Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Free School Alert System from announced today that they have created a free alert/ messaging system for schools to use to communicate important messages to parents, students, and faculty. The system can be used to send messages via email, text messaging, instant messaging, websites, or voice messages. People wishing to receive messages from the school sign up for the method(s) through which they would like to receive messages. The School Alerts system is designed to be used in times of emergency, an unplanned early end to the school day, a weather delay to the start of the school day, or for any other time-sensitive message. The image below diagrams how the system works.

The system does not require schools to download, install, or maintain any software or hardware.'s School Alerts system is completely free and not advertisement supported so schools can be certain that parents and students won't inundated with spam or any other advertising. The system is supported by, American Income Life, and

Who Wants Pizza? And Other Fun Fractions Activities

Who Wants Pizza? is a fun online activity for learning about fractions. Who Wants Pizza was developed by Cynthia Lanius at Rice University. The activity has five parts plus practice activities for students to explore. Teachers will find notes about using this activities in the classroom.

Visual Fractions has eight categories of visualizations, lessons, and games for students to explore and learn the functions of fractions.

Fraction Bars developed by Albert Bennett has interactive activities and visuals for students to use to develop an understanding of fractions. One of the activities that I tried out had students drag fraction bars into an equation to test solutions.

The National Library of Virtual Manipulatives has a lot of interactive activities for students learning the use of fractions, addition and subtraction, and the multiplication of fractions.

A New Tool for Spicing Up Your Class Blog

RSS Mixer is a new website that makes it possible for you to create your own custom news stream. The process of making your own news stream is very simple. To create a news stream enter the url of the websites from which you would like RSS Mixer to draw stories. The mixer part of RSS Mixer lies in the integration of the stories into one chronological stream. The new streams created with RSS Mixer can be shared through email or embedded into your blog or website. RSS Mixer is still in the alpha phase of development so not every website works with the system, but it's a good concept with a lot of potential. Click here to see a simple news stream I created with RSS Mixer.

Applications for Education
As many readers of this blog know, I am a big proponent of using blogs to provide students with learning opportunities outside of the classroom walls. Embedding an RSS Mixer feed into a blog could be a good addition to the blog of any teacher discussing current events in their curriculum.

New Podcast - How Do You Spend Your Money?

In this episode I share a conversation that has been reoccurring throughout the last couple of years in my department meetings. What are we going to use our limited budget money for? Until recently, I’ve always argued for not upgrading textbooks every couple of years and instead save the money to invest in technology resources. But last week I joined a conversation on Michael Wesch’s blog that forced me to look at the arguments again.

This episode was recorded using the voicemail service. It’s an easy way to create mp3 voice recordings. After recording the message I dragged it into Garage Band to edit and add the intro and outro music.

You can listen to the episode using the player embedded below or use the player embedded in the right hand column of the blog. The player in the right hand column of the blog will also provide you with my previous podcast episodes.