Lovely charts – now this looks good

lovely_notes

Lovely Charts is a new free online diagramming application that lets you create some pretty professional looking charts that would be great for use in class projects. Even better, they’d be great for use in any professional organisation; the quality is outstanding.   

I’ve been having a bit of a play with the people diagrams. They look like wii characters without the faces. I have to say, if someone presented a chart to me using these figures I’d be far more likely to remain engaged with their presentation.  There is a screencast on the site taking you through some of the features -well worth a look.

Jay Hathaway from Download Squad is impressed. Here’s what he had to say; 

Lovely Charts is a slick new web-based tool for creating flowcharts and wireframes. Features you’d expect from a similar desktop app come standard: copy-paste, undo up to 20 steps, and pan/zoom all work the way you’re used to. Objects snap into place, and the basic drawing tools are all there. The only drawback? You can only save one chart at a time until you upgrade to the pro version. Depending on your needs, though, the 18 euro for 6 months might be worth it to you.

Looks like it will prove useful. Think about giving Lovely Charts a try.

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WikiTaxi – offline access to Wikipedia

Now here’s something that could prove useful. WikiTaxi provides you with free offline access to Wikipedia. Here’s what it can do according to their front page;

WikiTaxi enables you to read, search, and browse Wikipedia offline. No Internet connection is needed, all pages are stored in a WikiTaxi database. Because Wikipedia is constantly growing, WikiTaxi uses compression to make sure that the database stays reasonably small. The huge English Wikipedia easily fits on a 8 GB memory stick.

There are explanations on their homepage about how you go about creating a Wikitaxi database. You have to do a database dump, which means that you are downloading Wikipedia from the internet and importing it into a Wikitaxi database. According to them, this is easy to do and there are instructions on their page explaining how you go about doing this.  I haven’t done it, so I can’t verify if it is easy or not. It sounds like a big call to me, considering the size of Wikipedia, but they claim that compression makes it possible.

Why would this be useful?? Not all of us in this world have seamless Internet access. Some of our students struggle with digital divide issues and can’t get access to what is becoming a very good reference source that is available online. Imagine if we could provide our students in situations like this with 8g memory  sticks (that are becoming cheaper by the day)  that have Wikitaxi available for them to use at home. Cheaper maybe, than subscribing to an online database like World Book or Brittanica that requires an internet connection once again.   

Jay Hathaway from Download Squad pointed me to this new app. Read his post for his take on it.

Trendrr -Would maths teachers find this useful?

I’m not a maths teacher, but when I saw this I immediately thought of how it could be applied to teaching. Been looking at Download Squad (a fave site of mine) and noticed a post about Trendrr – a  graphing tool that lets you compare and graph social data from popular websites such as YouTube, ebay and myspace. According to Jay Hathaway;

Trendrr makes graphing simple by including a drag-and-drop scratchpad that lets you edit and compare graphs with a minumum of effort. “

It may well be that many of these social network sites are blocked in schools which may limit its effectiveness as a Web 2.0 tool in classrooms. I couldn’t help but think, however, that this would be a great site to be using to get your students interested in comparing data from sites that they use in their everyday lives – a bit of real life maths! Perhaps  teachers could create some graphs before class and have them ready so students can draw conclusions from the data. We all know how much more attention we pay to things when they have relevance in our lives. Thinking about it,  could be a great tool for Humanities teachers looking at the human condition and social trends.

(Graph – from Download Squad)