I’m usually on the cutting edge of Ed Tech when it comes to the school I teach in. I hear about stuff and try things way before most of my coworkers. Today though, as I was walking through the media center, a colleague had a tag cloud open and it was in the shape of a cat. That really caught my eye and I asked her to send me a link. Tagxedo – Word Cloud with Styles is a little different take on word clouds offering the ability to shape your clouds. This compares favorably to Wordle.net, which lets face it is a great old standby. And let me tell you, it’s good to have a good standby thing, because Tagxedo is built with Silverlight and that may go away in the not too distant future.
I couldn’t wait for Apple to drop the new iOS. I was looking forward to the new notifications, wireless sync, camera on the lock screen. Now that I have been using the new update for a few days. I do like it, but it isn’t as awesome as I was hoping. Don’t get me wrong, it’s a solid update, but I find that there are only a few new features that I’m really using.
I love the new notification system. Notifications like text messages or other alerts aren’t as intrusive as they once where. This is really nice and makes the laborious update process worth the time. Now while you are using the phone, notifications flip down from the top of the screen for just a moment, then rolls back up out of your way. The best part is the new notification manager. I would often get multiple texts and alerts from my calendar that would pile up and wouldn’t be displayed properly on the lock screen and no way to look back other then to check individual apps.
I have been pushing myself to cut the cord for the last six months. Connecting my phone to my computer wasn’t so convenient for me. Often my daughter would have the laptop and I would have to wait or kick her off when I needed to sync. The big reason for syncing was to grab new podcast, then I found an app for listening to my shows called Stitcher. I still need to sync to get the shows I can’t get on Stitcher, but I don’t need to sync nearly as often, perhaps once a week. Since I don’t need to sync as often, the wireless syncing is not as great a new feature as it might have been for me, but it is still pretty nice. Continue reading ‘iOS 5 is a solid update’ »
Prezi is a Flash based presentation tool that is a cross between concept map and slideshow. You can create the map of your topic and then set up the presentation by establishing a path, the order of viewing different parts of your map. I like Prezi because it’s very kinetic in the way it moves around from one part to another. You can change size and orientation of different elements to make Prezi zoom and tilt. I think this is stimulating to the audience and helps hold attention.
You create Prezi online or with an application with a paid account. Prezi has a free limited service that is online only and your work is publicly viewable. You can also get an educator account that will give you more storage and privacy. The main feature of the $59 per year Edu Pro account is the Prezi Desktop application allowing you to work offline.
Prezi is different in a lot of ways and this is most noticable when you create your first Prezi. The user interface is very different from every other application I have ever used and it takes some time to learn. However, once you get the hang of it, you will work a lot faster. There is Learn tab on Prezi.com, use that to get started, learning this on your own will be difficult. Continue reading ‘Prezi + Video = Awesome!’ »
Wow! I couldn’t agree with these seven rules more, totally awesome list, go read it right now!
Seth Godin: Quieting the Lizard Brain from 99% on Vimeo. I’m trying to change my life a little bit and I saw this video and it spoke to me in this time of transition. I know that I spend too much time inside my own head. I want to start actually making things happen. My main effort at the moment is in learning GTD, Getting Things Done. GTD is a productivity system. The main danger is spending too much time servicing the “system” and no focusing on output. This is a temptation because of what Godin talks about, the Lizard Brain. Fear is the main thing, right? I spend too much time in my head, or organizing all the projects and not working on the actual tasks needed to complete those projects. I’m afraid that what I put out into the world as my best effort won’t be excepted, or worse, ridiculed. I must remind myself that my best effort really hasn’t been my best effort and I don’t experience ridicule all that often.
You might have heard that Google is making some changes to some of their services. Google+ is in private beta and it’s already slipped out that Picasa and Blogger will get rebranded, perhaps related to Google+. You might not be able to get into Google+ right now, but you can preview some changes coming in Gmail right now. Go to mail settings under the gear in the upper right corner, themes, and scroll down to the bottom of the themes and you get to choose from two different preview themes.
I’m liking the new theme, it’s very clean and sharp. I’m also pleased to see that this theme also seems to have been applied to my Google Calendar interface as well. I’m hopeful that this will soon apply to my Reader interface.
This week Apple released a… sort of anticipated update… yeah that’s it…. An update for Final Cut Pro, a high end video editing solution used in television and film. I’m being a little funny about this because as it turns out there are a few people that are less then pleased about the new release. David Pogue has some good coverage if you want to read the specifics. The long and the short of it is that Apple has changed everything about the beloved video editor. Many professional editors in industry are crying foul and while it may not be as bad as it suggest by some, there are some real problems with the application as it sits right now.
But I’m here to tell you that I have the solution for you. You don’t like the new release of Final Cut Pro? DON’T USE IT. There I said it, do you feel better? I know I do. Now, I know it is easy for me to say that, but hear me out. I have used Final Cut Pro and then Final Cut Express off and on for maybe eight years. I sometimes need to edit multiple tracks of video for a wedding and iMovie just don’t cut it. (pun intended) I haven’t needed to use Express in a year or so because iMove has gotten to the point where it’s pretty darn good for what I do.
Since iMovie does well for me and I have FCE if I need it, I’m not looking to drop $300 on the new shiny thing, no matter how cool it is, I just don’t need it. If you don’t like the new FCP X, then keep using what you’ve been using. Maybe Apple will update their offering and add in missing features that you just have to have. Just don’t grippe about what a product does not do, you do not have to use it.
Steven W. Anderson (@web20classroom) 6/5/11 9:28 AM QR Codes In Education: http://bit.ly/f22Opq #mlearning
I had this link in my Evernote inbox for a while now. I didn’t realize it was such an extensive resource on QR codes. I’m thinking about ways to use this with my students in the fall. The biggest hurdle I see is teaching students and parents what QR codes are and how to use them. I’m guessing that I’ll need to make a poster explaining this stuff.
Friends and colleagues know that Three Fires Middle School is no more. A few months ago Howell Public Schools Board of Ed decided to solve the empty high school problem by shuffling a couple buildings around.
Three Fires Middle School -> Parker Middle School (filling the empty space)
Latson Elementary -> Three Fires Elementary
Latson becomes furniture storage until the highway interchange is built, at which time the property will sold for a vary large bag of money.