Archive for the “Software and Skills” Category

ULearn13-e-Tools-_Tools_for_professionals.pdf by gregc5

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From the Google blog:

Quickoffice has been a part of the Google family for over a year now and we’ve been focused on making it easier for you to get work done in Drive — no matter what type of document you need to work with. Converting old files to Google Docs, Sheets and Slides is still the easiest way to share and work together, and we’re working every day to make the files you convert look better. But sometimes the people you work with haven’t gone Google yet, so we made the Quickoffice mobile apps free for Google Apps for Business customers. And today we’re making Quickoffice available for free to everyone: students, businesses, nonprofits, governments, consumers and anyone with a Google Account.

via Official Enterprise Blog: Freeing Quickoffice for everyone.

VERY handy for those who work across platforms and operating systems.  


While we’re on the topic of free stuff, if you sign in to your Google Account from the new Quickoffice app for Android or iOS by September 26, 2013, an extra 10GB of Google Drive storage will be added to your account for two years (look for it in the next few weeks.)

…. and there is no such thing as to much free online storage!

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Well … there has been an interesting debate over the last few days in a group I subscribe to about the value of Virtual Learning Environments.  It has been fascinating.

Was just watching this:

Which gives a lot of different arguments in the debate.  Worth watching the first 25min or so, if nothing else.  

Schools are focussing a lot of their discretionary expenditure on commercial products like KnowledgeNET or Ultranet.  Or on 'free' things like Moodle – 'free' because there is still the cost of support etc.  Is it resulting in improved outcomes for students?  I am really not sure.  For a medium sized school there may be a cost to these tools of around $3000 to $4000 a year.  This is the same cost as 150-200+ hours of TA time.  Which is more useful?  Which supports learning better?  Like with anything it is the quality of what you get that is critical, and I would rather have an average LMS than a terrible TA for my room.  But having said that ….

Another argument that often comes up is around the free tools that have the same, or better functionality.  Edmodo is the second largest LMS platform internationally I read somewhere recently.  Behind Moodle (by a big margin).  Google Apps, blogs and wikis can give much of the content management and interactivity of a content management system (and that is all many LMS platforms are used for lets face it) for free.  Why would you pay for this?

As I have harped on about for years, it comes down to PURPOSE:

* WHY do you want to have one in the first place?

* HOW will it make the learning better; and not just different, better?

* Will something else give a better 'bang for buck' for your school staff and students?

* Is the learning curve of the tool worth the effort in terms of ultimate pay-off?

If we are not able to answer these questions definitively with a yes and a well thought through rationale why are we doing it?

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Here is my presentation from today:

A big thanks to all those who came along!!  Do contact me if there are any things we can follow up with given we couldn't get online in the session itself.  I am happy to help in any way :-)

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This is SOOO cool.  My mind just went nuts with all the different applications of this technology:


Well worth taking 8min to watch this …. and the app is FREE!

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Google Docs is great for some things but the new Drive format sure has a lot of stuff. Here is a neat viewing tip:

This may be old hat to some serious Google Docs users, but I use Docs every day and just stumbled on this trick when the fine folks at The Next Web pointed it out. Instead of clicking on a collection name to open it and see the document list, click the drop-down arrow next to the collection name, select "Open," and you'll be treated to a preview mode of the collection, with a thumbnail of each document on the right and a list of docs on the left. Better yet, if you want to preview the documents individually, make sure your focus is in that sidebar to the left (click on any empty space) and then use the up and down arrows to bring up the full doc in the window to the right. It's a bit faster than clicking through the list of documents individually, or moving in and out of collections just to preview what's in them.


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This is pretty informative and shows just how easy it is!

Making webapps and 'real' apps is explained and some really practical ideas.  Nice!

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Been a busy week or so for things coming through the RSS and in the different projects I am involved in.

Some of the more interesting ones….

Learning and Teaching:

* Another list of top 10's but interesting to note the alignment in the thinking that these have around specific trends.  Comparing with the CORE 10 Trends for example –  There are more and more references to this mag (for the ipad) assuming it is at the same sort of level as the Edutopia site which is a pretty meteoric rise.

* iPads v Laptops – short but good post outlining the benefits-pitfalls of each

* Alllanahs great google site on iPads in education.  Have iPads you need to have a look here.  Deal Extreme ( is a good place to get some of this sort of gear and they do free international postage.

* Harvard Teaching for Understanding Framework.  I came across this through some work in the Future Schools in Singapore.  Similar to Inquiry but project based and more teacher directed.  Some great reflective questions and resources.  A site worth taking the time to browse around.

* The spaces we learn in are critical.  The size of the bodies makes no difference to this truth but it is often only the smaller ones we think about.  The Reggio philosophy for example has a specific focus on the physical classroom as a 'teacher' for chidlren.  I have always had a fascination with this and the Learning Spaces space on the Enabling eLearning site has some great links and resources.  Have a look if you are planning any upgrades ….

* quite a different view on learning.  Good to challenge yourself a bit ….

* GREAT post about using data.  The importance of collaboration in making OTJ's and for the learning of the team.


Geeky Stuff:

* tips and tricks with iOS.  Slow to navigate but some geeky wee things

* Some people have just too much time on their hands!!

* Interesting new player in the ISP game in NZ.  Very different pricing model and getting the squeeze from the big boys after less than a week it would seem.

* iPads and other tablets now account for 40% of the mobile broadband market globally.  WOW!  There has been talk of the inevitability of BYOD …. so it is happening even if it is not sanctioned by the school.  I know our kids friends tether to each others devices to get around school filtering to get to facebook at break times for instance.  There are increasing numbers of 'how to' and 'readiness' posts on the BYOD topic – heres another good one.

* speed up the reaction time of the home button on your iPhone – this worked!!

* Slow motion capture on the iPhone …. not actually tried it but sounds great for PE skills.


Other things:

* There was a blog I used to follow ages ago with lots of these wee venn diagrammes. this is a snappy but still useful list of things to think about.  With reference to rutts – I once heard them described as a grave with the ends knocked out … mmmm

* photography posing guide – the series of these are great!  This is the couples one but they cover all sorts of situations.  Could share with older kids to work on their composition and shortcut to 'what works' too.

* find free Kindle books – the good ones, the best sellers.

* A Blog title designed to get attention but some wonderfully funny and cleverly written posts – Stuff white people like

* creating success quickly as a key factor in development.  Leadership Freak blog is a great place for succinct leadership tips.  This is important in our work as Facilitators as well ….

* If you need something special in the clothing line and want to go custom made.

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