This post is more gadget than anything else, but I am testing the Keurig B30 Mini Personal Brewer. I am a coffee lover who takes each cup seriously. I really cannot enjoy or drink  red-can or blue-can coffee, I like a good brew made from arabica beans. I was somewhat doubtful that this brewer would make good coffee using its patented k-cup technology, but I must say I am pleasantly surprised. This single cup brewer is great and can make very good coffee, tea or hot chocolate. It now has a place in  my office.

K-cups can be found at several places:

 

keurig-single-cup-coffee-maker-e28093-coffee-brewer-gourmet-coffee-gourmet-tea-k-cups

SimplyBox is an online tool that allows you to collect and organize parts of web pages (called items) that you find important and want to share with others. Each collection of items becomes a box and each box can contain items on any subject/category you want. 

SimplyBox also works well with other social tools such as: Facebook, Google, YouTube, Blogs, etc. 

SimplyBox does not work with Safari yet, but plans are that it will soon. Once you begin using SimplyBox it installs a toolbar as seen below:

 

simplybox-think-inside-the-box

 

According to the SimplyBox Blog:

“SimplyBox can play different roles in education. For some it is a fantastic research tool. For others it enhances virtual learning/tutoring. Students like it for writing papers. But what many educators are telling us is that the biggest value our solution offers is the improvement in the learning collaboration between teacher and student.”

How many times have you found a video on YouTube and wished you could save it to your laptop (Mac or Windows) to show at a later time? If you are like me, there have been times in which I wanted to do just that so I could show the video in my classes. 

Well there are at least two (2) tools that allow this. The one with the most features is TubeSock. With this tool you can download videos from YouTube, DailyMotion, and other sites saving them to your video iPod, Mac, PC, or PlayStation Portable. The cost is $15.

Another tool is KeepVID, which is free, but lacks a lot of the functionality of TubeSock.

Drop.io is a simple way to share/publish files for your students. I have used drop.io with my graduate students when I needed to share documents and some of the students had trouble getting them via their email accounts and it has always been a reliable tool, not mention “free”.

Drop.io has the following features (taken from the website):

  • Drop.io is an easy to use, online file sharing service that provides users with a simple and private way to share images, video, audio, documents and other digital content through unique, user-created and controlled sharing points called ‘drops.’
  • In just two clicks, users are able to seamlessly create personal sharing points, upload content via web, e-mail, MMS, Facebook, Firefox extension, phone and fax inputs and share it with friends, family and colleagues through drop.io’s various web, e-mail, MMS, twitter, iTunes and fax outputs.
  • Each ‘drop’ is non-searchable, non-networked, does not require any type of account registration and can be password-protected and set to expire after a period of time.
  • Drop.io is used by a wide range of users seeking a convenient and secure method for sharing all types of digital content, ranging from mothers sharing baby photos to large companies using ‘drops’ as collaborative workspaces.

 

You can try out drop.io here: http://drop.io/.

http://campustechnology.com/printarticle.aspx?id=69555

The above link is a good interview of David Parry, assistant professor of emerging media at the University of Texas at Dallas. In the interview, Professor Parry talks about “Teaching Twitter”.

Check out this collaborative tool map showing the best tools of 2008:

http://www.mindmeister.com/maps/show_public/12213323

OpenDNS is an industrial strength DNS provider that adds many well thought out and really cool features, one of which is Internet safety.

The following features are from the OpenDNS web site:

  • Web Content Filtering
    Filter undesirable content on your network, from sites that are unsafe to sites that are inappropriate for a learning environment like your school. It’s as easy as checking a box and your filtering settings take effect in minutes. Choose from more than 50 filtering categories.
  • Proxy and Anonymizer Blocking
    Proxies and anonymizers — the tools commonly used by students to bypass filters — are no match for OpenDNS. Simply check a box to block them and gain peace-of-mind knowing your filtering is airtight.
  • Phishing Protection
    Schools like yours can’t take their chances when it comes to phishing. Keep students and faculty safe from phishing sites with our industry-leading anti-phishing service. Over a quarter million phishing sites blocked to date.
  • Faster Internet
    Our global routing technology makes your DNS requests route automatically to the OpenDNS server closest to you, making Web sites load noticeably faster.
  • CIPA Compliance
    The Children’s Internet Protection Act (CIPA) ensures schools like yours block access to unsafe content. Easily achieve CIPA compliance required for federal funding with OpenDNS.
  • Zero-Downtime Network
    A more reliable network for you means no more intermittent outages and fewer support requests. For teachers and faculty it means no loss of valuable class time caused by network downtime. Schools that can’t afford downtime use OpenDNS.
  • OpenDNS Guide
    Search results get students and staff back on track when they mistype a URL or try to visit a site that’s down. Our smart “did you mean?” spelling suggestions help point them in the right direction, instead of showing them a hard-to-understand error page.
  • Customization
    Your school’s logo and your custom message on the OpenDNS Guide and block pages help communicate your school’s Internet policy to students. They/ll understand OpenDNS is a school-approved service put in place to make their Internet experience safer.
  • Statistics
    Detailed statistics will empower you to see which Web sites are problematic for your network and easily spot trends before they become problems. OpenDNS gives you the tools to do this, coupled with the tools to take action.
  • World-Class Support
    Get top-notch support from The DNS Experts. Our escalation protocols ensure you get the support you need, when you need it.

 

OpenDNS is suitable for K12 institutions, Higher Ed institutions, homes, small business, churches, etc., in other words in any situation where there is an Internet connection involved. If you do not elect to use it, you are missing out on a great reliable tool.

Here is how you can use it.