Archive for the ‘Best Bang for the Buck’ Category

Four traps that hinder student learning by Steve Mintz

Friday, June 12th, 2015

I like this.  It shines a spotlight on the cracks in our common, run of the mill, teaching practice.

This one you need to read.

File:Cracks in Mývatn region (2).jpg
By Chmee2 (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY 3.0]

Steven Mintz the Executive Director of the University of Texas System’s Institute for Transformational Learning posted this on the Inside Higher Ed site.

The four traps are

  • The Lecture trap
  • the Memorization trap
  • The High Stakes Testing trap
  • The Coverage trap (more…)

Digital Public Library gets hip with the kids – Now on Pinterest

Friday, May 15th, 2015

First the DPLA is a free fantastic resource and they are wonderful people.

“The Digital Public Library of America brings together the riches of America’s libraries, archives, and museums, and makes them freely available to the world.”


Not content with just providing the resources, they are actively seeking to make their stuff even more accessible via platforms like Pinterest.

They also have apps including one for Historical cat pictures

cat app

Find out where that image came from?

Friday, May 1st, 2015


I often recommend Flkr as a location for free Creative Commons images.  Unfortunately, just because the person uploading the image has listed it as Creative Commons always doesn’t mean that it is.  Sometimes they are re-posting an image they have found elsewhere.  It’s usually fairly easy to tell if an album is a collection of favourite downloaded images, as opposed to the ‘best of’ snaps from a holiday.   But sometimes it’s not so clear.  If you are planning to use any downloaded images outside the password protected university environment then you should bookmark Tineye.

TinEye is a reverse image search engine. You can submit an image to TinEye to find out where it came from, how it is being used, if modified versions of the image exist, or to find higher resolution versions.

TinEye is the first image search engine on the web to use image identification technology rather than keywords, metadata or watermarks. It is free to use for non-commercial searching.

TinEye regularly crawls the web for new images, and we also accept contributions of complete online image collections. To date, TinEye has indexed 11,015,187,850 images from the web to help you find what you’re looking for.

For tablet and smart phone users there is an Android version of Tineye in Beta testing.  For and a iPad/iPhone users there is an app called Veracity

Interactive video tools – Zaption, EduCanon, EDPuzzle

Tuesday, April 14th, 2015

video interactive

If you are interested in free options for Interactive video, this  review on the Penn State Learning and Teaching with Technology site is woth a look.

Cant use Flash in your smartphone or tablet? Try Puffin Browser

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015

Flash is still about and it can be a pain when the video you want to watch won’t play.

Our local Apple wizard Nigel Morkel-Kingsbury recommends Puffin Browser to his students.   Puffin is available for IOS and Android.


Some password management options

Monday, March 23rd, 2015

Patrick Norton and  Shannon Morris formerly of Tekzilla (Rev3 cancelled the show),  have rebooted their show on their own.  It’s now called TekThing

There is a short overview of 3 top alternatives to LastPass at the 6 minute mark

Passwoord manager

Adding Questions to Video

Friday, March 20th, 2015

One way to add questions to video is embedding videos in Moodle Lessons.
It’s fairly fiddly and you have to chop your video into clips if you want to ask multiple questions.  Unless you are very comfortable with Moodle there are easier options.

Office MIX provides another approach structured around PowerPoint which is worth a look.  You can’t put video and the question on the same page and the analytics are fairly rudimentary.  You can have a look at my rough play with MIX questions here  –

TED-ED lessons are another way to do it.  You have to load your video into YouTube and the questions aren’t attached to the video timeline, so student’s can choose when to answer the questions.

If you are looking for an online option that doesn’t require any downloads then Zaption is worth a look.  It’s fairly simple to use and you don’t have create clips, you can just drop in your questions anywhere along the timeline.  You can’t create voice overs or record your webcam so you’ll need some over software for that (e.g. Windows Live Movie Maker, iMovie etc).

I had a quick play with and I quite like it.  Students don’t have to create an account to view the videos and they can be embedded in other sites (if you pay for the Pro version).

The free version looks OK but you can see all the differences here.


Tech Tips for teaching with webcams

Monday, March 16th, 2015

I have updated my webcams tips video (using my newer camera).

It’s on my YouTube site which has a range of other recordings.

ppt mix edit screen

This is  also an experiment in using PowerPoint Mix to create multi-clip, webcam tutorial videos (as opposed to a PowerPoint with added video).

Office Mix – a simple tool for Flipped Learning

Friday, March 6th, 2015

I recently did a presentation on Office MIX which I think is probably the simplest tool for creating Flipped resources.

Office MIX presention

I have edited out the section on creating quizzes and uploading to the MIX site.

Powerpoint 2013 – Create Better handouts

Thursday, February 26th, 2015

To create a PowerPoint Handout click on File.

You will see this menu.  Select Export and Create Handouts

pptx handout

One of the features in PowerPoint 2o13 is the ability create handouts that put your notes next to your slide images.

pptx notes

This better than the previous option which was one page per slide.  You ended up with a stack of pages many with minimal or no text.

pptx old notes

If you can’t do this because you want to see your notes while presenting don’t worry, just use Presenter View.


Presenter view

Unfortunately the Export PDF option doesn’t doesn’t allow you included notes in this format.