Monday, November 30, 2009

Miscellaneous Links

Desktop To Do List - Every teacher knows one, if not more than one.  The teacher who has their monitor covered in Post-it notes with reminders and task they need to get done.  Yeah, Outlook comes with one and so does Google.  But I wanted one on my desktop.  So I found one.  Visit http://www.scattrbrain.com/ to download a desktop to do list software.  I like it, but I wish it would minimize it to the toolbar instead of the taskbar.  It is handy and colorful, so it makes it very easy to view.  You can link it to your Google Calendar as well as set due dates.

Web 2.0 resources - Came across this on Steve Anderson's Blog, Blogging About The Web2.0 Connected ClassroomLivebinders is another version of social Bookmarking.  I like it the best because of the organization and viewing features.  It provides a page view of the website instead of just text, so it helps you easily remember what the page is for.  In Steve Anderson's Blog, he shared Livebinders 4 teachers.  They are broken down by General, Subjects, and Grade.  At first glance, I thought how useful.  Then I realized, that my own Livebinders were being shared.  Under Web 2.0 tools, here is my LiveBinder that is being shared by the author, Barbara Tallent.  So thanks to her for sharing my information.  You could easily use LiveBinders in your classroom by creating a set for students to use for research purposes.  Of course there are other Social Bookmarking sites like Delicious, Diigo, and Stumbleupon.  There are others.  But these are the ones I see used the most.

Shmoop - Study Guides and Teacher Resources - Really more for the English and Social Studies Teachers out there, but it seems this is one USEFUL website.  I have not had a chance to glance through it all, but when you have the time, I suggest you do so.  Lots of useful primary documents for a multitude of subject matter in the English and Social Studies Subject Matter.

Couple Nings - You will see this on the side of my Blog, but I wanted to post them here as well.  I have joined both of these Social Networks created on Ning, and they provide a lot of useful information as well as share some of the same problems, praise, and stories that as teachers we come across daily.  Classroom 2.0 and The Educators PLN.  If you join, look me up and add me as a colleague.

I will be posting some links for website creation that your students can use in the classroom.  We are looking at creating webpages at my school for Math Tutorials, Book Reviews, Biographies, etc.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

SimplyBox




SimplyBox is an image/text capturing software for your Internet browser.  When you visit the website it has SimplyBox for education, but that is for district purchases.  You want to sign up.  When you sign up it will request email verification.  Once you have verified your email you will then be directed in your email to a loaction for downloading the toolbar.  The tool bar looks like the following:




Once you have installed the toolbar you will see your login name, a link to the simplybox homepage, the "Box It" image capture, as well as search bar and help link.  The Search bar can be used to type in the tags that you have given to the images that you have boxed.

When you click on "Box It," it will open up the software and you will see "Folders" and "Containers" that will appear at the bottom of the screen.  The "Folders" and "Containers" look like the following:








You can add or change the names of the folders and containers to meet your needs.  It stores them on the website in your account.  I used the website to box these images.  It is really user friendly.

So how could you use this in your classroom?
- It would be a great way to capture Wordles that you made or found in the gallery.
- It would be a great way to capture text from a story, poem, or website to use in your classroom.  Much easier then remembering and saving the URL for something small you want to keep
- Keep track of maps, graphs, charts, and/or data that you find on a website.
- Keep track of current events
- Save images for classroom use that you might want to discuss in your class.
- Integrate the images into your Twitter Account
Those are just some of my ideas.  What ideas do you have?  Let me know how you use it.  Here is a video to help explain it a little further and show how it is used.


If you are looking for a screen capturing software for your computer you can try Gadwin Systems.  It is really user friendly and uses the familiar Print Scrn Key to use. 

If you are wanting to create a vidoe of your screen for tutorial video purposes you can try Screencast-O-Matic

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Document Camera

As part of my new position I am working with teachers to use new technology equipment.  One of the pieces of equipment that we are using is a Document Camera.  We have purchased the Avermedia CP130 (image below).  It has a lot of useful features when using the USB connection to your computer that if it was just hooked up to the TV or projector you would be missing out on.















When you hook up the Document Camera to the computer it has its own software that enables you to use it for many different purposes.
Camera - You can take a picture of anything you put under the camera.  It would be a good way to save lecture notes, or even save an image of a student's work, especially a poem.  It would make it easy for you to upload to a webpage as well.
Video Camera - You can record a video of what is under the camera as well.  When your students are giving a presentation, record the presentation so you can grade it later if need be.  You could also turn it towards you and record yourself giving a lecture, or record your students working on projects in the classroom.
Network - Say you have a student who has done a wonderful project and you want to share it with your staff AS IT HAPPENS.  As long as other teachers have the software they can network to the presentation in your classroom.  Talk about Collaborative teaching!
Drawing - The software also comes with drawing tools.  You can underline, write, highlight, etc., key parts from text in your class.  Think of it as a 21st Centuty Overhead Projector.  No more cleaner.  Once you make your marks, you could take an image of those as well using the camera features.  You can also type on top of images as well.  It also includes transperant boxes and circles that would allow you to highlight a particular text or picture from your textbook.
Playback - You could record your lesson, and then make it available for a substitute to play it the next day for your students.  It would be a great way to ensure your students won't have questions about an assignment because you covered it already.  You could also playback students presentation from previous classes to show students how you want a project done.
Other Features - You can print directly from the screen.  You can import images to the screen from the Internet that you have saved (Be a great way to highlight information from a map, chart, or graph).

Teachers in my school have used the Document Camera to take what used to be individual assignments and turn them into class assignments, creating more discussion, interaction, and maintaining student's attention.  I highly reccommend the purchasing of a Document Camera for your teachers or departments.  You can get the Avermedia CP130 for just under $400.  There are other options, but I would check to make sure they have a software package, otherwise you are missing out on all a Document Camera can do.

AverVision Document Cameras

Document Cameras in the Classroom

Tim Bedley Article - Classroom Uses for the Document Camera

Friday, November 27, 2009

Jeopardy Labs

JeopardyLabs
Most of us have seen and probably used the Power Point Presentation templates that are the Jeopardy review game.  Most of us have probably also ran into problems with them (Links from slide to slide don't always work) or don't have the time to sort through all those slides to add the answers and questions.
Well, now there is a new way to get Jeopardy for your classroom.  Jeopardy Labs has created the Jeopardy game online.  Once you have created your game it gives you a link to a website which you then open in your classroom and play with your students.  You can add up to 10 teams and adjust their points based on their answer.  So it gives you complete control over the review.

If you don't feel like making a game, then browse through the ones that have already been created and see if there is one that applies to your curriculum.  One problem you will see is that there are quite a few that are unfinished.  So, even though they are on there, it will be tough for you to find any that you can use.

There are no fees, no registration, and no Power Point involved.  Everything is on the website.  It is very user friendly.  If you create one, or find one that is useful, please come back and comment on this post to share it with other teachers.  Be sure to include what content it covers.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Blabberize

So, I came across this site surfing the web. Found it kind of funny. Then I thought, "how could this be used in the classroom?"  Well there are multiple options.  You could do short biographies of a famous person.  It would be like your students speaking as a famous president or inventor.  Your students could load their own picture and read a poem.  If you have students studying animals, find a picture of an animal and talk as if you were that animal, sharing information about it.  Really you could use any image of anything or anyone you are studying.

I think it would be a memorable way to share information.  It would keep your students entertained as well as attentive to the presentation.  It would have to be worked on some where in silence so there is not background noise, but it would be a great addition to a homework assignment or any project over someone famous.  Of course your students would need Internet access.

Here is one I created.  Looks like I am talking out of the corner of my mouth.  I also could have made the mouth opening bigger which would have been more entertaining.  Go ahead and laugh...I did!

One Page Websites

Many students do not use the same software at home that we use at school, especially those from lower income districts.  Now the technology has expanded making it easier for teachers to convert files from Word Perfect, or Works, or whatever program the students are using.  There is however another options.  Two websites that I discovered give your students the ability to create a one page webpage.  Students could type their paper using these webpages and then just simply write down the link on a sheet of paper and bring it into class.

Just Paste It and Axess.im give students the ability to title the webpage and then share it with you.  It would then also make it easier for you to share on your own website or blog.  Each site allows you to easily upload pictures as well as links.  You can also embed Youtube videos via HTML or directly (depending on which one students use).  Both are very simple to use and offer most of the Text Formatting you will see in an average Word program.  Just Paste It automatically saves your work every 3 minutes, so if the browser crashes, the data will not be lost.

Be careful though.  You want to make sure that the students work is not plagarized and that if you post it, other students do not use it without permission, so you might have to createa a password for your webpage and then give people access to it that way.  Also know that anything posted to these websites becomes the property of the developers, royalty free.

Just some things to keep in mind, but for simple assignments, this would/could be a solution to your problem.

Edublog Awards

The time has come again for the Edublog Awards.  I am new to this whole Edublog experience, but I thought I would share the previous winners of 2008 so that you could view their blogs.  You can also view back to 2004.  Got to wonder if any blogs from 2004 are still up and running with all the changes to the Internet and Technology Integration.

You can nominate a blog for a multitude of different categories.

My Nominations for The 2009 Edublog Awards are:

Best teacher blog - Social Studies Central
Best Resource Sharing Blog - Free Technology For Teachers
Best educational use of a social networking service: Classroom 2.0
Best educational wiki - Moving Forward
Lifetime Achievement - Karl Fisch and Scott McLeod


Personally, I am new to the game.  I am sure there are a lot of other Edubloggers out there that I have not visited, but these are the ones that I have feeds to, so they are ones that I watch and keep up with.

Thanks.  Visit all the great Edubloggers out there and show your support.  They work hard to share information with all of us.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Digital Story Telling

Normally we have kids find pictures and attach them to a Power Point, or glue them to a Posterboard, thus making the pictures a supplement.  Through Digital Story Telling you are making the Pictures the Main attraction of the project.  There are multiple ways to create a Digital Story. 
The first and most notable has been Photo Story.  You can visit the Microsoft Website and download Photo Story 3 for Windows.  The nice thing about Photo Story is that it is not web based.  The bad thing about Photo Story is that it is not Web Based.  I guess it depends on the student and teacher whether it is a good thing or a bad thing.  Photo Story gives you the ability to upload photos and plan the transition, style, and timing of the photos.  You can also add text on top of the photo, or before or after a photo.  You can also provide music, or you can record a narration of the photo story for the purpose of presentation.  It is important to note 2 things.  First, if students add music, it can't be copyrighted material.  If it is, it cannot be published to your website or blog.  Second, it is important that your students "publish" their photo story so that it is saved as a Windows Media Video.  Visit the link above for more information.
Another Download Option is PhotoFilmStrip which is very similar to Photo Story 3.
There are however other options that are web based.

One of those is Animoto.  There is also an Animoto for Education option where teachers can create an account and then provide a classroom ID to students so that they have full access to the website to create their Digital Story.  So how does Animoto differ?  Well, it automatically creates the transition for the students.  It also has music available to add to the presentation making it publishable.  It does not allow direct recording for narration, but a student can do that using other software, and then save it as an MP3 to use on the presentation.  Animoto takes a lot of the guess work out.  It does the "publishing" for you.  The negative of Animoto is that it does not allow text ON the photo.  The text that you can type is before or after the photo and it is limited (22 characters for title, 30 characters for subtitle).  Once you have completed your digital story you can remix it (change the transitions) and go back and edit it if it does not suit your requirements.  It does take a little time for Animoto to create it, so be patient.  Once you are happy with the final product, you can save it, email it, download it, embed it, and/or upload it.  Take some of your family photos and play around with it.
Here is one I created as a sample from this years Golf Team




PhotoPeach
PhotoPeach.com is another option for a web-based Digital Story Telling creator.  Photo Peach has all the options as Animoto.  The difference is that you can add text as a caption on each picture as well as add blank slides with text on them.  You can also view the presentation in a spiral format which is good for show, but no other purpose.  You could also make your digital story into a quiz which could make the students presentation interactive.  PhotoPeach allows you to easily upload to Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, or your Blog.  You can also email.  It does not allow the ability to download though.

So How Do You Use Them In The Classroom?
  •  English students can do a picture book report finding pictures that represent the characters, setting, plot, theme, symbolism, etc.  If they can't find them, they can take their own pictures.  Students could create a photo poem.
  • Math students could create a 'Math in Our Town" picture report where students find different angles, symbols, etc, in everyday life in their town.  You could also do your school.  Math is everywhere, let your students prove it.
  • Social Studies students could do a picture biography of famous leaders.  They could create a digital story of a famous battle or event.  Create a picture timeline
  • Science could create a digital story of the circulatory or digestive system.  They could create a digital story about the planets.  Create a story about an experiment in class.
  • Health students could create a workout video using pictures
  • Spanish students could create a digital study guide with pictures of words in Spanish that students are required to learn.
  • Practical living students could create a digital presentation of the baking and cooking process.
The possibilities are endless.  The imagination and drive of the students will be up to you.  Have you used them before?  If so, how?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Digtial Presentations - For You and Your Students

We are all guilty of exhausting our kids with Power Point Presentation Lectures.  We are also guilty of assigning the students a Power Point Presentation for a project.  Time to think outside the PPT Slide Box.  There are multiple ways to complete presentations.  Two of those I will showcase below.









Prezi - Prezi is a web-based software that you can use to create a presentation that will then be emailed, downloaded, embedded using Adobe Flash.  The neat thing about Prezi is that the entire presentation is viewable at the same time on the screen.  You can embed pictures as well into the Presentation.  It is gerat for those short lectures that you need to make for your students, and since it is something new you will catch their attention.  There are different backgrounds for you to choose from as well as a few different colors of text.  You can easily move the text, enlarge the text, or change the direction of the text.  Once you have provided all the information, it will then allow you to choose the path the presentation should follow. After more review, the best way to think about Prezi is a 3-D view of a slide presentation. Think of it as a 3-Dimensional Box.  Here is a link to a Prezi that shows some of the Tips and Tricks that you can do with a Prezi.  Just press the arrow and go through the Presentation.

Glogster - Think of a Blog, but think of it in Poster form.  Now take away the Blog thought and think about the ole $.50 Posterboard you make your students buy for a project and throw that out as well.  Time to think about having your students create a Glog.  Glogster for Education allows the teacher to set up a virtual class for their students.  It will generate Usernames and Passwords (Random letters and numbers) for you to give to your students.  You can then monitor your students work as they progress along on their Poster.

So what can Glogster for Education do?  Everything.  First you start with a blank slate.  Choose your background color or design.  You can then add graphics and text of any kind.  You can attach pictures, as well as embed video and audio.  You can even add links to outside webpages that will open in a new window as well.  One of the things I like about Glogster is that when you put in text that is longer than the area you are allowed to type in, it generates a scroll so that you can scroll through the information.

This would be a great way for students to complete presentations over anything.  All the normal Posterboard presentations could now be completed on a Glog.  I do advise that school teachers/systems make sure that the site is unblocked and that fonts are not blocked by your firewall.  That was the problem at our school.

Here is a Link to a Glog that I created showcasing what a Glog can do and look like. Glog Sample

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Wordle in the Classroom


- Wordle - Word Cloud Creation
Critical Vocabulary seems to be the most "critical" aspect of teaching these days.  Making sure students know all the vocabulary is an important aspect for doing well on test.  Wordle would be a great way for incorporating news ways to learn and study vocabulary while letting students be creative.  The more words appear in a paragraph, the bigger they are in the Wordle
So how could you use Wordle as an instructional Tool?
  • Create Synonyms for Critical Vocabulary
  • Create a Wordle from words from a Short Story or Poem
  • Create Vocabulary from a Unit of Study
  • Create for a Quiz or Test
  • Create a list of words in a Wordle and tell students to write a story using all the words in the Wordle and see how many different stories you get
  • Create a of Wordle Famous pieces, Historical documents, or Speeches and have your kids guess what it is
  • Create a Wordle describing Characters in a story
  • Create "Who Are You" Wordle's of your students
  • Create an Introduction to a Unit
  • Create a Wordle with Song Lyrics
  • Create a Wordle Syllabus
  • Create a Wordle Wall instead of a Word Wall
Here is a Wordle of this Blog Post



Google Swirl


Interesting new way to search for images via Google. Type in a search for an image you want to view. It will then create a swirl of images that are similiar so that you can find the one with the best quality and angle. As you click on images it sorts them so that you can see the previous selections and easily go back and forth between them. No more viewing a few images of the same type on the same page at the same time. Very expansive and in a way entertaining. Give it a try.

Below is my Search for Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.  The smaller circle represent my original search.  It then expands from there.  Once you find the image you are looking for it will open the link to the homepage that image can be found on.


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Wallwisher.com

 
Wallwisher.com is an excellent way to communicate with your students about hot topics or even to learn about your classroom.  Wallwisher.com is great for those students who would otherwise not be open to talking in class.  Take your kids to the computer lab one day and have a class discussion on the website.  All the talking should be done online.
So how does it work?
  1. First you need to create an account.  Really simple.  Email address, password, and a nickname.
  2. Click on "Build a Wall"
  3. Choose your background color
  4. Choose your Title and Subtitle
  5. Choose the URL for your wall
  6. I suggest that you check approve messages to be safe.
  7. Share the URL with your students and monitor the discussion.
So how could you use Wallwisher in the classroom?
  1. Brainstorm ideas for a project
  2. Create a themed wall and embed videos for students to watch and comment on.
  3. Create a Story and have students put their own twist
  4. Have a discussion about hot topics and gets students thoughts
  5. Submit questions for a guest speaker
  6. A Current Events Wall
  7. Have students research a topic and post a link to an article that supports their views on that topic
  8. Have students organize topics into groups that you pre-posted and have them print the screen to show you their completed assignment
  9. Students could each submit a Word Problem and give other students a chance to solve them.  Just put in a # in the name of the problem and then the students name and the # they are answering in the response
  10. Find out background knowledge by posting a topic and have students answer what they already know.
  11. Assess your own class - have them tell you what they liked and disliked in your class
  12. Create an area for kids to ask questions about assignments
What ideas do you have?  Please post your ideas for using Wallwisher on my Wall that I created.
Click on the image below

Introduction

Welcome to my Blog. Glad that you could stop by for a visit. Through this blog I hope to expand on the blog that I have through my school website. In 2009 I was hired as a Technology Integration Specialist. Within my first few months on the job my eyes were opened to an abundance of resources that I did not know existed until I got the job. Through this blog I plan to share those resources as well as offer suggestions for how to use them in the classroom, in all subject matters.

Many of the sites I share will involve the Web 2.0 craze, but at the same time will also discuss useful websites and information related to education that might not have to do with technology, but will be useful in the classroom. I will also share how teachers at my school have used the information that I have shared with them.

Please comment and let me know how this blog has helped you and how you have used this information. Please feel free to also offer suggestions for future visitors.
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