Archive

Archive for October, 2010

Virtual Whiteboard in Computerized Classrooms

To virtualize/digitize your classroom scripts/textbooks/etc. – with all the obvious benefits (single familiar, control interface for multimedia, audio and video) and hidden benefits, like being able to link to offline (e.g. MS–Proofing Tools, MS-Text-to-Speech API) and online language learning tool (e.g. dictionaries, image libraries), use the already installed and supported hardware and software tools in computerized classrooms.

Hardware:

  1. Teacher Computer
  2. LCD Projector
  3. LCD Projector Screen
  4. Classroom Speakers
  5. Wireless keyboard/mouse

Software/Content:

  1. Textbook Scans as images – common nuisance: as ingle exercise (or a rule explanation and its practice exercise) gets spread over 2 pages that won’t fit on document camera –> right-click, open with, “Paint”, use rectangle selection, edit/cut, file/new, edit/paste to combine).
  2. my template Teacher.Dot (and additional downloaded or saved files, copyright permitting) with lookup menu:
  3. MS-Remote desktop: default enabled on all office PCs; on classroom teacher computer, click “start”-button, type “mstsc”, click “OK”, type the IP address of your office computer once, if logged in a yourself on the teacher computer, it will remember it, (you only need to access the advanced options of MSTSC if you encounter compatibility problems, like with screen resolution
  4. MS-ZoomIt:  on file server, allows you to zoom, draw + type on frozen images of your screen (access advanced options if you want to change the font settings and behavior of the mouse  scroll wheel)
  5. Blackboard: Content System <—Web folder <—> Email

Time saving benefits:

  1. Class time: prep in office; slow writing on blackboard, handling of document camera (switching, drawing), internet access
  2. Teacher time: separate steps to & handling email (<—> close file with class and be done)
  3. Student: slow note-taking (not all is mnemonic), handling email (still need to access Blackboard)
  4. More benefits could be had if students had hardware/software to share the screen. If a fully computerized classroom freaks you out, consider MS multi mouse, especially designed for resource challenged educational environments (India originally)
Categories: e-learning, Projectors

How to make screencasts in animated GIFs for free

2010/10/15 1 comment

If you want a persuasive web (blog) documentation solution for the most casual, time-pressed users and which is supported on the widest possible range of platforms;

and if you are lucky enough to work in environments where it is not the base infrastructure that forms the bottleneck (as this solution is not bandwidth optimized):

then even in the day of Flash 10, Silverlight 4 and HTML5, you might give some consideration the age-old animated GIF.

What you can visualize with animated GIFS will remain basic. But if the basics are what needs fixing, this approach can have remarkable benefits (think low-end, high-gain of the graph for “law of diminishing returns”).

I have been looking for a while for a “soup to nuts” write-up how to do this easily and for free, and experienced am unusually high noise to signal ratio. This is why I want to point to the following article that seems to fit the bill nicely:

http://omaralzabir.com/how-to-make-screencasts-in-optimized-animated-gif-for-free/ 

The author persuasively combines CamSoft, ImageMagick and the Microsoft GIF Animator.

An example to follow here.