Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Software Focus on Web & Desktop Publishing

Academic journal article T H E Journal (Technological Horizons In Education)

Software Focus on Web & Desktop Publishing

Article excerpt

A few years ago, producing a polished Web site that was both informative and provided a unique Web experience required thousands of dollars and a trained professional. For many schools, the expense involved made having an official Web site a distant luxury. But desktop and Web tools have come a long way in making Web sites more affordable for cash-strapped schools. Most of these tools, including the items below, claim they are easy to use for any student or teacher to put together professional-quality sites for individual classrooms, schools and districts, not to mention school publications, such as newsletters and magazines. The affordability of many new titles also makes it more economical for institutions to add Web design to their curriculum, keeping schools current and competitive.

EZedia Inc.'s eZediaMX 3.0 intuitive multimedia authoring software allows users to integrate, manage, control and display digital media content more easily. With eZediaMX 3.0, educators can combine and edit digital media, including video, graphics, animation, sound, MP3s, VRs and text to create digital portfolios, mixed-media photo albums, training systems and more. eZediaMX 3.0 offers educators the ability to annotate movies, layer objects, draw anti-aliased vector graphics and create templates for future use-- all in a format that reduces file size for faster opening and saving times -- as well as the ability to create more complex projects. The software also works cross-platform, enabling PC and Mac users to communicate easily. In addition to the software, the eZediaMX 3.0 CD contains resources, tutorials and media from eZedia, Animation Factory and Videometry. eZedia Inc., Winnipeg, Manitoba, (204) 984-9210, www.ezedia, com.

If you are looking for a quick and easy tool for building a robust Web site, Macromedia Inc.'s updated Dreamweaver 4 delivers a powerful set of tools for both emerging and expert Web developers. Its intuitive WYSIWYG interface allows newcomers to quickly get started with Web design, while challenging intermediate and advanced users with new tricks and functionality that scales to meet a developer's growing needs. In addition, Dreamweaver 4 offers features that specifically benefit educators, such as extensive support for accessibility, a wealth of online learning templates and support for learning management systems. Dreamweaver 4 allows users unfamiliar with Web design to create a Web page without knowing HTML code. Novices can develop Web content easily, since Dreamweaver places the most useful formatting features on a single palette called the Property Inspector. As users select different elements of a page to work on, the Property Inspector changes to reflect the available options. With this single palette, users are able to format text, create links to other pages, insert images and quickly edit the underlying HTML code. Another feature of Dreamweaver 4 is its Site Files window, which helps users understand where to save files and how to publish them to their school Web server by dragging and dropping them from one side of the window to another. Dreamweaver 4 provides incomparable help and reference tools, such as well-written tutorials, directly in the application. In addition, Macromedia's free TrainingCafe.com Web site offers novices a step-by-step template to build a course Web site in Dreamweaver. In a couple of hours, faculty can have a fully functioning course Web site, including syllabus, materials and chat. Macromedia Inc., San Francisco, CA (800) 888-9335, www.macromedia.com/education.

High school and college students can get a boost from MGI's Web tools, including PhotovistaVirtual Tour and Reality Studio. With Photovista Virtual Tour users can create panoramic images, and also add 3-D functionality that lets visitors pick up objects within an image and rotate them for complete viewing. Multiple panoramas can also be stitched together for a complete viewing experience that's ideal for individual school or full-district virtual tours. …

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