Just trying out the service and thought I'd use my blogs as a guinea pig.
Created by cobannon on Aug 26, 2008
Last updated: 11/18/09 at 05:32 AM
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Another basic, yet great explanation, not to mention timely. I just had a teacher asking about this very topic the other day so I hope she'll find this useful for her lesson. Web Search Strategies in Plain English from leelefever on Vimeo.
My battery died, but I was able to take notes of the 2nd presenter on my Blackberry. In Forsyth County Schools in Georgia, they are doing some interesting things regarding the re-distribution of equipment and changes to their AUP policy to allow for student-owned devices.Here are the notes that I took unedited (mostly).They have a desire to "extend" the school day.Direct efforts more toward the safety of the network and away from the tools they will be using.Students don't need our wifi access b/c they have their own on their phones for the most part.Saturate the with access and let students desire for the use of technology in instruction drive the change for instruction. Peer pressure almost. They are doing it in Mrs.X's why not in here?Leverage student owned resources to allow use in school. Changed their AUP.Rolled out wifi.Separate VLAN for student devices with filtering to access district resources/Internet.How do we provide for students without their own devices?They have notebooks available for checkout to some during the daytime. 3 year refresh cycle on technology and give away old ones after they are refreshed and wiped clean. Loaded with Opensource software.Thin client access to get to school resources from home.Using web based resources as well. Dropping MS office and going to Open Office. Student don't have access to office at home so went open source this past school year with refresh.Asus EEE and PC they are looking at these types of laptops, but won't go with until battery life is addressed.New notebooks have limited use but focuses on what we want teachers to use in the away from canned software.Seamless was important to them regarding putting students on their own network with their own devices.Citrix clients not available for all of the devices that they would see students using such as the iPhone, Blackberry.Remote access to gateway. They aren't providing support for it. They have few problems with students mostly with adults not knowing how to connect.Changed AUP, but it has not been promoted yet. They are watching as kids bring in their own devices to see what problems might arise.Greater potential to make learning more engaging than to worry about them being off task. Risk, but learning potential might be worth it.Teacher and admin management of the students using devices will be up to the schools so far.Question / Answer Time:Q: They lease computers. How did they get around tax payers receiving school goods? A: Cost of ownership goes up and better for students if they took it. Bid process? No. Board approved, local funds, surplus. Put out an RFP to a company who wiped them clean, put Open Office on them and gave 60 day warranty. That company was only allowed to sell the PC's back to who Forsyth County specified.Q: Bandwidth Impact from student laptops /devices?A: Not enough of devices out there to see any kind of a bandwidth impact right now. Gig fiber to each school.Q: How many PC's were refreshed with OpenSource software?A: Refreshed 5000 PC's with open officeQ: What are the connections like in school (wireless)?A: Public ssid for visitors like in hotelStudent connection goes straight to citrix page but some devices so not have citrix client so they will need to investigate
For the past several weeks, existing Diigo users who are educators have been piloting the Teacher Console. So what is this? In short, it allows teachers to create students accounts without the need for email, something that is typically a stumbling block for many Web 2.0 sites given that many younger students do not have email addresses."Students on Diigo? Isn't that a social networking site?"Yes, it is, but safegaurds have been put in place with the student accounts that limit the social aspects of the program. First, student accounts are automatically placed in a private group with the teacher everyone in the group is automatically "friended" as well. The Diigo messaging system will allow students to communicate, however students are only allowed to message withing their Also, student profiles are only viewable by other students in the group and by the teacher, so their exposure to other Diigo users is limited.So, how do you get a Diigo Educator Account? First, you'll need to apply here if you are an exsiting Diigo user. Once approved, the accounts will work as follows:A teacher can create student accounts for an entire with just a few clicks (and student email addresses are optional for account creation)Students of the same are automatically set up as a Diigo group so they can start using all the benefits that a Diigo group provides, such as group bookmarks and annotations, and group forums.To protect the privacy of students, student accounts have special settings which only allow their teachers and to contact them and access their personal profile information.Ads presented to student account users are limited to education-related sponsors.For more information about the Diigo Educator accounts, please visit any of the following links:Diigo announcement on their blog. FAQ Page for Teacher AccountDiigo Educator Getting Started
After making the decision to apply to present at GaETC this year.
Save the dates!!October 20 - 24 and October 27 - 31, 2008Location?Your PC!Want more information? Check out the flyer below for the conference information or go to the K12 Online Conference 2008 website.Don't miss this exciting professional learning opportunity available right at the click of your mouse. K12 Online Conference Flyer - Upload a Document to Scribd Read this document on Scribd: K12 Online Conference Flyer
This summer, I made the decision to submit a proposal to present at my state's educational technology conference, which is something I have never done before. In truth, I never felt as though I had anything to offer. However, after attending GAETC last year and sitting through a less than accurate session about wikis and blogs, I felt almost obligated to present. I have learned a great deal about many different Web 2.0 tools, so the question wasn't "Will I?" but "What will I present on?".I have become a fan of wikis in the past year, Wikispaces in particular, so much so that our district purchased a Private Label license for Wikispaces. Even though I am huge proponent of the technology, there are others out there, such as Vicki Davis, who I feel are much more versed on using wikis than I am. Also, I am not in the and I feel the ones who can best speak on the uses of wikis are those who use it with their students. So, perhaps after another year of using wikis in my district with my teachers, I might take up that topic an co-present with a panel.Then there is social bookmarking. I have used Del.icio.us (now simply Delicious) for years until Diigo came onto the scene. Could I speak on Diigo for an entire hour? Sure. Do I want to bore them to death? No.Then I thought about Twitter and Plurk, the latter of which I discovered this summer during the NECC conference as Twitter took a complete nosedive due to the high volume of traffic. Both are microblogging platforms, however each platform is a bit different. Could I talk about both of these for an hour? Yes. Did I really want to? Again...no.However, what all of these had in common for me, plus a few other Web 2.0 sites, was that I use all of them as a part of my PLN (Personal or Professional Learning Network). When I created my it, I had NO what I was doing or how to foster its development, much less how to get started. It all kind of happened at random and had there been a "guide", I might have been able to gain so much more from my PLN earlier than I did. So, that settled it for me. I was going to do a presentation on Professional Learning Networks and how powerful of a resource they could be. With that resolved, I turned to my own PLN for assistance, which is what I'll talk about in Part II of Harnessing The Power of My PLN.
First, let me apologize for being more of a "reactive" blogger than anything else. I was hoping to be a more conscientious, not to mention consistent blogger, but that has yet to transpire. I truly admire those of you out there who regularly create substantive posts. So, with that being said, on with this post.This summer, I made the decision to submit a proposal to present at my state's educational technology conference. I have never presented before. In truth, I have never felt as though I had anything to offer. However, after attending GAETC last year and sitting through a less than accurate session about wikis and blogs, I felt like I needed to present this year. I have learned a great deal about many different Web 2.0 tools, so the question wasn't "Will I?" but "What will I present on?".I have become a fan of wikis, Wikispaces in particular, so much so that our district purchased a Private Label license for Wikispaces. Even though I am huge proponent of the technology, there are others out there, such as Vicki Davis, who I feel are much more versed on using wikis than I am. Since I am not in the I feel the ones who can best speak on the uses of wikis are those who use it with their students. So, perhaps after another year of using wikis in my district with my teachers, I might take up that topic an co-present with a panel.Then there is social bookmarking. I have used Del.icio.us (now simply Delicious) for years until Diigo came onto the scene. Could I speak on Diigo for an entire hour? Sure. Do I want to bore them to death? No.Then I thought about Twitter and Plurk, the latter of which I discovered this summer during the NECC conference as Twitter took a complete nosedive due to the high volume of traffic. Both are microblogging platforms, however each platform is a bit different. Could I talk about both of these for an hour? Yes. Did I really want to? Again...no.However, what all of these had in common for me, plus a few other Web 2.0 sites, was that I use all of them as a part of my PLN (Personal or Professional Learning Network). And when I created my network I had NO what I was doing or how to foster its development, much less how to get started. It all kind of happened at random and had there been a "guide", I might have been able to gain so much more from my PLN earlier than I did. So, that settled it for me. I was going to do a presentation on Professional Learning Networks. With that resolved, I turned to my own PLN for assistance, which is what I'll talk about in Part II of Harnessing My PLN.Picture Credit: Droplet by 96dpi on Flickr
I found that Tony Brewer was either pretty misinformed or ignorant of the ways wikis can work. He was fairly insistent that wikis could not be moderated nor the publishing of wikis controlled, which is entirely wrong. Some wikis require that the username and password be shared among users to post, some are created for open posting only, but there are others where the wiki can be established so only those who are members may publish and edit. I can't help but be disturbed by this misinformation given that he has built his career on presentations such as these. Blogs are so much more prevalent than wikis and even though the room wasn't packed, he managed to misinform everyone there and leave them with the impression that wikis aren't such a great tool.Going on, he suggested the use of blogs could allow for multiple collaborators. How? Give the username and password to everyone who will be contributing. Isn't that a wiki? (Correction: Since my original post, I have discovered that you can have a multi-authored blog.) Why do so in a blog format when you could collaborate on a wiki? Each person can have their own login to use, and changes and additions can be tracked by the user.He poses many questions about the validity of the information on the site and how you can't guarantee that it is free of bias. With an educationally focused wiki, this is not an issue. His allegiance appeared to be more aligned with Wikipedia than providing any other kinds of examples. He even showed Wikipedia and used it as an example.Then he asked, based on the information he had given, which we would prefer. I was the only one who chose a wiki. Then he made some comment like, "How do you like being the only one?" Okay, I had to comment on that. I gave a short explanation of how I use wikis and that Wikispaces was a perfect medium to use with students and point-by-point contradicted his negative remarks about wikis. I was shocked to find that he had never even HEARD of Wikispaces. Then he said he would be careful because it ends in ".com". My hand went up again to relay that they have teacher pages which are free and add free to boot. Thankfully, another member of the audience brought up another suggestion of using WetPaint.What really threw me was that when an audience member asked what you could use a wiki for other than having students create an encyclopedia. He was blank!! He solicited examples so my hand went up for the third time to relate the book study a group of 8th grade gifted students are doing with some of the faculty members in that school. I'd link to it, but it's private to protect the students, but I am very excited about what they are doing.So, in short (too late right?), I guess he was rather ignorant about the use of wikis. But isn't it his job to completely inform himself before coming to a state conference and presenting on subjects such as this? Additionally, one of his links to educational wiki examples was a page produced on, drum roll please....Wikispaces!! As David Warlick would say, just my 2 cents worth. So, in short if you are reading this and want to know more about wikis, you can go to my Teaching with Tech Tools wiki and read more about it. It is by no means "the" source, but I have tried my best to compile and create resources to educate and inform.
Wikispaces just announced that they have reached their goal of giving away 100,000 wikis to teachers! How are they celebrating? By giving away 250,000 MORE wikis!Also in their announcement they have promised free online live events that will,share Wikispaces news, give short tutorials on how best to use Wikispaces in the hear success stories and best practices from educators like you, answer your questions, and connect people so we can all share and learn from each other.I would like to applaud their support of educators and ask that more Web 2.0 developers follow their example and that of sites like Animoto and Voicethread, too.
This was shared on Plurk today and couldn't resist posting it here. This would be one letter opener I don't think I'd misplace.
I was searching for a completely different video and ran across this one on TeacherTube and thought I would share it. It's funny, but the scary thing is that I know people who use Power Point like this!
There seems to be a lot of discussion on Plurk about how to privately plurk. I admit to struggling with it myself and it is a bit finicky. So, I created this video, which I hope will help.I'm cobannon on Plurk. Come try it out. The conversations are great!
There seems to be a lot of discussion on Plurk about how to privately plurk. I admit to struggling with it myself and it is a bit finicky. So, I created this video, which I hope will help.
I'm cobannon on Plurk. Come try it out. The conversations are great!
This great video was shared in a Chatzy chat by Justin Reeve. What an incredible approach to teaching and learning. The teachers responsible for this innovative approach, which they call "pre-vodcasting", work in Woodland Park, CO and have an educational consulting website where you can learn more about it.
This is our homeshow that we do every year. It's the first time that I've videotaped it though. I wanted to try out my new camera that I got for Christmas and I was thrilled with the results. Although it won't zoom, it begins filming almost instantly and the sound capture and video quality were excellent for quick shots like these. I used my Sony Cybershot DSC-H3.
Testing out Ping.fm this morning.
After my last blog post, the thought of "viral" professional development has been at the forefront of my mind. Have I been approaching things all wrong? I think the answer to that is - maybe. Slowly, but surely I'm working to incorporate non-traditional method of professional development into my arsenal. Yes, arsenal. I am at war after all and plan to win it one small battle at a time. But what I have been doing thus far has seemed haphazard at best. My opportunity for some one-on-on time with a teacher last week just "happened". I have been flying so long without a sense of structure that I know I'm losing focus, and for me that can be dangerous.I was on twitter when @techchick94 tweeted about a blog post from @injenuity . So, I followed the link and found the following post: injenuity » Viral Professional Development - Annotated Great article on making professional development go viral and ways to get the word out to others on new tools, applications, etc. tags: professionaldevelopment In her post, Jennifer focuses on her strategy for Viral Professional Development or VPD - love the acronym! She succinctly outlines a bulleted list of characteristics of VPD and how to get started. I smiled to see a few that I have already begun to use.But beyond those wonderful bullet points, two things really struck me. One was this quote I pulled from her post:"...but I have found a strategy that is working well and keeping pace with my goals, expectations and work load"This has been my main struggle. Trying to find that balance has been so difficult. I think I am my own worst enemy about biting off more than I can chew in my effort to try and do it all. However, the more balance I am able to find, the more effective I'll become. I know that. Now, I need to follow through on it.After I read this, however, I honestly felt like I could breathe a bit better:"You cannot spend time worrying about the instructors who refuse to adopt instructional technology. Just let it go." Just let it go. Four simple words, but they meant a lot to me. Between letting go, creating a better structure for my professional development, and finding that much needed balance, I'm more hopeful about what I can accomplish! Here's to spreading viruses all over the place and watching them fester. Let's hope it's like the common cold - easily spreadable and without a cure!Technorati tags: vpd,professionaldevelopmentFlickr credit: www.flickr.com/photos/djloche/73368648/
We were supposed to have an orientation meeting today with various teachers who we expect to participate in the Direct to Discovery Internet 2 project. However, this is a really tough time of year to pull teachers out of the Out of the twenty-something I invited, only six actually RSVP'd, so we decided to postpone the even with the hopes of a better turn out later.So why am I beaming?Well, one of the teachers who did RSVP is a Healthcare Career Tech teacher in his second year of teaching. I had never met him before, but just in my brief correspondence via email he sounded very enthusiastic about using technology with his students. Right now while his high school is undergoing massive renovations, he's in a trailer with no technology access to speak of. Beginning in the fall, he'll go from none to twelve! Wanting to ensure the investment in his is put to good use, he asked if he could go ahead and spend the day with me so I could show him some ways he could put those computers to use. Substitutes are hard to come by and he already had his sub plans written, so I said, "Sure." That and any chance I can get to show another person about the wonderful Web2.0 tools that are out there, I jump on it.I started with something simple like Google Docs and his eyes lit up. Then I exposed him to social bookmarking. He sat up straight and the gears started turning, especially when I asked him where his favorites were. Not on one, two, but THREE different computers. Then I showed him wikispaces and the lightbulb went off. In a voice full of what I can only describe as awe, he said, and I'm paraphrasing him, "This could change the way we teach." (Cue the heavenly music).While I was showing him each tool, we discussed how he could integrate it into his teaching practices. I know I probably overwhelmed him, but he's excited and energetic. He left with a brand new Google account and having created his wiki. That and he's vowed to share what he's learned with his fellow teachers. Here's hoping this goes viral - if at least a little.Technorati tags: professional development, web2.0
Okay, so I'm a haphazzard blogger at best. Truthfully, I find it difficult to find time to blog, but when something "hits" me, I try to post it right away or it simply won't happen. However, what I have been worse at is commenting. So, when the 31 Day comment challenge was born, I decided to try and participate. I hold no illusions that I'll actually win anything, but if I can at least be more consciencious about commenting, then I'll feel as though I have accomplished something.Day 1: Do a Commenting Self-Audit1. How often do you comment on other blogs during a typical week?A week, more like a month. I would say perhaps 2-3 times?2. Do you track your blog comments? How? What do you do with your tracking?No, I don't. I don't believe I saw the purpose of it.3. Do you tend to comment at the same blogs or do you try to comment on at least one new blog per week?I don't make a consciencious effort to comment, period. I also don't find myself commenting on the same blogs when I do leave my thoughts though. It all depends on the topic.Part II: Okay, after reading Gina Trapani's Guide to Blog Comments, I decided to comment briefly on each of the areas.Stay on topic. - Yep, I do that.Contribute new information to the discussion. - I believe that I try to do that. Sometimes I find that I come late to a post and so many others have already commented and contributed so much that I find it difficult to say something that someone else hasn't already. Often times, it leads me to not comment at all because I don't want to feel as though I'm simply echoing another person.Don't comment for the sake of commenting. - Like I said, I try not to do this. However, if a post is just one where they've brought a new site to my attention, there isn't a whole lot to say at times. So, in those situations, I try to at least comment on how I might use that site.Know when to comment and when to e-mail. - I've caught myself in situations such as this and have backed out of commenting because of it. So, I guess when it comes to making these decisions I'm competent.Remember that nobody likes a know-it-all. - LOL! That wouldn't be me! Everyone else is far smarter as far as I'm concerned. Although, I've had to deal with them. I know what it feels like to be subjected to this type of person/comment and I'm not the type to preach on someone else's blog!Make the tone of your message clear. - Given that I'm an angsty type of person who tends to bite my nails before hitting publish. I hope that's not an issue that I have.Own your own comment - I always do.Be succint - I'm not the type to foam at the mouth, so no worries there. Although I have caught myself needing to trim things back in a comment if I get worked up :)Be courteous - Always.Don't post when you're angry, upset, drunk or emotional. - This made me laugh - drunk? I don't think so. Angry...hm. I think I may have posted something on my own blog once when I was angry, but I toned it down before actually publishing it. Never commented like that though.Do not feed or tease the trolls. - I'm allergic to them so I do my best to stear clear.We'll see how well I do with this. Keeping my fingers crossed.Technorati - comment08
Last night I was searching through my bookmarks to find some screencast tutorials and found myself at Liz B. Davis' blog The Power of Educational Technology. Scrolling through the posts on that page, I stumbled across one regarding Twitter as her "playground". It caught my eye, so I read on and found a nifty Web2.0 application called Twiddla,which is much like a playground itself.Twiddla is a web-based collaborative whiteboard. Not much new there because I have seen a couple of these before. They were "cute", but I didn't see a huge use for them, so I was a bit skeptical. However, after trying Twiddla - I'm sold! Twiddla offers a great whiteboard platform with a variety of tools unlike others I've seen. However, there are several features that really impressed me. First, you can conduct BOTH audio and text-based chatting within your Twiddla session, which is so easy to set up. Second, you have the option of saving snapshots of the whiteboard, which can then be used as images on the whiteboard. Additionally, you can upload images as well. Finally, with a free account, your sessions are archived and that includes the chat! With just a click, I was able to go back in and re-join the test session I created. I loved that feature especially.This particular tool will definitely be something that I'll include in future professional development sessions. I know the students will enjoy using it, too.
I admit it. I get all excited when they publish something new. This time it's Podcasting in Plain English.
Courtesy of the Common Craft Show - Twitter explained. If you prefer the version without subtitles, you can go directly to their website.
I think this pretty much speaks for itself. Thanks to @TeachaKidd on Twitter for the link.Photo credit: Act like a professional
You squeal upon discovering that Wikispaces has added a new feature. There I was editing one of my wikispaces and I moved my mouse up to boldface a word I had just typed and "Bam!" there it was. A new bold little "A" icon with color stripes underneath it.Could it be?I clicked it and that's when I let loose a squeal that embarrassingly attracted the attention of my office co-workers. It wasn't the squeal that so much made my cheeks rosy, it was having to explain the reason behind my outburst. Laughter followed of course, but they all know how much I love using wikis and a few admitted that they, too are happy to now have that option. One person even said that this was the happiest she's seen me in a long time.Am I that pitiful? No, I'm a just a geek who grins and yes, squeals when I get new techie "toys", even something a simple as text formatting. Here's hoping Wikispaces gives me plenty more reasons to squeal in the future. For page level access, I might even dance on my desk.Wikispaces Blog » Blog Archive » Bringing Color to Your Wiki via kwout
I wrote not long ago about my new toy, Adobe Connect, that I was to use for a web-based professional learning course on Web 2.0 tools that I'm facilitating. The first session, which was designed as an overview of the course with an intro into Web2.0, went very well. Since our elementary teachers get out of school much earlier than middle and high school teachers I have two "start" times on the days that we have synchronous discussions. I stagger it to begin at 3:00pm and then again at 3:45. The sessions are also recorded so they can review if needed later.Everyone seemed excited about using Adobe Connect - a relief to me. I wasn't sure how open they would be to this type of professional learning, but so far so good. Keeping my fingers crossed. In addition to using that for synchronous discussions and teaching, I am also using a private Ning social network to post homework assignments. The ning will also serve as a place for them to reflect on what they are learning in a "closed" setting. However, anything they create as a part of fulfilling the course requirements will be posted on a protected wikispace. I'll post where it is once they have begun to publish projects to it.Just a little about the course, it is designed into modules. They are not required to complete all of them, but must participate in the first overview module. The rest explore a variety of Web2.0 tools. To complete each module, they must fulfill the assignment requirements, most of which will be project-based along with some reflection responses. If you would like to take a look at what is being offered, I have it posted on my Tech Tips for Teachers wikispace. If anyone has any great sources out there, please share them with me!Photo credit: Flickr
F It had to happen sooner or later. Right when I needed the one web-based tool that I absolutely use more than any other, it dies on me. I sent a tweet asking who killed del.icio.us, but apparently I was the only one affected by this lovely error 999. Yahoo, if you're reading this, please, please fix it and soon! FireShot capture #19 - 'Yahoo! - 999 Unable to process request at this time -- error 999' - del_icio_us_techintegrate Originally uploaded by cobannon71
Starting tomorrow, I'm going to begin facilitating a course called Web 2.0 Tools for Educators. I knew that offering the course face-to-face wouldn't garner a lot of interest because they would have to drive, so I set out to find a web-based conferencing option. There are many to choose from, but none of them would do exactly what I needed.Then my own networking guys came to the rescue with Adobe Connect. I knew we owned it, but our guys are stretched so thin that getting it up and running has taken a long, long time. But the next thing I know, it's there, it's up, and I'm in!! My only complaint is that it's set up within our network so I can't bring in anyone from the outside. If there is anyone else with the same problem that has overcome it or found a workaround, I'd love to hear about it.In the meantime, I'm thrilled to have this great tool - my new toy to deliver professional learning and "on-demand" help when needed. Keeping my fingers crossed that there aren't any (or many) technical glitches tomorrow. After our first session I'll post how it went.Photo credit: www.flickr.com/photos/78364563@N00/61207180
Am I a name that just floats out there in my school district without a face to go with it? Apparently I am. I recently was faced with this humbling not to mention discouraging fact the other day when I was working with a pair of teachers. One of them I had never met, but the other I had taught before and she concurred that I was this mysterious entity that emailed without a face attached.Yikes!But after reflecting on this, I realized they were right. In a rapidly growing district with 12,000 students, it's difficult for one person to make an impact. I try to reach as many as I can, one or two teachers at a time. A pebble in a large body of water, I know, but I'm hoping for ripples. Lots of them. Until then, I do what I can to support those who have a spark already. Maybe I'll get lucky and there will be a fire? Anyone in the same situation out there with advice, I'd welcome it.Flickr Photo credit: kevsunblush
Redzee was brought to my attention by jdblack64 in a Tweet. When you first reach the site, you're greeted by a cute animated zebra, a red and white one, thus the name Redzee for the site. He's fun to watch for a few seconds and the younger kids will surely enjoy him. But the "wow" of the site begins when you enter in your search. Instead of the traditional listing of sites appearing, you get an arc of screen shots from sites that have matched your search criteria. To navigate through the results, you use your mouse to drag them to the left or right.After the "wow" effect wore off, I began thinking about filtering for our students and wondering if this method of searching would result in our students being able to bypass it to show front pages of pornographic websites. I performed a few basic searches using keywords like pornography, sex, and porn, and all of them failed to produce results. Even sites that are blocked under normal search conditions remained blocked.I won't be giving up Google at any time, but it is a very different way to navigate the net. What I would really love to see is a mashup of this site and all of my del.icio.us links.
kart00Originally uploaded by cobannon71 Kart00 is a search engine that gives you your results in a "mind map" type format. What I found very interesting about the results window is that the pages it finds are presented as small icon screen shots and are attached to blob-like bubbles that represent categories within your search.In addition to the results in the main window, to the left you'll find other related categories. If you hover your mouse over them the links in the main window pulse, for lack of a better word. As you click through some of the categories, new ones appear. It's worth taking a look at and would be very interesting to show students the related categories their search comes up with that they may not have thought of themselves.
Want a quick, simple way to gather and share data? Then you need to take a look at Google Docs' newest feature! In Excel, you can create a very flexible survey on the fly and have it up and running within minutes with a link to a web-based questionnaire. Participants fill it out and the results are automatically added to the spreadsheet. What did I love most? The fact that I didn't have to do anything to set up the spreadsheet! After you created it, you save it, click the share tab, and then select the form creation option and it walks you through the rest. As for distribution, you have the option of emailing the form or distributing the link to the form. I tried both and didn't have luck with the email form sending back the results, but the web-based form worked like a charm. I also embedded the results into my wiki, which is updated every five minutes with new incoming data. Feel free to give it a try and check the results. Oh, almost forgot! Participants do NOT need an account or to sign in to Google Docs in order to complete the survey or poll that was created.The downside? You can't control who responds to your survey if the link gets emailed outside of the circle it was sent to and there is nothing to stop participants from responding more than once to the survey. However, if you just need to gather some quick data, it's a snap to use!
This is my first post on my blog using an internet tool called Jott. The first time I tried it, it didn't work so well so I hope this one transcribes much better. listenPowered by JottWow, and it did! The above is exactly how I said it. I think I rushed things a little the first time, which caused the transcription to be a bit garbled, but second time was perfect.
Kate Olson at Reflection 2.0 receives my inspiration award for the day. After reading her first post, I kept scrolling down and stumbled upon her "Humbled by a Widget" entry. She found a readability badge on another blog, which I then found on hers, so I followed her link to The Blog Readability Test and tried it myself. Here's what they had to say:Genius level? Thanks....I think. Most likely their algorithm has a screw or two loose. However, I allowed myself a moment to "glow" in my own prowess before I searched for a more reliable, although a lot less flashy means of determining the true readability of my blog. The first site I chose was the National Literacy Trust's SMOG Test (simplified measure of gobbledygook) - love the acronym! To be fair to myself, I chose three different blog posts and had each of them scored. My highest of the three is pictured below, a 13.57, which is considered to be on the "some college" educational level and equivalent to the New York Times. The scale tops out at 19+, which they liken to a post-graduate degree and the IRS code! Ha! My lowest was in the 10 range; some high school education and on the level of Newsweek. Bet the writers of Newsweek would love that comparison, too.My second test was using the same post, but this time using the Flesh-Kincaid reading level in Word to test it. I received a 12.9. I found a comparable test online that provided some great stats and also incorporates the SMOG test as well. In addition to the stats, it also lists sentences that it suggests should be re-written to improve the readability.All fun with the readability badge aside, if you're interested in a more reliable test, try this one. I'd love to hear what the difference in your scores are.
This morning I was going through my "twits" and saw Kate Olson's post, which then led me to her blog Reflection 2.0. Her state is requiring teachers to create professional development plans as part of their licensing. I happen to think this is a wonderful Georgia has something a bit similar, but it is integrated into our teacher evaluation instrument and not nearly as detailed or as demanding as what she has posted in her blog entry.In my position, I am at liberty to pursue whatever types of professional development I deem necessary for my job. I enjoy this flexibility, but at times feel like I am wandering without a clear sense of direction concerning where I want to be a year from now. Web 2.0 has done this to me! Don't get me wrong, I love everything that I am encountering, but I am overwhelmed by it all. It excites me, but then I become stressed when I think about the most effective way of sharing what I have learned with my school district. As the lone Instructional Technologist for a 12,000 student district with 16 schools, the task is daunting.My first attempt to introduce Web 2.0 tools has gone fairly well. I am a co-chair of the Continuity of Student Learning sub-committee of the Pandemic Flu Planning committee. Short version? How do we continue to educate our students in the advent of mass sickness or other emergency that would shut down our schools. In order to organize our work, I created a wiki, which I introduced at our first meeting. We have representatives from each of our schools, so that was at least sixteen people who have been exposed to wikis who weren't before. So far so good, but that's not exactly the type of use I had in mind. I want these tools in the and I'm concerned that by using them for this type of activity that they'll be seen as "administrative" tools. Perhaps I'm worrying for nothing?Regardless, I'm not having a lot of luck getting the word out. I am and will continue to offer using and incorporating Web 2.0 tools in spite of the less than tepid response. Translation - my inbox is NOT flooded with people wanting to take any of the courses. I think the next plan of action is to work with those facilitating courses teachers are more likely to be involved with, and seeing how I can coerce convince them to incorporate Web 2.o technologies into the delivery framework. Covert versus overt? Is that the way?Photo Credit: uyanum on FlickrTechnorati Tags:professional learning, professional development, web2.0
Barrow County Schools on January 24, 2008 will officially unveil its Internet 2 connection in a "Splash Day" event taking place at Westside Middle School. Our school system has the honor of being the first K-12 system with access to the Internet 2 Network, which hooks us into an ultra high-speed system of universities, research institutions, libraries, museums, and more. This will allow our students to collaborate and interact with experts that simply isn't possible over the traditional Internet connection. We are hopeful that from this complete list of Internet 2 Members, we'll be able to form meaningful collaborative partnerships to bring unimaginable content into our We are calling this Direct to Discovery and our focus is on STEM subjects. Our school system is not unique in facing issues with student performance in math and science. However, through these connections we seek to make instruction meaningful, engaging, and to make that all important link between the content and the real-world application of it. The outcome? Increase the achievement of our students in math and science and perhaps motivate more of our students to pursue careers in those fields as well.After tomorrow's event, I'll post more information regarding the improvement in our network's bandwidth and the various projects we'll be engaging our students in. If you're reading this, are connected to the Internet 2 network, and are interested in collaborating with a K-12 school system, please contact me.Technorati Tags:internet2, barrow, internet 2, k20
I discovered Coveritlive via a Tweet on Twitter. Sorry I can't remember who posted it, but I felt like tomorrow's event would be a great time to try it out if I have Internet access. Now wouldn't that be sad - an event honoring our Internet 2 connection, but I don't have access to blog it. Tune in and I'll add what I can below....or post that I won't be able to blog live after all. Keeping my fingers crossed.Technorati Tags:internet2, barrow, internet 2, k20
Was going through my feed reader and this post by Ben Rimes titled "Best Way to Waste Time This Week" caught my eye. Hey, it's Friday, and in my humble opinion, that's the best day to waste time while waiting on the weekend to roll around.So I found myself at a site called Muxicall. It's a flash-based site with a huge grid. Each rectangle in the grid is a musical note, which you play by clicking on it. The result is a very realistic musical sound and a bubble of color. The brighter the color, the higher the note. In order to play a string of fluid notes, you hold down the shift key and you're off. That's where the fun begins and the screen is decorated by an array of colorful circles as the music you create is played.What's more is that you have your choice of instruments: piano, strings, and drums. Not the solo artist type? Not to worry. As I was playing a few more people arrived to join in the musical fun. It's can get a bit overwhelming, but you end up with an eclectic musical mix. As I type this I'm listening to "live" music by other online users. Not Beethoven, but not bad either. I'm going to send the link out to my teachers and I hope to hear their reactions. Those white interactive white boards should have a great time with this.Technorati Tags:muxicall
Technorati Tags:barrow, internet2, internet 2, k20
So it started with a Twitter post by Steve Dembo on 12/3 commenting how reading a blog post led to another, then another. So, naturally I decided to follow, but it took me down a different path to an older post by Will Richardson, which I found incredibly interesting. In my system we are about to embark on a 5-year strategic plan, and with that on the brain, many of the "10 things we need to unlearn" stood out to me."We need to unlearn the that we are the sole content experts in the because we can now connect our kids to people who know far more than we do about the material we’re teaching."I think that is perhaps one of the most difficult things for a teacher to acknowledge. Most of us were educated in a with a "sage on a stage", so it's what we're used to doing ourselves. When you've been the "diva" for so long, it's not easy to share the stage. However, our students are very savvy, connected, and we should expect more from them than the blank slates we've been used to encountering."We need to unlearn the that learning itself is an event. In this day and age, it is a continual process."Amen! These days our are not the Utopia of learning they used to be. Acquiring and expanding our knowledge transcends those walls.As a former French teacher, every new group of students would never fail to produce that one phrase that annoyed me beyond belief - "Why can't everyone just speak American?" American? What's that? Living where I do, the availability of authentic experiences for my students was rare as best. Now the opportunities they would have to make authentic connections boggle the mind. It almost makes me want to go back in the />"We need to unlearn our fear of putting ourselves and our students “out there” for we’ve proven we can do it in safe, relevant and effective ways.We need to unlearn the that we can teach our students to be literate in this world by continually blocking and filtering access to the sites and experiences they need our help to navigate."Firewalls and blocked websites are the bane of my existence! Enough said.These were just a few of the ten things that stood out to me. Hopefully I'll have a chance to reflect on more of them, but it took me six weeks just to get to these. Sad, I know, yet I shall keep trying!Photo Credit: Jonas B Flickr
This has got to be one of the most ingenious uses of video clips that I have ever seen. And what's even better is the message it conveys about copyright. If there is one thing that media specialists and instructional technologists battle, it's copyright. I'm unsure why, but I've run into far too many educators who seem to believe they have the "right" to use, copy, install, and distribute, etc copyrighted (is that the right term?) material because they are using it for educational purposes. And then they become angry with me because I tell them they can't do that? I'm not a copyright Nazi, but I do value my job, so if they get angry at me, so be it. But what really got me was the teacher's that I have twice walked into and she was showing movies rented from Blockbuster! Never mind that neither film correlated to our state objectives! I wonder what she'd think if I sent her the link to this one? Think she'd get the hint? Probably not.
Another great explanation by Common Craft
My kids might just find one of their Wii remotes missing if I could get this to work. Wow!
Susan's post at Beyond Podcasting about the web 2.0 application Utterz got me curious enough to try it out. She was right, it is very easy to use. In less than ten minutes, what I had called in appeared in this post. I then went back in and edited it afterwards. Although, you can text in a message that will post with the audio component, including tags. I've yet to master that myself, but I'll give it another try later. But how cool is this to be able to "speak" your thoughts and have them post to your blog, wiki, Tiwtter, etc?The interface is very easy to follow. Call in and the voice prompts walk you through the steps. Not the usual headaches I get when trying to navigate any other calling system. Give it a try! Susan may just be right on target with her thoughts about students using this as a tool for posting. She's a French teacher and as a former French teacher myself, I think this would be an incredible tool to use in a Foreign Language />Oh, and love the "cow" theme they have going there. Utterz = udders...get it?Mobile post sent by cobannon using Utterz. Replies. mp3
The more I use Twitter, the more I enjoy what I find, although some of what I stumble across is just mindless fun, or so I thought. I hopped onto Darren Draper's blog Drape's Takes where he used a graphic similar to the one below to vow how he'll be more vigilant about commenting more on others' blog posts and posting less frequently himself. After thinking about it, I need to take his advice and make that same pledge myself. I don't post daily. In fact, no where near that. However, I find that as I'm reading blogs, I get lost in them to the point that I lose complete track of time and don't comment. It's not that I don't want to, but I've been more of a lurker than a commenter, and I need to improve in that regard.Image source: The Bart Simpson Chalkboard generator
Another great video from Common Craft
I've been on this kick this week about taking some personal professional development time for myself and then a friend sent this video. It's in German, but you won't need a translator. The gist of it is this. The company has come up with a contest to see who has the best "Do it yourself" - not just about what is featured in the video though. Come up with the best one and you win money, but to me the message says if you take the time to invest in yourself it's amazing what you can produce. What do you think?
I decided to take today at work for some professional learning and research time. So, I hid in our computer lab at the central office and spend the first part of my day playing around with a tutorial for the Promethean Board's ActivStudio software. I realize for many school systems incorporating interactive whiteboards is yesterday's news, but for us, it began late last year and our schools are slowly investing their own funds on the boards.I've had a Promethean board available for my use for a couple of years now, but never felt the pressure to learn the software until now. It's fairly intuitive once you get pas the myriad of options on the tool bar. I will definitely work on incorporating the board into professional learning sessions I do. I think I haven't approached using it before because we have two ceiling mounted projectors with drop down screens and to set up the board, I have to use an overhead on a cart and stretch cord from here to eternity and hope I don't trip over them.But that isn't what really prompted me to write this entry. While nosing around for some "cool tools" to post on my wiki for teachers, I ran across this blog in my del.icio.us links and she had a link to Sketchcast. I have to admit right off that the concept looked like fun, so I created an account and spend way too much time creating the video I embedded below. I won't go into what Sketchcast is, because my video explains it. However, I will say that the noises you'll hear are my tablet pen I was using. It's annoying, but I was too pressed for time to try another drawing method other than on my tablet screen, which is next to my internal microphone. I'll also say that I was a bit frustrated with the product. I couldn't rewind and write "over" something I didn't like, thus forcing me to start completely over. Not happy about that. Also, you can't draw what you want and then add audio. I would have preferred to orate later, but I wasn't given that option. Regardless, it's a fun tool and I'll leave the judgment about it's educational applications for our students up to you. You'll hear what I have to say about it.