Going Digital without Going Broke

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I attended the session “Going Digital without Going Broke” at the 2010 Creating Futures Through Technology Conference this past Thursday and found many free tools given in the session were quite useful.  The session was presented by Craig Jackson, E-Learning Specialist of Research and Curriculum Unit at Mississippi State University.

In his presentation, Craig shared many free tools that could help teachers create engaging e-learning modules without breaking the budget.  Some of the free tools include webinar applications, streaming video sites, video conversion tools, and many other tools and sites that will help teachers at the forefront of training without breaking the bank.  Here is the complete list of free tools presented in Craig’s session:

Personally, I have used many of these tools and I like Craig’s selection.  I think Craig did a terrific job of compiling the list.  Also, Craig has developed the DISK (Digital Immigrant Survival Kit) Handbook.  They should be very useful for teachers and trainers.

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About Steve Yuen

I am a Professor Emeritus of Instructional Technology and Design at The University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, United States.
This entry was posted in Software Tools, Web 2.0 and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Going Digital without Going Broke

  1. davidsmora says:

    Craig Jackson’s list of free tools is very comprehensive and downright cool! While his list may have been intended to help educators, I think everybody can use these applications. For example, Vimeo is a wonderful alternative to the insanely popular YouTube. I particularly like the way the site is organized. Users can navigate this video-sharing site by exploring categories, groups, staff picks, channels, projects, toys and other features.

    After further browsing Mr. Jackson’s list, I instantly recognized some of his recommended tools. Specifically, I’m pretty familiar (thanks to several of Dr. Yuen’s classes) with Photo Story 3, Ning and Creative Commons. Photo Story 3 is a wonderful Microsoft application that allows users to create slideshow videos (ranging from travel scrapbooks to academic tutorials). Ning is an easy to use social networking site where users can join networks in several categories including education, sports, politics, and causes. Creative Commons is a useful tool where visitors can find licensed works that they can alter, reuse or share. As you can tell, I’m a big fan of these tools and would recommend them to all.

    This list also triggered my curiosity. While some applications seem self-explanatory (e.g. Eclipsecrossword, SendUIt), other tools (e.g. TalkShoe, TipCam) grabbed my attention. I was really impressed by TalkShoe. This application seems like a modern day conference call taken up a notch. Users can participate in “community calls” via traditional phone or computer microphone. These calls are automatically converted into a podcast, which can then be shared (or not) via blog and/or website. When I have some free time, I plan on investigating this tool further. Another tool I researched was TipCam. This tool is like an alternative to Camtasia (minus the bells and whistles). I think average computer users would find this application to be particularly helpful because it is visually simple. I’m pleased thus far with Mr. Jackson’s recommendations. As I stated above, I hope to check out more of these sites in my free time.

    Overall, Mr. Jackson has provided educators with a wonderful list of resources. I’ll be interested to see how my friends in education will react to it.

  2. Jil Wright says:

    I am very glad you posted this information about the session at the 2010 Creating Futures Through Technology Conference. I did not get to attend this session and really wanted to know what tools were going to be shared.

    Mr. Jackson has a really good list here, some of which I wasn’t aware of. Some of the tools that I have used made it to the list and I understand why! Udutu is a great way to create e-learning modules quickly and easily. I really like using it and have picked it to do my presentation on later in IT780. I like WiziQ because it has web conferencing for Moodle and content sharing among other things. It’s a great site for open content. Livestream is nice. I have never had the reason to use it, but I am looking for a reason! I also think that TokBox is really good for collaboration. It has been incorporated into Ning sites and that is awesome!

    I enjoyed taking a look at tools I had never heard of. AuthorPOINT Lite and authorSTREAM look really cool. It seems there are many good low cost or free presentation tools. These will definitely go into my arsenal! I want to share them with my faculty. I am also thrilled to see a free version of Adobe Connect Now. Even the prices of subscriptions to acrobat.com were very reasonable.

    Talkshoe was interesting. I want to take time to explore it more. I’d like to test it with one of my groups that I am working with on a project at school. It’s nice that you can join in other calls that are going on. It’s definitely a different way of going about presenting educational content and definitely something to think about.

    Shape Collage is neat. I prefer Sumo Paint as my web 2.0 graphics tool of choice, but the PhotoScape Shape Collage software has some great effects that require just a click! Those types of tools always come in handy when creating visual elements.

    This list is very good. I hate I missed the session. I went to the one about icebreakers for online courses so I could share them with faculty. It was good too.

  3. jwoodwards says:

    This is an excellent list of useful Web 2.0 tools. In education, some Web 2.0 tools prove to be more useful than others, but Mr. Jackson obviously did his research and presented tested tools in his presentation.

    As Dr. Yuen says, Web 2.0 tools are more helpful when viewed as “tools.” Having exposure to a variety of free Web 2.0 applications allows users to use the right “tool” when the job calls for it. When faced with a technology task, we need to first identify the right tool for the job. In that sense, this list presents a variety of options.

    For instance, I recently wanted to add an mp4 video to my blog (http://techpulsehe.wordpress.com/). WordPress did not allow me to upload an mp4 file because this is not one of the video types supported by WordPress. One site on this list provided a solution, Blip TV. I created an account in Blip TV, uploaded the mp4, and embedded this video in WordPress. Blip TV provided free storage and hosted the video, which I embedded into WordPress.

    The iSpringFree software appears to have great potential in sharing presentations. This application converts videos from PowerPoint to Flash, and this conversion maintains the integrity of the presentation while dramatically reducing the size.

    After reading Jill Wright’s comments, I decided to check out Sumo Paint. This tool seems very promising, and I look forward to exploring all Sumo Paint has to offer. Also, upon David Mora’s suggestion in the comments above, I did some research on TalkShoe. The ability to record a phone conference and automatically convert this recording into a podcast provides two great opportunities. First, this could easily be shared with colleagues that were unable to attend the meeting. Second, these podcast could be archived as minutes and used as a solid source in case there were any discrepancy as to what was said and agreed upon in a meeting.

  4. Kemp says:

    I downloaded Photoscape 3.4 and played with it a bit. In addition to photoediting, it offers many features including screen capturing. It offers far more than pcknik, but has to be downloaded unlike picnik which is readily available online.

    Jon’s comments purshed me towards Blip TV, and I can’t wait to play with that. I have SendUit and have used it. Very easy application.

    I wonder if Author Point could be usurp SlideShare, and will also play around with it a bit.

    I love pages like this, becausey because they demonstrate exactly what Web 2.0 simply by their presence.

  5. Donna Parker says:

    There is really a lot of information presented here. Not long ago, many instructors were restricted to what technologies they could use to develop classes because the prices of such technologies were astronomical. No longer is the case. There are so many free resources for instructors to use. Even though the freebies usually run advertisements on the screen, they can easily be ignored when you think of the money saved. The problem with so many tools now available is that you need to pick and choose carefully. You must also balance the use of these free tools. Any of them can be overdone or overused and will detract from the course content instead of complement the content. We do need to remember that these resources are tools to enhance learning experiences, not to replace learning experiences. It is also important to make sure the students are interacting properly when using such tools. I’m familiar with some of the free tools listed. Ning is a tool that can be used to manage an entire course very easily as well as used as a social networking tool. Another easy-to-use freebie is WetPaint for creating Wikis. Students can use WetPaint to create specific Wikis pertaining to their subject area where they will have to use critical thinking skills.
    Craig’s development of the Digital Immigrant Survival Kit Handbook is to be commended. He has put together a plethora of information in one handbook that can be used by instructors at any level. A handbook of this type should be available to all instructors who need them.

  6. Wow! Thanks for posting all of these resources! While I’d heard of and have experience with some of these tools, I’ve never used the majority of them! PhotoStory is a great, free, easy-to-use slideshow/video-editing software for students. This type of software can be used (literally) for all grade levels. It’s simple enough for elementary students, yet has a few advanced capabilities for high school students to utilize. With the current “digital storytelling” craze, this program definitely offers a free alternative to something semi-boring like PowerPoint.

    With the frustration of Web filters at schools, it seems like DVDVideoSoft offers a great alternative for those YouTube videos that we want to save to our computer and transport or share elsewhere. Previously, if I find an educational video on YouTube that I’d like to use, I’d use FileZilla to convert it to a savable video file that I can use. DVDVideoSoft seems to have more functions and the capability to convert seamlessly among other digital formats.

    Another pretty cool resource is the Indezine. Oftentimes, I am trying to create an informative PowerPoint that I want to look professional and neat in design, but I simply do not have the time to create my own! This Website has a wealth of free PowerPoint templates that do the “dirty work” for you! This is definitely a resource I am passing along to my fellow teachers. It’s nice to have templates like this at your fingertips! The pre-installed templates that come with PowerPoint get boring and redundant—I know students would benefit from a different, stimulating presentation format from time to time!

  7. The list of free technological tools provided here was a little intimidating at the first glance, however, it was surely useful and informative if more time were spend on a little research and investigation. The most important features of these tools include free and easy-to-use, these cater to lots of educators’ appetite – they can use them in their teaching activities without spending too much money and time.

    I recognize some tools I have been using or have used before. These familiar tools were either covered by former classes offered by our department or were found via my personal exploration. Examples include PhotoStory and TokBox. There are also some tools that I have encountered before but have not got a chance to take a closer look at, one example of this category would be Vimeo (in my memory a social video sharing site resembling YouTube). I then entered into the website and did a closer look and my understanding of this site became deeper, because I found out it was designed for creative people to share their ideas and artistic works. Constructivist learning, isn’t it?

    In addition to those tools mentioned, the bulk of the list represents new technological tools that I have never encountered before. I decided to take some time looking into some of them and found some interesting ones. For instance, the VoiceThread was an good example of integrating multimedia into communication and discussion on a certain topic/picture. This site utilized the power of multimedia to its full because user can use various kinds of communication method to discuss, and this really allows learners want to get to know more about a certain topic, and this enhanced the way of communication. Another example would be the DVDvideosoft.com, which was a fantastic tool-collection resolving video problems.

    I decided to save the list to my social bookmarking site later because I have always had the intent to develop a collection of web technologies that might be helpful since I was exposed to various kinds of web 2.0 tools in Dr. Yuen’s class. This list has added a lot to my decision of bringing that intent into realization. This would be better if a short explanation could be attached to each tool.

  8. 鄭伊真 says:

    資訊科技融入教學已成為一股教育趨勢與走向,網路上有千百種各式各樣的軟體,如果單憑個人力量一一找出必定會是件浩大的工程,感謝Craig替教學者篩選出這些“Going Digital without Going Broke”的工具,不過看了這一大串名單,升起一種學海無涯的感嘆,提醒自己千萬不要因為安穩的環境而失去求進步的心。

    這些工具多是以英文為主,在台灣中小學要推動的話,我覺得語言問題將是第一個遭遇到的難題,培訓種子教師後在到各個學校進行指導或許能逐漸讓使用者克服心理障礙。

    好的工具對教學會有加乘的效果,然而老師在建置E-Learning環境時,千萬別忘了為什麼要融入這樣科技,為了使用而融入還是為了提升學生的學習成效呢?因此,在選擇工具首先要分辨該工具是否適合,並且均衡的使用各項教學工具,老師可依教學主題、學生特性和學校設備進行整體的設計與規劃。

  9. 鄭伊真 says:

    資訊科技融入教學已成為一股教育趨勢與走向,網路上有千百種各式各樣的軟體,如果單憑個人力量一一找出必定會是件浩大的工程,感謝Craig替教學者篩選出這些“Going Digital without Going Broke”的工具,不過看了這一大串名單,升起一種學海無涯的感嘆,提醒自己千萬不要因為安穩的環境而失去求進步的心。

    這些工具多是以英文為主,在台灣中小學要推動的話,我覺得語言問題將是第一個遭遇到的難題,培訓種子教師後在到各個學校進行指導或許能逐漸讓使用者克服心理障礙。

    好的工具對教學會有加乘的效果,然而老師在建置E-Learning環境時,千萬別忘了為什麼要融入這樣科技,為了使用而融入還是為了提升學生的學習成效呢?因此,在選擇工具首先要分辨該工具是否適合,並且均衡的使用各項教學工具,老師可依教學主題、學生特性和學校設備進行整體的設計與規劃。

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