Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Parentella - Community for Teachers and Parents

Parentella is a platform designed for the purpose of facilitating online communication between teachers and parents. Teachers can register for a free account, create a classroom, and begin posting notices for parents to read. Parents can use Parentella to keep current on news from school and to communicate with other parents.

Applications for Education
Parentella is a good option for creating an online communication hub between teachers and parents.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
My Brochure Maker - Create a Mailer
Build Your Own Browser Toolbar
Tatango - Free Group Text and Voice Messaging

America by Air from the Smithsonian

One of the few regrets (if you can call it that) from my trip to NECC in Washington, DC is that I did not have time to go to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. Fortunately, the Smithsonian does offer some fantastic online resources about the history of aviation. One such online resource is America by Air which I learned about from Anne Marie's Talking SMARTBoards & Much More.

America by Air
is a series of thirteen online activities that take students through the history of commercial aviation in the United States. Some of the activities that students can explore include examining air routes, pricing tickets, and dressing like a pilot or flight attendant.

Applications for Education
America by Air's thirteen online activities are good resources for elementary and middle school students to learn about the history of commercial aviation in the United States. As students return from summer vacations some may have stories about flying. Have students use try the activities in America by Air then compare their trip in 2009 to how their trip may have unfolded during an earlier era in commercial aviation.

Acer Netbook After Two Weeks

As many of you know, two weeks ago I purchased an Acer Aspire One netbook. I bought it just in time for NECC 2009. At that time I posted about my decision to buy a netbook rather than an inexpensive Toshiba notebook at roughly the same cost. After two weeks after my initial review of the netbook I can still confidently say that the netbook is worth every penny I spent.

When reading this evaluation of netbooks, bear in mind that I do 97% of my work online. Over the course of the two weeks since I purchased the Acer Aspire One I've only opened my old laptop four times. Of those four times, only once did I "have" to use my full size laptop. That instance was when I was using Google Earth. The ten inch screen on the Acer Aspire One is just a touch too small for accessing the full functionality of Google Earth.

The three cell battery (6 cell wasn't in stock when I was shopping) has consistently lasted for close to three hours when running just Firefox. When I run TweetDeck and Firefox simultaneously the battery life decreases to roughly two hours.

Overall, during the last two weeks using a netbook for all of my daily tasks like writing blog posts, watching video, and creating videos on Viddler has been a good experience.

How to Enable Google Earth Flight Simulator

Google Earth has many built-in layers and features that many people never use or even know about. (I'm working on a list of some of the built-in layers that can easily be used in a classroom). Today on Tekzilla they show you how to enable the built-in flight simulator for fly-over tours. If you're viewing this in RSS you may need to click through to view the video.

Applications for Education
The flight simulator could be a good, fun way to get students to explore the geography and topography of the earth. Using the flight simulator on an interactive whiteboard could be a great alternative to pulling down a wall map and pointing to places on the map.

Here are some related resources that may be of interest to you:
Exploring Africa in Google Earth
KML Factbook - 2D and 3D Mapped Data Displays
Nearly 400 Google Earth Files for History Teachers