Saturday, March 20, 2010

Mac For Beginners

Perhaps because I use a Mac all the time and because every 7-12 teacher in Maine uses a Mac, I sometimes forget that learning to use a Mac can be a big transition for some people. From Silvia Tolisano's daily bookmarks post I've just learned about a handy website for those folks who have just switched to Mac or are considering a switch to Mac. Mac For Beginners features concise how-to instructions for the beginning Mac user. Some of the topics you'll find covered on Mac For Beginners include using the Spotlight, adjusting system preferences, and searching for files on a Mac.

Applications for Education
Mac For Beginners could be a good resource for teachers that are responsible for teaching students of all ages how to use the basic features of a Mac.

Week in Review - Greetings from Calgary

By the time you read this I'll (hopefully) be flying over the Rocky Mountains on my way home from the Teacher 2 Teacher conference in Bow Island, Alberta. As I write this I'm in Calgary getting ready to fly home. Traveling made it difficult to get as many posts written as I would have liked so I want to thank all of you for your patience with the slight change in the posting schedule over the last five days.

Here are the seven most popular items of the last week:
1. Many Ways to Use Flip Cameras in the Classroom
2. Nine Tools for Collaboratively Creating Mind Maps
3. Has Anyone Seen a Missing Hour of Sleep?
4. Smarthistory - A Multimedia Art History Book
5. Free eBook - The Amazing Web 2.0 Projects Book
6. Jamendo - Free Music for Multimedia Projects
7. Why Do We Connect?

As always, thank you to everyone that has shared this blog with your friends and colleagues. Because of you, this week we came close to having 3000 fans of Free Technology for Teachers on Facebook.

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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How to Track Topics With Google Alerts

On Thursday at the Teacher 2 Teacher conference I introduced a couple of folks to Google Alerts. Those introductions came out of their questions about how I was able to keep track of where Free Technology for Teachers was mentioned online. Then today at the same conference I sat in on Silvia Tolisano's presentation about student blogging in which she told participants about Google Alerts. In both cases we were telling people about Google Alerts so that they can easily track topics online.

Google Alerts is a great tool for tracking your name online, tracking work you've posted online, and tracking the topics in you have an interest. You can create a Google Alert for any search term(s) you like. Once you've established an alert, you can choose to have Google send you an email anytime your chosen terms appear online. Alternatively, you can choose to have your alerts delivered to your Google Reader account.

The image below outlines how to create Google Alerts.
(click to enlarge)

Applications for Education
Google Alerts can be a great way to find resources you can use in your classroom. For example, if you're a mathematics teacher, set up an alert for "mathematics lessons" or "mathematics games" and new content will be delivered to you. In a course that requires students to share current events stories, Google Alerts could be useful for students to track stories on a particular news topic.