Category Archives: Web

Five Ways to Leverage Pinterest in Education

1. A “Vision Board” – the phrase has been coined by a writer who uses Pinterest as an inspiration board for her novel in progress.

2. Professional Development – “pin” links to articles and websites that pertain to training

3. Collaboration – Sharing, liking, and “re-pinning” images, quotes, and links for a collaborative project..

4. Build your Personal Learning Network. As members of the group follow each other and re-pin links, each member brings new resources to the entire group.

5. Share tips for busy teachers to help with meals and household tips. Teachers are  people too!  They have families and life outside of school. Pinterest allows the user to build a network of friends with similar challenges. Share tips and inspiration, recipes, and creativity.

If you have suggestions for other ways to use Pinterest as an educational tool I would love to hear them in the comments section!


Save Web Articles To Your Ereader

or make a personalized cookbook on your kindle!

I have joined the insanity that is Pinterest – the online pinboard site that lets you create boards by subject and then “pin” things you find on the internet to the boards you have created as well as follow others who have similar interests and “repin” what they find on your board. A visual representation of your finding is created, you add a short description and Pinterest creates a link to the website.

Fun but what if I want to access that recipe I found last week that would be perfect for supper and I really don’t want to take the time to go to Pinterest, find my board, click to the website, and jot down the directions??

There is a cool website that allows you to drag a bookmarklet to your browser toolbar. (If you already use Pinterest, you probably have the “Pin It” bookmarklet on your toolbar)

This bookmarklet works the same way.  The website is  and FIRST you check a box on the right sidebar to tell it whether you want mobi files for kindle or epub files for other ereaders (including your iPad). Now drag the bookmarklet to your toolbar.

Go to the webpage that has the cool recipe and click the bookmarklet (mine says mobi because I use a Kindle). You now download the file. The pictures and ads are stripped away and you have a file that contains the text of the recipe.

I made a folder I can drag my recipes and articles to and then when I have a few collected I go to the Kindle.

You will connect our Kindle to your computer via the usb cable. It will show up just like a flash drive. Double click to open and you will see several folders. The books live in the Documents folder. That is where you will drag your newly created mobi files. I suspect the process is similar on a nook, but I am not sure what the folders are called.

Once the files are on the Kindle, go to the list of books, navigate to a recipe, and press the right side of the controller. From the menu choose add to collection.  If this is the first time, click down to add new collection. Type Recipes or Cookbook or whatever you want to name it. The recipe will be added to the collection. Do this for each recipe.


I also use Calibre for keeping up with my books and within Calibre you can edit metadata. The file will have a  long number in the name eliminate that. I was happy to see that Calibre automatically added the originating website as the author so I can always go back to refer to it.

I also emailed one of the mobi files to myself and downloaded on my iPad which knew to ask me if I wanted to open the file in the Kindle app.

I then converted a recipe to epub using and emailed it to myself. When I clicked the attachment on my iPad it knew to ask if I wanted to open it in iBooks (which also lets you create collections)

In both iBooks and Kindle, the recipes (or articles) will be listed in alphabetical order within the collection. I have been trying to think of a way to organize them within the collection in case you decide to save a bazillion recipes this way.  Off the top of my head, I think you could create a number code – 1 for main dish, 2 for side dish, 3 for dessert – or something similar. If you rename the files before you put them on your ereader using the number as the first character you will organize them one step further.

Remember there will be NO pictures. The pictures are stripped away, so if this is a recipe, project, tutorial that you need pictures for, you may want to try something different.

If you find other cool ways to use leave me a comment and tell me about it.

Kindle Versus iPad Musings

Amazon has slowly rapidly been changing the way people read. I won’t even attempt an opinion about the long term effects on book stores and publishing. I could not say if it will eventually be a good thing or not. It is what it is. As a friend if fond of saying, you can’t put the poop back in the bull.

That said, I am interested in some of the changes that are happening now. I have been a fan of the Kindle for several years and use an IPad for work. I also use the iPad to read books from Amazon that are more than just text. The non-back lit Kindle is my preference for night reading but for things like cookbooks, tutorials, basically any book that has a lot of pictures, I utilize the kindle app on the iPad or iBooks.

I will be watching the roll out of the Kindle tablet for just that reason. The iPad has been the most useful piece of technology I have had in my hands since the MacBook. It is lightweight and wireless so I can carry it everywhere and take care of many tasks on the spot which saves steps up and down stairs. With Wunderlist, I can quickly add or check off a task, it syncs with the website and even sends me a cheerful email if I let a priority task wait too long “Ahoy Matey! You have some tasks to complete!” I can go to the website and print a list of completed tasks so I have documentation of what I have done and when. I get a very satisfying feeling from checking things as done.

I have both Pages and Keynote (not free but still reasonable at ten bucks each) but so far, I utilize the little free Notes app for that comes pre-installed more than any other. Just click a plus sign, get a new page with the date, type and click out of it. It’s like a huge legal pad that I can search, send, or share. Simple and handy as sliced bread.

I read articles on the Zite app. Zite is an application that comes with a few preloaded categories but you can add your own. It then searches for news and blogs that fit the categories. But wait! There’s more! It has a like/dislike button much like the Facebook icon that helps it “learn” your preferences. You can choose to see more articles like the one you are presently reading and/or more articles from that particular source. Zite gives you the ability to share, email, or add the article to several apps (my preference is instapaper). It is pretty – think google reader in glassy magazine format.

Dropbox is one of my favorite web apps but with the iPad it really shines. I can upload a PDF from any computer, open the dropbox app on my iPad, click the file, then one more click to open in iBooks. Now I have it in a nice readable form even when I am without wireless. Things like the master schedule, instructions for tasks that I do not use frequently enough to memorize, the entire gradebook manual…all are in my iBooks now. Macs have had the ability to save anything as a pdf as long as I have used them and now with Office 2010 having the option to save as pdf, I can put any document that I think I might need to refer back to in iBooks. Bam.

The highly addicting Words With Friends game is pleasant on the bigger screen and I am also hooked on scramble which has a social aspect to it but so far I play it solo – just a screen full of letters. You find words from letters that are next to each other until the time runs out. You are scored according to how many words you find and get extra points for using certain letters.

There are tons of pretty apps that are useful and free or very reasonable. Interactive books and all of the educational apps are going to be a big force in education. I tried using a vga connector to connect my iPad with the data projector and it was incredibly easy. I have read a few articles that say you are not able to project everything but the few things I tried worked very well sharing your screen is an option and at twenty-nine dollars for a vga connector, a reasonable solution for a classroom that has a limited number of iPads.

Running through the list, the apps I use on a daily basis are all free. I read, I write, play a few games, utilize the internet. If the amazon Kindle table will do those things it will be a viable option for me and at half the price of an iPad.

Amazon is doing a couple of things that could make it even more attractive. They have opened up the ability for public libraries to lend ebooks via Kindle. Huge!

There is also buzz about a “netflix” like subscription service where, for a fee, readers will be able to download books.

If the Amazon Kindle tablet is able to do the same things that I regularly do on my iPad, hook to a projector (or my tv) via vga connector, then it will have my vote – especially at half the price of the iPad.


I hope I am able to embed this video.  If you are unfamiliar with TedTalks, it is TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a U.S private nonprofit foundation best known for its conferences, now held in Europe and Asia as well as the U.S., devoted to what it calls “ideas worth spreading”. …

I was familiar with a little of the genetic “engineering” that goes on, but not to this extent.  Mr. Wolpe suggests that we take a close look at our ethical responsibility regarding what we are already able to do, and what we will be able to do in the future.

“Paul Root Wolpe examines the ethical implications of new science — genetic modification, neuroscience and other breakthroughs that stretch our current philosophy to the breaking point. He’s the chief bioethicist at NASA, among other appointments.

Paul Root Wolpe directs the Center for Ethics at Emory University,  where he works on the biggest issues most of us face in our life-long ethical journey: death and dying, new reproductive technologies, and new medical and scientific breakthroughs that are not covered in our traditional ethics (what would the Bible say about growing a human ear on a mouse?).

He’s also the chief bioethicist at NASA, where he advises on the medical experiments that happen during space travel.”



In case it does not embed I have provided a link to the video.

TedTalks Paul Wolpe



Fake Social Network Projects For Students

Web Writing Projects

Fake iPhone Text

Click Create and will generate a picture that resembles actual text on an iphone.

My Fake Wall

create a fake facebook page about a historical or literary character.‭ ‬You can include people your character would have been friends with,‭ ‬geographical information,‭ ‬educational background,‭ ‬groups they would have joined,‭ ‬family members.

Here is a Word Template if you prefer

Fake Tweet Builder

You may have heard of twitter which is a social networking site.‭  ‬You can post short blocks of text called tweets.‭  ‬You are limited to‭ ‬140‭ ‬characters per tweet.

Result without customization:

A few more fun things:‭  ‬type or paste in a block of text,‭ ‬click choose male or female voice,‭ ‬click create mp3

You know those URLs that are two miles long and by the time the student has typed it in,‭ ‬found their spelling error and gotten to the correct site,‭ ‬the class period is nearly up and both of you are frustrated and tired‭??  ‬No more‭!!
Go to either of these sites and type or paste in your long URL one time.‭  ‬A cute,‭ ‬short,‭ ‬tiny little address will be created that you can give your students and they will be rocking along on that website in no time‭!

I hope you have fun with this – I did!



Ten Ways To Use Twitter

I do not use the Foursquare app so I do not check in and let everyone know where I am. For one thing, it would be boring.  The majority of my location tweets would read:  “Home reading or writing on my laptop”  repeatedly, well…obviously not much fun to read.  I don’t tweet a lot period.  My blog is set up so that a tweet appears when I post something new so if you lead as boring a lifestyle as I do, you can “follow” me and be alerted whenever there is a now post.

I use Twitter more as a headline perusal source.  Just this morning I found two new books I want to read,three articles on writing that I have bookmarked to read later today,  and a couple of writing prompts to help get the juices flowing for a new poem or story,  I also found a link to a Google docs template for creating a faux Facebook page for a famous person in history.  What a great way to use Facebook in education. Choose a literary character for English.  Insert a picture of your person, list four people they would have “friended”, make up two Facebook groups they would have joined.  Make up some wall posts they would have made.

My favorite session at TCEA was Four:Forty:140: Four Themes, Forty Ideas, 140 Characters with David Jakes and the biggest takeaway from the session has been rattling around in my brain (More on this later) – don’t let the tools drive education – ask your teachers what kinds of learning experiences they want their students to have and find the tools that will best serve that purpose.  I am a person who loves new and shiny, but this resonated with me and I will be looking at technology through that lens in the future.  Using Twitter and Facebook in education are examples of teacher-thinking and technology.  We forget that technology in education SHOULD exist to support the teacher – not the other way around.  I got off topic here, I know.  Twitter however, fits into my thinking.  It is a way to discover and to listen.  How often have you attended a staff development session where the predominant conversations were negative.  “Why do we have to do this?  I could be using this time to work on grades or lesson plans.  I don’t have time to fit this technology into my lesson.”

What if we could leverage the small bites that twitter puts out and do mini staff development by adding links, videos, short tips, news about what others are doing and how it is working?

Here are some reasons to use twitter.

1. Twitter is searchable.  Like any other search engine, you need to know what you are searching for and how to drill down to get it to tell you specifically what you are looking for.

2. Twitter is customizable – through the use of hashtags (#) you can either search for tweets that  involve a current subject or post a tweet that you wish to be included in a current subject to be found by others.  There is a decent article gives you a beginning understanding of the use of hashtags here

3. Twitter is fast.  Get in – get out.  Don’t have time to read long blog articles?  You can go down your twitter feed list and read quick blurbs and discover articles to read later, recommended by people you choose to follow. Twitter posts are limited to 140 characters and as you type, you will see a count.  When you pass the 140 count, it will show as a negative number.  Links can be shortened by going to websites like TinyUrl and then added without using your entire character limit. Just copy the URL of the link you wish to share.  go to TinyUrl and paste it into the long URL box.  Click Make TinyURL and copy the resulting short link to add to your post.  At a dinner one evening at TCEA a teacher was talking about elementary students coming to the computer lab and their teacher sending a link she wanted them to use.  Getting that long URL typed in correctly took up a large chunk or their lab time.  She is planning on utilizing TinyURL to help students get to preferred links faster and more easily. Simple solution to a problem that I might not have thought about had it not been for this random snippet of conversation. (Like a Tweet, only in the real world)

4. Twitter can be sent to your phone.  You can choose to have specific feeds sent to your phone.  I subscribe to a Twitter feed that comes from our media person at school so I get the results of sports events and emergency notifications.  Helpful for times when I am not online. The user determines which tweets they follow are sent to their phone and you can always choose to stop that piece so you are not locked in to having thousands of texts beeping at you every few seconds.

5. Twitter can be timely – you can search hast-tags and follow twitters temporarily that are specific to a current even or interest.  When you are no longer interested you can Choose to “unfollow” This morning as I scanned through my Twitter feed I found all kinds of tweets about TCEA and was able to get a hint of some of what I missed.  You can’t go to everything but you can hear about it later. (and before – I now wish I had been following a little closer before and during the conference.

6. Twitter gives you the power.  Like everything else on the web, there is spam.  You can get alerts when someone chooses to follow you and you can block and/or report spam.  I have had a few of these but it has not been a huge issue.  I think twitter followers are quick to deal with those folks.

7. Twitter is communal.  As you navigate the Twitter ocean, you join discussions and become part of a community that allows you to skim the surface or become more deeply involved according to your interests.  On your sidebar you will see a list of Twitter trends and suggestions of “Who to Follow”  You can pop in and “eavesdrop” on the conversations or you can participate by clicking “favorite” which will save it as a favorite post.  You can “Retweet” which passes on something you find interesting to people who are following you.  You can “Reply” and start a dialogue”

8. Twitter can improve your writing skills.  If you are like me and tend to be wordy – Twitter becomes an exercise in brevity.  There are some groups on twitter that post flash fiction.  Can you tell a story in 140 characters?

9. You can play games.  Here are links to a few but you can do a Google search and find more.

Twivia -  trivia questions via Twitter.  Twivia asks a question and the first person to @reply the answer gets points, specified in every Tweet. Twivia tweets the correct answers after someone gets it correct. You can even suggest questions to Twivia.

– sends out word scrambles every hour.

10.   Twitter can keep you up on local news and weather.  More and more news sources have added share on Twitter buttons and you can “follow” to hear the latest weather alerts, traffic updates, and news headlines.

I hope you will share some ways that you have found to use Twitter.

Quick addition – I found a drag and drop “Share on Twitter” button.  Just drag the button from this web page to the bookmark bar in Firefox and you can quickly share a link to any web page, even if they don’t have a Share button of their own.  Just click the button when you are on a web page you want to share and it will create a short URl and add it as a twitter post.

Another quick addition – Great article!  15 Twitter Tips for Beginners

Joshua Bell

reposted from an email I received.  I thought it was worth repeating.

. . . Something To Think About . . .THE SITUATION

Washington, at a Metro Station, on a cold January morning in 2007, this man with a violin played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes.  During that time, approximately 2,000 people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.  After about 3 minutes, a middle-aged man noticed that there was a musician playing.  He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds, and then he hurried on to meet his schedule.

About 4 minutes later:

The violinist received his first dollar.  A woman threw money in the hat and, without stopping, continued to walk.

At 6 minutes:

A young man leaned against the wall to listen to him, then looked at his watch and started to walk again.

At 10 minutes:
A 3-year old boy stopped, but his mother tugged him along hurriedly.  The kid stopped to look at the violinist again, but the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk, turning his head the whole time.  This action was repeated by several other children, but every parent – without exception – forced their children to move on quickly.

At 45 minutes:
The musician played continuously.  Only 6 people stopped and listened for a short while.  About 20 gave money but continued to walk at their normal pace.  The man collected a total of $32.

After 1 hour:
He finished playing and silence took over.  No one noticed and no one applauded.  There was no recognition at all.

No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the greatest musicians in the world.  He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written, with a violin worth $3.5 million dollars.  Two days before, Joshua Bell sold-out a theater in Boston where the seats averaged $100 each to sit and listen to him play the same music.

This is a true story.  Joshua Bell, playing incognito in the DC Metro Station, was organized by the Washington Post as part of a social experiment about perception, taste and people’s priorities.

This experiment raised several questions:

In a common-place environment, at an inappropriate hour, do we perceive beauty?

If so, do we stop to appreciate it?

Do we recognize talent in an unexpected context?

One possible conclusion reached from this experiment could be this:

If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world, playing some of the finest music ever written, with one of the most beautiful instruments ever made . .
How many other things are we missing as we rush through life?

I checked the story on and according to their website it is true

Another Reason To Love Wikipedia

Today as I was researching on Wikipedia, I was preparing to click on the print menu on the side and create a pdf of the page to load on my kindle.  When you click on the little arrow next to print you get a list of tools.  You can create a book, download page as a pdf, or get a printable version. Wait a minute.  Create a book?  Why have I not noticed this before?

When you click create a book you will see this:

Add this page to your book
Adds the currently viewed article (page) to your book.
Show book
Opens a new page which will show a list of all articles (pages) that you added to your book. On that page, you can change the order of the articles in your book and structure them using chapters. Further, you can download the books as a PDF or ODF, or order a printed book.
Suggest pages
This tool analyzes the current set of pages in your book and suggests articles that might be also relevant to the overall topic of your book. This tool allows to create books quickly.
This will disable the Book creator and delete your book (unless you saved it first).
Adding pages without visiting them
A quick way to add pages is to simply hover on a linked article. If you wait about one second, a small box will pop up with the message “Add linked wiki page to your book”. Click on this link, and the linked article will be added to your book.

Hovering your mouse over links is a convenient way to add pages to your book
Adding whole categories
If you are viewing a category page, you can add all the pages in that category at once. The Add this page to your book link will have changed into Add this category to your book. Click on this new link, and all the articles in that category will be added to your book. Relevant categories may be found at the very bottom of Wikipedia articles. Categories can also be added by hovering category links.

Each successive page will now have this handy link at the top:

When you have completed adding pages to your book, you can download the entire thing as a pdf.  Very nice for my Kindle 🙂
Click Show Book and the following page pops up.  You can tweak your title, sort your pages, preview, order a printed copy if you like, or simply download your book. Then if you are me, you convert it for your Kindle and read at your convenience.

Caveat: I do not advocate the use of Wikipedia at school as teachers have very strong feelings about the website.  I suppose the fact that even I can edit the site could be cause for concern but there are people constantly checking and fixing errors and misinformation.  Try looking up Hurricane Katrina in the set of Funk and Wagnalls I bought when my son was born.

Because Wikipedia is a massive live collaboration, it differs from a paper-based reference source in important ways. In particular, older articles tend to be more comprehensive and balanced, while newer articles more frequently contain significant misinformation, unencyclopedic content, or vandalism. Users need to be aware of this to obtain valid information and avoid misinformation that has been recently added and not yet removed (see Researching with Wikipedia for more details). However, unlike a paper reference source, Wikipedia is continually updated, with the creation or updating of articles on historic events within hours, minutes, or even seconds, rather than months or years for printed encyclopedias.

You should always check more than one website when you are doing research, but Wikipedia is a great place to start.

Blog Re-decorating

Please excuse the oddities – this did not go as planned and so it is temporary.  I will be making some changes but for now this is what it is.

I think I will live with this for awhile.  Hope it hasn’t been too disuptive 🙂

iGoogle Fuss

I am working on part 4 of my Stealing Time story and it’s coming slooowly this time.

In the meantime I have been making some changes in the way I read blogs.  I have been using igoogle homepages for a couple of years because I liked the visuals but beginning last week I started having problems with it.  Suddenly, my pages wouldn’t load.  It wasn’t my computer or my bandwidth because I tried from several computers and several locations.  It just wouldn’t load.  I am assuming at this point that google has made some changes.

I began migrating my feeds to google reader.  It’s something I should have done to begin with.  I seem to enjoy making things difficult for myself by using things for purposes other than what they were intended for.  The process has been slow and I am still not finished but it has also been a good time to clean out.  There were a lot of feeds I didn’t bother reading anymore and as I migrate I have forced myself to pare it down to the things I read consistantly.  I have organized as I moved and marked everything read so that I can start fresh.

I am alternating on working on my story and googling so be patient.

Writing this story has been kind of like having a baby.  Repeatedly.  Doesn’t sound like fun does it?  I remember thinking in my ninth month that this was going on far too long and couldn’t this baby just GET HERE ALREADY?  Then I would go into labor and things would happen so fast that the pain seemed secondary just do the work breath through the pain oh here it comes don’t ask me anything, there – it’s a boy/girl/story. I was blessed with short labors for those of you that are reading this and going “what??”.  Writing the story seems like that for me.  Wait, wait, wait – boom!

I’m no good at the waiting part.  Never have been.  Never will be.

What Do We Carry

I found a prompt at Scribble soup For Writers.

#58: At the movies
Write a piece, using only quotes from movies, book titles, song verses or titles.

I am fickle with music.  I have a new favorite song every few weeks and I will listen to it more than anything else until I get tired of it.  The last few weeks the song has been Half An Acre by Hem.  Most of this was taken from that song with just a little bit of addition from me.

I’ve wandered many miles and many years from my beginnings.  I have felt at home in other places but lately I have stopped marching relentlessly forward and rested in the present while I look back.  Not to recapture the past, but because I realize I have been in such a hurry that I may have left some important things.  I have spent time being new in new places and finding my place.

But in my heart, I am holding half an acre torn from the map of Michigan and folded in this scrap of paper is a land I grew up in.  Fair Haven Michigan, Denver Colorado, Fort worth Texas, Interlachen Florida, Minden Louisiana, Barstow California, Buckeye Arizona, Littleton Colorado, Paris Texas. There are smaller moves but that is the litany.  Think of every town you’ve lived in, every room you lay your head and what is it that you remember?

I remember the sense of adventure – I loved exploring.  I also remember some times of incredible loneliness until I started making friends, got started in a new job, made a place for us. Do you carry every sadness with you – every hour your heart was broken, every night the fear and darkness lay down with you? I learned that even though people are different in different places, they are also so very much alike.

A man is walking on the highway. A woman stares out at the sea, and light is only now just breaking.  We see the same moon and same sun no matter where we live.  We fight the same fears, heal from the same pains, and get our hearts broken.  Not our spirits.  Not our spirits.  And that is why no matter what happens with our economy.  No matter what happens politically, no matter how we find ways to divide – we will be okay and we will find our hearts.  We are ALWAYS stronger than we know.

I have come many miles, but I am holding half an acre torn from the map of Michigan. I am carrying this scrap of paper that can crack the darkest sky wide open – every burden taken from me – every night my heart unfolding….my home in my heart.

Lake St. Clair picture from flickr Velorutionary

Now You’re Cooking!

There is an interesting take on tutorials from Guy Kawaski (and a recipe and demonstration for making his world famous Teriyaki sauce)  It is worth the visit just for that! Show how to do something in about two minutes!

His cooking demonstration is an episode at There are plenty of videos as well as recipes in text form.  I don’t know about you but there are plenty of times I have read a recipe and felt a little nervous about parts of it.  A demonstration would have been great!  Now you can have one and you can even subscribe in your feed reader or through iTunes and for those of you that do not like rss, you can subscribe to the email updates.

There are other resources as well, including reference charts for safe cooking temperatures, conversion and measurement charts, explanations on equipment and how to use it, and general how-tos for anything and everything around the kitchen.  I’ll be sending the link for this to number one son!

This will go great with my new ab lounger 🙂

“A Daily Diary of Depression-Era Life, Told On Twitter”

I Twitter.  I admit it.  But I follow more than I actually tweet.  For those of you who have not been exposed to Twitter it is called a microblogging service.  You can post up to 140 characters.  You can follow other people who twitter so whenever they update their status you will see the post on your twitter homepage.  You can also set up your account so that you can update your status from your cell phone and you can also get updates from others you follow on your cell phone.  Useful and kind of fun but it just seems like one more thing to check and update online.  I don’t know about you, but my email/facebook/twitter/rss reader gets out of hand rapidly.

I recently found something to follow that gave me a glimpse of a different way to use Twitter.  Here is a link to the original site and if you twitter you can choose to follow.

The Social Path

Late last year, my family found a line-a-day diary maintained by my great-aunt from 1937 to 1941. She was in her early teens, living on a small farm in rural Illinois with her two brothers, one of which was my grandfather.

It’s a fascinating account of life in a bygone era, a time when my family’s only connections to the world were schoolhouse chatter and a neighbor’s radio.

Looking at the terse journal, my sister quipped, “This is the Twitter of the 1930s.” We glanced at each other and almost immediately began planning the Twitter account that would become

If you have run across any other diaries of this sort I would love to hear about it.  I can see this being a great creative venue as well.  Could a “diary” be created as a sort of stream of thoughts of a made of character?

If you are not into writing longer blog posts this might be a blogging outlet for you.  Have you run across creative uses for Twitter? Can you come up with some new  Twitter ideas?

Using Google Earth to Drive Your Lessons to Victory Lane TCEA09 Notes

Susan Anderson and Jim Holland Arlington isd

the students would have two kmz files and a powerpoint
there would already be some basic prerequisite skills
lesson called Lost
geographic labeling of the earth
based on reinforcing that skill
a little on time zones

an alien has landed on earth and really doesn’t know where they are but will give you as the students, clues to help discover their location

this lesson probably targets 4th or 5th grade

TEKS come from grades 2,3 and 5

technical difficulties – they are trying to get to google earth

they have folded cards with abcd and yes, no, false, true for the “student” participants to hold up to answer questions (this would be great with writeon wipe off boards too

Asking geography questions as students hold up answer cards about hemisphere and latitude, longitude

Showing Australia – this country is not A continent, B Country, C island, D isthmus
Teacher asks why this place is not

What line of longitude is opposite of the international dateline a equator, b rime meridian, c tropic of cancer, and d tropic of capricorn

when it is summer in the western hemisphere, it is winter in the eastern hemisphere true/false

In order to navigate around the earth I can grab it with the hand or double click on the earth and it will turn. zoom in, push it around with the hand, use the rotaion
can turn off automatic tilt while zooming if you like

version 5 released Sunday

to add a placemark
click on pushpin choose add placemark
give it a name and type info into description
now if you click on the placemark the info in the description will be displayed
you can change the icon from the yellow placemark
right click on placemark to edit it choose properties
add custom icons – any jpg pr gif
right click and save place as
native extension is kmz so it will be whatever name you gave it.kmz
kmz files are very small so easy to share

all about me in the handout is a great way to intro google earth

a teaching tip with google earth – have students turn their mouse upside down (it’s hard to sneak quietly

around the world are placemarks – many with question marks

eliminate placemarks that do not have alien clues
rightclick and turn off
so now only placemarks you need to see will be displayed

Lost has a list of cities in one column and the other column is for students to write why that city was eliminated

eg if a clue said it’s a place where penguins live then you might want to eliminate Mexico city

first one done together for guided practice

first slide
students will double click on the Lost kmz file which will automatically launch google earth for you

Hi my name is Nan I’m from the planet ning I think I’m lost can you help. I’ve got a few clues to help – I am not on an island

you can password protect a ppt file
save, choose where and under tools on 07 and 03 – choose general options on 07 security options makes you enter a password
his would be useful for a ppt you want students to use so they couldn’t modify it
password can be needed to open or just to modify

can go to view menu and choose grid to see the gridlines

online tools available on their wiki
online stopwatch – you can give students specific amount of time for an activity
can be embedded into a blog or wiki

ctrl mouse properties
pointer options
show location of mouse pointer when I press the control key

also on the wiki is the random name picker (or random vocab word
random name/word picker

kml files – things like timezones can be contained in kml files
you can turn on and turn off some of these overlays if you only want it on long enough to do a task
some of the overlays make it hard to see anything else.

At this point I had to move on to the next session but most of what you would need is on their wiki

Web 2.0 Panel – What’s Next TCEA09 Notes

So far this has been disappointing.  I even verbalized the question (that is actually the TITLE of the session) and no one is going there.  My question was, if it takes us a certain amount of time in education to move from the point of learning the mechanics of something new in technology primarily because we are being required to, to the point of it being second nature and totally infused in teaching – and if we are in transition with this Web 2.0 stuff; by the time it has actually become a total buy in, the technology will have moved on.  It’s fluid.  What will the technology look like at that point?  I was hoping the panel had some idea of where is was going.

So far it has mainly been explaining what it IS repeatedly, in more than one way, but still – a definition.

Some people have done the expected griping because they have so much blocked in their district.  One panel member is Bradley Kessler – Whyville.  He is knowledeable but also he is selling the concept of whyville (not in terms of money because it is free – though maybe he is angling for it to be officially adopted by school systems) which is not objectionable in itself.  It just isn’t what the title of the session makes you think it will be.

Patricia Schnee, Lead Trainer and Curriculum Coordinator, University of Texas Professional Development Center is also very knowledgeable and seems to be very forward thinking but is mainly concerned with how all this relates to business and employment.

How do we teach kids to be prepared for a world that doesn’t yet exist is my question.

Here are my notes – sorry for the editorial.

patricai schnee
research – looking at web 2.0 in terms of what it means in the corporate world
whyville put it in the classroom?
kids want a place – they want to create the structure
avatar based virtual world
using a pick your nose faciltiy in whyville make your own face
a week after launch they had a message from a kid that said their face parts were dumb
now there is a place where kids make the face parts and sell them
they run companies where they have employees who do marketing, graphic design – all around creating faceparts

Bill Jule? Jason Project
marco polo

patricia stats
confucious center
367 million are under the age of 18 – larger than pop of us
200 million student s between the age of 14 and 25
our tech and engineering superiority is in jeopardy
define web 2.0?
definition kessler
web 1 was largely a push operation = taking media and putting it on the web and pushing it to the users
web 2.0 is pull – rather that standing up in front of a classroom and pushing info – actually understanding classroom management and engaging students in such a way that they are pulling the info to them – teacheres now also managers, directors
learning styles change on evolution scale not generation scale
we finally have a tech device that will let us better match our learning process that we run as humans, because we can handle 2 prob – scalabiltiy – small group can influence large group
social piece – they can socialize, interact, create their own structures and media

audience – trying to get Spore integrated into curriculum – what is panel opinion of this progression

What about web 3.0 – by the time school adopt new technology the technolgy has usually moved on – where do you see us moving on to?

merck had some chemical probs and put it online 7% of the solutions came from people who didn’t have degrees – some from out of the country
now merck is disguising the problems so that they will be intriguing but not know what the whole problem is (gave too much info to competitors)

to teach science you need to be a process expert, not content expert

web 1.0 content – web 2.0 process
companies (media and textbook) have a problem with this because they are content pushers

printing press and university structure last major changes
that’s all that has been available

Gatekeeper, Tear Down Those Walls! TCEA09 Notes

Mr. Gatekeeper, Tear Down Those Walls!
Mary Bell
Sam Houston State University
librarians and tech specialists need to be working together
Introduced Nancy Pearl librarian action filter
the original person one book one city
has amazing shush ability
children should be protected from pornography
does not say we should have any reflection of political views
or that students should be denied the right to search independently
high interest like games and sports – cipa does not say block or shopping
does not say teachers should be blocked from things administrators might not want them to do
passing the law was contingent upon ready and simple override capability

Survey using listserves and twitter
over 400 participates broken down by states
79 % understand web 2.0
aware of web 2.0 resources being used 59%
satisfied with access to internet and web 2.0 39%
some of the problems people comments about were bandwidth issues

Block using specific word lists
true 73%

reasons for blocking and filtering
student safety 81%
ebsco and other databases somethings blocked true 28%
filters apply equally to all levels true (and teachers
Who can override – IT most common answer
Reading blogs at school – 52% but the people who don’t know number has grown
create and particpate in blogs 38%
students and faculty having access to wikis
encouraged to use wikis 39%
access to social bookmarking 31%
access to wikipedia 97%
students are often discouraged even though they have access
google docs 63%  don’t know 36%
Blocked search tools – images
youtube not blocked 52%
Course management systems 38% used
students have access to email
access to second life at school
access to educational game sites allowed
acceptable use policy up to date and addresses web 2.0
true 27% false 49% no idea 24%
district admin are tech savvy and encourage tech and web 2.0
trues 31%


Mary Bell was king enough to send me a link to information about CIPA so if you are interested in finding out more about what this law says you will find what you need here:

Race Into Production TCEA09 Notes

Race Into Production
Jodi Andoe and Abby Rogers PISD
www whatever whenever wherever
teachers moving from dog and pony show to full fledged three ring circus with the teacher – not as the main act, but as the ringmaster
kids love to be center stage
ipods cameras phones
friend or foe?
combining what students have and what teachers have and making it work in the classroom
combine student interests and content for curriculum
provide students with info on available tools for multimedia
student engagement
reflection for deep learning
project based learning
effective integration of technology into instruction
differentiated instruction
centers, tiered lesson plans
advances photography and multimedia all the way down to basic ppt
works with all levels
critical thinking skills
technology TEKS
engages students
their minds wrapped around out content in a way they want to think about it
improved test scores
letting the students touch the learning
gather ideas – don’t re-invent the wheel
take tried and true projects and add a multimedia option to it
determine student needs and find their resources and skills
set timetable for completion
gather resources and hardware
what do you get when you mix CSCOPE Performance indicator’
students had a psp player, iPod, science closet, audacity, photostory movie maker and wax – made a rap video on global warming

used rubric that was in cscope and applied to multimedia project
what is the concept you want them to learn
rubric attributes
point of view
curriculum alignment
student cooperation
camera and images
titles and credits
pacing and narrative
transitions and effects

make sure criteria is set beforehand and use the ribric
should be expressed in terms of observable product characteristics
scoring rubrics should be written in specific and clear language
statement of criteria must be fair and free from bias

green screen – green sheet from walmart taped to classroom wall
let kids teach you

audacity, wax 2.0 blender freeplaymusic photostory animoto
wax works with moviemaker and others
freeplaymusic – if burned to dvd becomes a copyright issue
animoto free 30 second video creation – can subscribe 19.00 year and get longer time and more options
handout includes cheatsheet of useful web 2.0 sites and free or opensource software

handouts will be available later on the TCEA site – I will post the link when it becomes available

Surfing and Reading Shares

There are blogs that I read on a regular basis and then there are articles I read just because the title catches my attention and I just have to click to see what it’s about.  Here are some that caught my interest tonight:

“Screw Flowers–You Need Cheesecake!”

What a great idea.  When friends are going through something rough, why not send cheesecake intead of flowers.  I love it!
Silver-lined Excrement
I wasn’t sure I wanted to look.  Turns out she has an elderly dog who is losing control of his er…bodily functions.  Her dad reflects on the silver lining (it wasn’t HIS poop).  Guess you’ll just have to read it.

10 Sure-Fire Ways to Be a Complete Failure At Everything
Ya, like I need directions for THAT???  What a surprise – I have 7 through 10 down pat!
Please Speak Clearly, Lord, I Have Children.
We Live in Public (and the end of empathy)

This one is thought provoking.  I have been thinking about it since I read it and while I think that we do tend to depersonalize on the internet, I have to wonder how much of that is caused by being online and how much is just an online reflection of our society.  I see some mean-ness but I tend to associate (online and off) with people that I have things in common with and for the most part they are NOT mean.  So which way does the mirror point?  I think personally I am more careful about what I say online than I am in face-to-face conversations instead of the other way around.

While I was wandering I ran across these two sites that I thought were cool – for kids a new search engine that utilizes Google’s safe search to “eliminate inappropriate material” :

The next one is one I will use a lot –

When you go to a restaurant, do you know the nutritional content of what you’re ordering? We didn’t either. Fatburgr gives you nutritional information from your favorite restaurants.

I’ll have to walk a lot to undo the damage my supper did – 740 calories and 72 carbs and it was small!! Yikes!