Saturday, November 13, 2010

My Edublog Awards Nominations

The nomination process for the 2010 Edublog Awards began this week. Picking nominees is a difficult thing to do because there are so many great people who deserve to be recognized. I've been thinking about my selections for three days and what follows is the result of much deliberation. I have not picked in every category, only the categories that I'm most familiar with.

Best Use of Video: Learn It In 5.

Best Educational Podcast: Seedlings Bit by Bit.

Best Individual Twitter: Steven Anderson @web20classroom (no one Tweets more useful links more often than Steven)

Best Use of a PLN: Beth Still for the ISTE 2010 Newbie Project

Best Educational Technology Support Blog: Speed of Creativity (Wesley Fryer)

Best Resource Sharing Blog: iLearn Technology (for a bunch of reasons this was the most difficult category for me to pick, not the least of which is that voters have twice awarded me in this category)

Best Librarian Blog: Joyce Valenza Never Ending Search

Most Influential Blog Post: Dan Meyer Math Curriculum Makeover (seriously, I wish he had been my math teacher in school).

Best Student Blog: Sorrel Dunn A Year in Frankfurt (Admittedly this is a total homer pick because Sorrel was my student last year and her father is my district's technology director. That said, it is a fun blog to read about an American high school student studying in Germany).

Best New Blog: Hack Education Audrey Watters

Lifetime Achievement: Vicki Davis Cool Cat Teacher (This was another very tough call. In fact, I typed and deleted a bunch of times before posting this).

Again, I cannot adequately express how difficult it was to pick just one nominee in each category. There are many many blogs in my RSS reader that deserve mention, some of them are listed here. I look forward to seeing the nominations of others because it is a great way to discover great new-to-me people.

Explania Video - What's New in Windows 7

Has your school recently upgraded to Windows 7? Is it planning to upgrade to Windows 7? If so, the following video from Explania might help you or those who come to you for help discover some of the new handy features in Windows 7. 

What’s new in Windows 7? - Explania

On a related note, for a few reasons I've been contemplating the purchase of a new Windows-based 15"-16" screen laptop. I'm often desirous of more screen real estate than my MacBook (13") or netbook (10") offer. I could just get a big monitor to plug into, but I really don't want another piece of furniture in the house nor do I have a good place to put something like that (all of my work away from school takes place at my kitchen table, on the couch, or on the road). Occasionally, I come across programs that are Windows-only that I want to try on screen bigger than that of my netbook. Finally, as much as I'd like to think that Mac OS is awesome, I know there are a lot of people and institutions that don't agree. Therefore, I feel that I should be more familiar with Windows 7 than I am now.

This Asus A52F-XE2 Laptop (Amazon link) seems like it would fit my budget and needs, but I'd like to hear from the Windows experts out there. Will I be disappointed with it for that price? I won't be using it for any heavy video editing or gaming (unless you count the occasional word game), mostly it will be used for writing, browsing the web, and Google Earth layer building.

Week in Review - The Most Popular Posts

A thin sheet of ice on the pond outside my window indicates that winter is approaching northern New England, but that doesn't keep me from enjoying the great outdoors. Before I head-out on a walk in the woods, I'll share with you this week's most popular posts on Free Technology for Teachers.

Here are this week's most popular posts:
1. Ten Marks for Educators - Online Math Instruction
2. Library of 60+ Short US History Videos
3. Using SchoolTube to View YouTube
4. Lesson Plans from the Museum of Modern Art
5. Try DROPitTOme to Collect Assignments Online
6. Creative Commons Search
7. Vocaroo - A Simple Way to Make Voice Recordings

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Edublogs provides blog hosting for teachers and students. is a provider of free educational games for K-5. powers the job board on Free Technology for Teachers.
SimpleK12 is my blog marketing partner. - Course Management in Google Apps

If your school uses Google Apps for Education, is a service that you might want to spend some time exploring. integrates with your Google Apps for Education services to provide course management functions.

Some of the course management functions provided by include posting and receiving of assignments, video and audio file postings to students, course announcements, and lecture outline postings. provides a tabbed timeline for students to use to navigate course postings made by their instructors. For instructors, offers private timelines to manage multiple courses and their associated folders and calendars. See screen captures and read about all of's features here.

Applications for Education
For instructors looking for a better way to manage online aspects of their courses, could be a good add-on to their existing Google Apps for Education account. Students will also benefit from having a centralized location for all course communications. offers a Facebook functionality that could help increase the effective reach of your course-related online postings.

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

Interactive Exploration of the Galapagos Islands

NOVA offers an interactive tour of the Galapagos Islands as they appear today and as Darwin saw them. The tour of the islands highlights the unique animals and geologic features on the islands. As visitors progress through the tour they can view view videos and images and listen to audio tracks about the islands. In contrast to the modern imagery of the islands, visitors can select the "What Darwin Saw" tour to view Darwin's sketches, excerpts of his writings, and listen to experts talk about what Darwin saw.

Another resource about the Galapagos Islands that is worth thirty minutes of your time is a Link TV video about the impact of development on the Galapagos Islands. You can watch the film on Snag Films.
Watch more free documentaries

Applications for Education
I've seen Darwin's trip to the Galapagos Islands present in both science and history lessons. The interactive tour linked above provides a nice way for students to see how Darwin's work influenced they way scientists work today. Of course, Darwin's ideas did cause controversy as evidenced by the Scopes Trial in 1925. American Experience has some lesson materials for teaching about the Scopes Trial.

Here are some related items that may be of interest to you:
Galapagos Rap Video
Darwin, A Naturalist's Journey - Virtual Tour