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Random Thoughts on Instructional Design

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Language Dictionaries, Translators and Writing Online

Word2Word Links to dozens of language dictionaries and translators, from Abadani to Zapotec. While the translations aren’t perfect they go a long way to lowering language barriers. Learn to say hello in all your participants’ languages. We also liked the free language courses.

Altavista’s Babel Fish Translation Site which translates from/to English, Spanish, Japanese etc. Enter a section of text and have it translated, it pays to check both ways before posting it to participants!

Computer User High Tech Dictionary Lists just about every possible emoticon you might want to use or interpret. The site also gives information on file types (extensions) and chat room terms like ROFL (Rolling On Floor Laughing). A great site to learn netspeak/online languages.

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language on line at the Bartleby book site provides definitions, etymology, audio word pronunciations and quotations too.

The Apostrophe Protection Society Say no more!

Open Source Tools for the Classroom & Online Environments

  • AbiWorld – a free word processing program similar to MS Word. It is suitable for typing papers, letters, reports, memos, etc.
  • ArcExplorer – “a lightweight GIS data viewer developed by ESRI. This freely available software offers an easy way to perform a variety of basic GIS functions, including display, query, and data retrieval applications. It can be used on its own with local data sets or as a client to Internet data and map servers.”
  • Art of Illusion – “Art of Illusion is a free, open source 3D modeling and rendering studio. It is written entirely in Java, and should be usable on any Java Virtual Machine which is compatible with J2SE 1.4 or later.”
  • Blender – an “open source software for 3D modeling, animation, rendering, post-production, interactive creation and playback. Available for all major operating systems under the GNU General Public License.”
  • GNU Image Manipulation Program – GIMP is an illustration program that is very similar to PhotoShop. GIMP can be used to enhance or modify photographs as well as to create original artwork.
  • Grass – “is a Geographic Information System (GIS) used for geophysical data management and analysis, image processing, graphics/maps production, spatial modeling, and visualization.” This is a complex and very powerful program. If you are using it for the first time work through the tutorials.
  • ImageJ – scientific and mathematical image processing tool developed at the National Institute of Health. Java application ensures cross-platform functionality. Great for analysis of microscopy images.
  • LDraw“an open standard for LEGO CAD programs that allow the user to create virtual LEGO models and scenes. You can use it to document models you have physically built, create building instructions just like LEGO, render 3D photo realistic images of your virtual models and even make animations.”
  • Open Office – Powerful alternative to the expense of licensing Microsoft Office. Can open and save files in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint formats.
  • POV-Ray – a rendering program that can ray-trace 3D models and scene descriptions created in LegoCAD programs like Ldraw. A fantastic combination of art and math.
  • Squeak – A creative environment in which projects can be created with objects that can be programmed to move and interact. Highly interactive and flexible, Sqeak supports collaborative connectivity over the Internet, including a voice-over-IP capability.
  • StarLogo – a programmable modeling environment to explore the workings of decentralized or emergent systems. Created in MIT’s Media Lab and supported by their College of Education.

Other Resources

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