Search This Blog

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

eXe - Authoring Tool for Teachers

eXe is an excellent tool for teachers that enables them to create content and publish it as well. eXe is a pedaogogy driven software and is quite easy to use for a teacher. The teacher do not require any knowledge about HTML and can still create course websites in an offline mode for electronic distribution to students, etc. The best part about eXe is that there are very frequent updations to the package and new features are added regularly. The teachers would feel very comfortable using the tool. The software can be downloaded from . Few issues of concern are as mentioned below:

1. Firefox browser is required for eXe. Since eXe is an open source project and so it runs on Firefox only.

2. The course can be saved in .elp format ( eXe format) using 'Save' option so that it could be edited later.

3. For distributing to students the course can be delivered in various formats using 'Export' option.

4. Always exit the eXe using 'Quit' option under File.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Free Picture Story Tool

Sharing with you details on a free product by Microsoft - Photostory.
Photostory lets one create stories from Photos and is quite simple to use. Some of the essential of Photostory3 are :

  • requires Windows Media Player 10 or above. Load/ Install media player before photostory

  • requires a genuine Windows XP. Will check for a genuine license of Windows

Its fun to use Photostory, especially for those who are habitual of working on Power Point as Photostory is very similar to that. One can create a real experience out of digital photos, scanned photos, etc. using Photostory.

Photostory can be downloaded from

Note : Photostory works only on Windows and the creation may become too heavy for use.

Anyway, enjoy the experience of a rare free (though with limitations) from Microsoft.


Thursday, May 31, 2007

Open Source Podcast Creation Tool

Audacity is an open source audio creator and editor that could be used to create podcasts and also to edit, mix sound files. It could be downloaded from

Some important instructions befor using Audacity

  • Install LAME software before starting to use Audacity if you want to save the audio as/ in MP3 format.
  • While installing LAME, extract the software into Audacity folder
  • When through with the recording, go to 'File' option and click on 'Export as MP3'. It would prompt to enter the path of a particular LAME file. Please mention the correct path to save it.

You may download LAME from

Useful Distinction - Freeware vs Shareware vs Open Source

It is essential to be aware of the following distinction :

  • Freeware : Software that is free and that could be downloaded for free from the internet and with no issues of sharing
  • Shareware : Software that could be downloaded for free from the internet but which comes with a limited trial validity
  • Open Source : Software that could be downloaded for free from the internet and that which comes with the source code also. Open source could further be shared, redistrbuted, modified by the user.

Monday, May 28, 2007

What and Where to Start With in Open Source ?

As the saying goes "Beginning is half-done", so is the case with Open Source as well. Open Source offers one variety- a whole lot of them, so much that one tends to get confused. But this variety offers you an opportunity as well to experiment with whole.

My recommendation about starting to use Open source is to start at the application level and not at the operating system level. After all, as end user we are looking at applications and products to fulfill our requirements. If you really want to try out some Linux stuff then try out some Live CDs. A Live CD version will allow you to load the Operating system and environment from the CD itself without any need to install it on the hard disk.

To start learning anything new or different, achieving a minimum comfort level is very essential and this holds true for open source also. Open source has lot of potential and to accrue benefits from it, we need to know all but use what suits us best. An example is if you are looking for some office suite, then Open office and Star office are the best bet. If you just want a word processor, then you may look at Abiword, etc.

Whenever you plan to use any open source product, please ensure that you select/ download the correct vesion, for Windows, Linux, Mac, etc.

Open Office could be dowloaded from and Abiword from


Sunday, May 20, 2007

Opening Up to Open Source

The prime reason behind putting the word " Opening" in the title is that the educational institutions (schools, colleges, universities, etc.) haven't really opened up their minds to the philosophy of open source. Except for few examples which are not success stories yet, the situation is abysmal. Inspite of the ocean of resources that Open Source is, still the institutions have an indifferent attitude to it. One major reason i see is the comfort zone that the institutions have been put in by the "closed source". The users or the decision makers are not keen to move out of their 'comfort zone" and try out (forget about impelmenting) different things or resources. The potential and capabilities of Open Source is quite underestimated currently by the institutions. The institutions are willing to compromise on the aspects like money, customisation, etc. but won't stand up and take the first step towards embracing Open Source that could help them get rid of their routine headaches pertaining to either lack of quality content or lack of content control with the teacher. Of course, this is just one reasong for institutions not opening up to Open Source. There are other apprehensions as well which i will post in few days. Its high time that the education system wakes up to the fact that Open Source is like a ladder to the plethora of resources useful for an educational setup. Open Source should be perceived like a Pandora's box which has plenty to offer for everbody and unless we see and select what suits us we will never be able to realise the power of "Open Source".

Friday, May 4, 2007

Starting the Open Source Journey

"The journey to thousand miles begin with a single step" aptly suggests how to make a transition to open source. The most critical step is to move out of our comfort zone and start experimenting by being creative and innovative. As is said "Technology is a good slave but a bad master" so one should not let technology overtake us. Open Source is not about a category of softwares/ tools but more of a philosophy. Adhering to the open source philosophy is about opening one's mind to change and contributing towards bringing about that change. Nothing gives one more satisfaction than feeling and being a part of the community involved in providing one with freedom and choice fo fulfill our requirements. The roles may differ for those adhering to open source but the purpose and mission is the same and i.e. to empower the user with the freedom to localise, customise and contextualise.Starting to using open source is as easy as starting to read a new book. You just need to open it and there is is, ready to be used. Learning to use any technology requires an open mind, positive attitude and a willingness to experiment. All this leads to opening new windows of learning, contributing and owning the software.