Category Archives: Computer

Communicating Your Message

If you care about something, you want other people to know about it. This means that the way you present your information is important because it can mean the difference between true communication occurring and boredom or confusion. Unfortunately, many presentations (especially at conferences) fail miserably at this task. If you think your content is important, you need to pay attention not only to what you talk about but how you do it.

Many people think that Powerpoint (or Keynote) presentations assist in communicating ideas and facts. It’s true that visual information that accompanies oral presentations can help — but it has to be done well!

Here’s a youtube video of how NOT to use Powerpoint.

And here’s a slide show that shows how creative visuals can supplement (not compete) with the speaker’s words. Ideas and information will be better retained when this kind of dual presentation is employed.

The creator and presenter of this slide show, Beck Tench, works for the NC Museum of Life and Sciences. Follow her on Twitter at @10ch

Look what I’ve learned today

Here are some great science links that I was told about today from the Science Online 2010 conference (being held in Durham, NC this weekend).

Fold It: Contribute to science research by playing protein folding games (very cool)

Science for Citizens: the source for science you can do

Mindmeister: Real-time Brainstorming

A bit of humor: The Soul Storage Company

Routes (lots here, but this link takes you to “Sneeze” game… you may get infected)

More later! You can follow the conference online by following the #scio10 hashtag on Twitter. Also, live streaming here. All sessions will be up on YouTube later. I’ll provide the link once they are up.

Typing Hebrew on a Mac

Chris Heard has put together two screencasts demonstrating how to setup and use your Mac to type in Hebrew. You might want to be sure you have the unicode SBL Hebrew font installed before you watch the videos. The font is available free for download here. Be sure to also download the keyboard driver and PDF manual. You don’t need to use the SBL Hebrew keyboard drivers, but Chris does demonstrate them in the screencast. Thanks, Chris, for a great resource!

iPhone Tools I Traveled With

I just returned home from a couple of weeks on the road. While traveling, I put some new apps for my iPhone through their paces. Here are a few that I’ll be keeping.

  • WordPress 2.0 for iPhone. This was absolutely amazing. I could post to my blog from my iPhone. Upload photos, edit previous posts, save drafts, publish. Everything worked just like it should. My WordPress blog is self-hosted on a private server, so I usually upload photos and documents via FTP. I was concerned that I would have trouble using the iPhone app, but I should not have worried. The app also supports blogs. Everything worked seamlessly. When I returned to my hotel room at night, I could go back and tweak any posts that needed something I might have left out. While I wouldn’t want to post lengthy entries, this app worked great. I could also easily edit comments and pages. The app also has a terrific user forum for support.
  • Facebook for iPhone. If you use Facebook and you have an iPhone you are probably using this free app already. But, for those of you who are still accessing Facebook via the Safari web browser, please, just download the app and start using it. You’ll be glad you did.
  • TweetDeck 1.1.2 for iPhone (updated while on the road). I’ve tried a few different Twitter clients and always come back to the free TweetDeck app. I think this is largely personal preference more than anything else. I like that I can still have columns on my iPhone (swiping to view different columns is very easy). When I want to cross-post to FaceBook, it’s as easy as clicking on one button. Check here for the full list of functions.
  • Reeder 1.1. One thing I try to do while traveling (for business) is keep up with my blog feeds so that I am not inundated at night when I return to the hotel room. I normally use Google Reader on my laptop, and had been using the iPhone equivalent, but recently switched to Reeder. It syncs seamlessly with my Google Reader account and allows me to scroll through my feeds without having to open Safari. It cost me $1.99 but I felt it was worth it. Updated version is due to be released soon.
  • PS Mobile. Most of the time I edit photos in Photoshop on my laptop. But when you are on the go, PS Mobile fits the bill for quick cropping and editing. It’s free, so what do you have to lose?

I had my solid standbys with me too–iFlipr, Things, Library (syncs with my Delicious Library), Olive Tree, and of course Koi Pond. Koi Pond is absolutely mesmorizing for distressed children sitting next to you on an airplane. Don’t hand the phone over to the child, but hold it in your hand and get them to put their finger on the pond and wait for their reaction when the fish start to “nibble” their finger. Everyone in the plane will think you are a hero.

“Examining our Exams” links added

Below are links to material from my SBL session entitled, “Examining our Exams: What to include, exclude, and revisit for Biblical Language Exams.” These links have been added to my SBL 2009 Pedagogy page (link in toolbar above). A summary of my presentation, as well as links from other presenters will be added soon.

These materials are, of course, just samples and will continue to be refined. Leave a comment with a suggestion or description of what you do in your own classroom!

More links for SBL Distance Learning session

I’ve updated my SBL 2009 Pedagogy page with the following links from Taylor Halverson:

Taylor Halverson, Brigham Young University
Effective Uses of Discussion Forums for Biblical Studies Courses at a Distance (20 min)

Taking the Distance Out of Distance Education

Today I was one of the presenters in the following session:

22-201 Academic Teaching and Biblical Studies
11/22/2009 1:00 PM to 3:30 PM Room: Studio 9 – MR
Theme: Distance Learning: How to teach traditional topics in a non-traditional format

I’ve posted links to some of the resources mentioned in my portion of session below. An updated list (including material from the other presenters) will be kept on the SBL 2009 Pedagogy page of my blog. Check back again to find more material as we (the five presenters) update the links.

Online Tools:

  • Moodle: Open Source community-based tools for learning
  • Elluminate: web, audio, video, and social networking solutions for teaching, learning, and collaborating
  • LearnCentral: social learning network for education, sponsored by Elluminate

A few of the tools mentioned by Brooke Lester:

  • Wetpaint: A site solely for creating wikis
  • Diigo: Social bookmarking, highlighting, and commenting of web pages.
  • Netvibes: Bringing feeds to a central location from blogs, from wikis, from Diigo, from Twitter, from Yahoo Pipes, and so on.
  • Yahoo Pipes: Grouping, filtering, ordering RSS feeds from anywhere.

Check his resource page for more links and tutorials to use these resources.