Sunday, August 6

Technology Tools - Part #3: Online Utilities


“ [] allows you to upload, and keep, your bookmarks on the web for free. You can access them at any time, from any computer… anywhere!”

On a scale from ‘0’ to ‘5,’ the mean rating for iKEEPBOOKMARKS was 3.45.

“iKeepBookmarks is a very helpful site for both teachers and students. Users can keep useful bookmarks of websites that they find very useful on this website so that they do not have to keep searching for it again on a search engine. Users can manipulate their environment on the site by describing the types of websites they decide to bookmark. Users can also put their bookmarks into folders. This website is very helpful for many different types of interests from education, gaming or shopping”.

“Although ikeepBookmarks does not do much to help students with work, it does help students remember all of their favorite sites, their user names, and passwords for each site, alongside websites recommended by the teachers”.

Yahoo! Briefcase [] is a tool that allows you to store files online and then access them from anywhere. “You can easily access, edit, share and modify your files anywhere you can access the Internet just by uploading and downloading files through virtually any web browser on any web connection.”

On a scale from ‘0’ to ‘5,’ the mean rating for YAHOO BRIEFCASE was 3.46.

“Yahoo Briefcase is very easy to navigate and use. It is very self-explanatory (so) that no manual is required. I believe that ESL students could easily use the program without difficulty, provided they are self-directed computer users. Yahoo Briefcase is an extremely practical tool for students to consolidate all the work on the web, allowing them to retrieve and/or edit files anywhere they have access to the computer and the internet. However, it only simply allows one to input, retrieve and edit files and nothing else, like enable it to be multimedia.


Tripod [] on Lycos, established in 1994, is one of the leading personal publishing communities on the Web. Tripod makes it easy for members to create their own web site. With 20MB of web space for your web site, you can have a BLOG and a photo album along with your web site. Tripod also has clip art you can use on your web pages.

No rating available.

Technology Tools - Part #2

Firefox [] was the web browser of choice for the computer lab using Windows XP operating systems because the technicians and original grant writers felt Firefox provided a safer environment and reduced the number of transmitted computer viruses. Originally, only 2 students claimed to have used a browser other than Microsoft Internet Explorer to access the World-wide Web.

On a scale from ‘0’ to ‘5,’ the mean rating for Firefox was 4.41.

“As a browser that enables one to access the internet, f(F)irefox is quite efficient. Processing times are relatively fast and it is easy to navigate. There is also a guide to assist in using the application. There is also a “live bookmarks” feature that allows one to bookmark favorite websites and it updates it automatically for news and events. Because firefox is an efficient browser to access various internet sites, I see it as a technology that supports communication and connection with a variety of people or sources to enhance personal experience and learning as well.“

“It is also an excellent exploratory tool that offers minimal virus and pop up problems.”

This specific content management system, MoodleRooms [], was designed for teaching, learning and communication events. “Moodle is web-based software that helps instructors create online activities for their students with the aim of fostering rich collaborations between participants.”

On a scale from ‘0’ to ‘5,’ the mean rating for MOODLE was 4.00.

“The MOODLE contains no manual or guide for how to use the site and all its available features. Student has to be directed by teacher for its use. It is easy to navigate and easy to read. Calendar, news and events are all on one page so there is no flipping between pages and layout is very organized. The MOODLE conveniently and efficiently allows students a centralized area for teacher and student communication on assignments, submitting assignments and monitoring feedback and progress on lesson activities. It allows teacher to use links for assignments for efficiency in student obtaining information. The MOODLE is also great as a communication tool, as it allows for chats and discussion forums among all classmates and teacher. However, student is not able to manipulate calendar of events to tailor it for their personal use as well.”

“Moodle … allows students to view, at anytime all the assignments and activities that will be covered in class. Students are also able to monitor their progress by checking their grades on the site. Students and teachers are also able to communicate through forums. This is a very helpful tool for any level of education from intermediate, secondary to the college level.”

“I enjoyed utilizing this on-line assignment organizer. The only disadvantage though is that there were some incidents where I had trouble accessing it from time to time. However, I liked the fact that our professor provided the requirements of each assignment on the page where we upload our files”.

“Students are able to access the website to check their grades, assignments they need to turn in, and participate in forum discussions. We are able to monitor our progress in terms of grades and assignments that we have submitted, as well as upcoming assignments/activities that we will need to start working on. It allows us to be independent and in control of our virtual environment, as well as communicate with our peers and professors.”

“As a technology tool for Exploratory Learning and aside from the links, I do not feel that it (MOODLE) is able to allow learners to be self-directed and to discover facts and at least for me, it is not able to allow learners to manipulate their virtual environment. As a technology tool for Applications, I feel that it was more an informant of assignments and I do not feel that it is able to assist students to incorporate multimedia into their projects. The one thing I do believe that it was really good for is a technology tool for Communications. I think that it is able to support an educational philosophy that values connection, communication, and personal experience as a means of learning.”

Technology Tools - Introduction

For this assignment, students were required to write one short paragraph each for 8 technology tools and assess them for educational purposes. In previous assignments, students practiced in class and then wrote a final draft of their evaluations for educational games and a critical analysis of selected web sites. They were given a rubric of 4 questions to think about when assessing the 5 required technology tools and the 3 tools of their choice from a given resource list. They were prepared, therefore, to write an assessment of specified technology tools. Additional, the instructor requested that they give a rating for each tool of 0 to 5, from poor to excellent. All students were required to write their assessments on the same 5 technology tools that were used for final projects and homework. These tools were as follows: Firefox (the browser of choice), MOODLE (content management system), iKeepbookmarks (bookmark management), Yahoo Briefcase (online file storage), and Tripod (our web server of choice). Students were given a list (with URLs) of approximately 45 other sources from which to choose 1 from each of 3 categories - Communication, Pedagogy, and Miscellaneous. As an entire group, the students completed writing an assessment in class of MOODLE.

Here is a little information on the courses using these technology tools. The undergraduate courses were: ED 451 - Audio Visual Education is the required class for all education majors. ED 481 - Second Language Teaching Methods is a methods class for teachers of second-language learners. The graduate courses were: ED 664 - Bilingual Education: Theory and Practice, and ED 647 - Special Topics in Literacy Education. All courses were taught in computer labs using either the Windows XP operating system or the Macintosh (OS 9.2) operating system.

In this multi-part BLOG, I will share the comments, recommendations and assessments submitted by my students. This first installment will relay the information about 2 of the 5 required tools for assessment: MOODLE and Foxfire. The second installment will relay the information from 3 of the 5 required tools for assessment: Yahoo Briefcase, Tripod and iKeepbookmarks. The third part of this installment will present comments about other tools, such as Writely, Learn Out Loud, and Hot Potatoes.

It is possible that you might be introduced to a new tool or a new way of using a familiar technology tool. There were surprises for me, and I plan to adjust my resource list for next semester accordingly.

Share with me, if you wish, your comments and reactions to my students� assessments of their experiences using technology tools for the Spring 2006 education courses that integrated instructional technology elements. This un-scientific sampling is from 2 sections of ED 451 and one section each of the other 3 courses. For these technology ratings, the n = 20.