Category Archives: Web Design

What is Study-English-Online.Net?

Teachers’ Digital Toolkit

International online learning projects for students

ThinkQuest

Online tools for resource creation

Animoto Create videos from images

Benettonplay Create stunning animations

Classtools.net Create educational games

Gliffy Create floor plans, flowcharts and 3D diagrams

Glogster EDU Create interactive multimedia posters

Kerpoof Create movies and stories

Mixbook Create a page turning e-book

Myebook Create an e-book

PoducateMe Exe files How to create a podcast

Power League Create an online debate

Prezi A zooming presentation tool

Scratch Join up and download programming software to create digital learning objects

Sketchcast Embed evolving sketches into your blog

SketchUp Create, modify and share 3D models

Storybird Collaborative storytelling

Storyjumper Create a page turning e-book

Technology tips and cybersafety

Timetoast Create a free online timeline

Voice Thread Hold an online conversation about an image

Voki Create a personalised speaking avatar

Wordle Create word clouds to summarise main concepts of a unit for students

Source/Courtesy – UNSW

Three Generations of Distance Learning Pedagogy

Three Generations of Distance Learning Pedagogy

1. Cognitive Behaviourism

2. Constructivism

3. Connectivism

Educational Technology – Web-Resources: Theory & Tools

THEORY

Emerging Perspectives on Learning, Teaching & Technology

TOOLS

Mootools

Javascript Thumbnail Viewer

DimDim – A Web-Conferencing Solution

More about Moodle
http://www.humboldt.edu/~jdv1/moodle/all.htm

A code from answers.com which allows you to gloss an entire text.

Currently used on the NY Times website, Available at:

http://www.answers.com/main/answertips.jsp

A Multimedia Resource for Language Learning

I have been racking my brains over the past few weeks in vain. I am incapable of thinking of a proper topic myself and that prevents me from starting work on the assignment which reads as follows

This assignment consists of two interrelated parts:

A multimedia resource for language learning for classroom or self-access use.

An accompanying rationale.

A multimedia resource

You should create a working piece of courseware that reflects the aims, objectives and learning outcomes outlined in your rationale and reflects good practice in both TESOL and the use of multimedia in language learning. This may be produced using any web authoring tool (although the expectation is that you use the WordPress CMS), and will include links to other media (audio or video, for example) and applications such as Hot Potatoes.

The resource does not need to be long or complex. It should, however, be coherent and it must work. For example, you could exploit a piece of listening or reading material with a relevant task or sequence of tasks providing practice on a specific grammar point. It can also be a piece of teacher education material. It may represent part of a larger package, but it should not simply consist of a sequence of tasks produced using authoring software. This multimedia resource should clearly reflect the issues discussed in the rationale.

So far a number of ideas have been put forward by some of my friends and acquaintances, but I can’t make up my mind.  I have contemplated

  • creating a set of interactive grammar quizzes to practise a particular language point (I mean there are thousands of interactive quizzes out there already, I have to create something really unusual)
  • designing a multimedia resource for very young learners, e.g. a picture dictionary with tasks (this one sounds OK-ish, I just need to get myself a proper digicam and learn photography – easier said than done. Plus where should I get the audio? I am not a professional anchor after all. )
  • devising a few topic-based units of sequenced tasks for a certain level or exam purposes (well, that’s sort of stretching and there are copyright issues as usual. Just can’t think of a place to get all those texts, pics and audio for free. So thats’ all about becoming a digital coursebook writer at the end of the day and I find it daunting, because this is LOADS of unpaid work)

I wish I could paint and draw, sing and act. I wish I were a prolific writer and could write engrossing stories and articles exceptionally well.

Web 2.0 Synonyms & Opposites

The opposite of hyperlinking is RSS aka really simple syndication.

Users find content on the web and hyperlink to it . The opposite is subscribing to syndicated content aka RSS feeds.

RSS readers are also known as aggregators.

Metadata or metatags

  • are usually embedded in website code,
  • are not visible to the eye,
  • are added by website content managers,
  • are arranged by taxonomies,
  • are structured hierarchically, and
  • are meant for search engines.

The opposite of a metatag is a regular tag.

Tags

  • are words that authors such as bloggers select and attach to the content they create,
  • are meant for humans,
  • are arranged by folksonomies,
  • are logical in the sense that they convey meaning about the content, and
  • are often arranged into tag concept groups called tag clouds, which show how the terms relate to one another.

Hyperlinking & tagging can both be considered e-learning activities as they impact student learning, whereas RSS feeds are rather materials that can be part of an e-course.

Digital Storytelling

A digital story is a personal experience represented in narrative format. The script is amplified by including video, music, still-frame imagery, and the author’s voice. A digital story typically lasts for two to three minutes. Web 2.0: New Tools, New Schools p. 43

It must take ages to create such a story, but the idea is interesting anyways. I imagine the teacher has to provide a lot of scaffolding to make sure that it is about learning English rather than having fun with technology. The learner should also have a story to tell in the first place. If you have nothing to say, your story will be a flop.  Songs and stories have one important thing in common – they have to have a real message to be a success.

Here is a wonderful example of a digital story

Reading From a Computer Display

Have got a copy of Eleanor L. Criswell’s Design of Computer-Based Instruction at last. Here are some important although slightly dated stats

People read about 25 per cent faster from text pages than they do from computer displays (Gould et al, 1987, cited by E.L. Criswell 1989, p. 83)

In the late 1980s that might have been the case, but now the computer display has evolved and the stats are not that reliable.

The following are likely to increase reading speed from a computer display

  • using high-quality images
  • using paperlike fonts
  • screen lightning being brighter than the room lightning (can be achieved by either keeping screen contrast very high and adjusting brightness as necessary, or reducing room brightness)
  • the eye being unable to detect any flicker in the screen
  • the screen being located and designed for minimal head and eye movement
  • viewing the screen from a distance of about 16 inches/40 centimetres
  • viewing the screen at a 90-degree angle

Well, it is obvious that not everyone is likely to follow the guidelines above now that there are laptops around and many users surf the Net lying reclined on the sofa or in a similar e-reading unfriendly position.  That in its turn means that larger amounts of text should be made available for printing off when e-courseware development is concerned and time is an issue.

To SEO or Not to SEO? Are blogs really doomed?

Bought a copy of issue 183 of the Practical Web Design Magazine after work today and flicked through it on the bus home. It’s very interesting indeed to see that there are as many suppoters of SEO as there are opponents to it. It’s actually the first time I’ve heard about someone who has gone as far as to create his own human-powered search engine that won’t give SEO tricks and hacks a damn, and the person I have in mind is Jason Calacanis, the founder of the Mahalo search engine. The interview with him is quite thought-provoking as it makes you think strategically, long-term. If what he claims is true, the prospects are bleak really. According to him, the blogosphere is at a crossroads and is highly likely to collapse on itself because the majority of blogs are about marketing, promotion and link-baiting, and not about authentic conversations. Who knows, he migt well be right. On second thought, I believe it is necessary to account for mushrooming affordances and extras that today’s blogging tools have on offer. A blog in 2009 to one in 2005 is like a jet plane to a horse cart.

Web Usability

That’s the term I’ve been looking for ever since I started toying with the front page of my website.  I initially thought that it was navigation that I had to address, whilst now it is clear that it is web usability, or rather ways of designing it. Unfortunately, I am no artist, which means that I have to adopt the engineering ideal of website design at the expense of the artistic ideal of expressing myself.

J. Nelson’s advice seems to be very sound, although the book is ancient in www terms.  I wonder whether I should get a copy of S. Krug’s text, too – the amazon reviews are more than positive.

It might seem that what these two authors talk about is self-evident and you do not really have to be explicitly told that, and yet I do manage to look at what I have created so far differently after having read their insightful comments.  For example, I have only recently realized that as a web designer you actually cater for several different audiences as opposed to a homogeneous group of users. It only seems obvious when you know it – when you haven’t verbalized this idea, it is unlikely you will take account of it. For example, when I think about my own website, this is what the situation is like, and that is just the tip of the iceberg. Those who visit the site can be classed into bots and people. The two groups can be further subdivided into

  • search engine bots (! that’s a good reason to learn more about SEO)
  • spam bots (! and that’s the reason to worry about security issues)
  • myself (! after all, what’s the point of keeping this thing up unless I can get around easily?)
  • family & close friends
  • chance acquaintances
  • former colleagues
  • people I work with now
  • EFL/ESL teachers I am personally acquainted with
  • EFL/ESL teachers I am not personally acquainted with
  • former students
  • current students
  • former classmates & coursemates
  • current coursemates
  • people I don’t know and who are just browsing
  • prospects who are actively searching for an EFL/ESL teacher
  • non-native English speakers that are fluent in English
  • non-native English speakers that can speak some English
  • non-native English speakers that cannot speak English at all
  • native English speakers
  • adults
  • children
  • males
  • females
  • healthy people
  • people with disabilities
  • nice people
  • freaks & idiots
  • experienced Internet-users
  • inexperienced web surfers
  • people who have broadband Internet
  • dial-up victims
  • etc

The list is not complete, but the point is that I have to define my priorities:

  • it is impossible to make everybody happy – tastes differ
  • it is unnecessary(!) to please everyone at all times
  • it is immature to expect unanimous support or encouragement
  • it is inevitable that someone will plagiarize something sooner or later
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