Sunday, July 8, 2007

Google Book Search, making the worlds Public Domain Works accessible to all.

Recently launched, a new feature of Google Book Search which makes public domain works more accessible. Any public domain work in the index is accompanied by a link to "View Plain Text", once in the plain text version, the book may be accessed by adaptive technologies such as TTS readers and Braille display. It is possible to read the whole book on line, download, save and print to PDF.

Now when is Hebrew TTS finally going to become a valid option?

Monday, July 2, 2007

Thinking out loud... or not

Although the name of this blog is "Musings of a Tech Teacher" and I specifically started it as "A place where I can think out loud" one thing strikes me as I look over the few posts I have here and on my other blog in Hebrew, iteachr, I'm not very active as far as thinking out loud, blog style, goes.

On the other hand, I am a world class procrastinator, and so instead of sitting down to the nitty gritty of planning my curriculum for next year, I find I am spending hours, even days, consuming gallons of coffee, packets of cigarettes, and surfing the internet in search of new tools and applications that may somehow be of aid. The truth is that the list of links I have collected is already too long and I know I will find it hard to to focus when I do finally have to make a choice.

I guess the first step for me is to stop my incessant web quest and to start putting some order into things. First things first pick a subject area, topic or whatever you like to call it, then review the standards set out by the curriculum, decide what the focus is, map out aims and objectives, outcomes etc. See how the learning experience can be enriched, enhanced, taken at least one step further by the implementation of technology.

I've got my work cut out for me.... better have another cup of coffee :-)

My New Profile Pic, courtesy of ToonDoo

Many thanks to Rajendran at ToonDoo for my new avatar, explanation below...
For those of you who haven't yet discovered it, ToonDoo is an excellent site for creating cartoons. Features include:
member profile page, cartoon generator with a large and growing library of
backgrounds, characters and props, user comments and embedding code to allow you to post your creations in your blog or website. Cartoons can be made public,
private or shared with a chosen few. The toon creator works with unicode meaning
cartoons can be created in every language!
As the site itself is written in English I created some simple demos in Hebrew for my students, and informed Rajendran at toondoo so that other Hebrew speakers would also have access to them.

Rajendran wrote back asking for a photo to add to his blogpost about the demos. Being one of those people who has difficulty making decision for even the simplest things, I sent my photo and my avatar and asked him to choose. Two minutes later I received Rajendran's creative suggestion, my head superimposed on the body of my avatar. Excellent idea! I've been using the two seperately for ages, why didn't I ever think of this?

Sunday, July 1, 2007

A Fair(Y) Use Tale - Copright Explained

Disney characters explain Copyright Law - in a humorous video by Professor Eric Faden of Bucknell University -

The video is also posted on and so is available for translation to other languages. (Definitely worth waiting for the 10 minute video to download)