Friday, June 19, 2009

free office suites

An office suite is a set of programs for documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and usually some other things.

You're familiar with Microsoft Office, the office suite that all others are compared against and basically sets the standard.

You may have heard of OpenOffice, a great free (and open source) office suite.

You may not have heard of Lotus Symphony, a good looking free office suite from IBM.

I've also talked about Google Apps here, so I'll just mention it again.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

we use iPods differently

I had a conversation with a colleague this morning about student iPod use, and it came up that we (adults) tend to use iPods and other mp3 players differently than students do.

For students, iPods in class tend to be distractions and an escape. This is likely the source of teachers' objection to these devices, that they detract from student learning.

For teachers themselves, or at least for me, an mp3 player is more of a professional development device. I'm usually listening to podcasts, lectures, and audiobooks, and many of these are education, or at least technology, related.

And I don't listen to my iPod in class.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

flash drives die

It bears repeating that your USB flash drive (or thumb drive, or however you refer to it) will stop working entirely at some point. Soon. So make sure you have only duplicate files on it. When it dies, the files will likely be unrecoverable.

The same goes for hard drives and iPods for that matter, but they don't seem to die as frequently.

Be safe out there.

Posted with LifeCast

Thursday, June 4, 2009

iPods and mobile phones in class

There has been a lot of debate as of late regarding student use of electronic devices in classes.

Many schools have policies prohibiting the use of mobile phones in class, some don't even allow them in the school at all. Besides issues with students having cameras (or video cameras) with them at all times, there are legitimate concerns about test validity and security as well as time spent off-task in class.

Time off-task in class is also affected by iPod (and other mp3 player) use. In particular, the games and applications that are available on the iPod touch (and presumably the upcoming Zune HD) can be very distracting for students.

On the other hand, there are a number of potential uses for these little computer-like devices, especially if you don't have a computer for each student in your classroom. It will be interesting to see how this all develops.