Friday, May 21, 2010

Claroline - Open Source Learning Management System

Claroline is an open source program that gives users the freedom to create their own online classroom. With Claroline teachers can produce assessment activities, post and collect assignments, build a wiki, monitor student activities, and create chat rooms or discussion forums. Claroline is available as a free download for Mac, Windows, and Linux systems. Claroline is not a hosted service so you do need to have someone host your installation of Claroline. You can, however, demo Claroline online here.

Applications for Education
If you've been looking for an alternative to Moodle for building your online learning environment, Claroline could be the application for you. The creative freedom that Claroline users have means that teachers can customize activities for any grade level or content area.

Make Video News Available on Your Blog 24/7

Google Web Elements is a gallery of useful widgets that can be easily embedded into most blogs and websites. One of the widgets that could be useful for teachers of current events is the YouTube News Widget. The YouTube News Widget provides your viewers with the newest video stories from your preferred news source. You can choose from a list of thirteen news providers including CBS, The New York Times, and the Associated Press.

To install the YouTube News Widget all you have to do is select your preferred news provider, copy the embed code provided by Google, and paste that code into your blog or website. In Blogger and Google Sites this is particularly easy to do. Embedded below is the widget using The New York Times as my preferred provider.

Applications for Education
As I mentioned above, the YouTube News Widget could be nice resource to add to your class or course blog.

(Sorry users, Google Web Elements don't always play nice with your blogs).

Communiversity - College Reviews by Students

Communiversity is a website on which students and their parents can find information about the colleges they're considering attending. Communiversity is similar to theU which I've previously reviewed (click here to read about theU). The content on Communiversity is generated from current students. Communiversity is an avenue through which prospective students can get "inside" information about a college.

Applications for Education
Nothing can quite replace the experience of visiting a college campus, but visiting the campus of a college can be logistically and financially difficult for some students. Sites like Communiversity can help students decide if they really want to visit a particular college's campus before taking a trip.

How to Create a Custom Search Engine

If you work in a school that uses strict web filtering you and your students know the frustration of conducting a search only to have many of the links in your results blocked. One way to avoid this frustration is to build your own search engine using Google Custom Search. Google Custom Search allows you to specify which sites you want searched. You can specify websites that you know aren't blocked by your school's filter and sites that you judge to be reliable sources of information. The presentation below will walk you through creating a custom search engine and how you can install it in a Blogger blog.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Google Tools Tutorials
Google for Teachers
Beyond Google - Improve Your Search Results

What I Read First or RSS Recommendations

Updated November 2010
Over the last few weeks I've been "tagged" by at least five people in "Who I'm Reading?" blog posts. Those folks who I know for sure tagged me are Kevin Jarrett, Kelly Hines, James Michie, Vanessa Cassie, and Michael Zimmer. In order to "pay it forward" so to speak, I though it was time that I share a list of the blogs written by educators that I go to first when I open my RSS reader. I am currently subscribed to 237 252 RSS feeds (down from roughly 300 earlier this year) in addition to the nearly more than 7000 people I follow on Twitter. So I obviously can't list everyone that contributes to my learning, but these people definitely stand out.

In no particular order here are the ten blogs written by educators that I go to first in my RSS reader:

iLearn Technology - Kelly Tenkely
Larry Ferlazzo
Welcome to NCS-Tech - Kevin Jarrett
David Warlick
Dangerously Irrelevant - Dr. Scott McLeod
AKA Riptide Furse - Fred Delventhal
Langwitches - Sylvia Tolisano
Moving at the Speed of Creativity - Wes Fryer
Teachers as Technology Trailblazers - Kristen Swanson
Teach Paperless - Shelly Blake-Plock

What do you read first? Who should I be reading that I'm not reading now?