Saturday, March 27, 2010

Saturday Specifics: Going Green and Saving Money

Even though I believe the main way to save money on printing is to break the monopoly on toner that allows printer makers to receive $10,000 per gallon, I believe that changing the default font on all university email is a step in the right direction. This is a very creative solution.
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Wis. college says new e-mail font will save money

Thu Mar 25, 11:40 pm ET

GREEN BAY, Wis. – A Wisconsin college has found a new way to cut costs with e-mail — by changing the font.

The University of Wisconsin-Green Bay has switched the default font on its e-mail system from Arial to Century Gothic. It says that while the change sounds minor, it will save money on ink when students print e-mails in the new font.

Diane Blohowiak is the school's director of computing. She says the new font uses about 30 percent less ink than the previous one.

That could add up to real savings, since the cost of printer ink works out to about $10,000 per gallon.

Blohowiak says the decision is part of the school's five-year plan to go green. She tells Wisconsin Public Radio it's great that a change that's eco-friendly also saves money.

Information from: Wisconsin Public Radio,

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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Chartle Your Data

Several Plurk buddies have been raving about Chartle, an online web application where you can build your own online charts. It's very simple to use, so be careful. You might want to make Chartles all the time. Thanks to @cdltoz and @russelltarr
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Chartle Video Tutorial

Over 1 billion charts, maps, plots and diagrams are found in print publications each year - but only 40 million online.

This huge discrepancy is a reflection of the complexity to create & publish charts online. tears down the complexity of online visualizations - offers simplicity, ubiquity and interactivity instead.

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Drops of Old Glory

drops of old glory
Originally uploaded by Steve took it
Amazing images that are shared with us are available to all students and teachers for use, as long as we follow the Creative Commons Share-Alike non commerical copyright. That's always easy to do, since we are teachers and students.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Level The Play Back!

Here is another wonderful example of how people are leveling the playing field for podcasters. You don't have to have expensive hardware or software to level the volume of all participants in your podcast.


This wonderful software takes your podcast or other audio file and changes the audio levels, so various speakers' words are at the same volume.

This is quite a game changer. Try it out on Windows, OSX, or Linux(Ubuntu)
The Levelator® 2.0 Screen Shot

So what is The Levelator®? It's software that runs on Windows, OS X (universal binary), or Linux (Ubuntu) that adjusts the audio levels within your podcast or other audio file for variations from one speaker to the next, for example. It's not a compressor, normalizer or limiter although it contains all three. It's much more than those tools, and it's much simpler to use. The UI is dirt-simple: Drag-and-drop any WAV or AIFF file onto The Leveler's application window, and a few moments later you'll find a new version which just sounds better.

The Levelator® is brought to you by:

  • Bruce and Malcolm Sharpe (core code)
  • Norman "the Normanizer" Lorrain (UI code)
  • Russell Heistuman (graphic design)
  • Doug Kaye (concept and fearless leader)
  • More: The Levelator® Loudness Algorithms

    Levelator® is a registered trademark of The Conversations Network.

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    Thursday, March 4, 2010

    Introducing Newbies to Teaching2.0

    There is an excellent slideshow and a discussion of standards that could be expected from those beginning to learn how to teach.
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    Next week I begin a new gig as the tutor taking a group of pre-service teachers titled Teaching with New Technologies. This will be quite a challenge as much of the content has been decided by the lecturers in charge of the course. In preparation for this task I have been paying even more attention to resources that I might share with the group of students I will be working with. It was great to find in the twitterstream reference then to this presentation from Steve Wheeler from the University of Plymouth.

    Paying reference to the need for individualised learning, Steve explores a hierarchy of trends in education before looking at self-organised learning and where Web 2.0 tools fit in this process.
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    Wednesday, March 3, 2010

    Weather Widget Wrapup

    How's the Weather where you live?
    Do you need to know?
    Knowing the weather and providing students a chance to read and analyze the weather report through online widgets educates them to find trends and even learn to predict based on available evidence.

    Even though all weather reporting originates through, they do not offer a widget, so you can find many types of weather widgets from a multitude of other sources.

    Are all weather widgets created equal? Are the weather reports for all weather widgets created equal? How are they the same? How the various weather widgets different? has a widget that can be used on your website or blog. You can also get a desktop or mobile widget.

    Another weather widget was one I found at the Fort Hayes State University TECS 390 class network is part of a package of widgets that you can use on a website or blog called yourminis: web widgets

    While there are over 60 variations of this weather widget, the weather information comes from the Weather Channel. When you provide a city or zip code, the weather report on the widget belongs to that locale.

    The Great Yarmouth Wether Widget is the one that would be very adaptable, yet it has an interesting background that could be used as is.

    Accu-Weather has a widget with a basic level that is free. There also premium services, but the basic widget has a nice background with a map.

    This is the webpage widget, and there is code for a MySpace widget also.

    Tuesday, March 2, 2010

    What are Effective Schools?

    Yes, if you want to improve something, you must ask the right questions. How do you ask the right questions about making a community's high school effective? Find effective schools that resemble your demographics and implement similar strategies.

    One concern from some readers might be with this point: "All students must learn the advanced skills that are the key to success in college and in the 21st century workplace...." What does that mean? Is the all4ed organization saying that all students should be required to go to college?

    I'm wondering.

    Is this the breakpoint where we raise compulsory education to the 14th grade?

    I agree with all the ideas, but I'm wondering if the ten points might be clarified in a way that encourages more reader acknowledgment and acceptance. I believe that initial acceptance or tolerance for an idea will lead readers to a continued study the ideas presented. If some readers are put off by the language describing the first point, it may be difficult to get them to proceed to the other elements.

    I believe in the effective schools movement where effective communication is the primary concern, the key to success, of any education reform.
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    Regardless of their plans, all of the nation's young people need high-level knowledge and skills to achieve success in a rapidly changing world of technological advances and international competitiveness. And every American has a stake in their success, whether they have school-age children of their own or not.

    children of their own or not.

    How effective is your community's high school in educating its students?
    You don't have to be a school superintendent or member of Congress to help the six million students most at risk of failing to graduate from high school. Drawing from the work of leading researchers and educators from around the country, the Alliance for Excellent Education has identified ten key elements that every high school should have in place to ensure that all its students are successful. The list includes challenging classes, a safe learning environment, and skilled teachers.

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