Wednesday, June 24, 2009

I Stumbled Upon FindSounds

This post actually pulls in two new tools I have found recently. The first is a browser plug-in called Stumble Upon. This plug-in works with both Firefox and IE. StumbleUpon helps me discover and share great websites. As I click Stumble! in my toolbar, I get websites matched to my personal preferences. I set up my preferences to focus more on the topics I am dealing with educationally and with my job as Instructional Designer. I've found sites I probably would never get to with a generic Google search.

One of those sites is FindSounds. One of the projects I'm working on is an i3D Visual Learning Object for a collaboration between a community college biology instructor and a high school biology teacher. We are working on creating a visualization of an animal and plant cell. One idea to help students remember each component of the cell was to attach a sound that would be representative (sort of like Fantasia for the cell). For example, the user would hear a strong bass drum sound when he/she rolled over or clicked on the nucleus. FindSounds finds sounds on the web. There is a partial list of examples searches or I can type in a word and search that way. I can't wait to play.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Create Your Own Avatar with Evolver

I created this version of me using Evolver. Not a bad likeness if I do say so. If I had had a front-on pic of me without my glasses, they could have cloned my face. I was able to pick out both face and body type. The clothing selection was extremely limited though. This is a screenshot, but I can transport the avatar into games, virtual worlds--or turn my avatar into a 3D model for Maya or 3dStudio Max.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009


SoftChalk creates software for teaching. They specialize in developing software that is intuituve and easy to use, yet allows instructors to create powerful, sophisticated and professional-looking content for e-learning classrooms in K–12, Higher Education, and corporate training.

With SoftChalk LessonBuilder you can....

  • Create interactive web pages for your e-learning course with SoftChalk LessonBuilder. It's easy, quick, and your lessons will look like a professional designer created them.

  • Engage your students with lessons that include pop-up text annotations, self-assessment quizzes, and interactive learning games.

  • Package your lessons for delivery via CD-ROM, Intranet, Internet, or integrate with your LMS (Learning Management System).

If you can use a word-processing program, you can use LessonBuilder. Designed for teachers and content-experts who don't have time to learn complex software, LessonBuilder is simple, yet powerful, with only the features you need to create exciting, interactive, content for your online course.

“The release of SoftChalk V5 offers a solution for institutions that want to maximize their investment in eLearning, create an environment of shared ideas and information, and lower their costs,” said Sue Evans, CEO of SoftChalk. “The new features of V5 that really speak to these issues are the ability to embed widgets into a lesson and the digital repository search and eCourseBuilder tools.”

Highlights of the new features included in SoftChalk V5:

  • With the digital repository, users have the ability to perform keyword searches across multiple media repositories at a time, including media from open sources (YouTube, Flicker), fee-based premium services (Intelecom), or library repositories available through the organization itself.
  • The embedding of widgets offers the option of including Web 2.0 features. Blogs, polls, surveys, widgets, wikis, and videos can now easily be inserted to create dynamic lessons.
  • The eCourseBuilder tool combines multiple lessons into larger eCourse modules with automatic calculation and tracking of score information between and within lessons.
Other features and enhancements within the new release include an option that will allow lessons to directly publish to Blackboard, as well as a new photo album activity, quiz group function, table of contents, and accessibility options.

Friday, June 12, 2009

FireFox Collections and FireShot

The Cool Cat Teacher Blog recently discussed new feature to FireFox: Firefox Add-on Collections. Anyone can create a new collection and share it with your friends. To create your own collection you must register on Firefox’s site; after that, creating a collection is quite easy: choose a name, and pick which add-ons you want to be in your collection. You can browse other collections in the Collection Directory, and you’re also able to filter them by popularity, or you can browse through the Editor’s picks. FireFox published a video overview on their blog.

All this is a lead-in to the fact that I browsed Cool Cat Teacher's collections and found a new add-on that I installed: FireShot. Ever need to take a screen shot of your browser window only to find that you can't get everything you want in one shot. Well, Fireshot to the rescue. Fireshot is a browser add-on (currently works in IE and FireFox) that goes beyond the functionality of Print Screen. In addition to having the option of taking a screen shot of the entire web page or just a section of it, this plugin also provides a set of editing and annotation tools, which let users quickly modify captures and insert text and graphical annotations.

Screenshots can be saved to disk (PNG, GIF, JPEG, BMP), printed (NEW), copied to clipboard, e-mailed and sent to external editor for further processing. A free image hosting web-server is also provided. Here's a short demo on how to capture and annotate a page.

FireShot is absolutely FREE! FireShot has NO TIME LIMITS and you are free to send it to your friends, distribute it at your blog, web site or include it into packages.

FireShot for Firefox Download FireShot for Firefox!
FireShot for Internet Explorer Download FireShot for Internet Explorer!