Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Free eBook - Getting Started with Ubuntu

For the right people and schools, a Ubuntu build of the Linux operating system can be a good cost-saving alternative to Mac and Windows operating systems. What holds some people back from trying Ubuntu is a lack of understanding of how to use it. That's where Getting Started with Ubuntu comes in to help those folks that want to try Ubuntu for the first time.
Getting Started with Ubuntu is a free 165 page ebook produced by a team of writers and editors. The manual covers everything an end-user would need to know about how to use Ubuntu. You can download the ebook for free or order it as a bound book from Lulu.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Seven Places to Find Free eBooks
Audio Owl - Hundreds of Free Audio Books
Flat World Knowledge Provides Free Textbooks

ZooBurst - 3D Augmented Reality Books

ZooBurst is a new website that offers an exciting free service. ZooBurst allows users to create 3D pop-up books using nothing more than public domain clip art and ZooBurst's web-based editing tools. Users can view ZooBurst 3D books in augmented reality by enabling their webcams (click webcam mode) then clicking the ZB button present on each story. View a ZooBurst book below.

ZooBurst is still in a closed beta period, but is accepting requests for beta testers. Hopefully, it will soon be open to everyone.

Thanks to Larry Ferlazzo for sharing this great resource.

Applications for Education
ZooBurst could be a fun new way for students to create digital stories. ZooBurst could be particularly fun for fiction stories like myths and fairy tales.

Stop Bullying Now - A Resource for Kids and Adults

Stop Bullying Now is a website for kids and adults developed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The full collection of bullying education resources is quite substantial so I'll highlight some of the key features here and let you explore the rest.

Stop Bullying Now features twelve animated webisodes designed to teach students how to recognize bullying and how to respond if they're bullied or if they see someone else being bullied. Stop Bullying Now also features games and quizzes to help students learn to recognize the signs of bullying.

Stop Bullying Now has a large selection of resources for parents and educators. For educators one of the most useful resources is a selection of discussion guides designed to be used after students watch one or more animated webisode. Stop Bullying Now also offers a couple of webcasts (videos) intended to help adults learn more about bullying prevention.

Thanks to Michael Wacker for sharing this great resource on Twitter.

Applications for Education
Stop Bullying Now could be a great resource for elementary school students and possibly middle school students. Stop Bullying Now covers electronic (online and text) bullying as well as in person bullying. In addition to being a good resource for teachers, Stop Bullying Now is a good resource to recommend to parents to use with their children at home.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
A Thin Line - Digital Safety Education for Teens
Safe Computing Tools for Kids - Windows Based
Learn Internet Safety with Garfield

Free Ning Accounts for Educators

Ning caused quite a commotion last month when they announced that they were planning to discontinue their free services this summer. Today, Ning announced what the new fee-based plans will offer. None of the options appear to be all that reasonable for a classroom setting. The good news though is that an unnamed company in the education market has stepped forward to sponsor free accounts for K-12 educators. The free accounts will be the equivalent of Ning's fee-based Ning Mini service. Read more about the Ning Mini and free education accounts on the Ning blog.

Ning Mini won't replace the old free Ning accounts, but they should still be useable for classroom settings. Though with a cap of 150 members it probably won't be useable for building a community Ning around a whole school or PTA.

If you'd like to explore some free alternatives to Ning, please read this.