Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Flisti - Quickly Create and Share a Poll

Flisti is a free and easy-to-use polling tool. Registration is not required in order to create a poll with Flisti. In fact, registering doesn't seem to be an option at all. To create a poll using Flisti just enter your question, specify some answer choices, then click "create new poll." Your poll(s) can be embedded into your blog, website, or wiki.

Pepsi or Coke?

H/T to Larry Ferlazzo for the link.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
MicroPoll - Web Polls Made Easy
Nine Survey Tools for Teachers and Students

What You Wanted to Know About Blogging

Sue Waters has written another follow-up post from the questions and comments generated by our ISTE Unplugged session on blogging. In What You Wanted to Know About Blogging Sue addresses topics such as blog design, post frequency, gaining more readers, and tracking your blog's visitation statistics. Sue has some great advice that new and old bloggers alike can learn from.

Wolfram Alpha Launches a Custom Widget Builder

Computational search engine Wolfram Alpha has just launched a new widget building tool. The Wolfram Alpha widget builder will allow anyone to create a computational search widget. Once created the widgets can easily be embedded into Blogger, WordPress, iGoogle, and just about any other website or blog service. Published widgets appear in a gallery that is accessible to anyone that registers with Wolfram Alpha.

Creating a Wolfram Alpha Widget is a fairly straight-forward process. To get started, enter a search phrase such as "distance from Boston to New York in inches." In the second step you define the variables for your widget. This second step is the crucial step that I had to try a few times before I got it right. After completing step two the rest of the process is a simple matter of selecting the output format, widget theme, and writing a description of the widget.

Applications for Education
The Wolfram Alpha Widget Builder could be a great tool for teachers and students to build custom conversion widgets and other data-based search widgets. Teachers can place the widgets into their blogs for students to use to check their computations or to simply access computational information from one site.

Copyright Office Clarifies Fair-Use Rules

Yesterday, the US Library of Congress which oversees the Copyright Office handed down some decisions in favor of the Electronic Frontier Foundation's appeals regarding cell phones and fair use. The decisions mean that iPhone owners can now jailbreak their phones (the ruling isn't limited to iPhones, but iPhones were mentioned because Apple was opposed to the ruling). Here's an excerpt from the decision:
"When one jailbreaks a smartphone in order to make the operating system on that phone interoperable with an independently created application that has not been approved by the maker of the smartphone or the maker of its operating system, the modifications that are made purely for the purpose of such interoperability are fair uses."

Another decision announced yesterday makes it easier for people to create remix videos under the guidelines of fair-use. The Copyright Office declared that amateur remix artists don't violate DMCA rules when the use short excerpts from DVDs (or video cassettes if you can find one these days) to create new, noncommercial works for the criticism or critique.

Read more about these decisions in this EFF article. Read the full transcript of the decisions from the Copyright Office here (opens as PDF).

Applications for Education
These decisions from the Copyright Office mean that teachers and students can use, reuse, and remix materials with fewer worries of violating copyright rights.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Comprehensive Lesson Plans for Teaching Copyright
Creative Thinking - Lessons About Copyright
Copyright for Educators