turning stones

taking for a spin: tools for The Five 8s

Send an email to the future you

FutureMe lets you send email messages to yourself at a specified date in the future. Send an email and receive it 30 days or even 30 years from today. It’s an email time capsule where you can write yourself anything you like. It may contain what you are currently feeling, your fears, your aspirations, your rants. And then you get to read them months, even years from now. I am sure you will find some value in that.

Even if FutureMe has been in existence for quite some time(almost 1.3 Million emails sent to the future), I just found out about it recently. I actually forgot all about it already when I received the email I sent to 2 months back to test how it worked. For me, it is like a time capsule which serves as a reminder, not only of the things pertaining to the present, but also of the past. And like a time machine, which brought me back 2 months ago and the prevailing conditions then. Now I’m wondering how it would feel to get an email from myself 1, 5, 10 or 20 years from now.

There is an option where you may make your letter anonymously ‘open’, meaning other people can read what you wrote or to keep it private.

Students may email and tell themselves their objectives and expectations of a certain course. It may be a good exercise of reflection. Click here to send your future you an email.

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Featured Video: The Year in Google Searches – Zeitgeist 2010: Year in Review


Image via Wikipedia

See how the World Searched with Google’s 2010 Zeitgeist: http://google.com/zeitgeist2010

Re-live top events and moments from 2010 from around the globe through search, images, and video.

Music: GoodLife by OneRepublic
Produced by Whirled Creative

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Featured Video of the Week: Hans Rosling’s 200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes – The Joy of Stats – BBC Four

Hans Rosling‘s famous lectures combine enormous quantities of public data with a sport’s commentator’s style to reveal the story of the world’s past, present and future development. Now he explores stats in a way he has never done before – using augmented reality animation. In this spectacular section of ‘The Joy of Stats’ he tells the story of the world in 200 countries over 200 years using 120,000 numbers – in just four minutes. Plotting life expectancy against income for every country since 1810, Hans shows how the world we live in is radically different from the world most of us imagine.

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Chop that YouTube Video

Image representing TubeChop as depicted in Cru...

Image via CrunchBase

Let’s say I am a Football coach and I wanted to show my team a particular highlight of the recent Philippine Azkals’ unprecedented win over defending champion Vietnam in the current Asian Football Federation Suzuki Cup 2010. I search for videos of the game in YouTube and I find this which is 6:31 minutes long. However the part I wanted to show my team is just the Philippines’ second goal by Phil Younghusband. And it’s only 27 seconds long. What could be the simple and easy way for me to do that?

Enter TubeChop, a site where you can paste the URL of the original video you found, and chop it so you can have just the particular footage you need. Just slide the left and right black bars to contain the particular footage you want to use, then click the ‘chop it’ button. In no time at all, it’ll give you a new URL for your shortened video. You can visit tubechop.com, paste in the new URL and it’ll play your chopped video. Also, TubeChop gives you an embed code which you can use for your website or blog.

Click here to view my 27-second ‘chopped’ video.


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Create your own Jeopardy Games

Everyone is familiar with the popular TV game show Jeopardy. Some teachers have actually made their own Jeopardy games using presentation software and their students loved it. What teachers did was to download a Jeopardy-themed Powerpoint template and created and run their games via Powerpoint.

Now you can be Alex Trebek without needing to devise a Jeopardy game on Powerpoint. Visit JeopardyLabs to easily create games without the need for software installation, no registration required and it’s free to use. Just nominate a password for your template, generate your answers/questions, save it and remember the URL JeopardyLabs assigns to your game.

To play, you can just go to the assigned URL and start earning points. You may enter up to 12 individuals/teams. At the bottom of the Jeopardy board is where the scores of the teams/individuals are. Just click the +/- signs to add/subtract points just like how the game is played on TV.

This is a great review activity for your classes. You may even ask students to make their own Jeopardy games based on your lessons.

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Citrify – Free web-based photo editor

Easy and fun to use, Citrify is online photo editor to enhance your personal photos.

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Alternative Software & Applications

There are multiples of applications and software out there that are very useful for our daily lives. As a teacher, as a student, as a learner in the 21st century, we rely heavily on these tools. From full suites to individual applications, to get our message across, to fine tune that poster, to edit that short film, etc. Most of these software are proprietary and do not come cheap, especially when you come from a developing country in Asia. How many times have we almost succumbed(or actually succumbed) into buying pirated software especially when they are openly available in flea markets? Or search for cracks from illegal internet sources? And always our reasoning is that genuine software is so expensive. There is no denying that they are. That is why our school has gone open source.

We know that there are cheaper, or even free, alternative tools and applications that are available and sometimes it is just a matter of finding the right software to suit your needs. You may do a search but AlternativeTo makes it easy for you to sift through categories with a long list of untested/unreviewed software. Whether for your computer or mobile phone, AlternativeTo can help you find just what you need. Software and applications are listed based on users recommendations so that you are assured that these substitutes or replacements have been tested and vouched for by users.

Chances are, whatever software or applications you find may be as powerful and as easy to use as the proprietary ones. When you sign up, you are also invited to participate in recommending and submit applications that you like. Go find what you need now!

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Protect Windows – Free Downloads

For Windows users out there, here is a site where you can download free home edition software for your systems(2000, 2003, 2008, XP, Vista, Windows 7). Resplendence specializes in advanced tools for Microsoft Windows to manage the registry, enable file protection, malware detection, recovery from crashes and system monitoring. Professional editions can also be downloaded for a fee. Get them here.

Anyone for a Qwiki?

When I first saw Qwiki(pronounced quickie) in a Twitter feed a few days ago, I didn’t mind it as there were(I thought) more interesting items at that time; more interesting and cool tools to learn about tweeted by renowned professionals in the EdTech field. Then yesterday I was sidelined by a fever and had to beg off from a Saturday afternoon commitment in school. It was late Friday night in the US and the Twitter feed was sluggish. So I found Qwiki again via Lazyscope and was attracted by the page. Visiting it, I found that Qwiki is in Alpha and you get to try it out only if you get invited. So I entered my email address and requested for an invitation. I received a confirmation email and was told to wait for login credentials to be able to play around with the site. I received the certification today after about 24 hours.

It has been 3 hours since I first visited the site and I’m still on it liking what I’m seeing… and hearing. It is Wikipedia come to life via text-to-speech and slide presentations. Qwiki’s pitch: The Information Experience… You just don’t get information on a page to read, you experience it via images and audio.

It’s a good source to find out about places, people, events and things. Since it is still in Alpha, feedback is solicited and it is still hopeful that more can be done with it. At the moment, there are 2 million individual entries on their database. It’s integration with Google Maps and presenting timelines when there are dates involved are definitely pluses. And it suggests Qwikis related to your subject.

It’s far from perfect but having images moving around in sync with text-to-speech is indeed an experience. Be one of the first to try it out. The Alpha release is only on it’s 20th day today. Request for an invite here.

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Direct your own animated movie


Image by Montreal Tech Watch via Flickr

Xtranormal has been around for quite some time and many have enjoyed creating movies online and publishing them. A number of teachers have used them for various class activities. All one needs to do is sign up for a free account and continue on to make movies. It’s pretty easy to use. Just add elements like actors, script, animation, expression, camera angle, scene and music. After it renders, you can view and publish your movie, share it on YouTube or Vimeo, in Facebook or other networks as well as embed it on your site. Visit Xtranormal here.

Here’s a quick movie I created in under 4 minutes.

Thank you to Lee Kolbert for reminding me about this Web 2.0 text-to-movie tool.

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