Friday, October 29, 2010 Acquired by Facebook - Get Your Data

I've been a huge fan and advocate for since the first month of their launch (this blog and started about the same time). This evening Jerry Swiatek directed my attention to a TechCrunch post reporting that is shutting down. confirms it on their blog, they've been bought out by Facebook and will be shutting down on December 15. As of today is no longer allowing the creation of new drops. Existing users need to download all of their files before December 15 or lose them.

Over the last few months had stopped supporting a couple of the features, upload widgets and MP3 recording, that I really liked. That had me wondering what was going on. I guess I know now.

Applications for Education
Like a lot of other educators, I use to have students upload assignments rather than emailing attachments. This will send us on a search for other services that allow the upload of varied file types to one place. I plan to spend some time exploring alternatives this weekend and I'll be sure to post them.

And don't worry, Free Technology for Teachers isn't getting bought out by Facebook anytime soon.

Looking for Lesson Materials? Try OER Commons

Earlier this week I mentioned on Twitter that I had introduced a couple of my colleagues to the Open Educational Resources Commons. They took off running with some of the things they found on the OER Commons. In fact, it was through one of them that I learned about Math Open Reference which was linked to a mathematics lesson on OER Commons.

OER Commons is a place for educators to post lessons and lesson materials that others can use. There are thousands of lessons organized by content area and grade level. After you've made your initial selections of content area and grade level you can refine your search by lesson type, material, media format, and usage rights.

Applications for Education
One of the great qualities about teachers is that, for the most part, we're very willing to share our ideas and lesson resources with each other. OER Commons is a great online example of that quality found in teachers. If you're a new teacher or you're teaching a new grade or subject this year, you're probably trying to develop a lot of new lessons this year. If you're looking for ideas and or materials for those lessons, give OER Commons a look.

Best Professional Development Meeting in Years!

Today was a staff development day at my school. For the first time in years we had nearly the whole day to talk with our departmental colleagues about our challenges, our successes, and what we're doing in our classrooms. Now, just to clarify we've had days where an hour or so was spent that way, but today we had the better part of five uninterrupted hours. Within the context of the day in my department we watched four videos. I've embedded those videos with short explanations below.

From TED we watched Joachim de Posada's talk about the Marshmallow Experiment. This video was shown in the context of a discussion about "wait time" in the classroom.

From TED we watched Tom Wujec's talk, "Build a Tower, Build a Team." We watched this in the context of encouraging students to take academic risks.

In the context of a discussion about how stereotypes affect can affect student performance we watched the following video from John Stossel.

In the context of a discussion about motivation we watched Alfi Kohn vs. Dwight Schrute.

Resources About the Great Depression

Today marks the 81st anniversary of Black Tuesday, the day that the stock market crashed triggering the Great Depression. Below you will find some videos and links to lessons related to the Great Depression.

On YouTube I came across a playlist of 43 videos about Black Tuesday and the Great Depression. The playlist is a mix of archival film and documentary film. The list is embedded below.

From PBS Video Great Depression Stories features three women talking about their experiences during the Great Depression.

The following four links are resources that I've previously shared on Free Technology for Teachers.

The Social Security Act of 1935
FDR and the Banking System
The Farm Letters - Stories of Great Depression Life
History of the First 100 Days