Monday, January 21, 2008

Free Tech For Teachers: Social Bookmarking Update

Last week I wrote about the value of social bookmarking. Well, I've been playing with different widgets on this blog and I've finally settled on one that will allow you to bookmark each post, if you like, on a number of networks. I know that my changes to the posts, may have cluttered your RSS feed for that I apologize. But, my experiments also demonstrate one of the best way to learn web-apps, just try them.

Free Tech For Teachers: We are multicolored

We Are Mulitcolored is a fun website to use to teach kids about diversity, ethnicity, and culture. It's a simply program that works on this idea, everyone is different so express yourself with your own flag. The program works like this: Answer three short questions, the program then shows you three flags from which you can pick different elements to place on your own flag. For example I could pick the maple leaf from the Canadian Flag and the stripes from the American Flag. I remember back in grammar school I had to make a flag and a drawing to represent who I was and where I came from. It's an activity that has stuck with me for 20 years now.

Applications for Educators
We Are Multicolored can provide teachers with a quick, but powerful teaching activity about diversity, culture, and ethnicity. In the process you'll help students learn about and express a little bit about themselves. In the creation part of the flag making, each portion of each country's flag is explained as you click on. This provides a little lesson about the history, culture, symbolism of each flag.

Free Tech For Teachers: Debunking a Podcast Myth

Everyday I speak to people about the great, free, resources available on the internet. Whenever the topic of Podcasts comes up, I almost always hear the question, "but don't I need an Ipod to do that?" The answer is "no, you don't need an Ipod to hear and see the contents of a Podcast." All you need to do is download and install Itunes, for free, from All of the Podcasts on the Itunes store can be played right on your computer whether you have a PC or a Mac does not matter. The Itunes store has thousands of free podcasts that are perfect for educators. In fact, the Itunes store has a section dedicated to free podcasts for educators. So if you haven't checked out the Itunes store or used podcasts in the past because you thought you needed an Ipod or had to pay for podcasts, check out the Itunes store today. It's a cold winter day, what could be more fun?

Applications for Educators
Itunes has thousands of free podcasts perfect for every content area. I've used podcasts from "Money Girl" to teach economics concepts. I've also used podcasts made by "The Rest of Everest" to show students the sights and sounds of Nepal and Tibet. Itunes has many programs dedicated to foreign languages, perfect for foreign language teachers. Recently, I helped an English teacher find audio recordings of Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven."

My Mini City - City Planning and Simulation

My Mini City is a city simulator that introduces users to real-life challenges facing city development and planning including unemployment, sanitation, overpopulation, and natural disaster. My Mini City does not require users to download or update any software, it is a completely web-based application. Being an entirely web-based application gives it an advantage over other city simulators on the market today. As most readers of this blog know, I am a huge proponent of web-based applications because their usability over a myriad of network and operating systems.

Applications for Educators
Geography/ Social Studies teachers will like My Mini City for the number of real life problems the program simulates. It's a great teaching tool as it makes students account for number of geographic, economic, and political concepts.
Earth Science teachers will like My Mini City's sanitation, population, and natural disaster simulations.

Free Tech For Teachers: Update- Easiest Way to Podcast

I have written about before as I think it is the simplest way for teachers to post assignments, outlines, and notes online. Last week announced and made public an awesome feature, the ability to call into your drop web page and record voice messages! Now when you create a drop using you're assigned a phone number ('s answering service) and an extension number. Simply call the phone number, enter your extension, and start talking. Refresh your browser and your message appears as an MP3 file on your drop web page. This is the easiest way to create MP3 files that I've ever seen. Click on the image below to see and hear the drop web page I have created for Freetech4teachers.

Applications for Educators is a great way to post your assignments, outlines, and notes online. Creating a drop only takes a minute and adding to a drop takes only seconds. The option to call into your drop is perfect for those last minute sick days when you need to give an assignment quickly, but can't get to school. (I live 35 miles from work so it's perfect for me). Calling a drop and adding your voice is a great way to add clarifying information about the assignments posted on your drop. Finally, adding voice to the drop helps those students who are auditory learners that need to hear your voice.

Setting up a drop on

Here is another video about setting up a drop.