Academic Technology @ Palomar College

Tech Camp Wrap-up

Summer Tech Camp, August 3-6We had a terrific summer Tech Camp.  Thanks to all who attended.  I feel that valuable skills were obtained and hope that they will be used in your instruction in coming semesters.  We featured a number of educational tools and products during camp, and I thought I would summarize the highlights here for those who have lost their notes.

The real-time Twitter polls we used were from Polls Everywhere.  The free, educational version allows a max of 32 votes.  With a little creativity and multiple instances of a poll, even a class larger than 32 can use this fun feature.  Remember, you are not limited to updating the polls via Twitter, either.  They can be updated via text message or a web site (ie, Blackboard too) widget.

There was some discussion of desktop Twitter clients.  The one Dave demoed during camp was blu from thirteen23.  Chris Sinnott recommends TweetDeck.  The one I use personally is Twitter Explorer.  TweetDeck is the Cadillac of desktop clients, that’s for sure, but really shines when you are aggregating a lot of social media site into one.  It is a bit overwhelming if all you want is a Twitter feed.  Twitter Explorer has definite limitations, but I like it for its simplicity and Windows 7 compatibility.

Several of the areas we discussed received only brief coverage because there just wasn’t time to be expansive, and at least three topics,notably “Basic Basics,” “Google Earth,” and “Blackboard,” received almost no coverage at all.  I would remind anyone interested that we will be doing training in the coming semester on these and several other topics.  Our training schedule is here, and a description of the workshops we will be offering here.  We are also happy to arrange custom training–I think some mention was made of this with regard to Camtasia–for small groups.  Just contact me directly with these requests.

I would also like to point out that we already have many resources and training materials in place in our AT Training area within Blackboard.  All faculty and staff members are pre-enrolled.  Just login to Blackboard (http://www.palomar.edu/blackboard) and click the “Academic Technology Training” link in the “Courses in which you are enrolled” area of My Courses.  There is a using Windows 7 area there that I think will be of value.  I will be adding more materials to the PowerPoint areas too over the next few weeks.

Finally, for great free training on the Office 2010 products we used from Microsoft, just click one of the following links:

For more information on the Windows Live products we used (and many we did not) visit the Windows Live Center.   I think you will agree that SkyDrive and the Office Live web apps (Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote on the web) have the most immediate utility for academic use, but don’t forget that if you are upgrading to Windows 7, Photo Gallery and MovieMaker have to be downloaded and installed separately.  You can find both of those excellent, free products at the Windows Live Center also.

Jing, SnagIt and Camtasia were used and mentioned a lot at Tech Camp.  These products are all by TechSmith.  Visit their web site for academic pricing and download information.  They have the best Learning Center I have ever seen.  Bookmark it right away if you expect to be using their products.  The highest recommendation I can give goes to TechSmith.  They use their own products to teach their own products.  Proof positive that they are excellent.

Thanks to all who participated in Tech Camp.  It was, as we have said, the best one ever.  The participants were enthusiastic and brilliant, and we had a ball.

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