links for 2009-03-28


More Great Software and Resources for Ontario Schools


I just returned from three very long and intensive days at OSAPAC meetings.  OSAPAC is the Ontario Software Acquisition Program Advisory Committee.  We are a group of 12 that represent various elements of publically funded education in the province of Ontario.  I am one of two members from the southwest.  Our mandate is to evaluate and recommend software titles based upon stated priorities that the Ministry of Education then licenses for use in all Ontario public schools.

First priority is for titles that are available in English and French and for the Windows and Macintosh platforms.

In the process, we attempt to get the best that we can to help Ontario teachers address curriculum expectations.  Financially, it benefits school districts in that they don’t have to purchase software in smaller quantities, educationally it allows for consistency from school to school, and from curriculum development purposes, content that is written can be shared from district to district.  Some great software titles have been licensed in the past and we continue to pursue some of the best software available to provide the best software to enhance the learning environment for students.  A list of recently licensed titles is available here by RSS or here by scrolling down the page.

In addition to licensing the titles, OSAPAC maintains a resource repository.  Here, teachers and vendors can share handouts, lessons, sample data files, movies, etc. to support the use of the software titles in the classroom.  The latest resources added to the repository can be found here.

New software titles and resources are announced on the links above as they actually ship to school districts.

At our meetings this week, we were able to announce that contracts have been signed for the following titles.

  • Mathville Grade 1 – one year extension to the online subscription
  • Adobe Photoshop Elements 7 – Windows, French/English
  • Dragon Naturally Speaking 10 Preferred with maintenance for 2 years
  • Clicker 5 French for Macintosh with French male voice
  • Upgrade to version 5.2 for the French Version of Clicker
  • Adobe Premiere Elements 7 – Windows, English/French
  • Comic Life

These titles will arrive at school districts in the coming days.  This is an exciting list of titles and I can’t wait to help our teachers learn about them in our district.  At the meetings, we also spent some time developing our priorities for licensing in the next fiscal year.  As the priorities are approved by the Ministry of Education, they will be posted on the OSAPAC website.  As public calls for products are generated, they are posted to the MERX system for any vendor to access.

OSAPAC maintains a bilingual website in English and French.

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links for 2009-03-27


Draw Me a Picture


One of the powerful tools that Google has provided to users is Google Docs.  Very powerful tool for creating documents, spreadsheets, and presentations.  Even more powerful that just providing the tools, the ability to share the documents with others makes this a terrific collaboration space.

Yesterday, additional functionality was added to the insert menu.  You’ve always been able to insert a link, text, image, or a video.  Particularly with the image, you were forced outside of the online tool to either obtain or draw your own image.

The “draw your own image” part has now been incorporated right into the document with this newly added ability.  From the insert menu, it’s now possible to create your own drawing in the document itself.

So, for those times when text just won’t do, insert a document for collaborative doodling!

As you’ll note from the picture above, there are a great deal of tools built into this tool.  You won’t confuse it with Photoshop, but that’s not the purpose.

If you’re working on a document and only a picture will convey the message, check out the new drawing feature.  It may be exactly what you’re looking for.

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links for 2009-03-26