Instructional Technology Resources
If annoying animated ads in articles you read online are cluttering your reading screen and/or draining the battery on your mobile device, follow these quick and easy steps in Distraction free reading is visual accessiblity
Social Media Applications
The Oxford Dictionary defines social media as websites and applications that enable users to create and share content or to participate in social networking. These web applications are hosted outside a learning management system but often can be integrated into an LMS to facilitate student access. Below are selected applications that provide opportunities for students and faculty to enhance their teaching and learning through online collaboration.
Word Cloud Generators
With Wordle and other word cloud generators you can easily create a visual word-frequency cloud of any copied text. In a matter of seconds your beautiful graph can provide information that is educational or useless, but regardless of the result it is fun and quite stunning to look at. Read Practical and Educational Uses of Wordle and an introduction to other word cloud tools.
To the right is a Wordle of President Obama's speech on racism.
Flipboard is an online tool for choosing and organizing related news and other articles into a magazine format. Your magazines can be read with a web browser or preferably with a smart phone or tablet that allows you to flip through articles and switch to magazines on your Flipboard. Most magazine "curators" share them publicly, which can be followed by other Flipboard users. Educators can have students collaborate to build a shared magazine of contributed articles that they and their instructors can comment on.
Below are three of my magazines that you can click to open and browse the collection of articles that may be of interest to you.
With VoiceThread you upload photographs, Word documents, and PowerPoint presentation to create an online slideshow and then annotate audio, video, and typed text to each slide. Audio can be a real-time recording or an uploaded mp3 file. Although VoiceThread works well as a single-user multimedia presentation tool, inviting other VoiceThread users to attach their voices to the slideshow creates a resource enriched by its new community. For Example, listen to VoiceThread users from all over world say "hello" in their native language to form a group conversation around a photograph of a kindergarten class in Turkey.
Slideshare is one of the more well-known online presentation sites for publishing PowerPoint that includes sharing, community groups, embedding slideshows within Web pages, and enhancements such as inserting YouTube videos and synchronized audio. You can browse through my Collection of Slideshare presentations
Reading and listening
Like many educators who continuously engage online I curate, bookmark, and read articles related to teaching and learning with technology. Listening to education podcasts while walking is a great activity and is highly recommended!
- Faculty Focus - higher education teaching strategies
- Chronicle's ProfHacker - teaching, tech, and productivity
- InsideHigherEd - news, surveys, webcasts, opinions
- Hack Education Weekly News - The History of the Future of Education Technology
- Compilation of higher ed blogs by EdTech
Great but obsolete technology tools
These tools no longer exist because the publishers were unable to justify sustaining them.
- Readability was a distraction free reading tool that allowed you to click a browser button on a web page to strip the distracting ads. You could also export the page as an ePub to your Kindle, iPad, or Android tablet for offline reading. The good news is that there are built-in readers for Firefox and Safari and an extension that you can install in Chrome. Read how in Distraction free reading.
- Converting web pages to ePub format is more challenging without Readability. One free alternative that works reasonably well is dotepub.com . You can drag a bookmarklet to your browser toolbar and then click that button on any page to convert it to an ePub for downloading and reading on your mobile device.
- Delicious was a popular social bookmarking application that provided tools to quickly and efficiently bookmark and organize your favorite web sites using a web browser. Pinboard (not to be confused with Pinterest) is an excellent no-frills replacement with many built-in tools and resources. My Pinboard collection of bookmarks that were transitioned from Delicious. However, the most popular bookmarking tool is Diigo.com, which is a favorite among educators and includes shared annotations.
- Drop.io was a unique phonecasting service that was shut down after being purchased by and incorporated into Facebook. I wrote a blog post looking for an alternative and still there is no product that does everything Drop.io could do!