BuzzLion for the week of May 4

On a rainy Friday at the end of Finals Week, BuzzLion takes a look back at what had ETS talking.

ANGEL 7.2 is slated for release in July, and Mary Janzen, ETS associate editor, recently posted in the ANGEL Community Hub a comparison of ANGEL 7.1 to ANGEL 7.2. It’s a very nice reference done in a convenient chart format that quickly lets you know what to expect with the new release.

So, just who is using the Virtual World Second Life? Brett Bixler, lead instructional designer, has the answer. He posted on the Educational Gaming Commons blog a slideshow and podcast on the use of Second Life in the business community. Closer to our world, he also posted the results of the New Media Consortium’s 2008 Survey of Second Life Educators. Both show how virtual world use is changing and evolving.

Brett also posted in the Penn State Learning Design Community Hub about the possibility of an in-class student response system (a.k.a. “clickers”) that uses cell phones. He is looking for feedback on this issue.

Elizabeth Pyatt, instructional designer, posted in the Learning Design Community Hub on a subject near and dear to BuzzLion’s heart – how to improve captchas, those images of distorted numbers and letters that you have to enter into online registration forms. Often, they are annoyingly difficult to read. Elizabeth shares ideas that she saw on an accessibility listserv on how to make them better.

Brad Kozlek, senior programmer, has been playing a rather surreal game called “Eternal Sonata”. It’s based on a dream the famous composer Frederic Chopin is having on his deathbed. No, really. Brad talks about the unconventional game on his blog.

Cole Camplese, ETS director, recently discussed Twitter on his blog. He discusses the power of the feeling of “constant connectedness” Twitter creates, and the joy one finds in the simplicity of the Twitter stream of thoughts, comments, reactions, reports, etc. . If you want to get a good idea of what Twitter is really like before going there, this is a good read.

And now some news from around ETS:

Register for technology training offered this summer

Registration opens on Monday, May 12 at 9:00 a.m. for the Information Technology Services (ITS) technology workshops offered this summer. Popular topics include Access, Excel, Photoshop, InDesign, SQL, Dreamweaver, cascading style sheets, Flash, and many more. Please note that in an effort to conserve environmental resources, ITS Training Services will no longer send printed reminders of these opportunities through campus mail. Be sure to subscribe to one or more of the electronic options available to continue receiving information about upcoming technology training opportunities in the future. Visit the Web site to register for training or to learn more about the many ways that you can opt to stay up-to-date on technology training opportunities at Penn State: http://its.psu.edu/training/.

New lunchtime sessions added to summer technology training

In addition to the for-fee workshops offered this summer, ITS will pilot some informal, lunchtime sessions that will be free of charge. These sessions will be held in the 23 Willard conference from noon-1:00 p.m. and will consist of informal presentations and discussions on a variety of topics, like digital photography, creating powerful presentations, and how to handle information overload with RSS. Visit the Web site after 9:00 a.m. on May 12 to view or register for summer technology training at http://its.psu.edu/training/.

Faculty, staff invited to participate in beta test of enhanced version of Turnitin

Turnitin is conducting a beta test of a new, enhanced version of their Web-based plagiarism prevention resource, and faculty and staff are invited to participate. Some of the enhancements being evaluated include a redesigned interface, expanded student paper databases, improved Originality Reports, and expanded content databases.

For more information about participating in the beta test and to see demonstrations of some of the enhancements, please attend one of two informative online sessions offered Thursday, May 15 at 1:00 p.m. or Friday, May 16 at 10:00 a.m. in the Adobe Connect meeting room at https://breeze.psu.edu/turnitin/. Before joining a Connect meeting, please read through the Getting Started information at http://meeting.psu.edu/quickstart/ and test your connection with the generic test meeting room at https://breeze.psu.edu/testmeetingroom/. Questions can be directed to turnitin@psu.edu.

And that’s it for another BuzzLion. Remember, comments are welcome, so let us know what you think about anything you read here. Thanks for reading!

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