Wednesday, December 28, 2011

2011 - Web of the Week Countdown

Here they are in no Particluar order:

  1. Climate Science

  2. Web Rangers

  3. Online Web Building Tools

  4. DemoSlam

Which were your favorites?  what site do you find yourself going back to again and again? What kinds of sites would you like to learn about and know about.  Leave your comments and let us know.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

2011 – Tech Tip Countdown

Here's my list of 2011 Top Tech Tips in no particluar order

  1. Get ready for Summer:

  2. Use your camera/phone as a scanner:

  3. Create a portfolio:

What were your favorit tech tips you have used this year?  What would you like more of on the blog.  Leave your comments to let us know.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wednesday Web of the Week: Norad Santa

Web Address:

If you are interested in a fun and clever way to keep in the holiday spirit.  Try tracking Santa on Google Maps.

You can also SendACallfromSanta here:

Next Week a CountDown of top sites for 2011.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tech Tip Tuesday: Go for a Drive

There are lots of amazing tools out there to help you drive on the road, but what if you can't afford to take that big trip this year?  Well, here is what some students did.

So, to do this yourself,  you can enter in your destinations in GoogleMaps then click on the 3d button.  It's a new button and easily overlooked.

And for even more online driving fun try:

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Wednesday Web of the Week: Read, Write, Think!

One of UEN's partners is Thinkfinity is provided by the Verizon foundation. Thinkfinity provides a single point to search 8 different partner sites for activities, lesson plans, and interactive websites.  One of the great ones for this month is Beyond the Story: A Dickens of a Party.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Tech Tip Tuesday: Teach with iPods

TeacherChannel is a great resource for improving your classroom practices. You can visit the site at

You can also watch it on KUEN Channel 9 Thursdays at 8 pm and Saturdays at 9 am.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Tech Tip Tuesday: Kindle a Fire

Kindle FireIt is very hard to believe that it hasn't even been 2 years since the first mainstream Tablet hit the market. There had been forays and there have been other handheld devices and of course Handheld PDA's have been around a long time, but these tablets are new.

The newest is the Amazon Kindle Fire. Many people saw Amazon gearing up for this for quite a while. With their first forays into reading apps, then the launch of the Amazon Cloud Music Player and the Amazon App store for Android Apps they had positioned themselves perfectly to launch an Android based tablet.

They did just that and right in time for the Holiday season. The Kindle fire is an Android based device with Amazon's rich media resources behind it. In addition to being able to easily buy books and music you can also rent movies and with an Amazon Prime account you get streaming videos. @ 79.99 a year this equals $6.67 per month and is lower than both Netflix and Hulu.

The device is good but doesn't have quite the feel and heft of some of the other tablets out there. It is light but feels fragile in contrast to the new Kindle Touch or the Kindle with a keyboard which are both light but feel sturdy. Also the interface isn't quite as responsive as other Android devices and absolutely pales compared to iOS devices.

Still for $199.99 this has the potential of being a wonderful 1 to 1 device in the classroom settings. It's compatible with many of the eBook lending services, you can have multiple devices attached to a single Amazon Account. It falls short in the creative area since there is no camera, and I would like to see a GPS for use in classroom geo-spatial activities. So grab a screen, read a book, and Kindle some learning.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

50 Tips for iPhone iOS 5

Recently Apple updated their Operating System to iOS 5.  This is a significant upgrade and one major change is that the devices can be activated, updated, and media stored all without ever connecting to a computer. iCloud enables some things that will make educators love the iOS devices even more.  Check out a great video from CNET UK about 50 great things you can do right away.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

UEN Professional Development Course Title Survey

UEN is involved in a remodel of our classes help us out by completing the survey below

Monday, September 19, 2011

Don't go quietly into the classroom

I am in an online course and this was part of the week's materials. It's pretty great.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Wednesday Web of the Week: UEN Constitution Day

Web Address:

Next week is the official Constitution week.  UEN has gathered websites, lesson plans, even books and videos.  Resources are arranged according to grade levels.  Give us your thoughts on how you are using the resources in your classroom.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Tech Tip Tuesday: Gadgets and Gizmos #3 in a series

Last week we talked about the Kobo eReader and before that the Kindle.  Both are great little readers, but this week we will depart from the eReaders and talk about something else. The iPod 4th generation.  The very first iPod touch was a pretty cool device and they are still pretty cool.  An excellent audio and video player but with apps it's much much more than that calendaring, email, alarm clock, just about anything you want to do "There's an App for that"

The 4th generation iPod added some excellent features. By adding a front facing and rear facing camera the iPod touch has become a creative device.  The latest versions of Keynote, Number and Pages are compatible on the iPod.  This means you can create spreadsheets, presentations and text documents.  Of course the screen size is pretty small still and that makes the iPod

touch to use as your only device. One thing that makes the iPod even more useful is a full-size keyboard. There are a couple of option for achieving this.  the iPad keyboard dock is compatible with the iPod which makes creating content on the iPod a lot easier.  Another option is a iPod compatible dock and wireless Bluetooth keyboard.  With the added cameras on this latest iPod touch you can also use iMovie to create, edit, and share movies.  The argument has often been that these iOS devices are consumptive devices and not creative devices, but these latest updates to both the hardware and the software allow the iPod touch to make that jump and become a truly creative device.

Of course since it is also app enabled you can also still consume all your favorite media, including ePub books available from the Pioneer Library

Monday, September 12, 2011

Thoughts on Emotional Learning

I am currently enrolled in a course to prepare me to facilitate online courses. Ironinc since I have been facilitating and creating them for 3 years, but this weeks reading was particularly relevant and let me revisit an old friend: Don Norman.

A phrase from our reading this week struck me as very pertinent. The article entitled Guidelines for Working with Adult Learners had a section called: Creating an effective Adult Learning Environment. The phrase that was powerful to me was, "Developing an atmosphere in which adults feel both safe and challenged should be the goal" This phrase reminded me of a TED Talk by Don Norman. Now, Don Norman is a designer. A designer of physical things, but his insights into what makes education work are really some of the best. The portion relevant to this class begins at about 4:30 seconds but you may want to watch the whole thing.

This in turn reminded me of some of the interesting things about learning that we need to remember. Most of us have experienced some event of heightened stress, a car crash, a near accident, something. One of two almost completely different things can happen. We either have a heightened clarity and remarkable recall of the event or...we can't remember any detail. Marines are often trained under the highest levels of stress in order to help them make decision despite the stress and to help them be able to analyze a situation, evaluate their option and then act. This flies in the face of a lot of modern educational practice of keeping the classroom completely free of anxiety. The quote from the above listed article seems to encourage a healthy balance. I say let's look for that balance in the online environment too. Some mix of high stakes and safety nets that allow us to push ourselves without paralyzing fear of failure.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Tech Tip Tuesday: Gadget and Gizmos #2 in a series

Last week we reviewed the Amazon Kindle for you and this week we are continuing the pattern. The Kobo has a lot in common with Kindle.  Both use eInk technology which gives you a paper crisp contrast and virtually no glare, just like a paper book.  Both have capacity to carry lots of books.  But where the differences start are when  you buy books.  Kobo has it's own online eBook store.  You can shop, purchase and download books from the store or you can purchase directly on your Wi-Fi enabled device.  One piece of trouble with the device is the interface. There are only 4 buttons on the side, a power switch and the navigation pad.  The Navigation pad allows for movement around the screen, but the lack of a keyboard means you have a virtual keyboard that must be navigated with the pad and it's a little difficult.

Big on the upside is the expansion card slot. The card allows for expansion of the onboard  1GB up to 32GB.  While 32GB is enough to store 10,000 books very few people have that many books in their personal collections.  What is more useful to me is that I can preload different collections onto different cards.  I can quickly switch out my books for my sons.  The final benefit is that the Kobo will manage PDF's as well as ePub.  This means that the Kobo is compatible with the ebooks available from the Pioneer Library via OverDrive and LearningExpress.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Tech Tip Tuesday: Gadgets and Gizmos-1 in a series

Amazon Kindle:

The Amazon Kindle broke the barrier to eReading.  eReaders in one format or another have existed for nearly 2o years.  But what broke the barrier was the Amazon Kindle.  It wasn't just the Kindle but also the Kindle bookstore.  Similar to how the iPod made buying music sensible the Kindle and the Kindle book store made buying electronic books sensible.  When the Kindle first came on the market I wondered how it would possibly compete with the iPod Touch and iPhone which had also recently been released.  I could see that it was only a matter of time before Book became available, but then I realized something.  Amazon wasn't interested in selling Kindles at least not primarily.  They are interested in selling books.  Which is why they have also developed and released apps for nearly every platform both Mobile and Desktop.

So, why a Kindle.  Not the app, not the books, why the device?  Here's my take on it.  First of all in the latest iterations of the Kindle you can read PDF's as well as .mobi and Amazon's own Digitally Rights Managed formats on the device.  So, PDF's means you can carry not just a vast library of recreationally reading but also a replace folders, packets and binders of documents with one device.  The PDF's can be loaded either manually on your computer or via email.  Each Kindle is assigned a unique Kindle email address that can receive the PDF's wirelessly.  This feature is unique to the actual device so it is a feature you can't use with the apps.

A second reason for the Kindle is the eInk technology.  High contrast, no glare screens make the current generation of the Kindle simply a joy to read in all conditions...except one.  Low light conditions require lighting just like a regular book.  But I love the eInk.  I have read on my Kindle at the pool, on the bus, on airplanes, nearly everywhere and it is simple and easy to use.

So, third reason, ease of use.  The interface is simple, and easy to use.  The buttons on the left and right of the device allow you to hold it in one hand and navigate through pages easily. Buying books is pretty simple assuming you know what you are looking for.  If you are wanting to browse through books the website is still a little easier.  There are two things about the use that are a challenge.  The screen is not a touch screen.  Without fail, every person I hand my Kindle too tries to navigate by swiping the screen or touching the screen.  Even though the Kindle's face has obvious buttons, the touch screen has become so accepted that people expect the Kindle to be touch screen too.  The second shortcoming is the keyboard.  The little round buttons are just a little hard to use, making taking notes or using the device for anything but basic searches truly difficult, but since that is all you can do, the keyboard is adequate.

Fourth reason, MASSIVE battery life.  the eInk technology uses electricity only when you change the page.  When the device is idle the screen saver uses no electricity.  Since the Kindle doesn't check for email or updates when idle the WiFi/3g is only active when needed and the battery lasts and lasts.  The Kindle only needs recharging every 20 to 30 days.  That is simply fantastic.

Two more things to consider with the Kindle.  I have had two and I am looking down the barrel of a 3rd because the screens crack easily.  Twice now, I have pulled my kindle out of my bag and have found funny lines and problems on the screen with only one line at the bottom still working.  I am pretty disappointed with that especially since one of the times it was in a protective padded case.  For regular active classroom and student use it should be a little tougher.  Another drawback is the incompatibility with Library systems.  There are many services for checking out books and reading them including the State Public Library and Pioneer Library System.  The Kindle isn't compatible with these systems because they chose their own proprietary model based on book purchases.  Other readers chose to build that kind of compatibility in and we will learn about one of them next week.

But if you want to kindle a love of reading and books the Amazon Kindle is certainly not a bad place to start.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Tips on Hand

Ok, now that we are all back on track for the school year it's time to start in with the tips for the year.  This summer has been filled with some great learning activities for me and some really fun new gadgets.  I thought I would start off the year we another series like the File Formats series from last year.

This series is going to be on handheld gadgets.  We have been reviewing and test driving some new handheld gadgets and over the next few weeks we are going to cover the following:

  • Amazon Kindle 3

  • Kobo Reader

  • Samsung Galaxy Tab (Android 2.2 Tablet)

  • iPod 4th Gen

  • iPad/iPad 2

  • GPS Devices

  • Barnes and Noble's Nook Color

If you have any suggestions for other tools or gadgets you would like to know more about, leave a comment and we will see what we can do.

Monday, August 22, 2011

A fresh new Canvas

Sometimes it is fantastic to stand in front of a big blank canvas and just let the creativity flow.  Summers are not really like that for UEN Professional Development.  We have been busy developing and delivering conference presentations and classes. This has left only a little time for the relaxing meditative kind of creativity but there is a cool new canvas available.

Utah Education Network and Utah Higher Education institutes adopted a new Learning Managements: Instructure Canvas

You can get a preview of what it can do below:

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Wednesday Web of the Week: UEN Climate Science

web address:

What's the climate today?  We rarely hear that question and well we shouldn't.  Climate is not a short term or temporary effect.  Climate is the long term persistent pattern of effects.  This is the case whether you are talking about Earth's climate or the climate in a school or workplace.  The daily changes in temperature, precipitation, and other factors create a pattern.  That pattern is climate.

Climate science is the study of those patterns and they do change and alter over time.  Places that were once lush are now deserts.  Many factors contribute to these changes in the long range patterns.

These patterns are useful to understand and to learn about.  They can help us make daily decisions about how we behave and how to contribute to a healthy climate.  UEN has provided some well recognized and award winning resources for teaching about Climate science.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Tech Tip Tuesday: Get Ready for Summer!

Summer is getting close, and for students that means making lots of plans about how to take their newly full minds and get them completely emptied out in preparation for the next school year.  For teachers it means refreshing and resetting and sharpening up for the next year.  Some suggestions for what to do this summer:  Get some computer training.  There are some great sites out there that will let you pay them sums of money to train you.  There are some wonderful college classes and here are some great free resources:

And if your are still looking for more try UEN's Utah Specific resources:

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Wednesday Web of the Week: WebRangers

Web Address:

Every once in a while it's nice to find a fantastic site that has broad appeal to lots of age groups and lots of subject areas.  This site is just such a site.  The National Parks service haslocations of interest for any subject area: history, science, math, language arts, and all the rest.

The site features a login option that allows a learner to keep track of what they have done and create a virtual portfolio of what they have completed. Visitors are allowed to navigate around the various tools and use nearly everything that a registered user can.

One of my very favorite activities is the Abraham Lincoln Timeline which quizzes you about various events in Lincoln's life and follows him from birth to the White House and beyond.

You can also learn more about the National Parks located in Utah at:

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Tech Tip Tuesday: Create a Digital Professional Development Portfolio

We have talked before about how a digital camera can be a virtual Swiss Army Knife of usefulness.  Another way that I have recently found my Digital Camera to be useful is as a virtual recorder of my professional development.  I could really go full bore and scan each certificate I get when I attend a conference, presentation or event, but another way I can create a record of my professional development is to simply snap a shot of my name tag.  This creates a date stamped record of professional development I have attended. If I am using a smart Phone or a camera with geo-tagging, I can capture the location information all with a quick snap of my camera.  This also saves me space because instead of keeping a huge box full of name tags for nostalgic reasons, I can load them on to a web based album and still keep the nostalgia without keeping the clutter.

What creative ways can you think of for using your digital camera?  Give us your ideas in the comments.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Web of the Week Wednesday: Tech Learning

Web Address:

When we need a review of a restaurant we have dozens of places we can turn. Books, same thing, you can even get reviews of local plumbers, but where do we turn to get insightful reviews of the latest ideas and technologies specifically for education?  Well one plac is TechLearning.  This online Education Technology Magazine has reviews, teaching ideas, editorials and opinions, and some of the best resources around for learning about teaching with technology.

When you create a login you can also sign up for email alerts and a free copy of the print magazine.  The print magazine has the same type of content as the website and often sends you back to the website for further information, polls, or to find live links referred to in the article.  Both the magazine and the website are supported by advertising  but it isn't too obtrusive and is all educationally focused and school safe.

To learn a little more about TechLearning try this link:

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Tech Tip Tuesday: Do some Math!

Super Short post here because I don't know what to add to what Microsoft has said.  They are providing a desktop graphing calculator for computers.  Download it here:

Friday, April 1, 2011

Tech Tip Tuesday (but it had to be shared today): Google Motion

This tech tip just couldn't wait til Tuesday. Google has brought us a lot of firsts, the first algorithm based web searches with truly relevant results, video chat right in email, online document editing, even Gmail Paper and Google Translate for Animals. But I think they are really going to revolutionize the world with this one! Google Motion.  Using motions and gestures you can control your Gmail inbox.

With the ongoing trends towards obesity and sedentation, this will only help us improve our lives.  Sitting all day at a desk is taxing and foolish, now with this new Google feature  we will be able to improve activity level and even get in shape for spring.  Google is truly incredible.

Have a great 1st day of April!

Learn about other obscure Google Improvements here: Article

Tech Tip Tuesday (but it just had to be shared today): Google motion

This tech tip just couldn't wait til Tuesday. Google has brought us a lot of firsts, the first algorithm based web searches with truly relevant results, video chat right in email, online document editing, even Gmail Paper and Google Translate for Animals. But I think they are really going to revolutionize the world with this one! Google Motion.  Using motions and gestures you can control your Gmail inbox.

With the ongoing trends towards obesity and sedentation, this will only help us improve our lives.  Sitting all day at a desk is taxing and foolish, now with this new Google feature  we will be able to improve activity level and even get in shape for spring.  Google is truly incredible.

Have a great 1st day of April!

Learn about other obscure Google Improvements here: Article

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Web of the Week Wednesday: Visit a Library!

Web Address:

If you have been wanting to get out of the house during these dreary months of winter but haven't made it yet. Now is the time. Pioneer Library features are available all over the state. Two of special interest are Netlibrary and Overdrive the two services for accessing eBooks and AudioBooks. Overdrive recently launched an IOS and an Android App for accessing your audiobooks. You have to contact your public library to get the information to download the books but luckily Pioneer has a great list of all the public libraries and where you can find them on your favorite social networks.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Tech Tip Tuesday: Connect!

Most people in Educational Technology today are going around with their head in the clouds.  Well it is getting even easier to join them.  A few years back GoogleDocs was introduced and it was promoted as "almost" like Microsoft Office but on the Web.  Reality was that it was more than a little clunky, but it had promise.  There are some major things about GoogleDocs that are definitely better than desktop software.  For example revisions, collaboration and no flash drives.  Those make it great. What isn't as good is the fact that your desktop software is much more robust and powerful and just does more.  Wouldn't it be nice if you could somehow get the best of both worlds.

You can!

Google Cloud Connect is a plugin for the Windows version of Microsoft Office that allows a quick and simple interface with GoogleDocs to share and collaborate on documents you edit in Microsoft Office. Google isn't the only one in this game though, Windows also offers an online tool for sharing and collaborating on Office files called Skydrive.  It is already immediately accessible via Office 2011 with Windows Live/Hotmail account.  So, if you are working on a proposal with folks from different locations, or you want students to collaborate on an important project.  Maybe it's time to get your head in the clouds.

Learn more about Windows Live Web Apps in the video below or here:

Learn more about the initial launch here:

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wednesday Web of the Week: BrainPop!

BrainPop LogoWeb Address:

BrainPop advertises itself as Animated Education and it really is.  BrainPop has videos, activities and interactives sites for students to learn about Science, Math, Language Arts and Social Studies plus other stuff to numerous to enumerate.  This site has long been a favorite of educators and many schools or districts purchase accounts.  You can try it out for free in a couple of ways.

There is an iPhone/iPad App for that.  The BrainPop App gives free access to a new video each day and plays right on your device.  It has limited access and many of the fully interactive activities are Flash based so the don't work on the IOS devices, but this app can be a great introduction to what is available.

On the BrainPop website you can get a free trial to test out the whole site for yourself.  You have to create a Username, password and enter some personal information.  Once you have this done you are on your way to your free trial.

Pioneer Library LogoFor Utah Educators there is a 3rd way.  Visit Pioneer: Utah's Online Library , login if you aren't at school and click on the BrainPop Trial and we have put in our information for you.  You can enter the password information provided by UEN and enjoy a free trial until April 14th.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Tech Tip Tuesday: Learn from UCET

The Utah Education Network (UEN) and the Utah Coalition for Educational Technology (UCET) have a long history together.  Each year in March UCET has held their annual conference since at least 1993.  This conference provides fantastic hands on training and an opportunity to meet, greet and rub shoulders with other technology minded teachers from all across the state.  If you weren't able to attend, or there was just one session to many, you can find fantastic resources at: and find resources for specific sessions at UEN also has a link for each of our members who presented this year available at:

We'll see you next year.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Wednesday Web of the Week: VuSafe

Web Address:

Many video sites are blocked and rightly so because of the distracting adds, questionable 'related videos' and inappropriate comments.  VuSafe helps that.  It gives you a way to view videos without the distractions. It allows you to create your own account and gather your own library of educational videos for use in class.  You can then use links to direct your students to the videos.  This service works best when paired with M86 security tools and those need to be set up through the district site, but the site itself can be a help if you want students to view videos in a safer environment at home...without the distractions.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Tech Tip Tuesday: Improve your Presentations

Xerox has excellent tips and hints for improving your Presentations. you can check them out below and if you are needing some help with PowerPoint sign up for a class with UEN. We have three available. Check them out here.

Xerox Speaking Tips and PowerPoint Templates

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Web of the Week Wednesday: Thinkfinity Women in History

Web address:

March is Women's History Month.  Check out resources from UEN's partner Thinkfinity.  You can find lesson plans, student interactives, and worksheets

all for free. One of the clever suggestions was to become a  Constellation maker and create a constellation to commemorate Maria Mitchell the United States first professional female astronomer.

If you are a Utah Educator you can also do a search in eMedia for "Women History" to find some great video resources detailing the contributions of women to the United States.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Fundamental File Formats - Part 6


There are lots of types of audio files available for computers.  5 important ones are used frequently for basic computer users.

  • .mid/.midi this is a format used for synthesizers and keyboard and was an early audio type. Occasionally you can still find files in this format used for games and they can be added to PowerPoint presentations.

  • .mp3 format is the most popular format for music files.  .mp3 format is a compressed format that allows for smaller file sizes. It has been around since the 90's and was made widely know by Napster a file sharing tool that made sharing of .mp3 files a common but illegal practice.  This is still widely used and you can purchase .mp3 files from,, and other legitimate sources. This format is convenient because you can transfer the file to other computers and devices and it will play.

  • .wav format is an uncompressed format which means typically larger file size.  The recording features on Windows uses this format to create audio files. These files are often used to add sounds to system events like opening or closing a window. .wav files are also the format used to add sound effects to animation and events in Microsoft's PowerPoint.

  • .aac format is a compressed format that was popularized by iTunes.  Apple uses this format to distribute the songs it sells on iTunes. This format allows for drm or digital rights management which allows Apple to create limits on the number of devices that can play the song and prevents unauthorized users from using it.  The requirement for drm on iTunes was recently changed and songs from iTunes are now drm free.

  • .wma is short for  Windows Media Audio and is similar in nature to .aac. It is a drm format that was developed for Windows.  Like .aac it is a compressed format that uses better compression techniques than .mp3 which means both .aac files and .wma files can maintain a higher fidelity with a smaller file size than .aac

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Tech Tip Tuesday: Fundamental Files Formats - Part 5


Images or photos on the web obviously aren't the same as the photos developed in dark rooms, although those can make it onto the web too.  All information on the internet or on computers must be converted into binary code.  This binary code is made up of 0's and 1's.  Every bit of data that flows into your computer is made up of this code.  Different codes specify different things.  The formats we have been talking about for the last few weeks also tell the computer which program to use to decode the 0's and 1's.  Converting the pictures we are used to seeing on photo paper to digital formats brought about several different solutions many of which are still commonly used.

  • *.jpeg/jpg this extension is an acronym for Joint Photographic Experts Group.  A group that together developed the format and adopted it as a standard for digital images.  This has become the most widely used standard for digital images, this may be in part due to the fact that it is the most common format created by digital cameras.

  • *.bmp stands for bitmap and is a file format that is still used occasionally.  If you have ever used Paint on a Windows machine it uses the bitmap format.  This is also a common format for clipart.

  • *.gif is graphics format that has been around for many years.  Graphics Interchange Format was one of the early image formats for the web. It's major contribution is the ability to overlay multiple images into a single file and thus create animation.  It is based on patented algorithms and these patents prompted the creating of *.png

  • *.png is a format created to replace *.gif.  It has taken a long time but it has steadily gained ground.  While *.jpeg is still the most common but *.png is gaining more and more acceptance and use. Not all image editing software supports this format, but if you use PowerPoint to create an image *.png is now the default and all web browsers can display these images. An animated version of this format uses the *.mng extension.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Tech Tip Tuesday: Fundamental File Formats - Part 4

In the Office:

There are some really fundamental file types that you need to know around the office.  First is Microsoft Office.  There are 3 file types for Microsoft Office.  from 1997-2004 Microsoft Office used the same file format. When Office 2007 was launched new features were added that aren't compatible with older versions of Office.  An x was added to distinguish between the older formats and the newer one.  Office 2007 and later can still open and save files using the  original format but the *.***x format allows for more compatibility for sharing files online and editing them online.

  • *.doc/*.docx

    • The .doc extension indicates a word processing document and is available to anyone using Microsoft Office.  Because Office was so widely adopted many other word processing softwares can read and save into this format.

  • *.xls/*.xlsx

    • The *.xls extension is used for spreadsheet files. Excel can also create *.csv files and a few other formats, but most other spreadsheet programs can save in the *.xls format

  • *.ppt/*.pptx

    • PowerPoint uses the .ppt extension.  PowerPoint can also create several other formats especially useful is the *.pps/*.ppsx format which a a PowerPoint Show.  This is a file that opens and plays the PowerPoint, but isn't editable. It can be very useful for sharing PowerPoint via email or on the web.

Secondly, is OpenOffice.  OpenOffice is a suite of Office Software that is free and OpenSource.  Because it is free, smaller entities are adopting it and using it.  OpenOffice has 6 different parts and can save files to wide array of formats.  The three main file typs match with Microsoft Office.

  • *.odt

    • This extension indicates an OpenOffice text document or word processing document.

  • *.odp

    • Open Office Presentations use the *.odp extension

  • *.ods

    • The *.ods extension is used for spreadsheets.

Thirdly, is iWorks, this is Apple's suite of Office products.  Apple uses 3 formats for its software however, they don't follow the 3 letter convention

  • *.pages for Pages Documents

  • *.numbers for Numbers Spreadsheets

  • *.key for Keynote Presentations

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wednesday Web of the Week: PBS Kids Video

Web address:

If any TV is good for kids it would have to be PBS TV.  You can get great information, content and effective teaching strategies all in the videos from PBS.  Now, you can get them a la carte.  PBS Kids video area allows you to watch some of your favorite children's video live on the web.

If you are a Utah Educator you can also visit eMedia to find full length versions of some of the PBS video content.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Tech Tip Tuesday: Fundamental File Types – Part 3


  • This is the native language of the World Wide Web. It was developed by Tim Boerners-Lee who wanted a way to make the Internet more accessible and easier to navigate. He developed tools that allow designers to use "tags" to give attributes to text like formatting, hyperlinks, and to show images.  A web browser is needed to read these files. HTML is an acronym for Hyper Text Markup Language.


  • This extension used by Adobe for Portable Document File format.  The best way to explain this is to think of it as hitting the print button on the computer but getting a digital print.  This file format was developed to share files using a small size and that was not editable.  If you share Word Processing files they are editable.  *.pdf files are editable too but not as easily.  Most forms and documents for printing are formatted in this format.

    Wednesday, February 2, 2011

    Wednesday Web of the Week: GoogleArtProject

    web address:

    Google Art Project

    We highlight a lot of Google stuff here because Google has a lot of cool stuff to highlight.  The latest cool tool from Google is a creative and unique application of Google's Street view technology.  This technology allows you to see what the actually streets look like and even take a virtual road trip.  Now at the end of the road trip you can even visit a museum virtually.  GoogleArtProject uses the technology to allow you to walk around a museum and look at the works of art on the walls.  It's a pret

    ty fantastic trip and has a bunch of great museums to start with.  You can read more about how the project began on Google's Official Blog

    UEN Student InteractivesFor more help on teaching with Art and about Art you can check out ArtsEdge.  This is a resource that UEN partners with through Thinkfinity.  You can also find great interactive websites, games and activities at on UEN's Interactive page.

    Tuesday, February 1, 2011

    Tech Tip Tuesday: Fundamental File types - Part 2

    There are 3 file formats that are extremely important.  These file formats are some of the most basic and often overlooked formats around: .txt, .rtf, .csv These simplified file formats are used for importing and exporting data. Many softwares or websites will let you export data using these formats.  For example credit card companies will often let you export your transactions as a .csv file. There are many programs that then edit data on you computer. These file types are compatible with many different programs. When you know that a computer you will be taking a file to doesn’t have the same software as the computer you are using you can save it in one of these file types to make transfers simpler.  They can also often be used to send files or data via email when you don't know what software your recipient has.  Two of these formats are for text, one without formatting and one with.  The other is for tabular data.  These formats also work cross platform or in other words both Mac and Windows.

    • *.txt

      • These are simple text files. You will also sometimes see these called ASCII files. These are the simplest types of files that contain text and numbers only. The are very useful for saving the text of a document without any of the formatting or other data.

      • Using the Save As function in most Word Processing Software and choosing TEXT will also create a *.txt file.

    • *.rtf

      • These are a more complex text file type. Rtf stands for Rich Text File. These files as the name states are richer than simple text files. You can include things like bold, italics, and underlining. To create this type of a file you open Wordpad. It is Windows Operating Systems Rich Text Editor. On a Mac you can use TextEdit to create a .rtf file

      • Using the Save As function in most Word Processing Software and choosing Rich Text will also create a *.rtf file.

    • *.csv

      • This is a file type that allows you to import data into different spreadsheet or database programs.  You can create these using WordPad on Windows or TextEdit on Mace. Separate each data point with a comma. Hit enter to start a new row. When you save it you must manually enter the.csv extension.

      • The Save As function in most spreadsheets will allow you to save a spreadsheet as a .csv file and you can use any spreadsheet software to open a .csv file.

    Wednesday, January 26, 2011

    Web of the Week Wednesday: African American History Month

    Web Address:

    February is African American History month and in anticipation of this UEN has created a site highlighting resources that can effectively be used in classes to commemorate the contributions of African Americans.  Lesson Plans, Links and eMedia videos give a broad picture of how the African American experience has influenced life in the United States.

    Tuesday, January 25, 2011

    Tech Tip Tuesday: Fundamental File Formats - Part 1

    Understanding file formats today is not what it once was.  When computers first came on the scene there were a few conventions that were followed.  All files had a name, an eight character name with a 3 character extension.  Although this varied a little by Operating system, the very first Commodore 64 I used followed this and it didn't change until someone opened a Window.  Well not literally, but with the advent of the Graphical User Interface or GUI on the Mac and later with Windows the 8 character limit became less important, although if you looked at the files carefully you would see that the computer still truncated a longer file name to an 8 character version. What hasn't changed is extensions, although we often don't see them anymore.  Both Mac OS and Microsoft Windows now have the option of hiding the extension on known file types.  This can make it easier to quickly view files and simplify navigation, but if you have ever wondered: "How does my computer know how to open these files" Well it's all in the extensions.  The simple 3 characters after the period in a file name.  This is code for the computer. It tells the computer which little icon to display on the file and which program to use to open the file. Over the next few weeks we are going to explore some essential file types and what those extensions mean.

    Tuesday, January 18, 2011

    Tech Tip Tuesday: Fill up an external hard drive

    External hard drives come in a wide variety of styles, forms and purposes. But what do you put on it? The first obvious answer is computer files. But here are some suggestions that may help you along.

    Back Up your Documents
    External hard drives provide portable storage for files you don't want to lose. Keeping a copy of your curriculum on your computer's internal hard drive or a network drive is a good idea, but having a copy on an external drive may be the difference between sanity and weeks of frantic work. If you lost all the documents on your hard drive what would it take to replace them? With an external drive you can use built in tools on the MAC and Windows to backup files. Alternatively you can manually copy important files to the hard drive yourself.

    If you regularly use your computer in the same place storing your pictures, music and videos on an external drive makes a lot of sense. Most programs for managing multi-media, (ie: iTunes or Windows Media Player) will allow you to store your music and audio on an external drive. Photo management software (ie: iPhoto, Picasa, Windows Live Gallery) will do the same. Keeping large video files on an external drive can really save you internal hard drive for the most essential files. Incidentally having your internal hard drive full or close to full can slow down system processes which depend on free space on the hard drive to perform needed activities.

    Archived Materials,
    If you are a laptop user it can be useful to keep your most frequently used files on your internal hard drive. Keeping archived curriculum, student work, or other files that you are no longer currently using on an external hard drive is helpful technique. Copying all your PowerPoint presentations for a course to an external hard drive allows you to make changes on your internal hard drive to reflect more timely information while also maintaining a record of what you have taught from year to year.

    Have fun filling up your memory!

    Wednesday, January 12, 2011

    Web of the Week Wednesday: DemoSlam

    Web Address:

    Google wants you to advertise their products. Then you get to go head to head against other Slammers.

    Tuesday, January 11, 2011

    Tech Tip Tuesday: Pick a Hard Drive

    A few years back I was shopping in an office supply store and I saw something that totally caught my eye: a portable external hard drive. You could get a 10 Gigabyte for $99.99 or a 20 Gigabyte for $129.99. I thought to myself, I will wait until the prices come down. Well it's been several years and the prices haven't come down. What has happened is what has happened with a lot of technology. The price stays the same but the features improve. For the same $99.99 you get a 250 Gigabyte drive.

    So, here's the tip! Pick a better hard drive, I have shared my surefire tech tip for buying technology before: Buy the biggest numbers you can afford. Some additional help though.

    There are a couple of measures used for hard drives. First, is storage, here numbers are it. The larger the storage the more expensive the hard drive is likely to be. Also, the higher the number the less you are paying per gigabyte. Measuring price per gigabyte is a good way to compare several hard drives of different capacities.

    Second, is the rpm. RPM stand for Revolutions Per Minute. The higher the number the faster the drive can spin. The faster the drive can spin the faster you can access the information stored on the drive. Typical numbers for RPM are currently 5400 rpm or 7200 rpm.

    A couple of other features to look at are portability vs. external power source. Some drives are not designed to be portable but rather to have an external power source and sit on the same desk all the time. These drives are often less expensive per gigabyte but they aren't buffered against shock or movement. They are also often faster than their portable counterparts and physically larger. The portable drives are smaller and draw their power from the USB cord. Older drives and some newer drives often required a special USB cable with two connections in order to provide enough power. Be sure to choose a drive that meets your power and connection needs.

    Finally, consider warranty. If you have a favorite computer manufacture you may want to do some research to find out what brand of drive they use and purchase from the same company. Also look at what kind of warranty and data recovery options are available for your drive. Some companies offer data recovery at low or no cost if their drive fails.

    So now that you have an external drive what do you put on it? Well tune in next week.

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