Monday, February 11, 2008

Free Technology For Teachers: Taking it Global

No statement about technology is as undeniable as "the Internet connects people globally." is using that fact to promote young people to take responsible civic action in their local and global community. The projects Taking It Global have started include local engagements, classroom projects, and globally collaborative projects through Internet applications. is more than just a website of ideas about how to take action, it is also a social network to connect young people around the world who are interested in doing something positive for their local or global community. Take a look at the list of projects and resources available here.

This is how Taking It Global describes itself: " is an online community that connects youth to find inspiration, access information, get involved, and take action in their local and global communities. It's the world's most popular online community for young people interested in making a difference, with hundreds of thousands of unique visitors each month."

Applications for Educators is a great way for students to share their ideas with other students around the world about how to make the world better. The educational resources section of Taking It Global provides lessons and advice about getting students involved in charitable projects in their local and global community. The technology collaboration section of Taking It Global gives students a chance to not only share ideas but work also collaboratively with students around the world.

Free Technology For Teachers: Digital Movie Making

The Digital Directors Guild is a project designed to help teachers explore and use digital storytelling in their classrooms. The Digital Directors Guild has projects and resources for all grade levels. The resources page of the Digital Directors Guild contains information regarding all stages of developing Digital Storytelling projects with students. Digital storytelling is a great way to get kids excited about a topic. Through the creation of a digital story they become the directors of what can be consumed by their peers. Digital storytelling gives every student a chance to be active participants in their learning process and the learning experience of their peers. You can click here to see a list of ten reasons for using digital storytelling in your classroom.

If you've never tried digital storytelling (making videos or audio slide shows) the Digital Directors Guild gives advice on getting started including how to use free video editing software and samples of finished projects. I've embedded one of the sample projects below.

This short video presents a good argument for using digital storytelling.

Free Technology For Teachers: Internet4classrooms- Internet Lesson Plans

Internet4Classrooms is a good resource of links to lesson plans and web-based activities for teachers. Some of the links I explored take you to lesson plans that may not necessarily integrate technology, but are useful none-the-less. The most useful section of Internet4Classrooms is the grade level sections for grades K-8.

Free Technology For Teachers: Word Processing Collaboration- Buzzword

On Mashable there is a list of 13 web-based word processing applications. All of the applications have collaboration/ sharing features. Click here to see the full list.
I tried out 11 of the applications (Google Documents and Zoho Writer were not new to me) and the one that really got me excited is Buzzword. Buzzword is very rich in features but at the same time has a simple interface perfect for use with students. Below I've embedded a short video overview of Buzzword.

Applications for Educator
Buzzword has a much more professional appearance compared to its competitors. So what? Looks matter in web-based applications. Why do looks matter in a classroom environment? Looks matter in a classroom environment because if the program looks "cool" and looks "web 2.0" students are more likely to get excited about using it. You're connecting with students in their language if you're using web 2.0 applications. My former principal referred to this as meeting students where they are. Students will be proud of the work they do on Buzzword because a project completed on Buzzword has the look of a professionally produced magazine (when printed) or blog. In fact, I'm so impressed by Buzzword that I'm considering doing all of my blog writing in Buzzword.