Monday, May 31, 2010

Einztein - Locate Online Courses and Course Materials

Einztein is a new service for locating online collegiate level courses and corresponding materials. Einztein isn't your standard search engine as all courses listed by Einztein are reviewed by a PhD level editorial team. Each course listed by Einztein comes with a listing of the types of materials available for each course. Some courses have audio, video, and documents while other course may only have one or two of those elements. Visitors to Einztein can search for course by keyword or simply browse courses by subject area.

Below is the beginning of a course for high school teachers called Vietnam Now offered by Columbia. The purpose of the course is to provide content knowledge about the Vietnam War for pre/in-service teachers at the secondary level and for college faculty interested in using digital media in teaching this subject. I found this course through Einztein.

Applications for Education
As summer approaches teachers may find themselves with some time to extend their personal learning experiences. Einztein could be useful for finding a course you want to watch or listen to on your own.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Udemy Launches Free Online Teaching Platform
RCampus - Create and Conduct Courses Online

Month in Review - May's Most Popular Items

The school year is winding down for many of us, but there is still time to try something new in the classroom. If that's not the case for you, May's most popular links might give you something to think about for next fall when school starts again.

Here are the ten most popular items of the month:
1. 100 Ways to Use Social Media in the Classroom
2. 20 Web 2.0 Tools for Teachers
3. Print This, Share This: Moodle Tool Guide for Teachers
4. 10 Resources for ESL & Foreign Language Students
5. Infographic - Which Age Groups Use Social Media
6. Mashpedia - The Real-time Encyclopedia
7. How to Put a Video Editor on Your School's Website
8. Five Ways Students Can Build Multimedia Timelines
9. Google Wave Opens to Everyone - Now It's Useful
10. Free SMART Notebook Training

Podcasts in Education Made Simple

Podcasts in Education Made Simple is the title of a presentation given by Andi Kenuam at EdCamp Philly. The presentation walks viewers through the nuts and bolts of podcasting in education. Andi covers the who, what, why, and how of podcasting in education. View the slides below and the video below that.

The Evolution of Television 1926-2010

The Evolution of Television is a timeline infographic hosted by Sterling Satellite. The infographic highlights major developments in television technology and highlights in broadcasting history. For example, did you know that JFK's inauguration was the first to be broadcast in color? Visit Sterling Satellite to view the full size infographic.

Thanks to Cool Infographics for the graphic.

Applications for Education
Television is as much a part of students' lives as just about any other technology. In teaching US History, I've always found pop culture to be a good segue to introducing important events of the 20th Century. For example, we could take this timeline and have students identify other significant events corresponding with a development in broadcast history.

Bonus material: JFK's Inauguration.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

How to Export Firefox Bookmarks and Reuse Them

At the end of every school year the teachers at my school have to turn in their laptops to be reimaged. Therefore, around this time each year I'm asked to help people back-up their bookmarks. The tutorial below walks viewers through the process of saving bookmarks for reuse on another computer.

If you are still bookmarking everything in Firefox, please consider using Delicious, Diigo, or another online bookmarking service. Using an online bookmarking service will allow you to access your bookmarks from any computer at any time.

Learn more about Diigo in the video below.

Delivering Modern Substitute Teacher Lesson Plans

When I started to consider going back to school to become a teacher, I spent nearly a year substitute teaching in a wide array of high school classrooms. It was mostly a very positive experience, but there were a few days when I felt like this substitute teacher, overwhelmed and frustrated. Usually, the root causes of those feelings was not the students' behavior. Rather the causes were a lack of clarity of direction in the plans the left behind by the classroom teacher and a lack of clarity in expectations for the students (and there were a few times when no plans were left at all). There are two resources that I wish teachers had available and had used when I was substitute teaching, Viddler and I use these now when I'm absent from my classroom.

Viddler is a free video hosting and sharing service. Viddler, like YouTube, allows you to record and post videos directly to the site through your webcam. I use Viddler and my webcam to record short videos in which I explain to my students my expectations for what they are to accomplish while I am out of the classroom. I post the video to my course blog. My written plan for the substitute always starts with "have students watch the new video on the course blog." is a free service that allows you to host and share files online. also has a free podcast recording service called Using this service you can call into your drop ('s term for a page), record your message, and have it appear as an MP3 on your drop. Anyone visiting your drop can listen to your recording. also provides an embed code for your recording to put your recording on your blog or website.

Applications for Education
By using Viddler and I can directly deliver my plans and expectations to my students even when I'm out of my classroom. Doing this eliminates the possibility of a student saying "the sub didn't tell us to do that." It also helps out the substitute teacher who now has a clearer idea of my plan for the day.

I'm in the fortunate position of working in a 1:1 school. If your school is not 1:1 you can still use Viddler and You just need one computer in your classroom that the substitute or your students can access when you're not in your classroom.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Sciyo - Hundreds of Free Science Books and Journals

Sciyo is a free service that allows scientists to publish their works and connect with other authors. Works published on Sciyo are made available for free to visitors. Visitors can download works as PDFs. There are currently 211 free books on Sciyo. The category of books that is probably of most interest to readers of this blog is Technology and Education. In the future videos will also be available on Sciyo.

Applications for Education
As the costs of textbooks and scholarly journals continue to rise, sites like Sciyo become more valuable to cash-strapped schools and students.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Seven Places to Find Free eBooks
Audio Owl - Hundreds of Free Audio Books
Flat World Knowledge Provides Free Textbooks

FedFlix - Movies from the US Government Archives

FedFlix, hosted by the Internet Archive, is a collection of nearly 2000 films produced by the US government during the 20th Century. The topics of these films range from presidential speeches to agricultural practices to public health and safety. Some films are instructional in nature, for example there is a film for police officers on how to arrest someone. Other films are more informative in nature and some films are flat-out propaganda films.

All of the FedFlix films are in the public domain so feel free to reuse and remix them as you and your students desire. The films can be downloaded or viewed online. Films can also be embedded into your blog or website. Below I've embedded a 1970 film on etiquette and grooming for women in the military.

Thanks to Instructify for the info about FedFlix.

Applications for Education
FedFlix could be a good resource for anyone teaching lessons on the
20th Century political, military, or cultural history of the United States. It might be interesting to show some of these videos to students and have them compare social norms now to those of the past. These videos are in the public domain so you could have students download a series of them and remix portions of the videos to create their own documentaries of topics in 20th Century US History.

Video - Space Shuttle from Hangar to Launch

The Air & Space Magazine website has a neat time-lapse video documenting the process of preparing NASA's Discovery space shuttle for launch, the launch itself, and finally its return to Earth. The time-lapse was composed from photos taken over a six week period. Watch the video below.

Thanks to Open Culture for sharing the video.

Applications for Education
This video could be used as a nice little introduction to a lesson on space exploration and NASA.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
NASA Space Place - Where Science is Fun!
NASA Images - Embed Galleries of Images and Videos
NASA Quests and Challenges

Implement YouTube's Unlisted Video Option

A couple of weeks ago I shared that YouTube had added a new video privacy option called "unlisted" videos. Tekzilla has a video that shows you how to implement the unlisted option for your videos. Check it out in the short video below.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Lino It - Collaborative, Multimedia Sticky Notes

Lino It is a free service that allows you to create a canvas of online multimedia sticky notes. In addition to basic text, the sticky notes you place on your canvas can contain videos, images, and file attachments. Unlike some similar sticky note services, Lino It allows you to alter the size and color of your fonts. You can use Lino It's built-in calendar tool to set due dates on your sticky notes.

To use Lino It, you have to register for an account. Once you've registered you can create as many sticky note canvases as you like. You can make your canvases and notes public or private. If you choose to make a canvas public other users can add sticky notes to it and read all of the notes on it.

Applications for Education
Lino It is very similar to Wall Wisher which I've used a few times this year for brainstorming sessions and to create collages of student-contributed information. Those same things and more could be done with Lino It. Students could use Lino It to brainstorm on collaborative projects then outline tasks necessary to complete those projects. The tasks can be assigned due dates on each sticky note. Attaching files to Lino It stickies allows you and your students to post PDFs or other documents that may not be available online.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Building a Video Collage With Wallwisher
Spaaze - Online Sticky Notes and More
Organize and Collaborate with Stixy
Collaborative Sticky Notes

Vietnam War Video Map

In one of my classes we recently wrapped-up a unit on the Vietnam War. As supplementary review resource I posted this four minute video on the class blog. What I like about this video is that, in addition to the voiceover, it provides text highlighting the key points in each year between 1954-1975.

Wikipedia Explained by Common Craft

Lee and Sachi Lefever have once again created a great video that educators should watch. Wikipedia Explained by Common Craft uses Common Craft's In Plain English style to explain how Wikipedia works. The video explains how Wikipedia entries are written, updated, verified, and maintained. Watch the video on Common Craft.

Applications for Education
Wikipedia, somewhat unfairly, too often gets bad-mouthed by educators that don't understand how the content on it is updated and edited by a community of users. Because of that lack of understanding some educators don't allow students to access Wikipedia at all and are therefore depriving students of a general reference. I'm not advocating for students to cite Wikipedia in research papers, but I do think that it can be a good place for students to start digging for information.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Textbooks, Wikipedia, and Primary Source Research
Mashpedia - The Real-time Encyclopedia
VisWiki - Visual Wikipedia

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Free SMART Notebook Training

James Hollis, author of Teachers Love SMART Boards, is currently offering a free training course through his Teacher Online Training site. The course is titled Notebook Technique - Magic Slider. The course is delivered through twelve video tutorials divided into four sections. This is the course description from Teacher Online Training:
This course will guide participants through the process of creating an application that reveals information by sliding an object on the page. This technique can be used in a number of different ways to increase engagement and interaction with the information being displayed on the SMART Board.

National Geographic Bee Winner is Aadith Moorthy

The 2010 National Geographic Bee championship was decided yesterday and 13 year old Aadith Moorthy from Florida is the winner. His final question: "The largest city in northern Haiti was renamed following Haiti's independence from France. What is the present-day name of this city?" Answer: Cap-Haïtien. Read more about the competition on National Geographic Daily News.

Watch the final moments of the competition in the video below.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Ten Interactive Geography Games and Maps
12 Resources All Social Studies Teachers Should Try
Exploring Art Through Geography

Join 1000+ Students in a Fight Against Hunger

Tomorrow MLTI's 7th annual Student Conference will be held at the University of Maine. This is an annual meeting of middle school students and their teachers. At the conference students and teachers will be sharing examples of teaching and learning in 1:1 middle school classrooms.

At the conference's 1pm session 1000+ students and teachers will gather to play vocabulary game Free Rice. A special version of Free Rice has been created just to track the contributions of people playing along with the students. The site is Anyone who plays on the MLTI site after 1pm will have their scoress tallied along with those of the students playing at the conference. To learn more read Google Certified Teacher Sarah Sutter's blog post about tomorrow's conference. You can also read an article written by the Associated Press about tomorrow's conference.

Applications for Education
If your schedule allows, having your students play Free Rice along with Maine students tomorrow can serve two purposes. First, your students will get to practice their vocabulary skills. Second, your students will be a part of potentially global student effort.

10 Resources for ESL & Foreign Language Students

While writing about LangMedia yesterday I realized that I've reviewed a lot of resources for foreign language and ESL/EFL students and teachers over the last couple of years. Here are ten of the better free resources for foreign language and ESL/EFL students. is a free service designed to help you learn languages, mathematics, and history independently. At it's most basic, provides a flashcard-like service for learning languages, learning formulas, and learning facts. You can hear the flashcards read to you, read the flashcards, and play games based upon the flashcards you're studying. takes the flashcard concept a step farther by offering a personalized repetition schedule based upon what you've learned and what you haven't yet learned. The schedule adjusts each time you revisit your account.

Vocabulix provides numerous free tools for learning Spanish, German, or English. Vocabulix can be used to create quizzes or take quizzes online. Vocabulix provides dozens of drills and activities designed to help students learn Spanish, German, or English. The verb conjugation chart can be used on the Vocabulix website. The verb conjugator code is freely available for use in third party blogs, wikis, or websites. As most new language learning websites do, Vocabulix has a social networking option that helps match native speakers with learners.

Forvo can best be described as an audio wiki for word pronunciations. One of the problems with learning to speak a language that is not phonetic is trying to figure out how to pronounce the words. Forvo hosts hundreds of recordings of word pronunciations by native speakers. Currently there are nearly 200 languages supported on Forvo. Along with word pronunciations, Forvo provides some basic demographic information about each language. Forvo's content is user supported and user generated so new pronunciations are added every day.

CAPL, Culturally Authentic Pictorial Lexicon, is a project developed by Dr. Michael Shaughnessy at Washington & Jefferson College. The purpose of CAPL is to provide images that demonstrate the true meaning and intention of the words in a language. CAPL currently has collections of images for teaching and learning English (North American), German, French, Chinese, and Spanish. CAPL also has images for Japanese, Russian, and Ukranian. All of the images in the collection are licensed under a Creative Commons license that allows for re-use and manipulation for non-commercial purposes.

The Story Place is a children's digital library produced by the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg counties in North Carolina. The Story Place features digital stories in English and Spanish for students of pre-school age through elementary school. The digital stories are arranged by age group and by theme. I looked at the pre-school story about firefighters and thought it that it is the type of story I would share with my pre-school aged child, if I had kids. Along with the digital stories are activity guides for parents.

Verbs Online provides foreign language students with a good selection of activities for practicing verb conjugations. Practice activities are available in English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, and Portuguese. The practice activities deal with the past, present, and future tenses of regular and irregular verbs. Students can choose to do the activities in sets of ten through fifty practice items.

WordSteps is a resource for learning the vocabulary of your choice of nine languages. To start learning vocabulary with WordSteps select the language you are trying to learn then choose a set of vocabulary words in that language. WordSteps provides six types of practice activities for each set of vocabulary words. The sets of vocabulary words are called dictionaries by WordSteps. You can use the dictionaries made by other WordSteps users or create your own dictionary. WordSteps can be used without creating an account, but in order to create your own dictionary you must create an account.

Kindersay is designed for use by pre-K students. The user interface is easy to navigate using clear, kid-friendly icons. There are more than 500 activities that students can use. There is not any distracting advertising on Kindersay.

ESL Basics is a site that provides short video vocabulary lessons for beginning and advanced ESL students. For teachers, ESL Basics has a small collection of suggestions and ideas for teaching ESL. ESL Basics is adding new content on a regular basis.

Make Beliefs is a free comic strip creation tool that provides students with a variety of templates, characters, and prompts for building their own comic strips. Make Beliefs provides students with a pre-drawn characters and dialogue boxes which they can insert into each box of their comic strip. The editing options allow users the flexibility to alter the size of each character and dialogue bubble, bring elements forward within each box, and alter the sequence of each box in the comic strip. Students that have trouble starting a story can access writing prompts through make beliefs. Most impressively, Make Beliefs allows users to write their comic strip's dialogue in English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portugese, or Latin.

Flixtime Adds Voiceover Capabilities

FlixTime, a competitor to Animoto, recently released some enhancements to their video creation services. Probably the most significant of these enhancements is a new option for adding a voiceover to your videos. To add a voiceover all you have to do is select the "add voice" option after uploading and arranging the images in your video. FlixTime will then ask for permission to access your computer's microphone. Once you've granted FlixTime permission to access your microphone you can begin recording.

The other new options in FlixTime are new sound controls, image highlighting, image captioning, and speed controls. The new sound controls allow you to strip the sound from videos you upload to the FlixTime editor. Image highlighting allows you to place a "spotlight" on images in your videos. Image captioning has changed give you the option to place captions on an image or on separate slides. The new speed control option allows you to control the speed of transitions between images.

FlixTime still gives you access to a huge collection of royalty-free images from Fotolia. FlixTime videos can be uploaded to YouTube, embedded on your blog, or downloaded to your computer.

Applications for Education
FlixTime's new voiceover option could be great option for creating short documentary videos with students. One of my few complaints about Animoto has always been that if you wanted students to have their voices on their videos they had to record a separate audio track then upload it. FlixTime's voiceover option simplifies that process.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Free Guide - Making Videos on the Web
Using Screen Captures to Enhance Instructions
How to Put a Video Editor on Your School's Website

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

LangMedia - Resources for World Languages

LangMedia, produced by Five Colleges Incorporated, provides resources for learning languages less-commonly offered by high schools and colleges in the US. Some of the languages for which LangMedia offers educational resources are Arabic, Bulgarian, Persian, Thai, and Urdu. For these languages LangMedia provides course outlines, practice dialogues, and lists of resources necessary for completing the requirements of each course.

In addition to resources for learning languages, LangMedia offers a section called Culture Talk. LangMedia Culture Talk is a collection of video clips of interviews and discussions with people from many different countries, of different ages and from different walks of life. The videos are intended to give viewers insight into the cultures of peoples around the globe. Some of the videos feature English speakers while other videos do not. Those videos that are not in English are accompanied by a written English transcript.

Applications for Education
LangMedia's resources for learning a language could be helpful for students attempting to learn a new language on their own. LangMedia's course outlines could also be good references for teachers trying to develop a new course of their own.

LangMedia's Culture Talk videos could be useful in global studies course. You could use the videos as conversation starters about the cultural differences between groups of people.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Smart.FM - Independent Learning Platform
Learn a Language Through Open University
Learn Spanish -

Google Chrome Now Stable for Mac and Linux

I started using a beta version of Google Chrome on my Mac back in November and have found myself using it more than 50% of the time over the last few months. In fact, because I've found it loads faster than Firefox I always have at least one Chrome window open to run Twitter at all times. Today, Google announced that Chrome for Mac and Linux is now a stable, supported Google product and not just a beta offering. If you haven't tried Chrome yet because you were waiting for it to leave beta, now is the time to give it a try.

Learn more about Chrome in the video below.

Print This, Share This: Moodle Tool Guide for Teachers

Joyce Seitzinger, author of the Cat's Pyjamas blog, has published a great one sheet guide for Moodle using teachers. The guide is essentially a chart of things that you can do with Moodle and how those things can help you reach your pedagogical objectives.

Here's how the guide is read, pick a task such as "create a news forum" on the side of the chart then find an objective on the top of the chart. Follow the two columns to where they meet to find a color coded explanation of why a forum might be good for dissemintating information, but not so good for assessing learning.

You can download the chart here or explore the Cat's Pyjamas here.

Applications for Education
The Moodle Tool Guide for Teachers could be a great resource to share in professional development workshops. The guide is easy to read and quickly answers a lot of questions about effective uses of the many things you can do with Moodle.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Moodle 1.9 for Second Language Teaching
Moodle Tutorial Videos

For Band Teachers - The Evolution of Marching

As a high school student I loved being a tuba player in the marching band. Therefore this week I have really enjoyed So You Want to Teach's series on the evolution of marching. Every day this week Joel has posted a series of videos of various marching band performances from 1972 through 1987 and eventually the series will conclude with 2010 performances. Check out one of the videos from the series below.

Applications for Education
In high school my marching band director would show us video tapes of great marching band performances to either inspire us or to illustrate something that we were trying to do on the field. I don't know if all marching band directors do the same thing, but if they do, The Evolution of Marching series on So You Want To Teach could be a good place to find some videos.

On a related note, if you haven't seen the Notre Dame marching band performing with OK Go, you should watch this video, it's amazing!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Shmoop Adds History and Literature Slideshows

Online study guide provider Shmoop recently added a new slideshow feature to their free offerings. Shmoop now offers slideshows about many topics in their study guides for US History, Civics, Literature, and a new section dedicated to Shakespeare. The slideshows are designed as visual aid supplements to their existing guides. Some of the subjects of the slideshows include King Lear, the War of 1812, and US Political Parties.

Public domain images comprise most of the images in the slideshows. All of the slideshows can be embedded into your blog or website. View the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn slideshow below.

Applications for Education
I've often had students remark that they remembered something on a quiz because they remembered a picture or graphic that I showed them in class. With some of my reluctant readers and students looking at images has often been the gateway to conversation and or students' research into a topic. Shmoop's new slideshows now provide me with a good place to start my search for images to use in my classroom.

Sir Ken Robinson - Bring On the Learning Revolution

TED just released the video of Sir Ken Robinson's talk from TED 2010 which took place in February. His latest talk Bring on the Learning Revolution is a follow-up to his wildly popular 2006 TED Talk Schools Kill Creativity. I watched Bring on the Learning Revolution this morning while sitting in a room in which some teachers were complaining about students not doing their paper-based rote exercises. The combination of hearing those teachers while listening to Robinson led me to Tweet:

Stuck in a room listening to teachers complain about students not doing paper-based rote assignments. Grr... stop giving crappy assignments!

I've watched the video once and plan to watch it again later tonight. Here are my three immediate take-aways from my first viewing of Bring on the Learning Revolution:
1. We need to stop using the fast food model of education.
2. We must recognize the need for a diversity of talents in education and in society.
3. Education shoud be an organic process.

Embedded below is Sir Ken Robinson's 2010 TED Talk Bring on the Learning Revolution.

In case you haven't seen it, embedded below is Sir Ken Robinson's 2006 TED Talk Schools Kill Creativity.

WordSteps - Learn Vocabulary for Nine Languages

WordSteps is a resource for learning the vocabulary of your choice of nine languages. To start learning vocabulary with WordSteps select the language you are trying to learn then choose a set of vocabulary words in that language. WordSteps provides six types of practice activities for each set of vocabulary words. The sets of vocabulary words are called dictionaries by WordSteps. You can use the dictionaries made by other WordSteps users or create your own dictionary. WordSteps can be used without creating an account, but in order to create your own dictionary you must create an account.

The languages supported by WordSteps are English, French, Russian, Spanish, Chinese, German, Japanese, Italian, and Portuguese. The vocabulary practice activities are Flash Cards, Translation Variations, Words Variants, Alphabet Soup, Write Translation by Word, and Write Word by Translation.

Applications for Education
WordSteps could be useful as an independent study tool for foreign language students. If students have a set of words that they must learn for a class they can enter that list into WordSteps and have six types of practice activities ready for them to use. If students are trying to learn a language on their own then the public gallery of vocabulary lists provides a ready-made learning opportunity.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Collaborate on Translations in Translator Toolkit
New from Google - Dictionary & Search Translations
Google Virtual Keyboard for Search

Why Geography Matters - A Video & Video Project

Why Geography Matters is a video produced by Google employees. Clearly the video is a promotion for Google Earth, but that doesn't mean that it doesn't have some educational value. The video features Google employees and students sharing their thoughts on why geography matters.

Thanks to Sylvia Tolisano for sharing the video on her blog.

Applications for Education
This video could be a model for a classroom video project in which students share their thoughts about why geography matters. You could do this at the end of a semester as a way for students to review the things they've studied in your classroom. If you don't have access to video cameras for your students, try one of these
Six Easy Ways for Students to Create Videos Online.

Bottom of the Ocean to the Top of the World

Today's episode of CNN Student News takes viewers from the bottom of the ocean to the top of the world. In today's episode students can view simulations of three methods for dealing with the oil spilling into the Gulf of Mexico. CNN has also included an some CGI animations of how BP is trying to stop the spill. Then on a lighter note students can hear from 13 year old Jordan Romero who just became the youngest person to summit Mount Everest.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Google Teacher Academy in London - Advice for Applicants

As readers in the UK are the fourth largest group of readers for this blog, I thought it would appropriate to share that Google recently announced that they are going to host a Google Teacher Academy in London this summer. GTA London will be held on July 29 and applications are due by June 17.

I've already received a couple of emails asking me for advice about applying to GTA. The video portion of the GTA application can be intimidating for some people, my advice for dealing with the video portion can be found in my January blog post Overcoming the "Video Hurdle" of Applying for GTA. Kevin Jarrett also has some great advice in his blog post My Advice to Google Teacher Academy Applicants; Ya Gotta Believe!!!

Good luck to everyone applying to GTA London!

Google Apps for Education Webinar

Next Wednesday, May 26, at 4pm EST Google is hosting a webinar with representatives of Oregon's Department of Education. As you may know, Oregon recently made the decision to open up and support the use of Google Apps for Education in all of its public schools. In next Wednesday's webinar you'll learn what Oregon perceives as the benefits of Google Apps for Education and why they made the switch. You can register for the webinar here and submit your questions for the webinar here.

View previous Google Apps for Education webinars here.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

100 Ways to Use Social Media in the Classroom

Hardly a day goes by that I don't receive an email from someone who has written a long list post on his or her blog. Usually, I'll just Tweet the link to my followers and that's the end of it. Recently though I received an email informing me of a list post that I feel warrants sharing on Free Technology for Teachers. The post is titled 100 Inspiring Ways to Use Social Media in the Classroom and comes to us from Online Universities. What I like about this list is that it isn't just a list of ideas, but it's a list of ideas linked to real examples of educators using social media in their classrooms. If you're looking for some new ideas for your classroom, check out the list today.

If you like that list make sure you also watch Social Media Revolution 2.

Week in Review - New Email Delivery Option

It looks like it's going to be another beautiful weekend in Maine (have I mentioned that I love living here?) and hopefully it's equally nice wherever you are.

Here are the seven most popular items of the last week:
1. How to Put a Video Editor on Your School's Website
2. Five Ways Students Can Build Multimedia Timelines
3. Google Wave Opens to Everyone - Now It's Useful
4. Goofram - Google and Wolfram Alpha Side by Side
5. Edistorm - Collaborative Brainstorming With Stickies
6. Free Webinar - Creating Websites for Elite Educators
7. Smart Tutor - Elementary Math and Reading Activities

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.
subscribe via RSS, please click here.

Join nearly 4,400
fans of Free Technology for Teachers on Facebook.

I want to say thank you to all of the email subscribers who have endured sporadic problems with my email deliveries over the last few weeks. This week I switched to FeedBlitz for email delivery. It's a service that I am paying for, but I'm happy to do so because the customer service has been outstanding so far. I apologize for the duplicate emails some of you may have received, FeedBlitz worked with me yesterday to fix that and no one should receive duplicates from now on. If you're considering an email delivery service for your own mailing list, give FeedBlitz a look. And if you do decide to switch use the promo code "Free" to get a 10% discount. (Disclosure, I do not have any financial affiliation with FeedBlitz).

Another change to Free Technology for Teachers that you may have noticed this week is that in affiliation with PostLearn I'm now offering an education job board. If you're looking for a teaching job or looking to hire a teacher, check out the job board.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Claroline - Open Source Learning Management System

Claroline is an open source program that gives users the freedom to create their own online classroom. With Claroline teachers can produce assessment activities, post and collect assignments, build a wiki, monitor student activities, and create chat rooms or discussion forums. Claroline is available as a free download for Mac, Windows, and Linux systems. Claroline is not a hosted service so you do need to have someone host your installation of Claroline. You can, however, demo Claroline online here.

Applications for Education
If you've been looking for an alternative to Moodle for building your online learning environment, Claroline could be the application for you. The creative freedom that Claroline users have means that teachers can customize activities for any grade level or content area.

Make Video News Available on Your Blog 24/7

Google Web Elements is a gallery of useful widgets that can be easily embedded into most blogs and websites. One of the widgets that could be useful for teachers of current events is the YouTube News Widget. The YouTube News Widget provides your viewers with the newest video stories from your preferred news source. You can choose from a list of thirteen news providers including CBS, The New York Times, and the Associated Press.

To install the YouTube News Widget all you have to do is select your preferred news provider, copy the embed code provided by Google, and paste that code into your blog or website. In Blogger and Google Sites this is particularly easy to do. Embedded below is the widget using The New York Times as my preferred provider.

Applications for Education
As I mentioned above, the YouTube News Widget could be nice resource to add to your class or course blog.

(Sorry users, Google Web Elements don't always play nice with your blogs).

Communiversity - College Reviews by Students

Communiversity is a website on which students and their parents can find information about the colleges they're considering attending. Communiversity is similar to theU which I've previously reviewed (click here to read about theU). The content on Communiversity is generated from current students. Communiversity is an avenue through which prospective students can get "inside" information about a college.

Applications for Education
Nothing can quite replace the experience of visiting a college campus, but visiting the campus of a college can be logistically and financially difficult for some students. Sites like Communiversity can help students decide if they really want to visit a particular college's campus before taking a trip.

How to Create a Custom Search Engine

If you work in a school that uses strict web filtering you and your students know the frustration of conducting a search only to have many of the links in your results blocked. One way to avoid this frustration is to build your own search engine using Google Custom Search. Google Custom Search allows you to specify which sites you want searched. You can specify websites that you know aren't blocked by your school's filter and sites that you judge to be reliable sources of information. The presentation below will walk you through creating a custom search engine and how you can install it in a Blogger blog.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Google Tools Tutorials
Google for Teachers
Beyond Google - Improve Your Search Results

What I Read First or RSS Recommendations

Updated November 2010
Over the last few weeks I've been "tagged" by at least five people in "Who I'm Reading?" blog posts. Those folks who I know for sure tagged me are Kevin Jarrett, Kelly Hines, James Michie, Vanessa Cassie, and Michael Zimmer. In order to "pay it forward" so to speak, I though it was time that I share a list of the blogs written by educators that I go to first when I open my RSS reader. I am currently subscribed to 237 252 RSS feeds (down from roughly 300 earlier this year) in addition to the nearly more than 7000 people I follow on Twitter. So I obviously can't list everyone that contributes to my learning, but these people definitely stand out.

In no particular order here are the ten blogs written by educators that I go to first in my RSS reader:

iLearn Technology - Kelly Tenkely
Larry Ferlazzo
Welcome to NCS-Tech - Kevin Jarrett
David Warlick
Dangerously Irrelevant - Dr. Scott McLeod
AKA Riptide Furse - Fred Delventhal
Langwitches - Sylvia Tolisano
Moving at the Speed of Creativity - Wes Fryer
Teachers as Technology Trailblazers - Kristen Swanson
Teach Paperless - Shelly Blake-Plock

What do you read first? Who should I be reading that I'm not reading now?

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Infographic - Which Age Groups Use Social Media

Bloomberg BusinessWeek has an interesting infographic depicting the types of online activities done by members of seven different age groups. There are six user actions labeled in the infographic; creators, critics, collectors, joiners, spectators, and inactives. Age groups represented are Young Teens, Youth, Gen Y, Gen X, Young Boomers, Older Boomers, and Seniors. The data in the chart came from Forrester Research.

Click here for a larger version of the infographic.

Thanks to Paul Maglione for sharing the infographic on Twitter.

Applications for Education
This infographic confirms what many of us already know, kids are creating and consuming content online at a higher rate than their teachers and parents. The question then is why aren't more schools allowing students to produce and consume online content?

SpringPad - Organizing Bookmarks and Notes

SpringPad is a free online bookmarking and note taking service. SpringPad can be used on your computer and synced to your iPhone or Android-powered phone through the free SpringPad apps. You can also access your SpringPad account on other mobile devices by visiting the mobile version of SpringPad. I tested the mobile version earlier today and it worked well.

To use SpringPad on your computer, register for an account, install the SpringPad bookmarklet then start adding content to your account. You can add just a simple bookmark of a web address or you can add a web address with notes for yourself and anyone with whom you choose to share you content. You can also just add notes to your SpringPad account. If you're on a computer that is not your's you can email notes and links to your SpringPad account.

Learn more about SpringPad in the video below.

Applications for Education
This year it my the student body in my school seems to have reached the point where the majority of students are carrying a mobile device that can be considered a smartphone. That has prompted me to really being to investigate services that can be used on mobile devices for educational purposes. SpringPad is one service that I might recommend to my students to try.

Zoodles - A Free Kid-Friendly Web Browser

Zoodles is a web browser designed for use by children eight years old and younger. Zoodles provides a safe environment of screened and preselected web-based activities for education and entertainment. When you register to download Zoodles you're given the option to enter your child's age. Zoodles uses that information to provide your child with age appropriate activities. You can also specify if your child has a vision or hearing impairment and Zoodles will use that information to provide your child with appropriate activities accessible to him or her. Installing and using Zoodles is 100% free. Zoodles also offers some premium add-ons such as activity reports and custom settings for a fee.

Watch the video below to learn more about Zoodles.

Applications for Education
If you work in a preschool setting or in an early elementary school setting, Zoodles could be a great alternative to Firefox, Chrome, or Internet Explorer. Even children who cannot read yet can use Zoodles because of the clear layout and spoken directions provided by Zoodles.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Safe Computing Tools for Kids - Windows Based
KidRex - Kid Safe Search
Welcome to the Web