Saturday, December 31, 2005

Small, Fast, Clean, and FREE PDF Reader for Everyday Use
I recently had to update my Adobe Acrobat Reader and the file it downloaded was massive (50M+). I was very unimpressed. This website contains the Foxit PDF Reader which is only 1M. I have just downloaded it and used it to read some existing PDF files. As well as taking almost no time to dowload, it also appears to display the PDF files a lot quicker.

Nonprofit Good Practice Guide
A website for anyone interested in non-profit organisations. I was particularly interested in the section on "Training Essentials". This identifies a list of "vital skills" and provide links to resources that could help with developing these skills.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Information Overload
This article from CNN looks at the challenges of the age of information overload.
"'People are already struggling and feeling like they need to keep up with the variety of information sources they already have,' said David Greenfield, a psychologist who wrote 'Virtual Addiction.' 'There are upper limits to how much we can manage.'

It may take better technology to cope with the problems better technology creates."

Some of the technology solutions discussed are:
"The key may lie in technologies that push to the top items you seek -- or would like, even if you don't know to look. Search analyst Danny Sullivan describes such a tool as "some sort of metal detector or magnet to pull all the good stuff out of the haystack.""
"Virtual communities may contribute to that end.

An online bookmarking service called del.icio.us, just purchased by Yahoo, lets you discover new sites by checking those frequented by people with bookmarks similar to yours. The idea is that people who share bookmarks are also likely to share interests.

Imagine the potential if a group of scholars in African history could get one set of search results, perhaps with an emphasis on books and academic journals, while music lovers could get another set, entertainment-oriented, using the same search terms."

The article also argues for the importance of infoliteracy skills.

firstaidpod podcast
This site contains audio files for some first aid situations, including adult, child and infant resuscitation. choking, drowning and bleeding will be launched soon. Personally, I am not convinced that audio is the best way to remind people what they need to do in the event of a first aid emergency.

Addition (added 6 Jan 2006): I received the following comment from Eric W., the Producer:
You suggest www.firstaidpod.com is delivering audio files.
Actually, this is true, but, they are ENHANCED PODCASTS, .m4a audio files that have embedded graphic -- and, in the manner we utilize, some very basic animation.
If you subscribe to our Podcasts within iTUNES (for offload to iPOD), and make sure you have VIEW GRAPHICS enabled (lower left hand corner of iTUNES; one of those four unnamed buttons), you will see the graphics that accompany the audio (including animation).
This also allows for a visual reference of moving between Chapters (to repeat steps), based on the Chapter naming convention.
There is also a free eBOOK version for download from www.firstaidpod.com -- which sits in the NOTES section of an iPOD for those who prefer to read (and, it has better branching abilities).

Friday, December 16, 2005

The Best Web 2.0 Software of 2005
I've put this on my list of sites to look at further in January when I get some time off. It is an interesting list of products, some of which I have not heard about previously.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Networks of the Australian Flexible Learning Community
This weblog has been set up by the Australian Flexible Learning Networks project. The most recent post is asking for 50 cool but simple ideas about the use of e-learning. Select comments to see what has been posted. It is also easy to add your own idea.

Screencasting - Teach and Learn Online
This is not new but I don't think I have included this on my blog. This blog is maintained by Leigh Blackall and provides a guide to many of the newer tools available on the web. I am impressed by the approach of creating PDF files and audio files seperately. I like it because I can download the PDF and check out if I want to then download the audio (the much larger file) to listen to that with my mp3 player.

Innovate - Taking a Journey with Today's Digital Kids: :
This is an interview with Deneen Frazier Bowen looking at how technology should be used in schools. The message is just as applicable to those of us who work with adults rather than kids. I recommend (if you have broadband) to view the webcast referred to in the article (although you might want to skip partd of it as it is very long). A couple of great quotes:
"Our report showed that although teachers increased their technology skills and technology integration in the curriculum, students saw no changes. For students, using more technology made no difference; the difference they sought was at the design and access levels. Teachers still designed the learning task and only provided access to those technologies with which they were comfortable. Students seek a change in process, not just the automation of a traditional one. I created this presentation because I believe we need to address this perception gap by developing systemic mechanisms for asking students questions, listening with students, and acting with students to bring teachers and students closer together as partners in the learning process."
"If teachers in the classroom do not possess that openness, the chances of students wanting to learn are slim to none. Instead of teachers, let?s call them lead learners. Every great teacher I have ever had has always talked about how much they learn from their students."

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The Edublog Awards
I thought I knew something about educational blogging. This is the shortlist for the Edublog awards. You can vote until December 17 for the award or you can simply use this site as a list of blogs to review when you have a chance, like I will. Whilst many were familiar, there are a number of educational blogs here that I have not come across before.

Cool Connections 2005: Welcome
I just had to put a link in my blog to my opening speech to the Cool Connections conference held in Sydney a couple of weeks ago. You can download it as an MP3 file. Having got you there, there is a host of other recordings from other sessions at this excellent conference. I think I will be downloading for some time yet.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Personal Publishing and Media Literacy

This is a 7 page PDF file (460K) which is being referenced today by Stephen Downes and Scott Leslie. I have downloaded it and agree it is worth a read. I have come to understand that publishing this weblog is an important part of my own web publishing and personal learning. It makes sense to me that everyone should be doing the same.

Talking-Head Video Is Boring Online
This is the latest in Jakob Nielsen's Alertbox. In the last 12 months we have seen a huge increase in audio files on the web. I suspect that in the next 12 months there will be a lot of interest in video on the web. This website is timely in reminding us all that web videos should be less than a minute long. This website has other good advice about web videos.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Glide Effortless
This is an interesting new service. At the simplest level it offers 150Mb of online storage to store resources that you can then invite others to access. I have only had a quick look and further exploration will have to wait until January. The Guide Liveshare service looks very interesting, offering a "virtual meeting and media sharing forum".

Thursday, December 01, 2005

This website states that it has over 9,000 educational audio books, MP3 downloads, podcasts and DVD videos. I haven't got time tonight to really explore this site but I will come back and look at it again to see if it as good as it sounds.

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