Archive for the ‘MacOS Education’ Category

The Sound of Music–and its notation as well–with Aquallegro

Thursday, December 27th, 2007

screenshot of Aquallegro

How's your grasp of music theory? Do you know an Allegro from a G-clef? Whether you're an an experienced musician or have problems playing a radio, Aquallegro can give you a hand with all things musical.

It includes a series of quizzes about the "stuff" of music, and with real-time feedback, you will know where you stand as you progress through them. In addition, there are detailed help files to make sure you're grasping key concepts.

The content runs the gamut from note names, intervals, and lengths, as well as chords, scales, and sight singing. With built-in administrative tools, Aquallegro can be customized by teachers to use as part of their music programs.

While there's no guarantee that you'll be playing in the Philharmonic anytime soon, Aquallegro can help you can gain a greater appreciation for all things musical.

Aquallegro is a Mac application and requires OS X 10.4 or better.

Download Aquallegro

Moodle: a new way to approach online instruction

Monday, December 17th, 2007

screenshot of Moodle

Over the past several years, there has been a rapid increase in the amount of online course material available. Many colleges have dramatically increased the number of classes provided online as a way to stretch resources, as well as allowing more independently paced study. Re-entry students who have full-time jobs, for example, can "attend" class during evenings and weekends, whereas they might not be able to come to a physical classroom during the day in the middle of a work week.

There are many challenges that come up in making online classes informative and relevant for the needs of their students. One way to try to make the online learning experience better for students is through tools like Moodle.

Moodle calls itself a "course management system." It provides a framework for creating Internet-based courses of instruction and the supporting web sites. Based on a philosophy called "social constructionist pedagogy", which takes advantage of interactions among the community as well as content provided by the instructor, Moodle allows instructors to create opportunity for rich interaction, including elements such as wikis, forums, and blogs, as well as quizzes, surveys, and other activities.

There is extensive documentation available on the Moodle website. If you are responsible for the design or execution of online instruction, it may be worth your while to take a look and examine in depth the types of resources that Moodle can make available for you.

Moodle is available both for Windows and Mac systems running OS X, as well as systems running various flavors of Linux–basically any system that can support PHP, and requires a database such as MySQL or PostgreSQL.

Download Moodle

Get Free Math Worksheets from Math Drills

Wednesday, November 14th, 2007

screenshot of Math Drills

Math got you down? Kids having problems with their homework? Are you having problems with their homework? Maybe you need to do some math drills.

Math Drills is about a zillion free math worksheets–over 6,000 in reality. If you can imagine it, they probably have a worksheet for it. Addition, subtraction, multiplication, division to be sure. How about integers, decimals, and fractions? Base ten blocks, order of operations, geometry and algebra. They've even got themes for different holidays–who know that St. Patrick's Day had so many math tie-ins?

These worksheets are great for teachers to supplement classroom instruction; for parents to give their young students extra practice. Use them over the summer to keep from getting "rusty".

Worksheets come with instructions and (importantly) with answers! They are all available as .pdf documents, so anybody can use them regardless of the platform you're running.

All the worksheets are free to download and use as long as they are "…helping you or someone else learn."

Download Math Drills

Sweater or sun dress — WeatherSnitch gives you what you need to know

Tuesday, July 17th, 2007


Mark Twain suggested that "everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it." While WeatherSnitch can't do anything about the weather, it can keep you up-to-date with current conditions and forecast information.

WeatherSnitch is always available, running in your menubar, meaning that you lose no space on your desktop. By default, it displays current conditions for your selected location. You can configure it to add additional locations, so you can enjoy basking in the sun in San Diego while keeping track of the latest storm in Buffalo, where your brother is.

You can configure WeatherSnitch to specify how often it should update its information. You can cycle through your locations, so they will each appear in turn on your menubar. Click on the menubar to open the detail window for more info. With built-in links to (The Weather Channel's website), you can drill down even further for complete weather information for your selected locations.

Maybe you can't really do anything about the weather, but with WeatherSnitch you will certainly know all there is to know about it.

WeatherSnitch is a free Mac app that requires OS X 10.4.

Download WeatherSnitch

Get the inside scoop with Radiology Anatomy Atlas

Tuesday, June 5th, 2007


Radiology Anatomy Atlas is an interesting application that allows you to look inside the human body. The app is available with a set of illustrations taken from A Cross-Section Anatomy, a classic anatomy book. The images are labeled to identify the various muscles and other body structures highlighted in them. The labels link to a database of additional information about those selected items.

The author suggests starting-out by downloading the documentation to get a better understanding of the program.

While there is currently only one additional image to download, the developer anticipates adding additional images over time.

Radiology Anatomy Atlas is available for Macintosh.

Download Radiology Anatomy Atlas

You don’t have to start from scratch

Wednesday, May 30th, 2007


Scratch may be the ultimate object-oriented programming language. Developed by folks at the MIT Media Lab, Scratch is a programming language where you literally snap objects–blocks–together to build applications. Rather than procedures or functions, you drag graphic "blocks" around on screen and the order in which you hook them together determines how the resulting activity behaves.

Scratch includes blocks to move, turn, and bounce on-screen "sprites". You can speak and make sounds, draw, resize, and more. Control blocks allow you to loop and branch, test variables, and even follow your mouse.

With Scratch you can do interesting things without having to be a hard-core programmer. Designed for kids as young as 8 years, there is a large community for sharing activities. Scratch is designed to help users become familiar with the design process, while learning mathematical and computational ideas.

Scratch is available in both Windows and Mac versions, with work underway to release a Linux version by the end of 2007.

Download Scratch

Everything you ever wanted to know about Macintosh (*but were afraid to ask)

Thursday, April 19th, 2007


If you have a question about a Mac, you’re going to find the answer in MacTracker. Processor speed, original operating system version, expansion slots–it’s all here.

MacTracker is the ultimate resource for all things Macintosh. Starting with the Lisa (Macintosh XL), you can see every computer and Apple-branded Mac-compatible device, such as printers, displays, scanners, operating systems, and extras (remember the iPod, kids?) that came out of Cupertino: pictures, specs, and even room for your own notes, with links to relevant Web sites and documents. There’s even a section for Mac clones. You can create your own “Smart Categories” to search and group information based on your own criteria, including your notes.

Along with the nitty-gritty specs, there are some cool images included with MacTracker. The info page for each system has a picture of the system, and for the computers, you can play the “Startup Chime”, and for some of the older systems, there is also a recording of the “Death Chime”–not a happy sound, that. Interesting historical tidbits are included also.

MacTracker is available in versions for MacOS 8.5+, OS X, Win2k+, and even iPod.

Download MacTracker

Name that constellation with Stellarium

Tuesday, April 3rd, 2007


Did you sleep through all the astronomy lectures in college? Do you still have problems finding the Big Dipper? Stellarium may be the answer.

Stellarium is an open source planetarium application available for Linux, Mac, and Windows. Set your observing position and see the sky as it appears. Did you ever wonder what it all would look like from the moon? You can choose any moon or planet from which to observe, as well as any terrestrial location. How about a different time? Set the time and date, and you can travel back, or ahead, in time.

Now about that Big Dipper: turn on labels to show you what you’re seeing. Fire up the constellation overlays and see if that really looks like a goat up there (Capricornus), or just a bunch of stars. You can dig deeper and look at deep sky objects among the constellations.

Stellarium features over 120,000 stars, as well as all the planets and their moons. There is a scripting feature that allows you to record and play back your own shows, and you can even use Stellarium to drive a telescope.

It’s too late to improve your grade, but you still have time to find Orion’s belt.

Download Stellarium

Free Computer Books in PDF Format

Thursday, June 22nd, 2006

In Pictures, a company that publishers computer books that rely primarily on pictures rather than words to show how to perform tasks, has released its entire catalog of books as free PDF files for a limited time. The titles includes books about Microsoft Office, web graphics applications, web programming,, and more.

Get In Pictures Books

Cruise the universe

Tuesday, June 21st, 2005


Ever wish that you could take a ride on a space shuttle? Celestia is a 3D simulation that puts you in the passenger seat for a ride around the galaxy. Celestia features all of the major astronomical bodies, along with many star clusters. If you can't find a particular celestial body, you can probably find it in the extensive add-on library. If you prefer sci-fi, you can download the Death Star from the Star Wars series and a laundry list of other fictional add-ons. The application is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux and takes up 12MB of hard drive space. The universe is yours to explore with Celestia.

Get Celestia