Monthly Archives: February 2014

Educational Blog

There is an educational tool I have been using this term for my independent study in the 2nd half of the year. It is a site called Codecadamy that teaches code using simple step-by-step tutorials from the basics to more complicated codings for the specific software. There are several softwares ranging from Javascript to HTML to Python and so on. Right now I am learning HTML for my independent study and will then do Javascript (it is currently shut down right now). This site is easy to learn and I would recommend this to anyone who wants to be involved in coding.  

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Jing

What is Jing?

Jing is a program that allows the user to capture a screen recording from any computer they are using. The product is free and very easy to use… if you don’t have anything better. If you are simply trying to record your screen, but never access the file, this product will work great for you. All of the save files for video screencasts in Jing are in .swf format which is a flash save file. This save cannot be converted to any other format that next to all applications use. If you wish to upload to youtube, .swf is not supported. If you wish to edit your video in an editing program (premiere pro) I bid you good luck as the file will show but the video will not. So basically, this product is organized very constructively and is presented with the highest degree of professionalism but functions poorly for the average joe.

http://www.techsmith.com/jing.html

How it can be useful

Screen recordings are very useful when making tutorials or simply keeping private files for personal use. This product actually functions very well when performing the actual task of screen recording. It allows the user to select any different size to record on the screen. The down side; there is a cap at five minutes and cuts off your recording with little to no warning.

Screen Shot 2014-02-26 at 9.19.45 AM

Overview

This product is presented very well and the download is very quick and it is easy to install. Beginners can use it with little to no problems until they actually want to access the file. Jing is free and very easy to use so there is no harm in trying it except the file is very hard to access once complete. Jing appears to only allow uploads to their personal site so as to credit themselves with some of the work. Therefore, keep in mind the cons of the five minute cap and the limited accessibility when completing a project as you may find yourself at a dead end.

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Google Drive Tutorial

Google drive is a very useful and well rounded tool for those that like to stay organized and work efficiently. The application allows the user to acces documents universally over many different systems. If someone saves a documents (or any other data) from one location and uploads it to drive, that user can access it from any other location by simply logging into their google account and accessing the drive. This ease of access acts as a shortcut to flash drives and save discs as the user no longer has to carry a physical copy of their data with them. All in all this product is very useful, contains a lot of storage, is very reliable and is totally free!

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Debating Online Testing

Online testing is no longer just a theoretical idea, but a tangible reality. More than 1,000 schools in Massachusetts have already signed up to be a part of a standardized test trial that will offer an online option. No grades will be given, but it will give a way to test the functionality of the new test and online standardized testing. Because many schools don’t have the full capability to allow all students to use computers, they are opting to use paper and pencil.

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I feel that this is one of the problems that may arise in online testing. It may create an inequality among wealthier towns and those towns that might not be able to afford a sufficient number of computers or don’t have the network capability. This disparity could however promote a positive change. With new online tests, the schools that don’t have sufficient technology might  have a stronger desire (and an increased chance) to increase their technological potential. This could ultimately help students and faculty at the less affluent schools. Even for wealthier schools, online testing will come with a large price tag. Equipping every student with a working computer and making sure that the server is capable is a large, daunting task. In addition, schools must think ahead and prepare for potential failures in technology, which could potentially hurt test grades. If a student breaks a pencil tip, they can sharpen it, but if the computer malfunctions, there isn’t much to do.

From my perspective, another problem, perhaps not as big, is cheating. Instead of solely being concealed by flat paper on a desk, students have an upright block hiding whatever they are doing. As long as the student is incapable of accessing the internet during the test and the proctors have a computer in which they can view the screens of the students, this problem shouldn’t be as big of a problem as one might imagine. In the end, those who want to cheat will find a way to cheat, regardless of the test medium.

There are many positives in taking exams on computers. Online testing will quicken test correcting, save money with regards to grading and printing test booklets, time, and the environment. It will also help students that have messy handwriting. The children nowadays have strong technological backgrounds, so it also may potentially increase comfort level and lower the intimidation and stress inextricably linked with large, important standardized tests.

To be honest, online testing scares me. Everything in our society is suddenly appearing online, from banking to credit cards to college applications to basic communications. I feel as though we have lost the genuine aspects of more personal human interaction. However, it’s important to realize that this is just a change. It’s just as people years ago must have worried about phones impairing connections and perhaps even longer ago that light bulbs might permanently promote artificiality over genuine simplicity and beauty. But the promotion of advancement makes for a stronger and better world. Change is a good thing. Online testing is a step in the right direction.

 

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