Using technology to make your life easier!
The folks at Webdesigner Depot have posted 50 Great Examples of Data Visualization. These tools enable one to view large amounts of data in a visual spacial fashion that helps to reveal patters, trends and groups that are not easily observed in the traditional format. Unfortunately, this site lists 50 tools and while I have used several, but not all, I cannot make a recommendation on which tools is the best. Furthermore, the tool you choose or will need will also depend on the type of data that you need to view.
Being able to present data in a visual spacial format will help most, if not all, learners get better grasp of what the data can reveal.
My last article focused on the compression side of image editors (Dwayne also threw a good tool in one of his posts) and I tried to focus on the easiest to use options for that specific purpose. While writing that article I felt that I needed to focus on image editors that act more like a full featured photo and image manipulation program like Photoshop. So here is a list of a few online editors in order of what I would be most likely to use.
online painting/photo manipulation program. One of the most robust in its field with a focus on illustration and painting. It’s editing features are in the top of the online field and my choice as the best of the best.
A stripped down photoshop that is all online and free (limited). If you create an account you will get access to a few more options and it still remains free. It’s focus is on photo manipulation in a basic way.
Online image editor that works really well but could be considered on the difficult side if you have never worked with image editors before. It also boasts easy sharing to popular picture sharing sites like flickr, facebook, and picasa. No registration is required to start drawing but to really draw the power of it you should sign up.
Online image editor that works really well and is very easy. No registration is required to start editing but to fully realize the application requires a paid registration. This one has the most fun filters of them all but lacks some of the other features that make the others really great.
Synfig is an open source vector animation application very much like Flash. It works on a PC but not Mac as of now and will be a very difficult program to get into for novice and pro alike.
Pencil has no image manipulation or fancy filters, its purpose is for frame by frame animation. It’s very old school but still a very fun, easy application and gives you instant gratification.
How can you use these applications for education?
What are your ideas for useful ways these types of applications can be used in education?
Visuwords™ is an online graphical dictionary where you can look up words to find their meanings and associations with other words and concepts. The tool enables you to produce diagrams and learn how words associate.
Because Visuword functions like both a dictionary and thesaurus it is ideal for writers, journalists, students, teachers or anyone else who has an interest in words.
Photoface allows you to upload an image of your face (or someone elses–assuming you have permission) and then modify that image by changing the age, weight, caricature and emotion. The instructions are built right into the site–the most challenging part may simply be the uploading of your image.
While I don’t really see any pure academic or educational purposes for the site I still want to recommend the site for its pure entertainment value.
I copied the following How to use it instructions directly from the Photo Resizer 3.5 site:
In addition to editing the name of the image you can adjust the pixel size and compression, sharpen the image and much more. Whether you are resizing 1 or 100 (or more images) this FREE tool makes the job quick and easy.
One of the advantages of Web 2.0 is that there are hundreds or thousands of tools, sites, mashups being developed for a myriad of uses. This presents a significant challenge–how do you find the right to for the right job. Sites the like Mashable are my first stop when looking for specific Web 2.0 tools but as excellent as Mashable is, I often find myself looking for a tool that is just a little bit more or is better at…, and fall back to a Google search entry like “Compfight vs” to see what reviews have been written on a particular app or site and more specifically to search out similar tools and explore my options.
This is where Listio comes in and makes my search for the perfect tool much easier. Listio is a community directory of Web 2.0 tools, sites and services. The site allows you to browse Web 2.0 apps by their tags, search existing and new Web 2.0 apps and read and write reviews. Perhaps the most useful aspects of the site is the list of related applications which can be accessed from an application review page.
This feature has made my life much easier by giving me the option of viewing a wide selection of applications that are similar to the one that I may currently be testing or reviewing.
Jing is one of the easiest tools to use to create screen captures and record and add voice overs to any onscreen activity. One can easily share what they have captured or recorded over the web, via IM or email.
The program works on both Windows XP/Vista and the Mac OSX. The free version offers all the features of the Pro – the Pro version just makes it even easier to share your videos at a higher resolution and allows you to export to the .mp4 format which enables you to edit the video in any video editing tool. Jing is made by TechSmith, the same folks who make Camtasia, and the videos are shared through screencast.com.
Up until recently I have only used the free version but decided to upgrade ($14.95 US) to get access to the higher quality video and the ability to export to .mp4. The following is an example of the video capture I created in just a few minutes:
Setting up Google Forwarding – View in “Full Size” for best quality
A few educational applications for this tool would include:
There isn’t much to Wordle it just does what it does very well and that is create word clouds from text that you input. If you have never experienced a word cloud then you are missing out, the more often a word shows up in a chunk of text the larger it appears in the cloud (see the example below). There is no signup required although it helps with a few things. You have a fair amount of control over the word cloud by being able to change the font, layout, colour and all the usual visual treatments.
So how can this benefit education?
That’s all I got so help me out and give me some ideas of great ways to use this free service.