Friday, December 17, 2010

Edublog Award Winners

Edublogs runs a contest each year for several areas of from Best Educational Blog to Best Individual Tweeter. These are some awesome resources for improving instruction in your classrooms. Many of these people are at the forefront of educational reform and are from all over the world. I recommend following some of these blog and tweeters using Google Reader for blogs and Twitter for following tweeters.
Here is a link to the top three from each category and all those nominated.

I also wanted to post the winners from each category and links to their blogs.

Best Individual Blog- Free Tech 4 Teachers
Best Individual Tweeter- Teach Preschool
Best Group Blog- Irresistible Ideas for play-based learning
Best New Blog- Speech Techie
Best Class Blog- Billings Beta
Best Student Blog- Emily's Blog
Best Resource Sharing Blog- Free Tech 4 Teachers
Most Influential Blog Post- The $2 Interactive Whiteboard
Most Influential Tweet(s)- Speak Loudly
Best Teacher Blog- Teacher Tom
Best Library Blog- Castellija School Library
Best School Administrator Blog- Darcy Moore's Blog
Best Educational Tech Support Blogs- Free Technology For Teachers
Best E-Learning Blog- Rapid E-Learning Blog
Best Educational Use of Video- Project Explorer
Best Educational Wiki- Greetings from the World
Best Educational Podcast- Portable Radio
Best Educational Webinar Series- Global Ed Conference
Best Educational Use of a Social Network- English Companion Ning
Best Educational Use of a Virtual World- Quest Atlantis


Saturday, December 4, 2010

Can you relate?

I get a daily post from Seth Godin and thoroughly enjoy his books as well as his blog. Today's post hits home with me and I wondered if anyone else can relate as well. Does this sound like someone you know? Do we teach our students how to be a good boss or not? Take a moment to read and reflect.

From Seth's blog.
The world's worst boss

That would be you.

Even if you're not self-employed, your boss is you. You manage your career, your day, your responses. You manage how you sell your services and your education and the way you talk to yourself.

Odds are, you're doing it poorly.

If you had a manager that talked to you the way you talked to you, you'd quit. If you had a boss that wasted as much as your time as you do, they'd fire her. If an organization developed its employees as poorly as you are developing yourself, it would soon go under.

I'm amazed at how often people choose to fail when they go out on their own or when they end up in one of those rare jobs that encourages one to set an agenda and manage themselves. Faced with the freedom to excel, they falter and hesitate and stall and ultimately punt.

We are surprised when someone self-directed arrives on the scene. Someone who figures out a way to work from home and then turns that into a two-year journey, laptop in hand, as they explore the world while doing their job. We are shocked that someone uses evenings and weekends to get a second education or start a useful new side business. And we're envious when we encounter someone who has managed to bootstrap themselves into happiness, as if that's rare or even uncalled for.

There are few good books on being a good manager. Fewer still on managing yourself. It's hard to think of a more essential thing to learn.

If you like this I recommend subscribing to his daily blog post or try one of his books. Linchpin or Tribes. He has several others but these are the two that I have read.

Monday, November 22, 2010

National Blogging for Real Education Reform

ASCD is sponsoring a National blogging for real education reform day. They are collecting blog posts from people all over the country on educational reform. One of the topics is "describe an educational community that makes a difference for contemporary learners". So here goes.
Educational communities need to develop their own individual plans for ed reform. Each district has unique circumstances that need to be addressed. The most important aspect is first the students' home life. The more stable their home environments the better the chance for student academic success. Parents need to stress the importance of education and be informed on what makes a positive learning experience. Parents need to get involved in the educational process at their schools and work with administration and faculty on positive educational changes.
The second most important piece of the educational puzzle is the classroom teachers and support personnel. We need to hire quality educators who have been prepared appropriately for the classroom. This is often very difficult due to the fact that college teacher prep programs are often behind the times on what young teachers need to be successful in the classroom. Changes need to be made at the university level to improve the quality of teachers being produced. Colleges and universities also need to recruit high quality candidates into their education programs. We need to work with the best candidates and prepare them appropriately. This is also difficult with all the options out their for our young college students. The issues in education and with unions and pensions is also a key factor that we need to work to improve to encourage the best students to enter into the education field.
Once we hire the right people we need to ensure that they continue to develop their skills and knowledge once hired. This is the job of the school districts to provide quality professional development to their faculties. There needs to be a systematic program that focuses on what our 21st century students need. Necessary skills for our students are critical thinking, collaboration, creativity and self directed learning are the top skills our students will need to compete on a global scale. It is difficult to focus on these and other skills when teachers have to get students ready to pass state tests but this is not impossible.
The third most important piece of the puzzle is strong school leadership. We need to attract, hire and train the best leaders in order for our schools to be successful. School administration is the group that does the planning and provides the vision to teachers and students. They must be quality leaders not managers. Also difficult due to the miriad of issues that now are present in the 21st century learning environment.
There are obviously many other pieces to the puzzle: appropriate funding, high quality curriculums and technology resources to name a few.
If we are going to reform education and prepare our students to compete with workers all over the world we need to focus on community, high quality faculties and strong leaders. If we can at least get these pieces together we can begin to make the changes necessary to create quality learning experiences for our students.
Its not a hope it is a must!

Monday, November 15, 2010

Skype in the Classroom/Snagit Learning

For those Skype fans out there, Skype is putting together Skype in the Classroom. Skype in the Classroom, which launches in December, will be a free directory of classrooms that are using Skype and looking to connect with other classrooms. You can pre-register now for Skype in the Classroom to get your name in the directory.
Skype is a great tool for teachers to connect with content experts from any where at any time. Hopefully this directory will be a great connecting tool for classrooms much like ePals.

Snagit Learning, provides high quality educational videos and documentaries on a variety of topics from arts to world cultures. The videos are organized by content area, grade level and alphabetical. Here is today's film of the week on minimizing childhood obesity.
Watch more free documentaries

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Google Docs

Google Docs is an alternative to the Microsoft Office suite. Some of the benefits of using Google Docs over Microsoft Office are:

1. Google Docs is free.
2. Google Docs allows for easy sharing of documents, spreadsheets, and presentations.
3. Google Docs are accessible from anywhere that has an internet connection.
4. Students do not need to have Microsoft Office at home to be able to create documents, spreadsheets and presentations
5. Saves time in the classroom

Google Docs In Plain English

Using Google Docs in the classroom allows for students to work on collaborative projects and not have to worry about how to share with their partners/teachers. It eliminates the need for emailing files, saving files to a jump drive and all the time that it takes to do these things. Students find this helpful when working in groups.
Students and teachers like to be able to share these files with each other and be able to edit them from anywhere. When it is time to present to the class the teacher just opens the file that has been shared with them from the student and they can present. No need to login and logout of student accounts, plug in jump drives, open emails etc.

How to Use Google Docs without a Gmail Account

It is easy to set up a Google docs account with or without a Gmail account. If you have a Gmail account you automatically have a Google Docs account.

Another nice feature of Google docs is the ability to create a Google Form which allows you to survey students, give online quizzes and gather any data you wish. The data will show up in a spreadsheet format that you can easily graph.

Using Google Forms

Here is a link to the Free Tech 4 Teachers blog that provides a number of Google Docs tutorials.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Research Tools

I have been sharing research tools with teachers throughout the district the past few weeks. I decided to put the tools here for everyone. There are countless research tools available to teachers and students today. Share these with your students or give them a try yourself.

Advanced Google Search
Most students and teachers use Google as their primary search engine. Google search is a very comprehensive tool but many times when you search you get way more results than you can sift through and they are not all valuable in an educational setting. By using Advanced Google Search you can narrow your searches and make it easier to find exactly what you are looking for.
Advanced Google Search Tutorial

Sweet Search
Another way to find better quality results from your search is Sweet Search. This search engine returns only educationally approved results. They have a research team that evaluates sources and approves the quality ones. There are other tools available on the site for students and teachers and you can get daily resources for Elementary, Middle and High School.

Students love this search engine! Mashpedia returns results from several different sources for each search. For example if you search for "gulf oil spill" you will receive results from wikipedia, youtube, twitter, news sources, google book sources, and google images. This saves students time looking at all these different sources by bringing it to them in one search.

Eyeplorer is another visual search engine that provides results in text format or in a web format. The web format is a visual display of your search topic that provides related search topics within the web. This makes it easier than a simple Google search because when you search for a term or concept you will also see related terms or concepts making for a more detailed and simplified search.

WOW! You have to take a look at this one. This is an amazing multimedia search tool. It provides results in a very visual format. It is a little overwhelming for someone not of the net generation, in my opinion, but I can see how digital natives would enjoy this tool. You can select, using a slider tool, if you want results that are more objective or more entertaining. WOW!

Self professed "search engine designed to provide meaningful search results" tool that returns only objective results for any term/concept searched. It seems to cut out useless information and organizes the objective information so users can access news, images, videos and other results.

Here are a few other tools recommended by Tech & Learning that I have not used.
Quintura, Spezify, Scoopler, Webkruz, Sputtik, Feedmil.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Math Is Not Linear-Prezi

It was quite a coincidence that Mr Macioce sent me this Prezi this morning. We will be presenting Prezi to the Senior High Faculty at our meeting on Wednesday morning and here is a great example of the tool. Ms Giron is using this tool with her literature circles and Ms Raymond is using it in her class for presentations this week. Students are slowly finding out about Prezi and are excited to use this as an alternative to PowerPoint!

This is a very thought provoking presentation about Math Education. Mr. Macioce wanted me to give credit to Mr. Segretti for finding this great presentation. See informal PLCs, sharing resources, is a great thing! Thanks for sharing!
If you aren't a Math educator I still think it is worth a look. I think you could apply some of the creator's thoughts to any content area. Enjoy!

Math Is Not Linear

As always if you need help with using this Prezi in your classroom to better engage students and to make your grading of presentations a little more exciting let me know. I will gladly help in class with your students or with you individually.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Saving Paper in Your Classroom

Obviously, the best way to save paper is to issue laptops to every student and use tools such as Moodle and Google Docs to share information and collaborate. Well I don't suspect that we will be a 1 to 1 school any time soon so here are five tools that you can use to minimize how much paper you use in your classroom.

Moodle is a great tool for minimizing printing that we have access to here at Franklin Regional. Moodle allows you to post assignments, homework, and handouts. You can also have class discussion and chats, allow students to upload completed assignments and even use the quiz feature for online assessments. If you want a class page set up contact Roger Crider or Frank Muto to get started.

Google Docs provides a web based alternative to the Microsoft Office suite. Students and teachers can create documents, spreadsheets, presentations and forms online that can be shared. For example, if you have students creating a word document and printing it to turn it in you can instead have them create it in Google Docs and have them share it with the teacher. No need for printing. Google Forms is a great tool for assessing students or gathering data. You can create a test, quiz, or survey that students can access online and it will allow you to check it online, again without using any paper.

Print What You Like, is another web based tool that allows you to print exactly what you want from any website. Using this tool you don't have to print an entire webpage. You can select what parts of the page you would like to print and only print those parts. Users can also remove images from the background or foreground of a website before printing.

PrintFriendly, gives you the ability to print content from a webpage without printing the ads and widgets in the side columns. There are two ways to use PrintFriendly. You can copy and paste an article's url into the PrintFriendly homepage or use the PrintFriendly bookmarklet. Using the bookmarklet seems simpler as it doesn't require any toggling between browser tabs or windows.

Printliminator is a bookmarklet for Firefox, Chrome and Safari that allows you to highlight a page and select only the parts of the page that you want to print. You can install Printliminator in seconds by just clicking and dragging the black box into your browser's toolbar.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Bring Words to Life!

Wordia is a video dictionary site where people post videos to define words visually. You can watch or upload videos, find defitions and more all for free.

Visuwords, allows users to enter words and Visuwords builds a word web of related terms, parts of speech, and definitions.

Lexipedia, another word web tool that builds webs from keywords that you enter. Lexipedia returns synonyms, antonyms,definitions and even allows for French, German and Spanish words!

Snappywords, builds word webs also with defintions and related words. Seems to be just starting and is adding components as they go.

These tools would be great for ESL, foregin language, elementary students, and low level readers. Could also be used for SAT and PSSA prep work.

Monday, September 13, 2010


Shmoop, is a great resources for several content areas. The site provides study guides and teacher resources for Literature, Poetry, Shakespeare, US History, Civics, Economics, Biographies, Music, Pre-Algebra, and AP Exams. Under each section there are several topics that provide information on specific things. They provide summaries, timelines, key people, facts, photos, websites, review questions and more.
Take a few minutes to check it out and see what you can find.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Research Tools

Most students and teachers are familiar with Google and its search capabilities. Google does have many advanced search tools as well as Wonder Wheel and Timeline. These tools are easy to use and help to narrow a search for teacher and/or student.

I have been sharing some other tools with my class this year that they found interesting and useful. Mashpedia is a new tool that I think is awesome. It provides good results for searches that are narrow and diverse. When you search for a topic on Mashpedia you will see You Tube videos, information from news sources, blogs, and books. The really cool thing about using the books feature is that it takes you to Google Books which very often will provide the ability to read a chapter or two from each book. Some books are shown in their entirety! You will also see Tweets from Twitter in your search results, this is key because tweets are typically very current information so if you are researching a currently topic you can get up to the minute results. You will also see facebook posts, wikipedia information on the topic and images. This happens all in one place making it easier for student to get a variety of information from several sources. It is also very visual for all of us visual learners.

Sweet Search is another great tool for school research. When you enter a topic into the search box you will get only educator approved information from trusted educational resources. Sweet Search evaluates their resources using content experts in various fields. It is excellent for students because it provides good sources for them and it also better narrows their search results unlike a typical Google search.

Try these in your classes and I am sure that your students will like them and produce better results on assignments.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

47 Alternatives to YouTube

You tube is a great resource for educational videos, but we have to override the content filter every 30 minutes as a teacher and our students cannot access it at all. so, I found this list at my favorite ed tech blog (Free Tech 4 Teachers)Thanks Mr. Byrne!

1. School Tube is a website dedicated to the sharing of videos created by students and teachers. School Tube allows teachers and schools to create their own channels for sharing their students' works. School Tube also provides excellent how-to resources, copyright-friendly media, and lesson plans for using video in the classroom.

2. Teacher Tube has been around for a while now, but I still run into teachers who have not heard of it. Teacher Tube provides user generated videos for teachers by teachers. Many of the videos on Teacher Tube have teachers sharing lesson plans in action. Some videos on Teacher Tube are simply inspirational. And other videos don't have teachers or students in them, but contain educational lessons none the less.

3. is a UK- based website of videos for teachers and about teaching. provides hundreds of videos available for free download. On there are videos for all grade levels and content areas. also has videos about teaching methods and practices.

4. Next Vista is a nonprofit, advertising-free video sharing site run by Google Certified Teacher Rushton Hurley. Next Vista has three video categories. The Light Bulbs category is for videos that teach you how to do something and or provides an explanation of a topic. The Global Views video category contains videos created to promote understanding of cultures around the world. The Seeing Service video category highlights the work of people who are working to make a difference in the lives of others. Watch this interview I did with Rushton to learn more about Next Vista.

5. Academic Earth is a video depot for individual lectures and entire courses from some of the top universities in the United States. Visitors to Academic Earth will find lectures and courses from Yale, MIT, Berkeley, Harvard, Princeton, and Stanford.

6. Snag Films and its companion site Snag Learning are great places to watch full length documentaries from producers like National Geographic for free. Snag Learning provides a catalog of educational films that are accompanied by classroom discussion questions.

7. How Stuff Works is a video site that I have spent hours exploring at times because I was sucked in by the quality of the educational content.

8. Viddler is a service that I enjoy using because of its integrated in-video commenting system. Viddler also allows you to record videos directly to the site through your webcam. I use Viddler to post messages to my students on my classroom blow when I know that I'm going to be out of the classroom.

9. One of the first things you'll notice about Vimeo is the image quality of the videos. The image and sound quality of the videos on Vimeo is far superior to many of those found on YouTube. Vimeo has all of the sharing options found on YouTube, but in a much cleaner and easier to use interface.

10. aims to provide video creators with a high-quality service for sharing their web shows. The content on tends not to include "cat" videos and "hey, Mom, watch this!" content.

11. Dot Sub is full of user generated content that is subtitled into many different languages. I had a hearing impaired student a couple of years ago and Dot Sub was very useful for both of us.

12. CNN Student News is a daily web show highlighting a handful of stories. The stories covered by CNN Student News range from traditional serious news topics to how-to stories appealing mostly to students to light and fun stories. As a social studies teacher every week I find at least a couple of stories from CNN Student News that I can work into my curriculum. CNN Student News provides printable maps and a daily news quiz to go along with each episode.

13. If you're interested in showing your students the inner workings of Congressional proceedings, visit the C-Span video library.

14. To give my students a little more global perspective on the news than CNN Student News provides, I will use Reuters Video Index.

15. Hulu, a joint venture of NBC and News Corps, offers high quality video of television shows, movies, and old news broadcasts. In the past I've featured Hulu collections of NOVA programming and NBC News Time Capsules.

16. TED Talks are a great source of inspirational, thought-provoking, educational, and entertaining presentations given by some of the world's leading experts on a wide variety of topics. Check out this list of 15 TED Talks for Teachers.

17. Big Think is a video website containing expert commentary on a wide range of issues and ideas. The experts featured on Big Think really are experts in their fields. Harvard Professors, editors of major news publications, politicians, and other recognized authorities offer their commentary on various issues and ideas. Registered users of Big Think can comment on and discuss the videos or post an idea to have others discuss.

18. Untamed Science offers a collection of videos and podcasts about biology and Earth science topics.

19. is similar to Big Think in that it presents videos relevant to topics in the news and in the public conscious today. The videos feature well known personalities and experts talking about the important issues of the day. You will also videos of debates, press conferences, and public meetings.

20. PopTech is a conference similar to TED that features leading experts from a variety of fields sharing their knowledge and passions. Videos of the presentations can be found on the PopTech website.

21. iCue, presented by NBC News, features videos about history and current events. There is a capability to connect with other students to discuss topics and learn together. There are also quizzes and learning activities associated with many of the videos.

22. Current TV, the cable network started in part by Al Gore, features user generated content about a diverse array of cultural and current news topics.

23. PBS Video offers videos from the most popular shows including Frontline, NOVA, Nature, and American Experience. For the younger crowd, PBS Kids offers videos as well. If you're not sure what you're looking for, but you think PBS has an appropriate video you can search the PBS Video center by topic.

24 & 25. The History Channel and the Discovery Channel both offer a lot of content similar to and, in some cases, identical to that which is found on their respective television networks.

26. In addition to resources for learning languages, LangMedia offers a section called Culture Talk. LangMedia Culture Talk is a collection of video clips of interviews and discussions with people from many different countries, of different ages and from different walks of life. The videos are intended to give viewers insight into the cultures of peoples around the globe. Some of the videos feature English speakers while other videos do not. Those videos that are not in English are accompanied by a written English transcript.

27. The USGS Multimedia Gallery contains large collections of educational videos, animations, podcasts, and image galleries. You can search each collection by topic and or keyword tags. RSS feeds are available for each gallery.

28. PupilTube is a source of user-generated how-to videos. PupilTube hosts videos in thirteen categories. Some of the videos visitors to PupilTube can find include how to calculate compound interest, how to learn common Spanish phrases, and how to protect yourself from credit card fraud.

29. is a collection of videos featuring experts sharing knowledge and how-to tips about the topic of their fields of expertise., like many other video websites, has channels or categories. The channel most useful to teachers and students is the Careers & Education channel.

30. Europa Film Treasures is an online archive of classic European films. The films in the archive can be viewed for free on Europa Film Treasures. You can search the archives by dates, genre, country of origin, production method, and director. Along with each film in the collection Europa Film Treasures provides some background information such as production method, storyline, director's bio, and information about the the people appearing on camera.

31. Clip Syndicate is a provider of professionally produced news videos from television stations and other media outlets around the United States. Clip Syndicate also provides videos from the Associated Press. All of the videos on Clip Syndicate are categorized into 86 different channels. Users of Clip Syndicate can embed into their blogs one video or an entire channel of videos.

32. produces and hosts high-quality documentary films and photographs. The films and images focus on exploring the world and the work of non-profit organizations around the world. The films and images are organized by location and by charitable and or environmental cause. is funded in part by the Annenburg Foundation.

33. 22 Frames is a service that provides a central location for locating captioned videos for learning English and for Internet users who have hearing impairments. 22 Frames provides more than just captioned videos. For each video 22 Frames provides a list of idioms, slang words, and commonly mispronounced words in each video. 22 Frames tells viewers where each use of idioms, slang, and commonly mispronounced words appears in each video. Viewers can click on any of the words in the lists provided by 22 Frames to find a definition for each word and to find pronunciation tips.

34. I like websites whose names say exactly what they offers. Free Video Lectures is one of those sites. Free Video Lectures is a library of more than 18,000 video lectures from more than 700 courses offered by some of the world's top colleges and universities. The library of videos can be searched by subject and or university. The video sources are a mix of YouTube and other providers. Many of the videos are available for free download.

35. Kids Tube is a video sharing hosting and sharing site designed for hosting content produced by kids and content about kids. Kids Tube monitors all submissions and monitors comments left on videos. To encourage students to develop their videography skills, Kids Tube holds weekly videos submission contests. The contests are arranged around a theme and one winner is selected by the Kids Tube team.

36. ESL Basics is a site that provides short video vocabulary lessons for beginning and advanced ESL students. For teachers, ESL Basics has a small collection of suggestions and ideas for teaching ESL. ESL Basics is adding new content on a regular basis.

37. FedFlix, hosted by the Internet Archive, is a collection of nearly 2000 films produced by the US government during the 20th Century. The topics of these films range from presidential speeches to agricultural practices to public health and safety. Some films are instructional in nature, for example there is a film for police officers on how to arrest someone. Other films are more informative in nature and some films are flat-out propaganda films. All of the FedFlix films are in the public domain so feel free to reuse and remix them as you and your students desire. The films can be downloaded or viewed online. Films can also be embedded into your blog or website.

38. Art Babble is a video website designed and maintained by the Indianapolis Museum of Art. The purpose of Art Babble is to provide a place for people to learn about the creation of art, artists, and collections through quality video productions. Visitors to Art Babble will find videos related to many forms of and formats for art. Browse the video channels and you'll find videos covering a wide array of topics including abstract art, European Art and Design, African Art, graphic design, glass, sculpture, surrealism, and much more.

39. Math A Tube is a compilation of videos from a variety of users and other websites. Videos are categorized by mathematics topics and sub-topics. The videos demonstrate everything from basic addition through Geometry. The videos on Math A Tube are user-generated so some videos are better than others.

40. The Kids Know It Network is full of educational interactive games and movies intended for elementary school students. The Kids Know It Network hosts a number of animated videos explaining and demonstrating concepts from math, science, geography, and English. Each video starts with an introduction to a topic and is followed by a quiz. If a student gets less than 80% of the items correct they are prompted to start the video again.

41. The Futures Channel has come to the rescue of Math teachers who are constantly asked the question, "when are we ever going to use this?" On the Futures Channel there are many lesson plans and lesson ideas relating math (and other subjects) to current "real life" situations. And by "real life" the Futures Channel doesn't mean just converting recipes like my high school Algebra book did. Check out the Futures Channel today and stop answering the question, "when are we ever going to use this?" The Futures Channel isn't limited to just mathematics videos, you will also find videos for science, music, art, business, sports, and more.

42. The Biology Department at Davidson College has a large collection of videos and animations of cell biology processes. Most of the videos are in QuickTime format while most of the animations are GIF animations. The collection is divided into five categories; Movies of Cells, Movies of Cellular Calcium, Movies of Molecular Methods, Molecular Movies, and a miscellaneous category.

43. Wired Science has hundreds of videos addressing a variety of science and technology topics. In addition to the library of videos, Wired Science, has great articles and lists of science resources.

44. Test Toob is a free website where science teachers and science students can share videos of the experiments they conduct. The service is designed for use by middle schools and high schools. In addition to providing video sharing services, Test Toob offers suggestions for experiments that students can conduct.

45. Math TV offers an extensive collection of high quality mathematics tutorials. Math TV's video lessons cover basic mathematics and Algebra. Math TV videos are not easily embedded in other websites, but they are free and you can create your own individualized playlists.

46. Brightstorm is a provider of online study materials for mathematics as well as ACT and SAT preparation. The ACT and SAT preparation materials are not free, but the mathematics tutorials are free. The mathematics tutorials are videos featuring mathematics teachers explaining and demonstrating how to solve mathematics problems. There are tutorial videos covering Algebra, Geometry, Trigonometry, and Calculus.

47. The Week in Rap is produced by the same people that produce Flocabulary. Each Friday The Week In Rap posts a weekly news summary in the form of a rap music video. The videos cover stories from national and international politics as well as sports and entertainment news.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Why Aren't You Using Twitter?

When was the last time that you collaborated or got an idea from someone outside of your building/district? How do you keep up on current techiques and trends in education? Getting bored with the same old book, lessons, activities, websites, year after year, after year?
I have an answer, Twitter! In my opinion, Twitter is the best professional development I have ever had and I can look at it every day or every other day or whenever I want. I can follow whoever I want and learn from people all over the world. It is as simple as setting up an account and following people who can teach you something.
Here are some Twitter resources for getting started. If you need any help please let me know.

Getting Started with Twitter

Top 50 Educators to Follow on Twitter 2010

A Twitterholic's Guide to Tweets, hashtags and all things Twitter

How to Use Twitter to Grow your PLN

The Ultimate Twitter Guidebook for Teachers

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Comics, Comics, Comics

I have recently found some comic resources and thought that I should post them all together in one post. There are a variety of comic creator and comic book tools available that can be used in the classroom in many different ways.

Pixton, is a comic creator tool. This is my personal favorite. It gives you alot of options and you can really customize the characters on the strip. It allows you to change facial expressions, body positions and more. You can view "how to" videos under the "Welcome" button. You can set up a free account and start creating comics. Great assessment resource alternative to writing, posters, speeches, etc.

40 Best Comic Books for the Classroom, I got this one from one of my Tweeps. Some really cool comics that you probably haven't heard of and some tips on how you might use them in the classroom.

Toondoo, easy to use comic strip creator tool. Allows you to create comic strips easily and for free! Just set up an account and start creating. This is a simple tool and lacks the detail of Pixton but is still a nice change for assessment in your class.

Stripcreator, a simple comic creator that is limited on options but gets the job done.

Artisan Cam is more than just a comic creator, it is a comprehensive collection of online art activities. On Artisan Cam students can use the Super Action Comic Maker to build a six frame comic. The Super Action Comic Maker has a drag and drop interface which students use to select a background and character for their comics.
On Artisan Cam students can also try virtual sculpting, jewelry design, and card making.

PikiKids provides a variety of layouts to which students can upload images then edit the images or add text bubbles and titles. The comics that students create can be embedded into a blog or website as well as be shared via email.

Friday, August 20, 2010

FR Tech Boot Camp

We had a great two days of technology training and camaraderie. A special thanks goes to all who attended and participated in the workshops. Maureen Garda, Kristin Giron, Lisa Stewart and myself really enjoyed sharing and learing with our FR tribe. We had sessions on Moodle, Google Docs, Google Tools, Activinspire, Microsoft Office, Twitter/Blogs, Elementary Resources and Top Tech Tools. Check out the Boot Camp Resource page on the FR Moodle site under K12 General/Tech Boot Camp 2010.

We appreciate the efforts of our professionals here at Franklin Regional in attending these trainings on the last two days of their summer vacation! You are truly dedicated professionals interested in changing the way you teacher to improve your students chance of success in a quickly changing global economy. I know how difficult it is to make the decision to change. If I can help with anything please let me know.

Always good to add something from Sir Ken!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

You Can't Be My Teacher

Interesting video about the need for teachers to be familiar with how to use the Internet for instruction. You Can't Be My Teacher features a young student asking the questions all teachers should be answering.

Beyond the Search: Google Tools

Here is the Google Presentation that we used at the Westmoreland Intermediate Unit this summer for our workshop.

Friday, July 30, 2010

It's not that difficult-Leadership Day Post

I don't understand why it is so difficult for so many administrators to see that a change in direction is needed and that if they would take the first step that many would follow. I see many administrators write the strategic plans with all the fancy words and that say all the right things but I don't see them model technology use, commit finances to the technology and training of staff, and create professional development and a quality learning environment for teachers to succeed. If administration would do these things then that would significantly improve the education of our students and improve the work environment for our teachers.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Reaching the Last Technology Holdouts at the Front of the Classroom

Interesting article from Chris Dede, professor of learning technologies at Harvard University. Professor Dede is a leader in educational technology and technology reform. This article pertains to college professors but I think it also applies to us at the secondary and even elementary levels.
My favorite quote from this article, "clinging to outdated teaching practices amounts to educational malpractice." "If you were going to see a doctor and the doctor said, 'I've been really busy since I got out of medical school, and so I'm going to treat you with the techniques I learned back then,' you'd be rightly incensed,". So why is this ok for us as teachers to use the same excuse?
It is time to stop making excuses and start changing the way we teach.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

5 Ways to Share Student Work and Make a Difference

After reading this post on The Innovative Educator blog I found it interesting, even though I really never thought much about it, how most teachers have students produce work just for them and no one else ever gets to see it. It has been proven that when students create authentic work and they are producing it for a audience besides their teacher they do much better work. Check out student blogs and facebook and youtube. Students put alot of time and effort into what they care about, duh. So why aren't we encouraging students to post their work somewhere that others can view and comment on?
So I recommend that you read this blog post and definitely follow The Innovative Educator blog or on twitter (jdthomas7).

I did pull this blurb out of his blog post because I thought it was the best part.

5 Ways You Can Share Your Work and Make A Difference

Share your work on a blog.
People who care about issues are often mobilized via blogs about the issue. Search for your topic using Technorati, Technorati was founded to help bloggers succeed by collecting, highlighting, and distributing the global online conversation. Encourage students to read these blogs and join the conversation in comments and via connecting with the blog author and asking her if she’d like to feature your student-created work. Wa-lah! An instant interested audience.

Share your work with people passionate about your topic on Twitter.
Use Twitter to connect with authentic audiences. You can mine Twitter for information or go to some good sites to find information on topics of interest. Once you see who is Tweeting about these topics follow them, then write to them and share your work. You’ll have a network of people you follow who are interested in a topic you are interested in, and these folks will likely view your work, retweet it, share with others, and help you find places to share it more widely.

Share your work on discussion boards.
People are talking about all sorts of things via online discussion boards. Do a search for your topic “and” discussion boards or do a ning search to find communities of interest. Once on those boards students can see what people are talking about. Various points of view and perspectives. Join the conversation, and share their work.

Share your work on Facebook pages.
Facebook is becoming more and more popular in education and teaching with Facebook provides students with meaningful teaching. From primary school teachers to high school principals, educators are successfully harnessing the power of this medium. Help your students connect to real audiences using this medium by searching for pages on their topic of interest, commenting and publishing their work there.

Share your work with organizations.
In the classroom I share in this post, students were really passionate about their topics but had no idea anyone outside their teacher cared about their work. Well, they do. Students should be lead to search for organizations who support their cause. When they find them, they can contact them, share their work, and ask if they’d like to feature it on their site. The contact may even provide authentic suggestions for improving their work or perhaps also an interview and invitation to do more or share with other audiences.

Open Yale Courses

Found this one on Twitter from @rbyrne. Yale has Open Courseware that is available for free to everyone. This one in particular is on the Civil War and Reconstruction Era. You can view on that link or from Youtube EDU. You can find audio and video files as well as the course syllabus and required readings list. Really cool!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

FR Technology Boot Camp

Our first summer boot camp for teachers will take place on Thursday August 19th and Friday August 20th from 8-12 each day. A flyer was included in your July paycheck outlining what we will be covering each day. You can sign up for one or both days if you like. We will be covering different content on each day. We will be working diligently to make this beneficial for all levels in the district.
Our team of trainers consists of Roger Crider, Maureen Garda, Kristin Giron, and Lisa Stewart. Here is the schedule of events for those two days.

Thursday August 19th
Moodle: How to use this course management system to give students what they need
Deliver content in another fashion besides lectures and worksheets
Video, online resources, projects, project-based learning
Chats/discussion forums
Google Docs: Increase collaboration in your classroom
Project-based learning: collaborate on documents, spreadsheets, presentations, forms
Ten Tech Tools for Education: (Glogster, Prezi, Pixton, Wordle, Jog the Web, Youtube, United Streaming, Wallwisher, Todays Meet, Quizlet, Webspiration)

Resources: (Polleverywhere, Delicious, Teach Paperless)

Friday August 20th
Google tools: So you think you know Google? See what tools it provides besides basic search.
Advanced search, Reader, Wonder Wheel, Books, Timeline, Scholar, Alerts, News)
Twitter: Develop your own PLN. Gather content specific information.
Use Twitter to follow content experts and communities of learners
Blogs: Interact with your classes in a format that they will use!
Create your own classroom blog to provide students with information and engage them!
Microsoft Office 2007 Tools: Get up to speed on Word, Excel, Powerpoint and how to use them to engage students in the classroom

Click on this link to sign up for one or both days.

Please email Roger Crider if you have any questions. (

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Improving Education?

So I have been spending alot of my summer reading books, blogs and tweets about educational reform. I came across this article from eSchool, Transform Teaching Through Collaboration, Boost Student Achievement with Connected Teaching. I can't help but think of some teachers who argue that technology doesn't improve education. "Good teachers make good education", they say. I do agree with this. In my mind the number one factor in a good education is a good teacher. So if that is the case then what are these teachers doing to improve themselves as educators? These same teachers complain that they don't have time to learn anything new or try new things or meet with their PLC. They use the same teaching methods, the same overheads (yes I said overheads), the same lesson plans etc. It is time that we as educators become life long learners and teach our students to do the same. If we are to truly transform education we need to meet in collaborative teams, try new things, learn new teaching methods, infuse technology into the classroom and stop wasting time checking papers and having 42/5 class lectures. (I invented this 42min periods/5 days a week)
Sorry for the rant I just have come to a point where it is time to put up or shut up. If you truly care about education then LEARN something new that will improve your classes. And I don't mean read a book to improve your knowledge of content. Learn about education!
thanks and continue to enjoy your summer!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Week 3: The Element Chat

Here is the link to our Cover It Live session for the Week 3 Element Chat. We are using Cover It Live to demonstrate another tool that you can use for online, real-time discussion with your students.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Another way to download Youtube videos

Here is another quick and easy way to download Youtube and other videos from the Internet and save to your computer. Clipnabber is a web based tool so you don't have to download anything to your computer. Youtube downloader is a great tool for downloading videos but you have to download the software, it only takes a minute and use the tool from there. Also with Youtube downloader you are limited to just being able to download videos from Youtube and no where else. Another problem is that if you move to a computer that doesn't have Youtube downloader you either have to download it or not have it.
Clipnabber is easy to use and you can download more than just Youtube videos with it. Just copy the URL of the video into the Clipnabber box and select what type of file you would like it to download as and you are done. (flv, mp4 or mobile formats)
Here is a link to Guiding Tech that explains this process in more detail.
Give it a try!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Social Networking Goes to School

Interesting article from Education Week. Discusses the many ways teachers and students are using social networking tools such as Twitter and Facebook. I am trying to work this out with administration to get a Facebook page for FR that I can post sports scores, building events and other FR related information.
I am still trying to figure out a way to use Twitter for professional development here at FR. I personally find it to be the best professional development tool I have ever used.

Friday, June 11, 2010

What have you learned?

I was thinking about all the new things that I have learned this year and how several of them have positively impacted my classes. So I thought this would be a good end of the year question,
"What have you learned this year that has had a positive impact on your classes?"

Educational experts everywhere are constantly talking about how important it is to make our kids "life-long learners". If that is the case shouldn't we as educators also be life-long learners? If you took a video of your classroom this year and your classroom from the year 2000 how has it changed? What do you do differently? If seems to me that if the two classrooms looks very similar then something is wrong.
We constantly have to be learning and our classrooms evolving to improve the educational experience for our students. And today with tools like Twitter, blogs, RSS feeds there is no excuse for not being a constant learner. "I don't have time" is no longer a valid excuse. As an educator in 2010 you have a constant stream of learning experiences available to you through your phone or computer, USE THEM!

It is time to consider what is truly best for your students and not what you are willing to do to make your life easier.

What will you learn this summer?

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Mathematics and Multimedia

Mathematics and Multimedia is a math blog that provides some interesting information and several "how-to's" for creating math tools using PowerPoint add Geogebra. There are several links to other math resources also available.
The author of this blog is now organizing a Mathematics and Multimedia Blog Carnival.

Here are some of the topics that they will be discussing:
1. integration of technology in teaching mathematics;
2. connections among different topics and mathematics as well as connections of mathematics to other fields;
3. explanation of the ideas behind concepts in mathematics;
4. problem solving and proofs;
5. pedagogy and teaching mathematics.

The author is looking for math teachers to submit ideas, questions, comments etc. See the blog for more information and to participate. It begins on July 5th.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

World Language Resource

LangMedia offers some interesting resources for a multitude of languages. This site offers videos of common everyday interactions in the language and even breaks it down by countries. For instance, Spanish in Argentina, French in France, and many, many more. Foreign lanugage and English language transcripts are provided for each video. There are also photos of signs that would be seen in a number of public situations, restroom signs, emergency signs, banking, post offices, and many more.
Would be a great resource for world language students and teachers to view short interactions in whatever language they might be studying.
Great Resource!

Spanish Resource- provides a selection of videos about everyday interactions spoken in Spanish. Videos are embeddable for use on a webpage, wiki or blog.

Teaching and Learning Spanish
This blog posts a variety of resources for Spanish teachers. Seems like a great resource for up to date online Spanish resources. Provides links to Children Websites, other Spanish blogs to follow, foregin language advocacy group links, and teacher resource links.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Shmoop-Awesome Resource

I know I have shared this before but after seeing it again I had to share it, again! Shmoop is an awesome resource for a variety of currriculums; LIterature, Poetry, Shakespeare, Bestsellers, US History, Civics, Biography, and Music. These are all free resources. They also offer AP Exam Review resources for a small fee. Shmoop includes Summaries, Themes, Quotes, Characters, Analysis, Questions, Photos, Relevant Websites, and Opinions on a variety of topics and books. Some sample content/books; Huckleberry Finn, Animal Farm, The Catcher in the Rye, World War II, the War of 1812, Biographies of famous people and so much more.
If you usually pass up the sites I offer on this blog please don't pass this one by.

Learn Vocabulary for 9 Different Languages

WordSteps - Learn Vocabulary for Nine Languages

WordSteps is a resource for learning the vocabulary of your choice of nine languages. To start learning vocabulary with WordSteps select the language you are trying to learn then choose a set of vocabulary words in that language. WordSteps provides six types of practice activities for each set of vocabulary words. The sets of vocabulary words are called dictionaries by WordSteps. You can use the dictionaries made by other WordSteps users or create your own dictionary. WordSteps can be used without creating an account, but in order to create your own dictionary you must create an account.

The languages supported by WordSteps are English, French, Russian, Spanish, Chinese, German, Japanese, Italian, and Portuguese. The vocabulary practice activities are Flash Cards, Translation Variations, Words Variants, Alphabet Soup, Write Translation by Word, and Write Word by Translation.

Applications for Education
WordSteps could be useful as an independent study tool for foreign language students. If students have a set of words that they must learn for a class they can enter that list into WordSteps and have six types of practice activities ready for them to use. If students are trying to learn a language on their own then the public gallery of vocabulary lists provides a ready-made learning opportunity

Multimedia Timelines

Here are 5 tools for creating multimedia timelines. Great resources for students to add images and videos to timelines and great for teachers to eliminate the older poster timelines.

Allows students to collaborate, just as they would when creating a wiki, to build a multimedia timeline. XTimelines can include text, images, and video.

Offers nicer layouts than XTimeline such as, staggering or indenting events below each other in sequence. TimeGlider also makes it easy to display the relative importance of an event by increasing its size compared to other events on the timeline.

Time Toast
Very easy to learn and use. To add events simply click on the "add event" button and a simple event box pops up where you can enter text, place a link, or add a picture. Lacks advanced editing feature that are present in XTimeline and TimeGlider. This is a more suitable choice for elementary or middle school students.

Time Rime
Allows users to create timelines that include text, images, audio and video. One of the better features is that you can have more than one type of media for each event on your timeline. You can also select which media type you want as the feature piece of each event. You can also embed the timeline in a blog or email it.

This is a great tool that allows users to incorporate text, images and videos into each entry on their timeline. Also incorporates a mapping feature that allows users to place a related Google Maps bookmark for the timeline. Built in collaboration option for sharing projects. Able to add multiple types of media which allows users to add more detail and information than in a traditional timeline.

How are you using technology? Part Deux

Here a few ideas, 130 to be exact, for how to use social media in the classroom. I thought I should follow my previous post with some resources.

100 Inspiring Ways to Use Social Media in the Classroom

30 Interesting Ways to Use Twitter in the Classroom

Enjoy and as always please let me know if I can be of any help.

How are you using technology?

I was talking with a teacher who is doing Socratic seminars in class. Students select a book that they read and then run a Socratic seminar with their class. Here are a few of the student comments in their Socratic, interesting what our students see...

"Teachers here think that just because they have us use a computer, they are using technology. It is so much more than that. It is using technology to develop real-world skills and solve problems that we might face in the future.”

"Yeah my teacher projects notes on the promethean board and thinks he uses technology. He isn’t. How about letting me get out of my seat and discover something on my own. Isn’t that teaching."

I just found this to be interesting commentary. thanks and have a great week!

Photo Story 3 Tutorial

Check out this SlideShare Presentation:It is a basic intro to the PhotoStory 3 software. We will be covering how to use these tools in the Tuesday May 25th session. I have attached a tutorial below that walks through the process of creating a Photostory. If you would like to see written steps on creating a Photostory click here. Enjoy!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Google TV-A Change in Paradigm or Fad?

Google TV was unveiled on Thursday. This will allow you to not only watch television but surf the web to gather show related resources too.
Check out the PC Magazine article here.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Can we eat to starve cancer?

Here is an interesting video from TED. William Li, an expert in antiangiogenesis, gives a talk on how we can eat to prevent cancer. Interesting and useful for you and your students. I thought this would be especially useful in health, science, or foods classes.
If you have never heard of TED it is a great site that posts videos of 20 minute talks from leading experts in every field; science, medicine, technology, education, etc. The talks are excellent and these are the people on the cutting edge of their respective areas. James Cameron, Steve Jobs, Ken Robinson, Dan Pink, Bono and more experts give great talks. Check it out!

Here is the William Li video.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

A Man's Search For Meaning

Here is a 1972 Viktor Frankl talk about the human nature to search for meaning in life and how we should look at people (I was thinking students) and see the what they can become and maybe help them get there. Good stuff!

Friday, May 7, 2010

FR Technology Article

Here is a link to the Post Gazette article about technology in our high school. The journalist attended the board meeting last week and then interviewed me about technology use here at the high school. I hope I represented FR well.

Technology brings Moodle, wiki pages to class in Franklin Regional

A little more reading for you. I found this last night, rather Twitter found it for me and sent it to my Crackberry. Preparing to Teach Digitally

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Weekly Byte 4.6.10

We have almost made it! 4.5 weeks left and it cannot come too soon for me. I am looking forward to spending the summer outside with the boys.

Site of the Week
This week I have a really cool site for everyone. If you check out any of the resources I share here at the Revolution please take 5 minutes and check this one out. This site is called Mashpedia. This is a great research tool. Once you get to the site you can type a topic into the search block or you can choose one of the topics they have on the page. I typed in gulf oil spill. It takes you to a page of links. I clicked on the first link and Mashpedia provided a mashup of several sources and their reports on the gulf oil spill. It return you tube videos of the oil spill, some general information about the spill with links to other sources (like wikipedia), Digg resources shared by other people, Twitter posts about the oil spill, Flickr photos shared about the spill, related news articles, images, blog posts about the spill, and even books written about oil spills.
I know this may sound confusing to some of you but you have to check it out. It makes your search easier by giving you all the different types of resources about a topic on one page. It basically builds you a webpage about the oil spill or any topic you enter. Unlike a Google search which gives you a ton of links that may or may not have to do with your query.

Thought of the Day
The 44 cent Solution, check out this story on Dan Pink's May 4th blog post. Something to think about in how you do your job.

Thanks for your support and have a great weekend!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Weekly Byte 4.20.10

Today I would like to take a moment to thank Ms Giron, her period 2 students and my period 4 students for the fantastic job that they all did on the FR Project Think. For this project we did a cross curricular study of the Dan Pink book A Whole New Mind. First of all anything by Pink is awesome, see but this book does a great job of showing the students how the world of work is changing and the need for Right Brained thinking is going to be extremely important in the coming decades. If you would like to see what the students did in this groundbreaking endeavor you can see their presentations here-Blog, and their project work, discussions and collaboration here- Wiki.
Great work everyone!

Thought of the Week
I just came across this today. Really cool! Karl Fisch, the famed educator and creator of the Shift Happens videos, proposes an interesting thought on his blog. I am sure that this thought will not be popular with most of you but this is the Revolution! and we are here to think. Mr. Fisch in his most recent post struggles with the notion of homework. He believes in it but he doesn't believe in it. So he is going to try and do this; he is going to give his lectures to students as homework and have students do their homework in his class. Don't stop reading Mike! think this through. Think of how many times the students can't get the math problem right or just don't understand the homework. If you did an audio or video of your lectures and then allowed them to complete their projects/tasks/problems in class so you could help them how would this go? I think it is definitely something to consider and maybe even try. Let me know what you think about this.

Site of the Week
Here is a site from presenter Ken Shelton, Google Certified Teacher, that shows how to use Google Earth in the classroom. He gives quality resources and he is an excellent presenter, I have seen him myself. Here is his Google Site

Quote of the Week
This quote comes from the PSU One to One Conference this week.
"Your use of technology is at the center of defining your commitment and expectation."~ Tim Tyson

Next Act 48 Training Opportunity
Tuesday, April 27th from 2:30-3:30 in Room 213, So You Think You Know Google? I will be showing you things I know you don't know about Google. Stop by and take a look.

Good day

Friday, April 16, 2010

Weekly Byte 4.16.10

Happy Friday!

I would like to take this opportunity to say Happy Birthday to one of the big Tech Heads here at the high school, Mr. Michael Landsberg! I have no idea how old he is today but I wanted to give him a shout out from the Revolution.

Ed Tech Article of the Week
I thought this was an interesting article from the Journal. The basic gist is that the role of the teacher is changing from instructor to facilitator to partner in the learning process. A good example of this has been the cross curricular project that Kristin and I have been doing. We are learning alot about the focus text, A Whole New Mind and alot about technology tools that the students are using to create projects and presentations. We have been working right along with them and learning just as much as they are. It is really a cool thing. I think back to a few years ago when I would have just told them to read the chapters and then fill out a worksheet. Now they are collaborating online, creating projects with students that they don't even know and working with teachers to learn new things. Anyways this is a good quick read and please feel free to stop by Room 225 during 4th and 5th periods on April 20th to see our presentations!

Site of the Week, seems like a really cool site to find science resources. You can get to from the direct link or through the Promethean Planet site. By the way Promethean Planet adds a ton of resources each week so if you haven't been there in awhile go back and take a look! But it seems like has some interesting science videos so take a minute and check it out.

Google Tip of the Week
Google Docs fans sit down for a minute! Are you sitting? Ok, Google Docs has just added some improvements! Now when sharing a doc on google the people sharing can now see pretty much in real time the other people's typing. Very cool if you ever waited 5 minutes for someone's text to pop up on your doc. Also when sharing a doc and collaborating you can use the pop up chat window to discuss the doc you are working on! How great will that be for you and/or your students when collaborating on a project? There are some other changes also if you want to take a look. Here is one article but if you just Google "New Google Docs features" you can find many more.
You have to turn on the new features so here the steps in that process, very simple.
1. Go to your Google Docs Account.
2. Click on Setting, then Document Settings, then Editing.
3. Click in the checkbox next to, Create new text documents using the latest version of the document editor. And that's it.

Next Act 48 Training
April 27th in Room 213 from 2:30-3:30, So You Think You Know Google?

As always if you need any help with integrating technology into your classroom please give me a call.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Weekly Byte 4.9.10

Enhancing the Art and Science of Teaching with Technology
Good webinar from this week's PDE Conference. Debra Pickering, Senior Scholar from the Marzano Research Lab, gives an interesting session. Her basic premise is that technology will enhance classroom learning when paired with sound instructional practices. She focuses on using interactive whiteboards and student response systems to focus students on the learning goals, improve student engagement, understanding and retention, and provide feedback for instructional planning. Key point, what happens after the the assessments are in, what are we doing to intervene and make sure all students learned what they were supposed to learn. The video is long but if you scroll down the page you can pick which parts you would like to watch, saving you some time.
This link provides access to the video and a pdf of her presentation notes.

Technology Tool of the Week
Finally I have found a way to download a YouTube video that works here at FR. The ones I have shared in the past now don't work. From my readings I have learned that YouTube doesn't like these websites providing easy ways for people to download their videos so when one pops up, like Kick, You Tube then works to shut them down. So the new way should work for you at school or home at least for now.
First, you have to download YouTube Downloader.
Once that downloads to your computer you now can go to YouTube and find your video.
Once you find your video you can go to where you saved the YouTube Downloader, open it and the URL for the video will pop up in the downloader. Then just click OK and it will start to download. It is really very easy. If you need help please just let me know.

Another way that you can download YouTube video from home, if you use Firefox, is to download the YouTube downloader add-on. This will then give you a button in YouTube that will say "Download video". It will give you the option of downloading in whatever format you choose right to your computer. This will NOT work at FR. If you would like to use this one and cannot figure it out please let me know.

Thought of the Day
Check out this blog post from Seth Godin's blog. It is titled "Rights and Responsibilities". This would be a great post to share with your students about taking responsibility before arguing for your rights. Good stuff!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Thought of the Day 3.31.10

I found these comments about this New York Times article interesting and thought provoking. Take a few minutes to read one or more of the comments. I have also attached the link to the NYT article as well.

Enforcing School Standards, at last (article)
Article Comments

Should we be "enforcing state standards"? Should even have state standards? Should teachers be held accountable for student achievement?
Just something to think about.

Have a nice break!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Weekly Byte 3.29.10

Here at the Revolution we are about changing education through the use of technology how people think. This past week I had the pleasure of taking a field trip to the Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon University. What an amazing place! If you want to see a 21st century learning experience reserve a time and take your classes there.
What do I mean by 21st Century learning? I'm glad that you asked. In the 21st century classroom students should be working on authentic, student driven, projects that require problem solving, critical thinking and creativity. At the ETC they are all project based. They work in small groups, large groups, on short term and long term projects. It is an amazingly creative, fun environment to learn. Shouldn't all classrooms be the same?

Article of the Week
I have always thought that a true teacher mentorship program would really help teachers in the classroom and if done properly would improve how the district and community view educators. Here is a mentorship program that has merit.

Site of the week
I thought that this site might be useful to you. Ever find a website or online article and you didnt have a printer handy. And you really wanted to take notes on it or highlight the text? Well then use Awesome Highlighter and you can highlight text and post notes to an online page and save it for viewing later.

Video of the Week
Taylor Mali does a great job of making fun of people outside of the classroom. Take 3:09 to laugh.

Have a great day!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Thought for today 3.25.10

Here is a post from Seth Godin's blog. I thought that it was interesting and provides some points for us to ponder as educators.

What you can learn from a lousy teacher...
If you have a teacher (of any sort) that you cannot please, that you cannot learn from, that is unwilling to take you where you need to go because he is defending the status quo and demonstrates your failure on whatever report card he chooses to use, you could consider yourself a failure. Or you could remind yourself...
1.Grades are an illusion
2.Your passion and insight are reality
3.Your work is worth more than mere congruence to an answer key
4.Persistence in the face of a skeptical authority figure is a powerful ability
5.Fitting in is a short-term strategy, standing out pays off in the long run
6.If you care enough about the work to be criticized, you've learned enough for today

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Weekly Byte 3.21.10

After this beautiful weekend it is going to be tough to go back to school. I had a nice weekend outdoors with the family and watching some basketball with friends. I did find some interesting tech tools that I would like to share this week.

100 Ways to Use Flipcams in the Classroom
Here is another quality resource from Mr. Byrne. He has been gathering lessons on using flipcams in the classroom from anyone who wants to collaborate. His goal is to get 100 different ways. By the way if you would ever want to try to use flip cams in your classroom I can get my hands on a few for your project. Just let me know.
Ms Giron and I will be taking them with us this Friday on our field trip to the Entertainment Technology Center at CMU. Our students will be using them to gather video footage of our trip and then put together a multimedia presentation for their projects.

Video of the Week
Since we are talking about the ETC at CMU I had to include this Randy Pausch video. Mr. Pausch helped to found the ETC and was also the author of "The Last Lecture". If you haven't read it pick up a copy this summer and check it out. Well work your time.

Upcoming TWR Workshops
On Tuesday, March 23rd we will be holding ActivInspire training in Kristin Giron's room, from 2:30-3:30. If you stay the whole hour you will earn 1 hour Act 48. Kristin is our first ever guest presenter at the TWR Workshops. Please stop by and learn about this new software that we will all be using next school year. Kristin's Wiki.
Next TWR Workshop will be on Tuesday April 6 from 2:30-3:30 in Room 213. The focus will "So you think you know Google?"

Site of the Week
Here is the National Educational Technology plan released last week. This is the plan from the Obama Team for the future of school. Its quite lengthy so I have just attached the link to the Executive Summary of the plan. It gives a nice overview and breaks it into sections so you can read about any of the parts and skip the others.

Have a great week!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Burrell Social Studies Technology Day

Today I am enjoying the Social Studies Technology collaboration day at Burrell Senior High School. These collaboration days are an awesome opportunity to learn and share technologies being used in the Social Studies classrooms around Westmoreland County.
A special thanks to Brandon Aganad and Tina Sauers for taking a day out of their busy schedule to attend this workshop. Please feel free to ask them for any resources or opinions on today.

Here is the Wiki being used to house all the resources and discussions from today.

Superintendent Shannon Wagner greeted the group with this, "We at Burrell firmly believe that giving teachers technology without the support, training and time to learn is not going to work." They have a full time technology coach for K-12. They provide time for teachers to learn and integrate new technologies into the classroom in a number of creative ways.

Cool Diversity Project!

Cool sites from today
I learned another tool today just from talking to someone at this workshop. Try this one, This site provides a 60 second video of a variety of books or chapters from books. Some of the books covered here are; Lord of the Flies, Fahrenheirt 451, Hamlet, Animal Farm, Frankenstein, Great Expectations, Night, Catcher in the Rye and more.

Another cool site shared today,
This one is like Wordle on steroids. It allows you to create text inside of text, facny rollover effects, custom colors and shapes, and its free!!!

Really some good tools shared today. I would check out the Westmoreland Social Studies wiki to get access to resources for social studies.

If anyone needs help using any of these tools and/or applying these in your classroom please let me know.

I want to apologize for not adding links for all sites but here at Burrell they block

Thanks and have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

The Downside of Good

This is an excerpt from the Seth Godin book, Linchpin.

The Downside of Good
Being pretty good is extremely easy these days. Building a pretty good web site, for example, is significantly cheaper and faster and easier than building a pretty good storefront was twenty years ago. Same goes for writing a pretty good email message, one that can compare with something from a giant corporation, or shipping a package across the country.
The record you can cut in your basement or the food you can prepare with ingredients from the local market--all pretty good. You can buy a world-class CD player for twenty-nine dollars and hire a great lawyer by investing in a few clicks and a phone call.
Employees are encouraged to deliver products and services and inputs that are good. Good as in within the boundaries defined by the boss. Showing up at the beginning of your shift and staying to the end is good. Meeting spec is good. Answering the phone in a reasonable amount of time is good.
The problem with meeting expectations is that it's not remarkable. It won't change the recipient of your work, and it's easy to emulate (which makes you easy easy to replace). As a result of the tsunami of pretty good (and the persistence of really lousy), the market for truly exceptional is better than ever. That's what I want if I hire someone for more than what the market will bear -- someone exceptional.
So yes, good is bad, if bad means "not a profitable thing to aspire to." And perfect is bad, because you can't top perfect. The solution lies in seeking out something that is neither good nor perfect. You want something remarkable, nonlinear, game changing, and artistic.
Work is a chance to do art. Good art is useless and banal. No one crosses the street to buy a good art, or becomes loyal to a good artist.
If you can't be remarkable, perhaps you should consider doing nothing until you can. If your organization skipped a month's catalog because you didn't have anything great to put in it, what would happen the next month? Would the quality and user delight of your product line improve?
Raising the bar is easier than it looks, and it pays for itself. If your boss won't raise your bar, you should.
Are we raising the bar at Franklin Regional? Are you raising the bar in your classroom or are you merely being good?
Just a thought....