Tuesday, August 4, 2009

How-to Week, Day 2 - Setting Up a Blog

This is day two of "how-to" week on Free Technology for Teachers. Each day this week I will be posting tutorials on using blogs and wikis to create an online presence for your classroom. Yesterday's tutorial was about setting up a wiki for your classroom. Today, I am sharing three videos covering the basics of setting up a blog on Edublogs, Blogger, and These three platforms offer free hosting with space and customization options sufficient for most classroom settings.

Although I could have, I did not create these videos. Each of these tutorials explains the basics as well or better than I would.

Setting up an Edublogs blog. You may also want to view the screencasts on the Edu Blogs homepage.

Setting up a Blogger blog.

Setting up a blog.

100 Education Blogs Worth Checking Out

I received an email this morning from Clearview Education informing me that Free Technology for Teachers was included in their list of 100 Best Blogs for Teachers of the Future. Like many lists of this type, the selection criteria isn't clear. That said, this list contains many good blogs that I read and some that I haven't seen before. If you're looking for some new blogs to add to your RSS reader, take a look at this list.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
A Fantastic List of Education Blogs
21 Must-Read RSS Feeds

New Podcast About SMART Boards

When used correctly (not just as a fancier projector) SMART Boards and other interactive whiteboards can be great instructional tools. James Hollis, author of the Edublogs Award Winning blog Teachers Love SMART Boards, has started a new podcast series about using SMART Boards. James is producing this podcast with Harvey Almarode. The new podcast is called Get SMART with SMART Boards.

If your school has SMART Boards, this new podcast is worth twenty-five minutes of your time. If your school does not have SMART Boards the podcast may still be worth your time. I listened to the first episode and picked up an idea that I can adapt for use in the non-SMART Board environment where I teach.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Free Boardmaker Boards, Activities, and Tutorials
Teaching With SMARTBoard Video Podcast

Link to the Wikispaces Slideshow

It was brought to my attention that the slideshow about Wikispaces did not appear in some the daily emails yesterday. You can view the slideshow directly here. The complete post about getting started with wikis can be seen here.

How Americans Spend Their Time

Following up on yesterday's post about the online stopwatch, I found an interactive about how Americans spend their days. The New York Times produced an interactive chart of how Americans spend their days. This chart is based on the results of a 2008 survey of thousands of Americans. Click on the chart to see how much time Americans spend working, sleeping, eating, watching television, volunteering, and other daily activities. You can isolate demographic groups and activity elements on the chart for further analysis.

Applications for Education
This interactive chart could be used in a health class to evaluate how much time different groups of Americans spend being active versus the time they spend being sedentary. You could also use this chart in a middle school mathematics class as a model for creating displays of data sets.