Archive for the ‘Tools’ Category


Why it’s a bad idea to send large attachments in email

In Tools on November 4, 2009 by TIPS Team

For EPS staff, we all know about the limits in our inbox.  I know I get a message every couple of days telling me that my inbox is full.  Most of the time, this is because someone has sent me a large file attachment – either a co-worker sharing photos of a new baby, or a video that could probably be found on you tube.  So why do people still insist on sharing large files when they know it causes us Outlook grief?  Even with Share (Google) Apps having increased the maximum attachment size to a whopping 25 MB in June, some people want to send larger files. Daniel (another blogger I follow with the  Google Blog) wrote a thoughtful comment that explains why it’s a bad idea to send huge files by email.  Keep these points in mind the next time you have large photos, videos, or files to send:

People who demand large message size limits rarely understand the limitations of the email transmission.

Because of the MIME encoding used when sending binary attachments, your files expand 33% when sent via email. In other words, a 15MB attachment requires 20MB plus the message text, plus message headers.

When you carbon copy 20 of your friends & coworkers, a separate message is sent to each. 20MB x 20 = 400MB. That’s half a freaking CD.

If 5 of those friends are on the same small company email server, downloading those messages saturates the entire bandwidth of their T1 data line for nearly 9 minutes. Because each message has separate headers, it isn’t easily cached and gets completely downloaded by each recipient.
Compare this to uploading the same attachment to a web server, FTP server, file transmission service like YouSendIt, or video streaming site like YouTube. One copy is uploaded. The download is typically 8-bit so minimal expansion factor. The small business’ network can cache the content, so it’s only downloaded once then fetched locally from the web caching server.
Bottom line, sending a large attachment via email is relocating using the U.S. Postal Service as your moving company. It is painful, limited, and expensive.

TIPS on how to share large files: If you’re in Edmonton Public Schools, you currently have access to your own Share (Google) SITES through StaffZone for uploading large files – you just need to make a filing cabinet page for yourself.  For sharing photos, try Picasa or Flickr (you can keep those photos private by adjusting viewing permissions), and Picasa also accepts video uploads even though YouTube is the more mainstream standard.



Netbook vs Laptop

In Tools on October 30, 2009 by TIPS Team Tagged:

IMG_0225With the sudden popularity of netbooks in the consumer electronics world much discussion has surfaced around the educational uses for these devices.  Schools are always pressed for funds so it is only natural that the discussion is usually framed around the question “What can these devices replace?”  rather than “What can these devices add to the classroom?”  Education Weekly has a well researched article that frames this debate very well.


TIPS on Web 2.0

In Tools on October 27, 2009 by TIPS Team Tagged: , , , ,

We’ve been busy cross-posting our information using a variety of Web 2.0 tools. You can now access our info on:

TIPS Resources Site on
Our New YouTube Channel
Follow us on Twitter for tidbits of information
A link to our RSS feed (blog posts)– simply post this URL into your favorite RSS reader

Happy reading, tweeting, blogging and viewing! 🙂


Using Web 2.0 Video Tools

In Professional Learning,Tools on October 13, 2009 by TIPS Team Tagged: , ,

discoveryeducation_com_web2_0Discovery Education, in partnership with CDWG,  has just released a  series of videos, entitled Web 2.0 Conquering  Technophobia.  Presented by the DEN gurus, Hall Davidson and Steve Dembo, these videos are short, easy to use and contain “just-in-time” information. Definitely worth a view.

You can follow Steve Dembo on Twitter @teach42 and Hall Davidson @HallDavidson.

Here’s one on Video Tools. It covers 3 very different tools:

  • Create stunning movies by uploading your pictures and adding some music. Available in an education version.
  • Create your own talking avatar.  Upload your own picture or select from a variety of famous characters. This is similar to
  • xtra Referred to as a text to movie creator.  You simply just need to play with it.


Is Google reading my mind? Some new Share tools are just what I was thinking…

In Tools on October 9, 2009 by TIPS Team Tagged:

One of the great things about “cloud computing” tools is that there are no software updates to install or new version announcements…not with Google Apps (we call them Share Apps) anyway. One day you’ll be thinking, “Gee, wouldn’t it be great if you could get an RSS feed from a site”, or “It’s such a hassle to recreate that list page for every meeting we have, why can you make it once and save it as a template!”

Well, what I’ve found is that the folks at Google pretty much must be monitoring my thoughts because sure enough, I thought those things (along with the other members of our team) last week, and sure enough, there they are.

With RSS feeds, you’ll now be able to use your favourite RSS reader to monitor your Share sites (for updates, changes, or comments) instead of relying on the “subscribe to changes” emails ending up in your Share Mail ( inbox.

With the page templates, I can spend some quality time designing a page, then make it a template for my site.  Very useful if you have made a class blog, for example.   If you find other cool ways to use these new features (or old features), be sure to SHARE them on the Share HELP site for staff & students.  Everyone in EPS had editing rights to that site, and anyone can see it on the web.

Terry from the TIPS team.

Here’s what Google had to say about these new features:

(By the way, I keep up with what’s new with apps by following this page.)

Read More »


Do Interactive Whiteboards create interactive students?

In Tools on September 24, 2009 by TIPS Team Tagged: ,

— by Randy Lyseng

Just read a very compelling article from Wesley Fryer talking about the “lure” of technology in the classroom and the myth that tools such as Interactive Whiteboards will keep students engaged and entertained in the classroom. His article is based on a conversation he had recently had with a parent and this parents’ belief that such technologies would be so beneficial for her child.

This is a great reminder that it’s not the tool that will engage the student, it’s how the teacher will use a variety of tools and strategies  to engage the student.  This picture shows a great example of how it could be interactive.

Here’s Fryer’s blog post appropriately called  Interactive technology access does not guarantee good teaching and learning.

Via the Speed of Creativity blog.

Update (October 20, 2009):  In a similar vein, see the latest post from Fryer:  No, just having IWBs does not make learning engaging

Even better, see Dr. Jon Becker’s five part “Peer-review of Marzano’s IWB Study” from this summer: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5.


Articles student portal hits schools

In Tools on September 22, 2009 by TIPS Team Tagged: ,

Six district schools are currently using the student portal, which provides student at those sites with access to the same group of Share (Google) Apps tools that teachers have had access to for the last year.  While staff use Staffzone to get to their Share content, students will use to access these collaborative tools.  A move towards cloud computing and away from desktop applications (such as MS Office) will allow for greater flexibility with devices (e.g. Mac, iPod, Linux, etc.) and with where students can access their online tools.  For an overview of the project, visit the Share HELP site – this provides an overview of the Share (Google) Apps for staff and students.