Friday, January 28, 2011

A digital amuse bouche

I'd like to announce a new series of Learning Technology workshops intended to showcase small but useful applications that are available for free. "A Digital Amuse-Bouche" will consist of one-hour hands-on IDEA Lab workshops offered 3:30 to 4:30 on Thursday afternoons five times during the semester. (The day was chosen using clickers to poll the audience at Passport to Technology last month)

February 10th. Poll Everywhere ( ). A web based system to get instant responses to questions posed to your class. Responses can be made with any device that can access the web–a computer, smart phone, iPad, iPod Touch or any of the new Windows mobile and Android products currently flooding the market–as well as through cell phone text messaging. It's totally free for up to 32 respondents. Pro options allow up to 1000 respondents. The instructor side is web-based, so it doesn't matter if you're a Windows, Mac, or Linux user.

March 3rd. Pixlr ( ) Modest on-line photo-editors have been available for years, but Pixlr has ramped up the capabilities to near-Photoshop levels. Totally web-based, it requires no installation and works with any operating system. The function that really caught my attention is the clone tool with a soft brush–in case there's a stray hair or zit you needed to remove from a family portrait.

March 31. Jing ( ) A free application that does either still or video computer screen capture with audio narration. Very simple to use. It has a limitation of 5 minutes so you can't use it to record an entire lecture, but you'd be surprised how you can explain how to use a particular function in Excel, analyze a painting or navigate a government database in under 5 minutes. (see Chunking - ). Not only is it easy to use, it's easy to make available on the web. You can either let Jing host it for free with a single click or save it locally and put it on one our streaming servers if you've got the geek cred for that. Available on both Windows and Macintosh.

April 14. Folio 21 ( ) Kind of a big byte for this series, but totally free to any UW Oshkosh student, department or class (well, funded by Student Technology fee anyway). Folio 21 is an ePortfolio system in which you can upload a collection of documents, and then assemble web-based portfolios for specific purposes with restrictions to specified individuals or audiences. These portfolios persist after a student graduates so it can meet the student's career objectives, class objectives and departmental assessment objectives. Jaime Page-Stadler, Director of Career Planning and Placement, will lead this event.

April 28. Viewers Choice! If there's a handy little application out there on the web that you think your colleagues might find useful, let us know about it–or maybe they'll invent something new this spring!