Today in one of my technology classes, we were just discussing about the videos and how much real-life they were. Lack of interactivity was one of the aspects that make videos less real-life and maybe less authentic.
At that moment, I was thinking of the future of videos and the possibility of adding interactivity component where you can interact with the video by changing plot, or deciding what will happen next or how it will happen.
Then, I came across this feed on Mashable tonight which immediately made me create a second blog post within 24 hours since it amazed me very much pertaining to the possibilities not only now but also more importantly in the future.I recommend you to try it for yourself and see how you can change the plot of a video by even writing something on the video and see it there immediately. Below is the link for this news and the ad of Pepsi. Believe it or not, Sergio Ramos asks your name in the video, then you write it there and he signs it for you.
Afterwards, I visited the website of the company producing Interlude Videos, Treehouse, now taken over by Eko, behind this project and found even more amazing stuff I just want to share here. Compared to the Pepsi ad, the interlude videos there seem even more amazing and seamless. You can explore the website and sign up even to create your own interactive videos!
Just try it for yourself and think about the future of videos and how it is applicable in education, specifically language teaching…
As it is widely known, online classrooms have gained popularity although there are still people who believe that the luxury of meeting in a physical classroom by having a face-to-face communication outweighs the effectiveness of having a fully online course. Regarding online course like MOOCs, it is not possible to conclude that fully online courses can replace traditional classes; however, considering college courses in which the total number of participants do not exceed 30s, we may assume that they can be effective as well. Moreover, tools or websites such as Skype, Google Hangouts, or more specialized ones like Blackboard Collaborate can enhance the effectiveness of fully online courses.
On the other hand, when we consider using this kind of tools to support face-to-face classes for various purposes such as giving feedback and/or supporting our students outside classrooms, we might increase their effectiveness more and more. At this point, tools like Blackboard Collaborate or Google Hangouts with which a teacher can display his screen to all, remote-help his/her students, and communicate with them visually or auditorily might be a little difficult to set up since they might not be free, or require a sophisticated set-up process. Therefore, Stoodle is a tool to fill in this gap in a very easy and free way so that one, as a teacher, can instantly collaborate with students on a virtual whiteboard with as many pages as needed. Throughout the rest of this review, you will be introduced to this tool followed by further ideas and suggestions on how to make use of it effectively in addition to its limitations to illustrate how it could be developed more.
Name : Stoodle: Ultimate Online Learning Experience
Use : As cited from its website, Stoodle aims “to help bridge the national achievement gap with a free and comprehensive online learning experience.” Moreover, the features of the tool are as follows:
Real-time collaboration on a virtual whiteboard with infinite pages
Real-time communication through voice conferencing and text chat
Permanent storage of all classrooms for later access
Support for image uploading
Access to basic drawing tools and colors
2. Intended Audience
Stoodle, as can be seen in the previous section, is intended for mainly instructional or educational purposes. Teachers and tutors are the main target group to use it to hold online office hours, review sessions, provide flexible or individual feedback, and organize illustrated review notes. On the other hand, students can also benefit from this tool by working on homework with their peers, illustrating problems and inviting teachers for help, and finally by creating group study guides.
3. How does it work?
Explaining how this tool works might be the easiest part since it is one of the strongest claims or promises of Stoodle. One, either as a teacher or a student, needs to visit the website, and simply hit ‘launch a classroom’. Then, it is all set with a whiteboard in front of you with so many options. Whenever you launch a classroom, you can save it and share the link in the address bar with anyone you would like to collaborate with. It is a big advantage for virtual classrooms on Stoodle to be stored for later access, too. After you have started a virtual classroom and share the link with others both as a teacher and student, these are the things you can do on a whiteboard:
joining the session by writing your nick/name,
instant chat with other participants,
uploading images from your computer or any cloud service,
taking your pictures and recording videos,
sharing links or other videos on the Internet,
drawing lines, shapes in different colors,
typing and inserting texts,
undoing/redoing your actions,
creating as many pages as needed on the same whiteboard,
sharing what you do on Twitter, Facebook, or via email.
As it is mentioned above, there are several tools and possibilities that you can have using Stoodle in spite of its being free, and not requiring any complex set-up process. Within the following section, I will present more information regarding how this tool can be used for instructional purposes; and then further explain what limitations it has and how it might be developed more.
4. Further suggestions on how the tool might be used & Limitations
First of all, as repeatedly mentioned so far, Stoodle is a very effective tool to create instant virtual classrooms for teachers and their students to interact. Therefore, it is best to use it for an improvised tutoring session or class reviews. Exceeding the boundaries of a classroom or an office, a teacher can hold sessions to provide additional support for his/her students. Say you would like to give feedback for a student’s writing and you do not have enough time at school. With the ease of a click and launching a virtual classroom on Stoodle, you might upload the whole essay on the whiteboard as an image or simply text. Then, you can set a certain link for each student all through a year and share it with him or her. When both you and your students are online at a certain time, you can explain things and give feedback by drawing on the board, through instant chat or voice conferencing. It is really efficient to be able to store all essays or those feedback sessions so that you can easily monitor your students’ progress. There are so many other ways that you can use Stoodle, but it seems that is best to use it to support your actual class to hold office hours, give feedback, and monitor students’ progress. It is actually possible to appeal more to productive skills like speaking and writing which most students lack while learning a language.
Secondly, a teacher can motivate and guide his/her students to use Stoodle in many different ways. There are so many telecollaboration studies in which students who speak two different languages, and who are from different departments or countries help each other to teach what they are good at. Stoodle could be a great tool for them to connect with one another. Furthermore, students can use Stoodle simply to work on their homework or assignments outside the school. For instance, for assignments requiring a process work such as brainstorming, developing an idea, creating concept maps, or solving a problem, Stoodle can certainly offer various options for the task to be completed effectively. Besides, they can always store their activity for later access and keep track of their performance.
What is really convenient about Stoodle is that it can be used on any browsers and tablets as well. Today when almost everybody owns either of them, Stoodle can offer lots of opportunities for presenters or educators leading professional development or having sessions at conferences.
On the other hand, although it is a really great and effective tool to launch instant virtual classrooms, this does not necessarily mean that Stoodle is a complete tool in itself with nothing to improve further. One of the biggest limitations of the tool, especially from a teacher’s perspective, is that nobody is leading the session. It is not possible for a teacher to manage a session. Everybody with the link can join, do modifications on the whiteboard or talk. Regarding tools like Blackboard Collaborate, it is possible for a teacher to administer a session by allowing students to participate, say something or simply join the sessions. However, on Stoodle nobody has the control, which might cause a confusion or a chaotic situation since what you store there might be deleted by anyone with the link.
Moreover, although Stoodle is iPad or tablet-friendly, it seems that it has problems regarding voice conferencing when accessed with an iPad. I personally tested it on two different computers and had no problem regarding voice conferencing. However, when accessed on an iPad, I could not hear the person accessing with a computer, or the person with the computer did not receive my voice from an iPad. Therefore, despite being convenient, it seems that there are still issues with tablets and mobile devices.
Finally, regarding all the features offered by Stoodle, it seems a really effective tool. However, it might be improved more if following features are also added with its future versions:
remote desktop and remote control,
typing texts live (normally you type it in a pop-up window and it is inserted somewhere on the whiteboard),
better bandwidth, voice quality and echo cancellation,
All in all, Stoodle is certainly a very effective tool for instant virtual classes with the ease of a click, and it certainly serves its objectives well with several great features. However, in order to improve it more and offer as many features as other similar free tools like Google Hangouts, or paid tools like Blackboard Collaborate, it seems that we need wait for newer versions. Regarding the objectives and mission of its developer team, Stoodle is surely going to meet all and even more of these expectations in the near future.
IMPORTANT: This time, you can send me your feedback following this Stoodle link:) You can explore the page and then leave your comments.
There must be hundreds of thousands, and even millions of websites there on the Internet. Now it is time to introduce another one!
The question is why?, why to struggle to add another page among all others. In fact, the answer is simple. It is ‘mine’! If there are potential people who are thinking of creating their own websites or who already struggled to create theirs, they are sure to understand this feeling: ‘It is gonna be ‘yours”. A webpage could be a good resource and actually a tool to build an effective portrayal of self based on your target audience. Today, every webpage, especially the ones like Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin or else behave like a community in itself and they bear certain connotations with them. However, your own page which you host somewhere could be an effective display of the self. With this in mind, and thanks to my great enthusiasm to learn this new language, I started my page a few months ago.
If you want to create a webpage, you can simply choose hosts and webpage design tools like weebly.com, wordpress.com and others. However, I chose the difficult way and I started designing it from scratch dealing with every bits and pieces like codes. For this to be done, I used a simple but nice MAC/PC app ‘seamonkey’ to design pages at the beginning, ‘textwrangler’ to edit codes, ‘fetch’ for MAC’ and ‘winscp’ for PC to publish your pages. Consequently, I am really happy with what has come out of it so far and I wanted to share it with the people who care, the people who are interested in teaching language through technology or accessing resources online. In fact I do not want to elaborate on the website for long since it takes time to read and the website itself is still in progress and there will be more content added in the future; so you can simply click on one of the links on this page and pay a visit there. As you can find information about me, you can also access to the teaching resources or links I shared there. What is remarkable about the website is that it adjusts its resolution and look according to the device you are visiting with such as your phone, tablet, or computer. If you have a chance, you can visit in both ways and I appreciate your comments. Your comments and feedback are always welcome and I will be happy to hear from you about my website.
There is certainly no need to talk and write about how incredibly technology and innovative devices have made their way through the market and everything is easily accessible to all at once. This, however, bears some disadvantages since being selective is a very tedious task for the technology users. Therefore, I would like to briefly mention some amazing apps that might make your job -whether it is teaching English, presenting some academic stuff at conferences, or taking care of your baby at home- highly easy with only few steps to set up and go! In fact, in this post, I would like to focus on a certain category of apps that I have also been using a lot and about which I have really unbelievable memories while teaching. The category of apps I want to share is ‘remote-access- apps with which you can control your PC/MAC or any other devices and see the display on your mobile device; type something by accessing keyboard as well; control your multimedia player; or even access your webcam to see through the eyes of your computer. No need to mention that you need to be connected to the Internet to be able to use these awesome apps. A final remark is that although most of these apps are free and have lite versions, you might need to pay to own pro versions, or another limitation could be to have iOS since they might not be available on other platforms.
1. Jump Desktop
The first app I will introduce is an app which is one of the must-have apps for me and which I have used a lot while teaching or presenting, or just for fun! The name of the app is Jump Desktop. The first thing that could be important about this app is its price, $14.99; however, it seems that it deserves every penny you spend on the app since it is really easy to set up, by just installing another small server tool on your computer and logging in your google account. Then what you can do is, without the limitations like being connected to the same wi-fi network or being in the same place with your computer, that you can see your computer display on your mobile device and access to the full keyboard and typing functions and move the mouse icon around to give your presentations, type something in while you are showing something on a word processor, etc.
What you can do has no limits with this app, and it has a lot to with your creativity and interests. Another amazing thing is that you can even check your computer while it is at home or work and you having your coffee or somewhere outside. Especially when you are doing something on your computer like downloading a huge file, this function could be helpful. Although there are some other even free alternatives to this app, it is really effective in terms of its capabilities and practicality of set-up process.
Now, I want to introduce another great app with both lite and paid versions. The name is HippoRemote and it is another five-star app that an iPhone user can benefit from. With this app, youcan do all the things except for the option or possibility of accessing your computer display on your mobile phone. That could be the biggest difference when compared to Jump Desktop. However, considering that it has a lite version, and it has a better UI especially when you are accessing to the touchpad or some other keyboard functions are enough to make it an awesome app. Below, you can see what you can do and a screenshot of the app in action. It is really practical to access to keyboard functions in a such an easy way. Another biggest plus for this app comes from its practicality to adjust what you need to do by choosing among the most-used apps on your mobile. What I mean is this: If I am giving a presentation and I need a clicker, you can choose Keynote or PowerPoint and you will have a set template of buttons which will make your job literally easier.
As you can see above, if you are simply listening to music or watching something on your PC, you can access to most commonly used keys and do whatever you need.
The next app is only for iDevice users and the people who use iTunes as their multimedia player. It is ‘Remote’ by Apple and you can access to your iTunes on your computer and control the songs you are listening to or videos you are watching. What is really attractive about this app is it is really simply to set up since iTunes or your app automatically detect each other. What’s more, you can also see the artwork and covers of the songs you are listening on your mobile device while it is playing on your computer. You can see its screenshot below.
Last but not least, there is one more amazing app. JumiCam is one of the practical and amazing Jumi apps that allows you to access to your webcam. If your computer is connected to the Internet, and if you have set it up by simply installing a server app on your computer, you can see through the eyes of your computer. Moreover, you can access to your sound system which means you can listen through the microphone of your computers and speak through the speakers. Practical uses could be to be able to watch someone you care for such as your baby or kids especially when you have a home-computer, or see what is going on where your computer is. In fact, fun aspect is also a lot of for this app. I am sure everybody has to leave the class for a few seconds and you can imagine what you can do when it is active and your computer is connected to a surround system in your class. You can speak to and amaze your students when you are not physically in class. I am sure you can also do lots of things and integrate it into some classroom activities thanks to your creativity.
All in all, there is no limit to what you can do by using your computers and mobile devices. If you think that these apps could be effective for your personal or professional use, you can comment below and even add your favorite remote-access apps that could be beneficial for the other readers.
Here is a list of other (mostly FREE) apps that you may use or may be using to ease your personal/academic life! I have experienced all of the apps below and I am sure there are some that can appeal to you as well.
Hey, finally as its second event in fall, new iDevices have already fallen out of the fruit company, Apple. Personally, devices seem to be below what I formerly expected, but it is an Apple tradition. Still, apparently, they seem to be the top-notch devices among the other non-Apple products on the market although the same cannot be said for their prices. Anyway, the biggest thing Apple announced yesterday, October 22, seems to be the new iPad, which is iPad Air, but not iPad 5, probably due to a big reduction in its weight. For the ones who are interested and thinking of buying any new iDevices, here is a comparison compiled by redmonpie.com and I hope it might give you an idea about which one to buy.
Apple cannot resist coming through with the confusing names, and now we find ourselves with the iPad 2, fifth-gen iPad Air, iPad mini, and the new iPad mini with Retina display. With so many options both old and new, allied to Apple’s almost arbitrary naming patterns, it may be a rather confusing state of affairs, so here, we take a close look at the four Apple tabletsincluding features, specs and prices.
The main, full-size iPad range now consists of the iPad 2, which Apple continues to sell despite its age, as well as the iPad Air, which should perhaps have been given the iPad 5 moniker. The differences between the two, in both specs and price, are glaring, but while those simply looking for an iPad to run iOS 7 and enjoy general use can still rely upon the trusty older model, those in search of something a little more cutting-edge and up-to-date will want to check out the new iPad Air.
At a full $100 cheaper than the newly-released iPad Air, the iPad 2 is still a relatively appealing prospect, and although there’s no 4G and only 16GB of storage space available with both the Wi-Fi and Wi-Fi + Cellular models, it’s a very good value tablet.
The antiquated iPad 2 is now the same price as the current gen iPad mini and outdates the first-gen iPad mini, which was first released around this time last year. Both are rather similar technically, the iPad 2 and the first-gen iPad mini, using the same A5 processor and offering identical display resolution. Apple’s pricing makes a great deal more sense than the naming scheme, with both the iPad 2 and iPad mini seemingly on an even keel; leaving the consumer to make a judgment based purely upon preference.
Obviously, both the iPad Air and iPad mini with Retina display offer a sharper visual experience, and since each also includes the A7 processor and M7 motion coprocessor, those looking for a higher-end experience will want to grab one of the premier devices.
One very interesting thing about the chart, when you see each iPad side-by-side, is that now, the newer iPad mini is actually just as good as the flagship iPad Air, and although the latter is more expensive, the up-take on the compact model is likely to be, in my opinion, significantly higher than that of the full-size model.
Having seen each in a concise, official manner, which iPad will you be picking up? Do share your thoughts and comments below!
Here are the links to acces to different and up-to-date post on innovative devices or else.
Regarding games, there is a lot of them in different platforms. Mainly, I can give examples from both iOS (most of them exist on Android as well) and PS3 games.
There is a simple game named as “Labyrinth 1/2” on most mobile platforms. Thanks to the game, one can move a steel ball through a labyrinth avoiding pitfalls. The game is really good on sensors and sensitive so that one must be careful not to move a lot and coordinate the ball. In its second version, it is much more puzzle-like and the gamers should try to solve them in addition to the coordination of movements. The game can played through various platforms and can be checked via the following link: http://www.labyrinth2.com/. Moreover, Labyrinth 2 gives a person options like challenging friedns and even him/herself. Also, the gamers can create their own labyrinths and upload them in addition to downloading from others.
“Cut the rope” is another game for the gamers to solve puzzles and move a ball so skillfully that it drops into the mouth of a frog at the end. To do this, the ball should be directed well without falling into the ground, but not frog’s mouth. This game is existent on both platforms and it has tens of levels to challenge the gamers.
One more game on mobile platforms is one of the popular games of Zynga and this game is draw something/ draw/ draw 2. It gives its gamers to create cool effects with dozens of new tools, patterns, stamps and colors – allowing them to transform even the simplest drawings into masterpieces. The purpose of the game is to help other players to guess what you have driven or vice versa, so it also enhances mutual learning in terms of especially drawing skills, colors and items etc. The description and more infromation about the game can be accessed through the link: http://zynga.com/game/draw-something-two
In addition to the games on mobile platforms, there are also games with rich content on platforms like PS3 or Xbox. Regarding PS3, it is possible to say that there are tens of games which could be really educational and entertaining at the same time.
First of all, a game named “Little big planet 1/2” is a very comprehensive game in which you have endless opportunities. First, the gamers can choose a toy or mascot (called sackboy) with which they can progress through a variety of levels which are ordered around a globe. In this game, you can dress your toy in the way you like and you can do many things there. There is always feedback given to you by an old wise person or by colorful texts. Like a real person, you need to walk your toy and achieve a variety of levels to get the most points. The movements of the toy is actually very real-like and you need to learn a lot about gravity, jumping, running, holding ropes etc. For more information, you can go to the link: http://www.littlebigplanet.com/games/littlebigplanet-2
One more game which is created for fun and entertainment for the whole family could be really educational with kids/children. The game titled “start the party” by Sony runs with the help of PS move, which makes it really ground-breaking. You can select different types of games like baloon shooting, haircutting, painting and flying etc. The gamers play all the games through PS move with which they move their hands and body instead of hitting buttons with joysticks. Especially the painting game is really cool since one ends up with really good images of different things although what they paint is images or shapes like triangles, lines, or squares. What makes the game even more education and entertaing is you can watch yoursefl with your PS move on the screen thanks to PS eye webcam. Moreover, you can play the game alone or you can challenge your friends by playing together with themor online. Here is the link for more information: http://www.ign.com/articles/2010/09/03/start-the-party-review
All in all, as Prensky has also emphasized a lot in his various articles and talks, games especially meaningful and well-designed ones give people endless options for entertainment and a great opportunity for education. The games mentioned above can actually appeal to almost all the principles listed by Gee such as:
Situated meaning principle
Active, critical learning principle
Comitted learning principle
and Psychosocial moratorium principle
A lot of people make use of state-of-the-art apps to enhance their teaching and classroom management. iOS is, as known and appreciated by most people, has so many apps that smoothly run and make educators’ job easier. One app that could be highly appreciated by so many educators and that is available on all platforms in addition to its web version is certainly “Socrative”. I am sure that a lot of people use apps for polling and they can really make your life easy in class.
Some examples of how you can use them in class:
1. Simply, you want to choose a class representative or assign someone a task, and you would like it to be fun and to use technology for it. If you do not want to use technology, you can write the names on board and want everybody vote openly or in a closed way. However, using Socrative or similar polling apps, you simply ask your students go to socrative.com and tell them your room number or name. Then, as a teacher at that moment you enter the names quickly on Socrative through its web version or using Socrative Teacher app. Then, while Ss are voting, you reflect it on the board with a projector, then it is magically beautiful to watch a bar chart showing the number of votes for each candidate.
2. Another example is that you are at the beginning or the end of the lesson, you want to ask students’ opinions about the class as a warm-up or wrap-up. Simply open Socrative Teacher app, tell your students go to Socrative and your room. Then you start an exit-test for a pulse-check and then watch it happening.
3. There is no limit for your creativity, but you can also prepare any kind of test in advance using Socrative quiz templates and then do it in a space race format where you can watch groups race against each other by answering the questions.
All in all, polling apps and tools are really effective and convenient instruments for educators and Socrative is a good model among them. Go to socrative.com or download the apps and see what you can do with that.