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IT News

Tag: tools

Free class Nov. 11: Basics of using a professional-grade camcorder

The Media Development Center in Hale Library is offering a class Friday, Nov. 11, for K-Staters who would like to learn the basics of using a professional-grade camcorder. The class is 9-10 a.m in the MDC, 213 Hale Library.

Participants will learn how to:

  • Set the white balance
  • Choose the correct camera mode
  • Use the zoom, iris, and focal controls
  • Check and adjust audio levels
  • Use good techniques for shooting video

Faculty/staff and students do not need to register for these classes. Just go to the Media Development Center the day of the class to participate. For more information, call 785-532-4921.

Zoom videocamera available for checkout by K-Staters

photo of blue Zoom video recorder
Zoom Q3 pocket-sized video recorder

The Zoom Q3 Handy Video Recorder is a pocket-sized video recorder that records MP4 video clips. It retails for about $200. However, students and faculty/staff can check out a Zoom at no charge, at the iTAC equipment check-out desk in 214 Hale Library.

What sets this versatile video recorder apart from other similarly sized recorders is its exceptional audio quality. The Q3 has built-in stereo condenser microphones that provide broadcast-quality audio.

The video and audio are also easily imported into a computer using the built-in USB cable or an SD card.

More IT resources available for checkout, plus procedures and policies, are listed on the Media Development Center’s equipment checkout page.

Tech tip: Free dotEPUB converts any webpage into an e-book

logo for dotEPUB websitedotEPUB  is “software in the cloud” that avid readers will appreciate.  Eric Dover, Client Services manager in iTAC, recommended this free tool for K-Staters who like to save complete webpages for offline reading later — such as extensive articles, news stories, long blogs, and more.

But it’s not an add-on or an app.  This nebulous tool is a bookmarklet for Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Opera web browsers. (Chrome users can opt to download the dotEPUB extension from the Chrome store instead.)

Once content is downloaded, it can be viewed by any epub-compatible device, including  Kindle and other e-readers, desktop computers, tablets, the iPhone and other smartphones, iPod touch, iPads, and more.

  1. (iPad users:  First get the free iBooks app or another e-reader, so you have a place to store downloaded content.)
  2. Everyone: Go to the dotepub.com website.
  3. The default is NOT to include images and links on webpages.  If you want to see pictures and follow links to websites, uncheck the box “Immersive mode (no links or images)”.
  4. Follow the instructions for your particular e-device, such as drag-and-drop the “dot E PUB” logo (most web browsers); copy-and-paste the supplied Javascript code (iPads); and so forth.

For more information, visit the dotepub.com website and watch the 2-minute dotEPUB video on YouTube.

Instructional Design and Technology Roundtables for fall 2011, spring 2012

The Instructional Design and Technology Roundtable (IDTR) kicks off its fall series with “Tech Tools that Make Life Easy” at 11 a.m.–12:30 p.mThursday, Sept. 15,  212 K-State Student Union. Join us as we discuss and share tech tools that make our lives easier. We will be looking at software, apps, smartphones, and other devices that help us connect, be productive, or just have fun. Don’t hesitate to bring your own favorites, and don’t worry if you don’t have any yet!

RSVP to the Center for the Advancement of Teaching and Learning (catl@k-state.edu, 785-532-7828). Coffee, tea, and water will be available, and you are welcome to bring your lunch.

Mark your calendars for these other sessions in the IDTR series:

  • The Maturing of Cloud Computing
    11 a.m.–12:30 p.mThursday, Oct. 13, 212 K-State Student Union
    Join Eric Dover as he takes a look at the current state of cloud computing and examines tools that use the power of the cloud to enhance collaboration and the learning environment. We will look briefly at the definition of cloud computing and explore how it has grown into a new class of connected computing that’s transforming the way we work together, play together, and communicate with each other. Also included: Some of the current hot tools that best harness the power of the cloud and how they may assist in teaching, communication, and information sharing.
  • iPad for Beginners
    11 a.m.–12:30 p.mTuesday, Nov. 15212 K-State Student Union
    Curious about what iPads can do for you? Do you already have an iPad and don’t think you are getting as much out of it as you should? If you’re looking for answers to iPad questions, come learn tips and tricks from those in the know, as we gather together some of the more avid iPad users on campus.
  • Creating Your First Mobile App
    11 a.m.–12:30 p.mThursday, Feb. 16, 2012, 212 K-State Student Union
    Want to join the mobile app craze? Ever wondered if there’s some way to pull smartphones into your teaching in a meaningful way? Join Ben Ward as he guides us through a tour of mobile apps, how to build them, and how to teach with them. Don’t worry, no programming required!
  • Teaching, Learning, and Technology Showcase
    Tuesday, March 13, 2012
    This annual event inspires faculty to use technology in innovative ways, share best practices with university colleagues, and interact with technology vendors. Time, location, and event details will be announced in spring semester.

Free tool: Quora (something more than a search engine)

Quora is NOT the next great search engine. Although at first glance you might think that is exactly what it is. No, instead, Quora is an attempt to fill in all the spaces left untouched by Wikipedia. Founded by former Facebook engineers Adam D’Angelo and Charlie Cheever, Quora seeks to tie a question-and-answer format to the social framework of the Web.

Joining Quora is as easy as logging in to Facebook or Twitter. In fact, signing in to Quora immediately links these accounts together with your Quora account.

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Free tool: Dropbox (online storage space)

What it is: An online tool to store all your files such as documents, images, and videos, and access them from a central location.

What it does: After creating your own Dropbox account, this free service allows you to have access to your files at your fingertips and exchange files with other Dropbox users. It is web-based and independent of the computer you are using.

A quick download of the Dropbox application to your computer permits all documents to be uploaded and available in the Dropbox website. Files can be exchanged easily across Macs and PCs.

Note: Internal, confidential, and proprietary data should not be shared with third-party services. See Data Classification Schema in K-State’s Data Classification and Security Policy. Also, the K-State Zimbra Briefcase allows for file storage.

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Free tool: Stickies (color notes for your desktop)

What it is: Software that provides virtual “paper notes” on your desktop

What it does: “…yellow rectangular windows onto which you can put some text notes. Once created, they will stay on screen until you take them away. Just like a real sticky piece of paper.” (developer’s description from the Stickies homepage)

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Free tool: IrfanView (for images, graphics, multimedia)

What it is: “IrfanView is a fast and compact image viewer/converter. It is trying to be simple for beginners and powerful for professionals.” —Irfan Skiljen, developer

What it does: “…can view, edit, and convert image files and play video/audio files. It is noted for its small size, speed, ease of use, and ability to handle a wide variety of graphic file formats, and has some image creation and painting capabilities.” (from Wikipedia.org’s IrfanView page)

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PowerPoint Slidefest: Tips for designing better presentations

Do you need ideas for improving your PowerPoint presentations? Common pitfalls in creating a good presentation include things such as too many bullet points, not enough images, too much animation, complicated charts and graphs, and more. Check out Microsoft’s PowerPoint Slidefest for tips and tricks on designing better presentations.