Here’s another great resource for designers and educators

I recently came across this little gem called DesignBeep on the web. In there you’ll find a lot of high quality open source vectors, fonts, icons, tutorials, etc.

Check it out!

Infographic – Ed Tech Glossary

Awesome little infographic for beginners  put out by Educational Technology and Mobile Learning. Think of it as a glossary of terms. Also, bear in mind that the description of Instructional Technology given in this infographic is very simplified, and it only seems to refer to hardware and software. However, the description does not reflect what the profession and the field of study known as instructional technology are, so take that one as a simplified starter-description. Anyway, the rest of the chart should be pretty useful for anyone wanting to get started with speaking the lingo of instructional technology.

EdTech Cheat Sheet Infographic

Browse more data visualizations.

Some Traits of Successful Distance Learners

The evolving nature of teaching and learning

The nature of how teaching and learning is carried out is constantly evolving based on the ever-changing dynamic between multiple variables. Technology is perhaps the fastest evolving variable in a learning system. The advent of computers and the Internet have brought about drastic change to all facets of life, including education, and new technologies are being developed at lightning speed on a daily basis. Embracing web and media technologies for education requires a paradigm shift. Distance education is best achieved when it is learner-centered rather than teacher-centered. In this model the teacher becomes more of a guide on the sidelines rather than a sage on stage. The implication is that students are active participants in their own learning rather than passive listeners. This active learning approach enables students to “own” their newly acquired understandings.

Common Sense View Of Online Learning Environments

Learning Environments are Complex Adaptive Systems

Learning Environments are Complex Adaptive Systems

It is useful to think of learning environments as complex adaptive systems that evolve constantly based on the interactions amongst the various agents within, and sometimes from without, the system. As a student, it is useful to have a basic understanding of the role you play within the learning environment (complex adaptive system) in order perform proactively and efficiently. This leads to being effective (success). Think of students as agents, of teachers as super agents with special abilities, and content and technology as special agents. Now think of all the ways the various agents interact with each other! Where do you fit in? How should you perform to live up to your role in the system?

Successful Distance Learners Tend To Have The Following Traits*:

  • Are highly motivated self starters
  • Are self-disciplined
  • Are hands-on learners who like to be involved in driving their own learning process
  • Have access to a reliable computer, and have a contingency plan in the event of technology failure (technology will fail at some point, don’t panic)
  • Are comfortable communicating in writing
  • Possess good meta-cognitive skills
  • Have basic computer literacy skills, or are not timid about learning new technology
  • Are very adept at managing their time
  • Are able to work individually and as part of a team
  • Are able to perform candid self-evaluation
  • Have a can-do attitude

Do not worry if some of the traits just mentioned seem intimidating to you. What is most important in becoming a successful distance learner is that you have an open mind, are motivated to give it your best effort, and that you devote plenty of time to do the readings and assignments in your courses. This investment on your part will result in the achievement of those traits that will enable you to continue on successfully in you academic quest.

* This list is adapted in part from University of Illinois & the Illinois Online Network.

Tutorial – Como crear máscara de recorte con Photoshop CS6

Máscara de recorte

Puedes crear máscaras de recorte en minutos con Photoshop CS6

Habeis visto alguna vez en material impreso ó en la web imagenes de texto que muestran recortes de fotos en el cuerpo de las letras? la técnica se llama “máscara de recorte”, y es muy fácil de hacer. Se puede crear el effecto con varios paquetes de software editor de imagenes. En este tutorial yo he usado Adobe Photoshop CS6, pero se puede lograr igualmente utilizando culquiera de las ultimas versiones de Photoshop (Adobe Creative Suite). ¡Espero les sea útil!

Photoshop Tutorial – Como hacer máscara de recorte con Photoshop CS6 from M. Ricardo Flores on Vimeo.

Tutorial – How to make aqua buttons in Photoshop CS6

aqua button sample

You can make aqua buttons like this one easily with Photoshop

Creating aqua buttons is pretty easy. In this tutorial I explain how to make a simple aqua button. Once you know how to make a simple button you can go for more ambitious goals and create complex buttons and other elements with aqua surfaces. I used Photoshop CS6 here, but the steps are pretty much the same regardless of which version of the Adobe Creative Suite you are using.

Photoshop Tutorial – How to make aqua buttons from M. Ricardo Flores on Vimeo.

Tutorial – How to make a clipping mask in Phtoshop CS6

clipping mask sample

Making clipping masks is incredibly easy with Photoshop. Click the video below to see a detailed explanation how.

This video tutorial has step by step instructions for making a clipping mask with Photoshop. I used Photoshop CS6, but this will work on previous versions of your Adobe Creative Suite Photoshop the same way.

Photoshop Tutorial – How to make a clipping mask from M. Ricardo Flores on Vimeo.

How do you find the time to create all the artwork you need for a given project when there are so many deadlines and variables?

A friend who is just getting started in instructional design asked me recently, “How do you find the time to create all the artwork you need for a given project when there are so many deadlines and variables?”

Well, the truth is that I try to use open source artwork and icons whenever possible. At this moment I am employed at a community college in California, and tax payer dollars fund my position. I was hired to design and implement solutions to educational needs and challenges, but I was not hired to be an artist (although I am very artistically inclined, and have the skills and knowledge needed to create my own art).

Because I am the only person in my department, and I don’t have an art department at my disposition, nor any illustrators or production artists I can request artwork from, I often have to use resources freely available on the web. In an effort to save the tax payers (and my employer!) money, and to avoid reinventing the wheel I use open source icons and artwork whenever possible.

As you might imagine, there are times when I can’t find the icon/image I need, or when the project calls for original artwork. In those cases I do design my own icons and/or images. However, illustrating icons and images can be a very time consuming activity, so I avoid having to make them from scratch if at all possible. I do a lot of illustrations in my own time to release the creative urges within me (and to keep myself sane!), but at work I need to move fast, and to save my employer money while taking care of business effectively and efficiently I use open source icons/images (I edit them if necessary).

Although aesthetics are a subset of design; design does not mean art. Design means problem solving and creating solutions with a plan (hopefully you do it aesthetically). So I stick to problem solving and designing solutions to educational needs as much as possible to maximize ROI for my employer.

Here are a couple of free icon/image resources I find useful in my practice (but there are tons available on the web):

Instant Shift

100+ Free High Quality Icon Sets for Web Designers and Developers. FREE

The Noun Project

The Noun Project collects, organizes and adds to the highly recognizable symbols that form the world’s visual language. FREE

Flickr Creative Commons

Flickr is one of the largest user-driven collections of images on the web. Many users share their images under a creative commons license which allows different levels of use. FREE

Flickr Commons

This is different from Flickr Creative Commons. This is great for historical photographs. The images here are provided by museums, libraries, universities, and other cultural heritage centers from around the world. FREE


They offer a mix of free and low-cost photos and stock illustrations. They also offer tutorials.

If you use any of these resources make sure to attribute credit to the original authors. I hope you find these useful!

M. Ricardo Flores

Gooru – A promising search engine for educators and students (currently in alpha)

I came across this search engine yesterday. I admit I have not used it yet, but watching the brief video made me curious about it and look forward to trying it out. Have you used it? What do you think of this resource?


TUTORIAL: How to allow students to see their scores for the quizzes in Moodle Gradebook.

As soon as students finish a quiz and click the “Submit” button Moodle shows them their score (for example: 89/100, or 100/100, etc.). SO , they do see their score immediately. But, what if you want to make the Gradebook permanently visible them?

You need to do two things. The first is to make your Gradebook visible in your Settings, and the second is to make sure the “eye icon” or reveal/unhide icon is set to visible.

Below are instruction how to do this:

STEP 1 – Click on “settings on the left column

STEP 2 – Locate “Show Grades” on the page and select “Yes” from the drop down menu

STEP 3 – Scroll all the way down and click “Save Changes

STEP 4 – In the Administration block, click on “Grades

STEP 5 – Click the tab named “Categories and Items

STEP 6 – In the “Actions” column, click the “eye” icon to open the eye, and thus reveal the Gradebook permanently

STEP 7 – Click “Save changes

That’s it. You have now made the gradebook permanently visible (well, until you change it again).

TUTORIAL: How to extend the time of a quiz in Moodle (for students who need extra time)

STEP 1 – In the Administration block, click on “Assign Roles

STEP 2 – In the “Roles” column, click on “DSPS* Student“.  (*Your institution may use a different acronym or label here)

STEP 3 – In the search bar, type the student’s name, email,  or ID number (you might have to scroll down if you have a small monitor and cannot see the search bar

STEP4 – In the “Search results” box click on the student’s name to highlight it, and click the “Add” button

STEP 5 – Click on “Assign Roles in Course” (you may have to scroll down if you have a small monitor running at low resolution.

That’s it. You have removed the time limits for this student.