Saturday, March 13, 2010

Twitter Tweecap - March 2nd Edition

Another dose of all things that I received via Twitter.  Some interesting stuff.  One thing I have realized is that I picked a great time to start blogging and Tweeting because there is so much going on with Education!

1.) Fun Facts from the RtTT (Race to The Top) Applications - This is an interesting look at the applications submitted by the states.  Is it a good thing that Kentucky is not on the list?

2.) Looking for a resource to share with your staff about the expectations of teachers in the 21st Century?  Here is a great list of the 21 Things for 21st Century Educators!

3.) For all of us using Blogger, they now have a highly customizable templates designer.

4.) Teaching Geometry with Google Sketch Up - Yeah, I got a bad grade in Geometry, but for those of you that didn't, maybe you can understand this more than me.

5.) From the iLearn Technology Blog - WeboWord

6.) Merit Pay, Teacher Pay, and Value Added Measures - YouTube Video

7.) Top Members on Twitter in Educational Technology

8.) From the Teacher Tech Blog - 50 Web 2.0 Tools Your Students Wish You Would Use - It will link you to a Google Site.  Interesting Stuff.

9.) 50 Best Blogs for Education Leaders

10.) From the Educational Technology Guy - Free Educational Technology Journals and Resources.

11.) Get the Exact Time and know if how much off your computer or iPhone is.

12.) Using Technology to Transform Schools - Remarks by Arne Duncan

13.) Funny Video - Facebook Manners shared by Russel Tarr

There were some others I found on Twitter.  Some of them I shared on my Articles page.  It was rather busy, so I did not get to look through all my PLN was saying very much this week.  Will be another busy week.  State High School Basketball Tournament.  No one does it like Kentucky!

A Few New Web 2.0 Tools

A great way to create online Photo Books is through Picaboo.  It is a software that requires you to download it, but it offers a great way to create photo album on your computer with a lot of great features.  There are tons of tools for your photo book that allow you to customize how it looks.  You can add backgrounds, custom layouts, text boxes so you can label your photos.  You can also organize your photos to create a story flow so that your pictures go in sequential order.  There are also several other tools that could be used for a personal or school projects.

You could easily have your students use Picaboo to do a biography project in your class over an author, scientist, historical figure, etc.  Would be a great way to present information to the class, especially with the ability to add text and put in sequential order.  I suggest that you download and try it out yourself to see if there can be an educational application in your classroom.

Preceden is a simple timeline creation tool.  It is free to use.  It would be ideal if you wanted to do the events from a major world war because it would be easy to track different battles.  It would be great in WWII because you could show all the different campaigns on one timeline because of how they are color coded.  It is really difficult for students to understand that multiple events happen in history at the same time and textbooks do a horrible job of conveying this a lot of the time.  Preceden would be a great way to follow events.

On a completed timeline a description of the events is listed below the actual timeline.  Each of those events has a "go to" link that will take you to it on the timeline.  You can also print the descriptions of each event allowing a student to turn in a paper if need be.  You can see a sample of a timeline here.  It is the timeline of Preceden.

Headmagnet is a Flashcard creation tool unlike any others you will see.  I could give a description and tell you about it, but there is no reason to reinvent the wheel.  Richard Byrne of Free Technology 4 Teachers does a great job of explaining what this site can do as well as providing a video.  I highly suggest that you subscribe to his blog if you have not already.

KeepVid allows you to take the streaming video from sites like YouTube and download them.  This works great because you can download the files as a Flash file and then easily upload them to a site like Prezi.  You can add a Toolbar link so that when watching the video, it will start to download.  It is a great feature to use in schools because of all the other problems with YouTube.  It would be a way to keep those videos you love and show in class without all the distractions that come from YouTube.

TextServ - Using Your Email to Text Students

One of the final sessions that I attended at KySTE on Friday was about TextServ (this was the name created by Ryan McQuerry, the presenter).  It is actually a very simple procedure.  The most difficult part is getting your student's cell phone numbers and their carrier provider.  The next and most tedious step is creating a distribution list for each class, club, or team that you coach..  Once you have does those steps, then you can worry about actually sending an email text.

My carrier is AT&T, so I will be using them as an example.  All you do is enter the phone number with the following information for the email address:  Type that in the "To:" box.  It will then send your email as a text.  It is important to remember that you are limited to 160 characters or your students get two text messages if you go over that.  Standard Rates for text messaging will apply to your students, so it is important to make sure that mommy and daddy don't mind.  It is also important to remember that if you have a signature in your email that you need delete that because it will be included in the message.

What is great about this aspect of contacting your students is that you have documentation if they were to reply, and what is also great is that the reply goes to your email, not to a phone.  Another great aspect is that the students will not have access to your personal cell phone number.  It is important that you discuss using this method to contact your students with your CIO and principal.

This would be a great way for you to keep in touch with your students and remind them about events, clubs and organization meetings, as well as stay in contact with a team you are coaching.  It would also be a great addition to your classroom to remind students about their homework assignments, a test or project coming up, or even that they have a presentation to be ready for.

Here are some other email addresses for other cell phone carriers: - U.S. Cellular - Sprint PCS - T-Mobile - Verizon - Virgin Mobile - Nextel - Boost Mobile - Alltel Wireless - AT&T/Cingular Wireless

If you don't see your wireless carrier on this list, just search for it, or contact the company.  Most companies should have this option in order to be able to compete.