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Create Free Web and Text Polls

Poll Everywhere LogoIncreasingly our staff and students now communicate by text messages or via the Web on their smartphones. Poll Everywhere provides a quick and easy way to gather data from anyone with a cell or smart phone or computer. It lets you ask a question and collect responses via the web, text messaging, or even Twitter. You use it the same way you might use “clickers” or responders with an audience. The polls can be shared by downloading and placing poll slides into your PowerPoint presentation, displaying them from a web page with your projector, or even emailing or embedding them into your web site.

With Poll Everywhere you can create free polls for up to 40 people in just a couple of minutes. Premium plans are available with additional features and for polling more users.

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Create Short URLs and QR Codes

Google URL Shortener

The Google URL Shortener takes long web addresses and generates a shorter version that is easier share via email, twitter or on the Web. It also generates a QR (Quick Response Code) for your web page that can be read by most smart phones and reports statistics on visitors to your site.

To use it, just go to, enter the full URL and click on the Shorten URL button. The short URL will be created instantly. Note that all these short web addresses are publicly accessible. You (or anyone else) can also view the traffic to the shortened URL by adding “.info” to the end of the address.

Below is an example of a short URL ( generated this way for the home page of this blog ( .
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The Best Web 2.0 Graphics Software

At the 2012 Computer-Using Educators (CUE) conference in Palm Springs, CA there was a gathering of educators to learn about the latest applications and practices for integrating technology into instruction. One of the many sessions attended was one on quality online graphics applications presented by David Hoerger. This post will share a few of the online applications that are either free or require minimal licensing costs to be used by educational programs. Each of these digital image manipulation applications has the ability to:

  • Provide basic editing tools
  • Apply effects to an image or photograph
  • Provide basic capabilities similar to Adobe Photoshop Elements

The top three graphics application programs with the most features that were found to be of particular interest were:

Aviary (

Aviary is a suite of powerful creative applications that are available just by using your Web browser. This includes:

  •  Phoenix, an image editor that utilizes layers, masks, effects, undo history, and other desirable functionality.
  • Peacock, a powerful effects editor
  • Talon, a screen capture application
  • Raven, a vector editor
  • Roc, a music creator
  • Myna, an audio editor
  • Falcon, an image markup application
  • Toucan, a swatch color editor

In addition, Aviary has a fantastic set of tutorials and supports education by providing classroom accounts for educators. Read the rest of this entry »

Google SketchUp

Mar 22 '12 Software Comments Off

Google SketchUp is a software we newly added this year to the list of TRIO Quest resources. It is a 3D modeling software, which can be used to design small objects, buildings, and even entire cities. 3D modeling softwares tend to be intimidating to learn because they are so extensive, but we have returned from CUE with a selection cool tips and tricks to share with you that we hope will encourage you and your students to explore the possibilities of creating with Google SketchUp. Read the rest of this entry »

Stretching Your Tech Dollar: Part 4- Academic, Institutional, and Volume Pricing

Mar 2 '12 Hardware & Networks, Purchasing, Software Comments Off

This is the third of a four part series on how to get the best tech for your needs at the best price. If you haven’t already, you might want to read Part 1- Figure Out What You Need, Part 2 -Find the Best Items for Your Needs or Part 3 Finding the Best Price from a Source You Can Trust.

Part 4- Academic, Institutional, and Volume Pricing
The other three posts in this series showed you a way to get the best prices with the fewest hassles on the tech items you need. For some items like software and hardware bought directly from the manufacturer, however, you might want to take an entirely different tact.

Academic institutions often get special pricing on select technology items. You might be familiar with academic pricing for software or computers available to staff and students at your campus bookstore or tech center. But academic departments can often get even better prices by taking advantage of volume pricing available from many manufacturers or software companies. If your institution has negotiated a campus-wide pricing agreement, these discounts can be huge. If they have already purchased a campus license for a particular software title or service, you might even be able to get it for free!

Candidates for Discounts Read the rest of this entry »

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