Sunday, December 02, 2007

The Next Generation of e-Learning Software

I recently read this white paper from Educause about the current status of e-learning systems and what the next generation systems should be and it is very thought provoking. You can find it at

I was very impressed about how the model of the next generation system, described at the end, reflected the concept of a personal learning network that centres on the learner. This is a concept that I have been reading about for a few years and I feel that I personally have constructed my own personal learning network to meet my professional development needs. So, here is a model of how this could be extended to our students, as life long learners. And I had a chat with one of the authors of this paper, Ali Jafari, and he is building the system and offering it to us. It is call epsilen and you can look at it at

It is worth the read. After reading it, consider how we can start to change our thinking about our e-learning systems to meet the needs of 21st century students. And if we don't will the students be attracted to the institutions that do? I wonder if this is just like 10 years ago when we were considering getting on the e-learning bandwagon or being left behind. I suspect it is.

I am putting a group of people together who would like to collaborate on discussing these issues and helping to move us ahead. Email me if you would like to join us at

Please place comments here.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Portable Computer Apps

Do you work on a computer where you can't install and run the computer programs that they want to run? Check out this site From this site you can install your favorite free computer programs on your USB Memory Drive and carry them with you in your pocket and run them on any Windows computer no matter how locked down it is.

Some of portable apps include:
  • Open Office - the free alternative to MS Office and some would argue is better.
  • GIMP - a full featured photo and image editing program.
  • Audacity - record, edit and create MP3 audio files
  • Mozilla Firefox - the for browsing the web
  • Mozilla Thunderbird - for working with your email
  • Mozilla Sunbird - calendar and task organizer
  • Nvu - for developing websites.
  • Miranda - for instant messaging with AOL, MSN and Yahoo users
What is even cooler is that if you need accessibility features then check out these three:
So for a $10 USB Memory drive you can practically carry your computer programs and data files in your pocket. Oh and by the way, if you buy a USB Memory Drive with the U3 software on it, you might as well delete that as it appears to be useless to me.

Rod Corbett

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Too FAST: Student Assessment Tool

Bruce Ravelli and Zvjezdan Patz, who brought us FAST, has now release the second generation of their tool, Too FAST. This is the a great web-based tool for surveying your students. It is easy to use, free and designed for instructors to use with their students. This new version was built in PHP and has many improvements over the older FAST:
  • You can have more than 20 items in your survey.
  • There is more flexibility if the item formats
  • And there are standard items available to use.
This is a great tool for surveying your students that takes very little time to setup and administer.

Go to to sign up for an account.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

eLearning XHTML editor (eXe)

I have finally taken some time to explore eXe, which is a tool that has been on my list of tools to explore for a while now. So, I am sold on this. This is a free tool that has the following features:
  • It is free.
  • It is available for Linux, Mac, Windows and even has a Ready-to-Run version for Windows so you can run it on a computer without installing it. You can even run it off a USB stick.
  • It is easy to use
  • It creates some great looking multi-page learning objects that your learners just need a current web browser to access.
  • It exports the objects in HTML, Zipped packages, and SCORM and IMS packages so you can put them on a CD-ROM, website or into Blackboard of similar LMSes.
I really like how it is designed for teachers to use to author learning modules that are well designed using ID principles. You have a choices of several Instructional Devices like interactive quiz questions and feedback objects. There is a image gallery and image magnifier that is very cool.

We are exploring how students could use this to create their e-portfolios as well as other electronic presentations.

There are many examples you can check out at

I suppose what I really like about eXe is that it allows us to be platform independent when we develop our online course content, quizzes and guides. This is really important if you are considering moving from one platform to another, like from Blackboard to Moodle. Or it is even more important if you want to share your modules with others.

Check it out at

Rod Corbett

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Educational Technology and Related Educational Conferences

Clayton R. Wright has compiled and distributed his excellent list of conferences about Educational Technologies and related topics. This list covers the dates from November 2007 to June 2008.

I have posted the document to Google Docs so you can access it from the follow link:

I would like to contact Clayton directly to give him feedback or to add events to the list his email address is

Thursday, September 27, 2007

MS Office Speech Tools

Did you know that MS Office 2003 has a built in Speech Recognition tool? This seems to be well kept secret so I thought I would post it here. Actually, you should check your version of MS Office as it may also have this built in.

What is it? It is a tool that allows you, with a microphone, dictate text into your computer applications. The cool thing is that once activated you can use it with any applications, not just MS Office applications. You can also use it to give voice commands to your office apps.

The best way to find it is to open MS Word and pull down the Tools menu and select Speech. If it is not showing then you may need to click on the double arrows at the bottom to show all options. Once you click on Tools>Speech, you will get a tutorial appear that will walk you through testing your microphone and training the speech recognition software. Basically, you need to read to your computer several pieces of text so that it can learn how to match your voice patterns to text.

Tips, the more you train it the more accurately it recognizes your speech. And it really helps to use the same microphone all the time and talk clearly, consistently. Headsets with the boom microphones work best as they pick up better then other microphones. You can pick one up
for about $25 for a good one.

Try it, you may be surprized just have useful it is. And you don't have to pay for it.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Google Docs (Office) - Presentation Tool

On Sept 17th, the Google people released the long awaited for Presentation tool for Google Docs. We have been waiting for this for a while to make the complete Google Office suite.

I have been using Google Docs as an alternative to MS Office and Open Office. Although the tools still lack many features, I find that I have the features I need and the power to collaborate on editing and have the documents saved on the website where I can access them from any where, makes it worth using. I am also very tired of how I can copy and paste text from MS Word documents without a lot of formating tags coming with it that mess up the text I am copying. With Google Docs this is all taken care of.

The Presenter tool in Google Docs has the essentials for building a PowerPoint like slideshow but lacks many of the fancy features, like animations; although that may be a good thing. You can upload a PowerPoint file into Google Docs now and use this tool to post your slides online either for your students or as a supplement to a conference presentation you may have given. This makes it very easy to add your presentations to your e-portfolio. This tool will come in really handy for students that are tasked with group work assignments where they need to collaboratively build a presentation for the class. It can then be delivered either online or f2f.

A unique feature is included that allows you to delivery your presentation live online, with a live chat tool to dialogue with your audience.

So far there is no support for audio narrations but I am hoping that will be added later.

Oh, and it is free to use, no advertising. You just need a Google Account. Check it out at and add a comment on what you think of it.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Freedom Writers Movie

This is the first movie review I am posting on this blog but if you have seen the movie Freedom Writers you should rent it and view it. I was very impress with this movie about a teacher who found a way to reach out to several students through the appropriate application of educational technologies, including journal writing. The film was quite watchable and speaks a lot to the passions of teaching and what I believe teaching should really be about.

Rent it and enjoy it.


Free Websites and Online Portfolios

In a search for a useful tool that we can give to students to create a maintain online portfolios or websites, we are currently going to explore how well Google Page Creator will work. I meets all of the key criteria that we need:
  • It is free to use.
  • There is nothing to install
  • The contents are on a server that is not affiliated with the college
  • It is very easy to use for novice students
  • There are privacy controls on each page and each page has it's own URL.
  • It is hosted by a service that should be around for a long time so students should feel they can own the site and use it after graduating.
You need a Google account (free) and you can upload up to 100 mb of files. If you need more space and more control over who can read your documents you can place documents in Google Docs or other services (for photos, audio or video clips) and link to them.

Click here to access this tool.

Please comment if you have tried using this tool or if you have found any better tools.

Monday, August 20, 2007

A Wiki Replaces the Textbook in a Boston Colllege Classroom

Here is an interesting article about how an instructor is using a Wiki and other Web 2. 0 tools to enhance learning in his classroom, but he has gone so far as to replace the textbook. The students have to love that.

Check out the article at and let us know what you think out it.


Thursday, August 09, 2007

Recording Narrated Slideshows with MS PhotoStory

I have been looking for a free and easy tool that instructors, and students, can use to make recorded narrated slideshow presentations from their photos. MS PhotoStory 3 is one excellent tool for this.

It is very easy to use. Download it from here but you have to verify your Window XP or Vista is legal. It import photos of any size but over 640x480 works best.

You can add special effects like panning and zooming. You can even make a whole slide show from one photo by zooming into different parts of the photo.

It generates WMV files of various specs for on computer, PDA, mobil device, playing or email sing.

If you need your slideshow in other formats, you can convert with to other formats.

You can add a voice narration but must use microphone, can't import MP3 or wav files. If you need to do this, use MS Movie Maker.

One of the highlight features is that you can easily add back ground music from a MP3 or CD or you can also generate your own original (royalty free) music.

It if Free but requires Windows XP or Vista. Mac users should use Garageband.

Friday, July 06, 2007

GTD on Retro PDAs

I have been exploring a new organizing system that may help me get better organized. It is the GTD system from David Allen. In my explorations I ran across four very interesting tools that can help you organize your life and they are all free, sort of.

The first is the Hypster PDA. Click here to learn more. This started out as a joke but it works so well that many people are using it. Or click here to see how to use Hypster PDA for GTD.

Next is PocketMod. Check it out at This is like Hypster PDA but you can use common letter sized paper.

Then there is Thinking Rock, which is an actual stand alone computer application that is open source. This software helps you to use the GTD system and it prints out reports in PocketMod formats.

For Gmail users you can configure your Gmail account to do the same thing Thinking Rock does but it is online and accessible where ever you can access your Gmail. Go to to read a white paper on how to do this.

And finally, there is a Firefox addin that even makes it easier for you to use Gmail for your GTD system. Go to

Check them out.

Oh, if you want to check out the book by David Allen about GTD click here

If you are using the GTD system, please post a comment here and let us know how it is working for you.


Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Free FLV Player

Here is a free FLV Player the you just run and drag and drop your FLV (Flash Video) files on top of it and it plays it for you. You can also play an FLV stream with it.

FLV is the format that Google Video, YouTube and TeacherTube use for their videos.

Check it out at


Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Google Office Folders

Google Docs and Spreadsheet has just added a very cool new interface that allows you to set up folders to organize your documents. This would allow you to set up a folder for each of your projects, courses or whatever category you need to use. Go to and check it out.

As yet, there appears to still be no limit on how many documents you can post into your account and I ran across a posting in the Google Blog that they have acquired, which will give them technology to add a PowerPoint like presentation tool to their Google Docs and Spreadsheets tools. Go to to read more about this. Google is planning to roll out the new tool this Summer. I hope they include a way to add a voice narration to the presentation files.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Podcast Recordings Available for the Future of Eduation Conference

The podcast link is now available for the MP3 recordings of the presentations from this conference hosted by George Siemans and University of Manitoba. Click here to learn more about the conference.

I really appreciate these presentations being made available through MP3 because even though it is online, I could attend any of the sessions live because I have been just too busy this week. I also find it restrictive that I need to use Elluminate to view the archive recordings. I love the MP3 recordings because then I can load them into my MP3 player and listen to them anyway. I can also share them easier.

The URL for the Podcast list in RSS is which came up right into my Google Reader, which even offered to play them for them. Nice.

Thanks George.


Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Teaching Naked: Should you do it? Yes!

Okay, so this is not be about teaching without clothes on but this is a very good article about not letting educational technologies get in between you and your students.

What I get from this article is that we would be more effective teachers if we stopped using so much technology in our scheduled class-time to present content or have quizzes. But we should use the technology to develop content and admin quizzes outside of scheduled class time so we can use that valuable time to have more open, less structured discussions and other interactive learning activities. The notion of teaching naked is to prepare to take some risks in your classes, with less content to hide behind and allow the students to set the directions of the activities more.

The article explains this much better so click here to access this great article by Jose Antonio Bowen and post a comment on what you think about it.


Saturday, May 19, 2007

Top 10 Time Savers for Instructors

On May 15, Andrew Reil and I made a presentation at the Spring PD Retreat of the Mount Royal Faculty Association about the Top 10 Time Savers for instructors. We tried to present a list of tools that are easy to use, to acquire and will save an instructor significant time. We selected this topic because we have continually heard feedback from instructors that they are suffering from shortage of time in their work.

Click here to access the handout, which includes the to 10 time savers as well as several that didn't make it into the top ten.

We had about 25 instructors attend our presentation and several of them expressed appreciation for the timesavers as many they were not aware of and they felt they could use right away.

We also presented a similar presentation for Researchers where some of the timesavers are the same but you can access that handout by clicking here.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Free Blended Learning Guide from Web Junction

Here is a free guide (PDF download) that is an update guide to Blended Learning. It is full of links to many examples of the latest online learning tools and resources. It also features many tips, case studies and examples of best practices for trainers and instructors.

Click here to access

Saturday, April 28, 2007

Symposium Promotional PostCard

A promotional postcard is being emailed out to invite participants to register to attend the Symposium 2007 event. And to submit a proposal to present.

If you didn't receive a postcard or the images got mangled through the email then click here to view it.

The online registration using SPORG is now open at

This is going to be a great event. Don't miss it.


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Second Life International Education Conference! May 25, 2007

Planning is currently underway for the first Second Life International Education Conference! The focus will be on best practices in teaching, learning and research. Click here for more information.

The conference will be held on May 25, 2007 in venues all over the Second Life world, with exciting presentations, vendors and exhibitors, and everything an educator needs to know to get started exploring the possibilities for teaching, learning, and research in Second Life!

There is no cost to participate in this conference but you do need to sign up for a Second Life identity or account, which is free. Go to for that.


Saturday, April 21, 2007

Zamzar: a free online file conversion tool

Zamzar is a free online file conversion tool that allows you to convert Document, Image, Music and Video Formats without having to download any software. With this site you convert MS Office documents to PDF, or Open Office and MS Works documents to Word. So if a student sends you an assignment that you can't open you can convert it with this tool. You can also convert PowerPoint files into Flash movies.

The scary conversion is that you (and your students) can convert PDF files that shouldn't be editable to an editable Word, RTF or HTML document. See a list here.

This site also supports batching up several files to be converted at once.

Zamzar also has the ability to convert videos from sites like Google Video and YouTube.

The interface is super easy to use. First, you upload the file you want converted (or provide the URL), second, you select the format you want to convert it to and then you supply your email address where you will be notified when you can download the converted file. You can't convert files bigger than 100 MB and you have 24 hours to pickup your file.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Call for Proposals Out for October Symposium

The call for proposals is justing going out for presenters at the Distributed Learning in the 21st Century: Shaping the Future of Learning Symposium taking place October 17 to 19, 2007 in Edmonton.

The due date is May 14th to get them in. Please consider sharing some of your insights, research and/or practices that will help us Shape the Future of Learning.

All presenters will receive a discount on their registration fees.

Click here for more details.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Download Free Web Design Templates from

Sometimes, when I discover things that other people tell me about, I feel like I must be the last to know about these things. This is one of those. Did you know that you can download free templates from websites like that you can use to make your own sites look like a professional designer designed it? Terri Brown told me about this site. She just recently used a template from this site for the new website that looks wonderful. Especially compared to the site as I had started it. Of course using free templates to make my sites look better is why I am using

So, this site is full of templates that generous people have shared with the public, you can download and use these templates on your websites, legally. The site claims to currently have over 2000 free designs. Terri told me that you do have to sift through them to find the best ones.

I am going to starting using them more. I use Dreamweaver for my websites and it comes with very few templates.

Monday, April 02, 2007

GooSync - Synchronize Google Calendar with your Mobile Device

I have been looking for an easy way to synchronize my calendar, which is now in Google Calendar, with my Pocket PC and I have found this one. is a free tool and service that makes this a snap. I switched over to using Google Calendar exclusively as my calendar due to how useful it is and better than the other calendar tools I have used. I use a Dell Axim PDA that I have always wanted to find a way to sync the two. Actually, I stopped using my PDA because it was not in sync but today it is. It only took 5 minutes to signup for the service and install the client.

I had abandoned using the Lotus Notes Calendar at work that I used to have M-Notes installed that synched my PDA with that calendar. Well with GooSync installed, now my Lotus Notes Calendar is synchronized with my Google Calendar.

Oh and GooSync works with a lot of mobile devices, including cell phones, palms and smart phones. Click here to look up your device.

Check it out at

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Skype 3 - Free Conference Calling for 10

I finally upgraded to Skype version 3 and discovered that they have now expanded the number of participants you can have in a free conference call to 10 instead of the previous 5. 10 is a great number as most committees that I work on are between 5 and 10. I have Skype installed on all of my computers and my Pocket PC. It uses webcams with ease and has many of the features that other systems lack. For example in my MSN Messenger, as soon as I bring in a third person into a conversation, we lose audio. With Skype you can add 9 to your conversation and keep the audio connection. Skype does support text chat, monitors which of your contacts are online and makes it very easy to find people.

When you install it on your Pocket PC, it turns it into a Skype Phone, for free. All you need is a WiFi connection and you can make calls without a subscription, if you call other Skype users. For a low fee you can call nonSkype users on their telephones.

Go to and download it.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Teacher Tube Video Sharing

I was sent this link today and this site appears to be YouTube for teachers. The concept is the same but this site is only for sharing educational video clips. It is free and well designed, okay, it pretty much mirrors YouTube. I like the idea of an educational YouTube so you should check it out. It is still very new, started in January, but there are many videos on it already.

Features that I like are the flag for reporting inappropriate material and you can embed the video clips into your only courseware. It is all Flash based, like the others, so it is easy to share links to your students. I also like the guidance and position about posting copyright materials. This will help us feel confident that in using the clips from the site, we are not violating anyone's copyright.

So, this site will be as good as we make it by posting our video clips to it. Check it out at

Saturday, March 17, 2007

All Things Web 2.0

Here is a very useful directory site of many Web 2.0 applications. These apps are typically free and designed for collaborating with others. The apps are organized in to categories including one for Elearning 2.0 where several very interesting learning apps are listed.

I also found the wide range of very innovation apps in the lists that I have never thought of before. There are sites to help you improve your health and network with others doing the same. Apps for networking with others is all kinds of ways.

According to lists, the most popular app is blurf a trivia question game.

What is also nice of this site is the you can read reviews and ratings on the Web 2.0 apps/sites so it can help you make sense of the new Web 2.0.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Changing Learning Systems - Elliot Masie

Elliot Masie has released a free online presentation in Flash about the issues and challenges of changing your learning systems. Click here to access it. Are you a WebCT or Blackboard user and wonder about changing LMS over to something else, then check out this presentation.

"Changing Learning Systems: Forces & Disruptions"

Changing Learners
Changing Content Models
Changing Business Processes
Changing Learning & IT Models
Changing Marketplace

This content is based on our research with our 240 member Learning
CONSORTIUM. We are tracking a rate of more than 30% of corporations in
LMS and LCMS "reconsideration". This on-line module includes my audio
comments on the key business drivers that are impacting LMS selection and


Saturday, March 03, 2007

Google Notebook

We ran the 25 Google Learning Tools workshop a week ago for the conference in Calgary and one of the most popular tools was Google Notebook. Then I realized that I had reviewed that tool with you yet. Notebook is new, free and very useful. Go to and sign up with your Gmail or Google account. It works best if you download and install the plugin. BTW, you can sign up for gmail account without an invitation now if you go to

What can you do with Notebook?
- Surf the web and grab quotes, notes and images from the web pages you find useful and they automatically copy to one of your Google Notebooks.
- After open up your notebook and edit, organize, and insert your notations.
- After you have the notebook set the way you want, you can share it with your students or peers but simply making it public and sharing the URL, all with seeing one single HTML code.

So, if you are an instructor, you could put together some pretty nice looking presentations with images and resources from the web very quickly and post them into your online course.
Or, if you are a student working on a class presentation you can use Notebook to compile your notes and findings and present to the class. You can even collaborate on developing the presentation.


Canadian E-Learning 2007 conference

The 5th Annual Canadian E-Learning Conference will take place in Edmonton at the University of Alberta on June 18 to 22, 2007. This is the former Canadian WebCT conference that UofA have hosted over the last 4 years. The title is explore 2007.

This conference will be very different because of the take over of WebCT by Blackboard and the organizers are working hard for make this a conference for all WebCT and Blackboard users in Canada, as well as other platforms.

The call for proposals is out right now and the due date is March 20th. If you are accepted your registration fee is cut to $100.

Plan to attend. I have submitted proposals to offer the 25 Google Learning Tools workshop that Jeff Hamilton and I have developed. This workshop has attracted a lot of interest when we have offered it. I am also working on a concurrent presentation about the top 10 free tools you can use to enhance your WebCT or Blackboard courses.

It will be a great conference. See you there. Click here for details.


Saturday, February 17, 2007

Publishing with Google Tools Module Guide

Publishing with Google Tools Module

In this module you are going to use some of the Google blogging tools to find useful blogs to read, subscribe to their feeds, and even publish your own blog and website.

Google Tools Explored in this module:

  • Blogger
  • Google Blog Search
  • Google Reader
  • Google Alert
  • Google Page Creator

Learning Objectives:

  • Find useful blogs that have postings that would want to read on a regular basis.
  • Setup a blog of your own that you can use to publish your own thoughts, opinions or commentaries on an area of your interest.
  • Setup two tools that will act as agents for you to alert you to new postings on selective blogs or just generally on the Internet, as well as make it easy for you to read the postings.
  • Create an HTML based website using Google Page Creator

Resources Required:

  • A Google or Gmail account login.


  1. This module guide is a posting in one of my blogs in Blogger, one of the most popular blogging tools around. Google acquired Blogger awhile back and recently it just came out of Beta release. Explore the features of this blog. Can you find the archive of past postings, organized both by date and topic?
  2. This blog is one that I started a few months ago to post my views and reviews about Ed Tech. Post a comment at the bottom of this post and let us know who useful you may find this particular blog useful, or suggestions on how I could improve it.
  3. Think of a topic within Ed Tech that you would find useful and enter a keyword or two into the Search Blog tool at the top and left of the page and see if I have posted something about that. Did I?
  4. There are thousands of blogs out on the net and many on Blogger along. Click on the
    Next Blog>> link at the top and centre and take a look at another blog. Would you find this one useful? You may need to click on the Next Blog>> again.
    Google Blog Search
  5. Now lets search all of the blogs out there for some useful posts. Go to the Google Blog Search and enter in a key word or two describing a topic you are interested in
    reading about. Find at least two blogs that you will want to subscribe to later in this module and bookmark their URLs.
    Google Alerts
  6. New blogs are created every minute and there may be one that is useful to you that gets created tomorrow. Well, you could always do another Blog Search to find it but better yet, use the Google Alert tool to let Google let you know. Go to Google Alerts and enter in a keyword or two you would like to be alerted about, and your email address. You may want to change the other options or just leave them as their defaults. If you are already signed in with your Google account you won't need to enter your email address. You can have as many alerts as you wish.
    Google Reader
  7. Hopefully you now have 2 or 3 blogs identified that you would like to read on a regular basis. We are now going to set up Google Reader to help you monitor and read the postings on these sites. If you would like a list of blogs that I subscribe to see below. Go to Google Reader and sign in with your Google login. As you create your Reader for the first time, you may choice to add some of the feeds offered but it is up to you.
  8. Most blogs have an RSS feed when will allow Google Reader to automatically check for new postings and present them to you to read. It is easy to add these to your Subscription list in Reader because you just need to click on Add Subscription and paste in the URL from the blog site and let Google Reader set up the feed connection. Add 2 or 3 blog sites subscriptions to your list. Feel free to add any of the ones I have listed below.
  9. If you get a lot of blogs subscriptions, you can go to the Manage Subscriptions tool where you can set up various folders, tags and other tools for organizing your subscriptions. Now take some time to actually read some of the postings. As you do, notice how Reader keeps track of what you have read. It will do this even if you access Reader from multiple computers because the information is stored on the server and not your computer. You can use the tags feature and some of the advanced publishing features to share selected postings with your class.
  10. Would you now like to create your own blog? Go to the Blogger start page and sign in with your Google account. Review the information about blogs presented here.
  11. If you are ready to create your blog click on the big orange arrow that say Create your blow now and follow the directions of this wizard. Feel free to just create test blog, it is free. Or if you have figured out a purpose for you blog, create one and start publish your postings.
    Google Page Creator
  12. Blogs are different than Websites and you may want to build a website using
    the Google Page Creator tool. Click
    here to access my website built in Google Page Creator.
    What is nice about
    this tool, is that it is free, no HTML knowledge required and you get 100MB
    of space.
  13. Click here to start your own website using
    this tool. To get started, simply click on Create a New Page button and follow
    the directions on the new page. Explore the tools. Look for buttons to change
    the look and layout of the page. And experiment with the editing tools. When
    you are finished you can Publish your page by click on the publish button and
    you will see the URL for your site at the bottom. It should be something like
  14. Try adding a gadget or more pages and then inserting links to them on your
    home page. Could it be any easier to publish a website?
  15. Go back to the Teaching with Google Group and look for the discussion thread
    about Publishing with Google Tools. Review the postings there and post your
    own message describing how useful you found the Google tools you explored in this module. Please include links to your Blog and Page Creator website so we can view them.
  16. Go to the bottom of this page and click on the Reward link for a reward video clip on Google Video for completing this learning activity.

Additional Resources:

Some blogs I subscribe to about Educational Technologies:

Click here to access the next module in this workshop, Google Does Office and More.


Saturday, February 10, 2007 Free Online Photo Editing

There are many photo editing tools out there and typically you will get one free with your camera or scanner. And you would like a great one for installing on your computer try Google's Picasa. But, let's say you are at the office, at you school and you need to edit a photo right now and you don't have Picasa, or another photo editor installed. And you don't have admin rights to install Picasa, well then go to PicNik at The is a free online web-based photo editing tool. You can even use it without an account but sign up for one, it is free. And PicNik is VERY easy to use. You can use it and direct your students to it. If you have a Flickr account it can connect directly to it.

I found that I could easily do the following useful things:
  • Remove red-eye from a photo
  • Take a photo using my Web Cam
  • Crop that photo
  • Resize the photo
  • Adjust the brightness
  • Save it to me computer or email it to a friend
  • And a lot more features
One thing I would find very useful is that often students will send me or post a photo to our course site but they have not resized it down to fit within a screen. This is normally due to the new digital cameras using resolutions optimized for printing but not screen viewing and they don't know how to resize it down, or crop it. And often when I ask them if they have a photo editor on their computer, they have no idea. So I am going to send them to the PikNik site.


Thursday, February 08, 2007

Picasa and a Digital Camera OCC2007

At the Online Connectivism Conference that I have been kind of monitoring this week, I did catch the presentation by Diana Oblinger. In her address, she talked about many things but one thing hit me that I want to comment on here. She stated that the younger generation is very much more visual orientated that we are, their instructors. She said that we, the older generation, are not very good at using visuals to teach, but we need to learn how to use visuals more.

This is consistent with some of the work we have been done to encourage instructors to improve their classroom presentations. Typically we use PowerPoint but the slides have more text on them instead of visuals. But, good visuals are hard to come by and you don't have permission to use most of the really good ones. So what is the solution?

How about this, buy yourself a digital camera. You can pick up one for less than $100 right now. Here is one on the FutureShop website that would work great. Click here to see it. These cameras are 5 Megapixels, which is all you need. It is small enough to fit in your pocket and you can use it to create your own visuals for your teaching, whether you are in class or online. Carry it around and take lots of pictures of things that will have you illustrate your presentations. Take pictures and short video clips of examples of the concepts you are teaching. These cameras will let you take hundreds of photos on inexpensive memory cards. Pro photographers take over 100 photos in order to get a really valuable one.

You can then use Picasa, a free photo organizer and touch-up tool. It will help you transfer your photos from the camera to your computer where you can sift out the best ones. It is a free download from Google and it is better than the software that comes with the camera.

Click here to download Picasa.

I have also just discover a new free online tool for editing and organizing your photos. It is call Picnik and you can access it at

You can also download Wink, a free tool for making narrated slide shows in flash movies that you can post on the Web.

These are the new tools of the teaching craft. Just like you need to buy yourself a computer, a headset with microphone and now a digital camera. Don't balk at not getting your school to pay for it, you need these tools and you need to master them, or get left behind.

Monday, January 29, 2007

27 tips for teleconferencing

Anne Zelenka, posted a posting on Web Worker Daily about 27 tips for teleconferencing. There are many very useful tips here that apply to learning conferences. Check it out at

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Free Online Music Jukebox

Clayton R. Wright just emailed me this really cool site where you can go and play 100's of top hits from the 1950's, 60's, 70's and up to 1982. I found several of my old favourites like Crimson and Clover, Stairway to Heaven and Honkytonk Woman. The best thing is that this site is free and you can just pick a play list and go back to work, listening to the music in the back ground.

All of the music appears to be in Flash format so you just need the Flash Player installed. And the flash files download quickly while playing, then frees up your network connection for other things.

Check it out at

Saturday, January 20, 2007

TCC 2007 Online Conference

TCC Worldwide Online Conference or Technology, Colleges and Community is a online conference designed for university and college practitioners. Interact in live presentations from the comfort of your office or work place. This year will be the 12th annual online conference.

The dates are April 17-19, 2007 with pre-conference dates: April 3-4, 2007. The call for proposals is still open but the due date for submissions is January 26.

The theme for this year is Blending Community and Multimedia in Ubiquitous Learning.

I have attended this conference a couple of times and it is very worthwhile. It attracts participants from all over the world.

Because it is an online conference you can save travel costs and the registration is low ($99 US) because they don't have to rent large halls or feed you.

Click here to access the information website.

GIMP: Free Photo Graphic Editor

GIMP is the GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a freely distributed piece of software for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring. It works on many operating systems, in many languages. It is a bitmap based editor that is free and easy to use, yet very powerful and rivals programs like PhotoShop and Fireworks.

To install it on Windows, go to the Installers website at
You will need to download and install the GTK+ 2 Runtime Environment first but that is available from the same site.

Installers for Unix and Mac OS are available from

This tool could be used by teachers and students for developing images and photos. It supports many advanced features like:
  • Pattern and Radiant fills
  • Layers
  • Pressure sensitive pen tablets
  • Multiple Language support
  • Additional plug-in for Animation development.
Plenty of online tutorials are available at

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Soople: A New Face to Google?

Check out this tool. Soople is an alternative user interface to Google. It gives you a series easier search entry forms so you can access the more advanced, but hidden, search features of Google. For example, did you know there is a Glossary, Calculator, Name finder and other cool specialized search tools in Google?

Click here to see the basic start page in Soople, But click here for a great set of advanced math based calculator tools that students and teachers would find very useful.

Predictions for 2007

has published a list of predictions from several of the gurus in the field of e-learning. These include Don Norman, Elliot Massie, Stephen Downs, Curtis Bonk, and many more.

Click here to access the article and post your comments below. Do you agree? Do you have your own?

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Group Effectiveness Video

This video clip is about 12 min long and in Flash format for easy access over the Internet. This presentation reviews and illustrates the principles of effective groupwork. It can be applied to all types of teams.

This clip was produced by the Media Production Services unit at Mount Royal College. It is being shared to the public for learning purposes so feel free to show it to your classes if you find it useful. It is being streamed out using the MRC Breeze server so it should be quite viewable even on a dial-up connection. The URL is

The presentation is very well produced and speaks to common issues and concerns that students have when working with a group to complete an assignment. Well, you may want to skip over the animated introduction.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Jane Hart's E-Learning For Free Information Service

I have been wanting to build a website where I had lists of all of the free and useful elearning tools, online presentations, books and other resources so I can share these with others and invite others to help me add to the list, and this blog is one way of me trying to do this. But the other day I ran across a site just like the one I had in mind but Jane Hart had already built it. This is a great site and a lot of very useful lists. Check it out at

On Jane's site you can find the following lists:
  • Over 400 free tools for elearning
  • a Guide to Choosing & Using Free Tools
  • Free ebook about elearning
  • Free conferences that you can attend about elearning
  • a list of articles and interview about elearning
In Jane's blog she share a pick of the day, every day. You may want to subscribe to this one. I have.

Monday, January 01, 2007

Real Alternative and Media Player Classic

About a year ago I ran into a problem that our IT department had blacklisted the Real Media Player for installation on our college computers, yet we had just subscribed to a PD Resource site that required the Real Media Player in order to play many of its recorded presentations. The reason Real Media Player was blacklisted because it now carries with it a lot of spyware and other undesirables.

We found a solution, a alternative player Real Alternative . And best of all it is free. Click here to access it now. It is based on the freeware Media Player Classic, which is a really nice little player that have many other uses other than playing Real Media.

Here are the reasons I recommend this:
  • It is easier to install and use.
  • It is fast, free and legal to distribute.
  • Plugs nicely into IE or Firefox
  • Plays a lot of other multi-media formats
  • Also plays DVDs better than the other DVD players I have:
  • Support real-time zoom
  • Supports saving bookmarks in your media presentations and DVD movies.
  • I can fast forward and rewind easier.
BTW, if you also want to avoid installing QuickTime, there is a QuickTime codec for Media Player Classic also. Click here to access.