Monday, December 31, 2007
I logged on to KG today and posted a comment about Google Earth for Asra. I've read so many interesting articles recently about Facebook, the fastest growing social network - apparently one in four people are using it in Canada. Employers are using it and now universities are using it as a marketing tool to attract new students. It amazes me how people don't mind being exposed to the world. Privacy seems to not be as important as it was in the past.
It's time to remove the Christmas clock and find some other real time object to insert into my blog.
When I use Firefox, I've customized my toolbar to include de.licio.us for bookmarking websites and tiny.cc to create shorter links.. I prefer tiny.cc to tinyurl.org because it allows you to insert a keyword which helps to identify the link. And of course, I love the Twitbin.
I've been on Pownce but haven't used it as you need friends to be on it as well, which is by invitation only. On Twitter, I follow Lucy Gray (elemenous), who is a librarian from Chicago. Her blog and tweets are very informative. She belongs to several social networks - I just don't know how she has the time to keep up with all of them. Most likely she posts once and has it set to post on all of them. Something I'd like to experiment with. I do have my KG preferences set so that I am sent a notice by email of any changes. And I have asked the students to do the same with their ANGEL profile. I never read blogs until I started this course, and I'm so grateful I've been introduced to them as I wouldn't want to have missed Will Rich's "New Year's Eve Parable". "Be the change" - a great mantra for the New Year. Technolibrary couldn't have said it better on his most recent tweet: "Happy New Year to a great network of dedicated educators. You all are the answer." Best wishes for a wonderful 2008...Janet
Thursday, December 27, 2007
Two friends sent emails this week advising they're closing their Facebook accounts. This is intriguing to me since I'm writing about social networking. What intrigues me is why people join a social network and how they find the time to keep up with it. I don't have time and have barely used my Facebook account. Both of my friends have said it's too impersonal, that if they want to keep in touch with a friend, they would prefer to email them. I would have to agree with that. And I'm finding that the people who do have something they want to share, they blog. But if they have something they want to share in 140 characters or less, they tweet! And today, catspyjamasnz has just introduced me to twittervision.
Yesterday I was writing to a a former colleague in the UAE, Marc Corbeil, who suggests that the Interwrite pad can replace the need for tablet pcs or smartboards. I remember when smartboards were installed in all the labs at AAWC and now they're obsolete! The Interwrite pad allows the freedom to teach anywhere in the classroom and to make any flat surface interactive. By loading tablet PC windows onto a conventional laptop and using an Interwrite pad, you can write on the screen. I contributed to Ghassan's laptop page - although I am not using laptops here, I am enjoying the exchange of ideas on his page.
For some reason, it doesn't matter which browser I use, they freeze and I have to restart and find all the pages I...Latest tweet from elemenous....Benazir Bhutto was killed in a suicide attack! She just posted this 3 minutes ago. The link was posted 10 minutes ago by the Canadian Press. Now you see why I like tweets - short, sweet, to the point.
Sunday, December 23, 2007
The other awful thing that happened is that my external hard drive has crashed. The message on both computers I tried is "Corrupt and not accessible." Everything I own is on that hard drive and I'll have to find someone over the holidays to see if they can recover the data. All of my USQ coursework is on it - everything I've started to write - my marking sheets for the final exams - pictures galore - I'm very sad about this. In the words of Forrest Gump, "That's all I have to say about that."
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
Monday, December 10, 2007
- Wimba quickly downloaded and the setup wizard checked audio
- All participants who are online appear in the window
- Click the Talk button to speak
- I didn't have a microphone or headset, but rather used the built-in speakers and microphone on my laptop - there was no problem with echo or fuzziness
- participants can clap, raise a hand, leave the room, smile, thumbs down, etc.
- the webcam changes views and shows the person speaking
- can exit to the lobby where all the rooms available are listed
I also recently worked with Audacity which is a free recording and sound editor. I used it to record mp3 files for the upcoming Machine Transcription exam. Audacity is easy to us. After recording, the sound files were stretched to easily distringuish each segment. Then the unwanted sound patterns (ums, ahs, coughs, background nosie) were selected and deleted, and Audacity automatically closed the gap.
Friday, December 7, 2007
I finished being Participant 8 in Jennifer's research project on the TextAloud software. This is a fabulous software that changes text to speech but so efficiently. I experimented with other similar software, but this one is a star. I know I already wrote about it earlier, but now that I finished all six exercises, I will expand here on its featuers. I like its batch converter capability. It can take any group of files, (html, Word, pdf), and with a click of a button, convert them into audio files - mp3 or wma files which can be played on PCs or any portable device (iPod, CD player). You can open a file and have TextAloud read it from the program (Speak Current Article Aloud). TextAloud will read a web page by clicking the "Speak" button on the TextAloud toolbar which can be added to the browser toolbars. The Pronunciation Editor is a great invention. You can tell TextAloud to read acronyms in full . For example, you can tell the reader to say "Learning management system" in full, every time it comes aross "LMS". I can see this software having so many uses, not just for the visually impaired. You can convert web pages, the lengthy readings we have for this course, emails, articles, study notes to audio files, and listen to them in the car, on an iPod, while travelling, etc. An author in California uses this as a proofing tool for her manuscripts - a missionary in South Africa converts his sermons to audio for his congregation.