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Tech in Training

Tech  in  Training

Welcome to ATD Lincoln's source for everything technology in the training profession.  You will find tips, trends, as well as links to websites and resources that anyone who conducts training can use.

Our guest writer is ATD Lincoln Past President Ranelle Maltas.

  • Mon, August 05, 2013 9:49 AM | Ranelle Maltas (Administrator)

    Boolean is a data type with only two possible values. In computer programming terms, it usually means true/false, yes/no, or on/off. In quiz terms, it mean this or that. This is not to be confused with bullion, meaning gold bars or bouillon, meaning a dehydrated soup stock.

     

    There are many times during training you may want a simple quiz. You may need to perform a formative assessment (those who attended the July meeting knows what this is). You could be doing a spot check during or following training. In any case, you can choose to use QuizPoo.com. It is a free quiz creation site that gives you unlimited questions. You can even add pictures and/or an explanation for the questions. And just in case you have been thinking, "but the same type of question can get boring. I need more question type options," QuizPoo's blog states that they are working on adding multiple choice AND fill-in-the-blank. It sounds like these may be available in the very near future.

     

    Here is a quiz that I created in just a couple of minutes. When I completed the quiz, I was able to either copy the URL address to post as I did here, or I could post it via Twitter, Facebook or e-mail. The downside to this is you do not have the ability to view the results per person; however, you are able to determine how many times the quiz has been taken. If you want to collect the data, you need to require the quiz takers to share their results via Twitter, Facebook or e-mail.

     

    So, to recap what you've learned:

    1. You learned a new term, boolean.
    2. You discovered a free, online quiz maker.
    3. Ranelle still can't say the word "poo" without giggling. :)
  • Mon, July 15, 2013 1:36 PM | Ranelle Maltas (Administrator)

    I love how Campus Technology Magazine and the CLO magazine have an online digital publication that "feels" like the printed one. The layout is intact with all the images, text and ads. I have long wanted to the same thing, but just do not have the budget for it. Now, I have found FlipSnack to give me the free option I've been wanting.

     

    All you need is a publication to upload. My stuff is usually in a .PDF and for my example it worked great. After the upload, you can choose a style for the book and finally you can publish. If you want the free version, you can share a link to the book so it returns people to FlipSnack to view your publication. The free embed version adds the FlipSnack watermark. I've got both options for you to view here.

     

     

    It really is SO easy, you can't go wrong.

  • Fri, June 07, 2013 10:13 AM | Ranelle Maltas (Administrator)

    Released this week was the Pipe app on Facebook. I've been waiting for this to release for almost a year. It's a cool tool that will allow you to transfer a file to a friend on Facebook.


    Keep in mind that this is a file TRANSFER application and will NOT STORE your files. Once the recipient has downloaded the file, it's gone from the app. Moral of the story:  pay attention to the file name and where you save it when using Pipe.

     

    Unfortunately, I cannot use the app as my Facebook Page. I must be a personal user to use the app. But, there are times where people I interact with and are friends with on Facebook ask me for a handout from the last ASTD-Lincoln presentation I did. Sometimes, I attended a meeting and took notes and a friend would like a copy since they were not able to go. They may not have my e-mail address to contact me, but get a hold of me on Facebook. Here is where Pipe comes in. Even is the person I'm sharing with is not on Pipe, I can still send them the file. The recipient will need to add the Pipe app to get the file, but it will wait for them in their locker. They will receive a message telling them about the file. If you already have the app, you'll get a notice of a file waiting for you, much like a game request.

     

    I can see coaches using this to share information with their clients. Consultants could send quotes or contracts to potential clients. My favorite use will be for those people I network with at UNL who I have a passing conversation with and later ask for follow-up information about something we talked about. Yes, it happens. I usually need a prompt from them because I tend to lose requests out of my head whenever I pass through a door way. Anyone else do that?

     

    Since this is so new, I'll have to wait and see how handy it comes in for me. Give a try and feel free to leave a comment below and let me know how you like it and use it.

  • Tue, May 07, 2013 11:27 AM | Ranelle Maltas (Administrator)

    If you are a frequent reader of my blog, you'll know that my favorite adjective is "free." Well, here's some more of the good stuff.

     

    Online training is an excellent way to reach your learners 24/7. It can be very time-consuming to set up and expensive to create. If you are looking for a free option that is pretty well setup for you, take a look at edcanvas.com.  edcanvas is designed more for the K-12 group, but if you ignore that, you can easily create lessons for your organization training.

     

    First of all, edcanvas provides an easy layout for uploading your resources for learning. Resources can be YouTube videos or files found on you Dropbox, Google Drive or from your computer. Give descriptions for each and then arrange the resources in the correct order.

     

    Next, click to unlock the class to share a code that allows learners to take the class. For all the options that ask about the education level or grade, just select "Other" for the options. Now you can share your class via email.

     

    If you need an assessment, you can now create quizzes for your class. The feedback provides statistics such as average score, highest and lowest score and the number of submissions. You can click on individual questions to learn how each was answered and by whom.

     

    To learn more, view my canvas on using edcanvas. I put this together in less than five minutes, it's that easy.

  • Wed, March 20, 2013 4:47 PM | Ranelle Maltas (Administrator)
    When creating training, I do not always have the time to create videos from scratch. Often, I'll find something similar to what I want on YouTube.com or Vimeo.com. Only problem, is I wish I could edit them.

     

    The other day, I found a great video explaining the VLOOKUP function in Excel. The first part was great, but didn't need the end about relative referencing. Plus, there were some parts I felt the author skimmed over in explaining and my users really needed the extra info. To get what I wanted, I created a mashup using Mozilla Popcorn Maker.

     

    Popcorn Maker allows you to bring in an online video (this works as long as the video remains posted as it is linked, not embedded) and add text, pop-ups, twitter feeds and more. Once posted, someone else can use your mashup as a basis for their own and add to it. To learn more, view and participate in the tutorial online or go to https://webmaker.org/en-US/tools/#popcorn-maker.

     

    If you want to see my project, go to http://popcorn.webmadecontent.org/tjr.

  • Thu, February 28, 2013 3:29 PM | Ranelle Maltas (Administrator)

    Seriously?! It's the end of February and nobody noticed I haven't made a post yet all year? Thank goodness I was demonstrating how to use Microsoft OneNote to get and stay organized. I love the features of connecting to my Outlook calendar meetings and tasks. As I was showing how to make subpages, I used the section in my notebook where I keep all my ASTD-Lincoln Technology in Training blog posts as an example and BAM! No entries for 2013. Well, here's another lesson for you. When the new year begins, don't forget to update all your reminders.

     

    Focus, Ranelle. Get back on track.

     

    Do you have a notebook to keep things in? Instructions on how to do something, handouts from the last ASTD meeting, your own notes from the last ASTD meeting? I used to keep a file in my drawer for one thing, another file for other things and a notebook for even more things. If you could keep it in a notebook or file, you can keep it in OneNote. I can then store it on a network drive or on the web (like SkyDrive) to share with others.

     

    OneNote comes with the Microsoft Office Suite, so you may have it installed but didn't know what to do with it. My favorite feature is the organization. Yes, I'm an organization freak. I keep one notebook for all my training services. That is where I keep the PDF of our service agreement, the email with the confirmation code and password, and the entire Word file that is the getting started guide. I can then share this with anyone on my team that needs this information.

     

    Next, I love that I have OneNote on my laptop, iPad and Android phone. When at a conference, we toured a multimedia training room. I took notes on the features and attached the PowerPoint presentation they used. Then, I opened OneNote on my phone and took pictures that were added to the page. I was also able to use my phone to make a video of the tour and embed that as well.

     

    So, it's great for organizing training program stuff, but can it help in training? Yes. It can not only be the training manual, but if you give each person a copy, they can add their own notes, too. You can create sections with different topics or levels and include videos which is sometimes much more helpful than words and pictures alone. If you need an example, check out the Microsoft Office training notebook (all in OneNote). It's the perfect 21st century training manual.

  • Thu, December 13, 2012 2:26 PM | Ranelle Maltas (Administrator)

    With the end of the world (according to the Mayan calendar) quickly approaching, I find myself reflecting on the posts I have done for the ASTD-Lincoln Tech in Training. I wanted more of a visual timeline instead of the list I keep, so I found this super-easy, online and FREE option called, timetoast.com. Here's my posts on the timeline. I put this together in about 15 minutes, without reading a manual or watching a lengthy tutorial. Now that it's done, I see gaps where I forgot/neglected to post. Oops. I'll make it my New Year's resolution to do better.

     

    With it being so easy, I thought I could use timetoast.com to track training initiatives and programs. You can add events (with pictures, descriptions and links) and time spans. I could then share the timeline with stakeholders, my supervisor, etc. So many ideas for me. I'm going to have to create a timeline just for creating different timelines.

     

    There are many more options for creating timelines. I found on EdTechTeacher.org a great table of options. Their webpage is geared toward the K-12 technology teachers, but a great list and I've shared it with you below.

     

    Tool

    Description

    Usefulness Rating

    (1-5)

    Ease-of-Use Rating

    Timetoast

    Free tool that allows text and images in each timeline entry. Also provides an embed code for each timeline.

    Example: Moon Landings

    3

    Easy

    Ourstory

    Free: Students can create a personal timeline, invite others to collaborate, share & embed the final product. Intended for individual timeline, but students could create one for a historical figure.

    3

    Medium

    Timeglider

    Free & Beta: Great tool, yet still in beta. Images & links for each event, timelines can be embedded. Unique feature: new events can be added to multiple timelines & timelines are printable. Outstanding interface, visually appealing to use.

    Example: New York Times

    3

    Medium

    ReadWriteThink Timeline

    No sign in or account needed. Extremely easy to navigate and enter events. Timelines can be printed when finished & timelines can be edited while working, but work is not saved.

    3

    Easy

    Xtimeline

    Free & Beta: A permanent URL is created for each timeline. There are three privacy settings and discussion below each timeline. Unique features: events can be tagged and a source URL can be provided.

    Example: History of Cell Phones

    3

    Medium

    Capzles

    Visually appealing, image based timeline creator. Unique Feature: Video, images, mp3, word, excel, PowerPoint & pdf can be uploaded. Events can be “stacked” on the timeline. Timelines can be edited and shared. The most visually appealing timeline tool.

    Example: Battle of Shiloh

    4

    Medium

  • Fri, November 09, 2012 3:26 PM | Ranelle Maltas (Administrator)

    For the last upgrade, you may have noticed I was absolutely giddy with excitement of the changes to PowerPoint. This time around, I'm not as giddy, but there are a lot of things I like about the new version. Here are a few of the improvements to PowerPoint.

    Getting Started and Backstage view have changed. There are more options available for you. It does take some time to get used to the new look, but you will soon find that the same old stuff is still there with a few improvements.

    Insert online pictures and video

    You don't have to go outside of PowerPoint to search for and save pictures or video for use inside of PowerPoint. 
    1. On the Insert tab, Illustrations group, click Online PicturesOR Insert tab, Media group, click Online Video.
    2. In one of the search boxes, type a word or phrase that describes the clip art or video you want, and press ENTER.
    3. In the list of results, click an item, and then click Insert.

    Properties in the Task Pane instead of dialog box

    When formatting an object, whether it be a shape, picture or chart, you now have the properties on the right side in the task pane instead of floating on top of your object in a dialog box.  Double-click an element (or right-click and select Format [element]).

    Improved Presenter View

    I don't have to have two monitors connected to run Presenter view. YAY! When preparing at my desk, having a dual monitor setup is not always possible. Now I can practice the presentation without being the actual room where I'm presenting. During a presentation, you can also zoom in on a slide. I've had to use 3rd party programs to accomplish this before. There is also a slide navigator to make it easier to jump to the slide you need. 

    Widescreen friendly

    With much of the world using TV and video, the aspect ratio has changed for many of us. Instead of showing a presentation with the black boxes on the side, you can set up your presentation for a wide screen (16:9 layout). New themes are included for this as well.

    Design variations

    The rule of thumb for background colors is to match the light of your room. If in a dark room, use a dark background. When in a brightly lit room, use a light background. When I don't know the room I'll be presenting in, I'd bring two versions of my presentation; one dark and one light. It took some work and time on my part to do this in advance. Now, you have variations of a design to make this much easier.

    Line-up and space objects

    Another program I use is Adobe InDesign. A couple versions ago they added this cool feature that pops up a "grid" when moving objects that allows you to better align and space objects as you move them around. I've loved this feature and now PowerPoint has it, too. I don't have to go to the ribbons for the tools for alignment or spacing.

    Motion paths improved

    When creating a motion path in the past, I'd have to run the animation multiple times to get the start or end point to land exactly where I needed. Now, you'll get a ghost of the end point as you edit the path so it's far easier to work with.

    Merge common shapes

    This feature was in the previous version, but it was buried and few people were able to find it to use. It is far more prominent and gives a few more options that allow you to do a bit of illustration design in PowerPoint.

    Improved video and audio support

    A major problem in the past with PowerPoint is their very limited selection of compatible multimedia formats. It required work on the user's part to find another program to convert a file to one of the limited acceptable formats. PowerPoint now includes more built-in codecs. Also, check out the Play in Background feature which never worked as promised in previous versions.

    Eyedropper for color matching

    Once again, I can ditch my 3rd party software and use the eyedropper in PowerPoint to find the color being used in a picture so I can use it for my text, shapes or complimentary colors.
    1. Select the shape or text to apply the color to.
    2. From the Fill or Outline tools of a shape or text, select Eyedropper.
    3. Click the area of the slide or picture to pick up the selected color.
    4. The color is applied to the select shape or text.
  • Tue, October 23, 2012 11:55 AM | Ranelle Maltas (Administrator)

    Sometimes after training, questions arise. They may be simple, but others can get pretty deep and complex. Perhaps this is an indicator that a more advanced training class is needed. Or maybe reference materials are needed or are not easily accessible. I also love the idea of asking people what they need to learn and then developing training around their needs.

    Introducing Google Moderator. It allows you to create a “series” about whatever. People can submit questions, ideas or suggestions. They can also vote on what is already posted. Moderator will rank the questions based on a simple statistical algorithm of the ratio of positive votes against the total votes for a posted question. The end result is that you’ll learn what people want to know more about.

    Create a Series

    1. Go to http://google.com/moderator and click the Create Series button (bottom right corner of the screen). You must have a Google account to create a series.
    2. Name your series. You’ll also need to provide a description or instructions. There are a number of other settings you can allow or not allow, including if you will allow a person to post anonymously. You can add administrators to allow others to help moderate and edit the series. All selections can be changed at a later time.
    3. When all information is complete, click Create Series.

    Using Google Moderator

    You can practice by using my series, ASTD-Lincoln Tech in Training. In order to submit questions or vote, you must have a Google account.p>

    • To submit a question, click the Suggest a question button at the bottom of the topic page.
    • To vote on an existing question, just click the checkmark next to a question to agree or vote for it. Click the x button to vote against or disagree with it.
    • To view the votes already submitted, hover your mouse over the bars.
    • You can share a question or idea with others by using the Share button to copy a direct URL for the post. You can share a post through Gmail, Facebook or Twitter (you must be signed in to your account on these services to do so).
    • If you are the owner/administrator of a series, you can respond to or comment on questions. Just click Post a response to share your thoughts.

    And there you have it; easy-peasy. (I'm laughing on the inside that I actually got to use the phrase "easy-peasy.")

  • Tue, September 25, 2012 1:15 PM | Ranelle Maltas (Administrator)
    When you find a neat tool, and someone else has already reviewed it, why redo what's already done. Learn about Haiku Deck for iPad here. It leaves out bullet points and transitions. Enter a few keywords of text onto a slide, and the app searches a database of over 35 million Creative Commons images that suit your subject. After you pick your image, your text is automatically formatted nice and big to fill the screen.

    It sounds interesting and I can't wait to give it a try.
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