This week: Gaming company Zynga to visit Penn State; VoiceThread/NBC partnership?; accessibility of Google Apps; collaborating using Google Apps, yet another great tip from the Technology Training Community

We start off this week with a post from Alan Klein, training specialist with ITS Training Services, in the Technology Training Community. Always full of great tips, Alan tells us about a cool (and free!) tool Adobe is offering that enables users to edit photos before posting online. Very helpful!

“Adobe now has an online photo editor that currently free for everyone
to use. The online tool gives you access to a scaled down version of
Photoshop Elements image editing tools. All you need to do is simply
create an account and upload your images to Adobe’s Photo Editor.”

We are full of tips this morning on the BuzzLion and we turn to Brad Kozlek, programming manager with Education Technology Services (ETS), for another one. He has a post in his blog on the new discussion capabilities in Google Docs, which has tons of potential for collaborative work.

“Killer features. Collaborative authoring is so essential to many
aspects of higher ed. It should be impossible to ignore the evolving
landscape of how this work is carried out.”

Google Docs is also making some news, but this time not in a good way. The National Federation of the Blind has raised issues with Penn State on accessibility and is now is targeting New York University and Northwestern’s official use of Google Apps, due to Google Apps not being accessible. Elizabeth Pyatt, instructional designer with Education Technology Services (ETS), has a post looking at the issue, and what the US Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights has to say on the matter.

“The good news for Penn State is that we have NOT adopted Google Apps as
an official tool. However it is still worth considering the
implications of recommending any technology. For the record, I
think Google Docs and Google Spreadsheets are great collaborative tools
and I don’t want to deny access to those who it can help, but I can’t
ignore the face that there are accessibility issues.”

Matt Meyer, ETS senior instructional designer, posts in his blog Meyer Learning about a match he thinks would be made in heaven: VoiceThread and the NBC Learn video archive.

“I think it would be interesting to at least put VoiceThread and NBC
Learn in touch. For all I know, they don’t know much about each other.
Who better than Penn State to do the introductions? After all, we’ve
launched VoiceThread at Penn State this year and we are currently piloting NBC Learn at Penn State through the fall of 2011. Perhaps if we demonstrate the desire for a more integrated solution, they might start talking.”

Finally, the crew at the Educational Gaming Commons has posted about the gaming company Zynga coming to Penn State to both offer a presentation and full-time jobs and internships to interested students.

“Zynga is coming to Penn State! On March 22 at 6:00 p.m. in 113 IST Building
(Cybertorium). They will be discussing what they are doing, their
evolution as a company, and the technical challenges they face with
designing and scaling games for millions of concurrent players.”

That’ll do it for this week’s BuzzLion. Thanks, as always, for reading.

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