Sites of the Week 2011/12 [Week 2]

2 09 2011

2.1 ZAP READER:  http://www.zapreader.com/

Do you want to increase your reading speed? This site should help you speed things up. It is very easy to use. Simply set your target reading speed under settings as well as the number of words you want to have shown at one time. Then paste the text or URL you would like to read in the reader and ZAP it. Pay attention to how you read and you may see some interesting patterns (words presented individually being held in groups for comprehension etc.). Try changing the number of words presented at one time. Do you read the entire line as a whole or each word presented in the line? What are your limits to reading an entire line? What is your upper limit to the number of words read per minute? How does this change when you practice reading whole lines versus individual words? Have fun improving your reading speed.

2.2 DROPBOX AND FILESTORK

Today’s Site of the Day is a “twofer”. For those who use DropBox, you will love FileSTork for easy collaboration and collection of documents from individuals in remote locations. However, if you don’t use Dropbox, you will want to explore it first.

DROPBOX: https://www.dropbox.com/

In a word, Dropbox is a web application that also have a little application you can install on any computer you use. I have it installed on my home desktop, laptop, netbook, iPhone, Android HTC phone, Office computer and my classroom computer. This allows me to access any file I place in the Dropbox from any of these computers as if it were a folder on my computer. If I am working from a computer that is not mine, I can access the files through the Dropbox website. When I change a file on one computer, it is synchronized across all of my computers. When I travel, I make sure my laptop and/or netbook connects to the Internet before I leave and I have my latest files stored locally on that computer which means I can work on them even when I am not online. When I get to where I am going and have access to the Internet, Dropbox automatically syncs with my account placing the updated files on all of my computers. If you want to collaborate with others, you can create a shared folder and invite your collaborators to that folder in your dropbox. Do you want to make a file public? Simply place the file in the Public folder and it will be assigned its own web address (URL). Share that address via email, Twitter or post on your website and others can access that file without the need to join Dropbox or your shared files. It could not be simpler. And what does this service cost? Well…you can start with a FREE account that will give you 2 GB of storage. I use it enough now that I pay $10 per month for 50 GB.

FILESTORK: https://filestork.net/

FileStork works in conjunction with Dropbox. Once you have a Dropbox account, you can link it to a FileStork account that allows you to easily request files from anyone and anywhere and have them delivered directly to your Dropbox. This is great when you want to gather files from a group of people and want to keep it simple for them. Simply connect FileStork with your Dropbox account, send a request for files, recipient uploads the requested files and they are delivered directly to your Dropbox.

2.3 ART THROUGH TIME: A GLOBAL VIEW:
http://www.learner.org/courses/globalart/

This is an amazing site with a collection of videos exploring “themes connecting works of art created around the world in different eras. The thirteen part series [produced through the Annenberg Foundation] explores diverse cultural perspectives on shared human experiences.” Each video is about 25 minutes long presenting visual discussions by experts from around the world. The themes are:

  1. Converging Cultures
  2. Dreams and Visions
  3. History and Memory
  4. Ceremony and Society
  5. Cosmology and Belief
  6. Death
  7. Domestic Life
  8. Writing
  9. Portraits
  10. The Natural World
  11. The Urban Experience
  12. Conflict and Resistance
  13. The Body

The uses of this site and these videos in education are endless as you connect these themes with art, culture, literature, history, math and science throughout our curriculum. This is truly a resource for building interdisciplinary studies.

2.4 SAFE SHARE TV
http://www.safeshare.tv/

Do you teach with YouTube Videos? Would you teach with YouTube videos if you could eliminate the advertisements and distractions from the “suggested video” feature? Would you tap the wealth of teaching resources available on YouTube if you could present your content related videos to your students in a clean, non-distracting environment? Then this site is for you. SafeShareTV is a simple site that allows you to paste the URL for your selected video in a box then generate a “safe link” with the click of a button. To see what this does, watch the two video links below. The first will share a great college prank pulled during a chemistry lecture at Columbia College. This first link is directly to YouTube and will play with all the distracters provided by the YouTube Player. The second link is of the same video with the link run through SafeShareTV creating a “Safe Link” that creates a clean player without all of the visual noise. Enjoy this funny video and enjoy watching a YouTube video without the visual distractions.

See the Difference for yourself…

YouTube Direct Link to:
Prangstgrup- Reach! A Lecture Musical Prank!
http://youtu.be/3SwhzFsuvQc

SafeLink provided by SafeShareTV for:
Prangstgrup- Reach! A Lecture Musical Prank!
http://www.safeshare.tv/w/kqGDrCPygb

 

2.5 ECLIPSE CROSSWORD
http://www.eclipsecrossword.com/

Everyone loves a good puzzle. Just look at the market for Sudoku. Then there’s the famous NY Times daily crossword. While there are many tools you can use to create these puzzles, this one seems to work quite nicely. The only catch is you will need to download and install the free program, as it is not a web-based application. Eclipse Crossword will allow you to print your final puzzle as well as publish it to the web as an interactive puzzle. Create a puzzle for your class as a review and publish it to Blackborard, Moodle or another LMS, Publish it to your portal or print a copy for the students.

Just to give you a little teaser, how well do you know OUR SCHOOL? I am providing the puzzle here in several forms so you can what options are available for distribution. Happy puzzling…

PRINT a copy of the puzzle:

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1771779/sotd-puzzler/greenhill%20puzzler.html

Solve the INTERACTIVE puzzle:

http://dl.dropbox.com/u/1771779/sotd-puzzler/greenhill%20puzzler%20interactive.html

NOTE: Both of the above links utilize the PUBLIC FOLDER feature of DROPBOX making this puzzle available on the web.


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