• word of the day

    flickr photo originally uploaded by VROG …to describe the countless hours I seem to be spending filling forms and dotting my ‘i’s’ and crossing my ‘t’s’–paperganda (or paperazzi, if you prefer). But instead of whining, I’ll try to turn this into a constructive thought… My (lack of) patience for paperganda mirrors my escalating impatience with technology that is overly complicated and requires too much of my valuable time fiddling to get to work. Admittedly, I am a bit equipment challenged–cell phones, VCRs, etc–but I’m hardly a technophobe…I like to think I kind of get how computers and software and digital technology in general works. Today I needed to test a…

  • Screencasting for just-in-time teaching and learning

    Via OL Daily–and the timing couldn’t have been better–a list of screencasting tools from Mashable.  I’m a big fan of using (short) screencasted clips to help students–but mostly instructors–get oriented to tech tools. I’m reminded of a time (circa 2000 or so) when I was a digital media student at a small college where the instructor’s idea of ‘teaching’ was to print out the online manuals for the software and distribute them to the class, then hide in his office while we ‘learned’ Photoshop, Director, and Premier.  Sure, there’s a lot to be said about learning by doing, but when one of the students came across a site full of screencasted tutorials…

  • metablogging

    Via the blog of proximal development I came across 21 classes, which is getting parked here because I’ve been looking for something like this for a while, and it will no doubt be handy at some point. It looks like it provides a way for an instructor and student to manage individual blogs via a class blog portal.  I recently tried explaining to some IT people that something like this would be useful, but did a pretty bad job of it, so it’s nice there’s an easier way.  

  • Teaching wikis, blogs, RSS, and social bookmarking

    I want to pass on a great resource for instructors who need to explain wikis, blogs, RSS, Google Docs, social bookmarking and other such tools to their students. Common Craft have created some of the most effective, to-the-point, and entertaining instructional videos I’ve ever seen; many of the topics they address in their unique, short videos fall squarely under the ed tech category: RSS in Plain English Wikis in Plain English Social Bookmarking in Plain English Blogs in Plain English Google Docs in Plain English All of these tools are easy to use but, admittedly, can be hard to describe. Common Craft completely demystifies them. Have a look:

  • Pecha kucha and the end of death-by-PowerPoint

    While it is probably too much to hope that pecha kucha (pronounced peh-chak-cha) will revolutionize the way slideware is used in the classroom, instructors and students should know that pecha kucha is great for keeping slideware presentations focused and the audience’s interest up — arguably two of the biggest challenges facing PowerPoint presenters.   Like haiku or the sonnet, pecha kucha imposes a strict form on the content. In this case the medium is the slideware presentation. Presenters must show twenty slides — no more, no less — and show each slide for twenty seconds; again, no more, no less. This permits you a mere six minutes and forty seconds…

  • catching up

    During my blogging hiatus, which corresponded with my move to the Canadian Polytechnic where I now am employed and a subsequent maternity leave (identical twins!!), I was jotting down on a post-it note new tools that I thought would be useful for instructors and students, but needed more time to explore.  I came back to a very tidy cubicle (thank you tidyers) but no post-it.  I’m trying to recall some of those tools, and bubbl.us came to mind.  I remember liking bubbl.us because like my old standby, Gliffy, it passed the 2 minute test and the drag, drop, click interface works nicely.  But bubbl.us is definitely more suited to concept…

  • more visualisation tools

    About 5 years ago I started a mental “wouldn’t it be nice if…” list of technologies/software that I wish existed. I’m still reeling from excitement at a tool that my colleague Paul here at Canadian Polytechnic just pointed me to–Manyeyes, since it’s one of those *better than I hoped* tools that I can scratch off my list. Manyeyes lets you simply convert data sets to visualisation tools, and in 2.0 spirit allows comments and discussion about the data. I’m still exploring, but just a quick look at the visualisation possibilities is educational in itself–clicking on the Learn More link leads to informative descriptions of when and how the corresponding visualisation…

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