My Top Ten Applications for e-Learning

September 17, 2007

My top ten applications which I use to create and support the use of e-learning are…

Keynote – a superb presentation package, not matter how many times I start creating a presentation in PowerPoint, I virtually always end up in Keynote. The latest version (iWork ’08) is a real improvement on the previous version and I will admit I do like the audience going “ooh” when I use the cube transition.

Toast – not only a superb disk burning piece of software, but extremely capable of converting a range of video file formats and doing it well. Another useful video conversion tool I have started using is VisualHub.

EyeTV – though Windows Media Centre (and now Vista) has a much better interface, the versatility, the editing and exporting functionality make EyeTV the only real choice when it comes to recording and editing television. Combined with Toast and VisualHub you suddenly can record, edit and watch that video wherever, whenever and on whatever you want.

Dreamweaver – steep learning curve, but if you need to get your hands dirty with HTML and websites then this package is perfect. Though I do like Dreamweaver, I know with web tools such as WordPress and Drupal tools such as Dreamweaver are becoming less essential than they were in the past.

Fireworks – For manipulating images for the web then I go with Fireworks every time. Can also be used to create simple animated gifs. I do use PhotoShop, but for web image editing I always start Fireworks first.

Firefox (with Safari a close second and Flock in third place) – I can’t work with non-tabbed browsers, so on the PC it’s Firefox all the time, on the Mac I mainly use Safari. Safari with it’s .mac integration allows me to share my bookmarks over multiple computers and over the web. Now Safari (in beta) is available for Window and I like how Safari for Windows looks almost exactly like Safari for the Mac. Flock is for me relatively new and I do like the integration with online tools such as Flickr, and WordPress.

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Digitisation Podcast

September 17, 2007

The JISC have released a podcast on the large digitisation programme.

The £22m JISC digitisation programme is making available a wide range of vital scholarly resources to UK education and research. One of its programme managers is Alastair Dunning who, while talking to Philip Pothen for this podcast, discusses what the programme is delivering and why the international conference in Cardiff represented an important landmark both for the programme and for wider attempts to make available scholarly resources of national importance.

Find out more.

Are you ready to play?

September 17, 2007

I dragged myself from my PSP to wonder if playing games is such a waste of time…


Today I still walk around and ask students to stop playing games on the computers in the Library.

Some students tell me that they are undertaking a course in Computer Games Design at which point I throw them out…

The JISC have recently published a guide on using gaming for learning.

Since the earliest times, games have been used to support training and learning objectives. With the development of computers and more recently the Internet, there has been increased interest in how leisure games and simulations can be used to support learning.

A newly-published report Learning in Immersive Worlds: a review of game-based learning explores the increased attention being paid to games to support learning objectives, presenting the findings of a literature review and a set of case studies of game-based learning from everyday practice contexts.

The JISC-commissioned report finds that computer games could have an important role to play in learning but that for learning to take place, games must be related to learning outcomes and be relevant to real world contexts of practice. Factors that influence learner motivation include, the report suggests, the player’s sense of challenge, the realism of the game, opportunities to explore or discover new information and learner control.

A copy of the full report of Learning in Immersive Worlds: a review of game-based learning is available with other guides from the JISC website. It makes for interesting reading.

Comic Life for Windows – Third Beta

September 17, 2007

Comic Life IconPlasq have launched their third beta of Comic Life for Windows.

Here is Comic Life Windows beta 3! Please UNINSTALL your old version of Comic Life BEFORE INSTALLING the b3 version. Remember it is still a beta. So remember anything can still go wrong! We do try our best to make it as reliable as possible – but as it is a beta, we do ask that you are cautious and don’t recommend using it for time-critical work in case anything goes awry.

You can find the download, new beta serial number and release notes in this forum post here.

I do like Comic Life on my Mac and I am pleased to see a version for Windows.