July 14, 2010
Scratch is a great way to introduce kids (or anyone) to how programming works. There is a stage in which you put characters (“sprites”) and a box off to the side where you can drag and drop “blocks” of code that fit together and run in a sequence. Scratch is fairly simple, but if you need help, check out learnscratch.org. Download Scratch here.
This may sound like a childish waste of time, but that couldn’t be farther from the truth. For educators specifically, Scratch helps foster problem solving and also some collaboration. Recently, Google released a service called App Inventor. App Inventor is a site where you can make Android apps without having prior experience in coding. Similar to Scratch, it uses blocks of code along with a visual box to show how your code will work when activated. App Inventor has the potential to become a very successful platform.
Don’t ever dismiss Scratch as a kid’s toy. It’s an educational resource. Now only if Apple would make one…
June 27, 2010
Google Docs is a simple solution for replacing Microsoft Office. The presentation section gives the user an interface where they can place simple objects, text and images onto a slide. When you are finished with it, you can play the slideshow right from your web-browser, print it, download it as a PowerPoint, or download as PDF. The word processor is very similar, as is the spreadsheet.
What makes it unique is Forms. Google Docs is the ideal platform for creating submit forms. You can create several types of questions such as checkbox, radio button selection, single-line response, paragraph response, etc. Then, send out the URL or use the embed code to put the form on your webpage. Then, view the responses in a summary with graphs and statistics, or in a spreadsheet with more detailed data- all for free @ docs.google.com.
June 26, 2010
In the next few days, I will review some of the best alternatives to the Microsoft Office suite. You might want one of the alternatives for…
…your kid’s computer
…your home computer
…your small business
or any time you’d use Office.
I will review some of the best free titles and web app Office alternatives including:
- Google Docs
- NeoOffice/OpenOffice (they are very much the same thing)
- Zoho Office
Some other alternatives include Docs.com, but docs.com requires a Facebook account to login, which I don’t have.
May 23, 2010
Have you ever wondered how you could make your searches more useful? Probably not. You just Google your query, click a link and use the page, thinking nothing of it. Sometimes, though, you might have wondered if there was a good alternative to the search giant Google. There is, and its called GoodSearch.
Goodsearch is a charitable search engine that donates money to charity nearly every time you perform a search on it. You don’t even need to sign up to use most of its features.
First, select the charity you want to benefit under “Who do you Goodsearch for?”. This is important because it you don’t, the money raised will just go to sustain the website.
Select a charity
Then, it will state your charity in place of the selection box- I chose the ASPCA. Goodsearch also has a feature called GoodShop- if you search for a product on their engine and then end up buying it, a designated percentage goes to your charity.
If you run a non-profit or know someone that does, the “Add New Charity” feature might be useful. Just go to http://www.goodsearch.com/addcharity.aspx and fill out the form. It could be a useful strategy in fund-raising for your organization. They provide a table that shows how many searches earn how much money.
Goodsearch is powered by Yahoo Search, so you should get decent results. Try it out