Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Free Technology For Teachers: Use the Same ID for Zoho and Google

If you're anything like me you probably use a couple of different cloud computing tools. Now, according to CNET, two of the best producers of cloud computing tools allow users to use the same ID on each program. Zoho is planning to integrate with Google sign-on. When the integration is complete and live, if you have a Google account and a Zoho account you should be able to use both services without the need to log-in to each service individually with unique ID's for each service.

Applications and Implications for Education
This development is a reflection of the need for using Open ID services. As more and more web-based technologies are integrated into instruction it will become increasing difficult for students and teachers to keep track of the various account names and passwords that they use.
Web-based technologies that accept Open ID will become more popular as more web-based technologies are incorporated into the classroom. Getting students and teachers to sign up for Open ID is one step that technology integrators can take to prepare students and teachers for the future.

Free Technology For Teachers: Pencil - Simple Drawing Software

Pencil is a simple, open source, drawing and animation program. Pencil works on Mac, Windows, Linux operating systems. Pencil is easy to learn and easy to use making it a great way to introduce younger students to drawing and animating with a computer. Pencil has a great message board where users can share information or ask questions about Pencil.

Applications for Education
In addition to being useful software for art teachers, Pencil can be used by teachers in other academic areas. Using Pencil students can create animated comic strips to illustrate stories
written for a writing class. Students could use Pencil to illustrate a timeline for a history class.

Here is an example of work that can be done with Pencil.

Free Technology For Teachers: Tech Integrators Don't Always Get A Second Chance

I've tried hundreds of different web services and open source programs in the last year. Some of them, like Miro and Pownce, grabbed and held my attention immediately. Other web services, like Twitter, did not hold my attention at first blush but on the second time around I became a devoted user.

Unfortunately, if you're working with teachers who are reluctant to try new technologies in the classroom, you might not get a second chance to convince them to use something new. Let's say you're given four hours to show and teach new technologies to a group of reluctant teachers just getting started on the road to technology integration, is it better to show them a wide variety of options or is it better to spend more time demonstrating and teaching just a few selected options?