I wish that I knew the word for hodgepodge in cyberspeak because that would make a good title for this blog. I have been reading the blogs of several members of the EDUC 685 club and can relate to those who are saying that they read, read, and read and still can’t seem to find much to say. Many times, by the time I finish reading others’ blogs or articles someone has already posted on the matter and I don’t have anything new to add.
However, in keeping with the advice of Kimberly’s mother who told her to “quit your crying about it and get to work” and a plaque that hangs on my kitchen wall with the words “Thou Shalt Not Whine” painted on it, I am pressing onward (wordpressing, that is).
Couple of comments:
I appreciate the blog from Traci about the bookmarklet. I am not having any luck with it, but I’m going to keep trying.
In a blog from the madscientist, I read about his wish for every student in the U.S. to have laptops and that the government should provide them. I’m two-headed about this issue. The first time that I watched Shift Happens, I had something of a knee-jerk reaction to the information that laptops are being sent to children in underdeveloped countries. I thought to myself that there are students in the U.S. who could benefit from new laptops as well as those in our country. But, after some consideration and observation of the ways that students treat textbooks, I had a change of heart and mind. Many students lose books and/or throw them around like they are something bound for the wastecan. Nearly just as many more don’t even bother bringing their books to class on a daily basis. I don’t forsee these same students treating laptops much differently once the “new wears off”, as the old-timers say. No, I think parents, caregivers, or the students themselves should be responsible for at least a part of the cost. In many countries of the world, books are not issued in the indiscriminate manner as is routine in most public schools in the U.S. In fact, a large number of students in other countries are required to buy their books. (I could comment here on how inflated the cost of textbooks are in this country versus others, but I will save that for another time.)
I am on the verge of advocating the same policy here, but I do realize that some children would not get books and that would be bad. In much the same way, I think it is bad that children in other countries don’t have access to a free public education. We are talking about quality of life for a human being and the society of all human beings.
I do agree with this statement from the madscientist, “…, technology is not a magic bullet but it can be used as a powerful tool to narrow the achievement gap that our students are experiencing.” It seems that we are on the cusp of a monumental evolution in the way teachers and students learn.
Also, I found a good article from OlDaily <http://www.liveslick.com/2007/09/top-10-freeware-software-nobody-knows.html> about ten free software downloads. I’m usually suspicious of free downloads because I fear they will wreck my computer. Nevertheless, sometimes I nurture my adventurous side and take advantage of a few freebies. Three that I found particularly interesting on this site are Blender, ImgBurn, and AutoHotkey. A link from this site led to 30 other free downloads, two of which I immediately clicked on, Anim8or and FastStone Image Viewer. These programs each have different system requirements, but most need at least Windows 98. Some are Windows 95 compatible.
Blender is a 3D content creation website that promises to help one generate “graphics that will amaze anyone” similar to the CGI movies that Pixar makes.
ImgBurn allows users to record CD/DVD images.
The nice thing about AutoHotkey is that it can be used to customize shortcuts.
Anim8or is just like it sounds – it is a 3D modeling and animation program.
FastStone Image Viewer is an image viewing application that features image editing tools like Adobe Photoshop.
Some of the tools that I found on this site and its links look like business tools. It is worth the wade through all of them. I highlighted a few that looked like fun. Describing all of them would have been tedious and then there would be no reason to visit the site. I think there is something for everyone here.
Whenever I visit sites that have programs with such wide-ranging possibilities, and free ones at that, I wonder where I have been and why I didn’t know about them sooner. Then I think – what else is out there?