Scholaric Review – WHS 20

cognitius-icon

Note: Since this interview the application has been re-branded as Scholaric and the links and information may be out of date.

Jeff Schmitz has put together a promising online lesson planning tool for homeschoolers: Cognitius.  Today’s podcast will feature a review of Cognitius as well as some other news about the podcast.

Cognitius prides itself in being simple but effective:

The simplest homeschool record keeping system available. Fewer settings. No unnecessary features. Only one field required to enter a lesson.

It delivers on that promise and is quite easy to use. This is a beta application, meaning it’s still being actively developed, so it’s important to remember that everything will not be perfect. However, Jeff is listening to feed back and your use of the software and feedback will help to improve Cognitius over time.

I highly recommend that you check it out, give it a test drive and let Jeff know what you think about the tool.

Please remember to “Like” this podcast on Facebook by going tohttp://www.thewiredhomeschool.com/facebook

Next week I plan to provide a review of 4 browsers that you can use on your Mac or Windows computer.

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If you’d like to leave feedback about this or any other episode you can call and leave a voice mail by calling 518-290-0228, send email to feedback@thewiredhomeschool.com, or leave a comment on the blog. Follow me on Twitter: @jwilkers. Also follow the podcast on Twitter: @wiredhs. Join the Facebook page over at http://facebook.com/wiredhs

Music: Poofy Reel by Kevin Macleod.

The Wired Homeschool is a proud member of the Tech Podcast Network. For more family-friendly tech podcasts visit techpodcasts.com

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Thanks for Listening – WHS 19

Just a quick podcast this week to say, “Thanks for listening!”

Please rate and review in iTunes.  Also, please nominate this podcast in the “Education” category at Podcastawards.com

If you’d like to leave feedback about this or any other episode you can call and leave a voice mail by calling 518-290-0228, send email to wiredhs [at] gmail [dot] com, or leave a comment on the blog. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter: @jwilkers.

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Google Docs vs Windows Live Office – WHS 18

Last week I compared MS Office to Open Office.  This week I’ll be talking about Google Docs and Windows Live Office.

Google Docs has been around for  long time and when Micorsoft announced that they would be releasing a competing product many people scoffed at the idea.  I think that if you’re familiar with MS Office you’ll find Windows Live Office much easier to use and understand.  While Office Live doesn’t have the collaborative features of Google Docs 90% of you will be able to use Office Live and not miss a step.

Google Docs has been aroound a little longer has more features plus near real-time collaboration that will allow you to work with others and change the document on the fly.  It supports more formats for importing but when it comes to basic editing features there’s not much there that Office Live doesn’t have.

It’s really a toss-up when it comes to which product to use.  If you already have a Windows Live id then use Office Live.  If you already have a Google account use Google Docs.  Have both?  Try them both out.  I will say this: if you;re looking for the highest level of compatibility with Office documents you’ll want to stick with Office Live.

Please rate and review in iTunes.  Also, please nominate this podcast in the “Education” category at Podcastawards.com

If you’d like to leave feedback about this or any other episode you can call and leave a voice mail by calling 518-290-0228, send email to wiredhs [at] gmail [dot] com, or leave a comment on the blog. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter: @jwilkers.

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OpenOffice vs Microsoft Office 2010 – WHS 17

office-showdown

Last week I provided a general overview of various office productivity software suites: Microsoft Office, OpenOffice, Google Docs, and Windows Live Office. This week I bring you a very high-level comparison of OpenOffice and Microsoft Office, two products that you can install today.

Both products will meet the needs of 99% of homeschoolers out there. You may run into a few compatibility issues with OpenOffice especially when importing documents from other suites like Word Perfect.

If you’re used to the MS Office interface (especially the ribbon) there will be a learning curve if you switch to OpenOffice. I was often frustrated when we switched because I couldn’t find a tool or feature.

Both products are stable and perform very well. OpenOffice is a little lighter with regard to CPU and memory usage because it lacks some of the bells and whistles that are in MS Office and this translates to a little bit better performance. If you have a new computer you probably won’t notice the difference, though.

If price is an issue (and it often is for homeschoolers) then OpenOffice is the choice for yo. Unless wait until Office goes on sale after the holidays or decide to purchase it when you buy a new PC you’ll probably pay close to the retail price: $149. Microsoft does offer discounts to homeschoolers so you may be able to purchase MS Office at a reduced price if you’re eligible.

That’s it for this week. Next week I’ll cover Google Docs and Windows Live Office.

Please rate and review in iTunes and nominate this podcast in the “Education” category atPodcastawards.com

Web sites for each product: office.microsoft.com and openoffice.org

Other reviews:

If you’d like to leave feedback about this or any other episode you can call and leave a voice mail by calling 518-290-0228, send email to wiredhs [at] gmail [dot] com, or leave a comment on the blog. Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter: @jwilkers.

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Office Productivity Tools – WHS 16

Today I’m providing an overview of the office productivity tools available to the homeschooler.  This is not a comprehensive overview but just a quick run-down of what’s available.  I’m also not going to cover every product available, I’m just including what I feel are the top-4 products.

The four products I’m covering are: Microsoft OfficeOpen OfficeGoogle Docs, and Windows Live Office aka MS Office Live.

These products fall into two basic categories: free or paid and cloud-based or client-based.

The free products are: Open Office, Google Docs, and Windows Live Office.  Microsoft Office is the only paid product I’m discussing.

The cloud-based (or those you use on the Internet) are Google Docs and Windows Office Live.  The client-based (or those that have to be installed on your computer) are Open Office and Microsoft Office.

Most people only use about 10% of the features in MS Office so every one of these tools will meet your needs.  It’s really up to you whether or not you want to spend your hard-earned money on MS Office for ease of use and convenience.

That being said, I will go into a feature comparison of the products in upcoming episodes.

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If you’d like to leave feedback about this or any other episode you can call and leave a voice mail by calling 518-290-0228, send email to feedback@thewiredhomeschool.com, or leave a comment on the blog. Follow me on Twitter: @jwilkers. Also follow the podcast on Twitter: @wiredhs. Join the Facebook page over at http://facebook.com/wiredhs

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