Tom’s Technology Pick of the Week
My Technology pick of the week this week is the Nintendo Wii. OK, so what does this have to do with education? More than what you might imagine. I believe the interactive interface of the Wii has many applications for education. Trying to keep students attention in the classroom in this day and age is quite a challenge. If students are not paying attention and attending to lessons in the classroom then no learning is taking place. As teachers we need to find methods that actively engage our students in the lesson. To that end we have a lot to learn from gaming vendors. One of the nice things about a few days off is that you have a little extra time to do some research in some areas that you might not normally investigate. While searching for educational uses of the Wii I ran across a site that I believe has the possibility of changing the computer to human interface with a Wii like controller that has educational applications. I have provided a link to Johhny Chung Lee’s website in the show notes that contains several YouTube video demonstrations using the Wii remote to produce a low cost multi-touch interactive whiteboard.
Johnny Chung Lee’s Video Demos of Wii Remote interface
Do me a favor and visit the show notes for episode 18 of Tech Talk 4 Teachers and click on the provided link to watch the video demos. I promise you it will be worth your effort. This interactive interface has tremendous possibilities for education and best of all the price point is becoming affordable for the average classroom. I was formerly a high school chemistry and physics teacher and I know that some of you out there are also interested in educational uses of this technology. Imagine being able to place yourself in a test tube where you can view the molecules of a chemical reaction. If anyone has conducted any experiments similar to Johnny Lee please let me know what you develop so we can share with others. While virtual reality has been around for a number of years it is finally becoming affordable for classroom use.
Show notes for Episode 18 and previous episodes are available on the web at techtalk4teachers.blogspot.com that’s techtalk the number 4 teachers.blogspot.com If you have a comment or suggestion for a future show or a suggestion for a Technology Pick of the Week then please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. That wraps it up for this episode of TechTalk4Teachers so until next time this is Tom Grissom, keep on learning.
Saturday, December 29, 2007
Friday, December 21, 2007
Tom’s Technology Pick of the Week
My Technology pick of the week this week is a website that allows you to convert file types to different formats. Periodically I find the need to convert a document, image, audio, or video file format to something else. You know, you get that email attachment from someone or you download a file from the Internet but your computer will not open it. If you ever find yourself in a situation where you cannot open a file because you do not have the proper program or plug-in loaded on your computer give the zamzar website a try. There are dozens of file formats that Zamzar can convert and links are provided in the show notes to this website as well as a listing of conversion types. It is not an exhaustive list of conversion formats but this website has come in handy for me in certain situations in the past.
For example, you need to convert a Quicktime Movie file to a Flash Video file or you need a quick way to convert a Word document to Adobe PDF format or visa versa. Zamzar can do this type of conversion for you. Depending upon file size it may take some time to do the conversion, especially for video file formats. As with most Web 2.0 companies there are paid subscriptions that will give you online storage as well as increased speed for converting file formats. You simply browse and upload your file to the website, provide an email address and select the type of format you want your file converted to. You will receive an email from zamzar letting you know when your file has been processed with a link in the email so you can download the converted file. That’s it! I tried this out with a Microsoft Word document and in a matter of seconds I had a link to the converted PDF file, very simple.
Show notes for Episode 17 and previous episodes are available on the web at techtalk4techers.blogspot.com that’s techtalk the number 4 teachers.blogspot.com If you have a comment or suggestion for a future show or a suggestion for a Technology Pick of the Week then please email me at email@example.com. That wraps it up for this episode of TechTalk4Teachers so until next time this is Tom Grissom, keep on learning.
Friday, December 14, 2007
Tom’s Technology Pick of the Week
My Technology pick of the week this week is a website that has a listing of up-and-coming Web 2.0 companies that bills itself as the “Complete Web 2.0 Directory”. To demonstrate that we are truly in the beginning of innovations regarding Web 2.0 technologies please visit the website called go2web20.net A link is provided in the show notes:
This site gives a listing and overview of the hundreds of Web 2.0 companies currently in development. When you visit the site click on the purple tab in the lower left hand corner to see additional pages. If you are looking for a specific company click in the search box at the top of the page (next to the magnifying glass) and begin typing. The page will update and refine the search with each letter that you type in a Web 2.0ish kind of way.
As of Friday December 14, 2007 this site had 1859 listings for Web 2.0 companies.
So if you think you know everything there is to know about Web 2.0 you haven’t been listening! With the rapid pace of development it is impossible to know everything about the fast-paced world of Web 2.0 The key thing for teachers is being able to recognize promising technologies that have practical applications in the classroom. Stay tuned to TechTalk4Teachers as we continue on this never ending search of finding more effective and efficient technologies for your classroom.
Show notes for Episode 16 and previous episodes are available on the web at techtalk4techers.blogspot.com that’s techtalk the number 4 teachers.blogspot.com If you have a comment or suggestion for a future show or a suggestion for a Technology Pick of the Week then please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. That wraps it up for this episode of TechTalk4Teachers so until next time this is Tom Grissom, keep on learning.
Saturday, December 8, 2007
Last episode I gave my Technology Pick of the Week to the Smart Board podcast and as it turns out this pick came at just the right time for me to use a jeopardy-like template that I wanted to use in one of my classes. The Smart Notebook template is available at the Smart Board podcast website and a link to this template is provided in the show notes for this episode.
Smart Board Podcast Episode 102 – Jeopardy Smart Notebook Template
(go to the Files section)
This template was very helpful for a semester end review for my undergraduate technology course I teach. All I had to do was download the template and provide my own customized questions. About one hour later I had a complete unit review in the form of a Jeopardy-like game. This allowed me to concentrate on the content and not spend a couple of hours creating a template from scratch.
My students loved it. This provided an engaging lesson where everyone was paying attention and anxiously awaiting their turn. My goal is to have my students to use a similar format in their future classrooms if they are lucky enough to have a SMART Board. If you do not have access to a Smart Board this could easily be adapted to PowerPoint. Modeling best practices is extremely important if we want our future teachers to become proficient with using technology in the classroom. The old saying of we teach the way we were taught has a certain amount of truth to it.
Here’s another tip. Did you know that the SMART Board has a built in recorder available in the Smart tools notebook software that records everything that happens on the Smart Board? The Smart Board Recorder will record your voice with the use of a microphone and will capture a video feed of what is happening on the Smart board in real-time. This will create an avi video file that you can play back on demand in class or upload to the Internet. Since it is in the avi format you can also edit this file with something like Windows Movie Maker as I have done. To give you a brief video demonstration of how I adapted the generic Jeopardy-like template please visit the show notes and click on the Smart board jeopardy demo link.
Click here for a Smart board jeopardy video demo (20MB Windows Media Video)
Yes I know this is an audio podcast but I have wanted to expand some of the content offerings for this show and sometimes video is necessary to get your point across more effectively. Next semester I may add additional video resources but I have mixed feelings about doing this. When I listen to podcast I prefer audio because I can do other things like driving or exercising while I am listening to an audio podcast. Video requires much more concentration and your multitasking activities are limited, driving and watching a video podcast is to be discouraged not to mention illegal! What do you think? Do you prefer that this podcast stay in audio format or would you like to see more video? Let me know what you think so please send your suggestions to email@example.com This show is all about sharing so the more we can share together the better we all can be but I need your help so please email me.
Tom’s Technology Pick of the Week
My Technology pick of the week this week is a small computer app called ZoomIt and is available as a free download for Microsoft Windows users.
It seems counter intuitive that as you increase the resolution of your computer monitor that the icons on the Desktop of your computer become smaller and smaller. The reason for this is that you are packing more pixels closer together as you increase screen resolution. To get around this I increase the font size in my Word documents and change the text size in my browser to the largest font setting so that students in the back of the room can easily see what is projected on the screen in the front of the room. The problem is that you cannot increase the size of graphics or change the size of menus and other graphic elements. For us older folks that can be a problem. It is also a problem if students in the back of the room cannot see the projected image in detail. Enter ZoomIt and your troubles of not being able to see the small print from the back of the room are gone forever.
ZoomIt is screen zoom and annotation tool for presentations that include application demonstrations and other demos where it would be nice to see a zoomed in section of the screen in detail. Pressing Ctrl + 1 activates ZoomIt once installed and you can use the scroll wheel on your mouse to zoom in and zoom out. Move the mouse around on the screen to go to different portions of the screen in zoom mode.
That wraps it up for this episode. Show notes for Episode 15 and previous episodes are available on the web at techtalk4techers.blogspot.com that’s techtalk the number 4 teachers.blogspot.com This episode has featured some additional resources including video so be sure to visit the show notes for Episode 15. If you have a comment or suggestion for a future show or a suggestion for a Technology Pick of the Week then please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to hear from you. That wraps it up for this episode of TechTalk4Teachers so until next time this is Tom Grissom, keep on learning.