Saturday, May 29, 2010

Twitter Tweecap - Final May Edition

Kind of a busy week, so I did not get to check Twitter as often, so this list is rather short, but it still some really useful links and resources that were shared.

1.) Rachel's Challenge - Not sure if you have heard of this.  It is a program that can be held in your local middle or high school where they talk about Rachel Scott, the first student killed in Columbine shooting.  She wrote a paper about a "Chain Reaction of Kindness."  If you are looking for a great assembly, this seems to be one worth looking into.

2.) From the iLearn Technology Blog, Edistorm, another site like Wallwisher.

3.) Math teachers always have a hard time expressing writing, well, here is a site, Using Writing in Mathematics that aims to help Math teachers with writing.

4.) The future of LED Screens?  As thin as a piece of Hair - Sony's Flexible OLED

5.) Gickr, make your own animation, from the Learning 2.0 Blog

I told you it was a short list!

Will be working on a Reflection post about my first year as a TIS next week.  Keep an eye out for it!

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Okay, I have to thank Phillip Cummings for providing me this link. I am really intrigued about ways to use this in education.  The idea behind NextUp is that you enter in the topic that you are covering, provide a time limit (MM:SS) and then it will countdown to help keep you on task.  NextUp would be a great tool for those teachers that are struggling with time management.

As mentioned in his Tweet, NextUp would be a great way to keep time during a faculty meeting or even during a professional development.  It could also be used in the classroom as well.  One thing I remember early in education is always give students a certain amount of time to get things done.  Don't leave time open ended.  You could put your entire lesson for the day on this and use it to help you stay on task.  It would be a great way to keep time during a quiz or test, or while giving students a certain amount of time to work on a project, have a discussion, give free time for good behavior, etc. 

I really think this would be a beneficial tool for educators.


Are you creative?  Do you like to draw or like to create images using different tools?  Bomomo is a site that allows you to create different looking pieces of digital art with an interesting method of creating that art.  Bomomo is one of those sites that is hard to explain, but is really great for those creative types.  I am not that creative, but below is one I created.

Just take a minute and try out all the different "brushes" that you can use.


Gliffy is an online Diagram creation website that would be a great way for students to create flow charts.  What is great is that no sign up is required and it is free to use.  When you are creating a new document, you choose the format (category) that you would like for your diagram.  It even has the ability to create floor plans/Interior Design.  (I used to have my students create their dream house when doing the French Revolution and discussing the Palace of Versailles, this would work great).  The site has business in mind for the majority of its purpose, but it could still easily be used in the school setting. There is the ability to collaborate on a diagram as well as share it on the Internet. 

To get more features though you have to sign up for a premium account.  This is available for a 30 day trial.  After that, you get a to choose between upgrading to a premium account or keeping the free basic account.  This allows 2MB image upload limit and the creation of 5 public diagrams.  For more information, you can view their product comparison to see if this is something you might be interested in using with your students.


Ever created a list for students?  Listphile is a site dedicated to creating list in a database form that you can then access and do several different things with.  You can even create a list in Atlases form (Great for map assignments).  There are also databases that can you can collaborate with others on, as well as some other features.  There is a directory that you can search through list already created.  There is also a categories and tags section so that you can see other lists that people have done.

Each list that you can create can include a picture, information, links, video, etc.  It is a great way to organize a database for your students, or create an area to organize links and resources for your classroom.  For an introduction to Listphile, view their demo page for a video to see what all you can do with the product.  To use Listphile you will need to create an account which requires Username, Password, and email.  The site does require email verification which can make it difficult to use in the classroom setting some times.  In the future their will be a voting option as well, but unsure what that will mean.  To create a list you will provide a Title, Description, choose the Type of List, Determine Rights/License,  Category, and Membership requirements. 

Impact on Education?
- Create a place for students to list results from research on a person, place, or event
- Use the Atlas feature and have students map out historic events and where they happened
- Have students create list of historic events, town descriptions, ways to save money, how to solve math problems, results of scientific experiments.
- As a teacher, create a list to share with students links to resources that they can use in your classroom.

Common Craft Videos

Recently I have become a HUGE fan of the Common Craft Videos.  I always knew that they were useful when it came to getting videos related to Web 2.0 products (Wikis, Social Bookmarking, Google, etc).  When I recently visited their site to use some of their videos for my "Tools for the 21st Century Teacher" handbook I had no idea that there were other useful videos to use in the classroom.

The technology videos are great for explaining Web 2.0 software so teachers get a simple understanding of how things work and why they were created.  The other videos that are available are related to Money, Society, and Going Green.  These videos are great for Business, Economics, Agriculture, Science, Government, and Sociology classes.  It makes understanding complex processes a little easier to stomach, especially for high school students.

So if you teach any of the above subjects, or know teachers in your building that do, pass on this great website for videos that they or you could use to introduce the subject matter to students.  Common Craft has created some really useful videos and would be a beneficial addition to your curriculum.  You can also find several of the videos on YouTube as well.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Everyone has a story.  Sometimes, everyone has a story to tell.  The problem is that throughout history, there has never been someone or something to document people's stories so that we have a historical perspective from many people.  StoryCorps hopes to improve our ability to document peoples thoughts and lives.

The mission of StoryCorps is "to provide Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of our lives."  Every story will be recorded to a CD for free.  It is also stored at the American Folk Life Center at the Library of Congress.  Recently they released an iPhone App that allows you to listen and share stories.  It only has tips for recording your own, no recording from the Phone yet.

I can see this as a great tool in education.  Especially when you have a guest speaker in class.  Record the conversation and upload it.  Interview family members before they pass away and get stories of their life so that it can be shared with future generations.  It would make a great project in Sociology.

What's Your Story?

National Geographic Image Collection and Shape Collage

I recently became aware of the National Geographic Image Collection while looking around the Internet. most of us remember growing up and looking at National Geographic Magazines in amazement of the pictures that they were able to capture. Now you can obtain many of those same photos on the web.

The pictures are broken down into the following categories: Exploration, Wildlife, People and Cultures, and Science and Climate Change.  When you scroll over the image you get a brief description of who took the picture, where the picture was taken, and what the picture is.  You can also find a history of photography, a video looking "Behind the Pictures," and an area where you can purchase the book.

The National Geographic Photo collection is in Flash, so you won't be able to right click (they do want you to buy the book), but that does not mean you can't take your other photos and turn them into a Shape Collage!  I came across Shape Collage, a free automatic photo collage maker and thought it would be a new way to share groups of photos with students.  Especially since you can create so many different collages.  Below is the image from the front page of Shape Collage as well as a short video tutorial explaining how the site works.  Take a minute and play around with the site to see what you can create.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Must See Monday - Tools for the 21st Century Teacher

Recently I did a Professional Development where I introduced teachers to several of my favorite Web 2.0 tools to use.  The tools can be used with students, can be used on a professional level individually, and others can be used in both ways.

I decided to expand on that Professional Development by creating a "Tools for the 21st Century Teacher" Handbook.  The idea was to provide a handbook that administrators could provide to new teachers in their building, teachers who are interested in integrating technology, and teachers who need a little extra guidance of the types of tools that are available to them and are scared to start integrating technology in their classroom.

The document includes what I consider to be the top 15 tools, or the tools that I find myself using most often and suggesting other teachers use most often.  I know that there are others that could be included in this list (Digital Story Telling, Image Websites, Video Websites, etc), but I felt that if I started to add too many the handbook would lose its purpose/focus.

I hope that you find this handbook useful.  Please feel free to share with staff, administrators, teachers, parents, and students even.  Especially share with former students that you know of that are entering the education field.  We need to get them started early.  You can find "Tools for the 21st Century Teacher" at Issuu as well as see it embedded below.  I have also added a new Publications page where I will publish any handbooks I create in the future.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Twitter Tweecap - May Edition - Part I

Been a very busy month so far.  The state of Kentucky is transitioning all Districts to Live @EDU email and part of my job is training teachers at several schools on the new email system and several of its features.  So my blog posting will be rather limited over the next couple weeks.  So until that time, here is a recap of some links I received via Twitter during the month of May.

1.) Ten Websites for Changing Text to Speech. - A great list and all of the websites are free.  Be a great resource to share with special education.

2.) Virtual Compound Microscope - Share with your science teachers.  Kind of interesting.

3.) Five Essential Characteristics of Leaders in Education

4.) A Great Web 2.0 Tools Handout

5.) An article that received a lot of attention on Twitter when a Principal asks parents to deny students the ability to use Social Networking like Facebook.

6.) A great Blog post by The Nerdy Teacher about Everything He Learned about Technology he Learned from 1990's Nickelodeon Television

7.) Online Drum Machine.

8.) 100 Inspiring Ways to Use Social Media in the Classroom

9.) 50 Free Collaboration Tools that are Awesome for Education

10.) 52 Incredible Useful Sites - A Pretty Good List

11.) The Power of Facebook in Education - A Great Story of its use

12.) Is Summer School the Key to Education Reform?

13.) TeachMeet Kentucky - A Date has been set.  If it is as successful as the one in Nashville I attended, it will be a conference worth attending.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wiki Wednesday - A Great Idea

Recently while viewing the wonderful tweets by people that I follow on Twitter I came across a tweet by Andrew Marcinek (Here is a link to his Blog).  He was sharing a Wiki that he created for his staff and students.  The Boys Latin School Ed-Tech Resource Wiki serves as a home for all the links that he shares with his staff broken down by content level.

I really like this idea.  Take a Wiki for your school and create a place for you to house links, resources, videos, lesson plans, publications, etc., organized by content area.  By creating the Wiki, you are also allowing faculty and staff to add to it as well, therefore the burden does not always fall on you to update the site.  Teachers can do that as well.  You will probably still have to maintain it, and have a Professional Development on how to use the Wiki, but it makes for a great way to organize the information for your staff.

Every time that I received a great link or resource from a blog, I would just email it to the teachers who teach the subject matter that it related too.  What if they delete that email?  How will they be able to use that resource later when they finally do have time?  What are the chances that I kept the email to send to them again (probably slim)?

I asked Andy for permission to copy the idea.  I have not gotten around to it.  We are busy with changing Email Servers among other things going on in our district.  But writing this blog post has motivated me to get started.  I will be working on a Wiki for my teachers in the coming weeks.  Once I have started it and included some links, I will share it with you all.

Thanks for the inspiration Andy!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Web 2.0 Teacher Tools Glog

I created a Glog for organizing some Web 2.0 Teacher Tools that I thought teachers in my building should start utilizing.  I linked to several videos explaining what they were and how they worked.  I also linked to several other presentations, websites, publications, etc. that listed several Web 2.0 tools that teachers should and could be using to make life easier.  Feel free to pass it along to your staff.  It is embedded below and then I linked to it as well. 

Web 2.0 Glog

Monday, May 10, 2010

Must See Monday - Pay It Forward and Pass It On

I was delighted to open up Tweetdeck this morning and see a Tweet from Vanessa Cassie saying that she had mentioned me in her blog.  I was intrigued to see what she had said about me.  I was unaware that there was a movement to share other Blogs you follow as a form of Paying it Forward to get the word out.  Vanessa had a great post mentioning not only my blog, but others as well.

So, in keeping with the pace of others who are paying it forward, here is a list of ten blogs that I follow (although there are plenty more) and a brief description.  For those who receive this award, there are a few rules that I ask you follow:

1. Copy and Display the picture of the award given to you.
2. Link back to the blog that nominated you.
3. Nominate 10 different blogs..
4. Inform the people you have nominated so they can continue this 'pay it forward' chain of blog appreciation!

The Educational Technology Guy - By David Andrade - A great Educational Technology Blog with useful links and resources as well as reflections on education.

iLearn Technology Blog - By @ktenkely - A great blog that shares resources and ideas.  Helped start a Blog Alliance that introduced me to a ton of new blogs and resources.  She is actually working on a new Alliance.  Are you going to join?

iTeach Blog - By Andrew Marcinek - A blog that discusses education, technology, as well as personal experiences at his own school and how technology is changing there.

This Week's Education Humor is a funny educational humor site.  Cartoons, jokes, lists, etc.  I really like this blog on a daily basis.  Gives me a good laugh when things are down. 

Blogging About the Web 2.0 Connected Classroom by Steven Anderson is considered by many to be a poineer in the social education network.  His blog shares resources and personal insights into the state of education and technology in education.

Free Technology for Teachers by Richard Byrne is another staple among educators and technology personnel when it comes to technology integration.  Shares several resources as well as digital publications that should be a staple for schools to share with staff.

The Innovative Educator by Lisa Nielson is a blog about education. Also included in this blog, are post about technology in education. Either way, you find yourself thinking about the post after you have read them. Very informative and thought provoking.

Education Stormfront is a blog that helps "forecast the coming storm in education."  Some is technology, some is not, but the post are informational and give you a look at the future of education.

Kyle Pace has a great blog about education, technology, and social media.  Great discussions of how education is changing and how people should be paying attention to these changes.  Can also be found on Twitter @KylePace

My Island View by Tom Whitby is a blog that will leave you thinking about education and how education is changing.  Great thoughts about the impact of technology on education and teaching.

I need to give a shout out to the Nerdy Teacher for including me in his list.  Thanks for the comparison to Sinatra, although there truly is no comparison.  Keep up the great work!

Friday, May 7, 2010

The Power of Social Media

I have been thinking about this Post for a while, not knowing that when I finally got around to it, that it would be my 150th post.  This past weekend, my area of the country (Tennessee and Kentucky) got some of the worst flooding in recent memory.  The entire city of Nashville was flooded.  The Grand Ole Opry, a national landmark, flooded as well.

If you turned on the news, whether network or cable, you would have noticed VERY LITTLE coverage of the flooding in Nashville, Tennessee, or Kentucky.  It appeared to be more important to tell the same story about the Oil Spill or the FAILED terrorist attempt in New York City.  I am not trying to down play the importance of those issues, but it seemed that all I saw was the SAME information over and over again.  Nothing new. 

Meanwhile, over 30 people had died in Tennessee and Kentucky and flooding damage estimates were coming in at over $1 Billion dollars (in just Nashville).  Of course, you would not have heard that on the regular news stations.  If you wanted information about the flooding, your best source should have been and should be Social Media.  I have quickly come to the realization that I get the best, most important, and broad range of news from Social Media.  Both the right and left wing views as well.

I got pictures, videos, articles, all from Twitter and Facebook.  I was learning more about the flooding via Social Media than ever was provided on network or cable news.  YouTube (7 pages worth) had more videos of the flooding than news stations.  One has to wonder why their was a lack of coverage. 

Many say because their wasn't really a story to it.  It was just rain.  One Blog Post (Shared on Facebook) I read talked about how the news stations weren't interested because there wasn't any looting going on.  Another article (Found via Digg) talked about the fact that there was no negative effect from a "federal government" response to the issue yet.

What is also great about Social Media as a news source is that the information I was getting was first hand accounts, not some edited media piece.  People who were living in it.  People I know, friends and family, all were sharing the impact the flood had on them.  Real news as I call it.

So the next time a major event happens, don't rely on the national media for information.  They are to worried about their own image, instead of telling the story of the images we see through Social Media.