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Monthly Archives: May 2011

A website worth featuring

Attention:

I don’t do this often, but the Academic Earth website it definitely worth featuring.  The website features videos from some of the best educational courses the world has to offer.  For example lectures from: Berkley, Columbia, Harvard, Khan Academy, Maryland, Michigan. MIT, Norwich, NYU, Princeton, Stanford, UCLA, UNSW, UCS and Yale are all embedded within it.

The site is simple, intuitive and to the point.  Videos load quick as they are often embedded directly through Youtube.

Proof:

I am not going to get into the debate about whether education is good for you or not.

However, I am going to point you to a study that actually says that online learning could be better than learning in a classroom.  The study is called Evaluation of Evidence-Based Practices in Online Learning.  It is summed up well in this article by the New York Times.

The Bakers Guide also supports this theory.  Alas, they are an online learning community and could therefore be viewing their evidence with a bias.

Whichever way the debate goes, you can’t go wrong with watching a view videos from the Academic Earth for educational growth, as opposed to the latest on the television.  So what can you do?

Strategy:

  • Save Money. Instead of spending thousands of dollars for courses that you would like to take, go to the Academic Earth website and view the best of the best
  • Search by Subject
  • Search by Top Rated Instructors
  • Search by Top Rated Lectures
  • Search by Top Rated Courses
  • Search by Top Rated Playlists
  • Read more about online free learning here
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Get better at Youtube

Attention:

Did you know that you can become more efficient at watching videos on Youtube?  That’s right, you can. If you spend a lot of time watching videos through this forum you might as well get better at it, and I bet you hadn’t even thought about something like this.

Proof:

On videos, YouTube allows users to select from 240p, 360p, 480p, 720p, and 1080p. These are all resolutions.

Without going into too much detail, this number refers to the vertical resolution of the source video in pixels, and generally the larger the number the more crisp the video. H3xed

Strategy:

  • Click on the bottom right number, possibly showing 1080p, 720p, 480p, 360p setting and choose the lowest number, which is probably 240p
  • Try clicking any place on the loading bar.  The video should load from there.
  • Allow the video to load first by pressing the pause.  You know it is loading because the red line should appear all the way down to the end
  • NOTE: Sometimes you might notice the video is loading at a slow, but steady rate and all of a sudden the red bar jumps to the end.  This probably means the video is truncated.  Refresh your browser to load the video again
  • There are other options to install accelerators and downloaders that this eHow article mentions

I hope that makes your already pleasant Youtube viewing day a bit pleasanter.  For a few things that you can learn on Youtube, check out this Tomash.Soup blog.  Happy viewing!

 
 

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Here’s a quick way to get attention, give proof, and have a strategy

Attention:

Read this now to understand my gripping way to write.  This article showcases the formula for how I will post in the future.  Within each article I will follow a casual, strategic, useful and therefore an easy to follow style of writing.  After grabbing your attention like I did already I will make you want to read on because I will systematically give you proof like the following.

Proof: 

In the jump article by ProBlogger, “making posts easy to scan” and “consistency” are two points that I will also use in my blog posts.  Chris Brogan reiterates making posts easy to read with the idea of structure.  He says:

Note that I use the “strong” tag to separate segments throughout the post. There are a few reasons to do that:

  • It gives your eyes a way to skim.
  • It breaks up the post.
  • It rolls into an easy summary

Strategy: 

In each blog post, you will notice that I will:

  • be compartmentalized into the three categories: Attention, Proof and Strategy because it is simple, formulaic and logical.
  • use bulleted lists as often as possible, as they are easier to read and glean information from quickly
  • highlight important information within articles, to allow for people to skim fast through articles for the most relevant information
  • support reasons with sourced, recent and relevant evidence as this University of North Carolina article points to as having impact.

You too, can write good articles by following this simplified strategy.  Read more at the jumps listed earlier or do some relevant and recent research by searching for: “How to write good blogs”.  Tell me what you think of my new approach to blog writing.

 

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I wonder when they will start making this?

The three coolest things I have seen lately are the Fujitzu 4 in 1 Bento Box, the Sixth Sense by Pranav Mistry and this concept phone, which is pretty slick.

All three devices are moving away from the touch keyboard the way we know it.  As I mentioned in the Bento Box article, I like the tactile feel of a nice keyboard, but I was sitting in an ISTEC meeting the other day taking notes on my iPad with the touchscreen keyboard, and I felt this was something I could get used to.  This would especially be true if it was not something that I was brought up with.

I was talking with a PYP computer teacher the other day and she was saying that little kids seem to have a much faster learning curve on an iPad versus computers with a traditional mouse and keyboard.  This idea led me to thinking about a question posed at the ISTEC meeting, “What are fundamental skills that all students should have by the time they graduate from high-school?” and a group member thought one part of the answer was “touch typing skills”

I wonder if this will actually be a skill set in the future.  I guess we will have to just wait and see.  In the meantime, I can’t wait to add more new gadgets that make my jaws drop when I see them to this list.  Enjoy the earlier jumps and the following video.

 
 

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Create comic strips like a Pro

Less than 2 minutes is all it took me to make the above comic strip.  The learning curve using stripgenerator.com is low.  The options are seemingly endless.  The ability for teachers to use this in their classroom at a low age is high.  There is a “like” factor for kids.  Why not explore it for yourself.  I have listed some of the abilities with this all-in-one website below.

Strip Generator allows for different types of:

  • frames
  • characters (plus you can build your own)
  • items (like tvs, hats, books, toys, instruments and so much more)
  • text (and text bubbles)

Everything can:

  • be rotated
  • be re-sized
  • be arranged front to back
  • blurred
  • have its opacity changed

When you finish you can tag, print, share on Facebook and Twitter, embed on your website or blog, or even join with other strips you have made to create a booklet.  The website is very intuitive.  I can see many uses for it in education and give it 5 out of 5 stars as a resource.

 

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So you want a Resource within a Resource, huh?

  • August 16th, 1970 is the birth of the Internet
  • September 19th, 1982 we see the first emoticon 🙂 introduced by Scott E. Fahlman
  • April 1996 is the advent of the first webcam girl with Jennycam
  • June 13th, 2006 lolspeak comes into mainstream through I Can Has Cheeseburger?

The reason I mention the preceding internet memes is because I feel like I have found an excellent resource within a resource which these are just a glimpse of.

The first resource is www.dipity.com.  It is a website that is made for creating timelines and its easy.  Its social, which means that you can follow other people, recommend them, and comment on their timelines.

Within that resource is a timeline created by tatercakes that goes much more in depth about internet memes than what I have done.  As a technology teacher, I think it is really neat and useful timeline.  It has been viewed 4309304 times and can be found here.

Go beyond just viewing tatercakes timeline.  Search for others that might interest you.  Be a part of the web and create your own timeline for others to share, recommend and comment on.  Possibly your timeline might become the next internet meme that tatercakes will be adding to his timeline in the future. 🙂

 

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Online Learning: Good or Bad?

I was recently in a forum where Berno Nilssonasked asked the question, “What do you think about online learning?”

My response was:

I believe that online learning is a growing educational forum.  I feel that all educators need to consider this as something that is not an alternative but is considered necessary integration in education.  Students today are living online.  We need to meet them in the arena they know best.

Judith Hammock, another responder, wrote:

I believe that online distance learning will continue to build momentum in the future. It brings education to students who do not have access to colleges and universities and provides them opportunities they never had before. Online teaching, to me, requires some special skills. These include the ability to show your enthusiasm for your subject matter through writing, good organizational skills, and the ability to engage your students without your physical presence.

Having had experience with online learning both with teaching and as a student, I feel that the best instructors provide a caring atmosphere which keeps the students engaged.

Conversely there is the argument that online learning takes away from the personal, humanness that we should nurture as we grow.  We need to tread slowly in this journey into the digital.  For example C. L. Max Nikias writes:
…between the ages of 17 and 22, a person’s mind and spirit open wide, as she begins to explore her world, her place in it, and what she intends to contribute to her society. It is during this age that some of a person’s most intense bonds and affiliations take shape. Because of this, the best undergraduate college or university education should be experienced in community, so that shared social, athletic and cultural experiences can be as mutually transforming as the intellectual experiences inside the classroom, library or laboratory.
My argument is also that online learning does not need to be separate from learning at school, especially in earlier years.  Teachers should be guiding students through ways to learn online.  I have a blog post that talks about Searching beyond Google and a page that Explores ways to Collaborate Online.
 
 

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