Sunday, October 3, 2010

37 Free Tools on the Net

To view this presentation on, go to:

Where to find it:
Apple - (for the latest Apple software)
AppleMacFreeware -
FreeMacware -
Google Search - click here to search
Some good ones:
Firefox -
Vienna -
Skype -
Handbrake -
Jing -
Flip4Mac -
MindNode -
Highlight -
The Unarchiver -
Burn -
Image Tricks - Search for "Image Tricks" in the App Store
Apimac Timer -
Timer -
Anxiety -
Sizzling Keys -
Disc Inventory X -

Where to find info & tools:
Cool Tools for Schools -
Wb2.0 in Education Blog -
Some good ones:
Delicious - (
Diigo - (
LiveBinder -
Voicethread - (
Wordle -
Word It Out -
Tagxedo -
Story Creator - - (
Wallwisher -
Shelfari -
Piclits -
Slideshare -

tutpup -
CompFight -
Zamzar - -
Issuu -

Firefox Extentions
Where to find them:
Browse all extentions - (or through Tools Menu in Firefox)
Some good ones:
Cooliris -
Delicious -
Video DownloadHelper -
1-Click YouTube Video Download -
Download YouTube Video as Mp4 and Flv -
Download Statusbar -
Read It Later -
Read Later Fast -
Screengrab -
Awesome Screenshot -
Search Preview -
Fast Dial -
Speed Dial -

Firefox Themes -

If you have any questions, suggestions or comments, I look forward to hearing from you. Please get in touch via email at or on twitter @mjbuckland

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Firefox Extensions

There are pros and cons to every web browser on the market these days. My personal preference is for Firefox, and the main reason for this is that it's highly customisable with the many add-ons that are available.

According to it's website, Firefox has over 5000 different add-ons that could make your browsing much easier. These are a few that I could not live without.

1. Delicious Bookmarks
We all know how great delicious is for storing your bookmarks for easy access eveywhere. This add-on allows you to quickly and easily access your account. You can also create your own little menus using the tags that will update for you automatically.

2. DownloadHelper
There are a number of websites and applications that can download and convert video for you, like KeepVid, Vixy, or Zamzar. This add-on scans the page you are viewing in search of video files to download. If it finds one, the click of a button will download it for you to your computer. No need for copying and pasting urls, or waiting for the file to convert. It does download the file in it's original format, so if you want to convert it you can use some video conversion software, or just do what I do and use VLC Player for everything. I highly recommend this add-on.

3. Download Statusbar
It really used to annoy me when I would start a new download, and a seperate window would appear. With the amount of windows that I have flying around my desktop, another one is the last thing I need. This add-on creates a skinny little bar at the bottom of you browser window when you start a download. As the download progresses, the little status bar fills up. Hover over the bar and you are given information about download speed, file size, eta, and so on. The status bar will stay on this bar until you clear it, so that new freeware can wait until you've finished your meeting. Simple and unobtrusive, but still has all the important stuff you need.

4. Read It Later
I do a lot of wandering on the net, and often find articles or blogs that I want to read, but not right now. I could save it to my delicious account, but then I don't want a million bookmarks kicking around my account creating delicious clutter. One answer to this problem is Read It Later. Simply click the icon, and your page is stored in a menu that you can access, edit and revisit at any time. You can even read them when you are offline. When I get a free couple of minutes, I can go back to my menu, read that article that looked good, and then bookmark it if I want, or clear it off if I don't. Again, simple, unobtrussive, and makes prioritising a breeze.

These are just 4 add-ons that I use. Next time I'll bring you a few more that I like to use. If you have some that you can't live without, let me know - I'd love to hear about them.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Un-Level Playing Field

I think this cartoon from the latest issue of NZEI's Rourou really illustrates the issues that many have with the National Standards. For a digital copy of the latest issue, click here. You can also download past issues from the list here.
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Saturday, July 4, 2009

National's Standards

It appears crystal clear to me that National Standards are not the way forward for New Zealand schools. The publicity and discussion surrounding them is wholey negative, and I am yet to read any positive comments surrounding them.

It worried me greatly then when I read in an article stating that the Government are determined to push them through regardless of the feedback they are receiving. Anne Tolley has been quoted as saying:

"The Government will not resile from national standards. Parents want them, they have a right to them and this government is going to deliver them."

I have a couple of problems with this comment.

1. The Government obviously intends to implement the standards, given that they "will not resile". Then why did they spend thousands of dollars holding public consultations? Have the people attending these sessions being wasting their time and energy?

2. How do they know that the National Standards are in a form that parents want? How many parents attended the public consultations? Was this figure sufficient as to suitably represent the New Zealand public? I did some statistics at University - hit me with the numbers, Anne.

3. I do not want to belittle New Zealand parents or imply that they are stupid (I am one myself), but just because they want National Standards (assuming that this is true), does that mean they should have them? We in the education sector are trained professionals. Why does our collective judgement seem to carry so little weight?

A point that annoys me a lot, amoung others, is that these Standards will be able to be used to compare and, in effect, assess schools. I'm sure that the people from ERO came to visit our school last year to make sure we were doing a good job. It turns out we were doing a great job. Why do we, who have been given our seal of approval (as most schools have) need to be further checked? I almost feel like the government does not trust the judgement of teachers (for ERO officers are teachers too) to evaluate their own.

When I first started teaching, I was surprised by the mistrust that teachers afforded the Ministry. I'm sorry to say I share this mistrust, as I do not feel trusted, respected, or my work valued.
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Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Fluffy Blogs

I know that Class Blogs have become very popular over the past years, and I think this is great. They are such a powerful tool in motivating the children in our classes - when used properly.

This post shows how the wrong messages can be sent to our students. I'm sure it was not intentional, but using technology for technology's sake needs to be discouraged. It's just like any other tool. You need to ask yourself, 'why am I doing this?'
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Friday, May 15, 2009

Web2.0 Presentation

Web2.0 - The What, The Why, The How


Sample Blogs:


Sample Wikis:

Other Tools: -> How-to Video

Please follow this link to complete the Workshop survey at SurveyMonky:

Click here for Sir Ken Robinsons' talk about creativity in schools.