Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Zamzar File Format Conversion Tool


Are you looking for a free online file format conversion tool that you can use without downloading? Zamzar may be what you are looking for. It's easy to use and you can either use a URL or the file itself. For example, it allows you change from a .FLV file from YouTube to a MP4 or AVI file format. Quick and easy.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

CESOL: Computers for English and Speakers of Other Languages


update 11.5.07: American TESOL Institute launches two Websites http://www.tesolabroad.com/ and http://www.tesol-jobs.com/ .

The Computers and English for Speakers of Other Languages website is for teachers who are interested in integrating technology into primarily the adult ESOL/ ESL/EFL classroom. We are advocating a computer-mediated approach that includes but is not limited to:

* teaching computers to ESOL / ESL / EFL students in a way that integrates technology into the curriculum; *using computer technology as a tool for improving teaching English language learning;
*developing project-based, cooperative use of computers and the Internet;
*utilizing software appropriately in the computer-assisted language learning (CALL) lab.

Note: Although there is some links to topics related to distance learning, there are many other sites that cover this topic in greater detail. Do, however, see the new articles on Podcasting.

This is packed with good information and lesson plans and is geared for adult ESL in particular. Very useful.

Podomatic: World News for ESL Learners

http://esl.podomatic.com/ World News for ESL Learners

World News in Slow and Clear EnglishFor English as a Second Language (ESL) listeners.The English is spoken very clearly at about 80% the speed of regular news announcers.

Contact Info
podMail: esl@podomatic.com
Can also be used to find and create podcasts. Excellent for early listening levels.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Gabcast: Audio Podcasting

As you know, I am always looking for new and easy ways to do the things we want to do. Here's a method of creating an audio podcast using only a phone. This is the Gabcast address: (http://www.gabcast.com/) To hear my first Gabcast (and don't I feel like calling Watson...), click on the underlined phrase "Using Podcasts #2, Using Gabcast" that is above the Gabcast icon located in the right hand column of this Blog. It will take you to my channel. Click on the 'PLAY' button to hear my podcast.

Obviously I need practice, but the process was simple. I called in to the 800 number from my office phone, gave them my channel number and password, and then read my script. When I was done, I could listen to it and accept or change it. Then I hit the # sign to upload. I then went to the Gabcast page and found the code to add the script I read to this Blog, copied it to my 'Add a Page Element' and I was done. Here are the steps involved:

Creating Gabcast episodes
Recording your own Gabcast episodes is a breeze!
Signup & Login
signup and login to the website (it's FREE!)
Create a channel
visit your My Account page and create a new channel
Use a phone
call one of the Gabcast access numbers listed on the right side of this page
start gabbing - tell the world what's on your mind!
publish your recording, either via the phone, or via your My Account page
tag your episode to make it easier to recognize and to make it searchable!
That's it!
subscribers to your channel will be notified via this website, iTunes, web portals, rss clients, and email

The Gabcasts are saved into an MP3 format, which can easily be inserted into a PowerPoint if you want. Kristy suggested this would be great for dictations for students to listen to and transcribe. Since the only equipment you need to create it is a phone (and a script), it should be simple to use. I'd like to have several of you try it out and let me know the results. Try both a college phone (land line) and possibly a cell phone to see the differences in audio quality. I'd also like your ideas on how this could be used. Effective podcasts are usually quite short and have a narrow topic.

Email the Gabcast channel and password to me so I can check it out as well. Sign up before using, but there is no fee. You will need to create a channel account before you begin your first Gabcast. When you have, you will get a screen such as the one below, which will give you the channel number, password (must be numeric), meeting password (if you want a conference channel) and then you can tag it to help with searching. This Web site also supports a link to add to a new or existing Blog (yes!) :

JSotir's channels
Create a new channel Manage your channels and episodes
(don't forget the importance of tagging your episodes)
channel number: 13724
channel password: 32256
meeting password: 312
channel type: Free space usage: 0 MB
Using Podcasts
Describing the process of creating audio podcasts using Gabcast Education / Higher Education http://wccniuesl.blogspot.com/
manage episodes edit channel delete channel

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Commentary: Sotir: Happy Birthday, Sputnik! (October 4, 1957)

It's been 50 years since that little 183 pound ball of aluminum made Americans sit up and take notice. It was about the size of a basketball, but the impact it had on the future was staggering. Americans were stunned and unnerved by the event, and everyone demanded that the U.S. respond. On February 7, 1958, President Dwight D. Eisenhower established the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA) which had, as its mission the charge of preventing technological surprises. So they launched, and we launched...and launched. It changed our lives, our furniture (remember the Sputnik-inspired lamps?) and our society. Of course, as society goes, so goes education. It became fashionable to do math and science became a major focus.

By 1960, ARPA was moving full steam ahead, funded with what seemed to be endless dollars all with the goal of putting America back on top. In 1962, ARPA established and funded the Information Processing Techniques Office. Although the title seemed less than inspired, the new director, JCR Licklider, was anything but commonplace. In 1960 he had published the much heralded 'Man-Computer Symbiosis' and showed the world his vision of the future. This article anticipated the development of many information technologies, including the Internet itself. While the Department of Defense had computers for quite some time, the new vision was to have those computers freely sharing their information. While the rockets still launched into space, the developments on this planet were staggering. ARPA funds were given to MIT to start Project MAC, and the inclusion of academic research combined with government agencies (and money) spurred on progress. The interesting factor was that Licklider had both the money and the talent to achieve amazing success. By the end of 1968, new technologies such as the mouse and hypertext links were forming the base of computer to computer communication. The first Arpanet host-to-host message was sent from UCLA to Stanford in 1969, which led to the first 'internetting' project linking various kinds of packet-switching networks.

It's hard to imagine a world without the Internet, or the World Wide Web. When I first got involved in technology, there was no Web, only a very rudimentary system called the Bulletin Board System, or BBS. Within a relatively short time, the BBS morphed into the WWW, and lives were forever changed. With visionaries such as Licklider and his talented teams from both government and academia, we have bounded into the future. All those 'Modern Math' classes that we had as children in response to the Sputnik-mania formed young minds and gave a base (of something other than 10) to the future. Children today do not know that there was a world without computers. I wonder what their children will know?