Thursday, September 30, 2010


This one is mostly for Social Studies teachers.  DocsTeach from the National Archives is a site all about using Primary Documents.  When you visit the site you can find already created activities using various primary sources.  There aren't that many yet, but the idea is for people to create and share their own.  I looked at one about the New Deal and was impressed.  You can also search through the various documents (3000+) and find one you are looking for.

The best feature is the ability to create your own activities from the various documents on the site.  There are seven different activities that you can create using the various sources.  The activities are based around seven different strategies: Finding a Sequence, Focusing on Details, Interpreting Data, Making Connections, Mapping History, Seeing the Big Picture, and Weighing the Evidence. 

You can create an account and save activities for a later date.  You can also bookmark documents that you will want to use in future activities.  You can customize the activities for students to work on in the computer lab or even in your classroom using just your computer to start a discussion.  You can provide students with a specific web address for them to visit.  Man, this site does it all for History Teachers.

This has to be the most thorough example of why we no longer will need textbooks in a history classroom.  They talk about the use of Primary Documents, this has to be the best I have seen.  If I go back to the classroom, I have found a definite resource to use.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

TeachMeet KY

I received this in an email and wanted to pass along a great opportunity to attend a TeachMeet Conference in Kentucky.  If you are near by and wanted to go to a free conference where you can get some great ideas and resources, then this would be a great place to go.

When:  Oct. 22, 2010
Time:   8:30 a.m. to 3;30 p.m. Central Time
Where: National Corvette Museum - Bowling Green, KY
Purpose:  To share good practice, practical innovations and personal insights in teaching with technology.
Who:  Teachers, Administrators, Educational Leaders

Presentations will include:
- "The 21st Century Learner" by Dr. Tina Rooks (Turning Technologies)
- "Virtual Field Trips and Google Maps" by Dr. Alice Christie (Arizona State University)
- "Google SketchUp in the Math Classroom" by BGHS Students and Drew Fulkerson (Bowling Green High School)
- "Turning Point Meets SKYPE" by Jonathan Stovall and Jonathan Carrier (Bowling Green City Schools)
- Using Twitter in the Classroom
- Developing a PLN (Personal Learning Network)

All educators are encouraged to sign up via Google forms to present and or attend at this conference. 
It is a casual environment with outstanding networking and practical solutions.

Please click the link below to register to attend and/or present:

A Media Specialist's Guide to the Internet

 I came across this wonderful resource the other day. A Media Specialist's Guide to the Internet has been shared on several blogs.  I noticed that she has my blog listed on her blog roll and I am honored.  The website does a great job of organizing information for Elementary, Middle, and High School teachers.  Click on any of those grade levels and you are taken to a page of topics, categories, and subjects which you can click on to take you to various relevant resources.  The main site is also a blog with valuable resources for across the curriculum.  You can also find a Facebook Page to help stay in contact with the latest updates to the website.  There is also an archive going back to 2007, so needless to say, there are plenty of resources to search through.  I am sure you can find something that you like.

Weekly Core Subjects Resources

I have been trying to think of a new weekly post for this school year (it has taken till October to figure it out), but I thought it would be great to share resources related to specific content areas, especially the core subjects.  Below you will find a resource for the four core subjects - Math, Science, English, Social Studies.  Not that other subjects are not important, and not that I won't add on as the year goes on, I just wanted to start with these four to start out.

Social Studies
101 Great Sites for Social Studies Classes - A very valuable resource for all social studies teachers.  Links with short descriptions of the website so you know what you are getting into.  They are broken down by subject and topic area and split onto four pages.  A great starting point for finding primary sources and resources for your classroom.  Share with the social studies teachers in your district.

Biology Corner - Shared through my RSS feed on the Educational Technology Guy, a great resource for teachers.  I even had a teacher in my building tell me they thought it was a great resource.  The site has loads of lessons and worksheets available to download.  There is also a blog with useful tips and tricks for teaching biology.  A handy resource for science teachers.

Neotake - An eBook search engine.  You can search for a title of a book or an author and get both a list of results as well as images.  It list a price and the format (site available) for the eBooks.  You can narrow down your results as well.  Seems like a useful search tool for finding eBooks, considering I think this will be the future of student textbooks this might be a useful site to keep handy.

Plus Magazine and Tools - Shared through my RSS feed on Free Technology for Teachers, this is a great resource to share how mathematics is used in the everyday world.  On the site you can request to receive free posters, listen to Podcast, and play puzzles related to math.  A very useful site for math teachers to explain how math is not just something you need to care about when in school.

Hope you find one of these resources useful!

Education and the Deflated Balloon

The other day sitting around the house, watching the news, reading about Education Nation, I started thinking about the state of education.  I know this is a Educational Technology Blog, but I am still an educator, so read along as I digress into some education politics for this post. 

Right now, education is like a deflated balloon.  The reason the balloon is deflated is because there are all these pin holes.  At these holes you will find politicians, entrepreneurs, superintendents, our President, our Secretary of Education, Philanthropist, Entertainers, Teacher Unions, and the Private Sector (I am sure there are more, but I will leave it at those).

At the main hole, the part where air really needs to be to inflate the balloon, are Students, Teachers, Parents, and Schools.  As much as we try to blow up the balloon to reach its full potential, we can't.  As much as we try to work together, our power can't seem to inflate this balloon.  We can't get out what we know will work in education because no one REALLY hears us. 

Meanwhile, those same people at their pin holes in the balloon are trying to inflate the balloon as well.  Some are working together, some are not.  Some are blowing at their own pace believing they have what it takes to get the balloon to inflate.  Some of those people have bigger pin holes because they feel they have the answer for education, so they create a larger hole to try to get more air in the balloon.  Either way, what they are trying to do is not working either.  As hard as they try, they continue to get resistance, they continue to struggle to inflate this balloon.

What we really need for these people to do, is to patch those holes. Allow those in the school systems to improve education.  You patch the holes (provide funding, improve teacher education, improve teacher tenure, improve curriculum, improve school to work initiatives, provide resources, etc.) and let educators take care of education.  Let those involved in education provide the helium to inflate the balloon that we patched working together and watch education soar in America.

What are your thoughts?

Saturday, September 25, 2010

10 Ways to use iTunes/Podcast in the Classroom

I had a great learning moment the other day when a teacher I was observing was using iTunes to teach Current Events and World Geography.  The experience got me thinking about other creative ways that teachers could use iTunes in their classroom.  Hopefully you will find something that reaches across into your curriculum.  Apple does a great job of sharing some tips for using Podcast.  Know that you can subscribe to these podcast like you subscribe to a magazine subscription.  When a new edition is available it will be ready for you to download...and unlike a magazine subscription, these will be FREE!!!!

1.) Social Studies - Play the 7AM Daily News Summary by NPR current events podcast.  At the same time have students map the location of the events and keep in a log.  Refer back to the log if the news event comes up again later on in the school year.  This is what the teacher is doing at my school.  Another option is to show the nightly news.  NBC Nightly News can be downloaded as a video Podcast.  I always would ask my kids, "Did anyone watch the news last night?"  Now I don't have to ask, I can just show them!  You can find more NPR Podcast on their web page in their Podcast Directory which has news for all subject matter.

2.) Science - NASA has TONS of Podcast for studying Earth Space Science.  To find a Podcast to meet your needs, visit the NASA Podcast Directory.  It has tons of video and audio podcast to play in your classroom, focusing on anything from the Solar System, to Lectures, to clips of space.  Great real world application possibilities in your classroom.

3.) Mathematics - Yes, even math Podcast are available.  There is a huge list that you can sort through, but many of the Podcast fall under the description of video tutorials.  One I found that seemed to have several updates was MathTrain.TV podcast that discussed middle school mathematics and algebra.  There are also some Math Flashcard Podcasts

4.) Foreign Language - Remember those ads on TV where you could buy CD's to learn Spanish?  Well, now you can use Podcast to help teach students Spanish, or for that matter, several other foreign languages as well.  iTunes has a great array of Language Courses available for download.

5.) Civics - "60-Second Civics is a daily podcast that provides a quick and convenient way for listeners to learn about our nation's government, the Constitution, and our history. The podcast explores themes related to civics and government, the constitutional issues behind the headlines, and the people and ideas that formed our nation's history and government. 60-Second Civics is produced by the Center for Civic Education. The show's content is primarily derived from the Center's education for democracy curricula, including We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution, Project Citizen, Foundations of Democracy, and Elements of Democracy."

6.) Arts and Humanities/Music/Social Studies - Kids listen to music like crazy these days and can memorize lyrics in their sleep.  So a good way to use iTunes is to download music from different time periods and share that with your students.  It is a good way to show how music represented the times...just have them listen to the lyrics and project the lyrics on the computer while playing the music in the background.  You can start by browsing through the music library for the different genres.  Now these will cost money, but it is a one time purchase and you can easily create a play-list for years to come in your classroom.

7.) English - There are several eBooks that you can purchase through the iTunes store.  But one thing to look for first are people who have recorded readings of the books.  It is like Books on Tape, but on iTunes.  Just searching through I was able to find Pride and Prejudice, Frankenstein, Aesop's Fables, Classic Children's Stories, Classic Short Stories, and Ralph Waldo Emerson Poetry for starters.  This might be a great way to help your students who struggle with reading so they can have the book available both visually and auditory.

8.) All Subjects - Teach AP?  There are several Podcast related to several different AP courses across many of the subject areas.  Some are done by students, others are done by teachers, but either way, it could be a neat way to supplement material...or have your students create a Podcast in AP.  AP Podcast Courses (This is the "A" directory, scroll down to find AP.

9.) Elementary Teachers - There are several options for children's books on iTunes.  Simon and Schuster Kids Video Podcast and Storynory - Stories for Kids.  Be a great supplement to the books you read in class and let students listen and watch books. 

10.) Physical Education - PEPod video podcast is intended for those who teach and coach the basic skills in PE and School Sport. Down load it to you PC or hand held device and use it as a resource to show children what they can achieve

Extra Podcast for You: Teaching with a SMARTBoard, Teachers Teaching Teachers, Technology Times Live, The Teacher's Podcast

All these podcast are only scratching the surface.  I highly suggest that you just browse through the podcast directory on iTunes and see what you might be able to use in your classroom or with your staff.  Many people have spent time creating podcast for people like us to use.  What is also great is that if you can't find a Podcast for something you are looking for, have your students create their own as part of a project. 

Happy pod-searching!!

iPad and iPhones

I am typing this post on my iPad, so we will see how it goes. I got an iPad for work along with other administrators in the district. The software we use will help streamline walkthroughs and gather data about what teachers are doing in their class. I spent a lot of the last week learning the eWalk software and creating templates. I will be using my iPad for eWalks as well so that I can gather data about technology integration within the high schools.

So now that I have an iPad, now what? How else can I use this tool to help my teachers and improve my own integration of technology? I did test the iPad out by putting it under a document camera and got a pretty good picture, so could I collaborate with a teacher to let them use an app in their classroom? Could teachers use their iPhones in the same manner; what apps could they use?

This same week I was assisting a teacher with a video contest she was going to start with her class. We were discussing how to get enough FLIP's for her students. Out of curiosity I asked the students who had a cellphone with a video camera...the response..about 80%. So why are we banning these tools again? With tools like Poll Everywhere and SCVNGR we should be utilizing these tools. I came across the video "Pay Attention" and showed it to one of the principal's. She is buying into the idea of using cell phones...with more discussion to follow before implementation, but at least the idea is gathering some movement.

How do teachers and students use the iPhone or other smart phones in the classroom? It will be something new for me to try and start, so what experiences have you had? Please share those with my readers and myself.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

Disney's Planet Challenge

Disney's Planet Challenge "is a project-based learning environmental competition for classrooms across the United States. DPC teaches kids about science and conservation while empowering them to make a positive
impact on their communities and planet."  The competition is open to both elementary (3-5) and middle school students.  Interested in the challenge?  The dates are below.

You can learn more about the challenger as well as view some previous winners to see what your kids might be up against in the competition and to start getting several ideas.  There is also a portfolio gallery that will help students get a grasp of the contest and what it will require.

Got some motivated kids and interested in project based learning?  Got some kids who might need some motivation like a trip to Disney World?  Then try out Disney's Planet Challenge.

Monday, September 20, 2010

ooVoo - Skype Alternative

ooVoo is a video and audio chat alternative to Skype.  The software can be downloaded or used via the web.  You can pay for premium features either by month or by use as well.  ooVoo is a great option for one on one chat conversations.  What is great about ooVoo is that you don't have to download the software to use it because you can just use the web-based software.  You can also send files up to 5MB for free, or with a premium account allow the ability to share your desktop.  I have not really had the ability to use any video conferencing software, but it can be very handy in education and serve multiple purposes.  ooVoo claims to have better resolution and better audio, so for those of you that video conference this might be an alternative worth examining.

So what exactly do you get with the free service?

Friday, September 17, 2010

YouTube Time Machine

YouTube Time Machine is a site dedicated to sharing videos that are available on YouTube based on the year that they originally aired.  The categories of videos that are available for viewing are Music, Television, Movies, Commercials, Sports, Video Games, and Current Events.  These videos are great for reliving our own childhood, but also for sharing with students how times change and looking at several subjects from their birth year.  There is currently not a search option available.  You can remove the categories from above to shrink the videos available.  You can view by year which helps to find videos from a certain time period, all the way back to 1860!  You can also upload videos to help increase the library available.  There is a button that takes you to the next video, but on my trial use of the site, it never took me to the next video.  Get that fixed and this is a useful site.  Want to know how the site started, read the about page.  Kind of a neat story.

Classroom Use - You can easily use these videos to find first hand account of historical events as well as archival footage.  You could also use the videos to show how culture changes based on the categories.  A search option would be neat.  The concept is great for classroom use.  Hopefully they will continue to work on it.

Best Practices - ProjectPLN Post

So if you have not heard of the ProjectPLN Magazine (This link will take you to the first issue), now is a great time to learn about it.  The idea was started by Nick Provenzano and he collaborated with Kelly Tenkely to get it off the ground.  You can learn more about ProjectPLN from their blogs: iLearn Technology and The Nerdy Teacher.  The first issue really helps explain the idea behind a PLN (Professional Learning Network) and provides resources on how to start your own.  With the inclusion of PLC (Professional Learning Communities) it is important to develop one outside your school and help turn your community into a network.

For the next issue of ProjectPLN the discussion is on Best Practices for the start of school.  I don't currently teach, but several ideas do come to mind to help with classroom management and "getting to know" your students.  Below are several ideas for the start of the school year.  

1.) Have students create a Word Cloud of words that express their personality, values, and beliefs.  If using Wordle, have them put the most important words in their more then once so that they appear larger.  Then hang them up or keep to yourself...that will depend on the personality of your class!

2.) Many classroom management books suggest putting kids in alphabetical order, and I agree.  Makes it easy to learn names.  For a teacher at my school he made it into a competition.  He drew the class layout on the board and told the kids to find their seat according to their last name.  The class that did it the fastset won a prize.  He also did not allow them to talk.  Talk about a interesting first day.

3.) I would give my kids a challenge of building the tallest tower out of straws and only provide a certain length of tape.  They would work in groups.  The could not talk so they had to communicate in other ways.  It really helps develop team work in the first week of school and shows that talking does not necessarily help with an assignment. :)

4.) Bellringers are a huge deal.  Our school recently purchased large TV's for the classrooms and hooked those to the computer.  Several teachers have created PowerPoint's to display their bellringer.  Therefore they can save them for future use and it is easy for the kids to always know where to look when they come to the classroom to have something to work on.

5.) Use a clicker system the first day and gather information about your students.  Things you would like to know.  Computer access at home, clubs/athletics they are involved in, community involvement, etc.  Very easy to organize the data you get back in return.  You could do the same with index cards, but the clickers will help with data organization.

6.) Provide students access to computers and have students use Glogster to create a poster that tells about themselves.  Favorite movies, TV shows, music, etc.  It can be a fun activity that also allows you to introduce Glogster to your students.

7.) Have students from the previous class year share their favorite things about your class.  Or have your students write an open letter about what future students need to do in order to succeed in your classroom.  This might be a great way to use a site like Wallwisher with students at the end of a school year.

8.) Ask students to provide you with their cell phone number and their cell carrier.  You can send a text message to your students using your email.  Up to 160 characters is the limit for one text message.  This would be a great way to keep in touch with students about projects, test, etc.  Plus, you have documentation of the messages you send and their replies, because their replies will come back to your email.  It also keeps your cell phone number private as well.

9.) Show students videos from music, television, video games, commercials, current events, movies, and sports from the year they were born and discuss how much things have changed.  Be a great introduction to any unit of study and to find funny older videos to share with the class.

10.) Have an easily accessible teacher webpage.  Students need an area where they can access assignments, due dates, lecture notes, etc.  Have a website that allows for discussion through blogs or message boards.

11.) Use various social media tools such as Twitter to create a classroom account for students to get quick reminders for your class.  Nings make great social networks for your classroom as well that allows students to join and follow various aspects of your classroom.  It is also great for personalization.  You might also look at creating a Facebook page as well; although controversial, it can be a useful communication tool.  Anyway that you can increase communcation with parents and students will be beneficial.

Friday, September 10, 2010

My 9/11 Experience - What Was Yours?

I always had my students try to tell me what they remember from that day, because in a few years, we will all have students who can only only rely on videos, articles, and stories of the event since they were to young or not born.  For me, it comes full circle to think that students will learn about 9/11 like I had to learn about Vietnam...from other people.

I wanted to use this forum to share my story so that it would be available to future generations.  I was not in New York, so there really is no comparison to those that were; but there are tidbits of my story that help bring the reality of the event from the perspective of an everyday American.

I was a senior in college (my first senior year actually) and I was living in a house with some Fraternity brothers.  I remember waking up and getting on my computer to check my email.  I had an AOL account so I signed on using....DIAL UP!!! AHHH!!!  I remember seeing a small picture of the World Trade Center on fire on the home screen and thinking to myself that it must be a movie promotion.  To be certain I remember turning on my TV.  It was so slow to come on I was getting ticked off; but there it was, on every station, even MTV and ESPN, the World Trade Center was on fire.

No one knew that it was terrorist yet, so classes were still on, and I still needed to get ready for them.  So I got ready and drove to campus.  I parked at the Fraternity house and walked through the living room to see the TV on in there.  At this point, the 2nd building was now hit and suspensions were high that it was more than an accident.  No word on classes being canceled so on I went.

First class, U.S. History since 1865.  The professor went on, teaching as if history was not happening at that moment.  So many of us were appalled that a HISTORY teacher had no concern for a historic moment.  Apparently it was more important to learn about history then to be witnessing and experiencing it.  I will never forget how angry I was.

I had two more classes for the day.  Geography and Economics.  Both those classes were canceled.  But in every building and every classroom (accept for my history professor) people were watching the news, and asking the same questions: Who did this?  Why did this happen?  Are there more planes?  Turns out there were.  We would start to hear about the planes at the Pentagon and in Pennsylvania.

I walked back down to the Fraternity house.  One of my Fraternity brother's girlfriend was crying.  She soon explained that her dad worked at the Trade Center.  Immediately, the event became real, it became personal.  We tried to comfort her, but how do you do that?  It ended up that her dad was fine, and he was not there, but the fear she felt exuded from her, it was like we all felt it.

I called my girlfriend (who is now my wife) to see how she was doing.  I forgot that she had a field trip to a pumpkin patch.  They had to cancel the trip...because it was near an airport and the school feared for their safety.  The event was now hitting closer to home.  It was affecting our personal lives.  This tragic event, hundreds of miles away from impacting all our lives.

I had to work that night.  I worked at Staples.  I couldn't believe we were open.  Seriously, who needed some pens or ink cartridges when we all thought that "America was under attack."  In the 5 hours I worked, we had less then 10 customers.  Across the street was a gas station.  It was packed; people were concerned about gas prices increasing.  Seriously?  I was ashamed that day, that even in this time of national tragedy, we still worried about out pocket books.

That night after work, you couldn't watch anything else, I mean you could, but who wanted too.  We stayed up late thinking we would here some heroic story, something to inspire and bring hope, but those stories never came.  I remember in the passing days the use of cadaver dogs to search for people, well bodies.  The stories of depressed dogs because finding someone is what brings reward to them, but they weren't finding anyone, and it was even causing dogs to know there was little hope.  Later in another class, two dogs would come to one of my classes and we would get to discuss the experience with their trainer and owner.

That is my story.  That was my 9/11 without going into more detail.  What is yours?  If you are a fan of the TV show Flash Forward they create a website for people to share their experience during the "Black Out."  It is important that we all share our experiences as well.  It is still hard for me to believe that it will be 10 years ago next year.

If you want to add some technology aspect to your story, think about the impact technology played.  Imagine if Social Media had existed during 9/11/01.  How would the stories be different...or would they have stayed the same?

Prezi Meetings - Collaboration

Prezi has come out with something new; Prezi Meetings (Read review by Mashable) and get a tutorial from the Prezi Blog.  Each person will be provided an icon on the presentation editor.  As you edit, it updates real time.  Think of it as TitanPad for creating a Prezi presentation.  When you access Prezi you will notice a "Meeting" link in the menu in the top right hand corner.  If you click on the "Invite to Edit" link, it will provide a link (that expires in one week) that you can send to people in an email for them to collaborate.  You can have a maximum of 10 people collaborating on a presentation.  If you click on the "Start Online Presentation" you can invite people to remotely view the presentation...LIVE.  This is a great addition to Prezi.  See image below of menu.

When it comes to classroom use, if you have a person (or you) who is familiar with Prezi, you can invite people to edit a presentation with you and then you can work on learning the software together.  You can do the same thing with students, especially if you have students who are experts and can help novices.  The remote presentation allows you to show one presentation to multiple classrooms at the same time.  Be a great way for teachers to collaborate with each other.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


Flisti is a free online poll website that does not require any sign up.  Flisti would be a great tool to use on the first day of school or the beginning of a unit to gauge where students stand on a particular subject.  If you teach a current events class Flisti would be a simple way to get a feel for what students are thinking on certain issues.  The tool is simple to use.  Just type in your question, type in the possible answers, choose whether you want to allow multiple answers, and then click on the "Create Poll" button.  You then get a simple URL that you can share and then go back and view later to get results. 

If you have a school or class Twitter or Facebook page you can share the poll there as well to get the word out to your students.  If students choose too they can log-in using a profile from another service and add comments to the poll, therefore making the poll interactive.  If you have students watch the news, you could create polls on news stories and get instant feedback from your students and then discuss in class the next day.  Same if you are watching a movie in class as well.

Flisti seems to be a rather simple tool to use and could be easily adapted into the classroom


I always like to start the school year/week/day/hour with some kind of Brain Teaser to get my kids attention in class.  Sometimes it can be tough to find new ones or ones that the kids have never heard.  I always like when a kid has one that they have heard as well and tries to challenge me.  I usually end up solving it, and that usually makes them mad.  But it is times like those that help build relationships with your students.

Braingle is a site that has several brain teasers, trivia, mentalrobics, and games.  There is a daily one that you can view as well as an archive.  Each category above is then broken into several subcategories to help you find what you might be looking for.  You can also sign up for an account and upload your own brain teaser as well as mark off the ones that you solve.  This would be helpful if you use them in the classroom so you can avoid using the same one twice

Brain teasers were such a hit in my psychology class.  Braingle would have been a great resource if I was still teaching it.  How can you use this site in your classroom?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Mission US

Mission US is in its infancy stage, but the concept is a role playing video game that will assist students in the learning of the History of the United States.  Students will take on the role of Nat Wheeler.  Students can currently play lesson/level 1 (For Crown or Colony) which is the American Revolution.  You can view a demo right now that sets the story line.  The full site will go live later in the month of September.  Students can register for an account and play For Crown or Colony.  For teachers, Mission US have classroom guides that will assist with implementation.  You can view a video showcasing its use in the classroom. 

I normally don't like to post resources for a specific subject, but I found this to be a great tool.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Virtual Nerd

The saying that sooner or later the online world will replace teachers just might become true....nah, not really.  But Virtual Nerd might just be the closest thing to the end of least Math and Science.  Virtual Nerd is a site that students and teachers can use to help teach content in math and science.  Currently there are only tutorials for Algebra I, but they are working at adding some more.

You can get a basic account (Free) and have access to a dozen or so tutorials.  Or you can get a premium account (paid - $49 a month) and have access to all the tutorials.  They advertise in their opening video that tutors can be expensive, true, but a great teacher will be a virtual nerd for free.  Besides, 600 a year is a lot of money considering most people who need such help probably can't afford it.

The tutorials are rather neat and they do allow for a lot of interaction and hands on help.  If you know most of the steps you can easily skip to the one you need help with.  It also organizes the tutorials in a neat fashion. To get a better idea of the software, just visit Virtual Nerd and watch the video intro to see some of the features.  You can find the Algebra topics that are covered here

Monday, September 6, 2010

Resources from Twitter

My first installment of resource from Twitter for the new school year.

1.) Jottit - Simple web page creation.  Shared by: ToddAHoffman

2.) 101 Way to Use Tagexdo. Shared by: bjnichols

3.) 10 Free Computer Tech Help Sites you Might have Overlooked.  Shared by: Joy Gayler

4.) Algebra Tutorials.  Shared by: Poochiesan24

5.) Top 20 Websites No Teacher Should Start the Year Off Without - Shared by: Thanks2Teachers

6.) Teaching with Inforgraphics - From the New York Times.  Shared by: NMHS_Principal

7.) 6 Ways to Increase Success of Web Page Content.  By: Tonnet

8.) Critical Thinking PDF from Microsoft. By: KySTEtech

9.) 21 Things That will Become Obsolete in Education by 2020, by TeachPaperless.  Shared by: raztech

10.) How Testing Feeds the School to Prison Pipeline - Interesting Article and Read.  Shared by: Thanks2Teachers

11.) Science Blogging - A one stop shop for blogs related to science. Shared by: Larry Ferlazzo

12.) Digitally Speaking - Social Media in Schools - Great Resource.  Shared by: Web20Classroom

13.) Flash Card Flash - A Search Engine for Flash Card Websites.  Shared by: KarenTBTEN

14.) 75 Really Useful iPad Tips and Tricks.  Shared by: 8Amber8

10 Specific Way to Use a Document Camera

There are so many generic lists of how to use a Document Camera (my school uses AverMedia CP135), but very few are specific or "outside the box" suggestions..  Below are some of the ideas that I have thought of while trying to provide ideas to the teachers in my buildings.

1.) Display a worksheet on the board using a projector and have students come to the board and use the dry erase markers to "fill out" the worksheet.  Works great for graphic organizers, Crossword Puzzles, etc.  Helps to turn an individual assignment into a discussion assignment. 

2.) My school uses Turning Point Clicker software.  Have teachers create a generic Turning Point Presentation and then use the document camera to display the review/test docuemnt.  One copy of the review and helps remove the need to create several different presentations of reviews.

3.) The model that we use has the capability to network.  Therefore teachers have the ability to view a camera in another classroom as long as they have the necessary software loaded on their computer.  So basically one teacher could actually share the same review/assignment in their classroom with another classroom who does not have a Document Camera.  If it allowed audio as well, it could be even more useful.

4.) Kids always ask: What page and/or questions?  Project your textbook/worksheet, highlight where to read and/or what questions to answer.  Freeze the image so it stays viewable to the students while you walk around and monitor students.

5.) Showcase student work, good and bad.  The best way to show what you want your students to do is show what previous students have done that was right and wrong.  Works great for portfolio assignments.

6.) Flip the camera up and video tape your students in class during a skit or activity.  You can also take still images of your classroom to show student work on your walls in case you decide to change them out.

7.) Many document cameras come with the ability to take timed images.  This would be a neat way for students to create their own stop motion photography.  It can also help to show the different steps in a math problem or science experiment.  Be a great way to capture chemical reactions in science.

8.) Many teachers teach the same lesson in different classes.  I remember having to write and erase notes on the board so that I could do it all over again for another class.  Using the document camera you can take images or video your notes and then just reuse them in future classes.  If your document camera has a "screen shade" tool you can use that to only show what you want to students.  The video feature is a great tool for math teachers because you can video tape your explanation of a problem and then just show and pause the video in future classes.

9.) So many schools are strapped for textbooks or do not let students take textbooks home.  You could use the document camera to take an image of the pages from the textbook and upload those images to a website for students to access at home.  Also great for stories, pictures, charts, etc, from a magazine or other book that you don't have enough copies of for your students.

10.) Our model comes with drawing tools similar to what is available with SMART Notebook.  Teachers are able to digitally draw and highlight on documents.  Is great to use the tool to digitally work on a worksheet together as a class by passing around an Airliner.

I know some of these suggestions might not work with your model of a document camera, but if there is at least one suggestion you had not thought of this I hope this post is useful.

How have you specifically used a Document Camera?  What creative and innovative ways have you gotten students to use a Document Camera?  Please Share!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Doing a "FLIP" Across the Curriculum

With part of the grant for the creation of my position, teachers got the ability to order several different kinds of technology equipment.  One of those pieces of equipment, a FLIP Camera.  I got one as well...I love it.  I also won one at the Nashville TeachMeet last school year, so now I have one for work and play.  So the question then do we use such a great and simple tool in the classroom?  Well here are some ideas for student use. 

Social Studies
1.) Have students portray a President and recreate a famous speech
2.) Act out a time period in history
3.) Use for Mock Trial to record "evidence" at a scene of a crime
4.) Create advertisements for products when teaching Economics
5.) Create advertisement for inventions in history
6.) Interview family members
7.) Create Propaganda Techniques
8.) Film "On The Scene" news clips as if a news reporter from an event in history
9.) Create a movie trailer about an event in history, or even a biography of a person from history
10.)Create a music video for any of the subject matter

1.) Record experiments and then include in a Glog instead of doing the standard lab write up
2.) Create video advertisements for all the Elements on the Periodic table and how they are used in real life
3.) Create a Music these
4.) Interview people in different science careers and bring in for career day activities
5.) Video Science in action - life cycle, hydro-logic cycle, chemical reactions, etc
6.) Create How-To videos explaining the steps in scientific and physic processes

1.) Give to students to take home.  Have the work out and explain a math problem.  Then bring in to school and let the student share with the class
2.) Take a camera out and measure different angles in the school/community for a geometry lesson
3.) Create a "Math in my Life" video journal.  Have students record when they use math in their daily lives and share at the end of the semester.
4.) Create How to videos over mathematics and formulas
5.) Have students record your explanations of math problems in your classroom and then make them available on the web or put them on their flash-drive for them to use for homework.

1.) Create a movie trailer for a book they are reading in the class
2.) Create a monologue for a poem from class.  Catch the emotion of a poem.
3.) Allow students to record a speech instead of giving the speech in front of the class if nerves keep them from full potential
4.) Record students doing the My Three Words Campaign
5.) Recreate scenes from a play or short story
6.) Record a skit of dialogue from a section of a book.

Foreign Language
1.) Have students create common words translation videos
2.) Have students record a certain artifact and then translate it on video
3.) Have students go around school/town and translate popular spots, places, etc into the foreign language

1.) Create a review video for students to use for exams and show on school news.
2.) Take on Field Trips and share with students via school news
3.) Record classroom discussions
4.) Record your lecture and make available as podcast, for viewing on your website, or on a flash-drive
5.) Record a daily vocabulary word and act out definition.

I am sure that there are several more.  What ideas do you have?  How have you used a FLIP Camera in your subject matter?


Are you or your students ALWAYS forgetting stuff.  Need a reminder?  More specifically, do you need a reminder phone call?  Wakerupper is a site that takes on the idea of getting a wake up call like you do when staying in a hotel.  With Wakerupper you provide a date, time, phone number, and even a message.  Like all sites where you provide information about yourself, it is a good reminder to read through the Terms of Service.  There is also a mobile website available for those who want reminders while on their cell phone.

The site could be very handy for helping students remember test, projects, meetings, etc, especially in this day and age when students are on their phones more then they are in front of the TV or computer.  You can register for a premium account which sets up prepaid reminders that include voice reminders, recurring calls, and snooze.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

15 Ways to use a SMART Slate/Airliner in the Classroom

Perfect practice will make for perfect use. You must practice using the Airliner with and without your students to get used to the functionality. I also highly recommend that you spend a 10-15 minutes a day examining the SMART Notebook software to get a feel for all that it can do.

A wireless Slate/Airliner allows you to be more mobile in your classroom. Take advantage of this mobility by walking around the room and turning individual work into group work and allowing more interaction among students when working on assignments.

1.)Create or Scan the worksheet that students will be working on. Instead of verbally asking students the answer when going over the worksheet, have students use the Airliner to write in the correct answer in the blank spaces. Same goes if filling in a Venn-Diagram or other chart. The same goes for if you are using a Document Camera

2.)Use the Airliner to highlight notes from a PowerPoint Presentation, or underline critical vocabulary within the presentation. Make students more aware of the most important points in a slide.

3.) Use it to circle or highlight an area of a picture or movie that you are showing to the class.

4.)Have a student working on a problem on the Board while having another student use the Airliner to work on another problem.  Great for Math Classes where the projector screen covers part of your board.

5.)Display a homework assignment. When a student has a question you can stand by the student and use the Airliner to explain the process instead of going to the board.

6.)Give the Airliner to a student; have them use it to explain an answer while you help other students.

7.)Instead of having students come up to the board, pass around the Airliner.

8.)Airliners are a great tool to use when visiting interactive websites. Allow students to control what happens.

9.)Use the screen shade function when wanting to show one question at a time or even one answer at a time. Helps alleviate having to make copies when students can use Notebook Paper.

10.)Use the recording feature to record students doing the work step by step and then play it back for further understanding.

11.)Print a screen shot of your desktop and other features. Place that on the Airliner so you have something to look at if looking at the screen is troublesome.

12.)Using a Document Camera, display your book to the class and highlight areas that you want the students to read, focus on, or take notes from. Great for vocabulary that might not be highlighted by the textbook company. Have students highlight words they don’t know within the text as well. This can be done for any book or text as well.
13.)Use the Spotlight feature to block out text and show just a picture (or vise versa). This really helps kids who get distracted easily.

14.)Take True/False or matching worksheets and use an airliner to mark the answer and then discuss why it is true or false. Do a word search or crossword puzzle activity as a class.

15.)Take student work and highlight what was done right and what was done wrong (make sure you don’t show the students name). You can use a document camera, have the document in its Word Processor, or scan it. Have students discuss what could be done better and what was done right.