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Soft Chalk

SoftChalkTeam Members: Kenneth Grimes, Nick Ingram, Catherine Kuethe & Susanne RauchOverview of what you can do with SoftChalk:Create engaging lessons and learning objects quickly and easily. Style your lesson for a professional look. Add many activities and quizzes that promote active learning. Run on both Windows and Macintosh computers. Work in both a web launch version and a desktop version.Produce lessons that are viewable in a web browser on standard computers and mobile devices (such as eBook, iPad, and Chromebook).What SoftChalk DOES

SoftChalk is an e-learning tool that makes it easy for instructors to createmobile friendly, accessible lesson content that easily integrates text, multimedia (video, audio, images), interactive exercises, and quizzes. Their motto is "If It Isn't Easy, It Isn't SoftChalk". [MTSU Site License]SoftChalk makes it easy for faculty to create interactive content in minutes that addresses key content points, like learning games, flashcards, image labeling, hotspot activities, matching games, crosswords, and more. Faculty can create short quizzes to check for understanding using seven different questions types, true/false, multiple choice, multiple answer, short answer, matching, ordering, and essay. Quiz questions can be added one at a time throughout the lesson or they can be grouped together in Quiz Groups. Questions can be given points and answers can be tracked.Pop-up text annotations can be inserted into content to define terminology and enhance the interactivity of your lesson. Links can be made that take students to related Web content, Word documents, PDF, etc., BUT...this content can also be brought directly into the lesson using iFrames.Adapted from Middle Tennessee State University: http://mtweb.mtsu.edu/fitc/softchalk.html

Overall description of tool and capabilitiesDifficulty LevelWhy should I use SoftChalk?SoftChalk is an easy-to-use authoring tool specifically designed for creating class materials.Create interactive Web pages for your traditional face-to-face, online or blended learning course. It's easy, quick, and your lessons will look like a professional designer created them.SoftChalk also effortlessly creates digitally-accessible Web content for you, that is, Web content that is accessible to everybody, including people with disabilities.If you can use Microsoft Word, Outlook or Blackboard Learn, you can use SoftChalk. Designed for teachers and content-experts who don't have time to learn complex software, SoftChalk is simple, yet powerful, with only the features you need to create exciting, interactive, media-rich content No programming or HTML required With SoftChalk, you can create professional-looking, interactive content without knowing any HTML, JavaScript or any programming. Adapted from University of Illinois at Chicago: http://accc.uic.edu/service/education-technology-support/softchalk

When and Why youll use SoftChalk:When you want your material to behave like an active webpage (with html coding).SoftChalk activities:

Getting Started with SoftChalk Desk TopWhen you click on the SoftChalk desk top icon the program automatically opens a new lesson. In some cases you may need to select file and then new.

You have several options for creating a lessonBegin typing your lesson as you would for a Word documentCopy and paste an existing word document.Use the media search tool in the Tools tab on the menu bar

Getting Started in SoftChalk Desk TopNow you can alter your document as you would for any Word document using the tool bar

Some of your options are: Change the font, font size, and text colorHighlight, underline, as well as add bullets and numberingAdjust alignment and indent text

Applying a Style to your SoftChalk LessonWe can now apply a style to our lesson and preview the lesson which enables us to see the lesson as the student wouldClick Properties in the tool bar and then select Style Properties.Scroll down and select the style you would like to useYou can apply a title by clicking on Title and Layout and then select OK

Saving, Previewing and Publishing Your SoftChalk LessonTo save your document click File on the toolbar and then Save To preview the document and view it as the students will see it online Select Preview on the tool bar and then select View in Browser

To store to the cloud select File, select Publish to the Cloud and then click OK

How to turn your content into an interactive webpage at www.softchalk.com:

Select: My ContentSelect: Create ContentSelect: Create Lesson in SoftChalk Create

How to turn your content into an interactive webpage at www.softchalk.com:You may have to install or update JAVA the first time you do this

How to turn your content into an interactive webpage at www.softchalk.com:If you already have already copied your content onto the clipboard, click on the Edit tab, then Select: PasteClick on the Properties tab then Select: Style Properties

NOTE: Whatever 120 different style you choose from will automatically activate the html navigation properties!This 9 minute tutorial video answers a lot of questions http://softchalk.com/video-tutorials/softchalk-navigation/open-navigationAdding Navigation Points to your SoftChalk LessonNext we need to add navigation points. Navigation points act like a table of contents that allows students to quickly find information in a multipage documentIn this example you can see the side bar on the right. Clicking on a topic would take you directly to where that heading is within the document

Adding Navigation Points Creating the sidebarIf your document was already in outline form SoftChalk will automatically create navigation pointsIf not already in outline form:We need to define the paragraph we are going to navigate to as a heading style At this point the document is in plain text Looking at the tool bar you will see plain text with a down arrow. Select the text that you want to convert to a navigation point and then click the down arrow. You can now assign the selected text as a Page heading, or as a sub-heading.In this example TOP ELITE GROUP PROJECT has been selected as a page heading

Adding Navigation Points to your SoftChalk LessonAfter changing your text to headings and sub headings you would now Save your work, select Preview and then View in Browser. Your selections will now appear as navigation points in the side bar.

Page HeadingSub-headingPlain textPros and Cons on Using SoftChalkProsSoftChalk is easy to useCreates interactive lessonsProvides options for reaching students with various learning stylesMedia search capabilities provides instructors with options like: choose pictures or video, link to a web page, obtain information from MERLOT (Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching, and even YouTube clipsPros and Cons on Using SoftChalkConsAs lessons are created, an extra step is required. One must go to view in browser to see what has been created. As content is created the background or banners or anything other that the words being typed are not seen by the instructor. It takes two clicks to view what has been created. First click to remind you to save what you have created ( a good thing), and the second click opens the file in the viewing formatIt isnt free. Costs educators &595.00. A note on Blackboard Connect mentions that the current version is probably the last one the VCCS will purchase. It isnt widely used. Only 30 courses state wide include it. Recommended StudyMate as a compatible optionUsing Soft ChalkBest Practices Use automatic formatting When used, content is automatically resized to fit the users mobile device. Avoid Flash ContentiPads and iPhones do not utilize flash, some android device do support but not all. If Flash is supported it may be slow and choppy, or worst cause a crash. Dont overuse sidebarsKeep them minimum. Most likely you will design your page on a full sized screen device. Many students may be viewing on a smaller mobile device. Different experiences.

Using Soft ChalkBest Practices Keep it simpleKeep pages small and clean.Utilize new separate pages rather than extending pages.Mobile devices have less memory than desktops and may have a harder time opening busy pages.Test your design Try it out on your own mobile device!

These tips will help ensure your students will successfully navigate your lesson. More can be found at http://softchalk.com/2011/08/top-5-m-learning-best-practices-for-softchalk-mobile-users

References and Helpful TipsCapabilities of SoftChalk Adapted from Middle Tennessee State University: http://mtweb.mtsu.edu/fitc/softchalk.htmlGetting Started with SoftChalk Cloud https://www.softchalkcloud.com/gettingstartedMaster SoftChalk in minutes with video tutorials at http://softchalk.com/learn-more/training/video-tutorialsPros and Cons of Using SoftChalk http://www.freepatentsonline.com/article/VAHPERD-Journal/286254345.htmlTips to help ensure your students will successfully navigate your lesson. More can be found at http://softchalk.com/2011/08/top-5-m-learning-best-practices-for-softchalk-mobile-users