Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Lucid Chart - Quick & Easy Chart Creation

There is no shortage of tools on the web to help people create flowcharts and mind maps (find nine good ones here), some offer more features than others and some are easier to use than others. One such tool that is both easy to use and offers a lot of design options is Lucid Chart.

Lucid Chart offers a simple drag and drop interface for creating flow charts, organizational charts, mind maps, and other types of diagrams. To create with Lucid Chart just select elements from the menus and drag them to the canvas. You can resize any element and type text within elements on your chart. Arrows and connecting lines can be resized, repositioned, and labeled to bring clarity to your diagrams. Watch the video below to see Lucid Chart in action (fans of the Beatles will definitely want to watch the video).

Lucid Chart charges business customers for their service, but makes all of their tools free for teachers and students.

Applications for Education
Creating flow charts or mind maps can be a valuable process for visual learners. The process of creating a chart can help students visualize and process the parts of multifaceted problem or concept. Lucid Chart makes it easy for students to create charts and share their charts.

Bee PDF - Broadcast PDF Documents

Bee PDF is a free service for hosting and sharing PDF documents. Upload your PDFs to Bee PDF to share them on their site and your own. When you upload your PDF, Bee PDF provides an embed code you can use to display your documents on your blog or website. You can  browse Bee PDF to view documents that others have made public on the site.

Bee PDF doesn't have the same visual appeal as these document sharing services, but it is quite easy to use.

Xtranormal To Start Charging for Much More

As Larry Ferlazzo reported yesterday, Xtranormal is drastically overhauling its pricing structure. Under their new policies users will now have to pay to publish or download any of their creations. To download will cost 120 Xtranormal points and publishing to the web will cost 100 Xtranormal points. From what I can see the minimum points purchase is 1200 at a cost of $15 USD. Having multiple characters in an Xtranormal scene will also require points. Xtranormal will continue to offer some free teacher accounts, but  their announcement about the pricing change doesn't say anything about student accounts.

It's a little disappointing to see Xtranormal change to this business model, but they do have to make money and as they said in their announcement they prefer this model to one which inserts advertising into their webpages or videos.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Free Guide - Making Videos on the Web
12 Ways To Create Videos Without a Camera or Software

Getty Games - Art Games for Kids

Getty Games is a nice collection of art-based games produced by The Getty Museum for younger students to enjoy. There are four categories of games, each offering a subset of games. Getty Games also offers directions for a selection of offline activities.

The four game categories offered by Getty Games are Detail Detective, Match Madness, Switch, and Jigsaw Puzzles. In Detail Detective players are shown four small pictures and have to identify which of those four came from the larger piece of art shown to them. Match Madness offers four games in which players match either match two parts of a picture together or match exact images. In Switch players are shown two pieces of art side-by-side and have to identify the parts that have been switched or altered. There are twelve jigsaw puzzles available on Getty Games. The neat thing about them is that players are shown the completed artwork and then choose how many pieces they want to have to put together to reassemble the artwork.

Applications for Education
After spending some time exploring art online at The Getty Getty Games could put the art into a "fun" context for students. The games might be a fun way for students to be reminded of some of the art lessons you've previous taught.