In2edu I.C.T. Resources Enhancing Education & Learning

Top Educational Freeware for Your Mac

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Here is a quick overview of the Applications - Programs installed on the Apple MacOSX laptops in the school. They focus on learning and productivity. Of course, using Web2.0 documents are not covered in this entry, such as online mindmapping, GoogleApps, GoogleDocs, and delicious etc. So we will update you on our best web 2.0 picks very soon.

Have a look at the list and check out how you could use them. Also check out our top educational freeware/open source here.
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Checking Applecare and Warranty Status

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Visit this site https://selfsolve.apple.com/agreementWarrantyDynamic.do with the serial of your machine. It gives you instructions on finding the serial and how to type it in to check the AppleCare and other status points of your laptop. Register your laptop first and this system becomes active. All the AppleCare have been processed and checked at our end for you, but if you would like to check please do so and get back to us if there seems to be any problems.
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Backing up your Laptop

Apple laptops have a automatic backup system built in. If you connect a usb or firewire portable drive (external drive), the operating system will recognise it and ask if you want to use the drive as a TimeMachine backup drive. This video overviews the process. Tip: When you name your backup drive it is wise not to use spaces in the name i.e. "MyBackup" not "My Backup"
If your drive is not recognised try formatting the drive (see picture below). Feel free to talk to school technicians first, if things like this make you nervous- we love to help.

Only implement the following steps if you are feeling confident about what you are doing.

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Pupil and Parent ICT Licences



To provide a benchmark and a positive start to your 1:1 experience, these will guide you to the basic skills that are important for success with your new device. They only focus on important skills and habit not on the learning and learning competencies that will also be part of the 1:1 implementation. Click on the files below to download.

You will be presented with a certificate when you have achieved these Expert or Ultra-Expert levels. There are Skills ladders for most of the programs we use. They help us learn to use the programs better, to pass bronze, silver or gold for the I.C.T. Crew and to set learning goals. Look at the full set of I.C.T. Rubrics here or below .
  • Pupils ICT Skills Ladder (Licence to drive a laptop) [View]
  • Parents ICT Skills Ladder (Licence to be "with it")  [View ]
  • ICT Skills Ladder (Skills you can learn in all programs) [View]
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Maintaining Your OS X Computer with Onyx


Keep your computer running lickerty split and smooth.

'This requires administrator access to your computer. We will be using ONYX, freeware available from here, with the latest version also usually in our freeware network share at school, so you do not need to download it. Generally, you should optimise your computer every month or so, and especially before and after a large MacOSX system upgrade (always use the combo updaters for these System updates). Locate Onyx in Applications... Onyx and run it. As it starts up you get asked for an administrators password.... Open up the attachment below for a quick tipsheet (use the 'Help' in the program for more details. [View : Download]
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Hot Keys for Experts - MacOS X

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Download this file [View] for our take on the best hot keys to learn to get you going on using software and the OS X operating system (OS) at speeds that will make your friends envious... when you've learned some.. why not share the goodness with someone else.
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Blazing fast web searching


Monocole is a small freeware utility that we have found that can significantly help in webs searching. Monocle is found here and we suggest you add other search engines to it as we have listed below to take your information exploring to the ultra expert level. Check out our "how to Use" tips sheet below.
  1. creativecommons.org
  2. biblegateway.com
  3. teara.govt.nz 
  4. www.k8.ebonline.co.nz/elementary (free subscription for NZ schools to Britannica online) Setup if needed via TKI EPIC Databases
  5. teachertube.com
  6. Oxford English Dictionary Online Setup if needed via TKI EPIC Databases

Do you have any search engines you think should be added to this list? Make a comment below.

For the Databases Via EPIC you will need to get the password allocated to Medbury for this year.
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Manuals and How to Videos.

In this posting we point you towards manuals and how to videos for a range of software and other tools. Don't forget that the online help, and "googling" a problem are also a god way to learn on the spot. Generally, if you find yourself doing the same thing over and over, and you think there must be a quicker way, then there probably is. Find and learn, save time and become an expert.

Apple Software and Mac OS X.
tutorials

Other I.C.T. Gear
  • Taking Great Digital Camera photos tip [View ]
  • Shooting Video Tips (Storyboards, Shooting, Editing and more) [View PDF]
Third Party Software
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Portraits and Prints Review

Just recently posted from the authors of Chronosync (backups for Macs) is a range of programs that they have just updated for Snow Leopard. They (econtechnologies.com) have decided to release Portraits and Prints, Imagecaster (webcam solution) and Daychaser (calendar tool) applications as freeware, deciding to instead focus on their backup business. I will be reviewing Chronosync and the other freeware in upcoming blog entries, in the meantime here is a quick look at Portraits and Prints.
Overview
This program allows you to take images from folders or directly from iPhoto and manipulate them further by simple graphical adjustments, putting them into templates (catalogues) and printing them.
Templates Art ICT iPhoto

System Requirements
A Macintosh computer running Mac OS 10.3 ("Panther") or later, a minimum 400 MHz G3, and a color printer. It is a universal application.
First Look
If you have a general familiarity to Macs it is fairly easy to get started when you open the program. Within a few minutes you can have a page of identical or different photos entered into a template ready to print, pdf or publish to disc.
Similar Programs
Comic Life - amazing comic layouts, commercial software with significantly more options.
iPhoto- Supplied with iLife package on new Macs. More graphical manipulations, less catalogue templates.
Education Suggestions
Create simple photo captioned sequences.
Publish a visual report.
Create invitations or simple photocards.
Create a photoboard of a class activity or trip.
Create visual poetry.
Best Tips
You can add multiple photos using command+click in the finder dialogue.
Drag n drop a template to change photos in an existing template to a new or updated template.
Add plain text to photos by dragging in (the hard to see) blue dot handles on the speech bubble.
Hot
Simple and Free.
Red Eye - works quickly on a basic "turn my eyeball black" scheme.
Good range of basic templates.
Not So Hot
Can't paste other titles or images (layer) from other programs to enhance presentation, unless you do this on the template itself.
Can only crop in oblong/rectangular/square shapes, otherwise you use the built in bitmap masks or create your own extra masks available in template mode only.

Final Word
Taking in the balance this softwares status of "freeware" verses our Not So Hot comments we award this software three stars. Worth placing in your collection for specific photo printing purposes! 3stars award software mac apple
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iCal, To-Dos and iPhone Syncing

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I have just spent half a day, a number of dollars and found the solution was already on my iPhone. The desire I had was to sync my iCal to-dos that are scattered over a number of different calendars with my iPhone. At this stage the iPhone calendar or mail will not sync your to-do's. A number of solutions proposed the use of google docs to sync to-dos, but the problem with these is that the tasks in in Google are just one list, not categorised like I need. I searched Googled, bought a new To-Do app (Toodledo - which has a nicer interface than my final choice).
After virtually giving up having a solution that really suited me I was trolling through the 13th page of a Google term search and then followed a link to the Appigo site... hmmmm I thought to myself ... this software looks familiar and realised I already had it (but had not got into using it as lack of synchronisation with my laptop iCal put me off).The winning combination came from ToDo 3.2 (www.appigo.com) combined with a free utility Appigo Sync /www.appigo.com/appigo-sync). To Do is a list manager and does a pretty good job of this as you can see from the screen shots. But the winner for me, was the two minute install of the sync utility (easy to follow videos or screenshots) and I was away. The sync utility basically runs a server program that pulls the data from iCal and pushes it to "ToDo". Done and dusted. You have to run the sync from within ToDo itself on the iPhone (it doesn't happen when you connect the iPhone) and need a wireless connection to do it over.
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Why Mac? Apple Ramble

“So, if you had 120 computers in your business, what tech support would you have?“ I asked. The sun was streaming down as I talked to a business acquaintance, while watching our boys playing tennis. It was nothing to do with sunstroke, but more like a thunderbolt (slightly poetic licence!), when I realised just how little work is involved in running 120 odd
macs, that range in age from 1-6 years old, over two operating systems (OS 9 and OS X) and a mix of portables and desktops. His answer, “I would need 1-2 full time technicians“. Off course, other questions immediately arise, like; “Is he purchasing the Windows systems from the same supplier on the same day (checking that they are using all the same specifications in terms of parts)“, is he using ghosting/ drive imaging software to make installation and troubleshooting easier?“ etc. However, I teach 70% of my time which leaves 30% to:
• help users (teachers and pupils in my school) who have invariably created some of their own problems or just need a helping hand to the next stage of their learning.
• cover technical issues
• administrate the network
and it was only just recently that we decided to bring in a part-time technician for 2-4 hours total, a couple of part-mornings a week.
When someone talks about Total Cost of Ownership (TCO) , I have realised over the last 5 years that this is very different in a Mac world compared to the windows world I had left to take up the ICT Facilitators position in the school. It still amazes me when after creating a disc image of the latest operating systems, I can then use one image apply it to all machines in the school, including some that are 6 years old and it just works. I use Carbon Copy Cloner and Netrestore (Apple) for these tasks and to restore a machine, or image a new machine, I hold down 'N' on powering a machine and away we go after choosing an image and popping in my password. Because of the smaller hard drives in some of the older machines I tend leave off the bigger applications like Garageband, but it is great to be able to get such a long life cycle out of this gear.
I also use Apples Remote Desktop 3 to carry out any post installation checking, machine specific installing, minor updates and spying on pupils (lol), still is fun to take control of their machine when they don't know. Remote Desktop is also great for sharing out a screen on a projector to share work in progress or new ideas, or if you don't have a projector to share screens with other pupils, which I had to do recently when the bulb in my projector blew.
So, with lower cost of maintenance TCO, but still able to carry out high level multimedia use (aka iMovie, Garageband) which is harder with a thin client system (lower again TCO), and a great range of software on board free with each machine, I reckon these Macs are great. Oh.. and less crashes, no virus problems (although we have had one incident of a Word macro virus, which can spread but not actually do anything else on a Mac), and no spyware problems on a operating system that just keeps working..
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ICT Equip & Room Booking System

I looked at a number of systems, from paper to iCal and beyond. Looking for a cheap solution I came across MRBS a SQL solution and we have adapted it so that we can loan out materials, rooms, areas and I.C.T. equipment. We just use one log in via web-browser (pupils and staff book under this) and it is great for booking classrooms, ICT Suite, ICT gear and allocating halls and fields. It will take a bit of setting up but it is brilliant for the FREE cost!
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iPhotoBuddy

Overview
iPhoto Buddy 1.2.6 is a Mac OS X application that allows you to easily create, manage, and switch between multiple iPhoto Libraries. The advantages of splitting your One Huge Photo Library into multiple, smaller ones include improved iPhoto performance, increased flexibility in organizing your digital photo collection, and a consistency with most other Mac applications that allow their respective data to be stored in as many documents (in this case, “Libraries“) as you like.

Runs well under Rosetta. Tested on MacbookPro, Intel (1 GB Ram), 10.4.8, 2Ghz.
Similar Programs
  • iPhotoManager is the best competitor and has a freeware version and registered version (US $19.95) Universal.
  • iPhotoLibrarian is a simple script that changes location of library.
System Requirements
Required: iPhoto Buddy requires a Macintosh computer running OS X 10.2.4 or later, and iPhoto 2 or later. iPhoto Buddy is fully compatible with iLife '04, iLife '05, and iLife '06.(Universal Version not available)
First Look
iPhotoBuddy LargeiPhoto Buddy installs from a simple disc image drag and drop to applications. On running it picks up your default library and from there you can create new folders or add other libraries from elsewhere (a collection someone else has). You simply select the library you wish to launch by double clicking on it or selecting and clicking on the iphoto icon. It gives you details on the library collections and displays a view of the folders/albums in the selected library.
Education Application
For any user who is handling a lot of digital photos (art pictures, science experiments, school trips) and juggling with personal photos etc, this program provides and easy way to seperate out libraries to manage them more easily. It can help in the sharing of libraries, although permission issues will need to be worked through.
Best Tips
Use iPhoto Buddy to store your libraries on other media. i.e. Firewire HDD, network sharepoint.
Hot
* Free software that is simple and easy to use and does the job really well
* Simpler navigation and information from the display window than iPhotoManager
* Able to password lock a library
* Able to put a personal thumbnail on the libraries
Not Hot (Feature Suggestions)
* Ability to merge libraries would be great. (available in registered iPhotomanager)
* Ability to create a merged library from different albums
* Ability to create a shortcut of the library you wish to quickly launch (available in registered iPhotomanager)
* If you decide you need to swap a library while using programs (say Keynote) you will need to save, quit ad re-open the file.
Final Word
4 Stars Free and does an excellent job.. so no arguments. If some of the features available in the registered version of iPhotomanager appeal then fork up some money, otherwise I think that iPhotoBuddy has a simpler ease of use. It is reliable and works well.
If you would like to make any comments on this feature or have suggestions or workarounds, feel free to leave a comment.
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AppZapper Review

If you would like to make any comments on this feature or have suggestions or workarounds, feel free to leave a comment. A typical task: find a piece of graphics software that will suit a particular need for a boy with a physical disability. It needs to do X,Y, Z in a certain way and thinking about price would be good. This involves checking for the latest and greatest on the web, comparing them all and then after installing and having a look at them all, getting rid of the one's I don't want. Isn't it great to have a piece of software that will Zap all the extras installed?
Similar Programs


None located...
System Requirements
Required: Tiger
Version Reviewed: 1.8
Price: US $12.95
First Look
It may be simple to install on a Mac, often just a drag and drop into the Applications folder. However, it is a little more difficult to get rid of all the bits and bobs that may be left behind when you want to take the software off the computer. Appzapper is designed to track all system files that an application creates and enable you to delete them simply. It does not delete files that a program has created and you have saved and saved in your 'Documents' folder.
Appzapper installs with a drag and drop from a downloaded disc image. You can have five free 'zaps' as you trial it. When you start the application the Appzapper window appears and you simply drag the application you wish to delete to this window. AppZapper processes the file and adds any other ones it can find related to it including preferences, library support files, caches, original disc images. I found use of this program simple and reliable.
In the example screenshot you can see a typical scenario; when iShow is first started it creates three other folders or files in Library...Application Support, Library...Preferences and Library... caches. By dragging an application into the AppZapper window you can see all of these and choose to delete all the pesky little hidden critters. I have used AppZapper extensively over the last two months and found it to be reliable and able to locate most files deposited in preferences etc
By default it will not delete standard installed Apple applications and you need to have administrator priviledges to remove some files. It has a log feature that tracks all the history of deletes.
Education Application
Keep images you have created for your network free of clutter and more efficient on space. Programs such as OnyX and Delocalizer should also help in this process.
Best Tips
Be prepared to do a hand check every now and then through your Preference folder, caches, and Application Support folders. on all the
Hot
Easy to remove the clutter of preference and other files located in your 'Library' and System Library
Not Hot (Feature Suggestions)
  • Support pages on website minimal
  • Not all files found in all cases, but will catch most of your clutter
  • Can't initiate the 'zap' through a drag and drop to the icon in the dock
  • Be prepared to wait if you scan a large Applications folder using the ZapGenie feature. I had 12 GB of Applications and it took a long time.
Final Word
Unique and helpful. I paid the dosh to get my registration.
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