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Tuesday, September 30 2014

Lesson Planning and Learning Tools You Need to Know

Who says learning and teaching process is always boring and dull? With the right tool and the right management, studying can be fun and exciting. If you are a teacher and you have been looking for the right tool to plan teaching materials that are fun and engaging, there are some options that you can consider about.

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Here are some of the tools that can be used to make teaching easier and more fun. They can make teaching more effective too.

MangaHigh. If your students hate math so much, this tool can provide ideas and resources about teaching math in the fun way. The teaching is based on games, so your students should find it exciting.

KhanAcademy. It is rich in collections and resources for science, math, and finances. You can also find quizzes and materials, in case you get stuck with the general ideas.

Educreations. It will challenge your students’ creative sides as well as delivering the materials. It is compatible for iPad, where you can let your students make videos based on the topic.

FunBrain. It has great collections of educational games. The fun tools are best for reading and math.

Socrative. Who doesn’t want to play games the whole times? Students definitely love the ideas that they can play games while completing exercises on any device they have: mobile gadgets, tablets, or computers. You as the teacher will assess their progress and track their grades. It is like the best educational tool every teacher is dreaming about!

Animoto. You can teach your students about making presentation or lessons through video based implementation. You can then ask them to present it at class or share with others.

Kerpoof. Your students will love this as this tool allows them to get creative with interactive activities, games, drawing tools, and many more. Not only it is educational, it is also fun.

Knewton. You can use this tool to create adaptive learning for different students – depending on each student’s needs.

StudySync. Studying will be more fun with this tool as it provides writing practice on weekly basis, digital library, peer reviews activity, and online writing. Students can also take advantages from the multimedia lessons. Not only students find this tool amusing and handy, teachers find out that it is fun and they benefit greatly from it.

Here are other options for making lesson plan. You can collect sources and create amazing design that will make your students go wow.

Planboard. This tool is designed for teachers so you can make sure that your materials are well designed and organized.

Timetoast. It allows students to create cool designs where they can make interactive and sleek timelines within minutes only.

Capzles. Feel free to collect videos, photos, blog posts, or documents so you can create a great online project where learning and teaching are made possible and easier.

Quizlet. If you have been having problems creating cool studying tool, this tool will provide easy way for you within a quick time. Feel free to explore these tools and choose which one suits your needs the most.

Monday, September 29 2014

Web Conference Tools for Your Business

Web conferencing is now becoming a popular method where business people can get together and discuss professional projects without them having to be present in the meeting room. The idea of having web conference is simple: it allows people to remain within their comfort zone while discussing over important business matters. Since it is operating online, everything can be set up easier, simpler, and faster. You don’t necessarily have to struggle with traffic jams or busy hours just to reach the office. 

If you are dealing with meeting quite often or you need to brainstorm or discuss matters with crucial clients, you need to make sure that you have packed enough arsenals in your inventory. If you don’t really have the budget for the sophisticated or complete web conference tool, why don’t you choose the free ones or the ones with very low operational cost? There are loads of free tools available. Of course you need to compare which is more advantageous for you: the free app or the paid ones. Having the paid service doesn’t always hurt your financials, as there are myriads of affordable services out there. 

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The first tool is AnyMeeting. You probably had known it as Freebinar before it changed names into AnyMeeting. It is considered as one of the best tools because it comes with very handy features, similarly provided by the paid software. Not only it can accommodate up to 200 people, you can really use the basic features like phone conference, VoIP, and screen sharing. You can also have the meeting recording or enjoy the meeting functionality. You only need to download small size of plugin for installation if you are a host. The attendees won’t need to download anything. However, since it is a free tool, be prepared to deal with advertising. After all, it is running on ad-based operation, but it won’t be too annoying or bothersome, especially for the attendees or even the host. 

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The second one is Mikogo. Don’t expect too much from the appearance, as it is very simple – even quite plain. However, don’t underestimate its functionality as you can expect the best from it. You can use it to accommodate 10 participants altogether, as well as making use of the provided features. You can record the meeting, have screen share, or even switch between presenters. There is a facility to pause the screen share feature, in case you want to check the confidential files, for instance. The coolest thing about this tool is the meeting quality control, which is great for any purposes, like saving the bandwidth. 

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The third tool is Vyew. Although you use the free version, you can still enjoy the great perks and benefits as it offers more features than the regular basic web tool. It is available for free as well as paid service, but mind you that even the paid service will be very affordable and low cost. The greatest perk of using this app is the implementation on different operating systems, so feel free to use any Linux, Mac, or Windows devices without difficulty. It can accommodate 10 people altogether, including the cool free service for videoconference. You can also create online meeting rooms that you can save, which is great for online collaboration and discussion.
However, be prepared to deal with some flaws. First of all, it doesn’t have any recording feature, so you can’t have meeting recording service or any playback support. Second, it is not as easy as other conference tool, so you will need to get yourself familiar with the overall operation and use. But once you get the hang of it, everything will be simpler. You can always try the free service. In case you don’t really like the look or the implementation, you don’t have to continue further with the sign up for paid packages. 

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The four tool is BuddyMeeting. This open source software allows you to have conference with 25 people altogether. It has chat support, as well as voice and video features. With this tool, you will feel as if you were in a regular meeting room, as you will see whiteboard for brainstorming and discussion. You can also make use of the screen sharing and slide sharing – supporting PDF and PowerPoint. The great thing about this tool is you don’t need to download anything as long as you have Flash player in your device. The user interface is very simple and easy. In case this is your first online conference, you won’t have problems operating it. The only flaw is that it doesn’t have meeting playback or recording, but such features should be available very soon. 

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The last one is the omNovia. If you just start your small business and you can’t afford any IT department or professional, this tool will help you a lot. It is easily used and tweaked. Another cool thing about it is the absence of any installation since it is running on browser-based operation. It is also flexible, able to accommodate participants as many as you want. It can be used between two people only, or to accommodate 5,000 people altogether, depending on your business need. Your participant won’t have to download anything either. You only need to send them a link, where they need to click to participate. In case you want to send the data, the security is top notch so there is no need to worry about leakage. It can record conference as well as replaying it. Be prepared to have extra spending for this tool, though, as it costs around $50 a month or around $441 per year. But you will find out that it is truly worth your spending. 
 
There are some advantages and disadvantages of having the free and paid service. With free service you don’t have to pay anything, but there are some catches like pop up advertisement or limited services. If you choose the paid service, on the other hand, you do have to think about extra spending, but you can get complete and comprehensive service. You need to determine which tool suits your business preference the best.

Saturday, September 27 2014

5 Handy Online Tools to Improve Better Work Flow and Achievements

In the past, you needed to sit together with your team to review what you are going to do and what you have done. You physically have to be present in direct meeting and review everything together with your team members all present. Well, thanks to technology, you don’t have to deal with such fussy arrangement anymore. You can still work together as a team without even have to physically meet and see each other. Now, you can make sure that your work load can be distributed, handled, and reviewed together through online system. 
So, what kinds of tools are we looking for, in case you want to get more work completed and done in perfect manner? Here are some ideas and examples of the tools – along with their functions and their handy usages. 
 
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The first tool to consider about is Trello. If you have a distributed team – whose work is arranged, distributed, and met through online system – then having this tool is a must. Not only it helps organizing the work flow and its basic arrangement, it also helps checking the progress, so you know how much have your team accomplished. This tool is using lists and cards so everything will be organized. It also includes working board, where you can add cards – containing tasks – so every member can see.  Your work flow will be arranged in very visual manner, helping each team member to understand their task and their workload. You can also collaborate with others, making sure that each member understands their duties and how far they have achieved. To simplify things, Trello comes with colored labels, so you can track, view, and check everything easily. 
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The second handy tool is Sqwiggle, which is a chat video-based tool for team members. Don’t you love it when you are working with the sense that you are working with your teams, and yet you have your own freedom and sense of peace by yourself? With this chat tool, you can work within the comfort of your house but still connected to your team, and you get to see what they are doing. So, don’t think about picking your nose or doing your nasty things when this tool is on. This chat tool will take a snapshot of you once in every second so all team members can see what you do – the same thing applies to everyone using the tool. If you want to chat, simply click on the provided icon and you are good to go. In case you want to have multiple chats, you can do so. This tool comes with color coded feature, so you can basically see who is chatting with whom, and such things. This chatting tool certainly makes things simpler and easier, as you don’t have to deal with emails and their responses. Simply use this as if you were having direct conversation. Naturally, distributing work and syncing them is simpler and faster. 

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The third tool is the Hackpad. It is a document editing tool that is designed for collaborative work. It is especially handy when you have to deal with loads of documents and each member has something to contribute for. When you create a new document, you can invite other members to help edit it. Don’t worry, the tool ‘knows’ who contribute to the work as your names will be recorded and then written on the data. So you basically know who is responsible for which part. It helps tracking easier, and you can expect more efficient recording. This tool is very handy for writing up notes, sharing results and outcomes, or checking on the new copy of a certain product. It’s like having a living document where recording and data kept are done automatically, so you won’t be dealing with hassle. Another cool thing about this tool is that you can create email digest on weekly basis, containing all the links of the created documents done within the week, so every member is invited to review them as well as edit them, if necessary. 

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The fourth item is iDoneThis, which is basically a tool designed to show off completed tasks and achievements. The tool is working like a work diary with sharing feature so you know what each member has done or accomplished. Once you are log into it, you can see today’s date as well as the lists that they have done. Like in Facebook, you can like or make comments on each entry, making sure that you stay in touch with them and understand their accomplishment. It is not only about being able to complete the work only, but also about respecting others for their hard work and great efforts. By having this tool, it seems that you can face your colleagues directly even though you are separated and working remotely. This tool allows you to achieve goals without missing supports from colleagues. Not only you will be able to finish your tasks and proportion of the work, but you will also be able to get encouragement and support needed. 
 
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The next tool that you need to have is Help Scout, especially if you have to deal with customers and making sure that their requirements is met. This tool is basically a customer support program that can be used to deal with emails from customers. The tool is designed in email conversation mode, where everyone can take parts – which make support service faster and more responsive. Another cool thing about this tool is the fact that everyone involved can add notes to let others updated and in the loop. It makes taking over easier and you won’t be left clueless. This tool is designed for dealing customer emails, divided into different boxes and usages. You can set the boxes into business category, for instance, or the one for general support – such thing like that. The emails can be tagged or assigned to a particular member who has the skill and ability for certain issues. For example, you can assign one member to deal with technical problems, while another can be assigned to deal with the blog.

Wednesday, September 24 2014

How Do You Calculate Square Footage: The Procedure and the Right Method

You may be wondering, how do you calculate square footage, anyway? Well, if you only want to know the gross estimation and rough numbers only, you can always measure the width and length of your house and multiply them. But then again, it is only a rough estimation that provides you with slight idea of how big – or small – your property is. But if you want to know the exact accurate number, you may have to deal with more complicated process than that.

Lots of homes in the city come in simple design and shape these days. Most of them come in rectangular or square shape, which makes calculation and measurement easier and simpler. However, knowing the exact detail of the square footage will be important if you are considering a remodeling or renovation work. If you are trying to get a mortgage, the lender will definitely want to know the value of property they are investing in. Of course you need to have your property surveyed, but in case you want to know the deal beforehand, you can always do the process on your own.

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First of all, inspect your property. As it was mentioned before, if it comes in square of rectangular shape, things will be easier. However, if your house turns out is in irregular or odd shape, your work may be a bit more difficult and complicated. Keep in mind that a property consists of rectangular, square, triangles, or even circles. Once you break down your house into smaller parts consisting of those shapes, you can always calculate them. Remember the equations from the geometry class where you have to calculate shapes. The same thing applies here, only in bigger subject. Once you get the result of every part, simply add them up and you can get your final result.

If you don’t really know how to do it – or in case your math sucks – go online. You can find websites providing free calculator for different kinds of shapes. Simply fill in the measurement of your property and you can get the result right away in a snap!

However, you may deal with complicated matter during the measurement process as property square footage is different from room dimension. You see, according to ANSI – American National Standards Institute – the measurement of a property should be done on each level, provided that you have more than one story house. On the first level, the standard measurement is based on the exterior part, but on the second, third, or even fourth level, the standard measurement is based on the interior part. Moreover, the measurement should be done on finished spaces that are often used. So any space that isn’t used often, enclosed, or finished isn’t considered as a part of the house. The garage, for example, is excluded from the square footage measurement. 

If you are going to measure your property, you should also include bump-out, but then reduce indentations and stairwells. Yes, it can be confusing and complicated, especially if you aren’t used to it. That’s why, if you want to get exact result, it is better if you hire the professionals to do the measurement or ask for help from those who have dealt with such process before.