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Archive for December, 2007

InstantShot!


A screen-capture software is a must-have tool for creating instructional tutorials. If you are a Mac user and cannot afford a commercial version of screen-capture software, I recommend InstantShot! for your consideration. InstantShot! is a part of the DigitalWater project and is free for download. It offers basic screenshot functionality for capturing the whole screen, a portion of it or a window and also the option to make timed screenshots or to make delayed captures over time.

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I came across a video “Pay Attention” which was posted on YouTube 6 months ago to motivate teachers to use technology more effectively in their teaching.   I found this video interesting, educational, and thought provoking.  I think the current technology development such as Web 2.0, social networking, and mobile technology will change the way teachers and students interact and learn.

The video talks about digital natives and the use of Web 2.0 tools in education.  The author raises many serious questions.  How do your students learn?  How can you become a better teacher for educating digital learners?  Are you engaging your students?  How do we turn our classrooms into learning engines? Why do so many teachers refuse to enter the digital age with their teaching practices?  Before watching this video, I suggest that you give some thoughts about these questions and then see whether you agree with the author after watching the presentation.

 

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Social Network

Social networking is very popular today and many digital natives have joined large social sites like MySpace and Facebook. Thanks to the recent explosion of Web 2.0 development, it is now possible to create your own social network around specific interests even though you have limited technical knowledge and skills. Ning is one of the free online services where you can create, customize, and share your own Social Network. The best part of Ning is that anyone can create their own fully functional and customized social network for a particular topic or need, catering to specific audiences.

Once you sign up a Ning account, you can create your own social network by choosing one of customizable themes and templates from Ning. Then, you decide whether it is for public or private and customize how it looks and add your own network logo. Also, you can customize your site by selecting a combination of features (music, videos, blogs, photos, forums, groups, RSS, etc.) from a list of options. Members who join your network will automatically have a customizable profile page and will be able to message and friend each other.

For the past few months, I have joined several Ning networks such as Classroom 2.0 and Online Teaching. Also, I have created two Ning networks – one is created for my family and another one is designed for my graduate class for instructional purpose. My family network on Ning is doing great and the young members love it by frequently exchanging photos, videos, slideshows, and comments. I will officially launch my graduate class network on Ning in two weeks and cannot wait to see my students’ responses. So far, I am very impressed with Ning. I think it is a terrific Web 2.0 application that allows anyone to create social networks. Ning has excellent functionality and user-friendly interface that allows even the most novice of Web users to create their own highly customized social network in minutes.

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Photo editing is an important task of multimedia and Web development. If you cannot afford to buy a Photoshop or other image editing software, or you are away from your computer and unable to access your photo editing software, online photo-editing service is your answer.

Today, there are dozens of Web-based photo-editing services out there to help you tweak and edit your photos. After testing some of these online photo-editing services, I recommend either Picnik or Pixenate. Both of these photo-editing services are Web-based. All you need is a Web browser with Internet access. These photo-editing services are very easy to use and they provide many editing tools that allow you to fix underexposed photos, remove red-eye, or apply effects to your photos. The best of all, they are free.

Picnik

Picnik has a clean and simple interface. You can upload a photo or import online photos from Flickr, Picasa, and others to Picnik. You can then use Picnik’s real-time online editing tools to crop, sharpen, adjust exposure, color, apply effects, and then share them with your friends. Picnik gives excellent results on the edited images without requiring you to know much at all about editing.

Pixenate

Pixenate is another quick and easy tool that allows you to design and edit your image online. Like Picnik, Pixenate has all basic editing features, Flickr integration and even an option to store images online.

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