Interesting Uses of QR Codes for Educators

Many of us are used to seeing those familiar UPC Codes on products that can be scanned at the check out counters to look up the price and product name. While attending the DevLearn 09 Conference I came across another type of bar code called the QR Code. While I had seen them in different venues I did not at first grasp how they might be used during a conference or in an educational setting. At the DevLearn 09, QR Codes could be found on the signage of every workshop that when read by a QR Reader on a smartphone would take you to a web site for additional information about the presentation. While QR Codes have been popular in Japan, they are just beginning to gain popularity in the United States and Europe. I obtained this information from Wikipedia about QR Codes which I though would be of interest to you:

A QR Code is a matrix code (or two-dimensional bar code) created by Japanese corporation Denso-Wave in 1994. The "QR" is derived from "Quick Response", as the creator intended the code to allow its contents to be decoded at high speed.

QR Codes are common in Japan, where they are currently the most popular type of two dimensional codes. Moreover, most current Japanese mobile phones can read this code with their camera.

With the rise in the number of smartphones (Android, iPhones, Blackberry) in use, QR Codes become a great way for "tagging" physical information that links to a URL. With a QR Reader installed you can simply point your camera phone at the QR Code and be instantly taken to a website to provide your viewers with additional information. You can embed text, RSS feeds, and URL's in a QR Code. Imagine printing the code on lectures, notes or study guides so that your students can be supplied with supplemental information. Or how about adding QR codes to physical objects in your environment and have your students learn more about the topic. The use of QR codes are endless! So give it a try and let me know what you think. So download a QR Reader to your smartphone and give this QR Code a try! To generate and print out a QR code go to the Kaywa website. So point your smartphone camera at the QR Code below to see what happens!

One Sentence Summary Created with Context Organizer With a QR Reader installed you can simply point your camera phone at the QR Code and be instantly taken to a website to provide your viewers with additional information.


Happy Thanksgiving!

I want to take this opportunity to wish all my readers a Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you have a great day tomorrow and get the opportunity to spend some time with your friends and families! Enjoy the day! Brian

Capturing Notes Using Papershow

I had a great day working with a group of teachers in assisting them to incorporate the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) into their math lessons. Over the course of two days we went over the principles of UDL and had a chance to look at a variety of tools and strategies that could be employed into their lessons. We had a chance to use Google Forms, Delicious, Webspiration, and InspireData to give the teachers some new tools to actively engage students in their learning. It was exciting to feel the energy in the workshop as the teachers began to see how they could use the various tools to reach their students. During the workshop I was able to capture some of the ideas using Papershow which was a real hit with the teachers. At the end of the second day I captured some notes which I can share with you. Papershow is a wonderful tool for recording and capturing ideas. After today's session I saved the notes as a PDF file and placed them on our wiki which worked really well. Here is is a link to today's notes as captured with Papershow.

One Sentence Summary Created with Context Organizer
During the workshop I was able to capture some of the ideas using Papershow which was a real hit with the teachers.

Writing Proposals with MindView 3 Business Edition

As a technology consultant I am often asked by my clients to write up a proposal for my services. For many of us who are in this situation our first inclination is to open up Microsoft Word and start to draft our proposal. While I have written about this topic before, it is worth mentioning again that I have found it to be a tremendous time saver to draft my proposals in a mind map and then export them to Microsoft Word. In the past couple of weeks I have had to put three proposals together and in this instance I decided to put MindView 3 Business Edition through its paces to draft my proposals. I have been using MindView 3 Business Edition lately, to track some of my projects using the Gantt Chart and Timelines but had not investigated how to use it to generate proposals.

In general I find it a good strategy to brainstorm the topics for my proposals in the mind map which gives me the freedom to move around the key ideas. Once I have the main headings I can begin to insert the details for each main topic. In MindView 3 Business Edition I decided to add more text to flesh out my ideas by using the Notes feature. For each idea that I wanted a fuller explanation I typed in some notes into the text editor. I generally also add some graphics and icons to my maps to spruce them up. After all of my ideas and notes were completed I was able to export my mind map to Microsoft Word. MindView 3 Business Edition provides a nice set of formatted Word templates to Export your mind maps to. You have considerable control as to what comes over during the export process. I have found that MindView 3 Business Edition outputs your mind maps quickly and accurately to Microsoft Word and the finished product is very professionally formatted.

As much as I would like to think that the content of my proposals is what gets me my work, it does help when your proposals are succinct and look professional. In this case, MindView 3 Business Edition has assisted me to get my proposals in, in less time with laser focus. So the next time you need to write a business proposal open up MindView 3 Business Edition and give it a whirl you will be glad you did- take it from me.

One Sentence Summary Created by Context Organizer
In the past couple of weeks I have had to put three proposals together and in this instance I decided to put MindView 3 Business Edition through its paces to draft my proposals.

Delivering e-Learning Assets in PDF Format Webinar

Two weeks ago I delivered a presentation at the DevLearn 09 Conference on: Delivering e-Learning Assets in PDF Format which focused on how one can deliver a range of content using the ubiquitous PDF format. During my session I showed my participants how I am using Adobe Acrobat Pro Extended, Adobe Captivate 4, Camtasia Studio, and Adobe Presenter to create rich and engaging eLearning assets. Using a combination of these tools it is possible to create some interesting materials that can be shared with the Adobe Acrobat Reader. One of the real take aways from the presentation is that it is now possible to embed video in your PDF's which your users can view with the free Adobe Acrobat Reader 9.

The presentation was well received and it occurred to me that there may be others out there who may benefit from this presentation who were not able to attend the DevLearn 09 Conference. I am in the process of putting together a 1 hour long webinar to show you how to make the most of the tools you have at your disposal. There will be a nominal fee of $19.99 to attend the webinar but your return on investment will be huge. You can pay and register for the webinar by clicking on this link.

In the webinar you will learn how to:
  • Create interactive handouts in PDF format with Adobe Acrobat 9 Pro
  • Embed a SWF and FLV File into a PDF
  • Create PDF Portfolios with a range of rich media
  • Create Flash based eLearning assets with Adobe Presenter
  • Upload a Captivate SWF file to BlackBoard as a zip package
  • Embed Adobe Captivate SWF files into your projects
  • Output your Adobe Captivate projects in PDF format
The Delivering e-Learning Assets in PDF Format Webinar is scheduled for January 11, 2010 at 1:00 pm EST. To Register click here. Plan now to attend! Now Integrates Tables & Presentation

I have been following since its inception and today Adobe has finally integrated their suite of services under one roof. is an essential service for Adobe since it is tightly integrated into Acrobat 9 line of products. If you have a copy of Acrobat 9 you can easily upload your PDF files to come and share them with others by providing them with a URL that is generated. can also be used when distributing PDF Forms and becomes the repository for the information that gets submitted.

The Suite now includes Buzzword, a collaborative word processor, Tables, a database tool, and Presentation, a slide deck presentation tool. All of your files are accessible to you when connected to the web and you can invite others to collaborate on your documents if you wish. All of the applications have the very aesthetically please Flash look to them and are very inviting to use. Additionally you can use your account to connect and share your computer with up to two other people, which makes is easy to collaborate and do small trainings or webinars. While the feature set looks to me to have stayed the same having all of the tools under one roof really helps to solidify this offering. I still have my free account but if you feel that you need more storage or would like to host larger meetings you can upgrade to one of their Premium accounts. Take a look at and let me know your comments.

Service Pack 2 Available for MindView 3 Business Edition

While using MindView 3 Business Edition today I was alerted that Service Pack 2 was available for download from Matchware. After you install the Service Pack your version of MindView 3 should be at Version 3.160. There is also Service Pack2 for MindView 3 as well.

This Service Pack contains the following changes:

Service Pack 2:

New Features:
  • MindView now supports pen input as well as standard keyboard/mouse input.
  • MindView now supports the use of SMART boards.
  • Timeline view: The detail level of the Timeline now matches the detail level used in the Timeline Outline. This means that only branches that are visible in the outline are shown on the timeline itself.
  • Copying a branch containing a text note now also copies the text note as expected.
  • The command Send no longer causes MindView to swap to another open document in some circumstances.
  • The filtering of dates has been updated.
  • The Mind Map now scrolls to the left when editing branch labels that expand outside the right edge of the workspace.
  • The Auto Correct function now works as expected when editing branch labels.
  • The Find/Replace and Spellchecking functions now expand invisible branches when necessary.
  • The Show Time Info setting chosen to display or hide start and end times is now preserved as expected when saving and re-opening the Mind Map.
  • Mind Maps shown in the Top Down view with their sub-branches displayed vertically are now updated as expected when branches are moved or deleted.
  • The layout of Mind Maps whose branches have been arranged "manually" (with auto-layout off) is now preserved as expected when saving and re-opening the file.
  • It is now possible to insert a branch from the Timeline Outline without causing the "Insert Event" dialog to open.
  • The dialog displayed when opening a packed map containing files whose original versions has changed since the map was packed no longer shows multiple entries when the same file has been used on several branches.
  • The Show Branch Data settings chosen to display or hide start/end times, priority level, completion percentage and resource names are now preserved as expected when saving and re-opening the Mind Map.
  • When updating the priority level, completion percentage and/or resource names of a branch, the changes are now reflected immediately on the Mind Map.
  • Copying branches containing calculations values now works as expected.
  • Gantt view:
    • The timescale chosen (years, quarters, months, days etc.) to represent the Gantt chart is now preserved as expected when saving and re-opening the file.
    • The label displayed in the Predecessors column of the Gantt Outline is now shown correctly in the case of tasks linked with predecessors with a Start to Start link.
    • Tasks having a summary task as predecessor task and linked to it with a percentage lead time (so that the task can start some time before the summary task ends) are now scheduled correctly in all circumstances.
    • Saving very large Gantt charts no longer causes MindView to freeze while generating the file preview picture.
  • MS Project Export: The Mind Map hierarchy is now always preserved as expected when exporting to MS Project 2007.
  • Excel Export: Sheet names are now localized as expected in versions of MindView other than English.
  • XML import: This now works as expected when branches have branch boundaries.

Second Generation Pogoplug™ Unveiled Today

Next-generation Hardware Design and Software Provide Enhanced Storage, Multimedia and Social Media Capabilities

San Francisco, Calif. – November 20, 2009 – Cloud Engines, Inc. unveiled the second generation of the award winning Pogoplug multimedia sharing device today giving consumers more flexibility to store personal content safely in the home and access, manage, and share it from anywhere on the Internet. The new Pogoplug hardware sports a new design boasting multiple USB ports supporting up to 4 external drives for expanded data capacity. The new Pogoplug also gives users improved sharing capabilities, an easy drag-and-drop interface to create engaging multi-media slide shows, seamless media playback, and enhanced sharing with friends on Facebook, Twitter and MySpace.

Pogoplug acts like a gateway from your home or office through the Internet. It allows you to access, share and even stream your personal digital media directly to anybody, anywhere in the world. Your content always remains physically in your home or office, making it secure, convenient and available on your terms. Pogoplug is perfect for those individuals with increasingly mobile lifestyles and small businesses in need of simple, inexpensive mobile data access solutions.

“The reaction to the Pogoplug has been incredible. By listening to user feedback and following our own product roadmap, we are bringing a great second-generation product that gives our customers access to a host of new features that both improve the function of the Pogoplug, and add to the fun of using it as well.” said Daniel Putterman, CEO of Cloud Engines, Inc. “We are committed to giving our customers the best way to access their data from anywhere in the world, pushing the envelope with both product quality and design aesthetic. The result is what you see here today.”

The new Pogoplug design retains the simplicity and ease of use of the original while listening to consumer feedback and adding the ability to directly connect up to 4 external hard drives at once. The resulting product boasts an improved design with greatly improved functionality for users with multiple drives and an increasing need for easy synching and sharing of their digital libraries. This upgrade turns the Pogoplug into an even more prominent feature in the modern digital home or small business.


Automatically Synchronize Photos, Videos, Music and Other Selected Content
Users can synchronize their Pogoplug with their PC or Mac to automatically import new content from popular applications such as iTunes, Windows Media Player, and iPhoto. This feature allows Pogoplug owners to “set it and forget it” and always have access to new photos, videos and music from anywhere on the Internet.

Drag-and-Drop Music and Photo Slideshows
Users can easily create and share fun and engaging slideshows using their stored photos, videos and music. Creating a slideshow with Pogoplug is as simple as drag and drop, and sharing these slideshows is just as easy as ever. Once a user’s link is shared and viewed, their slideshow will immediately begin with the photos, videos and music they selected, playing seamlessly in the viewer’s browser.
Easier Sharing with Pogoplug Address Book
Pogoplug Address Book greatly improves the speed and ease of use of sharing with a user’s friends and family. Pogoplug automatically remembers all email addresses entered in a user’s previous shares - even if that share no longer exists – and makes them available in an easy to use address book to make sharing truly one click away.

Global Search Across Multiple Drives and Pogoplugs
With support for multiple drives on a single Pogoplug (and multiple Pogoplugs on the same account) Pogoplug has added "global" search support across all of a user’s Pogoplugs and drives. Search filters are now a distinct feature, allowing users to view all of their photos, videos and music in a single organized view, or to search for a specific file across all Pogoplugs and drives.
Organize Your Music, Photos and Videos
Pogoplug automatically displays music by Album, Artist and Genre, and shows cover art for quick access to a user’s favorite music. Photos are now displayed by photo timeline and videos are only a click away, including the ability to watch a preview in the thumbnail itself.

Play movies directly from, or even to the iPhone
Pogoplug now supports the playback of videos directly from a Pogoplug, with support for the most popular cameras, video cameras and mobile phones. Movies can be shared and viewed directly from the Pogoplug website – or even from an iPhone!

Pricing and Availability
We are currently taking Pre-Orders for Pogoplug at Units will ship before the end of the year – just in time for the Holiday Season. The Pogoplug has a suggested retail price of $129, with no additional service fees.

• Pogoplug web site:
• Product photos:
• Twitter feed:
• Pogoplug online community:
The Pogoplug is a device that connects up to 4 external hard drives to the Internet. It is designed for consumers who have an external hard drive and have high speed Internet. Consumers can securely access and share all of their content [Files, Photos, and Video] from any Web browser or enabled mobile device with no additional monthly fees. Free your inner drive.
Founded in 2007 by experienced entrepreneurs from the digital media and security industries, Cloud Engines is located in San Francisco, California. The company was formed with a mission to change the way personal content is stored and distributed over the Internet. The Cloud Engines philosophy is that by making a product simple, open and affordable, the community will participate in making it better. For more information, please visit our Web site,

Uploading your Captivate 4 Videos to BlackBoard

While presenting Delivering e-Learning Assets in PDF Format at the DevLearn 09 Conference a question was raised as to how do you go about sharing your Captivate 4 projects on BlackBoard. Now that you can save your video projects as a PDF file it is easy to upload them to your BlackBoard course as a simple PDF file. But if you would like, you have the option of storing your video project as a zip file on BlackBoard which gets unzipped when your students click on the link. There are a couple of details which are important to note when uploading your Captivate projects to BlackBoard in a zip format which are highlighted in this video. So take a look at this video to see how you to can upload your Captivate projects as a zip file right into BlackBoard. Your comments are welcome- hope this helps!

DevLearn 09 Follow-up

After nearly a week out of the office attending the Adobe Summit and DevLearn 09 Conference I'm back in my office catching up. I met some really wonderful people and really enjoyed the conversations we had about the state of eLearning. It was very exciting to meet up with professionals in this area who I have only interacted with online for the past couple of years. To say the least, we are living through some really interesting and exciting times when it comes to learning and how to capitalize on the power of the web for eLearning.

I had over 50 participants at my session Delivering e-Learning Assets in PDF Format and focused on how one can deliver a range of content using the ubiquitous PDF format. During my session I showed how I am using Adobe Acrobat Pro Extended, Adobe Captivate 4, and Adobe Presenter to create rich and engaging eLearning assets. Using a combination of these tools it is possible to create some interesting materials that can be shared with the Adobe Acrobat Reader. One of the real take aways from the presentation is that it is now possible to embed video in your PDF's which your users can view with the free Adobe Acrobat Reader 9. During my demonstration I showed how you can embed SWF files into a Word document and create an interactive handout which can be saved as a PDF file. In fact this is the way I recently created my ebook Technology Supports for Writing. There a lots of ways to use PDF's to create handouts and eLearning materials using Adobe Acrobat Portfolios. You can take a look at this video that I created to give you some ideas of how you might use the Portfolio feature in the work that you do. To get a copy of my handouts from the conference you can download them from the DevLearn 09 Web site.

Inspiration 9 Coming January 2010

Inspiration 8 continues to be on my top 10 all time list of software applications and every time I use it or run a workshop showing teachers how they can support students I am always amazed at the built in features and templates. Just yesterday, I did an in-service program on using Inspiration 8 and Webspiration and I showed a group of Middle School teachers how they can integrate graphic organizers in their classroom's with students. Some of the features which really shine are: Text to Speech, WordGuide, Templates, and the Transfer to Word. On the heels of this I was excited to see that Inspiration 9 will be released in January 2010.

Here is what Inspiration Software is saying about Inspiration 9:

Inspiration, Comprehend. Create. Communicate. Achieve More

Comprehend. Create. Communicate. Achieve More

For visual mapping, outlining, writing and making presentations, use Inspiration® 9, the ultimate thinking and learning tool. Brainstorm ideas, structure your thoughts and visually communicate concepts to strengthen understanding with the Diagram and Map Views. To take notes, organize information, and structure writing for plans, papers and reports, use the integrated Outline View to focus on main and supporting ideas and to clarify thinking in written form. With Inspiration's Presentation Manager, transform your diagrams, mind maps and outlines into polished presentations that communicate ideas clearly and demonstrate understanding and knowledge.
For more information go to Inspiration Software website.

Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic - Individual Membership is now Free

Thanks to major funding from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Special Education Programs, Grant #H327D090001 and support of private donors, Recording for the Blind & Dyslexic ® (RFB&D®) Individual Membership is now free to individuals with proper certification*.

Member benefits include:

  • FREE access to the nation's largest audiobook library of textbooks and literature titles
  • Human-narrated audiobooks with descriptions of images, tables and graphs
  • Easy-to-use online catalog
  • 24/7 online member services and phone support
  • Various audiobook downloadable formats, including DAISY and WMA (Windows Media Audio)

Register Online for Immediate Access

Download an Application


*Learn more about Certification