Monday, 7 September 2009

Web Apps For The Upcoming Academic Year

The new academic year is getting erringly close, so instructors like myself will be looking at new programs/applications to aid in the teaching process. Here are few of the apps that I plan on using for the academic year:
  1. Prezi: Sitting through slides can get boring. Prezi, the "zooming presentation editor" provides a different take on presentations. All of your ideas/information are present on a large whiteboard, and as you go through your presentation, the app zooms into the appropriate content (see video below). Editing is somewhat basic, but the zooming effect is extremely visually attractive.

  2. Screen Capture Videos: Last year I tried to instruct new programs to my students by step-by-step insturctions on a webpage or by taking a trip to the computer lab. This year I'm going to abandon the webpage idea because it is just so time consuming. Instead, I'm going to create screen-capture videos with Jing, a simple program that easily captures screen movements, allows narration, and easily uploads to YouTube. Once on YouTube, students can view the instructions from anywhere and even on their mobile.

  3. Google Docs: This won't be a new app, but I am will be taking advantage of the new features like Drawings and Tables, and the latest revamp of forms will allow me to collect information, anonymously, on student backgrounds and their input on my instructing. I've also created a whiteboard page (almost completed) where students, teaching assistants, or myself can post questions, comments, or useful material. Finally, I'll be getting my students to use the spreadsheet mapper tool.
I'm most excited about Prezi. I feel that it's going to change the way presentations are given, and I think the major players in office apps will create something similar. It's going to be a fun year!!