Posts Tagged ‘Cloud Computing’

PostHeaderIcon Sliderocket

Cloud computing is great when working with students.  Students can access their information from anywhere and the need for flash drives becomes antiquated.  Flash drives do have their uses but working in a library with computers, students are forever forgetting everything from their flash drives to their sweatshirts.    Anything to give students less things to remember is awesome.

Sliderocket is a nice web 2.0 tool that has nearly the functionality of powerpoint and keynote (it reminds me more of keynote than powerpoint in terms of finishing and professional looking product).  It has a lot of flexibility.  Sadly, you must pay for the product to export.  However, I easily did printscreens of each slide and that worked for printing for a board presentation that required paper-based.  I know I have discussed Sliderocket before, but their iOS app has me quite excited.  I was actually able to have my presentation on the iPad while I was presenting.  This was very helpful.  The app is only a viewer rather than being able to edit.

Below I have embedded the board presentation so you can see the type of product one can create from Sliderocket.  Keep in mind you can include video as well but it was not needed for mine.

PostHeaderIcon Death to Powerpoint

There are many presentation options in the cloud.  Powerpoint is not always the best choice when creating a presentation.  Depending on where the presentation will be shared and presented, I have found better options.  Cloud computing is helpful when you do not know where you will be presenting or if the machine you will use is a mac or pc.  However, keep in mind if the location you are presenting does not have internet access cloud options are not ideal.  Keep in mind the criteria Sliderocket writes about in their blog.

SlideRocket

Pros:   This option reminds me of keynote in its end product.  The graphics and functionality are seamless and professional.  I really liked the user interface for editing and adding content.  You can easily embed any presentation into your website.  You can also export the presentation as a PDF (But you must be in presentation mode in order to do this).  Adding charts, media, and forms/polls is easy and integrated.  There are a lot of cool effects that you can use during the presentation.  Not to mention the ability to create your own theme.  It also allows you to add music to your slides that will auto play.

Cons:  You have to purchase a subscription to export your presentation as an editable presentation.  Flash-based utility (no iOS)

Prezi

Pros:  Easy embedding into any site.  Also easy import of YouTube videos by merely pasting in the URL for the video.  I really like Prezi for an interest catcher.

Cons:  It is easy to overuse the zooming effects and some listeners to your presentations might become motion sick.  Be careful when using the zoom feature.  Limited background but this can be remedied with importing images.  It is flash-based so viewing on iDevices is out.  Hopefully they will come up with a HTML5 version soon.

280 Slides

Pros:  Very easy to use and embedding, downloading, and sharing of all kinds is easy to use.  One does not have to create an account which is nice in a school (but you cannot save to the site without a login).  The site is free and exporting in Powerpoint 2007 is very easy to do.  The user can import media and pictures.

Cons:  The user is very limited in terms of backgrounds.  Although you can import a picture as a background this is not as convenient as creating a theme.  This is a very stripped down version of powerpoint.  Flash-based utility (no iOS)

Slidestaxx 

Pros:  Very easy to use, however, it is a unique presentation tool.  Instead of creating slides from original data, this product takes pictures, audio, video, and urls located online to create a stack of information.  An interesting idea and a new way to think about presentations.  The embed code is listed on the website and it can easily be posted to twitter and Facebook.

Cons:  If the data required is not online,  this solution would not be ideal.

Google Docs Presentation

Pros:  User friendly and connected to the users Google Account.  Another login is not necessary.  Product functions very similar to powerpoint.  Adding speaker’s notes is easy and any presentation can be shared and collaborated on in realtime.  Exporting can be accomplished from a PDF, text, and Powerpoint file.  Importing media and pictures is clear and understandable.

Cons:  Limited amount of fonts to choose from.  There are no layouts to choose from.  Objects cannot be rotated.

 

 

 

 

 

PostHeaderIcon JayCut — Green Screen on a Budget

I was lucky enough to attend a Discovery Education Network day long workshop.  It was great and I met some awesome people.  It was held at a local high school.  At that workshop, I really learned a lot more about a program that I had been experimenting with: Jaycut.com which is a good solution for those people who do not want to shell out mega bucks for Adobe Premiere.  Not to mention, students will not have Adobe Premiere at home.  So this is a good solution!

Jaycut is a video editing program and so much more.  Jaycut makes the green screen process so easy an elementary school student can do it!  Chromakey is a fabulous technology that really opens the doors for creativity and innovation.  It is easy to use and requires very little explanation.

But then you say, I do not have a green screen.  Well, creating a green screen is so easy.  You can use paint, fabric, or even a shower curtain.  The only requirement is that it is not a color that your students tend to wear (unless you require subjects lacking a body in your movies).  That is why neon green tends to work well.  I went to Joann Fabrics and was able to get 4 yards of green fabric for $10.00.  I like the fabric because I can then move it anywhere.  Nothing like a portable green screen.  You never know where you will need a green screen and I like flexibility.

  1. First you must create an account, which is free.
  2. Next, you need to record your green screen video and acquire your background video.
  3. Video A = your green screen video (upload your video or record with a webcam)
  4. Video B = your background video (whatever will run where the green background is located)
  5. You can delete audio from either video and add your own under Audio effects (which comes up when you select the video)
  6. Green Screen — select your Video A and go to Effects (enable Chroma Key), select the dropper and select the green in the video box to the right. 
  7. Then click preview mode, please note if you only click the play button it will not work.
  8. Publish/Download movie and you are done!

Let me know how you like the site!  I plan to use it for our video announcements and any number of video-making projects.  If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to let me know.  Happy Videomaking.

PostHeaderIcon Cloud Music by Google

Music Beta by Google has been a rumor for quite a while.  Music Beta being a cloud solution for your music needs.  The user uploads their music collection to Music Beta and it is then accessible anywhere via mobile/computer.  The inability to access one’s music collection remotely has been an annoyance to me.  When I set up my iPod, it is easy to leave out that song or book or video you wanted to listen to.

You can create playlists and the user never runs out of space.  Creating playlists is easy to do and you can even use Instant Mix to have Google create one for you.  You can upload music to one account across many computers and setup the site to upload automatically any new music uploaded to any of the computers.  I am not yet clear as to if you have to keep a digital copy of the song on your own computer.  It would seem that you would have to keep a copy on one of the computers tied to the Music Beta account.

Our world is quickly transitioning into the cloud.  I use Google Docs and a host of other cloud sites to store bookmarks to presentations.  The ability to get access to items remotely is a definite allure.  Not to mention the addition of Google Apps for Education which my district is using.

According to Google:

Listen anywhere, even offline.

You can get to your personal music collection at home or on the go. Listen from the web or any enabled device with the Music app available from Android Market. Not online? No problem. The songs you’ve recently played will automatically be available offline. You can also select the specific albums, artists and playlists you want to have available when you’re not connected.

Stay in sync, without the hassle.

Spend more time listening to your music and less time managing it. Once your music is online, it’s always available. Playlists are automatically kept in sync, and you don’t have to worry about cables, file transfers, or running out of storage space.

Keep in mind that currently the product is by invitation only and free for a limited time.  Also, Amazon has created a similar product.

 

PostHeaderIcon Google Docs Update

Google has recently updated their list of filetypes viewable in Google Docs.  This is quite exciting as computers are becoming much more like portals and we might not have the same resources on each computer.  You can now view the file types in Google Docs (without the need to download from attachments in gmail):

  • Microsoft Excel (.XLS and .XLSX)
  • Microsoft PowerPoint 2007 / 2010 (.PPTX)
  • Apple Pages (.PAGES)
  • Adobe Illustrator (.AI)
  • Adobe Photoshop (.PSD)
  • Autodesk AutoCad (.DXF)
  • Scalable Vector Graphics (.SVG)
  • PostScript (.EPS, .PS)
  • TrueType (.TTF)
  • XML Paper Specification (.XPS)

“Not only does this round out support for the major Microsoft Office file types (we now support DOC, DOCX, PPT, PPTX, XLS and XLSX), but it also adds quick viewing capabilities for many of the most popular and highly-requested document and image types.  In Gmail, these types of attachments will now show a “View” link, and clicking on this link will bring up the Google Docs Viewer (GoogleDocs Blog).”

Voki
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