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 danpink.com 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
Science.tv, seems like a really cool site to find science resources. You can get to Science.tv 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 Science.tv 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!