Thursday, May 9, 2013

New Toys

In a recent post concerning a new course I will be teaching, I remarked that  I will learn more than I teach.  The course starts today, and I have already had my horizons expanded by it.  Already I have gained considerable experience at the following cloud sites.

The greatest revelation has been LiveBinders.  As I began collecting materials
Getting started with LiveBinders
for my course, I first relied on my old mainstay, Evernote.  Then a colleague shared a Binder chock full of materials which were organized by tabs in a highly intuitive manner.  I soon began forming my own binder, including all kinds of media.  The binders are very presentable.  They are great for organizing and sharing course materials-- something I hope to do more of as I become more practiced with the software.

I had never used BlackBoard until recently.  At Mercy, we use Moodle as a Learning Management System.  It is versatile and it is free!  However, while it took me several weeks to become proficient in Moodle, I was competent with BlackBoard, literally within minutes.  Its design and help features are truly impressive. 

You may have noticed that I have started using embedded slides at this blog.  This is thanks to SlideShare which I am leaning onfor an iBook Author project Recently, I purchased the "Pro" version so that I could store large slide decks "privately" and then share them out with my project team members as needed.  I also now can upload some videos there.  The only disadvantage for me is that I cannot upload directly from Keynote, so I usually have to convert those files to PowerPoint before I upload them.

Usually when I whip up a survey, I use Google Forms.  In April, I joined a project team that was determined to create sophisticated tech integration surveys for two large cohorts at our school.  We have found that the "Select" version of SurveyMonkey could meet our layout, collaboration, and data analysis needs.

Well, this ends my commercial.  However, I am always appreciative of tech tools which are both versatile and easy to use.

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