Stellarium: Must Have for Teachers & Learners

We all love to look up to ponder the stars and now there is a FREE open source software to help you see a realistic sky in 3D on your computer. Stellarium is described as a “planetarium for your computer”. You can download the software free at www.stellarium.org

Some of the features include: – over 120,000 stars from the Hipparcos catalogue with info – asterisms and illustrations of the constellations – – images of nebulae – realistic Milky Way – very realistic atmosphere, sunrise and sunset – the planets and their satellites – a powerful zoom – time control – multilingual interface – scripting to record and play your own shows – fisheye projection for planetarium domes – spheric mirror projection for your own dome – graphical interface and extensive keyboard control – equatorial and azimuthal grids – star twinkling – shooting stars – eclipse simulation – skinnable landscapes, now with spheric panorama projection – add your own deep sky objects, landscapes, constellation images, scripts…

Get your FREE copy today—http://www.stellarium.org/

 

Reading, Writing, & Research in the Digital Age

Another great resource from Pew Internet

School Library Journal’s Leadership Summit 2011, Director Lee Rainie looked at the “state of reading” in the digital age by going through Pew Internet data about how teens use the internet, smartphones, and social networking sites. He argued that reading is now 1) raw material for further creation; 2) real-time in the mobile age; 3) a “social contact sport” as teens share reading and other media and learn from them.

Reading, Writing, & Research in the Digital Age

iPhone Apps Hit the Education Market

Educational iPhone apps are hitting the market and I’ve just run across a great one for honing your math skills! A little app called Math Cards teaches students and adults math skills in a fun way.

Flash cards have been around for a long time teaching basic math skills such as addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, but they’re tedious and dull. Turning them into an iPhone App makes learning math an interactive experience that’s fun for kids of all ages. It’s even a great game to challenge adults and create faster response times.

Imagine math practice so rewarding it’s hard to stop – this little app was developed by William Janoch who was motivated by the desire to see his children learn whenever possible. He developed the Math Cards application for his daughters (ages 8 and 9) as a flash card application that provides the right combination of challenge and reward to keep kids interested, without being frustrated. Math Cards replaces “I don’t wanna” with “Let me do it some more.”

Features include: – Colorful cards, simple to operate
- Categories for addition, subtraction, multiplication and division
- Improves Eye-Touch coordination
- Receive grades as they go
- Easy to download and install
- Portable and fun ? use it anywhere, anytime

Math Cards was developed by William Janoch of Able Mac (http://www.AbleMac.com) and has been released by DollarApp.

It is available for 99 cents from the iTunes App Store at http://www.itunes.com/apps/mathcards and is in the Education category, suitable for grades 3 – 5. Math Cards is rated 4+, and will work for the iPhone and iPod touch.

Beware eCollege Interface is Old School

From an instructor/user perspective I wouldn’t bet on eCollege—after seeing the system again after several years not much has changed. It looks like it did when it started. My experience comes from using the system in the beginning with a previous client then again when I was going to teach using the system but because I couldn’t stand to use the system I decided not to teach the courses because I dreaded logging into the system because it was so hard to use. And with more and more tech savvy students coming online they aren’t going to go for this kind of system either. So unless eCollege intends to update/upgrade their software I would say they are old news—but then again, once a university gets locked into a system that isn’t upgrading or growing then they are stuck too. So this is a suggestion for all those late to the game—review your options and if I were giving my advice—eCollege wouldn’t be on the short list.

FREE or Nearly FREE Software You Must Have!

 Active Collab: http://www.activecollab.com/
activeCollab is a web based, open source collaboration and project management tool. Something worth checking out if you need a place for a team to collaborate on active projects. Best of all it is a 100% free!

Skype: http://www.skype.com
Although I’m sure most everyone who reads this blog has heard about Skype I wanted to encourage you to download it because it is an easy way to start using voice over IP. The basic calls Skype to Skype are all free and they have very affordable plans to use the advanced features. And don’t miss the promotion they are having this weekend for Mother’s Day—

FREEGlobal Calls! There are also a couple addon’s for Skype that are especially useful for educators—TalkAndWrite allows you and your partner to work on any document as though you were side by side. The moment you open each page of a document it will be sent to your partner. Then you can both annotate this shared document: write on it, draw on it, add text, point to elements, and erase the notation. Each of you will see each other’s cursors, and all of the annotation, in real time. It is an affordable price – under a $100.00 you can get a 3 year license. 

Call Butler
Although this add-on is marketed to small businesses I can see this as a resource for educators as a way to manage their student/instructor communications. It is only limited by your own imagination, I downloaded the software, installed it and it is very easy to use. And in our world of 7/24 you can meet the needs of your students by automatically answering common questions. For example if the student doesn’t have access to their computer they will still be able to get the answer using this system. Additionally you are able to transfer calls to any VoIP, mobile, and land-based telephones. In addition you can integrate the system with databases and other applications. And the best thing is you can try before you buy, there is a FREEversion to use with Skype. Compare features here:http://www.callbutler.com/About/Features.aspx

Skype + PamelaPlugin = Easy to Produce Podcasts!

If you are interested in podcasting then this combo is the easiest way to achieve your goals!Automatically record your Skype calls, videos and chats. It automates the process and best of all they have a FREE version and when you’re ready to move to the professional version it’s only $25.00 bucks!

Skype + HotRecord = Podcasts

For the sake of choice here’s another option if you’re interested in an easy/affordable tool to produce podcasts. It’s HotRecord, they have a free version and the premium version is only $15.00 dollars! So this is another tool that is definitely worth mentioning for futher reveiw.

Last but not least—Feedreader – Push technology flopped 8 years ago but it has made an amazing comeback with the advent of the RSS Feed—and everyone should have a RSS Reader! And Feedreader definitly fits the bill—it is simple to use and setup and the best part, it’s FREE!