Showing posts with label Online Classroom SaaS Web Applications. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Online Classroom SaaS Web Applications. Show all posts

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Quick Reminder from My Students Regarding Data Backup

Just a short reminder from my students for my students and students worldwide (teachers and administrators too) save early and save often. I've been back to work for only 2 hours and I already have heard multiple pleas/whines/requests for help recovering lost files. The upside of all the pleas for file recovery help have presented me with a great opportunity to advocate for the use of Zoho Writer, Google Docs, and Buzz Word.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

New Zoho Feature - Sign-in with Google or Yahoo ID

Zoho, a superb online productivity suite that I've discussed a number of times, has added a new sign-in feature. As announced today on Zoho's product blog, Zoho users can now sign-in using their Google or Yahoo ID.

Applications for Education
One of the problems of having students use online services is making sure they all remember their passwords and usernames. Zoho's integration of Google and Yahoo ID means that students have one less set of usernames and passwords to remember. This means that students will be able to use Google's productivity suite and Zoho's productivity suite with the same username and password. My students are currently working on an assignment in which they are writing a travel narrative and creating an accompanying slide show. Some of my students have found that they prefer Google Docs for writing and Zoho Show for presentations. Now they can toggle between the two applications easier than before. (For my students' sake I just wish Zoho had done this about a month earlier).

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Free Technology For Teachers: Cloud Computing is Universal

New media blogger and podcast host, Amber Mac, posted this diagram on her blog this morning. Above the graph Amber asks the question what does this mean? Here's what I think the diagram means; cloud computing be it through Google, Zoho, or other service is universal.

Cloud Computing and Education
Cloud computing offers some great benefits for education. Cloud computing saves schools money. Google's and Zoho's productivity suites are free for students and teachers to use. Paying for the number of licensing agreements a school district needs to use proprietary productivity software can easily equal the cost of a teacher's salary.

Google's and Zoho's office suites are as intuitive to use as any proprietary word processing or presentation software.
In schools with a hodge-podge of computers and operating systems cloud computing is a great way to work around file compatibility issues. Cloud computing is a great way for students in schools without one-to-one computing to work on assignments from any Internet connected computer. There's no need for them to worry about carrying flash drives or using the same computer every time they visit a computer lab.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Slide Rocket - Web Based Presentation Creation

Update: In the time since I wrote this post, Slide Rocket has changed its pricing model and no longer has a free offering.

Update #2: Slide Rocket EDU is available for free through Google Apps for Education.

Slide Rocket is another new player in the web based software market. Slide Rocket is a web based presentation creator similar to Empressr which I reviewed earlier this week. Slide Rocket has some very nice features like 3D transitions and a collaboration feature for sharing the creation process with others. Slide Rocket's interface is user friendly and makes it easy to include videos, pictures, or third party plug-ins (like the podcast player I posted in yesterday's post about Tech Teacher Live). The quality and definition of images on Slide Rocket is far superior to PowerPoint.

Below is a Slide Rocket slide show introduction.

Applications for Educators
Slide Rocket and similar web based presentation creation programs are a great resource for students and teachers working in schools that have a hodge-podge of computers and software. If some of your school's computers are Mac and some are PC, but you want everyone creating slide shows, a web based program is the way to go. Slide Rocket works on any operating system including Linux because the work is done online not on a local computer. Slide Rocket and web based programs in general are great for schools that have limited money for software or hardware. (I think that statement applies to all public schools). Web based programs only require schools to have a current web browser installed on the computers.

For students that have to go to a public computer to get work done, web based applications are the way to go. The student doesn't have to carry a flash drive or disk to store their work because their work is saved on a user account on the web based application. Just like email, Slide Rocket, can be accessed from any computer connected to the Internet.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Online Classroom Programs

YacaPaca: Odd name- interesting program. YacaPaca is an online classroom application. It is packed with features for teachers and students including the capability to create webpages (rather cookie cutter looking) and create interactive, instant feedback quizzes. Watch a video tour of YacaPaca by clicking on the image on the left.
 an odd url- an amazing application!
An amazing application is not just hyperbole. I spent a good amount of time with both Yacapaca and over the last two days and I am sold on ChitChat. does not have as many slick looking features as YacaPaca, but what it lacks in looks it makes up for in functionality. The user interface is very simple and intuitive for teachers and students. Much of the interface looks and operates like the most common email and blog applications. ChitChat uses the phrase "light and flexible" to describe its program. That is an accurate assessment of the program. Teachers have many choices in the level of use of the program. The choices range from only posting assignments and messages to running an entire course from ChitChat. I'm teaching an online course during the spring semester and I'm so won over by ChitChat that I will be using ChitChat.
ChitChat calls itself an educational network. The network allows teachers to share and collaborate assignments and ideas. The sharing feature is a great advantage over the other online classroom applications on the market.
Check out for yourself by clicking on the image or the word ChitChat. You may also want to watch the ChitChat promotional video posted below.

The advantage both of the programs discussed above is that they are free and web-based. As you may have noticed, this blog is all about free and web-based applications. Free is important for the obvious reason of cost. Web-based is important because being web-based means that users do not have to install or maintain software on their computer. Web-based is also important because the application can be run from any internet connected computer regardless of operating system. Read the article written last week about SaaS for more about the advantages of web-based applications.