Friday, December 18, 2009

Google Teacher Academy for Administrators

From Kevin Jarrett I've just learned that Google is going to host a Google Teacher Academy for Administrators. This is a unique opportunity for principals, assistant principals, superintendents, and technology directors serving K-12 populations. Just as with other Google Teacher Academies, applicants will need to create an original one minute video. The topic of the video is "Innovative Education Leadership in the Age of Google." GTA for Administrators will be held on March 5th in San Antonio, Texas. Applications are due by midnight on January 25th. You can read more about GTA for Administrators and the application process here.

If you're curious about what goes on at a Google Teacher Academy check out my posts here and here.

Week in Review - The Edublog Awards

I have to start this week's week-in-review post by once again saying thank you to everyone that nominated and voted for Free Technology for Teachers in the 2009 Edublog Awards. This week Free Technology for Teachers also reached a new high for subscribers as the 15,000th subscriber signed-up this week. The Free Technology for Teachers Facebook page is also growing quickly. Thank you to everyone that has subscribed, shared links, and told your colleagues about Free Technology for Teachers. Without all of you, Free Technology for Teachers would not be what it is today.

As I do every week, I've compiled a list of the most popular items of the last week.

Here are the seven most popular items of the last week:
1. Fresh Ideas for Fun Student Projects
2. Thousands of Free Books
3. Google Living Stories
4. Embedding Books Into Your Blogger Blog or Google Site
5. Being Smart Online, A Video Series
6. 25 More Educational Games and Game Builders
7. The Classroom Blogging Process

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. You can also search the most popular posts within the Post Rank widget.

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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Back-channeling During a Class Viewing of Glory

Two weeks ago I wrote a post about my students using TodaysMeet for back-channeling while we discussed a slideshow that I had created for the class. This week, as I shared earlier on Twitter, I tried using TodaysMeet for a back-channel while my students watched the film Glory. It worked great!

In my school all of the students have ASUS Eeenetbooks which is allowing me to do things that I couldn't have done before. Using TodaysMeet to for back-channeling during a movie viewing is a great example of this. In the past when I've shown Glory, I've stopped the movie at various intervals to discuss the students' reactions and questions. This week when I showed the movie, I set-up a back-channel using TodaysMeet. The back-channel allowed my students to record their reactions to what they saw while at the same time I was able to answer questions that arose as they watched.

Overall, in the last three weeks, having a back-channel forum for my students to ask questions and make comments has worked very well. I'm seeing more contributions from students who don't typically like to talk in class and I'm still getting the contributions from the extroverts in the room.

Words Like - A Simple, Visual Thesaurus

Words Like is handy little website for those times when you need a thesaurus. Words Like works in your choice of two ways. You can browse the word clouds or simply enter a word in the search box. Any word that you click on in either the word cloud or in the list generated by your search will lead you to at least one word with a similar meaning. Definitions are provided for every word on Words Like.

Applications for Education
Words Like could be useful for student writers that are in need of some new words to spice-up their writing.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Word Ahead Vocabulary Videos
WeboWord - Vocabulary Visualized
Lexipedia - Webbed Word Connections

Useful Google Docs Updates

Over the last ten days Google has released a few updates that should be of interest to educators who use Google Docs. First, last week Google announced new options for searching and sorting your documents. In the past the only way to sort your documents was chronologically according to the time of the last edit. Even if you put your documents into folders still the only way to sort was chronologically. Now you can sort your document search by relevance or time stamp.

The second enhancement to Google Docs announced last week is a new option for exporting all of the contents of your Google Docs. You can now export all of your documents (up to 2GB, roughly 100,000 pages) at once.

Finally, on Monday of this week Google announced a new co-editor option for Google Docs Presentations. The co-editor service allows users to simultaneously edit a presentation without stepping on each other's toes. When you use the co-editor for presentations you can see which slide(s) your co-editor is working on.

Applications for Education
The new "export all" option could be useful for students and teachers who would like to create offline copies of their documents with just a click. The new co-editor for presentations could be useful for students who are developing group presentations. Students can collaborate without the frustration of trying to work on a slide that someone else is trying to edit at the same time.

Three Year In Review Presentations

Today is the last episode of CNN Student News for the year. The show will return after the new year. The second segment of today's show features an overview of the key news stories of the first semester of the school year. Today's episode is embedded below.

CNN also has an interesting year in review video featuring their international reporters. In the video the reporters share what they thought were the most important and or most interesting stories from their part of the world. That video is embedded below.

Finally, CNN has a slideshow featuring the images from important news stories in the US and around the world.

Applications for Education
Teachers who use current news events as a part of their curriculum may be interested in using these videos and the slideshow as the jumping off point for further review of the year's top news stories. A quick activity before holiday vacation could be to have students view the videos and identify a story that they would like to investigate further. After they investigate that story they could put together their own short videos about it by using a service like Masher.

Edublog Awards - Thank You

Last night the winners of the 2009 Edublog Awards were announced. Free Technology for Teachers won in two categories; Best Resource Sharing Blog and Best Individual Blog. Thank you to everyone that nominated me and voted for me.

I was very happy to see that two people I nominated, Karl Fisch and Steven Anderson, won last night. Karl Fisch won the Lifetime Achievement Award. Karl is the original creator of the "Did You Know?" (Shift Happens) presentations that have been seen by millions of educators world wide. "Did You Know?" is now into its fourth official remix. If you haven't seen any of the "Did You Know?" videos watch this one now. Steven Anderson won for Best Individual Tweeter. Steven is a great person to follow on Twitter as he always has something interesting to share.

Kevin Hodgson has compiled the full list of winners from each category, please check it out as you may discover a new-to-you blog. Any of the blogs that were on the short list of nominees is well worth giving a visit and or subscribing to. I subscribe to a lot of them myself.