Monday, August 3, 2009

A Simple Time Management Tool

In the school at which I teach we have eighty minute class periods. Eighty minutes is a long time for anyone, let alone teenagers, to stay in one room and on task. Therefore, I break up the time with varied activities and "break times" during the eighty minutes. One tool that can help to get the students and me to not stretch the "break times" is to use a countdown timer. Online Stopwatch is a free website that gives you the choice of a stopwatch function or a countdown function. You can set the countdown timer for any length of time and an alarm sounds when time is up.

Applications for Education
Display the Online Stopwatch countdown timer on an LCD projector to keep yourself and your students aware of how much time they have left for their "break time." Make sure you plug-in your speaker so that everyone can hear the alarm when time has expired.

Plurk Makes Updates, Easier to View on Netbooks

Plurk is a mircoblogging and social networking platform that has started to gain some traction in the edublogging community. I find Plurk to be quite similar to FriendFeed because you can post content to your Plurk stream from a wide variety of other services that you use. To be fair though, I don't use my Plurk account often enough to give a complete comparison of Plurk to FriendFeed.

Plurk has recently made some improvements. The size of your Plurk timeline can now be adjusted to fit your screen best. The adjustability should make it easier to view your Plurk stream on a small screen like those found on netbooks. Another significant improvement is the option to search for music on YouTube through Plurk. Once you've selected music it will appear in your timeline and others can listen to it using the Plurk audio player.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Tech Tech Boom Gets Kids Talking About School
How Cell Phones, Twitter, and Facebook Can Make History
FriendFeed in Education

How-to Week, Day 1 - Using Wikispaces

One of the things that I learned by presenting at MLTI's Summer Institute is that despite my belief that editing wikis and blogs should be core skills, there are a lot of teachers who don't know how to do those things. Therefore, each day this week I will post a tutorial about some of the basics of using blogs and wikis. Today's tutorial is about using Wikispaces.

Embedded below is a slideshow outlining the basics of setting up a Wikispaces wiki.

Embedded below is a video tutorial that I created about setting up a Wikispaces wiki.

If you're not sure what a wiki is or you're looking for a video introduction to show to other teachers, Common Craft's Wikis in Plain English is the best explanation you could hope for.