Thursday, June 11, 2009

Unmasking Digital Truth

In an article published today for ISTE Connects, Wes Fryer talks about some of the common reasons given by administrators for blocking websites. At the end of the article Mr. Fryer shares a link to project he started called Unmasking the Digital Truth. Unmasking the Digital Truth is a wiki built to share information and dispel common misconceptions about CIPA, FERPA, and e-Discovery, and other reasons commonly used for justifying web censorship. The wiki is clear in all of its explanations.

Applications for Education
The more I talk with teachers around the world the more I hear horror stories of teachers not being able to access basic web tools like wikis and blogs. It seems that sometimes schools are blocking websites out of fear and sometimes out of misunderstandings. Whatever the reason for blocking is, teachers shouldn't sit idly by and be denied access to the tools they need to prepare their students to participate in the global community. To that end, a site like Unmasking the Digital Truth is a great resource for teachers who would like to gather information that they can use in discussions with their administrators about unblocking websites.

Look Here for a New Job in Education

Be it your first job out of college or a job change, eventually most people will have to look through job postings. You can try searching the general job posting websites like Monster, but those sites are often cluttered with jobs in the "education" category that aren't really the kind of teaching job for which you're looking. K12 JobSpot might be a better place to look for your next job in education. K12 JobSpot lists job postings from thirty-three states. On K12 JobSpot you can search for jobs by job title, by location, or by a combination of both.

K12 JobSpot is not the only website dedicated to education job postings. If you're state/ province/ county has a website dedicated to education job postings please leave a comment and I'll add it to the list.

In Maine you can find education job postings on Serving Schools.
In Montana you can find education job postings through METNET.

If you're considering moving and taking an education job in a new state in the US you should check out Certification Map for state-by-state certification requirements.

Vocab Grabber Makes it Easy to Generate Vocab Lists

Vocab Grabber is a free service offered by the folks at Visual Thesaurus (a fee-based service). Vocab Grabber makes it easy to generate vocabulary lists from any text that you can digitally copy. To use Vocab Grabber simply paste any chunk of text, up to 200,000 characters, into the Vocab Grabber. The Vocab Grabber then sorts, and places in a word cloud, the most frequently used words in that text. Words are also sorted into academic categories like Social Studies, Math, Science, and Literature. Click on any of the words in the word cloud to see the definition displayed on the right side of the screen.

Here's what Vocab Grabber generated from my blog post about Summer Reading.

If you use a lot of articles from the Internet in your class, you may want to try the Vocab Grabber bookmarklet. By installing this bookmarklet (it's a simple drag and drop installation) you can generate a vocabulary list from any page on the Internet with just one click.

Applications for Education
I can see Vocab Grabber being a great time-saving tool when it comes to generating vocabulary lists based on reading assignments. Vocab Grabber provides you with a way to quickly pick out which difficult words students may run into in a text. From the results Vocab Grabber provides you can then determine which words your students may need to study in a vocabulary lesson.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Word Ahead Vocabulary Videos
WeboWord - Vocabulary Visualized
Free Rice Just Got Tastier