Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Talkwebby

Talkwebby is currently in private alpha.  You can submit your email and it will inform you of when you can get your Talkwebby widget.  So now that I got that out of the way, what is it?  Talkwebby is simple in-video commenting that you can embed into the video on your website or blog.  A simple interface that would allow users to easily comment on videos and create a discussion.

I like showing videos and I like discussing videos.  In class, students often struggle to discuss verbally.  An option like this would allow students to comment on the video prior to class and then the teacher can mediate a discussion over the video in class.

Here is a screenshot of the comment box in a YouTube video.

Weekly Web 2.0 Resources

If you have been an avid reader of this blog you know that I am not a fan of reinventing the wheel.  I could certainly write about tools that I find on other blogs and give my own perspective and just "link" to their post, but that does not give them due diligence for the work that they did.  From this thought I plan to start sharing Web 2.0 Resources that I find interesting from other Ed Tech type blogs and linking to their post so that you can pay them their dues for their initial work.

I still plan on sharing what I find.

Squorl - Collect, create playlist, and share videos - From Free Technology for Teachers

Strike App - Set up Tasks and Knock Them Down - From Free Technology for Teachers

Tiki Toki - Create Gorgeous Multimedia Timelines - From iLearn Technology Blog

SnipSnip.it - Create and share the best parts of online video - From iLearn Technology Blog

Read Write Think - From Ed Tech Tips and Tricks

GigaPan Time Machine from Google - From The Educational Technology Guy

Swayable - Visual way to create polls/survey - From Technology Tidbits: Thoughts of a Cyber Hero

Listmoz - Simple site for creating lists - From Technology Tidbits: Thoughts of a Cyber Hero

Finish This Sentence...

If I could get my administrator to use one tool and/or one website it would be ____________________.  The reason is because ________________________.

Start a discussion.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Finish This Sentence...

"Outside of having a laptop or computer, the ONE piece of Educational Technology that I would want if given to me with no strings attached would be a ___________________ and I would use it with my students _____________________"

Please comment below.  Would love to know everyone's thoughts.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Weekly Core Subjects Resources

Been raining for 6 days here in Western Kentucky, with 3 more days of rain in the forecast.  Got a great workout swimming to work this morning!  Last post of resources for the month of April.  The next post will come in May, the home stretch of the school year. 

English
1.) Wordlings is the latest Word Cloud creation tool available on the web.  Although it seems promising, the only way to login to the site is using a Twitter or Facebook Account.  Not sure how many students will or can use that in the school system.  Still worth looking at. 

2.) 50 Free Resources That Will Improve Your Writing is a valuable resource for teachers and students.  This is not from one of those Online Degree websites.  Each resource is broken down by subject matter related to writing.

3.) Teaching That Makes Sense provides reading and writing resources for all grade levels in a PDF that you can access.  Some of the documents include: Tools for Reading in Content Areas, Writing Strategies that Work, etc.

Mathematics
1.) JUMP Math Today is a downloadable math program that offers a complete package of resources intended for grades 1 to 8. 

Science
1.) Turn Your Cellphone Into a High-Powered Microscope is an article from Wired.com.  If you have an iPhone you can learn how to use it in this manner in this DIY article. 

2.) Virtual Pig Dissection provides an interactive flash product that allows teachers and students to discover the aspects of dissecting a pig without actually doing it.  Great tool for schools short on funds. 

3.) The ChemTeam provides study resources in all standard topics for students in high school and Advanced Placement chemistry.  There are several Chemistry topics worth checking out.

4.) The ChemGuide is a science reference and search engine based in Britain.  There are several menus that students and teachers can search through to get assistance with Chemistry.

Social Studies
1.) "The British Museum provides a host of terrific sites for teaching Social Studies and world cultures.  It provides extensive information, pictures, and games, paired with links for word meanings and extended exploration."  Source: Free Technology for Teachers

2.)  Print World Maps provides printable maps in many different sizes for all the continents in the world.  From a 1 page print out to an 8x8 map that takes 64 pages.  Would be a great classroom activity to have a class of students work on a certain part of a continent and then laminate them and display in the classroom. 

3.) The History Lab is a website to "help visitors learn about how other educators are using technology to promote higher-order thinking in their social studies classrooms." It has been a couple months since it was updated, but the resources are still valuable.

Friday, April 22, 2011

An Ed Tech Tip for Administrators - READ SOME BLOGS!!

Discovering and reading blogs has been one, if not the most, influential personal and professional growth experiences in the past two years. I know that blogs have been around for a lot longer than two years, so I often think about what I was missing out on related to education prior to two years ago. The great thing about blogs is that there are several out there for anything. You can easily do a blog search to find one. Writing a blog has been a professional experience as well, but I will save that for a future Ed Tech Tip for Administrators.

Today I wanted to share several examples of great blogs written by several administrators from across the globe. I recommend adding them to your Reader Account.

1.) Burlington High School Principals Blog: Written by Patrick Larkin - Shares his experiences and happenings at his school. Has done a great series of posts on Becoming a 1:1 school. This blog is a great example of how a principal can blog about the great thing his school is doing.

2.) A Principal's Reflections: Written by Eric Sheninger - Does a wonderful job reflecting on what it is like being a principal at a school that epitomizes 21st Century Learning. Occasionally has his students guest blog about what it is like being a student at his school.

3.) School Finance 101: Written by Bruce D. Baker - Money is the number one thing that can get an administrator in trouble. This blog does a wonderful job of discussing financing in education. You can learn more about why a blog about school finance here.

4.) The Principal of Change: Written by George Couros - The blog focuses on helping and insipring administrators and educators discover or rediscover their passion. He has a great list of Leadership Blogs in a list on the right hand side.

5.) Principal's Point of View: Written by Larry Fliegelman - Writes about "Education Reform, Leadership Essentials, Parent Involvement, Standards Based Grading and more."

6.) The Principal's Posts: Written by Lyn Hilt - Writes about her experiences as an elementary school principal and shares the happenings from her school. Occasionally has students write blog posts as well. Shares opinions and thoughts on education and educational technology as well.

7.) The Principals Page: Written by Michael Smith - Even administrators need humor and need to laugh about life as a principal. This blog does a good job of that while also providing thought provoking commentary on what it is like to be a Principal.

8.) Connected Principals: Written by Many Principals - "This blog is the collected thoughts of school administrators that want to share best practices in education. All of the authors have different experiences in education but all have the same goal; ensuring we do what is best for students." You can find a list of contributors by clicking on the pages at the top of the page.

There are several other great administrator blogs that I have probably left off; my apologies. If you know of a great Administrator Blog or you are an administrator who writes a blog, feel free to comment with a link. Thanks!!

Now subscribe and read some blogs!!!


Thursday, April 21, 2011

3 Essential Windows 7 Tools

We recently did a computer refresh in our district and several teachers received computers with Windows 7.  I recently typed up a document sharing with them 3 essential tools/apps that they could use in their classroom.  I also wanted to share them here because it is be a bad assumption on my part to think that teachers know about them.  So here is a short description of each tool, how to access the tool, and how to use the tool.  Share with the teachers in your building who also use Windows 7.  These are very simple and effective tools.


Snipping Tool

A.)   Description:
a.       This is a screen shot tool.  It allows you to click and drag around an area of your computer screen.  This is a great tool for capturing photos from the web or text from an article.  This is a tool for taking a “Screen Shot”
B.)    How to Access:
a.       Start Menu/Windows Icon Button in lower left corner
b.      All Programs
c.       Accessories
                                                   i.      If you want it on your desktop, right click, followed by “Send To” and select “Desktop (Create Shortcut)
C.)    How to Use:
a.       Click the down arrow next to new to determine the style of screen shot
b.      Your screen will cloud over.  Click and drag your mouse around the area that you want to capture.  You will see a red line.
c.       Release your mouse button to capture your screen shot.
d.      A window will open with what you captures/snipped
e.      Here is where you will save your image.  There are some additional features: Draw, highlight, copy, etc.  Use as you wish.

Sticky Notes
A.)   Description:
a.       Digital Post-It Notes that you can see and view on your desktop.  No more notes around your monitor screen
B.)    How to Access:
a.       Start Menu/Windows Icon Button in lower left corner
b.      All Programs
c.       Accessories
                                                   i.      If you want it on your desktop, right click, followed by “Send To” and select “Desktop (Create Shortcut)
C.)    How to Use:
a.       Double clicking the icon will open up a post it note.  You can type on it directly.
b.      Clicking the “+” will create a new post it note.
c.       Right clicking on the note will allow you to change the color
                                                   i.      Blue, Green, Pink, Purple, White, Yellow
d.      The x will permanently delete your post it notes.

Magnfier
A.)   Description:
a.       Allows you to easily zoom into certain areas of your screen.  You can also press and hold the CTRL button while using the scroll button on your mouse if you don’t want to use this tool
B.)    How to Access:
a.       Start Menu/Windows Icon Button in lower left corner
b.      All Programs
c.       Accessories
d.      Ease of Access
C.)    How to Use:
a.       Click to open and move your mouse around the screen to see the zoomed in areas.
b.      You will notice a magnifying glass.  Click that to access options.
c.       It defaults to a zoom of 200%.  You can change that if you need to by typing in a zoom or clicking the “+” and “-“ buttons
d.      Clicking on the settings icon (a gear) will allow you to activate color inversion and other features.

iaza - Simple Online Photo Editor

iaza is a simplistic online photo editor that allows you to upload a photo from your computer or copy and paste a URL.  Once you have done that, you have access to several editing features.  The features allow you to make changes to the photo and see them instantly.  You can then share the photos via Twitter or Facebook, or you can just right click and save your photo.  There are so many features with iaza that I can't name them, so I took a screen shot and you can see it below....click on it to see full size.


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

3 Links for All Subjects and Teachers

Shared on the Technology Bits, Bytes, and Nibbles Blog is a resource from Simple K12100 Virtual Field Trips for Teachers.  You can find field trips for just about every subject matter.  From Simple K12:
    "Virtual field trips challenge and expose students to new types of technology. It is a great way to spark their interest and motivate their learning in a specific content area. Virtual field trips can offer students more opportunities because you can take them to places they wouldn't normally be able to go to otherwise - like inside a volcano or ocean floor! In addition, virtual field trips may even boost students' reading comprehension skills and will expose them to different cultures and environments."  Check out the list and see what it might have to offer for your classroom.

The Department of Education provides Federal Resources for Educational Excellence.  Available within this resource are Animations, Primary Documents, Photos, and Videos.  The resources are broken down by subject and then broken down by curriculum and/or time period.  This would be a valuable first stop for teachers looking for some resources to use with their students.  There are several valuable resources for every teacher. 

From Teach Hub comes 100+ Google Tips and Tricks for Teachers.  You will find tips and tricks for using Google Search, Google in Education, Google Docs, Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Mobile, Google Chrome, Google Books, and Google Apps.  Looking to use Google in the classroom, start here for tips to learn how.  (Is this a record for the number of time Google appears in one paragraph?)

Weekly Core Subjects Resources

The middle of April is upon us.  Kentucky will start testing in the coming months, so while your students are testing and you are covering classes, giving students a movie break, or whatever it is that you do because testing completely throws you off your schedule, check out these great resources for the subject matter that you teach!

English
1.) Vocabulary.com, the quickest, most intelligent way to improve your vocabulary.  Regardless of your education level or age, Vocabulary.com will help you to master the words that are essential to academic and business success.  You can find synonyms by searching for a word and even how many syllables you want the word to have.  You can also search for rhyming words as well.  You answer multiple choice vocabulary answers and get more tips on how to use the site.  This would be a great time filler.

2.) One Word Riddle - What nine letter word in the English language is still a word when eight letters are removed one by one (Not necessarily in order from right to left or left to right)? Take a few minutes to try and come up with a nine letter word that fits the bill, then watch the linked video.

3.) The Bookshelf Muse is a wonderful blog that I suggest English teachers follow.  The blog provides "writing tools and musings about reading, writing, and other randomness."  I suggest that you look at the right side of the blog for several various thesauruses.

4.) From TeachHub.com comes several video based writing prompts worth checking out and seeing how you can adapt them to your classroom.  The writing prompts are available either elementary, middle school, and high school.

5.) The Writers Notebook is a website that provides several PDF files for creating a Writers Notebook.  Seems to be a very complete resource for students.  You will also find several videos of student samples as well as videos for the Writers Notebook.

6.) Your Next Read is a Book Recommendation web site.  Good for students who are struggling to find books that meet their interest.

7.) Proust (Share your story, Preserve family history, Get to know the ones you love) is a website for users to answer a questions which helps tell people something about themselves.  It is a way for people to store and share their stories and opinions.  If nothing else, you could use the questions for providing reading prompts if not using the site as it is intended.

Mathematics
1.)  Wolfram Demonstrations Project is a website that uses animations and videos to demonstrate how math and science is used in the real world.  The purpose is to help bring ideas to life.  So if you are teaching calculus and want to show how a formula is used in the real world, check out this site.

2.) What's Special About This Number? is a website that provides information and links to resources about hundreds of numbers.  Many could be used for bonus questions on a test or for math brain teasers.  Gain some numerical knowledge through this site.

3.) That Quiz provides math test activities for students and teachers of all grade levels.  Click on a topic and users will be able to complete activities to learn about that topic.  There are several categories and topics to choose from.  Users can also determine length, add a timer, determine difficulty, and receive feedback.  Great resource to use before the ACT or SAT.

4.) Interactive Games provides visitors the ability to play and create their own mathematics games.  There are 6 different types of games that users can create with instructions for how to create them.  There are also several games already made that might meet your needs.  Worth checking out.

5.) Purplemath is a website that provides lessons for Algebra I.  It provides links to math resources that have been categorized and researched by them.  The lessons on Purplemath are written with the student in mind and they emphasize the practicalities rather than the technicalities
  
6.) Johnnie's Math Page provides games and activities for kids looking to learn math.  You will find the games and activities for numbers, geometry, fractions, multiplication, etc.

7.) National Council of Teachers of Mathematics is a great resource for math teachers.  They provide lesson plans and activities as well as provide visitors the opportunity to meet other math teachers.

Science
1.)  Earthquakes for Kids from the USGS would be a great resources for lessons on Earthquakes.  With the recent earthquakes in Japan and Earthquake preparedness being emphasized across the countries this would be a valuable resource.

2.) Wolfram Demonstrations Project is discussed in the Math links above, so check out what I said above.

3.) Learning Science is a free and open learning community for sharing newer and emerging tools to teach science.  You will find the best interactives and resources from around the world separated by subject matter.

4.) Science Buddies offers science fair projects ideas, answers, and tools.  You will also find information about careers in science as well as information on science camps.  If planning a science fair, this would be a great first place to look.

5.) Sciencebob provides videos and ideas for science experiments, information on science fairs, and provides an area for questions and answers.  There is even an experiment on the main page for all visitors to participate in and see results.

6.) Amazing Space provides teaching tools, videos, resources, activities, and even homework help for students that relates to exploring our universe.  There are also online explorations where students can explore the universe.  The Educators space provides tools to use with your students in the classroom.

7.) 50 Really Cool Online Tools for Science Teachers - a great list.

8.) First Orbit is a free film for you to download and share that was created to celebrate the first 50 years of human space flight.  It is available on YouTube in five segments and is about 5 hours long.  The iLearn Technology blog also has a great post on the NASA 50th Anniversary Flash Feature.

9.) The National Science Teachers Association provides links and resources for science teachers as well as provides a portal for science teachers to communicate with one another.

Social Studies
1.) Europeana enables people to explore the digital resources of Europe's museums, libraries, archives and audio-visual collections. It promotes discovery and networking opportunities in a multilingual space where users can engage, share in and be inspired by the rich diversity of Europe's cultural and scientific heritage.

2.) Creating Your Own Constitution is a great fill in the blank interactive that allows students to create a Constitution using similar language and ideas to how it was created for the United States.  A great activity.

3.) I have shared Time Glider before, but never included it with my Social Studies resources, so I thought I would now.  This is a great tool for creating timelines on the web.  Highly Recommend.

4.) American Rhetoric is a website of and index of over 5000 full text, audio and video versions of public speeches, sermons, legal proceedings, lectures, debates, interviews, and other recorded media events.  A great primary resource.

5.) Pros and Cons of Controversial Issues is a GREAT website for government classes and debate teams.  A valuable resource if you have your kids discuss topics that are important and in the news.  The site promotes critical thinking, education, and informed citizenship by presenting research on controversial issues in a straightforward, nonpartisan, and in a pro-con format.

6.) History Matters is designed for high school and college teachers and students and serves as a gateway to web resources and offers other useful materials for teaching U.S. history.

7.) David Rumsey Historical Map Collection provides TONS of maps from various time periods in history.  There are so many different maps on this page.  If looking to show change over time, this would be a valuable resource for geography and social studies teachers.

8.) Teaching the Great Depression?  Here is a great set of lesson plans and curriculum to look over before teaching the unit.  There are 6 total lessons that you can choose from.

9.) Google Map Maker is a great tool for geography teachers looking to make teaching geography more personal to the areas that they live.  A great tool to make using maps more interactive and effective. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Bitlr - Social Networking Meet File Sharing


Bitlr is a social networking site that allows you to easily update status by including files with those status updates.  I am a fan of using Facebook in the classroom and creating a page for classrooms that students and parents.  We need to go where they are.  Although Bitlr is not Facebook, the concept is a great one if you find yourself constantly updating a web page and including documents for your students to access. 

The user interface is very similar to Facebook.  Each status is limited to 500 symbols/characters.  You can easily upload files and images to your status.  You can also embed a video from a URL.  A great way to share a video and then use the comment section for discussion.  You can invite students to join by sending them an email.  You can do this by typing them in, or importing them. 

If it is a feature of Facebook, it is generally a feature on Bitlr.  The combination of networking and file sharing was something I always thought was missing from Facebook.  Makes me wonder how long (if this gets popular) before Facebook buys the rights to this.  You can see a screenshot of the website below.  I do wonder about some safety features of this site, so that would require further investigation if look at using it.  Plus, it is probably blocked, so that might be something else worth looking into.

If your district is still wondering about social networking with students, show them Edmodo as another option.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

An Ed Tech Tip for Administrators - Wallwisher

Something I am hoping to do every week is provide an Ed Tech Tip for School Administrators.  It is important that we get administrators to buy into using technology.  If they are using it and get more comfortable with it, then it will trickle down to the teachers.  If you missed the last tip on Google Alerts, I would check it out.


This week I wanted to share a favorite site of mine called Wallwisher.  With Wallwisher you can easily share a digital bulletin board with a simple question that teachers, parents, community members can provide feedback on in 160 characters or less.  Users have the ability to remain anonymous or include their name.  Creating a Wall is very easy and so is creating an account.  With each wall you can choose the background, image, and create your own URL.  For more information about Wallwisher, see my previous post.  You can see a sample image of a Wallwisher wall below.


So how could you use Wallwisher?
1.) Gauge what your teachers think about a new program
2.) Get answers to a question(s) before a faculty meeting
3.) Ask teachers to share a successful lesson plan
4.) Ask teachers to share about a good student and/or good things going on in their classroom
5.) Get opinions about policies and/or procedure changes
6.) Ask Parents and Community members opinions on events at the school
7.) Share a video from YouTube about Education and ask teachers to provide opinions
8.) Share a link to an article about education (national or local) and get teachers discussing what the think
9.) Thinking of adding a new sport/elective?  Ask students what they think.

What other ways would you use Wallwisher with your faculty, staff, parents, students, and community?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

No More FLIP Across the Curriculum

I wrote a post a while back with ways to use the FLIP Camera Across the Curriculum.  Well, today it appears that Cisco is shutting down the FLIP Video Camera production.  Kind of disappointing news considering how inexpensive the camera is, how easily it is to use, and how simple it is to use the software as well.  Technology Departments loved the FLIPs because of the cost, and teachers loved them because they were easy to use.  Now the attention will have to turn to alternatives.

Personally, the best alternative is going to be mobile devices.  Cameras on cell phones and tablets are getting better and better.  There is a BYOT (Bring Your Own Technology) movement going on in many districts across the country due to budget concerns and lack of funds.  If the students have them, why ban them and why pay for them (cost and maintenance) when students can bring their own...since they do anyway.  But since so many districts are not embracing this method, there has to be alternatives to the FLIP camera.  Well, there are; in fact, there are several.

Kodak Zi8 (Approximately $160 new, less on Amazon) "The Kodak Zi8 Pocket Video Camera captures every experience in stunning 1080p HD video. Stay in focus while you’re on the move with integrated image stabilization. Then kick back and watch all the action on your HDTV or share your scene on YouTube with the built-in USB. The Zi8 pocket video camera has all you need to define yourself in high definition."
Kodak Zi8 Pocket Video Camera (Black)

Kodak PlaySport which can take some hard use because it is meant for rugged use (Approximately $100) This little camera can plunge up to 10 ft under water and capture the entire experience in full 1080p HD. And you don’t need to worry about blurry footage when things get a little shaky. With built-in image stabilization, the KODAK PLAYSPORT will stay steady as a rock.
Kodak PlaySport (Zx3) HD Waterproof Pocket Video Camera (Black)

Samsung E10 (Approximately $75 new, less on Amazon) Includes a 270 degree swivel lens so you can record yourself and then swivel it to film other scenes.  Also includes a touch screen and HD capability. 
Samsung HMX-E10 1080P Pocket Camcorder with 270-Degree Swivel Lens (Black)

Sony Bloggie Duo (Approximately $160) Star in your own HD videos and photos with the dual-screen MHS- FS2 Bloggie Duo camera. Front and back LCD screens makes self recording easy.
Sony Bloggie Duo Camera (White)

Coby Cam4000 (Approximately $50) Swivel digital camcorder 2.4" TFT LCD screen flips and rotates 270°, with 4x digital zoom, LED photo flash for low-light situations, Video resolution; VGA (640 x 480), 32MB built-in memory (expandable to 8GB with optional SD/SDHC card).

New Coby Electronics CAM4000 Digital Camcorder Flash Memory Memory Card 2.4in Active Matrixtft LCD

FLIP started a trend in "Shoot and Share" cameras, so there are several others, but this is a good starting point with several different price ranges and features.  I encourage you to do some investigating of reviews and see what other people are saying.

Dropdo - The Smart File Viewer

 
From their Blog:
"For a long time now (one or two years), I’ve wished there was a better way to share and see files others have shared than having to download them and open them up in whatever crappy application works. It usually goes like this:
  • Oh cool, here’s that file I need
  • grumble downloading grumble
  • grumble minimize browser grumble
  • grumble double click to open grumble
  • grumble wait 15 seconds for MS Word to open grumble
  • Yay, file!"

File sharing sites are abundant across the Internet these days.  Sometimes though, you might not want to download the file but just view it.  Dropdo is for that purpose and is very simple to use.  First thing you do is upload a file, Word, Excel, PDF, PowerPoint, OpenOffice, RTF, CSV, etc.), images (including EPS, SVG, PSD, Illustrator, etc.), a few video formats, a few audio formats (including MP3), plain text, and markdown.  Once you upload the file you will send a provided link to your friends where they will be able to view the file without downloading it.  You can see samples of each by clicking on the links on the front page of Dropdo.  After viewing, users will have the option to download the file as well.

There is also a Chrome and Firefox extension as well.

This could be a useful website for teachers who don't have access to other collaborative applications like Google Docs or Live @EDU.  There are instances where a student might create a video and then has trouble getting it to a teacher.  This is one way to fix that issue.

Lesson Plans Using Google Apps


Sometimes finding a really good lesson plan incorporating technology can be a tough test for many teachers.  Luckily, there are teachers all throughout the United States who have created outstanding lessons using Google Apps.  You can use various drop down menus to search through the lesson plans submitted by teachers.  You can also submit your own lesson plan that you have created using Google Apps.

To search the first thing you will do is choose the product.  You can choose All, Apps+, Docs, Sites, or Calendar.  Then choose the subject matter and grade level that you teach.  There are approximately 30 available at the moment, but if your school uses Google Apps, then I highly recommend encouraging them to submit their lesson plans for other teachers. 

To learn more about Google Apps for Education, check out the Education Community and Resource Center to learn more about what they have to offer. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Weekly Core Subjects Resources

Well, Spring Break is over, so back to the ole' daily grind.  Not sure how much blogging will happen this week.  Will spend the majority of my evenings studying for the Kentucky Principal's Test that I am taking this Saturday.  Wish me luck!  But enough about me, time for some resources.

English
1.) Here is an interesting concept.  It is called Newspaper Blackout.  Students take a newspaper and black out all the words to create a story, poem, quote, or whatever.  What a neat activity for English teachers.  The link will take you to a "blog," but in reality, this would be a neat classroom notebook to create.  I could see this same format being used in other subjects when wanting to find the most important parts of an article/story.

2.) Cummings Study Guides provides various study guides for Shakespeare, Edgar Allen Poe, and various other types of literature.  There is a vast index worth checking out.

3.) Capitonyms are words that sometimes should be capitalized, while other times they should not be.  This resource will help students in K-12 become for familiar with those words.

4.) The Basics of APA Style is a web-based slide presentation that also includes voice over.  It does a good job of explaining APA formatting.

5.) "The Favorite Poem Project is dedicated to celebrating, documenting and encouraging poetry’s role in Americans’ lives. Robert Pinsky, the 39th Poet Laureate of the United States, founded the Favorite Poem Project shortly after the Library of Congress appointed him to the post in 1997."

6.) Knowing Poe is an interactive website designed to share about Poe the Person, Poe the Write, and Poe's Library.

Mathematics
1.) From Free Technology for Teachers is 7 Good Sources for Math Videos.  Looking to integrate video into your math class?  This is a great start.

2.) Looking for some online calculators?  Jeff Lay's Ed Tech Blog has 15 Websites for Free Online Calculators.

Science
1.) "Anatomy Arcade makes basic human anatomy come ALIVE through awesome free flash games, interactives and videos.  Anatomy Arcade is perfect for the novice teenager in the classroom, right through to students and professionals of health care looking for a fun way to revise." (Source: Free Technology for Teachers)

2.) Here is a collection of Earth Science Power Point Presentations that might be worth checking out.

3.) Planet Science is a website for free & fun Science resources for children, young people, teachers and parents.

4.) Solar System Scope is probably the most complete interactive solar system application on the web.  A must see for any Earth-Space or Astronomy teacher.  

Social Studies
First, my apologies for not properly citing some previous resources shared by Ken Halla who writes several valuable Social Studies blogs.  Lifelong learning is valuable, even if it is a quick lesson in web based resource sharing.

1.) Here are Ken Halla's blogs.  I recommend adding them to your reader if you teach social studies, or share social studies resources with teachers. US History Teachers Blog, US Government Teachers Blog, World History Teachers Blog, Social Studies and History Teacher's Blog, and Teaching High School Psychology Blog.

2.) I liked teaching with political cartoons, and thanks to the Internet I am able to find several on the web.  The British Cartoon Archive is a valuable site for teaching with political cartoons.  (Source: Active History)

3.) From the Teachers Domain comes a video, questions, and background essay about Nuclear Meltdowns from Frontline and a focus on Chernobyl.  A valuable lesson with the recent events in Japan. 

4.) GeoGames is a Flash game that lets you drag-and-drop onto the Planet Earth. You can rotate your planet, test your geography skills, and print a copy when you are done! There’s a timer, so you can track your scores. Try playing on a SmartBoard.  (Source: Free Technology for Teachers)


5.) HistoryBuff is a nonprofit organization devoted to providing free primary source materials for students, teachers, and anyone who loves history.  The sites primary focus is on how news of major and not so major events in American history were reported in newspapers of the time.  You can also find panoramas of historic sites in America.


6.) Click 2 Map is a website that allows users to create maps with their own points of interest and then embed them onto a website.  It is very similar to Tripline

Thursday, April 7, 2011

EdTech and Balloon Animals

Yeah, I am going to go there.  I spent the last couple days in Louisville visiting family and one of the nights we went to eat at Joe's Crab Shack.  While eating there was a man there that my brother knew.  He happened to be making balloon animals for the little kids, or adults who were kids at heart.  We had just left the zoo and my son loved the giraffes, so he had him make one of those.  You can see it below.

Since my brother knew Balloon Man of Kentucky, he didn't charge us for the giraffe.  A gracious gesture for sure.  But as we were sitting there, we watched him start making balloons for other customers.  He made a penguin and a butterfly for some kids at another table.  It was an entertaining experience to watch him work.  But then, something caught my eye.

The dad took out his credit card and gave it to the Balloon Man of Kentucky, who promptly took out his cell phone and scanned the father's debit/credit card on an attachment on his phone.  He put in a total, the dad signed the "receipt" using his finger, and thus a purchase was made.  Of course we called Balloon Man of Kentucky over to ask him what that was.  It was an app called Square.  It also allows you to take a picture of the customer and geotag it, email them a receipt and provide you security in case they argue that they did not make the purchase.

So, how does this relate to EdTech?  Well, not directly, but indirectly.  This is the type of business world that our students are going to be entering.  As educators, are we preparing them to think about retail, marketing, and business in this manner?  The technology outside of schools is changing, and as educators, I think it is our responsibility to bring this to their attention.  Balloon Man of Kentucky saw a change in spending (more card use and less cash use) and took advantage of the opportunity to manage his business.

Kudos to him.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Weekly Core Subject Resources

A welcoming April Spring day in Kentucky. Lots of rain in March, so it is good to see the sun today. UK plays today, so guess where everyone in this state will be tonight? I will probably watch the game too, but I cheer for their rival, so I won't be watching it for the same reasons....he he.

English
1.) Synonym Finder is a website designed to helps writers from using the same words over and over. You will also find antonyms and definitions as well, and examples of use in a sentence.

2.) Wordis is a website where visitors can share their thoughts on any word. "Share your insight, your story, your vision…We give you words; everything else is after you."

3.) Memidex is a free online dictionary and thesaurus with a simple interface, complete inflections, auto-suggest, adult-filtering, frequent updates, a browsable index, support for mobile devices, and millions of external reference links for definitions, audio, and etymology. It's fast too.

4.) Idioms 4 You is a website dedicated to providing several examples of English idioms. Not only can you read them, but you can also hear them. The author of the website has recorded the samples of idioms for visitors.

Mathematics
1.) Dan Meyer is a math teacher and math blogger. He recently did a TED talk "Math Class Needs a Makeover." If you are a math teacher, I highly recommend watching his talk.

2.) Uses for Math is a website that provides lessons and activities for how math can be used in the real world. Everyday jobs, sports, medicine, and even solving crime.

3.) The Math Worksheet Site allows users to create an endless supply of printable math worksheets. The intuitive interface gives you the ability to easily customize each worksheet to target your student's specific needs. Every worksheet is created when you request it, so they are different every time.

Science
1.) Wonderville is a fun, interactive destination for kids to discover the exciting world of science. This award-winning site encourages exploration and curiosity, while helping kids discover how much fun science can be.

2.) The Science Spot is a website for middle school science teachers that provides links to various web resources. You will also find lessons and activities as well.

3.) Late Nite Labs offers students and teachers hundreds of preset and customizable science labs that can be conducted completely online. Teachers can get access for free, but their is a cost for students. So it is a great tool to use in the classroom by the instructor. It should probably be the other way around.

Social Studies
1.) Best of History Web Sites is an award-winning portal that contains annotated links to over 1200 history web sites as well as links to hundreds of quality K-12 history lesson plans, history teacher guides, history activities, history games, history quizzes, and more. (Source: US History Teachers Blog)

2.) The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade Database has information on around 35,000 slave voyages. You can search the voyages database, examine estimates of the slave trade, and search through a African names database.


3.) The Demographic Chartbook provides a wide-ranging audience of persons interested in American history – including historians, other social scientists, teachers, and students – with graphics portraying the demographic history of the United States, as shown by the decennial census of population. (Source: US History Teachers Blog)


An EdTech Tip for Adminstrators

In the coming years I plan to be finished with my Administration certification and pursue an assistant principal position.  When I get to that position, I don't want to forget several of the awesome tools and services that are available to teachers that can be adapted to being an administrator.  The first order of business for a new administrator is to setup some Google Alerts.

With Google Alerts you can add in the search terms you are looking for, determine the source of alert you want (Everything, blogs, news, etc), determine how often you want to receive alerts (as it happens, daily, or weekly), and the volume of results (All results or just the best results).  You then provide the email attached to your Google Account.  You can see the image below of the menu options.
So how could administrators use Google Alerts?  Here are several ideas:
1.) Get alerts for your school district
2.) Get alerts for your school
3.) Get alerts for your name in case it is in the news
4.) Get alerts for your school mascot/athletic teams
5.) Get alerts for your town/city/neighborhoods
6.) Get alerts for Central Office staff as well.

How would you use Google Alerts?

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