Monday, April 30, 2007

gOFFICE - the web office suite

gOFFICE is another online tool that is pushing towards a "web desktop."

The user experience is quickly evolving. We used to have to install software applications onto our computers, now many are available on the web and do not need local installation.

gOFFICE is one such evolution. gOFFICE is a web-based office suite that lives in your browser. You have access to word processing, desktop publishing, develop presentations, and spreadsheets. It does not matter what computer you have stored your data on, you will be able to login and access your data from any computer.....anywhere.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Student Resources

Whether it is research or managing your school day....there are a variety of web applications for students to help them do all of that.

The great thing about these web tools is that it does not matter what computer or where you access your data will be there.

mynoteIT is an online note taking tool for students including a WYSIWYG note editor, assignment reminders, grade management, to do lists, manage your tasks with an online calendar and more.

Students can also share notes with friends and receive feedback through commenting on notes.

A similar online tool is Backpack.

Zotero (beta) is a free extension to use in the Firefox 2.0 browser.

"See it. Save it. Sort it. Search it. Cite it."

This is a really great research tool and I only wish it had been around when I was writing my papers during university. It lives where most of us do our research these our Firefox browser. It makes it so easy to organize your references.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Pocketmod: the free disposable personal organizer

Pocketmod is a fantastic free tool.

Even though this is a technology age with all types of digital organizers (that can be quite expensive), sometimes you just need a piece of paper to help organize yourself.

Pocketmod has templates that you can quickly access (either by the Flash online version or the offline download version - for both Mac & PC) and print out.

"The PocketMod is a small book with guides on each page. These guides or templates, combined with a unique folding style, enable a normal piece of paper to become the ultimate note card."

Some templates available:

  • writing guides (lines, grids, storyboard, music staff sheet, music tab sheet, etc...)
  • calendar (daily, weekly, monthly, full year 2007, etc...)
  • organizers (simple list, shopping list, contacts, etc...)
  • reference (conversions, formulas, tip table low, etc...)
  • games
  • miscellaneous

Great tool and so easy to use. Give it a try.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Resources: Study of Color

Two sites to look at that explore the theory of color.

The first website is by J.L. Morton called Color Matters.

Some of the topics that are available are:

  • symbolism & emotion
  • effects on the body
  • effects on vision
  • design & art
  • business & marketing
  • computers
  • ecology & usability
  • amazing science

I have used several of the ebooks (available for purchase from the online store) with my students in my multimedia program and have found them really useful.


The second website is by Janet Lynn Ford.

A fantastic site to use with your students with all kinds of visuals including an interactive color palette picker that allows students to visualize color combinations. The hexadecimal number is given for each color chosen. Great when students are using these color combinations for web design.

Some of the topics you will find on this website:

  • color theory overview
  • color basics
  • color systems
  • color wheel
  • complementary colors
  • after images
  • color combinations
  • color & contrast
  • Itten's contrasts
  • proportion & intensity
  • contrast & dominance
  • shades & tints

Give both these sites a peek if you are exploring the world of color.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Netvibes - your personal homepage

Netvibes is a free Web 2.0 startup page that has a huge amount of options for the user.

When you first open any browser window, you have the option to decide what site will be your opening page (tools-->Internet options). If you use Netvibes as your opening page, you will be able to personalize a lot of content at your finger tips.

"With millions of users in more than 150 countries, Netvibes lets individuals assemble all in one place their favorite websites, blogs, email accounts, social networks, search engines, instant messengers, photos, videos, podcasts, widgets, and everything else they enjoy on the Web."

Monday, April 23, 2007

Epic 2014 & 2015....a look into the future?

Epic 2014 is the original flash online movie made by Robin Sloan for the Museum of Media History. Set in 2014 it charts the history of the Internet, the evolving mediascape and the way news and newspapers were affected by the growth in online news.

A simple flash movie in black and white that has a powerful sensory impact with a interesting story and subtle music in the background.

Epic 2014 coined the word "Googlezon" from a future merger of Google and Amazon to form the Google grid, and speaks of news wars with the Times becoming a print only paper for the elite culminating in EPIC (Evolving Personalised Information Construct.)

Epic 2015 is a new updated vision of the future set in 2015 (website access).

Classroom: A great springboard for discussion. This animation captures a past, present and possible future timeline of media and the impact that the Internet and companies such as Google has and possibly will have in the future.

Friday, April 20, 2007

The World of "Colr Pickrs"

I have used Colr Pickr - Color Fields for quite a while. This cool software toy (designed by Jim Bumgarder) is a Flickr mash-up that allows you to choose a colour from the colour wheel and it will retrieve thumbnails of photos from Flickr that are available to the public to download.

I have used this tool time and time again when teaching colour theory and needed to retrieve photo images that represented the various colours. Great to also get images that will spice up a classroom with colour and interest.

Adjust the slider to change the saturation of the colour...different photo images will appear.

Other groupings of Colr Pickrs (more on the website):

  1. Flowers
  2. Squared Circle

  3. Graffiti

  4. Doors & Windows

  5. Urban Decay

Want to find out more about the code that Jim used for these applications? Jim has co-authored a book with Paul Baush that shares this code and more for Flickr mash-ups. You can review this book at Amazon.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

An interactive "maths dictionary for kids"

"A Maths Dictionary for Kids 2007" is an amazing site designed and developed by a teacher from Australia...Jenny Eather. Along with every definition there is an interactive exercise/example for the students to explore so they have a clearer understanding of the maths concept. I have seen a lot of educational websites that claim they are interactive....but this one is absolutely fabulous.

Jenny has also designed another maths website for K to 7 called Rainforest maths. This is based on Australian maths standards but is a great one to also check out.

There is no end to this teachers talents....Writing Fun is another site Jenny has created. All these sites have been designed using Adobe Flash.

Great to use in the class and for students to access at home for review. Great job!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Scanr: turn a camera phone or digital camera into a digital copier

There are a lot of great new ideas applications coming online everyday. Scanr brings a fresh approach to using mobile devices with "hardcopy communication".

You really need to explore the website to see all of the download the free software for your mobile phone smart phone or digital camera (check for compatibility for support for your type of mobile device).

  1. Whiteboard Scans - Scanr allows you to take photos of a whiteboard....never write "DNA" (do not erase) again on the board....visit whiteboard link for more ideas (convert to pdfs).

  2. Documents - Any document can also be scanned and saved by Scanr (convert to pdfs).

  3. Business Cards - Tired of having drawers full of business cards? Scanr allows you to scan a business card to keep digitally (convert to vcf).

Can you think of the different uses in your classroom?

Tuesday, April 17, 2007 - the online dictionary, encyclopedia, etc... is an online information portal that has a collection of over "4 million answers that are are drawn from over 120 titles of brand-name publishers, the editorial team, Wikipedia and user-generated answers." can be launched from Internet Explorer, Firefox and Opera browsers.

The unique thing about is that it goes beyond the search box and offers free software that a user can download (Windows only) and when you alt + click on any word in any program on your screen.....a pop-up windows appears with an AnswerTip. Read more information on this application here. teacher toolkit is a great reference and search option for teachers and students. teacher toolkit was the Winner of the 2006 Codie Award for Best Education Reference or Search Service.

This portal starts with a lot of links that would interest educators such as: lesson plan tools, free worksheets & posters, free downloads, ESL, Education Blogs, Librarian Lowdown, just to mention a few.

Take for a spin and give it a try!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Ning: create your own social network for anything

Better than a blog...better than a wiki...create a social network with Ning.

It is the only online service where you can create, customize, and share your own Social Network for free in seconds.

As the author, you decide who you would like to participate within your network and you can make the network public or private. You can even decide if you want to allow your members to upload pictures or videos to your network (great to us as a discussion tool for images/video for media or film studies.)

Try using it as a collaboration tool with students in your classroom or colleagues, locally or worldwide. Use it with ad hoc groups such as sports teams, or teacher or parent committees.

I am going to give it a go by setting up a private network for my teachers so we will be able to work together as a collective for this school year as we travel the "IT PD" journey.

Friday, April 13, 2007


Bubblr is a cool Flickr mashup that allows you to create single comic or comic strips from photos that have in Flickr. You can search for your own images from Flickr OR just type in something you are looking for (I had typed in "funny dog") without putting in a password as many people on Flickr have a lot of their images available to the public. Scroll through all the choices that appear at the top and then click and drag the image down into the frame(s) below.

I found an image of a little dog in a "lovely" pink dress (poor dog). Then I dragged a "text bubble" up to the image. Type in the text, move the bubble around as required and you can publish the new image to your Bubblr account.

Great tool for students to use for class presentations or projects. Think of the fun you can have with pictures from class activities.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Content Management System to publish media to the web

A CMS (content management system) called Loudblog is an appropriate name for a web system that combines blogging and audio.

It automatically generates a skinnable website and an RSS-Feed for Podcasting. Just upload your audio/video files, add some notes and links, and you’re done!

Loudblog makes Mediablogging and Podcasting easy. There are a variety of ways to put your media content into the system. You can upload it via your browser, use a free FTP client like filezilla or get the files from the web!

Great to use within a school intranet or Internet especially if you have classes that are creating podcasts.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Dumper: Fun with Photos

Dumper is a free online tool that allows you to upload images from Flickr, Web 2.0 Mashup, URL or browse from your computer. There is a selection of fun options you can choose from to manipulate a photograph.

Once finished you can save it back to Flickr (need to sign-up for a free account), share/blog/myspace or print it. I found using a screen capture tool allows you to save the new image as a graphic if you just want to have it on your computer right away.

Here is an original photo of my little Canadian cat Zoe.

Below is the pencil sketch option of Zoe and then Zoe within one of the museum options. Have some fun with your photos!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

What the Font?

MyFont has been a great website for web, graphic, print designers and anyone who is looking for something a little different to put the edge on their presentations. MyFont now offers a really great service called What The Font?

Ever wanted to find out what type of font was used in an ad campaign or website? Just upload a scanned image (from print) or a screen captured image (from the web) to the link provided on the webpage and it will return a name of a font that is the closest match in their database.

Friday, April 06, 2007

Pageflakes....content controlled home pages

Have the news, weather even recipes at your finger tips. One such site that users can use as a content controlled homepage for their browser is Pageflakes. It is free to use and loads quite quickly on startup. A similar free application that I had blogged on last year was Protopage .

When signing up for Pageflakes, you select your interests (feeds) from: news, sports, finance, videos, tech, music, games, movies/tv, food and gossip. These then appear in pods that can be edited and moved around or deleted from your start page. You can add more pages and you can also add more feeds.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

How to insert Flash into PowerPoint

One of the things I get asked the most is how to insert a flash animation into PowerPoint. It used to be an easy task but alas....not all software applications play nice together.

There are several ways to do this but the easiest and free way is to install Swiff Point Player for PowerPoint. Sorry Mac users...this particular tool is only for Windows 98 - 2003.

Once installed you just open PowerPoint and the SwiffPoint Player icon will be in the drawing tool bar or under insert in the menu options at the top.

Note: when doing a PPT presentation where you have used Swiff Point Player to insert a flash animation....the player must be installed on whatever computer you use to do your presentation. I keep this on a USB drive as a collection of tools in case the machine I am presenting on needs it.

If anyone knows of any other applications for PC or Mac please feel free to list them.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Digital Assignment Planners

Assignment Planner 3 is a software application that was designed by a 3rd year computer science major - Logan Rockmore (University of California). Tired of carrying a paper daytimer around....great little tool for teachers or students (shareware - $8.00 to register) to run off of your laptop, iPod, or other digital portable device.

"It includes features that allow you to display only those assignments that are yet to be completed, add information to all your assignments, courses and textbooks for reference, filter assignments by their type, color code assignments by a number of different criteria, and much more. You can also export your assignments to a text file or to iCal, to easily view your assignments from your iPod."

Specs: Mac and Universal

Another Mac Assignment Planner designed by another student (Ronald Heft). "Assignment Planner’s main functionality is to keep track of your assignments. Nothing more, nothing less." (Cost is $5.00).


PC version: StudyMinder Homework System 2.3 (free to try for 30 days and 29.99 to buy).
StudyMinder shows the total time needed to prepare for school each day and the status of all assignments.

- Track assignments, tests and quizzes, even large projects
- See all assignments at a glance - by class, day and week
- List assignments by difficulty, estimated time, status, type and more
- Be reminded about upcoming assignments and projects
- Displays the amount of time needed to study for each assignment
- View total study time by assignment, class, day and week
- Calculates current grade point average for each class
- Lets students share assignment instructions with your classmates

Freelite version that doesn't have all the features (see chart to compare) but still does a great job of tracking all that homework, projects, tests and assignments. Download here.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007


Synapselife has a collection of 5 free web based applications that are all combined in one site. People, calendar, lists & ledger, favorites and feeds are either accessible via the web or mobile device (cell phone or PDA).

If you use Firefox as your web browser there is also a free download for a toolbar to access all lf the 5 applications from Firefox.

Monday, April 02, 2007


Teachers...if you do not have a way to put your marks online for parents and students to see...give Engrade a try.

A free online tool that will enable your students and parents to have access to their marks anytime and anywhere, all they need is an internet connection. Engrade is a free tool developed from the Web 2.o technology....give it a spin.