Tags: google

03/13/09

While not true replacements for the entire MS Office, there are a couple I've discovered that replace Word and allow you to collaborate online. Still not a true eLearning application replacement, but we are getting closer.

The first is the biggie - the free Google Docs application. It allows you to upload .doc, .rtf, .odt and .swx files to their site for sharing with friends and co-workers. It also allows you to create new Presentations (PPT replacement), Spreadsheets (XLS replacement) and forms. From a functionality perspective, all feel "watered down", but completely functional. Google has done a great job with the applications and the ability to upload and download to your desktop. This is some fun stuff that will replace the tedious install of MS Office onto your Netbook. The best part is that it is Free. Don't expect major functionality, but on the road with a Netbook, it's awesome.

Another application is called TextFlow. TextFlow is much more robust than Google Docs, but only handles documents. It has amazing collaboration features in an elegant development environment. The entire app is built using Adobe AIR that is simple, clean and interactive interface. It does require a tiny download of the application interface, and the install includes the AIR environment. Check it out.

While hunting for "office" apps, I found various note taking and writing applications that were interesting. Most of these are downloadable to the Netbook, but they store images, files, text, urls, video and lots more in a single place. Most are free, some charge for storage and others are completely web based. This got me thinking about all the files necessary to build a web page or eLearning module. Perhaps something like the software list below could be used to keep all the necessary files together in one spot, rather than transferring them from computer to computer, or relying on the web server. Still thinking through it but here is the list.

Evernote
This app is an excellent way to keep track of your observations, comments and ideas and allows you to type in and save text, take a photo with your phone, and store information you find on the Internet.

FruitNotes
This online notebook has some unique features including leaving voice mail notes from your phone, uploading photos and videos, and online sharing of the files you've saved.

Notezz!
This is an extremely simple app that allows you to keep all your notes in one place. There are no complicated features with this application : you want to store your notes, Notezz! will do it!

WebAsyst Notes
A more robust storage application, WebAsyst Notes allows you to create notes and then organize them in folders, share with clients, or access other services such as photo storage, manage projects, and more.

Zoho Notebook
Integrate audio, video, HTML, URLs, files, and much more with Zoho Notebook. Tools include line, text, freehand, and shapes.

I only found one online graphics editor (so far) and some downloadable apps for writing code, but nothing that I would say runs truly in "the cloud". I'm sure they are out there, and when I find them, I'll post them!

03/02/09

I was reading this article in Wired Magazine The Netbook Effect: How Cheap Little Laptops Hit the Big Time and started to think about all the traveling I am going to do over the summer. I'm not concerned about being able to work from a hotel room, as I've outfit my MacBook Pro with a fully licensed version of the Adobe CS4 suite. Yes, its expensive to have such a nice laptop AND such nice software just to work remotely, and the idea of a Netbook and that article got me thinking about the potential of taking my online learning development completely, well, online. Through a browser. With NO installed software. Could it be done?

And so begins my quest...over the next few days, I'm going to attempt to find online software solutions that do everything I need to build eLearning programs so I can buy a Netbook and just go. Here is the types of software I will need to find:

  • WYSIWYG HTML Editor: I use Dreamweaver in split view: code and design view. Is there browser based software that will allow me to create web pages?
  • Graphic Editor: I use Photoshop to create graphics. The article refers to FotoFlexer as a browser based Photoshop alternative. I'll try it out and let you know this week.
  • Animation Editor: As I've said in the past, Flash is my primary creator of content for my eLearning clients. Is there something out there that's browser based that will allow me to create Flash like interfaces, interactions and programs? I'm doubtful that any web based app will allow me to create like I do in Flash, but let's see what I can find!
  • Content: My clients and I use Pages, Keynote, PowerPoint and Word to create our static content. I lift the content out of these pages and paste into Dreamweaver or Flash. Google Docs is out there as a browser based alternative, but I haven't tried it...I will and tell you how it goes.

That's the major functionality I will be looking for in online applications. I want to get a Netbook purely because its new and cool (and I have a problem with wanted all the tech I can get my hands on), but if I can validate it by finding these online solutions, well, then its a purchase worth making! I know...who am I kidding...

I'll keep you posted all week with what I find.

Very few people are creating technology exclusively for the online learning developer, so this site attempts to fill that gap. Whether you want ideas on how to use web technologies in your eLearning, or have questions about the what's and how's, this site is for you.

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