MS Powertoys for Windows XP, and Year Group Blogs

I downloaded 2 PowerToys yesterday which I think will be really useful in preparing materials for upload to our school website. Gaining ownership of our website has been a real challenge, since it is not an out of the box solution, but has been developed internally using MS Frontpage. The links provided by Anthony Evans in his post the other day, led me to the PowerToys page, and reminded me of a conversation with Scott one of our LA technicians who recommended Image Resizer.

Image Resizer adds a tool to right click menus which, after selection of images in Windows Explorer, enables batch conversion of images to predetermined sizes. The handheld option shown here we think is about the right size for upload to photo galleries to fit screen size 240 x 320.

Another potentially exciting tool from this space was the HTML Slide Show Wizard which runs from the programs menu as an application. Opening the wizard and importing your resized images, this "toy" creates a slideshow, by generating the page code to a local folder. From here the pages generated can be imported into an existing website, where with the addition of hyperlinks this becomes part of the site. Captions cannot be added to the images, but from an e safety point of view this is a potential benefit, and the slick windows XP feel to the show generated, with its familiar Windows navigation buttons makes the outcome, easy to use and look great too. Prior to discovering this I have used other web slideshow generators, but this is relatively simple, and in combination with the image resize tool above, should help enable less familiar members of staff and students, bearing in mind our esafety guidelines, to begin preparing materials for inclusion in our website.

We have also begun to develop the idea of year group blogs, as learning stories, to help with the regular update of site content. Hopefully over this term we will begin to see regularly published posts from students and staff about the work they have engaged in, in class. From humble beginnings I hope these will expand to wider possibilities as students and staff become more familiar with the affordances of these tools.

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