The May two-four weekend is finally here with all of its attendant traditions! Time to head out to the campground, commune with nature, and relax with the buds…if you’re into that. Whatever you choose to do, don’t forget to bring your wireless laptop so you can try out all the great web resources we have for you in the blog this week! The usual suspects are covered: 1) library news, 2) new web tools and 3) e-learning news.
1) Library News
Trial Database: Points of View
Just a reminder that we have a fantabulous database for you to try out right now. Called Points of View, it’s ideal for papers that require students to debate current issues. In addition, it includes a huge range of materials to help students with essay writing! Give her a whirl and let us know what you think!
New podcast: wild and wonderful wikis!
Check out the BRAINcast web site for our newest podcast on the wild and wonderful world of wikis! Need to know what a wiki is and how to use one in the classroom? Not sure if your students should be using Wikipedia for research? Well, tune in and find out!
Chat with us!
Don’t forget that if you use instant messenger, you can contact the Library that way – seven days a week! We’ve recently added Google Talk to our lineup of chat clients supported. If you use Google Talk or Gmail for chatting, be sure to add braintogo to your list of buddies! We’re standing by!
Wow, was Connections amazing or what? Kudos to the planning team on an amazing job. This week, we offer up some links to some of the sessions from the Library stream in case you’d like to review.
Puzzled by wikis and blogs? We hope you aren’t puzzled anymore by these nifty tools that allow you to set up collaborative workspaces. Here is a link (wikis-and-blogs.ppt) to the session materials that includes URLs for the best free wiki programs on the web. Want to know more about Wikipedia and wikis and their use in the classroom?
The April 2007 issue of First Monday features papers addressing aspects of Wikipedia, the online, user-contributed encyclopedia. There are articles about what influences popularity on Wikipedia and the collaborative nature of the tool.
Meanwhile, in the lastest edition of Interdisciplinary Journal of Knowledge and Learning Objects, two authors review the current state of wiki use in education and look at how wikis can be used in online learning. Check out their paper.
Second Life Basics: Want to read up on Second Life before taking the plunge? Check out our Connections conference session notes. The University of North Carolina has also assembled a great list of readings about Second Life called Virtual Worlds in Education.
2) New Web Tools
Wow, there has been an explosion of exciting new web tools on the scene since our last posting! Let’s get down to the nitty gritty…
Encyclopedia of Life Launched this Month!
A huge effort to document all the species on the planet was launched on May 9th, in the form of the Encyclopedia of Life! From the press release, this encyclopedia is “an unprecedented global effort to document all 1.8 million named species of animals, plants, and other forms of life on Earth. For the first time in the history of the planet, scientists, students, and citizens will have multi-media access to all known living species, even those that have just been discovered. The Field Museum of Natural History, Harvard University, Marine Biological Laboratory, Smithsonian Institution, and Biodiversity Heritage Library joined together to initiate the project, bringing together species and software experts from across the world. ”
Attention all word freaks!
A tremendously exciting tool for word freaks like myself has just launched! Visuwords is a visual thesaurus/dictionary that is not only extremely useful but also buckets of fun! Type in a word and an animation displays a mouseover definition and a floating diagram of associations and related concepts. Click on one of the words on the diagram and see another network of words and synonyms in yet another floating diagram. The tool is free and is based on Princeton University’s WordNet, an opensource database built by University students and language researchers.
World Clinical Trials Database Now Available
A new web site, Clinical Trial Search Portal , will feature data from 50,000 clinical trials in Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand and the U.S, with the plan to later include data from all clinical trials, published or not. From a press release: “the web site… aims to provide researchers, physicians and patients with reliable information that could help them avoid potentially harmful side effects of drugs.” This is a great first step toward greater transparency in drug trial reporting.
My oh my, maps!
Google has just launched a new tool that lets you create your own maps and add notes, photos, shapes, placemarks and more to your map. Simply log into Gmail and go to Google Maps. You’ll see a tab on the left side of the screen called My Maps. Once you’ve added all the do-hickies to your map, you can then share it with others (great if you are providing driving directions) or keep track of your travels! Here’s an example of a map to the e-Library @ Mohawk with some placemarks in case you’re going to stay a while (links to the residence, parking, a scenic walk, etc.)
3) E-Learning News
New online journal about teaching and learning
A new online journal in the field of teaching and learning has just launched. The International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching & Learning is a new open, peer-reviewed, international electronic journal published by the Georgia Southern University Center for Excellence in Teaching. Check out the first issue for articles about PowerPoint Presentation handouts and college student learning outcomes, web-based courses and student performance, and more!
New EDUCAUSE Quarterly
A new issue of EDUCAUSE Quarterly as hit the e-newsstands. Check out this issue for articles on the quality of e-learning programs, mobile learning, clickers in the classroom and more.
Don’t forget the Teaching Professor!
Check out the Teaching Professor, for short, relevant, practical articles on classroom management. Articles featured lately are about how to prevent plagiarism, how to re-ignite your passion in the mid-career years, and how to encourage classroom participation. There is a one year embargo so look for the issues from 2006, which are still timely and relevant. To access, click Academic Search Premier on the list of databases web page (2nd database from the top). Once you’re inside Academic Search Premier, click Publications, enter Teaching Professor and choose an issue.
Teaching & Learning @ Mohawk blog
Don’t forget to check out the Teaching & Learning blog for news from the Centre for Teaching, Learning & Research. Get the latest scoop about professional development at Mohawk as well as e-learning news!