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Friday, November 20, 2009

Weekend Workshop - Make a Wiimote Whiteboard

If you would like to have an interactive whiteboard in your classroom, but your school can't afford one of the commercial offerings (those things are wicked expensive) don't despair because there is a very affordable alternative. Nintendo's Wii remote can be used to create an interactive whiteboard. The first time I saw a Wiimote Whiteboard was in a TED Talk given by Johnny Lee. The videos and links below will provide you with what you need to know to build your own Wiimote Interactive Whiteboard.

Here's Johnny Lee introducing the Wiimote Whiteboard at TED.


Here's Johnny Lee showing you how to assemble the needed parts.


To get more directions and to download the free software from Johnny Lee, visit his website.

All Together We Can Learn has a twenty page PDF about building and using the Wiimote Whiteboard.

Week In Review - The Most Popular Items

Last week when I wrote the Week in Review post I said that I was looking forward to watching the Celtics beat the Hawks. The Celtics are playing again tonight, but I'm not making any predictions for fear of jinxing them again.

As I do each Friday, I've compiled a list of seven most popular items of the last week. If you've been busy and not able to keep up with your RSS reader or email, the week in review provides a good chance to catch up on the posts that were most popular with other readers.

Here are the seven most popular items in the last seven days:
1. 6 Ways for Students To Publish Their Writing Online
2. Ten Trends to Affect Teaching in the Future (And Now)
3. Five Places to Find Thanksgiving Lessons & Activities
4. Toobla - Share Visual Bookmarks Anywhere
5. Webinar with Common Craft - Libraries & Online Videos
6. Copyright Watch - Listing of Global Copyright Laws
7. Palm Breeze Cafe Presents Website Smack Down

The list above is based on item clicks and views. If you ever miss the week in review post, you can always check out the Post Rank widget embedded in the right column of the blog. Post Rank displays the most popular blog entries at any given time.

If you're new to Free Technology for Teachers, welcome, I'm glad you've found this blog. If you like what you see in the links above, please consider subscribing to the blog via RSS or email.
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The How-to Series

Back in August I ran a series of five how-to posts. Those posts gave directions on how to use six Web 2.0 tools that can be used in any classroom. Because that series ran in the summer, a lot of teachers may have missed it. Therefore, I've put those posts in the list below.

1. Using Wikispaces
2. Setting Up a Blog (directions for Blogger, WordPress, and Edublogs)
3. Drop.io - Easy Media Sharing (1o Things You Can Do With Drop.io)
4. Building a Classroom Website (Using Yola)
5. Using Animoto and VoiceThread

Curt Bonk's Flat Classroom Keynote

I've mentioned how much I like Professor Curtis Bonk's new book The World Is Open a couple of times in the past. You can read those posts here and here. Today, on YouTube I found a video of Curt Bonk in which he gives a quick and entertaining overview of the concepts and people discussed in his book. If you've been considering purchasing his book, watch this video and decide for yourself if you want to read the book. After watching the video I think you will want to read it.


FTC Disclosure: I did receive a free copy of Professor Bonk's book "The World Is Open" and a copy of his book "Empowering Online Learning." That said, even if I had paid for the books, I would still be recommending them.

Soda Tax - This Should Get My Students Talking

Today's episode of CNN Student News concludes with a segment about a proposed federal tax on soda pop. Based on how much soda I see my students consume, I know that this will get my students talking. In my both my Civics class and my US History class we often talk about the role of government in the lives of private citizens. The idea of a soda tax is very relevant to my students' lives and is sure to spark some lively discussion when I show them the video.

My Page It - Homepages for Kids

Update: As a reader pointed out in the comments, My Page It does ask for a small ($1) payment to activate parental controls. I did not notice this until I investigated the finer print. I apologize for any inconvenience my oversight may have caused.

My Page It or Mypage.it is a service providing personalized, customizable homepages for five to eleven year old kids. My Page It allows kids to customize their pages with different backgrounds, themes, avatars, videos, games, and other widgets which My Page It call kidgets. Kids can begin to develop Internet search skills by through the safe search engine developed by My Page It. There is also a social networking element of My Page It which allows kids to share their pages with other kids in the My Page It network. In order to share pages, parents have to approve the sharing action each time their children want to share with someone new.


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