Thursday, October 25, 2007

Edvibes Pulse Launches

The Edvibes Pulse is where we track the pulse of 21st century education, web2.0, and open source current trends and technologies.

There are 9 tabs across the top that feature:

Pulse tab: Overall lists of the hottest blogs, links, and videos from the web’s most innovative thinkers

News tab: Puts together the nation’s major newspapers education sections

Videos tab: Lists Most Discussed and highest rated education videos that you can watch through this site, no downloads required

Podcasts: A collection of the biggest podcasters that you can listen to through this site, no downloads or ipods required, just click on the ipod icon next to the link.

Bookmarks tab: Here you will find some of the biggest names in the edublogsphere and what they are digging up and saving on their online bookmarks.

Blogs: A list of some featured edublogs

Networks: What’s going on in some of the biggest education networks on the web

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

What are WebApps, Webware, and Widgets

I am really disappointed with the web's definitions of these terms, maybe my next stop will be with revising some of those Wikipedia entries. Here are my definitions, let me know what you think.

Web-based: working inside your internet browser instead of on your computer.

Webware: (web + software coined from the site are web-based applications that run on the internet inside your internet browser vs software which is installed on your computer and runs on your computer.

WebApps: (web + applications) is another name for webware

See Web 2.0 Directories & Ranking for a list of WebApps & Webware

Widget: a 3rd party webapp tool embedded into a web page. Example: A calculator in your iGoogle or My Yahoo start page)
Webdesk: (I made up this word, this is a project I am working on see this is an online suite or collection of tools organized together to create a virtual web-based desktop of webapps and webware.

Example: Microsoft Word is software that is installed on your computer and is computer-based vs Google Docs or Zoho Writer which are web-based word processors that are run inside your internet browser an online instead of on your computer.

Benefits: I have 3 computers. The mac I am issued at work, my Desktop PC in my home office, and my old laptop for surfing the web while watching TV. Instead of me saving my lesson plans on a jump drive and swapping them around from one computer to the next or sendig emails with attachments back and forth to myself, I use Google Docs - a free web-based word process. This webware allows me to work at one WebApps like my Google Docs have made my life much easier and productive.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

I Would Like to Share My Class Blog Now

This is my first year blogging with my class. I think I am finally ready to share my 5th grade Detroit Elementary blog. So let me know what you think. What suggestions and recommendations do you have? I am also interested in setting up a blog pen pal with another class. Please contact/comment if you are interested.

Well here it is:

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Free Web-based Microsoft Office Suite Alternatives and Education

Web2.0 has brought us free office suites webapps (short for web-applications, which run inside your internet browser window). This new free webware (software run on the web not on your computer) have the potential to threaten the giant MS Office Suite as more and more switch to using the free services online rather than shelling out the hundreds of dollars to purchase the new commercial software. This is especially relevant in the education sector. The two online office suites I use for myself and my students are:

1. Googledocs formerly Writely until Google bought them out. It’s a suite that has a free replace for Microsoft Word, Excel, and Powerpoint (update and now Forms!). Googledocs has made me a more productive teacher, I love and swear by it I use it everyday to write and share my lesson planning from home and school, it doesn't matter what computer I am on I always have access. Googledocs is free and requires no downloads, you just need to register for a Google account. Only problem is, they do not support apple’s default internet browser Safri. One way to get around this is by installing Firefox onto your mac.

Must see for a great 2 min explanation

Video: Google Docs in Plain English

2. Zoho Office Suite is another great alternative, see this Wikipedia link for a great explanation. It has a much bigger suite with everything that Google Docs has and then some. I decided to use Zoho for my class because I didn’t want to have to worry about the mac compatibility and downloading Firefox on all the laptop carts.


3. In fear of getting bumped out and left behind, Microsoft recently released Microsoft Office Live Workspace. Although I still prefer Google Docs, one nice feature of MS Live Workspaces, is that you can keep all your advanced word processing features like track changes which comes in handy with peer edits.

Related Posts

What are WebApps, Webware, Widgets, Web-based, and Webdesks

Read Zoho Suite vs Google Docs to see a great comparison between the two.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Why I Switched From a Class Website to a Blog

Last year I started a class website. I was the one doing all the writing and the only one reading. The website wasn't being utilized. I noticed that class websites rely heavily on students and parents remembering to check back with the website on a regular basis to see if there are any updates throughout the different pages and forum threads. The problem was they didn't know when and what was being updated. This was one of the primary reason why I switched to blogs. Since blogs are arranged in chronological order, what ever is current is on top of the main page. A class blog allows the students to contribute turning it into read an write web instead of just reading what the teacher writes. Blogging gives the students instant publishing to a larger audience. Blogs also can be utilized as "eportfolios, collaborative classwork, online journaling, discussion or problem-based learning or good old social constructivism".

In addition, blogs also give readers the option of subscribing to the website so when it is updated the content is sent to the readers. The two ways you can use subscribe are through RSS and aggregrators or email subscriptions.