Tuesday, February 28, 2012

TechSmith Announces Changes to Jing Pro

I have been a Jing and Jing Pro user for a number of years because I think it is one of the easiest tools to use for creating annotated screen capture images and screencast videos. This morning, through Stephen Ransom and then through an email from TechSmith (producers of Jing), I learned that Jing Pro is being discontinued. To be clear Jing is not going away, only Jing Pro is being discontinued. You will still be able to use the free version of Jing to create screen capture images. If you are a Jing Pro user now, your subscription will continue until February 2013. Click here to read more about the closure of Jing Pro.

Explain It To Me Explains Iran

I'm kind of hooked on CNN's Explain It To Me series of videos. Each video offers a nice, succinct explanation of topics in the news. One that I watched early this morning is an explanation of Iran's nuclear program and the concerns it causes. The short video is appropriate for use with high school students in a current world news course.

To follow-up on the video above, ThinkFinity has a good list of lesson plans for teaching about nuclear energy. Here is a short video explanation of how a nuclear reactor works.

Video - The Science of Barefoot Running

One of my younger brothers owns a small running company and is a fairly competitive distance runner so I've asked him a couple of times why some people choose to run barefoot. He's explained it to me a couple of times, but this video from NPR provides a good visual of the difference in foot movement between running with shoes and running without shoes.

Applications for Education
This video could be a good little visualization to use in an anatomy and physiology lesson.

11 Web-based Polling and Survey Tools

Yesterday, I wrote a short post about Kwiqpoll. After that post was published I got a few requests for suggestions about other web-based polling/ survey tools. Here are eleven other ways you can conduct polls and surveys online.

MicroPoll makes it very easy to create a poll, customize it, and embed it into your blog or website. To use MicroPoll just enter your question, enter answer choices, and enter your email address. After completing those first three steps you can preview your poll, change the theme (look) of your poll, and get the embed code for your 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.

Quiz Snack offers a free service for creating polls and quizzes to post in your blog or website. To use Quiz Snack you can sign in with your Twitter, Facebook, Google, or Quiz Snack account. Then select one of three poll/quiz formats, type your question(s) and answer choices, and select a template. Then copy the embed code provided by Quiz Snack and place it your blog or website.

Pollmo is a free service offering an easy way to create and post simple polls online. Getting started with Pollmo is easy. Just head to their site, type your question, type your response choices, and select a color theme for your poll. Then just copy the embed code provided to place your poll on your blog or website. Don't have a blog or website? Then just direct people to the url assigned to your Pollmo poll.

Urtak is a free and simple polling service that can be used on any blog or website. The polls you create can have multiple questions, but they must be "yes or no" questions. But Urtak isn't that limited because visitors to your poll also have the option of writing in their own questions. You can get started using Urtak in seconds by registering with your Twitter or Facebook account. You can also use your email address to create an account with UrtakUrtak polls can be embedded into your blog or you can direct people to your poll by sharing the unique url Urtak assigns to your poll.

Using Yarp you can create a simple one question survey or one line event invitation. To create a Yarp survey select "survey" on the homepage, type a question, then select your answer format. All answer formats present only two options along the lines of "true or false" or "yes or no." Yarp invitations use the same format styles as Yarp surveys.

Vorbeo is a free service for creating polls for your blog or website. To use Vorbeo just type your question, enter your answer choices, select a background color, and specify the width of your polling widget. Then copy the embed code provided by Vorbeo and paste it into the html editor of your blog or website.

Obsurvey gives you the flexibility to create multiple choice surveys or open-ended surveys. Setting up a survey with Obsurvey is an easy process. To set up a survey simply select your question format and then edit the questions and answer choices using the text editor. The video here shows you how to set-up Obsurvey.

Polldaddy is one of the most recognized platforms for online polling. The free Polldaddy plan allows you to create polls or surveys containing up to ten questions. Poll/ survey results are displayed in real-time.

Kwik Surveys is a free survey tool that offers a bunch of excellent options. Kwik Surveys gives you the option to mix and match eleven different types of questions. You can administer your survey by posting it on a blog, website, or discussion forum. You can also email your survey to the people you want to take it. If you choose the email option, you can track who has taken your survey and restrict respondents to taking the survey only once.

Using forms in Google Documents you can create a simple survey or poll, gather the data, and then select from any number of gadgets and scripts to create visualizations of that data. You can find directions for creating a survey here. If you're a Blogger user, Blogger has a poll gadget that you can customize and insert into the sidebar of your blog.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Almost Everything You Need to Know About Wikispaces

If there is such a thing as an "old reliable" resource in the world of ed tech, Wikispaces qualifies. I've been using Wikispaces for various purposes and recommending it to others since I started this blog. Over the years I've created screencast videos about how to use it, created slideshows about how to use it, and linked to other educators' tutorials on it. But until very recently, Wikispaces didn't have its own YouTube Channel dedicated to showing you how to use the features they offer.

The Wikispaces YouTube channel contains 25 screencast videos created by Wikispaces to show you how to utilize some of their useful features. Below I've embedded their introductory video and their video on creating an educational wiki.

Learn more about the new Wikispaces YouTube channel on the Wikispaces Blog.