Monday, February 21, 2011

Week 5 - Online Applications
Richardson's information about Flickr was good, although I thought it could have been better illustrated.I felt like there was too much "busy work" this week.  It was difficult to keep all of the applications straight with the exceptions of the standouts, like Flickr.

I think evaluating and "playing" with 13 online tools was overwhelming for one week.  I would have liked to focus on less of the same and only the best of what's available.

Of the word processing tools (Google, Zoho) Google Docs is my favorite.  In addition to using it for word processing there are other benefits, such as the reader to review all your RSS feeds, the calendar, presentation, spread sheet, templates etc.  I like the clean simplicity of Google.
The conversion tool was simple and easy to use, I especially like how easy it was to convert a spread sheet to a document and a document to a pdf file.

When evaluating Doodle vs. Google calendar my preferred calendar would be Google.  I can do everything and more in Google vs. Doodle.  I felt like Doodle was really vanilla and unfinished.
I really enjoyed using Animoto.  I liked how easy it was.  I can see lots of collaboration projects between students and teachers.  It would be
a great tool to use to compile photos from a class trips or to put on a wiki, blog or use as an RSS feed for school news.

Using StumbleUpon as a random web finder was in my opinion a huge waste of time.  I would use a good search engine hands down over randomly stumbling over websites.

I enjoyed using Rollyo.  Rollyo lets you build search rolls by creating a list of websites.  I though this was a good tool to keep students focused on their research, rather than using Google and getting lost on the web.
I liked the Jing animation application.  Being able to use this application to capture what you are doing on screen to create self-guided studies and tutorials is an excellent use of this application.  I would also use this to capture screen prints to create handbooks for the self-guided studies and tutorials.  Jing can also be used as a professional development tool.  I would create tutorials for teachers who would like to learn about something on their own time at their own pace.
One of my favorite applications was Animoto. Animoto can bring photographs to life by creating a beautiful visual presentation set to music. Animoto also gives you the ability to incorporate video within your presentations.
Dumpr was another good tool.  Dumpr gives you the ability edit photos with ease. I especially liked the photo to sketch option.  I can see collaboration between art and technology teachers.  Dumpr has many different effects to choose from such as turning a photo into a puzzle, or a Rubik's cube!

I hope you have enjoyed a tour through these 13 application.  Some are free, some are not.  Some are free with a paid upgrade.   Some are worth the price of an upgrade some are not.  I'll let you decide.
Below you'll find images for all the applications that we've discussed in this post.  Please notice that I have also supplied the internet address under each image, it will make it easy to copy and paste so you can check it out! 

Have fun!

Find new things!
Create a survey!

Create your alias!

Create customized search lists!

                                         Create org chats!

                                                                                  Doodle away!


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Week 4 ~ Let's Get Organized

This week we've been reviewing, exploring and using online organizational tools.  So far I'm pretty happy using them, here's why.

Google Reader - I think I'm in love with this feature!  I love being able to view my blogs easily and in one location without going through blogger dashboard.  This is fantastic.  I've also taught my husband how to use this feature, he's really enjoyed using it.  It's like one stop shopping!  If you would like more information on Google Reader you can click on "Help" from within Google Reader and there are many tips on using this tool.  You will find topics on "Recommended Articles" and "Learn More about using Google Reader," each of these topics have sub-topics for you to explore. 

Google Calendar - An electronic calendar in which you can share information with others or keep private.  I especially like the To-Do list, Reminder, and Repeat event features.  I would suggest that you review the "Help" screen and read the "Getting Started" section if you need assistance.

RSS Reader - RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication. This format is  used to publish frequently updated works—such as blog entries, news headlines, audio, and video.  The biggest benefit is that the most recent information comes to you, you do not have to go after it - once you've set up the RSS feed.  You can use RSS to do 24/7/365 research for you!  Your RSS feeds will find the latest news on a variety of topics, you will need to setup the search criteria that works for you.

I selected a variety of RSS feeds to add to my blog, I hope you enjoy them, I do! I'm really enjoying watching the news changes, and it will be interesting to see the changes on my other selections.  I've selected all the options for my RSS feeds, however, I'm sure as I continue to learn I'll keep these options to a minimum for space reasons.  
The History Chef ~ a really interesting blog that combines recipes and history.
The Huffington Post News ~ some really interesting news.
The Library of Congress ~ some top news on what's going on in our nation's library.
The Happy Accident ~ a writer with a blog who is interested in the use of social media. 

Delicious - The jury is still out on using Delicious.  Although the main advantage is keeping links on-line and the ability to share them.  Some other advantages would be traveling and having your links available and sharing them with communities of people with like interests.  Hopefully after more time with it I'll appreciate it more.  The "Help" screen provides some pretty good information, the Getting Started is definitely worth investigating if you are new to using organizational tools.  Here's my link, enjoy!

Library Site - For my library site I selected Library Thing and I added some of the books that I read in the past six months.  I am enjoying this organization tool.  I can see a real benefit to using it, especially if you are collecting books and want to group them or keep them organized by topic(s).

This is a tool that I'll be sharing with my husband, as he creates books lists for his students in American Government, American History Before 1865 and American Government After 1865.  He'll be able to share this list very easily. There are so many features to explore I could go on forever!

I have also discovered that using the Tags is key to keeping my books organized!  I also like all the sorting features within my book list, it's a great way to find books.

Below is a sample of some of the books that I have added to my "electronic book case," If you look to the right I've added the LibraryThing widget so you can see the book covers!  I hope you enjoy my eclectic collection of reading materials!  

1.  Pink Chimneys: A Novel of Nineteenth Century Maine by Ardeana Hamlin Knowles
2.  The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer
3.  The Magic Ship by Sandra Paretti
4.  My life in France by Julia Child with Alex Prud'homme
5.  Faces of America: How 12 Extrodinary People Discovered their Past by Henry Louis Gates, Jr.

    I hope you have discovered new tools to use and have enjoyed traveling along with me on my "Organizational" journey.  If you have any questions or need more clarification please feel free to leave a comment below and I will follow-up with you!  

    Have a great day!