Online Training Courses to Begin

Now that you have invested in MindManager 7 and JCVGantt Pro 3 why not take full advantage of its features by taking an online training course in the comfort of your home or office. Classes are beginning to form for the Fall semester and a limited number of slots are available. Each session will consist of 5 classes. Each session will be 45 minutes long that will be delivered online. There will be opportunities using a teleconferencing service (some additional charges may apply for this service) to listen to the audio and ask questions. There are a limited number of seats available for each class so if you are interested please sign up quickly to guarantee a spot. The classes are scheduled to begin the last week of September.

Classes being offered include:

Introduction to Visual Mapping with MindManager 7
Find out about how this revolutionary visual mapping application can help you organize, communicate and share information more effectively. MindManager 7 is the perfect tool for setting agenda’s, carrying out and tracking projects and communicating your vision for your organization. Find out how this empowering tool integrates with Microsoft Office so that all of your resources are quickly at your disposal. Learn how to use MindManager 7 to gain control of your information management.

Introduction to Project Planning with JCVGantt Pro 3
Learn how to quickly take advantage of the power of MindManager 7 and JCVGantt Pro 3 for project planning. JCVGantt Pro 3 keep track of resources, time as well as costs for your project and integrates seamlessly with MindManager 7. Using the Gantt chart view in JCVGantt Pro 3 you can quickly visualize the status of your project and get the bottom line. There has never been an easier way to keep on top of your projects then with this one, two combination.
To register and pay for the course, just click on the Paypal Badge on the top Right panel of this blog.

Please feel free to contact me via email for the details of each class.

Where did the Summer Go?

As I write this post, I am reflecting on the past several days as my wife and I got my daughter situated and moved into her college dorm. If you have never moved a child into a a dorm or an apartment it sure is a lot of work! Once again another transition, as all of us move into our respective lines of work. Tomorrow I am back at the College of St. Elizabeth to start the Fall 2008 semester. It is hard to believe just how fast the summer went! I am eagerly awaiting to see my graduate students and look forward to sharing with them the trends and the new and exciting products that will soon be released. There is no escaping the impact that Web 2.0 has had on the field of educational and assistive technology as more and more mainstream tools on the web find their way into the work that we do. With free text to speech applications and the range of applications like Google Docs, Buzzword, Jing, and Jott- just to name a few, the combinations are endless as we craft our recommendations for the students we work with. As more and more teachers become aware of the power of wiki's- they can really begin to help students make their curriculum more accessible for those students that need it. All this summer I have been working with teachers on a math grant applying the principles of Universal Design for Learning into their math lesson plans. It has been exciting for me to watch how the teachers have embraced the UDL theory and have been able to plan accessible lessons which have been scaffolded with technology.

Reflecting on my trip to NECC 2008- this year will go down as the year of the netbook. If you haven't had a chance to look at these ultra small notebooks now is the time to do so. The netbooks will be seen as just one more vehicle for students to have a rather inexpensive tool to access the internet with. Weighing in at about 2.2 pounds these devices will will run Window XP and in many cases a variant of Linux. Asus, Acer, and HP have jumped into the bandwagon and soon Dell will announce their new netbook which will probably be released later this month. Schools will begin to look at these devices more seriously because of the cost and their functionality for the money. Many of the netbooks start at around $300 dollars and up. It should be interesting to watch as schools begin to adopt these tools.

Teaching at the college gives me another perspective from the vantage point of higher education as to how technology is being applied for instruction. At the college all students have access to Blackboard which is used as a portal for instruction. I have created some very rich courses using Blackboard that provide my students with a multitude of resources. Over the years I have developed many learning resources for my students using Camtasia Studio, a wonderful application for creating screencasts and video tutorials. At NECC 2008, I was introduced to Adobe Captivate 3 which I will add to my einstruction toolkit. Adobe Captivate 3 not only allows you to create video demonstrations, but also allows you to quickly develop compelling interactive media which you can output to Flash. I will be posting some more information about Adobe Captivate 3 in some later posts in September.

Certainly, collaboration is the buzzword and I'm sure going forward you will be hearing more and more about this as developers add these features into their existing applications. But you only have to look to Web 2.0 technologies to see that the foundation is already there for example in Google Docs and Buzzword, just to name a few. For this reason it will become even more important when we are educating our students and preparing them for the world or work that they have opportunities to work in teams and to collaborate with others outside the context of their school. Do what you can to seek out the exciting projects like the Flat Classroom Project that are taking place on the web to give your students these invaluable opportunities and experiences. I have learned that, yes the world is flat and having tools like Skype, Oovoo, CrossLoop, Yuuguu, Adobe ConnectNow and Dimdim, have allowed me to conduct the work that I do effortlessly without the need to leave my office. So reach out beyond your school and district and challenge your students to use these rich sets of tools to make learning more meaningful and rewarding.

I trust that this will be an exciting start to the school year and I look forward to sharing my ideas and experiences with you as I continue to explore and use new tools. Please feel free to email me with your comments and suggestions.

Adobe AIR version of

In the past year I have written about Adobe and its unique set of online tools. Adobe continues to add features to their site and provides all of us with an incredible tool set. I have written about Buzzword, Adobe's online word processing tool which has not only has a great looking interface but really gives you the feeling that you are working on a desktop application. If you have not given Buzzword a try it is worth checking out. I recently found that Adobe has released an wideget that is written in Adobe AIR that gives you easy access to your files and application at Adobe's use of Flash and mix of Adobe AIR gives the applications a unique look which I find very pleasing to the eye. The programs work quickly over the internet and at times it is hard to belief that you are using these applications that reside on the internet. Here is how Adobe has described the widget:
The Adobe AIR version of provides an easy way of interacting with by dragging and dropping files and folders from your local computer directly into your account, and browsing, previewing, sharing or publishing files easily from your computer. The application can be minimized to a widget on your desktop providing easy access to the services.You can download the widget and keep it on your desktop which makes uploading files and gain access to the applications that much easier. Widget

On the website you can also use it to convert up to 5 documents to PDF format which could come in handy. You also get a fair amount of storage space where you can store your files and share them with others which can provide you with a way to collaborate on word processing documents. Buzzword does track all changes and revisions which makes it easy to see who did what and when.

One of the applications that I recently decided to try out on the website was Adobe Connect, which lets you meet and share your computer screen online. Adobe ConnectNow lets you connect with two other computers which could make it ideal for doing small webinars and for providing technical support. Adobe ConnectNow allows you to use your webcam as well as setting up a pod for you to store documents and files that you would like your participants to have access to. Your participants are also provided with chatting capabilities and you can use your built-in webcam microphone to talk to your participants using VOIP. You can also choose to use the teleconference number that is available to you through Adobe ConnectNow. Considering the price of admission this is an invaluable tool and one you should look into. So if you get the chance download the widget and let me know what you think.

Croosloop Revisited

While I have talking about Web 2.0 for some time now, the real benefit of these technologies is the ability to collaborate over the web. Just yesterday evening I was collaborating with my colleague and fellow visual mapper Wallace Tait on a visual map. Using Crossloop and Skype we were able to collaboratively work on the visual map as if we were in the same room. The speed and clarity of the screen was really unbelievable. Using readily available Web 2.0 technologies made this collaboration possible at no cost to either myself or Wallace. Using Skype for the audio and Crossloop for the screen sharing session was a real winner all around.

Using these technologies it is now possible to provide high level support, training, and collaboration wherever you may reside. All you need is high speed internet and a free Skype and Crossloop account. If you are looking for training and support in the comfort of your home or office just drop me a line to find out how we can get started. This type of support and training is ideal when you get in a pinch and need someone to turn to. I offer free estimates and would be glad to speak to you over Skype about your training or support needsor feel free to email me.

Mindjet August Newsletter Now Available!

The August Newsletter is now live in the Mindjet Connections portal on Please take a look at my new video showing how I used MindManager and JCVGantt Pro to plan my visual mapping conference.

Summary of Highlights:

- Map of the Month: Map Your Way To Better Presentations

- Top Story: Creating PowerPoint: The Man Who Changed the Way the World Presents

- Tips ‘n Tricks Video: Using MindManager with JCVGantt for Powerful Project Management

- Customer Columns: Creating a 3D Learning Experience Using MindManager and How Franklin Templeton Library Uses MindManager to Identify Gaps

- Customer Showcase: Author Newt Barrett Uses MindManager to Illustrate Content Marketing Strategies

Using the MindManager Web Launcher

Having access to Mindjet Connect is really wonderful for some of the business projects I am working on. It is a wonderful collaboration tool and gives me access to all of my MindManager maps. For those of you who may not be familiar with Mindjet Connect it is a collaborative workspace that lets me in real time share my MindManager maps and associated files. Being able to work with one of my colleagues on some of my maps in real time is a very powerful feature. Additionally, I can also store supporting Word documents, PDF files, etc in my workspace for easy access. If you have a Mindjet Connect account and are running MindManager 7 on a Windows computer, Mindjet Connect is seamlessly integrated. This is not the case if you are a Macintosh user but here is a little trick that you should be aware of. Mindjet recently released a MindManager Web client that lets you launch your MindManager maps right from the browser. Using Firefox I am able on my MacBook to access all of my MindManager maps and associated files. Having access to the MindManager Web client lets me have access to all of my files as long as I'm connected to the web. What a great feature! I created a screencast using Jing to show you how the MindManager Web client works.

Acer Aspire Netbook Now Available

While I attended NECC 2008 the theme was smallness and portability. In this tradition Acer just recently released the Acer Aspire Netbook computer a 2.2 lb. ultra-portable net computer with the following specifications-see below. Looking at the newspaper circulars Circuit City has it on sale for $379 dollars. I'm holding off purchasing one for the work that I do until I see what Dell has up their sleeves. I would still prefer to have a netbook running Windows XP. These can certainly be ideal tools for some of the students that I work with who need a computer for note taking and organization. Click here for a review.
  • 1.6GHz Atom N270 Processor
  • 8GB solid state hard drive, 512MB DDR2 SDRAM (expandable)
  • 802.11b/g, Ethernet, three USB 2.0, VGA, and 3.5mm audio out
  • 1.3 megapixel camera, SDHC and multi-format media readers
  • Linpus Linux Lite operating system
Check out this early video review of the Acer Aspire from JkontheRun

bCisive for Decision Making

Many of you may not know this about me, but in my previous life, I was a practicing school psychologist and worked with many students to help them develop better social problem solving and decision making skills. I even went on to write two parenting books on emotional intelligence and have been interested in this area for the better part of my professional career. As a practitioner, I would carefully break down the skills that the students needed to learn and I would often help them see the consequences for their actions by using flow charts or doing it them in Inspiration, a really fantastic concept mapping application. Trying to make the handouts and materials very visual and showing the students I worked with the decision making process was in the long run going to help them make better decisions.

The idea of visualizing the outcomes is very powerful and if I had some of the tools that I now have I know my work would have been that much easier. Regardless if you are a student or a business person we are always confronted with having to make literally hundreds of decisions each and everyday. Some of the decisions we make are made effortlessly without much deliberation, however there are always those few decisions that gnaw at us and force us to sit down, ponder, and evaluate. It is for the former, that having visual tools like bCisive can come in really handy. Before I talk about bCisive, I do want to thank Katherine Brandenberger from Austhink Software for providing me with a copy of bCisive, to review. Austhink Software promotes bCisive as a simple software application for business decision making and diagramming that goes beyond mind mapping. bCisive runs on Windows XP, Vista, and Windows 2000.

bCisive has a very clean and pleasing interface to navigate and provides the user with the now familiar Ribbon interface. The Left panel provides the user with all of the symbols that can be used to build your decision tree, while the right panel provides you with the Text Panel. The Text Panel allows you to do Internet searches right within the application using Google and Wikipedia as well as searching for images using Flickr and Google. You can also use the Text Panel as a Scratch pad for your ideas or use it to attach Notes to an idea in your decision tree. Within the Text Panel you can also view a Summary of your decision making as well as an outline- which are two really powerful features. The user can also export the outline into a word processor for further editing or revision.

I decided to do a test run of bCisive working through a decision to take traditional courses or on-line courses for a Supervisor's Certificate. I started out building my decision tree by using the Basic Map template provided and dragging it into the middle of the screen. This provided me with a number of specific icons that I could now enter text into. I was now able to type my question as well as my options and the pro's and con's of each option. This was very straight forward and having the visuals laid out on the screen does make you go through the process more systematically documenting your thoughts and ideas. Once I worked through the process I was able to select my decision and code it using the decision icon. The process was very quick and straight forward. If I needed to have supporting materials, I could have attached files and URL links to my decision tree.

bCisive really shines when you are ready to share your decision processes with others. You can always Export your Outline to a text file to email to others or output your decision tree as an Image file (png, jpeg, bmp, tiff, and emf, and gif). One of the really exciting output features is being able to export your bCisive decision tree as a bMap Bundle. The bMap Bundle creates a zip file with all of your attachments and URL's and creates an html file with all accompanying media so that you can upload it to the web (Click here to view the bCisive map on the web) or share it with anyone who has access to a browser. Once you open up the bMap Bundle you can interact with your decision tree and look at the steps and process you took in coming to your decision. bCisive is a very specialized tool for all types of open ended decision making. It provides a very engaging environment in which to think about and clarify the options as well as the pro's and con's of your decisions in a very systematic fashion. I particularly liked the fact that the program automatically generated a summary of your decision. While I know this program is geared for business people, this could be an extremely invaluable tool for those professionals who work with students to help them look more carefully at the decisions they make and the consequences of their actions. Providing individuals with a structured visual approach to making better decisions is such and important support when students are in the process of having to decide on what to do. So if you have the chance, take a look at bCisive- there is a 30 day trial version available.

YouTube on Your Blackberry

For those of you with Blackberry phones who need to access YouTube it is very easy to do. Just open your browser and type in Now select your favorite YouTube video and watch it come to life on your Blackberry. I had a chance to play some of my screencasts that are on YouTube on my Blackberry Curve and while the picture is small I was impressed with the image and the audio quality. So go ahead and enjoy YouTube on your Blackberry

Dimdim 4.0 Released

FYI- I have written before about Dimdim, a free web conferencing Web 2.0 application that just keeps getting better and better. Here is the latest news about Dimdim

Exciting Dimdim News


We wanted you to be the first to know that we're launching a brand new version of Dimdim.

Since we launched our first public beta in April, Dimdim has been used in 180 countries by over 500,000 people. And we've made Dimdim even better by adding over 60 new customer-requested features including:
  • Recording: You can now record your meetings and share playback URLs or embed the recording directly onto your own website just like YouTube videos.
  • Multiple Presenters: With a single click you can allow any attendee to share their presentation, whiteboard, webcam - even their desktop.
  • Mac Desktop Sharing: Mac users can share their desktop with anyone using just a browser.
  • Free Teleconferencing: While we've improved our free VoIP microphone sharing everyone now gets their own unlimited free conference call account.
  • Private Meetings: Simply assign a meeting key and only those who know both your meeting room name and your meeting key will be able to join.
  • No Install: Now you don't need to install anything to join or even host a meeting. You'll only need to install our screencasting plug-in if you choose to share your desktop.
Best of all, you do not need to do anything to get these new features as all Dimdim accounts have already been upgraded. Just sign in to use Dimdim 4.0 today.

Take some credit for helping us make Dimdim even better: tell your friends to sign up for the new Dimdim and let them know these new features were your idea. We'll vouch for you.

Help us by telling everyone that the easy, open, and affordable web meeting is now even better at And breathe easy knowing that Dimdim users have saved millions of dollars and thousands of tons of CO2 by meeting virtually instead of commuting. Thank you for helping make Dimdim - and the world - better.

Steve Chazin
Chief Marketing Officer