Tag Archives: Cloud

A Learning Simulation For Science & Social Studies: Plan It Green

We all know how much emphasis is being placed on green energy strategies these days. The guys over National Geographic recently teamed up with GE Power & Water and the Center for Science to release Plan It Green: The Big Switch. A new cloud based online gaming community where students come together to learn more about the importance of recycling and how eco-friendly habits that can help save our environment.

Plan It Green’s goal is to help students learn about the management of time and resources while socially interacting with others in a city building simulation game. These initiatives are all part of this game and form part of an even bigger strategy. The Connect! Transform the Future initiative, a national campaign designed to engage, enlighten and educate the nation’s youth in a conversation about the future of energy.

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Managing The Cloud with Hapara

The vast amount of information managed by our schools today is incredible. What if there is a way for us to manage all that information in one place. Google has done a pretty good job in developing and launching a unique suite of applications that work very well in enterprise environments. The problem is that, in an education environment, it requires a dedicated IT team to run. The other issue is that the system configuration is not a user friendly experience.

That is where Hapara, a New Zealand based company comes in. They have over twenty years of experience in the deployment and implementation of cloud based solutions at all levels in education. They have developed a very cool and innovative way to merge the best aspects of Google Apps for the enterprise into an easy to use platform for education. I recently had the opportunity to sit down with the company’s founder Jan Zawadzki to talk about the company and their visionary ideas.

Their flagship product is the Teacher Dashboard, a Google Apps for Education add-on that brings the various Google Apps under one system. Their product then goes a step further and tightly integrates Blogger, Google Docs, Gmail, Picasa and many of others. Jan demonstrated to me their product capabilities and showed me real world examples of how it is being used in an educational setting. The biggest advantage here being there is no hardware installation involved, and the whole system is cloud based. To learn more about Hapara and what they have to offer please visit their website at http://hapara.com/.

Jan Zawadzki, Founder, CEO – Hapara 

Hapara Teacher Dashboard

The new Kid with lots of muscle Outlook.com


Microsoft in an effort not to be outdone by Google has released a new webmail service called Outlook.com. There are many advantages to using it over Gmail because they are offering unlimited e-mail storage on all accounts and a generous 7GB of free space on SkyDrive which is Microsoft’s cloud storage solution. The interface is a lot cleaner than Gmail and Microsoft promises to display no adds offering a clean look that reminds me a lot of Facebook. They are also allowing you to convert your Hotmail, Live.com and MSN accounts to the Outlook.com service. Microsoft has promised to integrate Skype into the service which will be an additional bonus to using the service. There is also a preview of the Windows 8 app switcher which gives you some insight as to how this will work when Windows 8 is finally released. I recommend for now securing your name or switching your existing accounts to this service.

Here is a walk-through of the service enjoy it.

Microsoft Office 365 for Education (Cloud Driven)

At today’s keynote for Microsoft Office 365 this new version was touted as a highly revolutionary and connected Cloud service. Their idea is for students and educators to be able to access Office on the go from any device, and from anywhere. It was also announced that all ARM-based tablets loaded with Windows 8 RT will come preloaded with Office Home and Student 2013 RT, which contains new versions of Word, Excel, PowerPoint and OneNote applications. This obviously include their recently announced Microsoft Surface Tablet.  The demo showcased all of the mobility features of the new suite and promoted its integration with SkyDrive, Skype and their most recent acquisition, Yammer. For more information on Education plans (released in a 3 tier system)
visit this site. http://bit.ly/NwZB1A

Cubby one giant leap for your stuff

There is no shortage of Cloud Storage services out there today. You have probably heard about the usual suspects; Box.net, Dropbox, iCloud and Sugarsync. Today I am introducing you to, Cubby a new cloud storage service backed by long time remote desktop application provider LogMeIn. The service is currently available by invite only.

One of the unique features of the service is that it lets you sync an unlimited number of files and folders between computers. You can also share whatever folders you want by dragging them into the cubby app. This in itself makes it a winner because one of Dropbox biggest annoyances is that you are forced to keep all of your files in their folder.

You can also customize the whole sharing experience by sharing with only certain computers, colleagues or by getting a public link for the folder you want to share. You are probably thinking now why did I wrote about it, if you cannot access it. Well, I have 5 invites 🙂 that will go to the first five educators who follow me on Twitter @AnibalPachecoIT, Please tell me about the one technology that has most significantly impacted the way you teach today; be brief you only have 140 characters. I will go over your post and select the winner’s based on their originality and creativity for the message.