Category Archives: websites

Embedding Audio into your WordPress.com Blog


WordPress.com is a wonderful service. It allows you to upload images and documents for use in your blog.  Embedding audio is non existent for WordPress.com users you upgrade to a premium account. For many k-12 educators this may present an issue in the school systems.  One alternative is to sign up for an account on Podbean to host your entire blog or just your media files (audio and videos).

PodBean.com Podcast hosting, Social subscribingPodbean is built off of a WordPress framework. It offers its users blogging tools aimed at podcasters. It makes it easy to embed audio files into each page and post. Since the backbone of Podbean.com is similar to WordPress.com, there is a short code to embed the audio player directly into your WordPress.com blog.  Below are the steps for embedding audio into your WordPress.com blog.

  1. Create an account at Podbean.com.
  2. Enter your dashboard to manage/admin your new blog. (this can be done by adding “/admin” at the end of your url.
  3. Once you have logged in, you Upload Linkcan upload your media files to Podbean.com using the Upload link. This will place you in the “Media Manager”.
  4. Click the upload button.Upload Button
  5. Click browse to upload a file from your computer. Uploader
  6. Click the Upload button to begin uploading your file. You will see a progress bar telling you how much of the file has been processed.
  7. After your file is uploaded, find it in the Current Media files section and click on it.Click on the file name
  8. A pop-up box will appear with the url to your audio file. Copy this link.PopUp
  9. Now you can login to your WordPress.com blog if you arent already.
  10. In a page or post type in the text editor.

Now you have successfully embedded an audio file into your WordPress.com blog. You can now type other content around the player.
Example below.

Example: The Bald Man and the Fly

Courtesy of the Florida Center for Instructional Technology and their Lit2Go project.

Example in WordPress.com

Aviary: Online Imaging Editing Suite


In K-12 education finding tools to teach 21st Century Skills can be expensive. There is buying the software, keeping up with minor updates, and the pressure of staying up-to-date every year or so when a new version is released. Even if you are able to obtain a computer lab with a site license of your favorite image manipulation software, what happens when students return home from school each day and do not have access to these tools?

Aviary Tools

Aviary Tools

A startup company has created Aviary.com. Aviary is an online suite of tools for artist and photo imaging enthusiasts. The Aviary Suite contains tools for editing images, screen capture, creating and editing vector images, creating visual image effects, image markups, color swatch editor, music creator, and audio editor.  All of the tools are accessed via an online account. A gallery is also provided  for users to proudly post their art for others to see.  For educators this may not be ideal as students may stumble across images that may be considered to provocative or controversial for the classroom.  This one reason why Aviary has an education version of its site.

Aviary Education (www.aviaryeducation.com) provides educators a safe environment to allow their students to freely create, edit and peruse other students’ digital art work.

The website states it provides educators the ability to:


• Create private student accounts
• Manage assignments and projects
• Use the image editor, vector editor, audio editor & music creator
• All content and images are 100% school safe”.

Currently Aviary Education is a free beta program that a teacher would have to request access to for her class to enjoy the the benefits it has to offer.

Recently the creators of Aviary have teamed up with Google to provide access to the aviary tools via your Google Login.  Gmail users who use Google Docs to collaborate with peers and colleagues can take advantage of the image and audio editing tools, sharing their creations via Google Docs.  Now students can work together on visual projects or audio mixes.

Schools who have signed up for Google Apps access can choose to have Aviary added to their Google Docs. The University of South Florida is one university that has provided access for its students to these tools.  Aviary can be accessed by signing into your USF Mail account and clicking on the More link at the top.

The Aviary Tool Set (from http://www.aviary.com):

Aviary Tool Set

Facebook New Features-New Privacy Features


Facebook will be implementing new changes next week. You may have already noticed the “Become a Fan” button has been replaced with the the Like button that is used already on comments of the wall or your news feed. The Facebook will also place “Pages” in a more visible place on your profile page. How many people actually scroll to the bottom of the info tab to see the pages a friend is a fan. This will give bands, business, and other pages like ours better advertisement.

Facebook Custom Personization

Instant Personalization

Facebook is also partnering with sites such as Microsoft Docs, Yelp, and Pandora to make connecting with others even easier.  There is an option to opt out of this feature, but its important to know that your public information can still be shared by friends unless you block the apps.

Facebook Connect to Microsoft Docs

Facebook Connect to Microsoft Docs

With the implementation of these new features it is important to make sure you know with whom you and your friends are actually sharing your information.

More changes to the features in Facebook may be in store. For more information view this story from NPR. http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=126134712&sc=17&f=1019

More about the updated “Like” feature: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?#!/sitetour/connect.php

Icons to spice up your Website, blog, or app!


Many times as a teacher you may be asked to create presentations, a portfolio, website, or newsletter.  You are using these to communicate to parents, students, or other teachers/administrators. While you have the content, it helps to have images or icons to make your content more visually appealing. Of course Microsoft Office comes stacked with Clip Art that you can use in your projects for newsletters and presentations, but if you would like a different feel or need an icon for a website or app you will need to resort to some other resource.

Four resources for icons and clip art like images are IconFinder.net, iconlet.com, iconspedia.com, and iconArchive.com. There does seem to be an overlap between the images that all four search engines locate for you. Many of the icons seem to have an updated look, although there are some icons which bring up thoughts of icons past similar to the Nintendo NES graphics.

I did find that searching for certain types of icons, needed creative thinking when entering search terms, but you may be rewarded with some equally creatively designed graphics.  These sites also find creative designs for commonly used icons such as social network logos, rss/podcast feeds, and food icons.

RSS VW Van

RSS icon from Iconfinder.net

RSS Feed from Iconspedia.com

RSS Feed from Iconspedia.com

Iconarchive’s search is not as visual as I would have liked for an image search site, but a work around is to use a site search in your favorite browser such as Google or Yahoo. For example, if you want to search for a rss feed icon in the iconarchive.com website, you would enter [search term] site:www.iconarchive.com into the search bar ( rss site:www.iconarchive.com ). After the search has run, then you can click on images and see the image results returned.

Hopefully these resources will benefit you in your websites, presentations and newsletters.

Atomic Learning available for USF Students!


Have you ever enrolled into a class at school only to find out that you had to learn a new software program. Or have you been working in excel and do not know how to create list headers for columns?  The University of South Florida has provided a possible solution to these kinds of tech worries. According to the USF learning commons blog, USF has purchased the services of Atomic Learning for its students.  Atomic Learning is a website for educators and students learn about new software and technology that may be used in education. The company, founded by educators has been in existence for the past decade providing step by step screencast tutorials. Teachers and students can find videos that are tutorials, project based, grouped by workshop type (blogging, searching the web, etc.) or by state standards and subjects.

Professors and students can access the Atomic Learning Resources via their Blackboard page. After logging into Blackboard, you must add the module to your page.

Add Module button

Click add module

You will then be presented with a list of modules that can be added to the page for easy access to their content. Find the Atomic Learning module and check it off. Click the Submit button to confirm the changes.

Module List

Check the Atomic Learning box

The module should now appear on your front page. Clicking the link will sign you into the university’s account and provide you access to the tutorials and workshops on the atomic learning website.

Atomic Learning link on Blackboard

Click Atomic Learning, Now Available

Once you are in the website you can begin searching for tutorials and workshops to increase your knowledge of a program or application, or you can choose workshops for ideas of technology that you can include in your classes and lessons.

Atomic Learning Categories: Tutorials, Project-based, Workshops

This is a resource for the students and faculty wishing to learn more about educational technology and specific applications.  USF also purchased the assistive technology package which includes programs such as Boardmaker 6, JAWS 9, Overboard, WordQ, SpeakQ, and IntelliKeys.  There are also programs for the developing researcher such as Atlas T.I and SPSS(v.14). This is a place to find tutorials for the most common resources used in education.

While this site does have a lot of programs it does not have everything that can be used in education or the tutorials are a little dated. For example it provides tutorials on Atlas T.I.(v.5) which is good for data collection and analysis of qualitative research but does not have tutorials on SAS or the latest SPSS which are used in quantitative research as well as some other programs that may be used in other colleges and departments on campus. There are even tutorials on a few free resources such as Audacity (audio editing software) and Picasa (photo managing software). Remember when browsing the collection, it is meant to teach and train educators, thus not every latest and greatest application will be taught since they are not relevant to education.

Supporting Literacy through Podcasts


The University of South Florida has added a new resource to their iTunes U store for literacy, language, literature teachers and other educators. Through the collaboration efforts of The University and the Florida Department of Education a resource for supporting the learning and teaching of literacy was developed.

Lit2Go iTunes U Store

Lit2Go iTunes U Store

Lit2Go provides access to audio formats (MP3) of many  historically and culturally significant poems and  stories. A website has also been developed to accompany the Lit2Go iTunes U store.  The website (http://etc.usf.edu/lit2go/) also provides a print out of the stories and poems. The collection includes famous classical authors such as Poe, Twain, and Shakespeare.

The Florida Center for Instructional Technology, which is housed within the University of South Florida, has headed the production/and development of the materials. The Center hired talented voice actors to record the numerous stories and poems available on the iTunes Store and website.  The website provides a search by author or story to make it easier to find specific stories or poems to incorporate into your lesson plan.  The iTunes store makes it really easy to download the stories and poems to your mp3 player for easy offline access. You will need to have iTunes downloaded to your computer to use the iTunes U store.  iTunes can be downloaded from the apple website (http://www.apple.com/itunes/download/)download.png

Resources for Black History Month related to Florida


Susan Ariew, librarian at USF has listed a couple of resources from the the State Library and Archives of Florida.

http://usflibraries.typepad.com/edlibreport/2010/02/truth-and-trumph-the-african-american-experience-in-florida.html

Free Concept Mapping Tools


This weekend we bring to you some tools for creating information and lessons that will greatly benefit your visual learners.  In the lounge we teach workshops on using digital visuals in education. Students learn how to create thematic webs, concept mapping, decision charts, and venn diagrams. We use a program called Inspiration from http://www.inspiration.com/. Many times in education it maybe hard to find funding for a school or teacher to buy such software. Below are some alternatives tools for creating concept maps other visual aids for teaching and research.

Webspirationhttp://www.mywebspiration.com/ – Developed by the people who created Inspiration. It is currently in beta. It is a web 2.0 technology and is a collaborative in nature of creating presentations and visual information.

MyWebspiration conept map

Visual Understanding Environmenthttp://vue.tufts.edu/ – Created at Tufts University

Operating systems: Windows (XP and Vista), Mac (OSX 10.4+) and LinuxVUE Concept Map Example

IHMC CmapTools – Created by the Institute for Human and Machine Cognition. The Institute has also developed a Lite version of CmapTools. The lite version has some features missing such as search, compare, and record.
Operating systems: Windows, Mac OS X, Linux (Intel), and Solaris (Sparc)

Overview of IHMC CmapTools

Innertoob


I am very excited about this site. I found out about it through the Kidcast podcast I subscribe to. Innertoob allows you to create markers within your podcast, but the great thing about it is that the content you add to these markers is accessible by search engines. I will be posting some more about it as soon as I get to try it out.

The same people responsible for Innertoob have also created Crowdabout. This is a flash application that allows people to insert audio/text/video comments into your existing podcast and turn it into a conversation and make it more interactive. Again, I just found out about these two sites so I have not had a chance to give them a full trial yet.

Link of the week


Need to create a quick map with markers and notes?  Then TinyMap is the way the go.  You can easily add waypoints (markers) and points of interest (notes) to your map, then when you click on Save you get a URL you can use to share the maps.

This can be used in history classes to have students trace historical events (Columbus’s travels, Crusades, etc. are just a few ideas that come to mind).

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