Tuesday, September 8, 2009

International Literacy Day

September 8th has been designated by UNESCO as International Literacy Day. Do you part with an easy start: for every click on the orange box on The Literacy Site, site sponsors make a small donation to support literacy efforts, including First Book in the U.S., and Room to Read in developing countries. All you have to do is click!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Pandemic Pupils: Resources for Instructors

Like most campuses we’re bracing for H1N1, with daily messages about pandemic contingency plans. I’ve been looking through my favorite online resources for things that could also be handy in the unlikely event we have to cancel in-person classes for a few weeks and switch to virtual classroom instruction. Here’s a rundown of my faves — all free!:

Group Chat – chatrooms to hold small class discussions
URL-based, “disposable” (temporary) chatrooms
* Tiny Chat: http://tinychat.com/
* Disposable Chat: http://www.disposablechat.com/
URL or embeddable
* Chatroll: http://chatroll.com/
* Parachat: http://www.parachat.com/basic/

Instant Message
– IM for office hours in real time
* Yahoo!Messenger (desktop app, but also has a web-based option; and an embeddable Pingbox): http://messenger.yahoo.com/
* AIM (desktop app, but also has a web-based option): http://www.aim.com
* GoogleTalk (desktop app, or talk within Gmail page): http://www.google.com/talk/
* Meebo (web-based, embeddable): http://www.meebo.com

Other – to create short presentations or mini-lectures
* Video screencast: Jing http://www.jingproject.com/
* Audio recording and editing: Audacity http://audacity.sourceforge.net/
* Video hosting: TeacherTube: http://www.teachertube.com/

* Sharable online documents, spreadsheets, presentations: GoogleDocs http://docs.google.com/
* And of course a class blog, right here on Blogspot!: http://www.blogger.com

If anyone else has resources for online classes or ideas for creative ways to keep some semblance of school going in the unlikely event we can't go to campus, please don’t hesitate to share in the comments!