Adobe eLearning Suite- A Very Special Webinar

Yesterday I had the good fortune to be able to do participate in a one-to-one webinar on the new Adobe elearning Suite with RJ Jacquez, Senior Product Evangelist for the Adobe eLearning Suite which was just recently released. I would like to thank Jody from A & R Edleman for making this possible and for keeping me abreast of all the exciting developments that are taking place at Adobe in the eLearning space. RJ was kind enough to highlight the key features in the Adobe eLearning Suite and show me how the individual software applications in the package add value to the suite. The Adobe eLearning Suite consists of the following applications that work together to enrich the users eLearning experience: Captivate 4, Adobe Flash CS4, Adobe DreamWeaver CS4, Adobe Photoshop CS4, Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro, Adobe Presenter 7, Adobe Soundbooth CS4, as well as Adobe Bridge CS4, Adobe Device Central CS4, and a SCORM Packager.

Having been an avid Captivate 3 user I was glad to see some of the new features which have been added to Captivate 4 that will allow me more control and easier ways to personalize the eLearning experience. Captivate 4 now includes the ability to store variables which will allow the developer to personalize the experience in your courses. One of the really nice features which I was able to see yesterday was the ability for automatic panning which lets you capture an area of the screen which may be outside the original preset. All of us who use Captivate will be glad to find out that we can output the video as one SWF file regardless if your video has captured full motion recording. And last but not least Captivate 4 has the ability to send your video out and allow others to comment without the other party having to own Captivate. Using an Adobe AIR application individuals can comment on the video without the need to own a copy of Captivate. What I was most impressed by during the webinar was how the various software applications were integrated into the workflow and how Captivate 4 is able to communicate effortlessly with the other applications in the suite. In the next couple of weeks look for more posts on the Adobe eLearning Suite.

Twitter Surveys with SocialToo

We just can't enough of Twitter these days, can we? It seems that with every passing day there is a another Twitter tool of one sort or another that comes out to keep us plugged into our social network. I just came across SocialToo which is a very simple to use survey tool which you can automatically link to your Twitter account. With SocialToo you simply create a one question survey and click on the Share with Twitter button and your question is automatically gets posted to Twitter- pretty cool. I tried it out this evening and you can participate in the survey by clicking here. So give it a try and let me know what you think. If you have some favortie Twitter tools please leave a comment. If you would like to follow me my Twitter name is assistivetek

Mindjet Connections Newsletter Available

Check out this month Mindjet Connections Newsletter for some really great articles from Jamie Nast, Michael Deutch, and Stephanie Diamond. You will also find a new video tip that I created showing you the new built in Web Browser feature which is extremely powerful. Also find out more about GyroQ which was just recently released for MindManager 8 to help you keep on track.

Back to Teaching

With the new semester just beginning I have been preoccupied with getting my graduate classes set up and running. It is always exciting to start a new semester full of new ideas and ways to deliver and instruct my classes. Last week I had a chance to use PollEveryWhere in my class and it worked like a charm. My students were impressed and enjoyed the opportunity to learn a new technology that they may be able to use in their classroom. I plan on using more digital assets for my hybrid courses using tools like Camtasia Studio 6, Adobe Captivate, Adobe Acrobat 9, and Adobe Presenter which I can utilize wtih BlackBoard.

For the past couple of months I have been developing an Assistive Technology eBook with a colleague, complete with video tutorials that should be out in a couple of weeks. More to come about this eBook in a couple of days. It is an exciting project and one that shows the true potential of these various tools for educational purposes. The final product will be delivered as a downloadable PDF file taking advantage of Acrobat 9 now being able to play video's with nothing more than Acrobat Reader 9. Boy we have come a long way!

So stay tuned to this blog for more information about the Assistive Technology eBook and my reflections on using more digital assests in my courses using the aforementioned software applications.

Adobe eLearning Suite

FYI: Today Adobe, Inc. released a number of products that I thought you would interested in learning about. As I learn more about the new offerings I will share the information with you.

Today, Adobe Systems Inc. today announced the Adobe eLearning Suite, a new content-authoring solution for learning professionals, educators and trainers. Users can create rich learning experiences that are deliverable via the Web, desktop, mobile devices and learning management systems using this integrated set of tools, which includes:

· The just-released Adobe Captivate 4

· Adobe Flash CS4

· Adobe Dreamweaver CS4

· Adobe Photoshop CS4 Extended

· Adobe Acrobat Pro

· Adobe Presenter 7

· Adobe Soundbooth CS4

· Adobe Bridge CS4

· Adobe Device Central CS4

The full press release is below. Please let me know if you'd like additional information, including box shots and screenshots, or to schedule time with an Adobe spokesperson.


Gina Pucci for Adobe Systems Inc.



Adobe Introduces New eLearning Suite And Captivate 4 -- Learning Professionals Gain Unmatched Productivity Through Courseware Authoring Tools

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Jan. 20, 2009 — Adobe Systems Incorporated (Nasdaq:ADBE) today announced the Adobe eLearning Suite software, a new content-authoring solution for learning professionals, educators and trainers to create rich learning experiences that can be delivered via the Web, desktop, mobile devices and learning management systems. The new suite boosts productivity by tightly integrating a major new version of Adobe Captivate®, Adobe Flash® CS4, Adobe Dreamweaver® CS4, Adobe Photoshop® CS4 Extended, Adobe Acrobat® Pro, Adobe Presenter 7, Adobe Soundbooth® CS4, Adobe Bridge CS4, Adobe Device Central CS4 as well as eLearning extensions for Adobe Flash® CS4 and Adobe Dreamweaver® CS4.

“The new Adobe eLearning Suite is a unique and highly integrated set of tools designed to help professionals author, enrich, review and publish rich eLearning content all within one environment,” said Naresh Gupta, senior vice president of the Print and Publishing Business Unit at Adobe. “By leveraging different applications and streamlined workflows, learning professionals can be truly innovative and reach learners in new ways anytime, anywhere and through any medium.”

Adobe Captivate 4

Adobe Captivate 4, a new point product release and also the cornerstone of the suite, is the latest version of Adobe’s eLearning software for creating professional eLearning content and courseware that combines simulations, scenario-based training, quizzing, rich media and interactivity. Professionals can take advantage of more than two dozen new features including single SWF file publishing, text-to-speech conversion, a drawing toolbar for simple graphics, enhanced project templates, and round-trip Microsoft® PowerPoint® workflows, which let users import and edit PowerPoint slides with audio and interactivity. Adobe Captivate 4 also preserves Photoshop layers, which can then be animated individually, and supports PDF publishing and Audio Video Interleave (AVI) output for publishing to YouTube™.

With Adobe Captivate Reviewer, a new Adobe® AIR™ application, learning professionals can capture reviewers’ feedback regardless of their operating system and insert comments directly into an Adobe Captivate SWF file, simplifying the review process. Adobe Captivate 4 also enables users to add customizable tables of contents that automatically update as a learner navigates a project. To further boost engagement, learning professionals can use system and custom variables to provide learners with a personalized learning experience. For example, a learner can be prompted to type their name into a blank field in the beginning of the course and Adobe Captivate 4 will automatically personalize upcoming slides with the learner’s name.

Workflow and Integration Benefits

By integrating Adobe’s industry leading content creation tools, the Adobe eLearning Suite presents learning professionals with workflow benefits that are unavailable when purchasing individual products. With the Dreamweaver CS4 CourseBuilder extension, course designers can use Dreamweaver CS4 to directly create HTML-based eLearning modules, complete with assessments, by utilizing standard question types. Using the new Shared Courseware Object Reference (SCORM) packager, designers can also combine Adobe Captivate 4, Flash CS4, Dreamweaver CS4 and Adobe Presenter content into a single course, which further simplifies course creation.

With the inclusion of Soundbooth CS4, learning professionals can easily remove noise from recordings, polish voice-overs, customize music to fit a production and mix multiple clips on several tracks. Course designers can further engage their audiences with powerful visuals created within Photoshop CS4 Extended, which includes added features for editing 3D images and motion-based content. The visuals along with media developed in Adobe Captivate or other components can be easily organized, browsed, viewed and directly placed into Adobe Captivate 4, Photoshop CS4 and Flash CS4 from one central location using Adobe Bridge CS4.

Once content is ready for delivery, users can select one of several standardized output formats, including SWF, HTML, PDF, AVI, and SCORM, enabling easy delivery to the Web, desktop and learning management systems. If course designers don’t have access to a learning management system, the Adobe eLearning Suite allows users to publish directly to Adobe Acrobat® Connect Pro™ (sold separately). Additionally, Adobe Device Central CS4 allows course designers to design, preview, and test content for viewing on more than 600 mobile device screens.

Pricing and Availability

Adobe eLearning Suite and Adobe Captivate 4 are immediately available through Adobe Authorized Resellers and the Adobe Store. Estimated street price for the suite is US$1799 and US$799 for Adobe Captivate 4 as a standalone product. Upgrade and education pricing for both products is available. Both the Adobe eLearning Suite and Adobe Captivate 4 are compatible with Microsoft® Windows® XP with Service Pack 2 (Service Pack 3 recommended) and Windows Vista® Home Premium, Business, Ultimate, or Enterprise with Service Pack 1. For more information about the Adobe eLearning Suite visit, for Adobe Captivate 4 visit .

About Adobe Systems Incorporated

Adobe revolutionizes how the world engages with ideas and information – anytime, anywhere and through any medium. For more information, visit

Olympic Utilities for MindManager 7 & 8

Over the past couple of months I have had the opportunity to touch base with some of the developers of MindManager add-ins to see what they had up their sleeves for 2009. I was delighted to find out when speaking with Nigel from Olympic Limited that his company would shortly release a MindManager 7 & 8 add-in called Olympic Utilities. The Olympic Utilities tools once installed can be viewed as a new Ribbon Tab within MindManager giving you access to the various tools. Nigel was kind enough to provide with a license so that I could test it out. Olympic Utilities was very easy to install and I was up and running in no time. Once installed you will find that you have a new ribbon with ten new utilities that you can use within MindManager. The ten utilities include the following:


A handy utility that will convert a hyper linked document such as a PDF file or a Word document and change it to an Attachment (embedded within the map). The add-in also allows you to either keep the current hyperlink or have it replaced which allows for additional flexibility.

Topic Text Lock/Un-Lock

This utility allows you to select a Topic and then lock the text so it cannot be changed by other users of the map, (unless they have Olympic Utilities installed). When a Topic is locked, it is indicated by a padlock icon on the Topic.


Allows you to add selected Topics, (providing they have a numerical text title), and have the sum either displayed on screen or added to the map.


Change Topics to Call-Out Topics or back again with a single click.


Takes the selected Topic and inserts a user selected date. The user can select to have the day of the week added to the Topic if desired.


This function allows you to open a map which has its Topic alignment set to Left so that all new Topics created are added to the left hand side of the map.


Takes the selected Topic and steps through the sub-topics and converts them into Text Notes of the selected Topic.


Takes the selected Topic and its first Sub-Topics and creates a new Map Marker Group and adds the Sub-Topics as Resources.

Topic Calculator

Use this on a numerical Topic to display different conversion such as Miles/Kilometers, Inches/Feet etc. Also allows basic math calculations to be carried out on the selected Topic and the result added to the map.


Takes the selected Topic and makes the Topic orientation vertical. This allows the user to select the character spacing of the resulting Topic as well.

As noted I found Olympic Utilities easy to use and found some of the commands quite intriguing. I really enjoyed being able to quickly insert the date into a topic using Date2Topic and the TopicCalculator was outstanding and very well implemented. The ability to quickly change the text in a topic from horizontal to vertical orientation using the Topic2Vertical could come in handy as was the ability to lock the text in a topic with TopicTextLock. The Link2Attachment is one of my favorites and one that I will use often. With Link2Attachment you are quickly able to turn your links into attachments thereby embedding the document in the map. The more you use Olympic Utilities the more it grows on you. I was wondering what your favorite Olympic Utilities feature is? If you enter at the right top of the blog page your name and email you will be in the running for a FREE copy of Olympic Utilities- but you have to be in it to win! You can also purchase a copy of Olympic Utilities in the in the AssistiveTek Prostore. So check it out!

New Features in Webspiration

Here are some updates to Webspiration which I have previously written about. Webspiration is really maturing and is a wonderful online tool for visual thinkers. As a long time Inspiration user I am really excited by this version which is accessible to me anytime I am connected to the web. If you haven't taken the time-please do so you, will be very pleased with the features and the collaboration tools that are built-in to this application.

Learning Library

Inside the Launch Center we've built a learning library with helpful articles to strengthen your visual thinking skills. College users will find some great tips on how to write papers with the least pain possible, or how to use Webspiration to study more effectively. Business users can learn the essentials of brainstorming, read some quick tips for creating diagrams, or learn how outlining can streamline your business writing.

Help Center

Our new expanded Help Center is designed to get your questions answered quickly and provide access to the information you need to use Webspiration's functions to their fullest.

The new Frequently Asked Questions section answers the most common questions we get from users, and is a great place to start if you need some help. Also in the Help Center is the Getting Started Guide, which gives you a comprehensive overview of Webspiration.

And, of course, the Help Center provides you access to our friendly Webspiration Technical Support team, in case you need help with anything that wasn't covered in the FAQ's or Getting Started Guide.

Sample Gallery

Seeing how other people are using Webspiration can sometimes trigger some great ideas of your own. The new sample gallery has samples of many different uses for visual thinking, whether it's mapping out processes, organizing papers, or laying out web sites.

Brother Ptouch 1230 PC- Easy Labeler

I was going through the Staples circular today and came across a sale on the new Brother Ptouch 1230 PC labeler which looked very interesting. I have several Brother printers and copies in my home and am impressed with the price and performance of these devices. I have used the handheld Ptouch labelers for many years and when I read about the Ptouch 1230 PC labler that connects directly to a PC, I had to go down to Staples and check it out. I should share with you that the Brother Ptouch 1230 PC was on sale for $29.99 which was a steal, it usually sells for $49.99. I picked one up today and tried it out an am very impressed with its capabilities and ease of use.

The user guide has very informative graphics and walks you through the set up process. You first drop in the TZ tape cartridge and then install the 6 AAA. Next attach the supplied USB cable from the Brother Ptouch 1230 PC to your Windows computer. The Brother Ptouch 1230 PC was automatically seen and within a minute a pop window opened that let me start the PC Editor Lite software that is actually running from the Brother Ptouch 1230 PC. I now simply entered my name into the PC Editor Lite software and clicked on the Print button to print my first of many labels. The software lets you store your labels and you have options to add graphics as well as frames. You have access to your full set of fonts and sizes which makes this a very versatile label printer. The Brother Ptouch 1230 PC will automatically power down when in not in use and by powering it up the PC Editor Lite software will automatically open when powered up again. The Brother Ptouch 1230 PC accepts TZ laminated tapes that are up to 1/2 inches wide and comes in various colors, styles and sizes for home use. The Brother Ptouch 1230 PC is light weight and certainly portable if you need to take it on the road with you.Now if Brother can get it working on Mac. Polling from Your Cell Phone

I was reading the current issue of Education Week and came across the educational technology article that spoke about the use of cell phones in the classroom. I know that this is very controversial topic but it got me thinking about the power of these handheld tools and how they can transform instruction in the classroom. In the article they mentioned two different cell phone applications GCast and PollEverywhere which I looked into. I have written about GCast in a previous post and plan on using it for creating on the fly podcasts. Yesterday I had some time and signed up for a free PollEverywhere account. There is a free version for educators in K-12 and Higher Education as well as for consumers for up to 32 responders., for each poll. With more and more schools purchasing clickers or responders here is a free way for educators to get instant feedback in their classrooms via the cell phone.

To get started- go to and set up an account. Once you do this you can start creating your polls. A poll can contain a Multiple Choice Poll ie. What is your favorite color or can be a Free Text Poll whereby students can enter any text they would like to be displayed. Once you have set up your poll the way you like you Open your poll to get started. Once the poll is open your students are given a number to text to along with some "keywords" or numbers that you text to respond. Lets try this one which I have set up for you to try- the polling question is: Which project management software application are you presently using? To respond to the poll you need to send a text from your cell phone to the following number "99503". Here are the possible responses: text 35687 for Fast Schedule, text 35688 for JCVGantt Pro, text 35689 for Microsoft Project, text 35690 for Mind2Chart, text 35684 for Project KickStart, and text 35691 for None of the Above. Once you send the text the data is automatically updated on the web for you or you can download a specially formatted PowerPoint slide that will automatically collect and graph the data. Individuals who don't have access to a cell phone can also enter the data on the web. I have set up some polls that I will use with my graudate students in a couple of weeks and let you know how it goes. I always like to model using new technology and I will be interested in what they think about PollEverywhere. So try it out for yourself and if I get some repsonders I will report on the data. Once a poll is clsoed you can embed the results on a website or a blog or download the results data in an Excel formatted worksheet. Have fun and is that your final answer!

Snagit 9 Send to Screencast Output

I just received an email from TechSmith about a new Output which I just had to download and try. There are many times when you want to be able to show someone a graphic or screenshot but you don't want to necessarily send them the graphic. With the new Output installed grab your screenshot and click on the output- which will automatically send your graphic to your Screencast account. When you send your graphic you can decide if you want to just have Screencast prepare a URL link or the Embedded code for your website or a blog. It is really that easy as you can see below. Snagit 9 just keeps getting better and better! Thanks TechSmith :-)

Gcast=Easy Podcasting

In two weeks I will be doing a workshop for school administrators and was looking for an easy way to create podcasts, well I think I found it. I had bookmarked Gcast some time ago in my Delicious account but had forgotten about it. Today I set up my account and channels and created my first podcast using my cell phone. Gcast provides you with a toll free number to call the network and by providing your PIN you can begin recording your podcast using your phone.

After you are done you can review your recording and if you like re-record it. To save and upload the podcast all you need to do is hit the # key. It was just that easy. When I returned to the Gcast website I had to wait about 5 minutes for the podcast to be processed. Once it was uploaded I was able to assign it to a channel. Here is a quick podcast that I did. Gcast made making podcast's from a cell phone extremely easy. You can also upload podcast via your computer and upload them to iTunes. Check out my first Gcast podcast below.

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PersonalBrain 5 Released

PersonalBrain 5.0 Released: Dynamic Mind Mapping Software Helps Users Take Control and Leverage Information by Visualizing Connections and Capturing Users’ Thoughts

PersonalBrain 5.0 Offers: New Visualizations, Import of Many File Formats and Augmented Mac OS Integration

Marina del Rey, CA.—Jan 6, 2009—TheBrain Technologies announced that PersonalBrain 5.0, the latest version of its powerful information visualization and organization software is now available for Windows, Mac OS X and Linux. PersonalBrain 5.0 will be unveiled at Macworld 2009 at booth #3419, North Hall.

PersonalBrain’s award-winning dynamic interface enables users to link all ideas, files, and Web pages so people can better understand their information, see hidden connections, and liberate themselves from linear file organization.

Current systems such as folders, search lists, and email fail to connect different concepts, people, projects and their digital information associatively. PersonalBrain gives users a conceptual space that puts ideas at the forefront, creating a dynamic network of visually connected Thoughts that represent the user’s mind.

Designed for people who need to analyze, brainstorm and synthesize a wide variety of information both on their local computer and on the Internet, PersonalBrain lets users express key relationships across all information sources, so underlying thinking and key ideas are instantly visible. All files, documents and web pages can be instantly recalled and retrieved with PersonalBrain and displayed with all related connections so key information is easily discovered.

PersonalBrain 5.0 Feature Highlights

  • Powerful “outline” view enables a broader view while retaining the flexibility of a networked structure
  • Visual tagging gives another way to find information and enhances the ability to use PersonalBrain for Getting Things Done.
  • Presentation mode enables full screen visualization that easily avoids the tedium of slideshow presentations
  • Save customized layouts created in the “expanded” view
  • Import of outlines and mind maps created in many other programs lets users upgrade their existing data into a scalable associative network
  • Augmented Mac OS X Functionality
    • Spotlight integration enables searching of information in the context of how it’s all connected
    • Address Book, iCal, and Apple Mail integration enables users to tie all the information on their Mac together seamlessly
    • QuickLook integration enables users to instantly preview attachments
    • Specially created Mac OS X look and feel fits in seamlessly
  • Enhancements throughout PersonalBrain make everything from scrolling through information with the mouse wheel to creating reports faster and easier.

“PersonalBrain enables us to take control of the volumes of information that we are inundated with and organizes ideas and content based on our unique thinking and perspective,” said Harlan Hugh, Chief Technology Officer of TheBrain. “PersonalBrain 5.0’s new importing features make it even easier to get started. Powerful new visualization and tagging features give users an increased level of semantic meaning in their Brains to see and discover key information relationships and capture critical thinking.”

Pricing and Availability

PersonalBrain 5.0 is offered in three editions for immediate download: Free, Core, and Pro. PersonalBrain Free is offered at no charge and lets anyone link ideas and Web pages, images and notes. Pro and Core editions are priced as follows: PersonalBrain Pro $249.95, PersonalBrain Core $149.95. PersonalBrain 4 users can upgrade to 5.0 for $74.95. The upgrade is free for users who purchased PersonalBrain 4 after June 1, 2008.PersonalBrain runs on Windows 2000, 2003, XP, Vista, Mac OS X 10.4+, and many flavors of Linux.