INSYS 400 Technology Tips for Teachers
The following list is a set of random technology tips for teachers (and Net-surfing adults, in general):
Visit www.download.com or www.shareware.com to find great shareware & freeware programs that you can download to your own computer.
WS_FTP is an essential shareware program that allows you to upload Web pages (.html files) to your Web server.
With either a Macintosh or a PC, if you have trouble opening compressed email attachments or any file that ends with the extension .zip, .tar, .gz, .tgz, .uue, .xxe, .hqx, .mme, .mim, .cab, or .jar then try StuffIt Expander by aladdinsys.com.
WinZip (winzip.com) or PKZip (pkware.com) are essential shareware programs (around $30) that can be used to "unzip" or uncompress files that you download or receive as email attachments.
Use the menu option File/New/Navigator Window to open up multiple browser windows when you surf. It allows you to view different Web pages at the same time.
A list of mailing lists that you may wish to check from time to time can be found at www.liszt.com and many online discussion boards (newsgroups) can be found at groups.google.com
Visit Yahoo and set up free Yahoo email and your own My Yahoo. My Yahoo is a great service since you can use if for your calendar, address book, to read your news, keep track of your stock portfolio, see your own t.v. guide, etc.
WebWhacker and TelePort Pro are two great "offline browsers" that can be used to download a whole Web site to your hard drive. You simply type in a Web page address as a starting point and the program automatically visits every link to that page downloading every linked Web page to your hard drive. While this may take 20 minutes to an hour or more for large Web sites (100 Web pages), it allows students to surf that Web site on the hard drive of a computer without actually being online. You can even copy the Web site to a floppy disk and allow students to take the Web site home. It also permits a teacher to have a "controlled" environment since students cannot travel to external links outside of the Web site. The demo versions of these programs can be downloaded at www.download.com.
You can take a "snapshot" of your PC Windows computer screen by pressing the Print Screen key (upper row of keys). This saves the graphic on your hard drive which you could then include on a worksheet, in a Web page, or in a multimedia presentation. By pressing Alt-Print Screen only the active window is captured. Who can remind me how to do the same thing on a Macintosh?
Holding down the Shift key while you draw lines in desktop publishing applications (such as MS Publisher, Photoshop, or even MS Word probably) constrains your line to straight angles. This prevents the "shaky hand" effect of drawing crooked lines with the mouse.
Holding down the Ctrl key on a PC Windows computer often allows you to select multiple things at once.
If you need to convert graphics from one format to another such as converting a .bmp (a common Windows format) to .gif (which can be used on a Web page) use the following programs:
GraphicConverter if you use a Macintosh
FastView Plus if you use a Windows PC
(both can be downloaded at http://shareware.com )
If you wish to create your own graphics and images or edit existing ones, you do not have to pay the steep price of over $500 for a copy of Adobe Photoshop. Instead use the following programs which can be obtained in demo form or purchased for roughly $100:
Color It if you use a Macintosh
Paint Shop Pro if you use a Windows PC
(can be downloaded at http://shareware.com )
If you have a file that needs to be split into several pieces since it won't fit on one floppy disk, try File Shredder which works on PC's.
The Web site http://www.freedrive.com or other Internet hard drive sites could be a useful resource that currently is not blocked by the filter, Bess. It gives away free accounts allowing you to upload any kind of file (.exe, .doc, .gif, etc.) to your own personal 20Mb storage area. This is done right through a Web page without having to understand or use an FTP program such as WS_FTP. You can then download anything from your storage area to another computer (which must have Internet access, of course.) Effectively, this allows you or your students to transfer files from school to home and vice versa without using floppy disks or Zip disks.
See Mr. Minich's Internet Education Workshops for a lot of helpful Internet and general computer advice. See his Practical Reasons to Use the Internet Workshop for a lot of free and helpful tips.