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Ten Excellent Online Apps For The Innovative Teacher
Teachers for all levels of students today have so many more teaching aids than even just a few years ago. That's not just because of greater access to the Internet but also because of the growing number of web applications that they can use. Some applications are specifically geared towards teaching and learning. Other applications can be adapted for these purposes. Here's a list of some online applications, listed alphabetically, that we feel are excellent for teachers.
1. Chalksite. Chalksite is designed for teachers to let them give students and parents access to grades and assignments and even to communicate with them. Teachers get a personal website that's easy to use. Other features include student profiles, individual student accounts, messaging to one or more students or parents, grade entry and calculations, and discussions via messages and weblog comments.
Pricing ranges from a free plan up to US$14.95/ month. Students join free, and have access via an Internet connection and tested web browsers: Internet Explorer 6+, Firefox, Apple Safari. Since it's a hosted application, no other softwareis installed.
2. Edublogs. While something like Chalksite is ideal for some teachers, sometimes you just want a simple way to distribute information to your students, or even other teachers. Edublogs is an education community built on WordPress-powered blogs. It's free, and like most blogging platforms, you can embed video, podcasts, etc.
Edublogs offers 10 ways to use an edublog for teaching, which includes class publications and newsletters, online discussions, allowing student blogs, and adding multimedia. If you have a webcam, you can upload video files to YouTube and embed those into your blog. For more sophisticated video slideshows, try SplashCast Media's player. If you have the budget, Couple this with Techsmith's Snagit screen still capture and Camtasia Studio screen video capture applications.
3. Empressr. If you want to go beyond presentations into multimedia, try Empressr. It's stil in private beta, but you can register. Empressr is one of many web serivces that allow sharing of multimedia content, including video, audio and images.
Essentially, you can put together slideshows and upload them to the Empressr site. Visitors can view your media content then email it or even embed it on their web page. So in fact, you could combine Empressr content with your Edublogs blog. The existing content on their site even has an Education category. So it's ideal for teachers, but students can also use it to post their own multimedia content.
Similar tools are Slide, which let's you upload a selection of images to produce a slideshow. Another is SplashCast, mentioned elsewhere in this article. Both allow embedding of content, which you can apply to an Edublogs blog.
4. Engrade. Engrade, as the name might suggest, is an online gradebook. Teachers can create grade and attendance books, post homework information to a calendar, and add student reports. Students and parents can check grades, attendance and homework.
Accounts are completely free of charge and the site claims over 200,000 teachers, parents and students are using Engrade.
5. Google Presentations.
Many teachers use overhead projectors to give presentations. On the web, it's a lot easier to produce more sophisticated presentations and even share them. Google Presentations, which is part of Google Docs, gives you the same functionality as Microsoft Powerpoint. The content is shareable, simply by specifying email addresses. So teams can work together online.
One of the most effective ways to brainstorm ideas is with mindmapping. This is because a mindmap allows a lot of freedom in terms of how you add new bits of information. Mindmaps are great for organizing information hierarchically, producing project plans, managing projects, critical thinking, and hundreds more uses. Because most good mindmapping software allows you to expand or collapse nodes, you can switch between high-level and low-level views.
Web-based mindmaps have not been around as long as the desktop versions, but a few of them have advanced features. Mindomo is amongst the most sophisticated, with more features than some low-end desktop mindmapping applications such as Freemind (free). Mindomo, amongst others, allows document sharing. Comapping allows real-time collaboration. Other alternatives include MindMeister and Bubbl.us. Most of these web-based apps have both free and paid options.
Moodle is similar to Edublogs in that it's a means to publish teaching/ training content online. It differs in that it's not a hosted application. It's a content management system that must be installed – either on a local computer or on a web host.
It's free, Open Source software for building and publishing course material, and it can handle up to 200,000 students for one online "university". There's also a large user community (over 300,000 users) speaking over 70 languages, so it's easy to get some feedback, ask questions, etc.
Schoopy bills itself as a classroom organizer. It also lets schools publish their own website, and offers educational games online. Websites can contain class calendars, information about assignments, answers to assignments and quizzes, images and files. Content can be accessed by teachers, students and parents. Ther are also social networking features, which will help students get used to using social networks.
This web software is free of charge, though to get rid of the default contextual advertising requires a fee of US$499 per school year.
9. Yahoo Pipes.
Yahoo Pipes isn't so much a teaching tool as it is a great visual platform to build powerful web-based research tools that manipulate web feed data. While it's still in beta and thus buggy or even down for maintenance on occasion, it's ideal for building filtered web feed aggregators, custom search engines, map-based interfaces for geocoded data, and more. You can even integrate your own web services. Pipes applications can be personal or public.
10. Zap Reader.
Various studies – and personal experience – show that speedreading can increase comprehension. The net result of this, of course, is often increased IQ, better grades, and an increased love of reading.
The problem is that some people find it hard to maintain the effort of running their finger across a printed page. And what do you do online? Most print fonts are just not conducive to speed reading.
About 15 percent of customers have apparently unlocked their phones.
Peter Sayer, IDG News Service
French mobile phone operator Orange sold 30,000 iPhones in the five days following its November 29 launch, the company said Wednesday.
In comparison, German operator T-Mobile said it sold 10,000 on November 9, the day the phone went on sale there. Apple's U.K. partner O2 said the phone is its fastest-selling ever, but refused to give sales figures.
Some 80 percent of Orange customers bought the iPhone with an "Orange for iPhone" service contract that includes unlimited access to the Internet and the Visual Voicemail service.
Those customers paid €399 (US$585) for their iPhone, the same price T-Mobile charges for its iPhones.
Orange also offers the iPhone for €549 with other types of contract, or €649 without a contract.
About 1,500 were sold without a contract, said Orange spokesman Louis Michel Aymard.
Customers buying an iPhone from Orange for use on another operator's network must pay a €100 unlocking charge, which is waived if they wait for six months from the purchase date. Since an iPhone without a contract is of little use on Orange's network, the majority of those 1,500 customers have probably unlocked their phones, Aymard said.
Orange is now the only one of Apple's network operator partners to sell the iPhone unlocked. It does so to comply with a French law that forbids making the sale of one item conditional on the sale of another.
T-Mobile briefly offered unlocked iPhones for €999 to comply with a temporary court injunction. It had been sued by rival operator Vodafone, which claimed that selling the phone tied to a two-year contract breached Germany's consumer protection laws. On Tuesday, a court in Hamburg rejected Vodafone's complaint, giving T-Mobile the go-ahead to sell the phone bundled with a contract.
Early sales of the iPhone in Europe are dwarfed by its success in the U.S., where Apple and operator partner AT&T sold 270,000 on the first weekend. The U.S. population is almost four times that of Germany, and around five times that of France.
Apple said it took 74 days to sell the first million iPhones following its U.S. launch — a milestone that it took the iPod two years to reach. But sales of mobile phones far outstrip those of digital audio players like the iPod: Last year, almost 1 billion mobile phones were sold worldwide, 164 million of them in North America and 175 million of them in Western Europe, according to market analyst Gartner.
By: Mark Hendrickson
Eyejot, a service in which you can send short webcam-recorded clips of yourself to others, has added some premium features for power users: video uploading, unlimited storage, 5-minute recording time, mobile access, and freedom from advertising.
Eyejot is essentially video email, as oppose to other webcam-based communication services like TokBox that gets people together for live webcam sessions. The free version only allows for 60-second long messages, 1 month of storage, and direct recording from a webcam. This ad-supported version should be more than adequate for most users (although having one’s messages disappear after a month could be most troubling).
Whether or not you pay $15 per year for the premium version, you can send videos to friends who don’t even have an Eyejot accounts and your messages will play back instantaneously. Nick and I sent some messages back and forth in the office and found the product fairly easy to use.
If you really dig sending video messages rather than simple email, you can also use Eyejot This to share video-annotated webpages. If video isn’t your thing but you want to spice up your messages with audio and slideshow functionality, try GoldMail.
Check out this list for more quick video related services.
Channel : Web And Graphics Design
SWiSH Max has everything you need to create stunning fully interactive Flash animations. You can create shapes, text, buttons, movie clips, and motion paths. You can also include more than 230 ready-to-use animated effects including explode, vortex, 3D spin, and wave. You can create your own effects or make an interactive movie by adding actions to objects. A scripting language allows you to program sophisticated operations into your animations. You can preview your animation inside SWiSH Max without launching a browser or external player, and live editing lets you make changes while the animation is playing. SWiSH Max creates all the files you need to upload to your Web server, or you can generate the HTML code to paste into an existing Web page.
SWFText is an author tool of Flash text animation. It embraces 160+ text effects and 40+ background effects, and users may also customize all the properties of a Flash, including font, text color, and layout. With SWFText, a user without any experience of Flash development can easily create a Flash banner or an introductory page within a few minutes. And all you need do is to input text, select font, and animation effects.
Anim-FX is a multiline Flash animator. With Anim-FX you can create animated text effects – such as intros, splash screens and banners for your website- fast and easy. It is a very compact tool based on a wide range of animation templates. Benefits of Anim-FX: up to 5 lines of animated text; unlimited number of characters; 71 great templates; background and text animations; user-friendly interface; easy to update.
A4 Flash Menu Builder
A4 Flash Menu Builder is an all-in-one, easy-to-use, templates-based Flash Menu Building software. It helps you to create professional looking Flash menu headers in minutes, with dropdown sub-menus, background image, music, and icon buttons. No any Flash programming, scripting, or design skills required. Features include: easy creation of Flash menu headers without coding; more attraction to your visitors, and faster loading speed; a variety of ready-to-use templates for you to choose from, and to build your Flash menus quickly and easily; fully customized, with font size, color, and animated Flash effects; background music for your Web site, and sound effects for mouse-over events.
Flash Effect Maker Pro
Flash Effect Maker is a Flash Web Design tool to help Web master design animated Flash website, flash intros, Flash banners, Flash ads, and any other Flash. With Flash Effect Maker you can place your own photos as font frontground and page background. And then combine them with animated text, background effect to create fun Flash movies, all in just minutes. The Flash Effect Maker enables you to create simple as well as complex Flash animations whereby you can combine different fonts and effects within a single Flash animation. You can save SWF file to EXE Flash Player, and than send it to your friends. The EXE Flash Player support set to wallpaper and screensaver also.
KoolMoves is an affordable Flash-authoring tool, both powerful and easy to use. It is ideal for creating a wide range of Web content, including high-impact Web pages, banners, navigation systems, and multimedia slide shows. It features libraries of text effects, Flash templates, and clip art. For advanced users, it has Flash 8 action scripting, interface components, and bones for character animation.
Sothink SWF Quicker
SWF Quicker is a Versatile Flash Maker and SWF editor, providing a group of tools for you to create vector graphics and texts in the way of WYSIWYG, which also supports the syntax of ActionScript 2.0. A large amount of built-in animated effects can also be applied to any elements. The Quick-start Wizard of Flash Album, Banner, Navigation Button and Slide Show templates can guide you to easily create professional Flash arts.
For learning professionals, educators, and business and enterprise users,interactive content is much more effective than static demonstrations or presentations. However, developing and updating professional-quality simulations is expensive, time-consuming, and difficult. With Adobe Captivate 3 software, anyone can rapidly create simple screencasts, powerful and engaging simulations, scenario-based training, and robust quizzes. Easily create screencasts and software demonstrations via editable screen, capture. Rapidly develop eLearning content in different screen recording modes(demo, practice, test). Add interactivity and randomized quizzing without programming knowledge. Easily create engaging learning experiences or online presentations without multimedia skills. Give subject matter experts the ability to create their own eLearning content. Integrate with eLearning tools and learning management systems. Deliver rich Learning content to virtually anyone, anytime, anywhere.
Mix-FX Flash Text Effects
Mix & match your own effects with Mix-FX. Want to create amazing Flash text effects and flash buttons, but don't have Macromedia Flash or don't know how to use it for complex animations? Don't worry, Mix-FX comes to your rescue. This simple-to-use program lets you create absolutely stunning effects in just seconds. What is Mix-FX? It's a text and background effect animator. With Mix-FX, you can create hundreds of different effect combinations. Change sizes and colors and you have millions of possibilities. Load your the effect you just created into Flash 4 or 5, into your PowerPoint presentation, directly onto your website. In Mix-FX what you see is what you get. Customize effects by changing the settings and see the results immediately!
1 Cool Button Tool
TrendyFlash Site Builder
TrendyFlash Site Builder is a tool for creation of professional quality flash Websites. No knowledge of Flash Designing or programming is needed for creating flash sites. The builder supports creation of flash websites of up to 100 pages with the ability to add own logo, JPG images, MP3 music, editable image size, image position and transparency, external links, and contact form. The builder supports rich text editing for all text fields. It includes 150 themes covering different categories and 50 animated designs making 7500 distinct Web site layouts possible. In-built gallery of 200 stock images and 50 music clips. Single click publish generates all the required files ready to be uploaded.
CoffeeCup Flash Firestarter
CoffeeCup Firestarter is a fast and easy way to make Flash effects for your Web site. It can create complex text and image effects with only a few clicks of the mouse. You can make intro pages, navigation systems, and graphic logos. Firestarter has more than 50 built-in, ready-to-use effects; a collection of MP3 sounds; a built-in sound editor; and an easy-to-use interface. You can add text, images, sounds, links, and shapes. Control motion, opacity, and layer order. Import images from any format, and convert WAV files to MP3 format, then export them as Macromedia Flash (SWF) files. Use built-in FTP support to upload your movies. Use the HTML code-generator to copy and paste code right into your Web pages. Firestarter also includes preview capabilities for movies and special effects, as well as the ability to loop audio clips, resize images and apply fade effects to text.
3D Flash Animator
3D Flash Animator gives you everything you need to create Flash animations and games for web pages. Includes vector graphics with gradients, textures, 3D effects and shadows, buttons and animated menus. 2D and 3D text with loads of text effects and transitions including motion blur. Develop games with velocity and acceleration. Includes advanced features such as complete Flash MX action scripting and 3D animation.
Flash4D Home Edition
Look like you spent hours designing an awesome Flash intro when in fact you only spent 3 minutes with Flash4D. Simply select one of the professional intro templates included in the software, customize it with your own text, and then click build to have your personalized Flash intro created for you. With Flash4D, you save time by using the professional designed templates that are included and can create your own Flash intros today without Flash.
LiveSwif Lite 2 is a free Flash maker that lets you create Flash movies, buttons, or banners quickly and easily. It provides several classic vector-drawing tools, including Freehand, Curve, Shape, Spline, Contour, and an in-place text editor. LiveSwif is a typical, keyframe-based animation system. Based on the capability of drawing tools, it provides a path-motion and transform-motion tool. In setting a new position, angle, size, or color in keyframes, LiveSwif will blend the in-between frames automatically. The setup package contains 500 library components.
Explores Flash files, extracts and updates text, graphics, sound and actions. Graphics can be exported in JPEG, PNG and BMP format. Sounds are saved in MP3 or WAV. You can change scene size/frame rate, insert/remove tags or frames, insert, remove or modify actions, change object placement, update URL's, associated with a button object or defined in ActionScript, apply your own URL to the scene or its part, remove/apply soundtrack or video to your movie, edit action scripts and do many other things. Supports up to Flash 8 SWF file format. Some advanced tools are included, such as ActionScript Obfuscator and ActionScript Protector.
These laptops can do it all and are a great choice for most notebook users. Ratings and rankings can change due to pricing and technology changes, so check back frequently for the latest info.
Edited by Carla Thornton
Edited by Carla Thornton
CPU: 2.2-GHz Core 2 Duo T7500
CPU: 2-GHz Core 2 Duo T7300
|var skip = 0; var YsmAds = new Array(); renderYsmAds(3,0);
CPU: 2-GHz Core 2 Duo T7300
CPU: 1.8-GHz Turion 64 X2 TL-56
CPU: 1.5-GHz Core 2 Duo T5250
CPU: 2.2-GHz Core 2 Duo T7500
CPU: 2.2-GHz Core 2 Duo T7500
CPU: 2.2-GHz Core 2 Duo T7500
CPU: 2-GHz Core 2 Duo T7300
A token of gratitude for Britain’s aid during World War II, the Christmas tree in London's Trafalgar Square has been the annual gift of the people of Norway since 1947.
Drink a glass of gluhwein from the holiday market at the Romer—Frankfurt's city hall since 1405—and enjoy a taste of Christmas past.
The Capitol Christmas tree in Washington, D.C., is decorated with 3,000 ornaments that are the handiwork of U.S. schoolchildren. Encircling evergreens in the “Pathway of Peace” represent the 50 U.S. states.
These are the best Web applications there are. We know because you told us.
Over the course of 20 days in May and June, the community of Webware.com users voted for its favorite Web applications. These are the results: the top 100 Web apps, 10 in each of 10 categories, determined by Webware readers and the fans of the sites that made the final cut.
There were more than 5,000 nominations for sites to be included in this awards program, which Webware's editors pruned to a list of 250 finalists. Users then voted on those finalists–there were 489,467 votes cast–to come up with these: The top 100 Webware sites for 2007.
Here are the winners:
Fundamental Web access tools: Browsers, extensions, widgets, and security.
Person-to-person communications platforms: E-mail, chat, voice.
Online gathering places and group-powered content.
Tools for finding online info, and storing and sharing files.
Tools for taking time off: Games and contests.
Places to consume and share videos, photos, and music.
Products that make your mobile phone a Web 2.0 appliance.
Productivity and Commerce
Sites for getting things done and doing online business.
Tools for producing your own site: Blogging and Web content services.
Fonts of knowledge–from history to movies to maps.
Are you a winner of the Webware 100?
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org to get an award logo to place on your site.
By Rafe Needleman – November 27, 2007, 1:22 PM PST
I like new tech. That's one of the reasons I do this job. But there are times when newest is not bestest, when in fact we're better off using old products.
It shouldn't be like this. Technology and engineers' capabilities are advancing so fast right now that everything that is good about a current product can, in theory, easily be built into its successors. But sometimes this doesn't happen. Here are a few choice examples of upgrades that are downgrades, and why you're better off with the older tech:
Apple's ads run in the most creative places.
The obvious number one product for this list. Vista is the new shiny operating system Microsoft released to replace Windows XP. Except it hasn't, because it's a poor upgrade. It's slower, bigger, and buggier. Many people, not just those in the opportunistic Apple ads (and Apple has its own problems), would rather get a new computer with the old XP operating system.
Why it happened: Books will be written about Vista's failures, which, in fairness, probably have as much to do with Microsoft's need to support a vast universe of third-party hardware and software products as with flaws in Microsoft's marketing and software development strategy.
Intuit apparently believes that new users won't buy a personal accounting product if it's last year's model, and it also wants to upgrade its current users each year. So it "sunsets" older versions after three years: it turns off online access to bank updates and eliminates support. Sadly, some older versions of Quicken are faster and more stable than the new versions. But if you're a Quicken user, you can't stick with "classic" versions without giving up useful online features.
Why it continues to happen: Intuit has locked itself into a yearly upgrade cycle on a product that clearly takes more than a year to update.
The old WRT54G wireless router was a reliable and economical product, but a few years ago Linksys released a version 5 of the product that they knew was buggier. Knowledgeable users were able to get the older version by shopping online for the special "WRT54GL" router, which was really the previous version. It cost a few extra bucks, but it was a far better value.
Why it happened: Cost cutting, pure and simple. I covered this in 2006.
The new Zune is a killer product. But the old Zune is the killer deal. Not only is it widely available, which the new version is not, but you can upgrade the old version to the newer software, giving you, essentially, a lot of Zune 2.0's best features for a used car price. You give up some improvements (like the better screen, improved battery life, and touch-sensitive control pad), but the older version is still the better deal.
Why this happened: I tip my hat to Microsoft on this one. Making the old Zune upgradable to the latest software is the right thing to do, and it opens up a value line of Zunes for people who don't want to spend the extra money to get the latest hardware.
This is a personal beef of mine. The last generation of iPod can send video through its audio jack, making it a reasonably priced and convenient system for getting digital video onto your TV. The newest iPods don't have this feature. You need to buy a dock adapter to get the video out. That's robbery, since the machine is clearly capable of showing your video without requiring any special hardware. Speaking of which, iTunes has become a bloated pig, at least on Windows.
Why this happened: Probably Apple saves a few bucks this way. But consumers pay.
Is more better?
If 10 is good, 12 has to be great, right? Each generation of digital cameras gets more resolution. That's good if you want to blow up your images to wall-size, or crop your photos aggressively, but increasing the number of pixels captured in a picture has tradeoffs, especially on compact cameras with tiny sensors to begin with. Increasing resolution can reduce sensitivity and dynamic range, which will result in pictures that just don't look as good, although they may be, technically, sharper. In SLRs, with their big sensors, moving from a 6 megapixel sensor to a 10 megapixel sensor, as is the difference between the almost identical Nikon D40 and D40x, won't cost you much except dollars. But in compact cameras, you might actually pay more for images that aren't as good.
Why this happens: Feature wars and the fact that it's easier to market more-is-better.
On the Web, there's very little opportunity to use "classic" versions of services. When a company updates its service, everyone gets the new version, like it or not. Some giant consumer-grade products are available in older versions, such as Yahoo Mail, and Microsoft Hotmail (news story: Too Hotmail to Handle) but usually only for a short time.
Posted by Declan McCullagh
Jonathan Zittrain speaks at CNET's offices in San Francisco on Wednesday evening.
(Credit: Declan McCullagh/CNET News.com )
SAN FRANCISCO–Restrictive tools and rash approaches to security challenges are endangering the health of the online ecosystem, an Oxford University researcher warned Wednesday.
Jonathan Zittrain, who has written a book due out in April called The Future of the Internet–And How to Stop It, gave a public talk on the issue Wednesday night at CNET's offices here. News.com hosted the talk–a first for our newsroom. The event, which drew 120 people, was sponsored by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
You can call Zittrain's theme the AOL-ization of technology. Instead of personal computers being able to run any program from any source without approval from a third party–which many of us were used to in the 1980s and 1990s–Zittrain fears we're entering a world where centralized approval becomes necessary.
Examples are numerous: Apple's lockdown of the iPhone. Some Google applications that say developers can't "disparage" the company. Facebook.com's copyright policy for developers that says if the application permits file-sharing, they must "register an agent for notices of copyright infringements with the U.S. Copyright Office." Some terms of service agreements that require disclosure of source code. Applications on the Symbian OS that require signatures to work (I don't think Zittrain mentioned this one, but it fits the theme).
"Can you imagine if Microsoft said that for every application that runs on Windows, we get a copy of the source code?" Zittrain asked. Google and Facebook can turn your application "into a brick at any time." Employees from Facebook and Google were sitting in the audience, by the way, but didn't engage him during the Q&A period.
Another way to think about Zittrain's point is to rephrase it this way: Who controls the technology you use? If you think you do, are you sure? There's the case of the FBI almost managing to persuade the courts to let it eavesdrop on an unspecified OnStar-like remote assistance product installed in a luxury car. There's also the lesser-known one of a federal judge ordering Echostar to send software updates to its digital video subscribers that would cripple their devices.
And Zittrain's solution? There's no simple one. Publicity, in the form of persuading people to think about these sorts of trade-offs, is one. Another is distributed control. Zittrain invoked Wikipedia as a model, pointing to project co-founder Jimmy Wales (who was sitting in the front row) and suggesting that in 2001, nobody would have thought a user-edited encyclopedia would work. And they would have been wrong.