Archive for March, 2011

Create Word Clouds with Wordle

Friday, March 25th, 2011

1X1If you are interested in creating an easy and fun visual aid for a project or presentation, Wordle is a free online tool that allows you to create word clouds from the text you input. The more frequently used words will appear larger and there are also options to change the layout, colors and fonts.  Here is an example:

wordle_2

Read about how to print, share and save your Wordle images in the Wordle FAQ.

Animations: Impact on Student Learning

Friday, March 4th, 2011

For this week’s Tech Tip, a professor of Biology at Loyola writes about academic 3-D animation software, Autodesk Maya, which comes with a free 3-year extended license:

We are all teaching students who have grown up with computers, the Internet, watching videos and playing computer animation games. Their brains have been trained, from a very early age, to learn new skills by watching these videos and animations.  It became very clear to me that my students grasp new concepts more quickly if they see a short movie or animation of that concept, rather than a still picture on a PowerPoint slide.   I have tried to find professional animations on the Internet and on textbook CD-ROMs. Publishers are now restricting access to these professional animations only to Faculty who adopt their textbook.  I would have to change my textbook each semester just to have access to these materials.  Even then, their collection of animations does not contain specific concepts I want to cover in many of my lectures, they are simply not available. I learned how to make animations using state-of-the-art software, Autodesk Maya.

William J. Wasserman
Associate Professor
Dept. of Biology