Category Archives: Reviews

Reviews on various products.

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.

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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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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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Open Study

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Open Study is an educational site which allows students around the world to help each other in studying on various topics from Biology to English.

How to Start:

Setup is very simple and an email address is the only necessary tool. Once you create a username and password and insert an email address you are taken to a page where you can select a subject such as the picture below. Overall there are more than 20 subjects in which to ask a question. Once you have clicked a subject you are brought to a page where questions can be asked or answered and the person who gets the highest answer vote receives special points.

How it helps:

Open Study has a simple design in which students can ask question whether it be for homework, clarification or studying. In addition    to ensure safety and respect there are moderators who monitor all the questions and their responses and in special cases remove people and their responses.

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GOFUNDME : modern fundraising

http://www.gofundme.com/mvc/css/images/press/gfm_logo_300dpi.jpg

GoFundMe is a crowd funding and donation site where people can fund raise for all types of reasons.

HOW IT WORKS:

GoFundMe’s website is simple to use. First the user creates an account where his/her address and personal information is asked but no credit card or papal account is needed to set up an account. Next the user states the reason for his or her fundraiser and the site allows pictures and descriptions to be posted. Once created the site asks to connect Facebook friends or to other social networking sites.

The fundraiser’s success is directly proportionate to the amount of people who know of the fundraiser. For example a fundraiser for a smart board which requires 1000 dollars to be made  will be much more effective if advertised on sites similar to Twitter where many people would have access to the donation page.

The site’s revenue comes from the donations the user receive as 5% goes to the site.

POSSIBLE  USES IN CLASSROOM:

GoFundMe can be used for many fundraising purposes from funding class trips to funding new equipment.

For example  College of St. John Fisher and Thomas More’s annual tuition fee is 5000 dollars a year and to keep the price low the must receive funding . Through GoFundMe the college has raised 295,663 in seven days and is receiving more each day.

Overall GoFundMe can help facilitate fundraising and allow new equipment to be bought for the classroom.

 

 

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Wolfram Alpha for Education

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Wolfram Alpha is a website that allows easy access to a large amount of information. It has facts, data, and can be used to solve mathematical equations. For example, I can ask Wolfram Alpha for the “population of the united states”. After this is interpreted, I receive a page full of data and statistics. This page may seem familiar if you have ever asked Siri on the iPhone for statistics, this is where Apple pulls that information from.

Screen Shot 2014-01-06 at 10.04.25 AM Continue reading

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Quizlet: An exciting way to learn

Quizlet is my hero. I have thrown away all my paper flash cards in exchange for this amazing studying tool. Whenever I have a test in any subject that requires memorization, I immediately turn to it. Honestly, I am not a firm believer in rote memorization as a form of education. But Quizlet is different and I always leave knowing my facts cold. The interface is clean and simple, the activities are engaging, and learning with Quizlet is, dare I say, fun!

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My favorite aspect of Quizlet is its versatility. Many falsely assume that flashcards are merely for english vocabulary words, but that is far from the truth. I use Quizlet for every class on my schedule. For an upcoming history test, I will make a set that asks me questions that require me to reply with facts and dates. For a chemistry exam, I will use pictures of bonds and ask myself to identify them. For a spanish quiz, I will use the Speller activity to say the spanish word aloud in the correct pronunciation before I spell it correctly. Quizlet ingrains everything and anything I want into my mind.

Entering in the words and definitions becomes my first form of studying, as it forces me to type out what I need to know. After data entry, I can pick between a wide variety of learning activities, from a fast-paced space-race or scatter game to a slower-paced (but no less engaging) test or Speller.

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School Education Tools

The tool that will probably be the most used in the future will be Google Drive. Google Drive is a free-to-use file storage for almost any type of document you want and unlike microsoft word, which you have to pay to access, Google Drive is instantly saved on cloud. Not only you can access your files from anywhere you want, you can share with other people. Meaning if you’re a teacher, you can post assignments for all the students to see you can show grades to individual students.

It is also very beneficial for the student because for example if you are doing a project on a powerpoint with your partner, you guys can work on it at the same time. Since it instantly saves on cloud the minute you edit things will be saved so you and your partner can work on it side by side and be in different locations. Teachers can also take attendance of students or even make a checklist of anything you own that students want to borrow. Not only you can share files, you can also share videos to show the students/teachers. In conclusion, Google Drive is the best tool for sharing.

 

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A Revolutionary Resolution…..8K (approx. 1920x1080x8)

With a new year comes new technology and NHK is nothing short but has created the first broadcast camera with a resolution of 8K. What is 8K? Take your standard HD TV. The resolution is the amount of pixels times an amount of pixels. In other words, the X axis or length times the Y axis or height. So 1920 x 1080 is the resolution of your HD TV. By the way remember, 1920×1080 = 2,073,600 pixels. Now, lets multiply that by 8 to get 8K. 1920x1080x4 = 16,588,800. Why capture in 8K? When you take 8K video and down convert it to 1080P, everything becomes much sharper. The unfortunate truth is that 8K cannot really be used in broadcast. As of right now, everything is broadcasted in 720P and is up-converted to 1080P. All a 4K or 8K TV would do is replicate pixels to create a larger display scale. Eventually I will be able to talk more about the 8K camera but the actual specifications have not been released yet. What we do know is that it has HD-SDI out for external recorders.

The NHK 8K Compact Camera

Adam Halperin, Nerd Herd Agent

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Khan Academy: The Future of Education

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Clad in pajamas, Salman Khan has changed the world of education with a laptop and a cheap microphone. He created a series of videos on a simple YouTube channel that evolved into thousands of captivating lessons on a dynamic website. Khan has established Khan Academy: an organization that has evolved into the future of schooling.

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