Tuesday, September 30, 2008

A Vision of K-12 Students Today

Adapted From Michael Wesch

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Tuesday, September 23, 2008


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Friday, September 19, 2008

Check out some new Web 2.0 Tools

As usual, Larry Ferlazzo has come up with another great set of "Best of..." lists. I went through his 25 best web 2.0 tools for Education 2008, and hand-picked a few that I thought were relevant to our TILT days and what you have been doing in your classrooms. I also want to list a few that have been mentioned in the past but need repeating!

Some Web 2.0 Tools to Use inside or out of the Classroom:
1. Flowgram:
You can combine web pages, images, powerpoints and other documents...then narrate to create a tour or tutorial. You can even add highlights and notes.

2. Bookr:
This is a very simple way to create a storybook using flickr photos. You simply search Flickr by user or tag and place your pictures into pages and type your story (or captions) with each photo. It would be a great way to explain a concept or publish and online book. It reminds me of iphoto on the web. You might want a Flickr account and upload photos for students to use.

3. Edublogs.TV:
This is another hosting site for videos. You can upload your own or pull them from YouTube. Like SchoolTube and TeacherTube, this site is dedicated to creating a repository of videos for educational use.

4. Digital Vaults:
You have to visit this site to appreciate it. It is a visual representation of the National Archives in a very cool, interrelated, interactive way. I can't even begin to explain how cool this site is - and how much kids will love exploring it!

5. Moblying:
As you can see from the Sidebar...Moblying is a slideshow creator. It is a lot like other slideshow or photoshow creators. I was able to upload a few photos, add a transition effect, change themes...and customize it until the cows come home! When I was done, I could email it, save it as an URL, or embed it into my blog!

6. Graspr:
Another video site...this one archives tutorials. You can upload your video tutorials, create your own or just use those that are there.

7. Zunal:
If you like WebQuests, you will want to check out Zunal. It lets you build your WebQuest right on the site. You can also browse and use existing WebQuests. The site even gives you a step-by-step tutorial on planning and building a WebQuest.

8. Wix:
This is really a fun site to create a web page! It has great sound effects, easy images, and a built-in tutorial as you go. You can start from a template or blank page...you might get lost in the creativity of the site though.

9. MeBeam:
Man, this is a fun site! You can video-conference with multiple people...as long as they have video capabilities. I learned that I have to set my internal video to USB, and then it worked!

10. Book Glutton:
This site lets you read books online with other people. You can upload your work or search the site for books to read. You can read with a group or on your own. If you go to the site, be sure to watch the video that thoroughly explains how the site works. You need to watch this.

11. CommunityWalk:
I really like this easy to use map creator. You can put pins in the map by address, lat & long or just by clicking. You can then add narrative and photos to your pin. Of course you can tag and share!

12. Definr:
Simple is sometimes better. This site is a very fast dictionary. It even has word prediction for those that have difficulty with spelling.

13. CircaVie:
An online timeline creator. You can place text, pictures, video into a timeline. GREAT for history classes. You can also search and use existing timelines.

14. Digital History:
Another style of timeline. It shows the political, social/economic, or cultural events of the world though map pins. Hover over a pin and you get a description of the event. Click on it and you get a wealth of information.

15. PBWiki and WikiSpaces:
Easy wiki creators for collaboration. Both have simple editing tools and user-friendly interfaces.

So...lots of new tools to play with . How could you use these in the classroom? With your colleagues? With your family?

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Geocaching with TILT

On Monday, some TILT III members had a crash course using GPS units and participating in a Geocache in downtown Billings (visit geocaching.com for further information). As the members soon found out, locating a cache in an urban setting proved quite difficult even under ideal conditions.

Would you find educational value in doing such an activity with your students? Can you think of other ways to integrate this technology?

**Posted using BlackBerry Curve!

Billings West High
Health Enhancement
(406) 655-1311 672-6634

What about a Wiki?

Kathi Hoyt and I have recently been sharing ideas and resources as we venture into the world of wikis. Elizabeth Waddington introduced me to the wiki years ago but I never took a shine to this tool until I started focusing on the 21st Century Skills initiative...and now after reading Marzano's book (Classroom Instruction that Works), and presenting on the revised Bloom's taxonomy, I am even more determined to make my world a wiki world. (Not to be confused with wacki...I am already there)

Kathi sent me a copy out of the most recent issue of Edutopia (free resource) titled The Way of the Wiki and I thought it fit perfectly with the direction we are taking in phases II & III for TILT this year. When I read, "A simple, cheap technology with a funny name will become an even more powerful portal into creative teaching and learning this year.", and " A wiki is the ultimate enabler for collaboration.", I knew I was on target for introducing wikis to you at the beginning of this year.

I encourage you to read this article and if you don't already, check out the blog by Vicki Davis mentioned...I subscribe to Cool Cat and she is great! You will hear her name mentioned frequently amongst technology educators as a leader in our field.

I would also encourage you to subscribe to Edutopia...you might have heard of the founder and creator...George Lucas. He has great information for the educator that wants to incorporate creativity in the classroom.

May the Force be with you!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

What's On the Horizon

These last couple of days I have been gearing up for our first TILT meetings for the school year. As I look at my groups of teachers and where they are in the learning process, I struggle to decide what to focus on for each group. Some teachers need more time to increase their technology literacy while others just need time to develop lessons and activities. BUT...everyone is always interested in the latest technology and how it can fit into education.

If I had it my way, I would just spend the day showing you cool videos from YouTube like
My YouTube Story
The Mom Song

but alas, there is more to technology integration than this.

So...what are some of the things we will be exploring this year...

This year we will be incorporating Bloom's Taxonomy into our technology exploration. There are some great resources for the new revised taxonomy and how it applies to the 21st Century learner.

We will be taking a page (or several pages) out of Classroom Instruction that Works. We will be looking at the 8 most highly effective teaching strategies and what emerging technology works best with each strategy.

Hmmm...sounds like the old school staff development is making a come back - watch out, next we will be studying brain research. If you have been in TILT, you know that is not the case. We will have some great, engaging days.

In Phase III we will be doing a lot more collaboration - get used to Google Docs and wikis folks.

In Phase II there will be more time spent developing lessons and classroom activities.

In Phase I...well, probably the most structured phase, we will explore all kinds of technology. We will start with the basics but work hard to explore many new tools.

One thing to keep in mind. This year my goal is to produce a podcast on how we have been integrating technology in our district. If you have a lesson or activity where you are integrating technology, please invite me!! I want to document as many of these innovative activities as I can.

Be sure to check out our agenda blog to get specifics on our upcoming meetings.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

University of Wyoming Football Game - & My Blackberry

I am experimenting with posting pictures from my Blackberry Curve. I can really see a need for a Blackberry for every student! :O)

Can you imagine the type of collaborative projects we could do with other classrooms around the world...sounds like the basis for a grant to me.