Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Software From Microsoft

Recently our school district, well, actually our entire state has gone to Microsoft Live @EDU.  Microsoft has a lot of lesser known useful tools that educators might find useful as part of their Windows Live Essentials and other software..  I wanted to share those here.

Windows Live Writer 2011 - This software is intended to provide a place to write blog post off of the web.  It can be integrated to Blogger, WordPress, LiveJournal and others (Not sure about EduBlogs).  It provides the ability to add videos, pictures and a Bing Map.

StickySorter - This program is similar other post it note type sites but with many more features.  You can categorize and organize (sort) your notes into groups.  You can also import data from other files like Excel.  You could easily use this site to organize dates, events, people, etc in a class assignment/discussion; especially if you are using a SMARTBoard. 

ZoomIt - This is a tool for screen-casting that also allows you to zoom in to particular areas of the computer screen for technical presentations.  The program runs from the hot tray and uses customizable hot keys to activate for use.  It also allows you to draw on the zoomed in area.

Professional Development 2.0

Jason Bedell who is a member of my PLN, has put together a great Professional Development document that helps to explain this movement in education by educators to embrace Social Media/Networking, join Twitter, and start blogging.  He does a great job of outlining how to get started in joining this movement towards becoming a 21st Century Educator. 

With this document you can learn about what a PLN is and how to start creating your own network of educators.  You can also learn about blogging and how it can help you reflect on teaching and learn to use blogs by other teachers to make you a better teacher, as well as integrating blogs into your curriculum with students.  He also discusses Social Bookmarking (sites like Diigo and Delicious) and this other new movement in education, the UNconference.

Project PLN Issue #2

Project PLN issue #2 is out and available.  The focus this time around was "Best Practices for the Start of School."  You can view my submission in this issue as well.  You can click on the link above below.  Happy Reading!

projectpln10 - Project PLN Issue 2

Create Your OpenZine

Weekly Subject Based Websites

You can see my previous and initial post in my weekly series of post dedicated to sharing resources for specific content areas. 

Social Studies
I have two for you today - From the iLearn Technology Blog, Today's Document is a site dedicated to bringing history from the national archives to life in cartoon form.  I really like this idea for bell ringer activities.  Kids of all ages like cartoons and this idea is very helpful to sharing events in history in a fun and informative way.  Thanks for sharing Kelly!  The second one comes from Free Technology For Teachers and it is Vote Easy, which is a site dedicated to helping students and people learn about the candidates in their state and local elections.  This would be a great tool to bring the election to life in your classroom.  Would also help foster some great discussions.  Thanks for sharing Richard!

This resource came to me from a great education blog by Vanessa Cassie and it is a Periodic Table game that allows you to learn about the elements while also learning where they belong on the Periodic Table.  This would be a great activity to use a SMARTBoard or Airliner/Wireless Slate with. 

This resource is mainly for 7th-9th grade math, with 10th grade coming in the future, but Wired Math offers games, lessons, and resources for those grade levels.  Each grade is then broken down into different categories making finding a resource easier.  These resources would also be great to use with other pieces of technology in your classroom.

Wordia - Bring words to life.  Wordia is a high-quality online dictionary: a professional authoritative textual dictionary but with one big difference, it allows users to search for the spelling, meaning and etymology of a word but what makes Wordia unique is the ability for users to explore the personal connotation of word through video.  Teachers can create their own free account and set up the ability to track students vocabulary learning.  This would be a great way to use FLIP camera's in the classroom.