Category Archives: Technology Integration

Diigo Educator Accounts

You gotta love educator accounts! In my last post, I told you about Prezi educator licenses. Today, I’d like to tell you about Diigo, a social bookmarking site, that is now also offering free educator accounts. Diigo provides a powerful online research tool and learning environment that allows teachers and their students or colleagues to:

  • add highlights and sticky notes on any web page, anywhere, and access them anywhere.
  • utilize group online annotations for instruction or discussions.
  • share and interact online findings through group bookmarks, highlights, sticky notes, and forum discussions.
  • and a lot more!

With an educator account, you can create student accounts for an entire class with just a few clicks (and student email addresses are optional for account creation).

  • Students of the same class are automatically set up as a Diigo group so they can start using all the benefits that a Diigo group provides, such as group bookmarks and annotations, and group forums.
  • Privacy settings of student accounts are pre-set so that only teachers and classmates can communicate with them.
  • Ads presented to student account users are limited to education-related sponsors.

Student accounts have the following special settings:

  • Classmates in the same class are automatically added as friends with one another to facilitate communication, but students cannot add anyone else as friends except through email.
  • Students can only communicate with their friends and teachers.  No one except their friends can send message, group invite, or write on their profile wall.
  • Student profiles will not be indexed for People Search, nor made available to public search engines.

Click here to sign up for your Diigo educator account. Make sure you use your CUNE email address.

Embed or Email Video Messages with EyeJot

Eyejot is a FANTASTIC and FREE tool that is super handy for online instructors. You can use Eyejoy to embed or email short (5 minutes or less) videos to your students. Check out how Jack Kinworthy is using Eyejot to introduce his macroeconomics course (I only included the first minute of his message):


Notice how we embedded Jack’s video right into the new version of Blackboard!

Using Eyejot couldn’t be easier. Just visit the site ( and create a free account. Go to the messages section and click “Compose New Message.”

Allow Eyejot to enable your webcam.

Click the red record button and start talking! You can then add email addresses by entering them in the address box and clicking “add.” Then click “send Eyejot.” If you want to embed the video in Blackboard, send it to yourself.

You (or Whoever you sent the Eyejot to) will get an Eyejot in your email. If you want to embed in Blackboard, click on the image or where it says “here.” You will then be taken to a page that will allow you to copy the embed  code. If you need more instructions from there, contact me and I’ll be happy to help!

Copy the embed code under “Embed this message.”

Technology in education: South Korea to digitize its school curriculum — from 18 October 2011 post on BBC news

“South Korea, one of the world’s highest-rated education systems, aims to consolidate its position by digitising its entire curriculum.     By 2015, it wants to be able to deliver all its curriculum materials in a digital form through computers. The information that would once have been in paper textbooks will be delivered on screen.     South Korea’s Minister of Education, Science and Technology, Ju-Ho Lee, said that his department was preparing a promotion strategy for “Smart Education”, focusing on customised learning and teaching….”     Read more at  “Digital textbooks open a new chapter” by Gary Eason.

Let’s Talk Undergrads and Technology

The ECAR study of undergraduate students and information technology was recently released. Although I could point out what I find most interesting, I am curious about your thoughts! Take a look at the infographic, and leave a comment. What do you find most interesting or thought-provoking? Do these findings make sense, given your experience with undergrads? What are the potential implications for Concordia, or for you as an instructor?

Instructional Technology Updates

We’ve had a lot of exciting things going on in the world of CUNE instructional technology. First and foremost, we purchased WebEx. What an amazing tool for both faculty and staff! All CUNE employees should now have access to WebEx, allowing you to virtually meet with one or more individuals using audio and/or video. You can also share your desktop, transfer files, share presentations, take control of someone else’s computer, collaborate via a whiteboard, and more. This semester, I will be using WebEx in my Empowering Teachers as Leaders course to present a panel of teacher leaders from across the U.S. I’ll also use it to meet virtually with students since they are in Omaha. Finally, I’ll use it to offer optional WordPress Q & A sessions since they will be using WordPress to create an online action research portfolio.

Speaking of WordPress, this is another tool that you now have at your disposal! While has always been free to use, we now have it installed at Concordia, so faculty, staff, and students can create an account using their CUNE username and password. WordPress is the tool that was used to create this site (which I will soon be exporting to our CUNE WordPress, so stay tuned for a new address). For faculty, this means that you can easily create your own blog or professional portfolio, and you could have your students do the same. As I mentioned earlier, my students will be using it to create an action research portfolio, with a page for their research journal, research question, literature review, data collection tools, etc. WordPress is available for faculty and staff at and for students at We plan to discuss WordPress in more detail at a future faculty seminar and, of course, training will be offered.

Finally, our last new and exciting tool is Blackboard 9.1. Yes, it’s here! No, you don’t have to use it yet. I will be taking the next couple of weeks to familiarize myself with it, and I will then offer training sessions to prepare you to use it in the spring.

As for other trainings, we have offered six introductory WebEx sessions with great participation. For those of you who missed these, click here for the recorded version. Self-paced tutorials can be found by logging into your account at and clicking on “Training.” I will periodically offer this training again; however, our next round of WebEx sessions will focus on Training Center, which is a step up from Meeting Center, allowing you to do breakout sessions and other advanced things. Stay tuned for these.




If you’re looking for a fun and unique way to encourage brainstorming and collaboration, you should take a look at LinoIt. With LinoIt, you can create a multimedia collection (text, video, images, files) of your thoughts and notes. The best part about it? You can create groups and invite others to contribute. This would be a great way to have your students reflect on readings, plan for a project, or gather and share additional resources related to a subject. You can even embed the canvas in Blackboard.

Don’t let the size of the canvas in this screenshot fool you. You can move it around by clicking and dragging, so it can be much larger. Also, notice all of the types of information that you can post. This example has text, a YouTube video, an image, and even a PDF file. Due dates can be assigned to items on the canvas, which makes LinoIt perfect for working on tasks together.

To use LinoIt, all you need to do is visit the site, create an account, and start creating!



On the Horizon: Google+

The newest Google product to hit the scene is Google+ (aka Google Plus). I approached Google+ with hesitation, having been excited about, and then subsequently disappointed by, Google Wave and Google Buzz. Haven’t heard about Wave or Buzz? Well, it’s no surprise… they were terrible. However, I was still giddy about getting an invite to Google+. This is, after all, what Google does. They hand out select invites, and then the invitees can invite a certain amount of people, making everyone with an invite feel like one of the “chosen.”

What is Google+? The short answer, and what you’re most likely to hear/read, is that it’s Google’s Facebook competitor. However, that is too much of a simplification of its features. These features, I’ll add in advance, have wonderful capabilities for instruction! The key difference is that you can “stream” information to select groups, which Google+ refers to as “circles.” So, the first thing you do is set up your circles. Preset circles are friends, family, and acquaintances, but you can add your own (think “students,” “ED 101 Class,” or “Science Colleagues”). Once you have circles, you can post (as you do in Facebook), but indicate to whom you would like the post to appear. So, I can choose all my circles, just my friends, friends and family, students, etc. As with Facebook, you can share pics, videos, and links as well. The ability to set up a circle for, and stream information specifically to, a course or group of students presents excellent possibilities for classroom sharing and collaboration.

Another feature that separates Google+ from Facebook (in a big way): the “hangout.” Anyone can start a hangout, which allows people to connect using a webcam and mic. When you start a hangout, you can invite anyone in your circle, but you can also invite via link. I was in a hangout last night and, while there are some kinks that Google needs to work out (mostly associated with sharing YouTube videos), it was pretty slick. The audio was crystal clear, and the video worked great. When someone speaks, Google puts that person’s image front and center. Participants without audio can communicate via chat. As it turns out, one of the folks in my hangout took a screenshot last night. Don’t ask me why I’m not looking at the screen, but at least you can see what it looks like!

We now have WebEx, which is the recommended way for instructors to host virtual office hours, but students cannot initiate their own WebEx meetings. If they were all connected in Google+, a student could start a hangout, letting other students know that they are available to study together, collaborate, chat, etc. You can have 10 people in a hangout at one time.

A final feature of Google+ is “Sparks.” Sparks allows you to get streaming information about topics in which you are interested. So, for example, “Instructional Technology” might be one of my sparks.

Initial thoughts on Google+…

I really like the ability to stream information to specific groups of people. Obviously, one should still assume that everything on the Web is public, but it at least allows you to target your posts. The hangout feature has great potential for simple collaborations, but will not support interactions that require more advanced sharing features (i.e. desktop sharing, file sharing, whiteboard, etc.). These types of meetings are best reserved for more sophisticated apps, such as (at Concordia) WebEx. Will it replace Facebook? I doubt it. People are pretty immersed in Facebook and most of them, hearing that Google+ is simply another Facebook, probably won’t even bother giving it a try. However, if I wanted to establish a social/collaborative environment for a specific group, I would bypass Facebook and head straight to Google+.

Random Name Selector

Do you ever find yourself needing to randomly select names in class? Maybe you’re assigning groups, doing a review game, throwing out a verbal pop quiz… whatever. Click here for a super fun random name selector. Simply enter your students’ names and click “go.” The name selector will scroll through the names with the sound of a slot machine. Once it lands on a name, the name is announced to the class. The former elementary teacher in me loves this, but I would 100% use it with my higher ed students too!

NOTE: If annoying music starts playing when you open the link, go to “options” and pause the video that is there. The video autoplays on my Mac, but not on my PC.

Free Videos and Documentaries

Our #1 resource for online videos at CUNE is Films on Demand (also see the update regarding Films on Demand). Nevertheless, even with its vast array of films, you may need to check additional resources to find a video that is just right for your learning activity. In this case, put Snag Learning on your list of resources. 

Snag Learning houses a database of over 1,600 documentaries, many with high quality producers such as National Geographic and PBS. Search options include:

  • Searching college-level videos;
  • Searching via subject;
  • Channel-specific searching (e.g. National Geographic, PBS, Sundance, etc.); or
  • Open-ended search – This includes a search of Snag Learning and its affiliates. If there are no matching videos, Google search results will be shown.
Videos include descriptions, and may also include recommended questions and activities. Users can share videos, embed them on their own websites, and/or comment on them. Best of all, Snag Learning is FREE!

Need to Create a Form?

I just came across a really cool form builder called Wufoo. If you are familiar with Google Docs, then you may know that you can easily create forms there. Wufoo, however, is like the Google Docs form builder on steroids. You can use it to collect and analyze data, or even collect donations (although the latter is only available with a paid plan). As an instructor, use Wufoo to collect info from students, RSVP for class events, create a visually-appealing quiz, etc.

When you first login to Wufoo, you’ll immediately be able to create and start editing a form. As you click through the options, pop-ups will appear to guide you.

To create fields, you can either choose from a predetermined list (i.e. name, address, phone, etc.), or create your own based on field criteria (i.e. single line text, checkbox, dropdown, etc.).

Once your form is created, you can edit the look by changing colors and/or themes. If you want, you can choose to be notified via email, mobile device, or RSS when someone fills out the form. When you’re ready to start collecting entries, you can choose to do so by getting a link that you can share, embedding the form in a website or blog, or sending it as an email directly from Wufoo.

The most useful part of Wufoo is the ability to analyze data from your form entries. You can create reports complete with graphs, charts, and/or grids. Descriptive text can be added as well.

The free version of Wufoo allows 1 user to create 3 forms with up to 10 fields, 3 reports, and collect up to 100 entries per month. Click here for a quick tour of Wufoo.