Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wikispaces PD Training Wiki

Today, on their blog Wikispaces introduced a new resource for professional development facilitators. Wikispaces's PD Presenter Toolkit is a wiki that is designed to help you introduce other educators to wikis. The PD Presenter Toolkit includes a presenter's guide, slides, and a series of six graduated activities that you can use to help other educators learn how to use Wikispaces and how wikis in general can be used in education. The PD Presenter Toolkit also includes a list of wikis used in a variety of grade levels and content areas.

Applications for Education
If you find yourself introducing educators to the concepts of and educational uses for wikis, the PD Presenter Toolkit is a wiki that you should check out. The PD Presenter Toolkit, based on a workshop developed by Dr. Mark Wagner, could be used as is or you could use some of the resources and blend them with your own ideas to make a PD workshop as relevant as possible for your school.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
11 Techy Things for Teachers to Try This Year
A Great Alternative To Traditional Book Reports

Win $100,000 for Your School from Bing Education

Bing Education (a division of Microsoft) is currently holding a contest which will award $100,000 dollars to the winning school and $50,000 to three runner-up schools. The Our School Needs contest asks schools to write essays, take pictures, and create a short video showing what they need. The essay and video should also explain how getting the things a school says it needs will improve the learning experiences of its students. The contest is accepting applications now through October 22, 2010. Apologies to readers outside of the US, the contest is only open to public and private schools in the United States. Find all of the contest details here.

Tips for Teaching Online

My ISTE 2010 roommate Cory Plough teaches all of his high school social studies courses online. If you're just starting out teaching online or you're considering doing it in the future, Cory has just written a post that you must read. Cory's latest post on his blog The Next Step points out some things that people new to teaching online might not think about when designing and conducting online courses. Read 4 Tips for Teaching a Course Online.

Overhauled & Improved Edublogs Help Center

If you use Edublogs to introduce your students or other educators to blogging, the recently overhauled Edublogs help center is a helpful resource for you and them. The Edublogs help center contains answers to the most commonly asked questions about Edublogs, PDF guides to using Edublogs, and helpful video tutorials. The help resources cover not only the basics of blogging, but also more advanced skills like modifying your blog's theme and linking within comments.

The video below from Edublogs shows users how to embed videos into their Edublogs blogs.

Embedding Videos from Video Sharing Websites into Your Posts from Incsub on Vimeo.

Disclosure: Edublogs is an advertiser on Free Technology for Teachers.

Google Docs Adds More Font Styles

One of the complaints that I occasionally hear about Google Docs is the lack of font choices. Yesterday, Google took some steps to offer more font choices. In an announcement on the Google Docs blog Google unveiled six new font choices for Google Documents users. For now the new fonts appear to be available in documents only and not in the Google Docs presentations. Hopefully, more font choices will be added to Google Docs presentations in the future.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Learn It In 5 - Tech How-to Videos for Teachers
Google for Teachers - Free Ebook
Google for Teachers II - Free Ebook

Just Paste It - A Simple Way to Share Notes

JustPaste.It is a free, simple note sharing service. At its most basic Just Paste It provides an online word processor for writing notes and documents. You can also insert images and videos into your Just Paste It notes. Sharing notes online with Just Paste It is a simple matter of clicking the "publish" button. Clicking publish generates a unique url for your notes that can share with others. Check out my note here.

Just Paste It notes don't have to live entirely online. Notes can be started online or started offline in a MS Word document and imported to Just Paste It for editing and sharing. If you need to print your notes, Just Paste It notes can be downloaded as PDFs for printing.

Applications for Education
Just Paste It could be an easy way for students to quickly share notes with each other. Just Paste It also provides a way for you and your students to convert MS Word documents to a format that can be easily used online.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Titan Pad - An Ether Pad Clone
Primary Pad - An Ether Pad Alternative
Entri - Free, Registration-Free Document Collaboration

CNN Student News - Genetically Engineered Salmon

Today's episode of CNN Student News contains a segment that could be used in science classes and social studies classes. The segment introduces students to genetically modified salmon and the questions about it before the FDA. The segment then asks students if they would eat it. Watch the video below.

Applications for Education
This segment of CNN Student News presents the opportunity to introduce students to the ideas of genetically modified foods. The segment could also be used in social studies classes to discuss the role of the FDA in the lives of Americans.