Thursday, 20 March 2008

Working in Second Life

For a few months now I've been thinking about writing an article about why I decided to rent an office in Second Life and how my virtual office there has changed the way I work and the kind of business I do. I booted up the MAC this morning to get started and saw this article from Web Worker Daily. Well I guess this will save me some of the bother.

This is a really interesting article from Aliza Sherman about her usual business day in Second Life. Well worth a read.
If at the end of it you are still interested in what i do in my office, here's a quick video slide show created with PhotoStory 3.

Hope you enjoy this and get some food for though from it.



Thursday, 13 March 2008

Create Projects for iPod

This is a website that on the surface of it seems like quite a good idea. It's called Mogopop and it supposed to help users create and share multimedia projects for iPod.

You have to register (for free) and this gives you your own space (up to 50Mb) to create your own projects. You can create an image and video library them create pages and add or link the media to them, then when you are ready you can publish the whole thing on the Mogopop site for other to download and enjoy.

As well as creating your own projects, you can of course download other people's (if the they are public), but this involves downloading and installing the Mogopop manager (18Mb).

It's pretty quick and easy to install, but you have to be using the right kind of iPod. I wasn't, so I still haven't got any of the projects onto mine, there's also no way of checking out and viewing what you download before you download it, which for me is a huge disadvantage.

There is an education section and there are some promising titles in there. I also liked the interface and it did seem really easy to create projects, but downloading them and viewing them seems to be the main obstacle.

Anyway, I think this is a really good idea and one that students might well enjoy, so I'm going to persist with it for a bit longer. If I have any luck you may well see a tutorial on in the next few weeks.

I'd love to hear from anyone else who tries / has tried it.



Monday, 10 March 2008

Real time collaboration

I've just spotted this really nice real time collaboration tool called Twiddla. It's a free tool which doesn't involve any downloading or installing any software.

It allows real time collaboration through voice, or text chat and has a shared white board space which all users can annotate, drag pictures or text onto etc.

You can browse through websites upload documents and images to work on collaboratively or just use a blank background as a white board space to write or draw on.

There's a live sandbox so you can go in and try the real thing without registering.
If you do register you can then have either a public space or a private space that you invite selective people along to.
This looks really ideal for delivering synchronous distance learning sessions.

Hope you find it useful


Thursday, 6 March 2008

Quiz widgets for your blog

A few weeks back I saw this nice and sometimes nasty collection of quizzes which you or your students can take. Many of the quizzes are interactive and when you finish them you get a widget that you can embed in your website showing your results.

Some of the quizzes would make interesting discussion in class. I particularly liked:

There are a couple of useful ones for developing vocabulary

If your students are all bloggers and have their own blogs you can create blog awards and get them to create awards for each other. Using the fun and serious blog awards widget

Things to be careful of:

  • This page is part of an online dating site, so be careful that your students don't start lining up dates while you aren't looking.
  • Some of the quizzes could be offensive such as 'How much is your dead body worth?' or 'How good would you be as a human shield?'
There are lots there to choose from though so do have a look.



Wednesday, 5 March 2008

Encyclopedia of Earth

I just spotted this rather useful looking website called Encyclopedia of Earth. It is pretty much what it says on the box and delivers quite detailed information about a wide range of environmentally related topics. It's a growing resource and they are looking for people to contribute.

There is a forum too so students can get involved in discussing some of the issues relating to the articles.

The site looks like a very credible source of free information. A lot of the articles tend to have a US focus, but there's still quite a few that don't.

The language / information level is quite high so this is for speakers with a good level of English, but there's certainly plenty of information, text, images and opportunities to interact that could make this a pretty useful tool. (Terms of use)

Hope you enjoy it.


Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Eco City Game

ElectroCity is an interesting online game designed for education. It's based around the SimsCity principle and users have to try to build a financially viable eco city where all the inhabitants can also be happy.

As I said the game was designed for education and there's a very handy teachers section with some downloadable worksheets. The producer put the level of the game at 7 - 9 year olds, but if you were using this with non English speakers for language development I think you could use it with any aga range and there would still be a good deal of motivation to try it.

There's also a downloadable version of the game for those with slower connections and wonder of wonders there is both a PC and a MAC version. It's quite a small download too ( 1 - 2 Mb). You can find these in the teachers' resources section.

You can also have a look at some of the cities other players have created.

If you register you can also enter your students in a competition to win a prize for the best designed city and students can keep track of how well there city is doing.

This looks like a really handy educational game.

Hope you enjoy it.