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Learning from Out Briefs

Resources Spotlighted For Schools

Internet Experience in Schools

MORE THAN 100 primary school and second level teachers will attend a day-long "Internet Experience" conference in Tipperary Institute on Thursday where they will learn about emerging trends in ICT supporting education. My presentation (and accompanying podcast) points to useful online resources beyond those commonly used from Scoilnet and TeachNet that can be blended into education. I prepared this blog post as a jumplist for content that I will discuss and podcast in support of the event. I have used most of the sources cited in this jumplist. My listing also shows the limited reach I have in the area and it suggests the kinds of things I use in the education materials I produce and in third level research done by Sharon Fitzgerald. I have integrated suggestions from readers of this blog and from Irish educators in the DITAT group on Yahoo! If you have suggestions worth considering by educators on a shoestring budget, please offer your pointer. In fact, the message I'm hammering home is that lofty goals behind the National Digital Learning Repository will be achieved only when people share their links, collaborate with one another, and build on the work of others. You can follow this discussion by clicking on the orange "RSS"rectangle, such as the one on An Timeall. Thanks to RSS, important information flows to my (free) Bloglines account and into my Google News Reader.

Educators Worth Reading

Bookshelf. You need to have a well-thumbed reading list.

  • Safari's Online Bookshelf at safari.oreilly.com lets me compile reading materials for modules by selecting portions of books published by O'Reilly. (€12 month is one subscription plan.)
  • James Lerman -- 101 Best Websites for Elementary Teachers ISBN 1564842150 (€28) 

Maps from Jonathan Crowe's Map Room filled with resources about maps, map collections, and pointers to maps on the web, including:

Icons, such as Favourite Icons, are always helpful when directing student projects. We are assembling an assortment of icons for the Wondering Moleskine Project, where some will be remediated for use as illustrations in the Moleskine journals. Teachers can leverage user-generated content to good advantage, especially clever collaborative projects. You can Google for wonderingmoleskine and see where the Moleskine journals are in Ireland.

Stock Photography. Go to Flickr, find a theme, search for a tag (like edtech), and start your collection.

Recording Audio Streams from the internet. Tipperary Institute uses a relatively straightforward concept that works with older computers. We use the Sony ICD MX-20 for simple recording or for recording streamed content, radio content and televised audio content.

Streaming Sites. Some of my favourite streaming sites:

Free MP3 Samples from Amazon.

Royalty-Free Music from the Podsafe Music Network and podsafe music resources cited by members of the Irish Opencast mailing list.

Podcasting Resources. The field of Irish podcasting continues growing. You can find some of these links by using Google to search for podcasts. Google listed 1297 links when I first looked up the term in the summer of 2003. One month later, Google listed 102,000 links to podcasting. Now Google finds 324m pages containing the word “podcast”.

Podcasting is Xtreme Radio. As Doc Searls explains, "The key virtue of traditional radio is its immediacy: the fact that it's live. They key virtue of this new breed of radio is that it's Net-native. That is, it's archived in a way that can be listened to at the convenience of the listener, and (this is key) that it can be linked to by others, and enclosed in an RSS feed."

I published a list of podsafe resources that came from OurMedia.org, an excellent source of user-generated content that could be used to complement the goal of incidental learning in the classroom.

Recommended links:

  • Burke, Liam -- “Podcasting in Ireland”.
  • Curry, Adam. "Daily Source Code" and interview with Gillmor Gang.
  • Fuller, Brandon. "MT Enclosures"
  • Fuller, Brandon. "iPodder client software for Windows Media Player"
  • Fuller, Brandon. "iPodder client software for iTunes for Windows"
  • The Gillmor Gang made a 30 MB (30 minute long) show about the origins of podcasting. Adam Curry and Dave Winer give a thumbnail view of the origins of podcasting and its raison d'être. Steve Gillmor suggests it's similar to the early days of pirate radio.
  • Goldbach, Bernie. Produces Educasts in Ireland during the academic year.
  • Hall, Robert. Each of his blog articles has an enclosure tag that points to back-end text-to-speech generated .mp3's that his system automatically generates and caches on the fly for Flash playback.
  • Maffin, Tod. "How podcasting will save radio" and Podcasting 101
  • Maddin, Tod. "How to make podcasting better"
  • Searls, Doc. -- "DIY radio with PODcasting"
  • Schotman, Hugo. "Podcasting howto: creation, delivery, feeds and more on engadget" and much much more.
  • Torrone, Phillip. "How To: Podcasting"
  • Wikipedia -- "Podcasting"
  • Windley, Phil. "PODCasting: Delivering Audio to MP3 Players Like the iPod"
  • Winer, Dave. "How Podcasting Ping Works"
  • Woolley, Scott. "Broadcast Bullies"

Powerpoint Resources. Teachers use Powerpoint and appreciate things that spice up their presentations. I use it as an outliner. To leverage Powerpoint better, I have been following some of the sites listed below, reading them through free RSS newsfeeds. Michael Hyatt's commentary about Powerpoint resources is a great place to start.

  • The work at Powered Templates.com is professionally produced and reasonably priced.
  • AbsolutVision has a royalty free collection of images in the JPEG2000 format. Many of these excellent images come as floating objects. You can buy individual images for $4.95 each or subscribe to the service for $25.00 a month or $99.95 per year. Either option entitles you to download 200 images a month.
  • Beyond Bullets.  Serious thinking about the way you use PowerPoint and how to improve your effectiveness.
  • Crystal Graphics. Television-like transitions, 3D Titles, supershapes, and custom templates are some of the more popular add-ins.
  • Design Sense offers lessons for those without formal graphic design training. The 12 hours of CBT costs $59.
  • Indezine Blog is written by Geetesh Bajaj, a Microsoft PowerPoint MVP. His site contains PowerPoint articles, links, reviews, and templates. Geetesh also sends out a weekly ezine on PowerPoint. The reviews page is especially helpful. He lists almost every known PowerPoint add-in. 
  • Masterviews is a blog with reviews and helpful Google ads pointing to PowerPoint resources.
  • Jupiter Images. You get what you pay for and Jupiter delivers value for money.
  • Mind Manager -- In Michael Hyatt's estimation, "It will change forever the way you plan and prepare your presentations. It is essentially a brainstorming tool that allows you to create “mental maps” of your presentations. It will help you quickly get all your ideas out of your head and then organize them. In my experience, this tool provides a much faster path to the final result than any other tool I have ever used."
  • PowerPoint Add-ins -- Chock-full of useful add-ins written by PowerPoint Guru, Shyam Pillai. Some of the best:
  • PowerPoint Templates Pro -- professionally produced PowerPoint templates.
  • Presentation Pointers -- Planning, building, and delivering great presentations. The articles would be especially valuable for people who are just getting started.
  • Presentation Plates work with PowerPoint and other programs that accept high quality images.
  • Presentation Pro -- Check out 4000 templates, a PowerCONVERTER that posts PowerPoint to the Web, PowerPoint webinar tools, and a Solution Center. 
  • Presenters Online -- contains a variety of helpful articles and resources related to PowerPoint software and presentation hardware.
  • Presenters University offers information, tutorials, and templates and a discussion forum.
  • Xcelsius is a stand-alone windows application that bridges the gap between data analysis and visual presentation. It is a tool that allows users to create easily deployable interactive reports based on Excel spreadsheets that export to Powerpoint.

Sharing Your Links. Do it with del.icio.us and contribute to the mix. For the "The Internet Experience for Schools" conference, we tagged all the resources cited here as "edtech", which is a tag used by several others sharing their bookmarks.

Get students involved in revising and tap into collegial interest by using free and collaborative tools like Writely and Writeboard. Share and share-alike.

I appreciate visionaries like Doc Searls, Ben Hammersley and Jon Udell who share ideas through social networking.

This will podcast as Educast 53 from Thursday, 15 June 2006. All the hyperlinks are tagged on del.icio.us as "edtech". Thanks to Steffen Coonan, Mike Kiely, and Eamon Dalton for contributing to the audio portion of this blog entry. Thanks also to the team that supported the Schools Conference in Tipperary Institute.