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Cool Tools to Liven Up The Classroom

I just read an article in T&D Magazine titled “Beef Up Your Training Toolbox with Web Tool.” The author, Mary E. Green, offered suggestions for how you can use web tools to increase engagement in the traditional classroom. The article inspired me to look at what is on my Cloud Apps page that may also be helpful to the classroom trainer. Here is what I pulled from the page that I think would be great to use in the traditional classroom. Plus, they are all free.

Cartoons (also suggested by Green) – A funny cartoon can liven up the class. The following allow you to make your own that you can use in the classroom.
DoInk
ToonDoo

Charts, Diagrams, and Data – Explain it in a chart using the apps below. Plus, you will be surprised how much supporting information you may find in the Google Public Data Explorer.
Cacoo (create diagrams)
ChartGo (create charts)
Google Public Data Explorer (Create charts and visualizations form public data)

QR Code Generators – Put QR codes in your manuals and on the classroom screen. They can contain text or URLs and is a great way to get additional information and resources to attendees with smart phones.
Kaywa
Snap.vu
YouScan.me

Screencasts – Software trainers, show them how it is done in a screencast that can be shared in the classroom and also accessed later at their convenience. Heck, give them the screencast’s link via a QR code while you are at it. Participants can create their own and use them to share their new skills with others.
Screen-o-Matic
Screenr

Social Bookmarking – Make sure they have all your online resources by giving them one link to all your bookmarks. Plus, when you add additional resources at a later time, they will see them too.
Delicious
Digg
Diigo
Linkpad.me

Social Media – Get a back channel going in the classroom and keep it posted on the screen. Plus, what a great way to continue supporting learners by interacting via social media after the class ends.
Twitter
Yammer
Storify (create stories using social media)

Video – Create your own video and post it, find relevant videos already out there, and/or get your learners to make and share their own video.
TeacherTube
YouTube

These are just the apps I pulled from the Cloud App page. Do you have suggestions of where classroom trainers can find useful online tools for the classroom? If so, feel free to add them to the comment section.

My New Social Bookmarking Tool

I have been a big fan of social bookmarking and my preferred tool for social bookmarking has been Delicious. With the initial rumor that Yahoo will be discontinuing it and now the news they may be selling it,  I imported my bookmarks to Diigo. It was a very easy process and retained all of my tags. This is great because I often share these tags on my blog, Twitter, e-mail and even in the classroom, so seeing them preserved was very important to me. Here are some of the tags I share the most, which are now available in Diigo:

I also added a Diigo widget to this bog. So, if you are a Diigo user you can bookmark my posts using the icon in the right column. I have also inserted a working example below.

Add to Diigo

Quiz Maker Pro Give Away

ProProfs has been nice enough to give one of our lucky readers a free copy of Quiz Maker Pro. They created a sample quiz, which if you score 100% you will be included in our drawing for a free one year copy. Below is the link to the quiz, which will give you a good feel of what can be done with Quiz Maker in addition to moving you closer to winning your free copy for one year.

How Teachers Can Use Web 2.0 In The Classroom (Quiz Maker)

The deadline is December 27, 2010. I will select a name from all who scored 100% and announce the lucky winner December 29th right here on this blog.

Good luck!

Make a Quiz on the Cloud (ProProfs Quiz Maker)

There is a new addition to the Free Cloud Apps page, it’s ProProfs Quiz Maker. Quiz Maker is a quick and easy way to build a quiz that is hosted on the cloud.  No software needed, it is completely web-based. You can easily post a link to your quiz from a blog or web page. It also has the functionality to tweet a link or add to Facebook or MySpace. Proprofs was gracious enough to give me a complimentary account (full disclosure) to test drive it. Here is a link to a simple quiz I made to test some of the features and so you can see some of what it does – Take my Rhode Island History quiz.

Although you can embed the quiz in blogs and sites, it uses iFrames, which does not play nice with my WordPress blog, otherwise I would have done so here. I was told they are working on a new widget with additional customizations for embedding the quizzes, which is expected later this week. However, it is very easy to post a link to your quizzes (like above) or share via social media.

Here is what I like about Quiz Maker:

  • It is extremely user-friendly.
  • It is on the Cloud, so users have access anywhere, whether taking a quiz or building one.
  • You can add images,  video, and links to each question.
  • You can add feedback.
  • They offer a free version.
  • You can track participation, including each user’s answers and quiz stats. I was impressed with how easy it was to view participants’ answers and overall quiz stats. I wish most learning management systems (LMS) made this same task so easy. FYI: Tracking is not included with the free account.
  • According to a representative from ProProfs they are currently working on SCORM compatibility, so integration with an LMS is on the horizon.

What I wish it had:

  • If you update/edit a quiz the stats are reset to zero. So, once you have a quiz made, make sure it is the absolute  final version.
  • More question types. They have multiple choice, fill in the blank and essays, but it would be great if they had some more interactive options like hot spots, drag and drop or matching, etc. Hopefully they will expand the question types in the future.
  • I am splitting hairs, but I would like to see the fill in the blank allow the blank to be placed anywhere in the sentence. Unless I missed something, it appears the blank could only be placed at the end of a sentence.
  • I would have liked to be able to also add graphics, video and links to the feedback.

Regarding the free version, you cannot add the creator’s name to the certificate and it is only an ad free trial for seven days, then ads will be posted. Also the tracking and stats features are not included in the free account after seven days. You can view the comparisons of pricing plans here, including what you do and don’t get with the free account. FYI: They do have a very reasonably priced plan for educational users.

All in all, if you are looking to create and share simple quizzes with the benefits of doing so on the Cloud, it is worth your time. I will emphasize the word “simple” because if you are looking for more interactive question types (e.g. hot spots, drag and drop, graded sims, etc.), you will probably need to utilize more robust e-learning authoring tools to do so.

If you are interested in taking Quiz Maker for a spin, here is the link again – ProProfs Quiz Maker.

Keeping Up – April's Big Question

April’s Big Question from Learning Circuits is “How to Keep up?” This is in reference the immense and rapidly expanding technology tools.

It is tough to stay on top of all the emerging tools. However, being involved in an e-learning community is a big help. For me it is a blog community and following many experts on Twitter. Not only am I often made aware of new tools, but also get opinions, tips, and examples of their use. You can never keep up with it all, but access to many experts who are also finding and sharing the lastest tech tools make it much less daunting.

Many of the blogs I follow are part of the eLearningLearning community. So, I browsed “Tools” by keyword on  eLearningLearning. Here are the results and the level of exposure to technology tools this community provides:

Twitter (2482) Social Network (1999) Wiki (1610)
LMS (1346) Podcaster (1239) Facebook (1176)
Flash (980) PowerPoint (922) YouTube (843)
RSS (814) LinkedIn (798) Second Life (687)
iPhone (602) Director (584) Moodle (550)
PDF (521) Captivate (515) Wikipedia (502)
HTML (367) Mac (359) Camera (352)
iPod (342) Slideshare (292) SCORM (291)
Delicious (261) Camtasia (255) Calendar (254)
Blackboard (231) Ning (229) LCMS (223)
MySpace (216) Firefox (214) SharePoint (203)
Skype (199) iTunes (193) Adobe Captivate (192)
VLE (183) Technorati (148) Juice (138)
Microphone (138) Photoshop (134) Google Wave (128)
Google Docs (124) WebEx (123) Elluminate (100)
Jing (100) Dreamweaver (82) Audacity (82)
VOIP (80) Lectora (76) Friendfeed (75)
Adobe Connect (74) Articulate Presenter (74) Flash Player (73)
Blog Tool (62) Pipes (60) CD-ROM (57)
Drupal (54) Adobe Presenter (48) iPad (46)
ActionScript (46) Lotus (46) Diigo (43)
MediaWiki (42) Google Calendar (41) Authorware (41)
Quicktime (40) Flash Video (39) Learn.com (39)
Vodcaster (37) Wink (37) DimDim (37)
Quizmaker (37) Raptivity (37) Evernote (36)
PBwiki (36) Centra (35) OpenOffice (35)
Jive (32) WizIQ (31) SocialText (31)
VoiceThread (28) eXe (28) Google Scholar (28)
OnDemand (28) Ustream (27) Webct (27)
Zoho (25) Joomla (25) Udutu (25)
MySQL (24) Articulate Engage (24) Blogging Software (24)
Blog Software (24) Wetpaint (24) Podium (23)
Toolbook (23) Google Buzz (20) Cornerstone OnDemand(20)
Clipart (20) Wimba (20) Unison (19)
SlideRocket (17) ScreenToaster (16) Xing (16)
iTunesU (15) Connectbeam (15) Propaganda (14)
One Note (14) Jive Software (14) Yugma (13)
OneNote (13) Seesmic (12) Firefly (12)
Lithium (12) TalkShoe (11) Flashform (11)
Qarbon (11) Lotus Connections (11) Cooliris (10)
RapideL (10) SkillPort (10) DHTML (9)
Knowledgeware (9) Assima (9) Apple Keynote (9)
IntraLearn (9) LearnCenter (9) KnowledgeHub (8)
CollectiveX (8) Odeo (7) Swish (7)
KickApps (7) Xerte (6) Wondershare (6)
Prospero (6) MindTouch (6) Moveable Type (6)
Scuttle (6) LearnHub (5) Articulate Online (5)
NetDimension (5) Knowledge Planet (5) Dokeos (5)
Learningware (5) PowerCONVERTER (5) Microsoft Producer (5)
ReadyGo (5) Vuepoint (5) Respondus (5)
ViewCentral (5) CourseMill (5) iCohere (5)
PodPress (4) Odiogo (4) Miro (4)
Xerceo (4) ooVoo (4) Elicitus (4)
Xstream (4) GeoMetrix (4) TopClass (4)
Twiki (4) YAKiToMe (3) Wimpy (3)
Gcast (3) Proform (3) Docebo (3)
CourseLab (3) SimWriter (3) STT Trainer (3)
Impatica (3) GeoMaestro (3) HiveLive (3)
Dogear (3) BEA Pathways (3) Sclipo (2)
LearnFlex (2) ziePOD (2) Widget Podcast (2)
RSS Radio (2) Hipcast (2) Feed2Podcast (2)
BlogAmp (2) RapidShare (2) Atutor (2)
iVocalize (2) KnowledgePresenter (2) ViewletBuilder (2)
SoftSim (2) RapidBuilder (2) SCATE (2)
Learnframe (2) TotalLMS (2) WBT Manager (2)
ResultsOnDemand (2) Bea Pages (2) Apache Roller (2)
WildVoice (1) WebPod Studio (1) Tool Factory Podcasting(1)
Talkr (1) slapcast (1) ReadtheWords.com (1)
ProfCast (1) PodshowCreator (1) podOmatic (1)
PodNova (1) Podlinez (1) Podifier (1)
Podesk (1) Podcast Ready (1) Podcast Blaster (1)
Podbean (1) Podango (1) Podadmin (1)
OdeoStudio (1) Nimiq (1) myPodder (1)
Mixcraft (1) Mirpod player (1) Ksan Player (1)
iRadeo (1) iPodder (1) HuffDuffer (1)
Fonpods (1) ePodcast Producer (1) ePodcast Creator (1)
Easypodcast (1) ClickCaster (1) CastRoller (1)
Castblaster (1) BoxPopuli (1) blubrry (1)
BlogTalkRadio (1) BadApple (1) Audio Bay (1)
Audio Acrobat (1) 1pixelout (1) Gabcast (1)
NetExam (1) Phasient (1) SimBuilder (1)
SAPTutor (1) ViewletACE (1) HyperSnap (1)
TurboDemo (1) SimCorder (1) InfoPak (1)
KnowledgeSolutions (1) InstallShield (1) Datango (1)
iMediaCONVERT (1) PresenterOne (1) Oracle iLearning (1)
Microsoft eLearning (1) Google Info (1) WSSsearch (1)
del.irio.us (1)

That is a lot of tools this blogging community has discussed and introduced to its readers. I also like to make occasional visits to Google Labs and Adobe Labs to “keep up” with the tech tools they are working on and to test drive any beta versions available. When I do find interesting tools I will keep track of them using my Delicious account. Tagged either under Development Toolsor Cloud. When it comes to free cloud apps, I also share them on my blog’s Free Cloud Apps page.

It is tough to stay on top of all the great stuff being offered out there, but the blogs and social media certainly help.

Public Data Explorer – Google Labs

Google Labs recently released their Public Data Explorer. You can create charts and visualizations with public data sets. I created the examples below from data provided by the World Bank. The amount of data provided by the World Bank is impressive.

In my opinion, the animated map and bubble views need some work, but it is a beta so I will cut Google some slack.

In addition to data from the World Bank, they have data from the California Department of Education, U.S. Census Bureau, Eurostat and more. Researchers and teachers alike may find Public Data Explorer very useful. So, give it a test drive. FYI: You can embed your charts into a webpage or blog (like the examples above), which are updated automatically so the data is current. I will also be adding this new tool to the Cloud Apps page .

Cloud Apps Page Added

While  recently reviewing my “best of” posts, I also looked at its top keywords. Seeing cloud computing ranked as the highest keyword inspired me to add a bit more about the Cloud. So I have decided to add a cloud application page.

Cloud App Page

The Cloud App page is a compilation of free cloud applications. Many of these are useful online learning tools. So far, I have listed 20 apps, but there are many more out there which I hope to add as I encounter them. Please feel free to recommend your favorite free cloud app and I will add it to the list.