The Future of Technology: Some Favorites from the Consumer Electronics Show!

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) took place in Nevada earlier this month, and we’re excited to share some of the awesome things that were presented at the show! From 3D printed dresses to RocketSkates and tons of new ways to light up your space, this show had just about everything you could imagine!

One of our favorites? A treadmill more high tech than you could ever imagine! This “treadmill” is actually a stationary machine, and the user puts on special shoes with plastic insets that glide over the base in a frictionless way. But that’s not even the beginning—the user wears gear so they are fully integrated in a game-and the moves they make on the “treadmill” translate to their avatar in the game. Check out more about it here! We can’t wait to see what comes of this in the future!

Check out even more highlights from the show here:

3D Printing Technology here at UIS!

3D printing is everywhere now, and is becoming one of the most interesting technologies considering all of the potential for uses! Did you know we have not only a 3D printer but also a 3D scanner here at UIS? 3d print

The 3D printer and the 3D scanner are both available for use in the Media Lab in Brookens Library. The 3D printer will create a 3D solid product based upon a digital model. It does this by laying down layers upon layers of material to form the object. The 3D scanner creates models that are then ready to be printed on the 3D printer—the scanner and printer work seamlessly to help produce your creation!

To help design your model to be printed, the Autodesk software suite of applications is available on the computers in both the Media Lab in Brookens Library and UHB 2000.

So what exactly would you do with the 3D printer, and where do you begin brainstorming on ideas to take advantage of these great tools available right here at UIS? One of our favorite sites is Thingiverse. Find new ideas to help design your own creations or even download designs that are ready to print!

We are sure you have questions, and we’d love to answer them! Come visit us in the Media Lab where we can show you the 3D printing equipment and help you to get started!

What to Expect in 2015!

Welcome to a new semester! We hope you all had a safe and happy holiday season, and are as excited to kick this semester into gear as we are!

One of the biggest tech trends for 2015 is expected to be the flipped classroom. We definitely have blogged on this topic in the past, sharing ideas and tools to use to get started in flipping your classroom!

Flipped classrooms optimize student interaction with the material both in and out of the classroom. Often times, lectures, videos, and other items that can be completed away from the classroom are assigned as homework, and valuable class time is used for discussions with peers and problem-solving.

However, the need for interaction even outside the classroom is really the focus this year! A student may not get a lot out of viewing a video alone–there should be an interactive component to really boost the effectiveness. Tools like Blubbr and make this possible! These tools allow instructors to embed quizzes and add questions within videos, so students are expected to not only view the video, but to interact with the content as well!

If you’d like more ideas on how to expand the interactiveness of your flipped classroom to the outside the classroom activities, please reach out to us and we can help you think of some solutions that may work for you and your students!

On to 2015!

Can you believe it is already 2015!? Every year, it’s always fun to reflect on what we’ve blogged about and shared over the past 12 months, and to encourage our readers to take on a new year’s resolution challenge, and try a new idea or incorporate a tool we’ve shared into their classroom! images

This year, we want to continue to encourage you to make one of your resolutions this year to be to try to incorporate some new technology into your classroom this spring. If you don’t know where to start, it may be a good idea to start small. Check out a few ideas we have to get you started:
1. Try adding some videos from YouTube EDU, SnagFilms, or TED into your lectures to get students thinking outside the box.
2. Try getting your students more engaged during class lectures by using audience response technology! This sounds intimidating, but is so simple to incorporate into lectures. Simply use a free webtool like Socrative, Infuse Learning or Poll Everywhere.
3. Encourage students to get creative by assigning a project and challenge them to use multimedia. We share so many tools on our blog that would be great for them to try! Tools like Prezi, Glogster, and Timeline JS are great places to start!
If you want to explore more ideas of incorporating technology into your classroom, feel free to reach out to us! And make sure to follow our blog to check out new ideas posted weekly!

A Free Tool to Broadcast Presentations

We love sharing tools that are not only incredibly useful but also free! Even better? If they are free and simple! is one of those tools—couldn’t be simpler, and will be a very valuable tool in your lectures next spring! preso is a tool for broadcasting and sharing presentations or other documents. Simply go to, upload the PowerPoint, Word doc, PDF, etc. file that you wish to share, and then you will be provided with a link to share with the audience. The audience will then use the link from their laptops or device(s), and will be able to follow along with the presentation!

Viewers are even able to utilize a chat feature, allowing them to enter questions throughout the presentation when items are unclear! How will you use next semester??

Using Collages to Share Information

Multimedia collages are the newest awesome way to share information in an interactive, appealing format!

Tools like PicCollage, PicMonkey and Padlet are free web-based tools and apps that allow users to add images, videos, text, links, and more! They are then able to arrange these different resources however they please, adding essentially as much information as they want! When complete, these collages can be shared and distributed for others to utilize.

While it’s too late to create multimedia collages for the end of this semester, perhaps it would be a good idea to kick off the semester with one! Information about the syllabus, Blackboard and/or class website could be included, as well as links and information to other information relevant to class! It would be a great way to get students interactively engaging with the class and familiar with the material to be covered throughout the semester.

If you are interested in multimedia collages and want to learn more about the various programs available or ideas of how to incorporate them into your lectures or class projects, please feel free to contact us!

Your Ticket to the Smithsonian!

Interested in visiting the Smithsonian but not sure when you’ll get there? Smithsonian X3D is the tool for you! smith

While this tool is still in Beta, it’s a great way to check out some of the neatest historical artifacts up close! Navigate through tons of different tours and get so up close to the various artifacts and learn the history and background of them—it’s almost like you’re there!

This is a great tool to share with your students because it’s a fun, educational tool for them to check out when they have some downtime. Even better, incorporate it into a multimedia project!

Audience Response Systems: So Many Tools, what do I Choose?!

Audience Response Systems are the new “it” tool for use in higher education. They have definitely become popular for their ability to engage students, gain instant feedback from the audience, and for giving educators the ability to reach and interact with even the quietest of students. We are always sharing the newest audience response system tools that we find, but it can be challenging to know which tool is right for you!

Check out this great comparison chart we’ve found. Compare 9 tools, including Socrative, Infuse Learning and Padlet! Check out which tools contain the features you want most! Get the scoop on the devices these tools work on, whether students can reply anonymously, teacher moderation abilities and more!

If you’d like to get started with any of these tools but have some questions, let us know! We would love to help you get started using these great tools in your classroom.

Simple, Beautiful Timelines Created in Just a Few Clicks!

We always encourage the use of webtools and multimedia in classrooms, which is why we love sharing tools on our blog. Webtools can be used for all different subjects and courses–and with a little creativity and thinking outside of the box, you won’t believe what your students come up with!

Today we’re sharing Timeline JS, which is a simple tool that creates beautiful timelines after a series of dates are entered. Follow the extremely simple steps to enter the dates to be included, descriptions, and even add media. Then, when finished, embed the timeline into a website as you would a YouTube Video!

Check out a great example of Timeline JS here:

This is a great tool to share with students if they are creating a website or blog, or even put it to use in your own presentation, and create a timeline that relates to class material! This would also be a great concept to include in the flipped classroom-perhaps in a presentation for students to navigate!

Plagiarism: Know the Facts

As we approach the end of the semester, students are wrapping up many final projects and papers. As educators, it is likely that concerns surrounding plagiarism are more present during this time, so it is important that we know what resources are available to help prevent and identify plagiarism.

A great resource for both educators and students alike to learn more about plagiarism and how it can be avoided is the Purdue OWL website. Learn how to identify plagiarism, safe practices for avoiding plagiarism, and more! We also recommend, which is another great website with answers and resources to your questions surrounding plagiarism. index

To detect plagiarism, TurnItIn, a tool offered by UIS, is a great resource. TurnItIn integrates with Blackboard. Students submit their paper through the TurnItIn icon on the class blackboard page, and TurnItIn will scan the paper, compare the text material against different resources (over 10 billion web pages, student papers, articles, journals, literary texts, and more!), and the will provide the instructor with a Match Overview. Prior to submitting an assignment, students can upload their paper to be scanned, and the Originality Report feature will identify areas that need to be correctly cited.

If you are looking for more information about plagiarism, or have any specific questions, please reach out to ITS Client Services so we can help!

ITS Launches FormBuilder Event Registration

ITS just announced the roll out of a new service developed by AITS, FormBuilder Event Registration! This new service makes it so simple for departments to easily set up and manage their event registrations through designing their own custom forms with defined fields.

This new service allows departments to independently build and maintain their own events, complete with setting capacity limits, generating emails to participants, and the system even integrates with Enterprise Authentication Service so payments can be collected in a simple and quick manner!

If you’d like to learn more about the new FormBuilder Event Registration service, click here, and feel free to contact ITS Client Services at!

A Great Tool for Image-Based Presentations!

While PowerPoints may seem monotonous at times—there is a reason we always are drawn to them—having a presentation helps guide your lecture/discussion and get your points across. We love sharing alternative tools that help do the same thing as PowerPoint, like Prezi and Slideshare. Today, we thought we’d share another great tool with you to help give you options when PowerPoint isn’t an option or you are looking for an alternative way to present your information!

Haiku Deck is a unique and free webtool that is so easy to use and works on both the iPad and the web. Users first choose a photo from their stock of millions of high quality images—or they can upload their own—choose from tons of beautiful themes, add your text, and then present on the go!

Haiku Deck is definitely a great way to showcase images with smaller amounts of text—it would be great for students to showcase a multimedia project based on various images! Check out Haiku Deck with this great video, and let us know if you’d like to learn more or need assistance getting started!

The Easiest Way to Expand your Vocabulary!

Today, we’re sharing an innovative and extremely helpful tool that just may become one of your new favorites! The tool is Professor Word, and it’s meant for anyone who is interested in expanding their vocabulary and learning new words and their meanings. Studying vocabulary can be difficult—whether it’s for an exam like the GRE, to better write papers, or to develop yourself, learning the meaning of new words can be a tedious task. That’s why we love Professor Word—this tool integrates with your browser, so when you are surfing the web and reading articles and other information on websites, you can look up the meaning of the word in a simple click. What’s even neater, is all vocabulary words appearing on the ACT or SAT are highlighted on the page—mPWaking it easy to pick them out and learn their meanings! Professor Word is free and also available for iPad—simply save Professor Word as a bookmark, and when you are at a website and want to use Professor Word, open the bookmark and it automatically launches to help identify the meanings of the words on the page!

Speed Up your Favorite Moments and Movies

We love a good app, and this week we’re sharing one that you might have seen a lot of lately! The app is called Lapse It, and it allows both iOS and Android users to create time lapse and stop motion videos.

Watch the sunset, watch the stars move, and watch a 3 hour drive in minutes! Lapse It allows users to get creative and put the video recording feature on their mobile devices to great use! Speed videos up to 240x, add a song to the video from your library, choose from over 50 filters, share directly on Instagram, Facebook, and more! The tool is free and can be downloaded from the Apple iTunes or Google Play.

Besides being a fun way to capture videos daily, Lapse It is a great tool to share with students to integrate into their multimedia projects!

Unlimited Cloud Storage? It is not too good to be true!

Have you heard? Google recently announced the news of providing unlimited Google Drive storage for Apps for Education! Google is rolling out this change at no charge to the users. So, for all you UIS Google Apps for Education users out there, this is great news! And for those of you who have not yet accessed your Google Apps for Education account, perhaps you should soon!