference in Vancouver hosted by the Virtual School Society (VSS). The theme is, ” Learning: Anyone, Anywhere, Anytime and the dates are April 22 to 24.

I’ve submitted a couple of presentation proposals but have yet to receive word on whether they’ve been accepted. Apparently notification was supposed to have been sent out last week. Perhaps this is one of those situations where no news is really not good news.

To learn more about the conference go to:

     http://www.learnnowbc.ca/educators/Conference2008/

If your professional development budget is a little more affluent, there is another conference that’s going on at roughly the same time. Called the “Web 2.0 Expo”, it sounds like the place to be for anyone involved in the Web 2.0 world. The conference is in San Francisco from April 22-25, 2008.

Check it out at:

     http://en.oreilly.com/webexsf2008/public/content/home   

Enjoy :-)

John Goldsmith
cyberjohn@detools.ca  

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FeedCrier: RSS Notifications by Instant Message

Greetings,

I’m not a big fan of Instant Messaging and the technology as a whole seems to be on the wane. Nevertheless, there are still a lot of die-hard IM fans and to them, I offer this application. It’s called Feed Crier.

Feed Crier an RSS Aggregator with a difference. Most traditional RSS Aggregation applications receive notifications of a web page changes and store that information in one spot. When the user starts or launches the application, all web page changes are presented in a nice, neat list, much like an e-mail program.

Not Feed Crier. Whenever a subscribed RSS feed is updated, Feed Crier will sent the user an IM message. It’s a way to get instant notification of a change or update rather then having to check an RSS Aggregator from time to time.

To use Feed Crier, you need an existing IM account through MSN or some other service but Feed Crier itself is free.

Check it out at:

     http://feedcrier.com/

(Thanks to Jane Hart for this link)

Enjoy :-)

John Goldsmith
cyberjohn@detools.ca
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CinchCast: Pod Casting Made Easy

Greetings,

CINCHCAST is a free web service for easily making pod casts.

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60 Open Courseware Courses for Web Designers

Greetings,

Fellow blogger, Jessica Hupp has compiled a list of 60 Open Courseware courses to help novice and expert alike learn more about web page creation and design. There truly is something for everybody here with titles ranging from “Basic HTML” all the way up to, “Java programing” and “Dynamic Content Development”.

All course are Open Courseware content meaning the universities and colleges which created them are making them available to anyone at no cost.

As with all Open Courseware, quality and usefulness may vary. Some courses may consist of little more then a syllabus and some lecture notes while others are the “full meal deal” with lessons, projects and quizzes. Most of the courses I looked at from Ms Hupp’s list seemed reasonably complete – or at least complete enough to be worth downloading to my personal learning library.

To check them out, go to:

     http://www.learnbydoing.org/?p=117

(Thanks to ZaidLearning for this link)

Enjoy :-)

John Goldsmith
cyberjohn@detools.ca
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12 Screencasting Tools For Creating Video Tutorials

Greetings,

Anyone who has taught online knows the power of screen casts – those short video clips which demonstrate how to something or illustrate a skill such as, how to attach a document to an e-mail, how to access a particular web site or a 101 other skills which really need to demonstrated to be understood. There are many such tools available. Most are programs which are installed on a computer. The most well known on the Windows side is Camtasia and for the Mac, it’s Snapz Pro . Neither program is cheap.

Fortunately, there are some pretty good screen capture programs on the web. My favourite web site, “Mashable” has rounded up 12 web based free screen capture programs. Some, such as the “Jing Project”, “Screencast-O-Matic and Wink have been mentioned here before while others such as Copernicus and Aviscreen seem relatively new.

You can check them all out by going to:

     http://mashable.com/2008/02/21/screencasting-video-tutorials/

Enjoy :-)

John Goldsmith
cyberjohn@detools.ca
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Omeka: Open Source Exhibition App

Greetings,

I’m not really sure how this application would be used or if there’s even a need within the K-12 community but perhaps there is and I’m just not seeing it.

The program is called Omeka which is Swahili for “to display or lay out goods or wares; to speak out; to spread out; to unpack.”. Omeka is described as, “a web platform for publishing collections and exhibitions online. Designed for cultural institutions, enthusiasts, and educators, Omeka is easy to install and modify and facilitates community-building around collections and exhibits.”

Omeka is built on a familiar foundation – Apache, PHP & MySQL and installation is described as reasonably simple.

Check it out at:

     http://omeka.org/

Enjoy :-)

John Goldsmith
cyberjohn@detools.ca
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Mindomo: New Mind Mapping Tools

Greetings

Mindomo is a totally web based mind mapping tool which claims to deliver the capabilities of desktop mind mapping program like Inspiration but through Web browser. That means there’s no software to purchase, install or maintain on individual computers.

While I’m no expert in this field, the program did seem fully functional and more then capable of doing anything I could think of. The interface was relatively intuitive and easy to use and I was able to find my way around without much difficulty.

Judging by the shapes and symbols available, I’d say that Mindomo was focused more on the business world rather then the academic environment but that’s no reason to believe it wouldn’t do everything need for a class situation.

The program does require the user to register and there are two versions, free & paid. The main difference is capacity. Free users can create a maximum of 7 mind maps. Paid users can create an unlimited number.

Check Mindomo out at:

http://www.mindomo.com

(Thanks to Peter MacKay from the Teacher List, listserv for this one.)

Enjoy :-)

John Goldsmith
cyberjohn@detools.ca
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Comiqs: Online Comic Creation Site

Greetings,

“Comiqs” is web site that makes creating a comic strip or even a simple online story, very easy. Comiqs will allow the user to upload pictures from their computer, import them from a photo-sharing account like Flickr or “borrow” them from the web.

When imported into Comiqs, the pictures can then be dragged on to a blank page when they can be manipulated and edited. Then text balloons can be added to create a comic. It is really that easy.

Registration is required but it’s free. By registering, the user is provided with some space to save his creation and if desired, make it available for the world to see.

Check it out at:

     http://comiqs.com

(Thanks to Jane Knight for this one)

Enjoy :-)

John Goldsmith
cyberjohn@detools.ca
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