Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Sketchcast - Make a Demonstration Video

Sketchcast is a great way to demonstrate ideas and concepts through drawing and voice. Using Sketchcast is as easy as drawing on a white board while explaining a concept. Sketchcast provides users with a place sketch diagrams while speaking at the same time. The sketches can then be embedded into a blog or shared via email.

Applications for Educators
Sketchcast is useful for creating short video tutorials for students. Teachers who are using blogs, wikis, or other websites with their classes will enjoy the ability to quickly create a sketch while explaining a concept to students and then quickly embed that sketch into their blog or wiki.

Below is a video introduction to Sketchcast.

Here is a sample Sketchcast I made just for fun.

Free Technology For Teachers: Business Education

One of the most memorable assignments I had in middle school was to invent a product and "sell" it to my peers at a "trade show" in the school cafeteria. The project incorporated learning about costs of production and learning about marketing and presentation methods. (It was also extremely nerve-wracking for a shy kid). The project was a group effort in which we each had different roles. is a new website (started by a 20 something that made millions on a previous venture) that aims to have people share their ideas for products, give and receive feedback on product ideas, and eventually discuss marketing strategies for a new product. In a sense it's a social network for product developers. Kluster has recently been invited to participate in the TED Conference which starts today.

Applications for Educators
Kluster could be used as part of a project similar that which I completed in middle school (see opening paragraph). Students can invent new products or modify existing products, present the ideas online, and receive feedback on their ideas. Examining existing products on Kluster is a useful way to teach students about product development and marketing.

Below is a video introduction to Kluster.

Free Technology For Teachers: How to Grow a Blog

One of the problems teachers run into when trying to get started with an academic blog is building momentum and a following for the blog. The advice I give to people just getting started with blogging for their classroom is to start small and not try to do too much at once. Just like teaching in the classroom routine and clear expectations are important. Establish a day or days when you will update your blog to get your students expecting and looking for updates. If you're using a blog for graded assignments, it is important to establish clear expectations for participation. I have found that if I occasionally mix in a fun video to my academic blog, students are more likely to check the blog frequently for updates.

On the Blog of Proximal Development there is a lengthy article with diagrams about creating an growing blogs for use in academic settings. In the article the author uses plant diagrams to demonstrate the stages of blog growth. The author also provides some good ideas about planning to make a successful blog. Read the full article here.
Below is a sample diagram from the Blog of Proximal Development.

Free Technology For Teachers: Search Engine Tips

The Google For Educators page is full of useful information for teachers. One of the resources that I frequently use with my students is the search engine tips. The PDF files contain search engine tips that are easy for students to follow.

Take a look at the Google For Educators page today, chances are you'll find something useful for your classroom.

The Google For Educators Discussion Group is a great place to share ideas and gain ideas about using Google Products in the classroom.

Free Technology For Teachers: 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.

Below is a short sample video from