Saturday, June 28, 2008

Proprietary Program Alternatives

Thanks to Mark Spahr for the link to a great list of the Top 50 Proprietary Programs and Their Open Source Alternatives. The list was originally published by Jimmy Atkinson on Web Hosting Database. If you're looking for something to replace an expensive proprietary program check out the list by clicking here.

Wikimapia - Wikipedia on a Map

Wikimapia is a simple concept and no doubt one that has been used on a variety of mapping programs. The idea is to use Google Maps and add information about all types of locations on the map. Wikimapia wants to "describe the whole world." They're not there yet, but you and your students can help.

Applications for Education
Wikimapia can be used as an information resource. Wikimapia is probably a more powerful learning tool if you have students generate content to place on the map. If you don't want your students contributing to a global map (or your district has policies against contributing to UGC sites) you can still use the same concept with your classes. Have students create their own version of Wikimapia by starting with a blank Google Map and adding information inside placemarks they put on a map.

New Zoho Show Features - Including Export to PPT

While I was on vacation, I missed the announcement of some great new features available on Zoho Show. In all there are eight new options on Zoho Show, I've highlighted the three most relevant to educational use below. Visit the Zoho Blog for the entire list of enhancements.

Presentations created with Zoho Show can now be exported as PPT, PPS, ODP, and PDF files. The new export options are useful for people who want to save a copy of their presentation on their local computer or would prefer to email presentations as attachments.

The enhancement to Zoho Show that students will really like is the option to undo or redo up to 50 actions. This is similar to option in Google Documents to revert to previous version. The difference is rather than reverting to a previous version where you will lose the edits made after that version, users can select specific actions to undo or redo.

Last month Zoho announced the capability to use Zoho Show for making remote presentations. In this latest batch of improvements Zoho has announced that Zoho Show can be used to make remote presentations interactive with the inclusion of a chat side bar. This upgrade makes Zoho Show a nice tool for sharing notes and information with students that aren't in the classroom with you. It could also be used by students to chat with each other about a slide show/ notes while they are studying for a test.

Geosense - Online World Geography Game

Geosense is a fun way to use and improve your knowledge of world geography. Players can play against the computer or challenge another player. Geosense can be played anonymously or you can register and have your scores recorded for you. There are four Geosense maps (US, World, Europe, or advanced) that players can select from.

Applications for Education
Geosense could be a fun way for students to learn geography. If students create an account they can record their scores to track their own progress. One way to get students engaged in learning geography through Geosense is have them challenge each other.