Wednesday, May 30, 2012


DesignFestival is an excellent source of information for graphic designers and web designers. You can sign up for free for their newsletters and recieve information and resources pertaining to all subjects such as logos, typography, HTML & CSS, Photoshop, jQuery, color and also have tutorials available.

Sign up for some great resoures:

Style Tiles

This is a creative way to show multiple designs, color schemes and layouts for the web, and it's free. The owner of the website even has a free psd download of the template for Photoshop.

Visit the link below:

New Collaborative Educational Sites

Pinterest is a new social collaboration site that has struck the fancy of many in educator circles.  Pinterest is a site that looks like an online “bulletin board”.  It allows users to “pin” up something you are passionate about and show it off to everyone (instead of a bulletin boards they are called pinboards).  Others in turn can comment on what you pinned up, like it or whatever.  This allows us to share things of interest.  Cool.  Pearson School Systems Blog lists four ways to use Pinterest in Education.  In a nutshell, one shares ideas or lesson plans and gets some collaboration and comments from others, hopefully you get good epistemic conversations where people learning from each other - voila. 

Pinterest for Educators…Learnist

While Pinterest can facilitate learning with epistemic discourse – Learnist is designed for it.  Learnist is designed for anyone to share what they know.  Users can pull together various resources from the web like YouTube videos, images, podcasts, and Wikipedia entries to create a “lesson”.  You can share your “lesson” to your Facebook timeline, make comments, and link your “lesson” to other people or topics.  Users can also recommend lessons to others or just contribute to a lesson that they like or have some expertise in.  

It makes me wonder, what the difference is between Wikipedia and Learnist when it comes to collaborative sites. After all, both allow you to collaborate on the content of a particular topic.  Both allow you to discuss, argue, or whatever about a topic.  However,  I think Learnist makes it easy to create “lessons” by just referencing other material or uploading your own.  Wikipedia requires some knowledge of the scripting language while Learnist is super simple to invoke.  I just think that Learnist seems more inviting.  Plus, you can see the comments right away, like in facebook.  Both Learnist and Pinterest have a "facebook" feel to it.

I love that both Learnist and Pinterest allow users to collaborate on topics of interest.  I love the fact that you can embed just about any type of media into your "pinboard" or "learn board".  Perhaps the key to these sites is that they remove a bit of self-consciousness to those who participate.  Users do have an avatar or picture of themselves, but nothing too different from other social web sites.  This facilitates an openness that welcomes participation. Studies have shown that with less risk of being upbraided, people tend to collaborate and overall perform better.  

While Pinterest has a lot of participants already, Learnist is just starting.  The key to the site's success will be a large number of users.  I am sure it will catch on soon.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Copying and pasting stuff online is so easy. I know you’ve had students copy and paste and patch together entire papers, entirely plagiarized with no citations. But today I ran into an interesting thing that publishers must be starting to do to curtail this practice (though I have no idea how effective it is).

I was writing a blog post for another blog I write and wanted to insert a quote from an article from the Time magazine site. When I pasted it into my page I was surprised to find an additional line that I did not copy. It was the link to the page from which I just copied and it said:
Read more:
It appeared out of nowhere. I did not intentionally copy this line. It does not appear on the page. It just came with the passage that I did intentionally copy. I don’t know if this is becoming a more popular addition at other sites, but it is the first time it’s every happened to me. And I liked it. I was going to include a link back to the full article anyway and this saved me the time and effort of going back to the site to copy the link.

Will students be reminded to cite when they get this kind of unexpected text? That remains to be seen, but it is a reminder. And I’m going to explore a little more to find out how to get this kind of thing to work in web pages that I produce. I’ll let you know what I find, but until then...

Have you run into this at any other website recently? I’d love to know who else is using this technique.

Friday, May 25, 2012


Being a graphic designer and loving cartoons, you appreciate the early cartoon shorts, comics, cartoonists and the artform that became a major factor in America's progression to digital art and animation. ToonSeum is a museum dedicated to the art of cartooning. Whether you are a designer, animator, illustrator, or just love cartoons, this museum is full of history, workshops and gives you a better appreciation for the cartoonists and their popular works.

From ToonSeum:
"The mission of the ToonSeum is to celebrate the art of cartooning. Our goal is to promote a deeper appreciation of the cartoonists and their work through hands-on workshops, community outreach, cartoon-oriented educational programming, and exhibitions of original cartoon art."

The museum is close by in Pittsburgh in the Cultural District. An exhibit worth seeing is coming up real soon on Saturday, June 2, 2012 with a "Betty Boop" event. For more information visit the link below:

20 Photoshop Tutorials

For you Photoshop users out there who love to look over free tutorials and see how other users put stunning designs together (and maybe try them yourself) here is a link of 20 awesome tutorials that give you step by step instructions. Also, some give you links to the images or files they used.

Great way to improve your Photoshop skills and also learn new tricks!

Link below:

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Google Docs Adds Research-Friendly Sidebar

imageThe popular Google Docs online app, which provides a word processor and spreadsheet program for free in your web browser, has just added a new feature. The new “Research” sidebar feature may be especially handy for educators and students who use Google Docs. It provides a quick place inside the app to look up terms and other information, without leaving the document you are editing.  It allows for easily adding links, quotes, and citations from online sources to a document as well.

To enable this new feature in your account:
  1. Go to Google Docs.
  2. Click “Tools,” and then click “Research.”

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Widgets for Education

Conrad Wolfram has an interesting website for creating widgets to make calculations for just about anything. The site is called Wolfram | Alpha Widgets and I find it fascinating.

Conrad Wolfram has an interesting philosophy about teaching math. Wolfram believes that teaching math is not the same as just teaching how to calculate and crunch numbers as it was once in the past. Rather, Wolfram believes we should teach less about calculation and more about asking the right questions.  Once we ask the right question we can then formulate it into an actual mathematical problem. He has created a site that facilitates doing just that – Alpha Widgets.

We use math all the time from calculating mortgages to finding the right ratios for expanding a favorite food recipe. Why not get students to better formulate everyday problems into something that can be calculated?  Wolfram helps you do this too in the Widget Builder section of the site.

The Widget Builder is especially useful as a tool to help students formulate mathematical calculations. It facilitates students to create a widget to calculate just about anything. And least we "re-invent" the wheel, there is a Widget Gallery for widgets that have already been created. Once we build a widget we can embed it into a web page and use it. For instance, here is a BMI calculator.

I find this site insightful for many who are searching for tools (widgets) that will help engage students in not just doing mathematical calculations, but also for those who want to get students to create tools to solve problems.

Friday, May 4, 2012


Picozu is an image editing and photo retouching application. For those who don't have Photoshop and want something different to use than GIMP or other free image editing software, Picozu is built on Javascript, HTML 5 and CSS3. You can also import PSD files from Photoshop, edit them and publish to Facebook or a free Picozu account.

Use modern browsers (such as Firefox 5, Safari 5, Chrome, Opera 10 and Internet Explorer 9) to get started!