A question by one of my Year 7 tutor groups about virtual desktops in Ubuntu Linux got me thinking this morning. I use virtual desktops at home to switch between various ‘modes’ (blogging, record-keeping, email, etc.) so why not at school?
I discovered the excellent, free, Yod’m 3D after reading this Lifehacker post. This adds ‘virtual desktops’ to your Windows PC. Pressing two keys and an arrow key allows you to transfer between desktops really quickly and easily. Coupled with the ‘pause’ (or ‘freeze’) button the remote control for my data projector, this is extraordinarily handy! 🙂
Strange name, useful web app. Mojiti allows you to annotate videos from variety of sources, including YouTube and Google Video. This could be very useful for peer reviewing and even for remixing other people’s content to suit what you’re doing with your particular students!
A post at Tony Vincent’s excellent Learning in Hand blog has informed me of a new ‘game’ for Apple iPods entitled iQuiz. This $0.99 (£0.75) game allows you to view and play quizzes on a 5th generation iPod (known as ‘iPod Video’). Fortunately I have one of these and was able to test it. My verdict? It rocks: really professionally made, very intuitive and could be great to use with students!
There’s immense possibilities for this. I’ve recently added a whole host of iPod-formatted video and audio files to a password-protected page on my website for students. As I will be able to create games for free at iQuizMaker.com (currently Mac-only, but with a Windows version forthcoming) this opens up even more opportunities…
(click to enlarge)
More at the Apple Learning Interchange
According to BBC News, Wikipedia are to start putting articles on CD and selling them for offline at $13.99 (£7). Whilst this is probably good news for third world countries (charities might foot the bill) if you want to do something similar yourself, I’d recommend doing it for free with Webaroo…
Google’s suite of office applications took another step closer to making Microsoft Office all but redundant last week when they announced that Google Spreadsheets can now produce charts from data.
Because of the simplicity of the tools I think that Google Docs & Spreadsheets could be a viable alternative to Microsoft Office for most educational institutions. Of course, I’d recommend that OpenOffice.org remains installed on the network for more complex things and if there’s any problems, but this feature is great! With the upcoming presentations feature, I’d recommend that schools look seriously at getting all their students signed up for a Google Account…
A colleague pointed me towards 21Classes today, a ‘virtual classroom’ and blogs for students. It’s $8.95 for the paid-for version, which is the one I’d want to use with my students, but it might fit someone’s needs. For free blogging solutions, try EduSpaces or WordPressMU.
Julie Lindsay has an interesting post comparing tools that can be used to connect people in different geographic locations. Amongst others, she looks at the currently red-hot Twitter, Meebo, and YackPack (which is now integrated with PBwiki). The review could have been longer (screen-sharing programs? collaborative brainstorming?) but it’s a decent start if you’re on the lookout for these types of web apps…
I’ve already mentioned TeacherTube on this blog – YouTube for educational content. Here’s a great example of it in action – a video just less than 8 minutes long which is like a rich video version of an essay persuading teachers to use the educational technology students already own and/or know how to use to help them learn more effectively. It’s by Darren Draper – thanks to the Educational Mac for the heads-up!
Watch it now, and then share it with those you know who need a ‘prod’ in the right direction!
Great news for teachers of visually impaired students: RoboBraille, a service currently in beta, offers to translate documents in Braille, speech and between different character sets. For non-commercial users it’s free! More at BBC News (via the EffectiveICT Forum)
If you’d like to use online office tools withs students for their ease-of-use, accessibility and collaboration features but don’t know where to start, you might like to look at the rather comprehensive list over at the Office 2.0 Database.