Thursday, December 28, 2006

Google Calendar Tool

I have been using the Google Calendar tool for a while now but just discovered some advanced things that I (and you) can do with it:
  • It is free, fast and very easy to use. You can add events to it in a snap and easily move it later. It has one of the best set of tools for repeat events also.
  • It is web-based so I can access it from anywhere and any time, that I have Internet access. I can print it out for reference.
  • It shows my schedule is several useful views including agenda, monthly, weekly and daily.
  • I have my calendar embedded as a gadget in my Personalized Google Homepage. Have you seen all of the cool gadgets you can add?
  • You can share your calendar with others. Either on an individual basis or to publish it to a Website as an embedded object. Click here to see an example.
  • I can have multiple calendars. I have four calendars each with a different colour that I can hide, copy from one to another or merge. I use one for appointments and one for planning time blocks for doing tasks. You can copy events from one calendar to another.
  • I also have calendars for organizations that I can managing events for and posting on their websites.
  • I have the weather in Calgary on my calendar. I could put the moon phases also.
  • My wife and I share each others calendar so that we can see each others schedule at anytime.
  • You can set up shared calendars for your workgroup or organization with Google Calendar. This is very useful if you don't have access to another online calendar.
  • Your group can post comments on events and discuss them.
  • You can invite others to a meeting with invitation going out through email.
  • You can also set reminders that can either popup in a window, send you an email, or call your cell phone number. It can even email you an agenda for the day each morning.
  • And you can search your calendars for any text string to help to locate an event, even old ones.

This is a great free online calendar. I am still looking for a way to synchronize it with my PDA calendar though.

Click here to access Google Calendar.

Inventing the Future by Patrick Perri

Patrick Perri is a computer science instructor at Mount Royal College and he has recorded a very interesting presentation about the future of computer and information technologies. The presentation is just under 57 minutes in length but is in Breeze so you just
Click here is access Inventing the Future

Post a comment to give feedback on Patrick's view into the future. Do you agree or disagree? What is you view of the future.

Friday, December 22, 2006


Finally! A complete Web Authoring System for Microsoft Windows, Macintosh and Linux users to rival programs like FrontPage and Dreamweaver. Nvu (which stands for "new view") makes managing a web site a snap. Now anyone can create web pages and manage a website with no technical expertise or knowledge of HTML. And it is 100% open source or free.

Click here to download NVU.

Click here to access a tutorial on Learn How To Build Your Web Site Using Nvu


A few days ago, Google brought Blogger out of beta release and with it some features that I was waiting for so now I have moved my two blogs over to Blogger. The one feature that prevented me from using Blogger before is the Labels feature so that I can organize the postings into topics instead of just in a chronological archive.

Other features that I like:
  • Blogger now uses the Google user accounts so I don't have to log into Blogger separately.
  • Blogger's dashboard is better than other blogging tools for monitoring multiple blogs
  • The template is now much easier to manipulate and customize.
  • The Feed Tool will allow a reader to filter for selected labeled postings.
  • It is very easy to use.
  • Blogger is tied in closer to other related Google tools like Google Reader, Adsense and Blog Search.
  • I can set up an RSS Feed link into my blog.
  • Blogger support Mobile Blogging.
Features that are still missing:
  • I can't seem to attach a document file to a posting
  • There is no import feature so I copied and pasted my old blog entries over. I was able to back-date the posting dates.
Blogger is free, easy to use and works well for teachers and students to blog with. Got to to get started.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Selecting an Open-Source Online Course Development and Delivery Platform: An Academic Perspective

Clayton R. Wright, a long time member of ADETA shared this attached article that he authored with me and gave me permission to share it here. He presented it at the Pan-Commonwealth Forum in Jamaica in October 2007. You can reach Clayton at

Click here to access the PDF file of Selecting an Open-Source Online Course Development and Delivery Platform: An Academic Perspective by Clayton R. Wright

The Useful Web - Bonus Edition! by Russ Wilde

Russ Wilde publishes a TechNotesRuss Wilde newsletter for Bow Valley College and has generously giving me permission to share highlights of it. Below is an exerts that I think you will find very interesting about more new tools. Some of which I have already reviewed here.

The Useful Web—Bonus Edition!
The past six weeks has seen an absolute blizzard of new and innovative tools released on the Web. I’ve been collecting links and trying to decide which ones to share with you, but there are just so many and they are all so good—I couldn’t handle the pressure of these weighty decisions anymore! So, dear readers, I present here a special, giant-sized bonus issue of “The Useful Web.”
A quick note: Web tools are great, but remem­ber that some people use them to create content that can be objectionable to other users. Be sure to think critically when you evaluate any Web tool or resource for use in your practice.
Tools for Collaborating and Sharing
The best part of Web 2.0 for educators is the em­phasis on sharing and collaborating. Everything from documents, spreadsheet, presentation slides, music, video, and lecture notes can be created, ed­ited, and shared by online groups. The sites pre­sented below are some of my favorites, but there are many more available.
Zoho Show - The site’s home page says it all, “Create presentations from anywhere, present it remotely. Export it offline - it’s simple & free.” This tool works well and lets you import existing Power­Point presentations. Also check out Zoho Writer and Zoho Sheet for more document collaboration fun.
Google Documents and Spreadsheets - Office-style documents right on the Web and integrated with your existing Google account. Hard not to like this one.
Thumbstacks - A lot like Zoho Show, this tool lets you create and present PowerPoint-style shows right on the Web without any additional software. Check out the demo presentation.
Slideshare - OK, this is another Web presentation tool, much like Zoho and Thumbstacks. But it has a great interface and really deserves a look before you choose the service you want to start a relation­ship with.
NoteMesh - This site is designed to allow students to share their class notes. From the site:
“NoteMesh is a free service that allows college students in the same classes to share notes with each other. It works by creating a wiki for individual classes that users can edit. Users are free to post their own lecture notes or contribute to existing lecture notes. The idea is that users in the same class can collaboratively create a de­finitive source for lecture notes.”
I know this might make some people cringe as it seems to make it easier to skip classes. But I see it as a great tool for our busy learners to help each other succeed by working together, despite the many other responsibilities that fill their lives.
NoteCentric - Similar to NoteMesh, but with a bit more emphasis on storing personal class notes rather than sharing. It includes great WYSIWYG test editing tools and I suspect this could be a nice tool for instructor’s and students alike.
Tools for Creating Media
Splice - Need to record some audio or even mix music and commentary for a presentation? This tool allows you to make custom mixes right on the Web using either live or pre-recorded audio. The emphasis is definitely on creating and shar­ing music, but the tools will work for any audio project.
Jumpcut - Hey, if we’re going to edit our audio online, why not do video as well? This service—now part of the Yahoo! family—allows you to up­load and modify video clips, then mix them with audio to make movies. Amazingly easy to use.
MapLib - This is a bit primitive looking but could be quite useful. It allows you to upload any pic­ture and then use the tools from Google Maps to explore by moving around and zooming in and out. This would be a great way to present a large or highly detailed diagram that can’t be properly viewed when reduced to fit on the screen.

Russ is a member of ADETA and can be emailed at

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Synergize and Energize Conference

Mount Royal College, ADETA and McGraw-Hill Ryerson will be hosting the next National Teaching Learning and Technologies conference in Calgary on February 21 to 23, 2007. Early bird registration fees will be $245 before January 19th, I believe. This conference will have many presentations and discussions about Ed Technologies and how best to apply them into our classrooms.

The Synergize and Energize: Exploring the Dynamics of Teaching and Learning conference will be a great Professional Development event and will replace the Interface conference ADETA normally holds in the Spring. There is an entire stream of presentations devoted to making technologies transparent yet effective in learning.

We also have some great keynote speakers lined up. Click here to check them out.

Look for a preconference workshop that Jeff Hamilton and I are facilitating on how 25 Google tools can be used to enhance learning. You can actually participate in the workshop online if you can’t make it to Calgary. This will be fun as using the Google platform may leave you wondering why would you use your institutions LMS for your online or blended courses.

mLearning 2006 Conference

Back in October, I attended a very interesting conference in Banff all about mLearning. This was the 5th annual world conference about mLearning. If you are not familiar with mLearning this is Mobile Learning, so like eLearning but with the focus on using Cell Phones, PDA, Tablet PCS and other wireless devices for learning.

There were many very interesting presentations at the conference and the organizers have just posted most of the presentation PowerPoint slides up onto their website at

I observed that the number of Canadians at the conference was low compared to the delegates from other countries. This may be due to that apparent lead that countries other than the USA and Canada seem to be ahead of North America when it comes to mLearning.

Ray Kurzweil: The Future of Technology

Ray Kurzweil is an inventor and futurist that has some very interesting views of the future of technology. Click here to view a 23 minute online presentation of Ray’s view of the future of technology and where this is all going in the next 10 years.

I found his predictions very interesting, especially as it will impact on educational technologies. Check it out and post a comment. is a site the I recently found that allows anyone with PowerPoint or OpenOffice Impress to post a slide show on the web and share it with the world. It is kind of like YouTube for Slideshows. It is free and easy to use. Instructors can use this to post their presentations on a public website. Conference Speakers can post their slides after their presentation to their audience. And this is a better way to distribute your presentations without giving away your PPT files.

Students can also use this sharing their presentations with the class or the world.

Other features allow you to receive comments on your slideshows and embed them into other websites or blogs. It is kind of like having a free Breeze Presenter server available only without the audio. But will that be the next new feature?

Click here to access this site.

Another similar site that allows you to build your presentations online is

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Google Groups 2

Google Groups has been around for awhile but there is a new version out in beta that I have been playing with and it looks very good. Of course it is still free and only requires a google account to access. Here are some of the features I liked:

  • You can have as many groups as you like.
  • Each group has a threaded discussion board, Wiki tool, File Exchange tool and a way to email the members of your group.
  • Each group can post up to 100 MB of stuff in the group and that is a lot considering you will mostly be posting text messages.
  • There is a great management tool for tracking several groups and the activities in them.
  • You can elect if you want notifications email to you in various levels of digest.
  • I like how it integrates into Google Personalize Homepage as a gadget and connects with my Gmail contact list.
  • You can customize the look of the group area.
  • You can join hundreds of existing groups or set your up to be by invitation only.

I was disappointed to not be able to edit a discussion posting after I posted it but I can remove and replace it.

Check it out at

Friday, December 01, 2006

e-Learning Environmental Scan

I was just sent the URL to this document. It is an e-Learning Environmental Scan that had been prepared for Alberta Education in March 2006.

The report addresses the following:

  • needs and preferences of today’s students
  • needs and preferences of today’s employers
  • issues in e-Learning
  • trends and promising practices in e-Learning

You can access the report from