Wednesday, December 22, 2004

Professional Development Resource

A recent e-mail from eSchoolNews had the subject line “Answers for all of your software questions” and promotes a new addition to theirProfessional Development Resource Center. This new addition that they are promoting is Atomic Learning.

If you have not seen this resource, you should check it out. There is an offer for a free trial and you might have some time to check it out over the holidays.
We have been using Atomic Learning in our district for over five years and keep expanding its use each year. It is a way to provide staff development 24/7, often to teachers who can’t fit scheduled workshops into their schedule.

Atomic Learning was started by a group of technology coordinators in the Minnesota area who wanted to help teachers and students learn to use software that is used in schools. For each software program they put together short video clips, usually 60 to 90 seconds long, each showing one topic such as inserting a picture into an iMovie, adjusting the color tone of a photo in Photoshop Elements, etc. And they made them available over the web.

They now have over 12,000 clips that cover Macintosh and Windows software programs such as Photoshop, Photoshop Elements, InDesign, AppleWorks, MS Word, MS Access, Excel, iMovie, MovieMaker 2, Dreamweaver, Flash, and Powerpoint.

They also have tutorials on school specific software such as Graph Club, eZedia QTI, Kid Pix, Inspiration, netTrekker, Media Blender, TimeLiner, and Geometer’s Sketchpad. Check out the entire list ofsoftware titles they support on their web site.

I use this resource when I want to quickly learn a new software program (eZedia QTI, MovieMaker 2, Garage Band). And they are continually adding new resources – I plan to go through their Photoshop Elements 3 tutorials over the holiday break.

I teach an online course in Advanced Web Site Design for our local university. I have my students use the Dreamweaver, Fireworks, Flash and Photoshop Elements tutorials from Atomic Learning. Each semester the students rate these tutorials as the best resource they had – better than the Dreamweaver Bible (the required text) and Internet resources I provide them.

If you like this type of resource for software, you should also check Their tutorials are aimed more at the business user and the subscription cost is more expensive, but the tutorials are very well done. We have subscribed to for two people, myself and our graphic designer, and have found it very helpful.

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