Friday, January 18, 2008

Free Technology For Teachers: Data Portability Explained

You might not have heard about Data Portability yet (actually unless you're really into reading about web apps you probably haven't), but by this time next year, Data Portability will be as much a part of our lives as email. Data Portability is a collaborative effort of some of the world's largest (Google and Facebook are involved) email and social networking applications to create allow users to easily transfer all major parts of their account information from one application to another.
For example, let's say I have an account on TeacherTube, YouTube, Gmail, and Facebook, right now I have to login into each account separately with a different user name and password. Data Portability's goal is to create a system by which I can share all the information in each of my accounts across each application. Additionally, Data Portability is trying to create a system by which I can simply upload my videos and photos once and share them across multiple applications.

This video explains Data Portability's goals very well. It's an interesting concept and I really think it will take off in 2008.

DataPortability - Connect, Control, Share, Remix from Smashcut Media on Vimeo.

Tools for Refining Internet Searches

Search The Tail is a great tool for refining the results of a Google search. If you're not finding the results you want or finding too many results, Search The Tail helps you refine and revise your search terms.

Application for Educators
Search the Tail can be used to help students find the results they need for a research assignment. Simply "Googling" the Great Wall of China will yield 5.62 million results and not give the student much of a clue about how to refine and narrow the search. Searching the same phrase on Search The Tail will give the student a list of results in one column and in a second column Search The Tail provides a list of terms to revise and narrow the search. Look the image to the left for an illustration of the results page on Search The Tail.

Free Technology For Teachers: Student Loan Comparisons

Simple Tuition is a website full of useful financial aid information for students and their parents as they examine the costs of higher education. Simple tuition lets users compare student loan programs both federally subsidized and non-subsidized. In addition to comparisons, simple tuition provides a portal for students and parents to apply for loan programs. Simple Tuition has a great resource center full of information about financial aid. Kiplinger voted Simple Tuition as the best student loan website for 2007.

Free Tech For Teachers: Retirement Information

403b rules have changed effective 2008. The rule change could impact everyone who has a 403b. For those who do not know what a 403b is, it is a retirement plan similar to 401k, but available only to those who work in the public sector. See your investment professional for more information. Here is a quick overview of the change in 403b rules and the potential impact on teachers.