Saturday, May 7, 2011

Is Your State Short Changing Schools? - Infographic

Is Your State Short Changing Schools is an infographic from Certification Map. The infographic highlights the school budget cuts by state across the US. Thanks to Angela Maiers for sharing. I've dropped the infographic into to make it easier to explore on this page.

Google Docs for Android

Last week Google announced the launch of a new Google Docs for Android App. Because of the way that I work I don't have a lot of times that I "need" a mobile app for editing documents, but as an Android phone user and Google fan boy I had to give it a try. Today, I gave the new Google Docs for Android App a try. Here's my initial take on it.

The Good:
Like all other Google Apps mobile apps, the Google Docs for Android App easily syncs up all of the data in my Google Docs account. I did not have any problem opening and editing any documents.

I was able to start a new document on my phone and continue editing it on my laptop.

The most interesting aspect of the Google Docs for Android App is the option to start a document by taking a picture and uploading it to your Google Docs account. I gave it a try and successful uploaded a picture, however editing the text around the image was less than ideal on my phone. When I switched back to using my laptop, formatting text around the image became much easier.

The not so good:
I was able to open presentations that are in my Google Docs account, however not all of them would fully load. I was also unable to edit the presentations.

This is more of a function of screen size than the app itself, but trying to manipulate a spreadsheet in on my phone's screen was difficult.

Applications for Education
Overall the Google Docs for Android App isn't perfect yet, but it could definitely be used by students. I like the idea of students taking pictures with they Android devices and starting to write about that picture while they're outside on a field trip. The field trip could be as simple as taking a walk around the campus of your school and asking students to take pictures and write about them. It could be a good cure for writers' block.

EdCamp Boston Morning Reflections

It's lunchtime here at EdCamp Boston, it has been a good morning of mingling, sharing, and learning. I facilitated a conversation about blogging. What I enjoy about EdCamp is that there isn't a keynote speaker or any planned workshops. As a first time EdCamp conversation facilitator I enjoyed being able to let the conversation go wherever people wanted it to. I felt like this format could help more people have their needs met than a traditional workshop-style session.

The conversation I facilitated was titled Everything You've Wanted To Know About Blogging, But Haven't Asked. About twenty people came to the conversation and we covered all kinds of topics related to blogging in the classroom and blogging for personal/ professional use. During the conversation I shared a couple of links with the group to address a couple of things that came up.

In response to some questions about teaching students to comment I brought up this page of posts from Silvia Tolisano. This page contains Silvia's excellent blog posts about teaching students to write good blog post comments. You can watch one of the videos below.

3rd Grade- Quality Commenting on Blogs from langwitches on Vimeo.

In response to some questions about "selling" teachers on creating a classroom blog, Patrick Larkin and I brought up the idea of selling them on the practical benefits of blogging. To that end I put this Slideshare up on the screen.

Week in Review - Greetings from EdCamp

Good morning from Boston where EdCamp Boston is just about to start. This is my first EdCamp so I'm looking forward to the experiences today. If you're not familiar with the EdCamp model it is basically an gathering of educators who propose discussion topics for the day. Those topics are voted on by attendees and the topics of most interest are the ones that make it onto the agenda. You can learn more about EdCamp in this video. Before I rush into the EdCamp experience, I'd like to share with you the most popular posts of the week.

Here are the most popular posts of the week:
1. Edmodo: The Total Classroom Solution
2. Technology in the Music Classroom
3. 10 Sites and Apps for SAT Vocabulary Review
4. 100 Years in 100 Images
5. Videos and Articles About the Death of Osama Bin Laden
6. Weather Spark - Interactive Weather Maps
7. JellyCam - A Free Stop Motion Movie Creator

Thank you to everyone that continues to support Free Technology for Teachers by visiting, subscribing, and sharing links with others. Because of your support Free Technology for Teachers was able to help sponsor EdCamp Boston.

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