Show and Tell - Share Your Favorite Ed. Tech Tools

One of my favorite aspects of our time together was learning about the exciting tools that you were using to create and deliver content. If you have other products that you would like to share, feel free to share and discuss them here. Thanks for sharing!

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We've been using Moodle since 2004 as our course management system (CMS). Our online classes use the asynchronous model, and we find Moodle fairly easy for both faculty and students to use as our virtual class space. We used Blackboard before Moodle, and I think that Moodle is easier for students to use than Blackboard, but that Moodle requires a little more technical knowledge for faculty to use compared to Blackboard. For me, that's offset by Moodle having a little more power and flexibility, but there was definitely a learning curve to switch our faculty from one CMS to another.
We're kicking around moving from Blackboard to Moodle, interesting to hear the faculty challenge compared to Blackboard. We were upgraded to Blackboard Learn (9) which has significant changes in parts of the interface, and to go through another shift in a year or so might be a strain on resources. What is it about Moodle that you thinks makes it easier for students?
With the version of Blackboard we were using, all the quizzes were in a specific place, all the documents were in another specific place - everything was sorted by type. With Moodle, we can put everything of every type that the students need for a week of an online class in one place. So it's a lot easier for students to find things. We also did a survey after our first semester of using Moodle, for students that had used both Blackboard and Moodle, and most students preferred Moodle.
I expect that most folks are already aware of Skype (www.skype.com). I was skeptical at first but I have found it to be a reliable and strong means of doing some basic teleconferencing. The audio quality has proven excellent. The video leaves something to be desired but Skype has announced support for the next generation of 720p webcams and I'm looking forward to seeing what that looks like. It still won't be for videoconferencing with multiple students, but the price is certainly right!
We are increasingly using Adobe Connect Pro and Adobe Presenter for online content delivery and collaboration.

Connect Pro is a web conferencing solution (similar to WebEx) that allows online classes to synchronously gather together for both presentation and discussion times. We use this especially in our online Biblical language classes, which gives students and opportunity to verbally ask questions about Greek or Hebrew that might be more difficult to ask via e-mail.

Adobe Presenter is an add-in to Powerpoint that allows rich, dynamic PPT presentations to be uploaded to Connect, or placed on a website for viewing. We are increasingly using Presenter instead of screen-capture software to narrate presentations, as the SWF files load much more quickly and cleanly than large movie files.
If you want to see an example of how we use Presenter in online courses, go to the current Christianity from the NT to the Present online course.
Thanks for posting the link. I really enjoyed the examples.
ATS used a previous Adobe product then changed to WebEx. The solutions have their pluses and minuses. I'd be interested in hearing if you use the voice features for interaction beyond students asking questions.
Because of the drawbacks of Adobe Connect, we use audio in two different ways. If a webinar is mostly presentation, we simply have the presenter share his/her audio, while participants type questions in the "Chat" field.

However, there are many instances where more interaction is necessary. In these cases we actually forgo Adobe's audio channels and, instead, have everyone dial into our school's conference call system and use audio that way.

It's far from perfect, but it works.
At Lexington Theological Seminary we are using Scholar360 as out LMS. Scholar360 recently changed their name to Edvance360, however this platform allows the student/faculty the opportunities to upload video, multimedia components, take tests, discussions etc. without the cost of the larger learning management systems. Edvance360 provides excellent customer service if problems arise and they apply user generated suggestions to their LMS on future updates of their software application.

We have lots we love (Moodle, Koha, Panopto, etc...) but the only one we use that I haven't seen mentioned below is BigBlueButton (BBB).

We use BBB for video and audio collaboration as well as file publishing/annotation for digital presentations.  We've only tested it with 14 participants all sharing video and audio. 

BBB is open source, has very low server requirements, and is easy to install/maintain.  We've been running it for a couple years with no problems, it has excellent Moodle integration.

There are only two downsides to this tool:

1 - It uses flash instead of HTML5 - so client compatibility is not as solid as we would like to see.  This should be addressed in a future version

2 - It uses flash for audio processing instead of WebRTC - This means headsets style mics are essential for participants sharing audio.  Unlike Google Hangouts, without the headset style mic terrible audio feedback is heard by all participants.  This should also be address in a future version.

Chad, thanks for this. Used to use DimDim before they were bought out by SalesForce and played a little with BBB. Good to see you've had a positive experience.

Not sure if this thread is monitored anymore...but we've had good success with:

  • Voicethread (audio/video threaded discussions)
  • Tiki-toki (interactive timeline, great for theological / historical info)
  • Google maps (students create a map together or individually, including reflections/photos on a historical figure, series of events, or their personal journeys)

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