Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Free Technology for Teachers: LoudLit - Listen to Books and Read Along

Free Technology for Teachers: LoudLit - Listen to Books and Read Along: "for technology integration in education.
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
LoudLit - Listen to Books and Read Along is a good place to find free audio recordings of famous works of literature. Many websites do this, but what makes LoudLit unique and useful for teachers is the option of reading the text online while listening to the reading of the text."

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Drop box ! File share and maintenace is easy now.

Technology comes in many shapes and forms and managing files and folders is difficult. If you work on several different computers, a laptop, iphone, or ipod-touch than you might want to know about dropbox. You get 2G of space for FREE! This works for all file types and Windows, Mac and phone apps. It's fast and easy to use. This site was recommended to me from friends at Classroom 2.0 check it out and get in Sync.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Show them what you mean.

Ontario Business Educators Association
O.B.E.A. Conference
Nov 7, 2009

Here is part of my presentation for teacher colleagues.
A variety of Image and video tools that are free and easy to use.
We looked at Jing Project, ExtraNormal, GoAnimate and VoiceThread.
Teachers can use these to quickly add visual / audio video for instructions.
Students will have fun using some of the tools too.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

G-mail and Google docs

I Just noticed a small, useful feature, on G-mail- at the end of a message you can select to convert the message as a document. (Google Docs)
This makes it easy to go from an email containing minutes of meeting or something that you want to save, or do something with.
Once it is a Google doc you can then invite others to collaborate, publish on web, blog or wiki, download , or just save for later reference, etc.

A lot of people, and I'm guilty, currently save messages in e-mail format because we want to keep the message, contacts or attachments and view them again. This uses up lots of storage space and means you have multiple folders and programs to work with and search when you are looking for your own stuff. I'm like Google docs and how it works in sync,with G-mail.

On another Google Note Picasa for pictures also has built in GPS on Google earth so you can designate where photos are taken. Geo-tagging photos with Picasa and Google Earth
This may be useful for the traveler, geographer, photographer. I want to create a virtual tour for the Eramosa Karst Conservation area in my back yard so that will be a great (easy, free) tool. When I have it done I will let you know.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Google Operating System- Great news for education!

News out today shows how Google will be releasing an Operating System distributed initially on Netbooks in 2010. I think this could be great news for education. Since last year I have been testing out, exploring, using and sharing a wide variety of software. Google has a huge number of online services. Using the internet more for online applications is easier, and free for users. There are several privacy and security options with each program and individual file. I've blogged about "Cloud Computing" and "synchronicity" previously. It all makes sense, and I agree that more people will be turning to the web for programs and storage.

Educators around the world are under pressure to have technology accessible for students integrated in all subject areas. E-learning is growing and will continue to prosper. Keeping students engaged with creative and challenging task, differentiating for each students needs, requires more use of technology in all classrooms. Add to that increase ease of use and tight budgets and making more use of free tools just makes sense. Technology can be a way to increase innovation and reduce the economic gap between schools in districts and even countries around the world.

The Old model of having an expensive "fat" computer loaded down with a lot of programs that quickly go out of date is a way of the past in my opinion. I purchased a Netbook last year and love it. Half the price, half the size and weight and all the functionality you need when you work online.

As an educator who works in the classroom, teaching online, with students and peers, I think that this is great news for education. If progressive school boards consider moving to Netbooks in the future that would be great. Our computer labs are overbooked and laptop carts are not available. In the U.S. and other countries there have been one-to-one programs so every student has access to a laptop. We have not been that fortunate, but with a lower cost maybe it will be considered. At a cheaper price even if students come in with their own Netbooks, that may be welcomed in some cases. Of course if school provided access to Netbooks then than the teachers would have an easier time managing their use to ensure it is effective and appropriate, and put away when it is time for other teaching/learning vehicles. Educators can focus our teaching that enhance student creativity, engagement. I'm hopeful that lower costs will reduce or eliminate barriers to access that exist now.

Here are news announcements:

Related posts:
Netbooks- wouldn't it be nice!

Why Cloud Computing

Sychronicity Google + YouTube + Picasa

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Music - Creative Commons

Looking for Free Music with Creative Commons license.
Check this out.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Synchronicity ,Google + YouTube,+ Picasa

Synchronicity is defined by Wikipedia as "the experience of two or more events which are causally unrelated occurring together in a meaningful manner." When it comes to technology and web 2.o tools this is really exciting. Before web 2.0 programs people and computers worked as "independent" work stations, documents and files were kept separately. If you wanted to transfer a single document or a number of files you would most likely attach files to an e-mail, copy files to some sort of memory device.

I recently was uploading a video to YouTube and discovered a few new things about synchronicity. First I was asked at the YouTube log in if I wanted to sign in using my Google account I agreed and now, every time I log into Google I also have my YouTube account, with access to my "favourites", and "playlists" at the same time. Selecting a video as "favourite" and adding it to a "playlist" means you can find that video again when you need to share it with someone or reference at another time. There are also new comment, annotations and message tools now in YouTube that will make collaboration on a video possible. The one Log In now works for both accounts. When these two programs are opened together it makes for easier transfer of YouTube files to my Google Blog, Document, Presentation, website or wiki.

The power of having files in sync is clear when I Started using Picasa. This program takes all the photos you have on a given computer (or the folders you want) and lets you upload and store them on the Internet. Those file can be synchronized. So now I can access, edit and create with my photo's on my home computer, office computer, net book or even on mobile device. Each of the folders of photos can be left private by default or made public and shared. So no longer do I need to worry about loosing all the special photo's if my computer breaks down. Everything I need is together, photo's video' docs, etc.

Sychronicity means = access to my stuff, anytime anywhere! Try it!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Creative Classroom

Technolgy tools and programs help make learning fun and engaging. Teachers working with a variety of old and new technology is illustrated in this presentation. Using new tools for the future is one way to help students be more challenged in the classroom.
This video illustrates the contrast between the technology and innovation dream for the future and the sad old technology reality that we work work with each day. The majority of photos were taken in my real classroom , school in 2009! Those are my outdated desk and yes, lots of overhead projectors and photocopies were made this year. Even though we are try to prepare students for the future and we have some technology we are far behind many other schools and regions around the world and persist in teaching excellence in spite of the drawbacks.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Cookbook - Technology

Jeff Urich wrote : Do you Sprinkle or Mix
wrote a quote about- sprinkle or mix - as an approach to technology in education.

I've been working with technology and my teaching areas and the response of other teacher varies. I think all to often technology is viewed as but one more add on to what teachers already do. They teach curriculum and students of all ability, they have are expected to ensure success for all, but keep everyone challenged. The emphasis continues to be on literacy and numeracy and we have to build our capacity to work with children as a whole person. That includes using new technology to make learning fun and engaging. It can't be about the technology it has to be about the inspiration to life long learning with technology and people!

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

More great music sites

I previously ad a posting about music web sites where you can listen to legal streamed music. Here are some more sites that provide great music.
(can't find and about us on this site- or any statement on copy write content etc?

Monday, June 15, 2009

Why cloud computing?

"Cloud computing" sounds like a fancy term but really it 'simplifies' your files and work. Working on the Internet and saving your work on line means that you have access to your work anytime, anywhere. If you're like most people you have a workstation at an office, another desktop or laptop at home and sometimes may want to use a file or document when neither of those are available. Cloud computing means you work and save your stuff on line. This also means you no longer need to spend money on hardware that uses up high storage space or software that requires costly new versions every few years. A year ago I, like many of my colleagues use to use office products and always had to figure out how to share, move and update files, waited for upload or download to make changes. One of the biggest advantages of web 2.0 free software programs is the freedom now available by cloud computing. Try it out and after a few months you will never go back. The solution to too much content on the web is to create your own.

Google docs

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Professional Learning Communities

Professional learning communities are what make education fun and engaging for me. This last week there have been a number of different learning communities that I have been able to be involved with. Some may think I'm a bit off the wall but hey, who isn't? I think it's more about following you passion and learning as a continual progess. Earlier this week I came home form school and listened in on webinar while I made supper. Ok call me crazy, but somehow to being connected to a conference that I could not afford to attend because of money and time, I was able to listen in and participate, in the comfort of my own kitchen. There where well over 120 other "crazy" people just like me listening in, and participating to this webinar.

Monday, May 4, 2009

PBS Digital Nation

This pbs series is thought provoking and asking key questions? Where are we going as a digital nation?

Thursday, April 23, 2009

KISS Youtube- Download youtube to avoid slow streaming or filtering.

I was making a presentation today at the OBEA (Ontario Business Educators) conference and the Hotel Internet connection was too slow to wait for streaming. Not a big problem, but this can be frustrating and often happens in our school classrooms. I was also asked about being able to see Youtube or other items when board or district have filtering that is blocking worth while materials in an attempt to keep out the "junk". When you have good educational video but can't view it for any reason, here is a short term option.

Kiss Youtube- this program allows you to enter the url and converts the file for you.
This way you can download and save it. It is free, fast and easy to use. You will also need to download a FLV player - there is a link to a free one on Kiss You tube. This is with the assumption that, as teacher you want to view the video because it is of value to your class or presentation, maybe created by your students, and is not infringement of copy write, but under creative commons licence. When it's just the slow/no Internet connection that is the problem.

Teacher Tube - has download option on site.

I think the bigger issue of filtering still needs to be addressed, between teachers and IT policy makes in the boards that are having those issues, but at least this tool might help teachers "get on with the show"...
If you want to create "how to" videos try out -

Tour web 2.0

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Techy Tools for not so Techy teachers

Here is a great slide show of Tech tools.

Thanks to Thomas post in Open Education, who pointed it out.

April- Financial Literacy Month

Hers are some simple tools about Financial Literacy.
They are basics, for introduction of topics or quick review.

View a sample video:

They have lots of other subject areas too.

Everything is amazing, nobody is happy

Free Office Tools know your options.

There are several free options out that educators, students and really anyone can use. Here are links and my opinion on 3 of them:

Google docs - This is my favourite, it's free easy to use and you don't have to worry about saving your materials or finding them. The more I use Google Docs the more I like it.

Open Office - Is an excellent free tool. You can make all documents, spreadsheet and presentation items that are similar to Microsoft products all for free. You can save work in a variety of format. We started using this at school to save cost and I must admit I was used to working with Microsoft products but didn't like the "lite" or 'student" version so now using Open office and it works great. I'd like more of the taxpayers money for education put into people and hardware than expensive software. test it out.

ZOHO ZOHO is free office tools including traditional items like documents and spreadsheets but also has wiki, chatt, meeting room, and many more. think of it as a Free option to -office, Frist class and Adobe connect. now Zoho does have some versions that are paid, so kind of a combined approach, but still worth testing out. They are looking at having a free version for educators - so I'm kind of waiting on that.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Screen Toaster

Thanks to Jane's E-learning tip of the day, I found out about Screen Toaster- it records you desktop and put it into a variable size video. check it out. will be a good tool for easily creating instructional demos. You can email the link or embed the finished video in blog, wiki or website.

But why would you want to create screen casts?
Well, take a look at the research, and blogs that supports short podcasts for lectures. here is just one to start.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Open source software -Mock Trail for Public education spending.

I came cross this 7 minutes audio clip on why open source software should be considered if not used by School Boards. Students in UTS have Mock trial on responsible spending when it comes to technology and software in public funded schools.
We are using some open source software and I think that they will continue to make sense in some situations.

Corporate Intenet players

A closer look at who the corporate players are for web 2.0 and what that means. The applications are being blended and blurred between the desktop and the Internet, the hardware is multifunctional. We use gadgets, on our blogs, wiki and social networks to help the corporate sites to be distributed in thousands of sites, some for profit, some not? I'm in favour of this distribution and customization but as a user and educator we have to know what is public and confidential and help students to be informed citizens on the Internet and creative, responsible producers knowing that information doesn't go away.

This presentation was based in part on a book I recently read- Web 2.0 heroes -Interview with20 Web 2.0 Influence rs, by Bradley L Jones, Wiley Publishing 2008.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Media Literacy -what skills will students need

As we move on from the industrial age we are also moving to be collaborators and producers more than just critical consumers. this means a new mindset for educators and skill set for students.

Find out more:
This video is from:

Sunday, March 15, 2009

sixth sence

Watch this Ted talks - technology that is a work in process,
exctiting frontiers

[ ] Basically, Sixth Sense is a mini-projector coupled with a camera and a cellphone—which acts as the computer and your connection to the Cloud, all the information stored on the web. Sixth Sense can also obey hand gestures, like in the movie Report.

NO internet = No problem

Google Geers is and excellent tool that rally bridges the gap between online application and tools and off line uses.

So before you pay for anymore licence upgrades for "office" or "email" tools try our Google Applications including Google Geers- You may never look back.

See you at the cottage! I'll be "working" from up at the lake.

Google Docs


I've posted an have been using Google docs for a while.
I came accross this presentation by sbeck and it's excellent for demonstrating how to use Google doc.
Love the abiltiy to switch from a desktop to my netbook, to laptop and never having to upload, down load or carry files in sticks and discs etc. So many applications for education, and personal use.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

slide share -web 2.0

Slide share is great way tho publish presentations
Here is one about web 2.0
from Steve Hargadon

Mixbook - make your own books- online

Her is a fun project that could work in the classroom. This type of activity would build teamwork, photo skills, literacy and more depending on the subject and topics.

Thanks to Martha Thornburgh- for blogging about this one!

I searched Mixbook and found this sample too.
| View Sample Photo Books | Create your own Photo Book

Betty Blogger - winter school

Over the last few months I have been participating in:

What was the most important thing you learned in the Betty Blogger Winter School? Why?
The activities all emphasised new web 2.0 technology tools and how they can be used effectively in education. There are sooooo many new and great tools and the fact they are free ans easy to use is a real bonus. I realise that it is essential to be trying new methods and educational tools to keep students interested. i agree with many of the professionals in the technology area that as a teacher you have to be willing to try and test out items before you can expect the students to use them in the classroom. I believe in life long learning and the learning can never stop when you are talking technology and it's impact on every subject area.

What was most challenging? Why?
The biggest challenge is having to choose what tools you want to make a commitment to learning more about. Some tools I have just skimmed over and others I have used with my students this semester. There are lots that I want to go back and spend more time on. A second challenge is having access to technology in the classroom, and resistance from some traditional teachers.

What were some of the best ideas you had for ways web 2.0 applications could be used in schools?
The tools that I find most valuable are:
Wikis- easy to create web content for class projects, courses etc
Reader- having information come to you.
Google - docs and more. the more I use these programs the more I like the versatility and easy access to my work.

Are there any applications we didn’t cover that you think might be good to incorporate into school training? What were they and why?
There are new tools available every day, so I think the topic covered are a great starting point but the learning never stops. You can see more of my favourites here on this blog.

How successful was the “self-directed” learning model?
I think that self directed learning worked for me because I was already interested in the technology and subject areas. Just as we offer learning in a variety of formats and methods for students I think the same is true for adult learners- teachers.

Thanks Betty It's been fun!

Library Thing

There is a new site called "Library Thing" that allows you to creat an account. Email not required for once. On this account you can post books that you read or that relate to a topic you are interested in. He is my list.

This site may have some possiblities for use in reading circles or the classroom to help engage student in reading and discussion about books. Some of the features include groups, talk, chat and local map and events.
check it out.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

No time to Read

With the constant increase in demands in our time, many find they can not find the time to try something new. But truth is many of the new web 2,0 tools help save time and, and using a Reader is just one of those useful tools. If you think about all the time we spend searching for information, compared to the short time to set up a reader that will bring information to you instead. I set up a Google Reader last October and admit there I times when I don't get to it, but when I look at it once a week or so there, I find lots of information about the topics that are important for me. The reader brings to your computer just the changes and updates made on any web page with RSS feed.
For educators the rss can be used to:
Research teaching topics, or students can set up reader for research, especially if they need to gather information throughout the semester on a topic.
Teachers that have students working on Blogs or wiki can know what they have published by subscribing to their works.
The Reader is also a good way to build your professional learning network. I have learned a lot about these technology tools by viewing the blogs and sites of other teachers interested and working with technology.

For more on Readers check out my previous entry

wiki in the classroom

Making and using a wiki is an easy way to publish web content in a collaboartive means. A wiki can be used to plan a speicific event like a thankgiving dinner.- I can bring a game like monopoly and leave the cooking to other guests.
here are some sample wiki's
Wiki can be for online textbooks:

Class & Group projects
Burlinton Central - Civics

Aldershot - Entrepreneurship

Iroquois Ridge- World Issues

or Team/ club websites
Burlington Central -Robotics

As you can see from these examples it is easy to track who the contributors, are , what changes are made, all types of media can be included and the work will continue to avalable and built on over time.

See my previous entry on wikis in education:

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Google Doc's Rock

Over the last few months I have been using Google docs.
I love the Document, spreadsheet, forms and presentation features.
Here is a sample document where I talk about my favourite book and a teacher librarian that may a difference for me when I was a new teacher.

What's so great about Google docs:
1. It free, unlike the majority of software out there, so move over Microsoft.

2. You never have to play "Where's Waldo" with your work. Saving information on the Internet means you don't need a memory stick, CD or email attachments to transfer your latest work from one station to another. You can view document history and revert back to any previous versions, imagine never loosing your work again.

3. Documents with choice. You can make private documents that are secure, or you can choose to have others help create it and you can publish work with ease. It's all synchronized and saved on the web. They can be collaborative, public or private as needed.

4. Easy to integrate, always improving. Google has a team of engineers coming up with new ways and tools, so it's fully integrated into other web programs and tools from your Google account, IE Reader, Blogger, video, google images etc.

5.Internet not working - no problem, just use Google offline with Google Gears

My previous entries about Google docs:

Friday, February 20, 2009

Google latitude

Monday, February 16, 2009

Visual learning for the classroom -working with photo's

Using visuals in the classroom always good.
Flickr and Picasa are just a few of the photo tools out there.

Use photos in the classroom to:
Inspire writing, reflections, raise questions etc.
Create a series of events - time capzles with Capzles
Intergrate into a presentation- with slide share
Make photo into a discussion with voice thread
Text to video with Xtranormal

more ideas and sources:
Tom Barrett -35 interesting ways to use your pocket video camera in the classroom

Accessible Educational Technology: A Picture Can Create a Thousand Words

BCHS DECA school spirit scarves for sale

Testing out Flickr. I uploade a photo I had on file. This is from the DECA fundraising event we had last year at our school.


This is a test post from flickr, a fancy photo sharing thing.

Netbooks - wouldn't it be nice!

With all the online application, in cloud computing, we will no longer need to buy expensive software or expensive hardware. The economic barrier to access for teachers and students could be eliminated. Here's how it works.

According to Tony Vincent- Learning in Hand
Two trends in the world of technology are making a big splash in education: web applications and netbooks. These trends excite me because I'm all about easy, free, and cheap. There are many tasks that used to require software that you can now do from inside of your Web browser.... Web apps are great for students and teachers because they are usually free and do not require software to be installed. Because they run in a web browser, web apps are cross-platform, so it doesn't matter if you are running Windows, Macintosh, or Linux operating systems. Because Web apps and their data are stored online, students and teachers can access the apps and data from anywhere (this is called cloud computing). Teachers and students can access web apps on any school computer and also their computers at home. Some web apps even give access on mobile devices. Another bonus: web apps tend to facilitate online sharing and collaboration.
Wes Fryer is among others that predict that netbooks will cost < $100. soon.
We need to embrace digital curriculum in our schools and colleges NOW, and
digital curriculum mandates student access to digital devices. The 1:1 learning
revolution is drawing nearer, and announcements like this one about a $20 laptop
from India is a signal that day is even closer.
I purchased a small netbook and can't wait see them as a viable learning tool in the classroom. Leaving the traditional classroom labs to computer programing and specialized classes.

Add visuals to tags, bookmarks,

I was just reading Larry Ferlazzo blog and tried out the Favthumbs as a way to share those bookmarks and items tagged with with students.
The Favethumbs looks like a neat tool. Here mine:

Check out Larry's blog for more ideas.
There are several simple web applications that teachers can use to easily have a list of websites where students can go to find the answers to specific questions on a scavenger hunt. The ones I list here are particularly accessible to English Language Learners because they provide screenshots of the websites as well as their url addresses, and they also don’t require a teacher to register to use them, either. They include:

FAVTHUMBS: Favthumbs provides thumbnail images (and links) of bookmarks saved on your account. Favthumbs might just be one of the easiest ways for a teacher to create an accessible webpage for students doing an Internet “scavenger hunt”, or if they just want their students to focus on a few specific webpages for an assignment. All a teacher has to do is create a tag on their account and give students this url address — (your username)/ (the tag you gave the links). Students will see thumbnail images and links to the sites you’ve bookmarked.

MINMU: With MinMu, all you do is paste the url addresses of as many webpages as you want into a box (no registration is required), and you are given one url address for all of them. Click on it, and you’re shown a screen that not only shows the links to all of the sites, but also thumbnail images of them.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Make Animations -Super fast & free of course! Online Learning

Like it? Create your own at It's free and fun!

Free tv ,video, movies

Yes the internet is making everything cheaper, faster, and easier to access.
Check out this link for your favourite TV program, educational materials are available her too.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Spelling with Flicker Photo's

Brass Letter L I T is for Tunnel E R c A lifornia C coloured card disc letter y

You can create cool spelling headers to use as labels or banners.
I made this one using:

Social tags & bookmarks, - like tea & cookies, they go together is a way to create and use tags.

What potential do I see for this tool? e.g., for teachers, for students, for class assignments, for curriculum development.
Well I do agree that using social bookmarks or taging is better using a web service lic Delicious than marking favorites on a specific computer. The extra advantage is that you can look up a url and see how others have tagged it- this will lead you to more sites with relevant content. However I guess I need more time to work on the social sharing part. I think its like looking at a picture not all eyes will have the same perspective nor the same words to describe a site.If there is a course project, or specific topic that you want to have information on you can use your tags in delcious search, but personally I like using my Google reader for that too,- with the Reader I get the site and the summary of the articles.

Digg is also a popular tagging.I have heard a lot about it for educators but haven't tried it yet. so at this point I'm not sure how each of the following compare: Delecious, Digg, Reader or even advanced Google searches, or data base searches - they all find websites and store the ones we want to return to.

for more on social bookmarking:

Social Networks for education

No doubt that social networking is changing everything, Business, politics, health care and sooner or later, education. 21st Century learners use web 2.0 tools already. Facebook is a popular site and often banned by teachers and restricted by a lot of educational institutions. OK, I admit I had a Facebook account by update and post information less that 5 times a year. Many teens, or adults check and update information 5 times a day! The tool itself is just a tool. It has good features and others that are really just a distraction. There are lots of legitimate business, college and university sites and groups in Facebook, I even found our Local Mayor has a site. I found some for online learning and web 2.0. I guess my biggest concern about using Facebook for education with high school age students is that it may not be perceived as professional and supported by other teachers, parents. Students may have a hard time distinguishing between their personal life, friends and academic uses. I guess web 2.0 tools have so much to offer that I would put this one at the bottom of the list, to avoid the controversy. I can see using it for a particular task, like the student in my civics class who started a environmental petition and web site as part of his final assignment but not as ongoing assignment, work area. I guess I'll take the wait and see approach on this one.
There are other excellent social networking sites out there that you can create for free. This offers the teacher more control on setting, access and can block any inappropriate users. I'm testing one out this semester, have to coach the students along the way, they are eager to jump in and all get how to use it because it's so much like Facebook, but have to keep the conversation on topic. I'll have to let you know how it goes once we have used it a bit more.

other sources:
How to set up privacy for Facebook

Advancing K-12 Technology Leadership, Consortium for School Networking(CoSN) Video

Google Earth -explore the ocean floor or travel back in time.

google earth-has some exciting new features that will be of interest to educators.
historical time and view ocean floor.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Blog,Blogs, Blogging, but Never Boring!

What's a Blog anyway?
A Blog is a type of web site, that anyone,regardless of age, expertise, computer skill can create in minutes! All you need is a keyboard and access to the Internet. No special program or programming skills,are required. Nothing to buy. Postings or entries are usually like a journal or diary and are posted in order of date. Blogs can be public for anyone to read on www or private if you want, but why hide all your great work? Having an authentic public audience for what you publish is one of the big advantages. Anything that in the past could be written or created, can be typed into a blog. Text along with photo's, drawings, audio, video and PowerPoint type of presentations and other great new types of visuals, like wordle and time capsules can easily be embedded. The main difference between a Blog and traditional web site is the ease of use and the ability to bring text to life by sending and receiving comments and feedback from others. Static text is transformed with conversation, connections, reflection and critical thinking. Blogs are exciting opportunities for original content and expression!

Why would you want to create a blog?
It's: Fast,fun,free,easy, paperless,its always available 24.7 worldwide, everywhere, anytime, any language, creative, content driven, meaningful, documents understanding, builds empathy, real life, expressive design, freedom, self directed, motivational, reflective, responsive, emotional, builds literacy, community and connections, it's constructive, concrete, lasting, builds a sense of control, pride in your work, inspirational, multimedia, and more......but never boring!

How can Blogs be used in education?
Blogs are another tool for teaching, much like textbooks, Internet and Power Point, in the sense they can be used by any age and any curriculum. They can be used by students, teachers, administrators or departments, anyone who wants to communicate.
Take a look at a few great classroom blogs:

What needs to be considered when working with blogs in the classroom?
1. Safety First
Will students use real or code names? first name only or full name.
some experts feel that being anonymous protects kids, while others feel that being authentic and honest and teaching discretion is best for building "Responsible Internet Citizenship" skills for students. Perhaps there should be different "rules" depending on age, grade and purpose of blog.
Here is a good example outlining student terms of use.

2. Digital Literacy
We need to help teachers and students understand:the lifelong nature of publishing, determining quality and validity of information. How to read, summarize, analyse and interpret mass information to determine reliability and usefulness. How to quote sources for a blog and give credit. Plagiarism and what Creative Commons is and how to use it. Appropriate group work and each member making contributions.

3. Access to Technology.
We need to have time available in labs or computers or netbooks in the classroom, with a projector to provide opportunities to coach students through set up Blog and create initial (or all) postings and work through effective commenting process: preview, editing and posting. Provide direction and class discussion on topics to discuss on blogs, as well as background research.

Looking for more information on blogging in classroom check out:

Get started with a blog:

I like Google's Blogger or Get your own EduBlog

Video vitals

How Youtube can be used in school setting?
My feeling is that videos are vital in the classroom. Having the ability to combine meaningful visuals with music and sometimes text is both attention getting and entertaining for students so they are more receptive to the learning. Many videos are available for live streaming, this can be News, Documentaries or even fun clips that make a teaching point. I admit that Youtube can be a time waster if you leave students to explore on their own without any direction, but there are so many worthwhile clips, the benefits out way the nonsense. I admit I have even encouraged some students to create work and publish it there. With programs like Windows Movie Maker it's relatively a simple process to create video with a few photos, even if from a cell phone camera.

Google video- comes with your G-Mail account and you can upload videos and select view options such as search ability or public/ private.
YouTube is not alone in the online video world, there is also TeacherTube , Ustream, Google video, a personal favourite Ted Talks, and most Canadian and World News and Media sources that have streaming video. Most all are FREE and easy to access.

Gone are the days of hunting down a TV and VCR or DVD player for the classroom, with a limited supply of outdated sources. With one computer, projector and speakers you can bring these multimedia sources to the classroom in minutes.

This Sample video is from a series "I selected this one because it illustrates how we live in a "flat world" I find the music and purpose is motivational!

Photo Movie of "Playing For Change: Peace Through Music" trip to Guguletu, South Africa (Township of CapeTown) where the PFC Foundation is building a new music school this fall that will connect students from there to others at established music

Teachers need to Preview clips ahead of time!!
As educators we could do a better job of teaching students:
1. How to find out who published the video
2. Where to look to find credentials of the video creator
3. Pay attention to video credits usually at end of a clip
4. Appropriate and productive use of time and resources
5. Respect for individual privacy
5. How to create meaningful videos
6. How to embed video in Blog, Wiki or web site
7. How to link and embed video into a Presentation with followup discussion questions or activities.
8. How to give credit, source videos in Blog, Wiki, or web site
9. Significance of number of views and ratings
10. Comments on videos
11. Subscription to video

A few Video sources:
100 best you tube video for teachers.

To download streamed video to play when Internet is not available.
I never realized how fortunate I am to work in Halton, we limited like many school boards in Canada, US and worldwide where there are a lot of blocked web sites. Seams odd when freedom of information is taken for granted, how will students learn to be responsible if they are never given any choice? but that's another issue. If because of blocking or just as back up you need to download streamed video them at home or when you have access to the internet try using zamzar, keepvid, or TubeTV for Macs. VLC works great for playing the flv videos. Then the Internet is not required to view.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

Photo editing made easy!

Following the graphic and photo theme here is a really easy way to edit your photos, add cool effects without having to have costly or special software. Another fun freebie.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Digital Storytelling

Lynn Marentette has an excellent accumulation for ways to use multimedia in the classroom for storytelling.

Create your own "Tour Guide Map" with Google

OK I think Google should be paying me now :) it's no wonder this Blogger account is free every time I turn around there is something else that makes me want to talk about Google. This time its their maps- you can create your own map with pictures, video and more. Another tool for educators or those who like to record a journey, vacation or other locations. So cool!

FREE Google directory Calls: 1-800-GOOG -411

OK I liked Google before but now OMG!(Oh My Google!)
this is yet another fantastic service!
Use your phone for voice recognised information, text and even mapquest
you gotta try it, add to you cell phone and let me know if this is all it claims.

Learning Languages in a "flat world"- interactive and fun!

Jane's elearning pick of the Day-
recently wrote a post about a exciting way to learn languages, I previewed the site and found it very engaging and interactive this is great for both classroom and on-line educators, or even for those you dream of travelling abroad.

Mi vida loca - Spanish course

The BBC has produced a fun and interactive course, which is available for free. It draws you into a web of intrigue dealing with real natives and you can't help but learn Spanish! You'll find yourself at the heart of a fast-paced mystery drama, which
starts off in Madrid. Broken down into 22 bite-sized episodes of 10 minutes, it allows beginners to learn Spanish from scratch and more advanced users tom refresh their skills, all at their own speed

looking for more languages, French, Italian, German and more


Saturday, January 24, 2009

Just Hear It - Music

Search the world for Music, Legal listening!
Thanks to Liz Davis who recently posted "Just Hear It is an on-demand music discovery service. You can search for and listen to any song in the world without signing up or paying anything. You can create your own playlists and legally stream your songs right from your desktop. They pay for licenses from all the major performing-rights organizations. Just Hear It is currently in private beta, you can search and play music without an account. Members (by invitation only) can also create a media library, multiple playlists and keep track of their play history."

for more legal, free music:

Ken Robinson -Do Schools kill creativity? Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity.

TEDTalks is a daily video podcast of the best talks and performances from the TED Conference, where the world's leading thinkers and doers are invited to give the talk of their lives in 18 minutes -- including speakers such as Jill Bolte Taylor, Sir Ken Robinson, Hans Rosling, Al Gore and Arthur Benjamin. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design, and TEDTalks cover these topics as well as science, business, politics and the arts. Watch the Top 10 TEDTalks on, at

what is web 2.0?

Uploaded on authorSTREAM by aSGuest5407

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Reading -Literacy without barriers

It used to be, that to subscribe to university publications you had to be a student paying tuition or pay high fees. To read books, magazines and professional resources you had to subscribe for a fee. Well there are a few new tools out there, and I'm sure there are more that I don't know about, but these will be of interest to educators in languages and all subject areas.

Daily lit- provide small bits of a book to you a few times a week or daily (you select) so if you don't want to be overwhelmed read a little each day. You can search for free books and some have very low fee. You can have the book sent to you in email, but that's already too busy for most of us so why not set up a Google Reader and you can get your subscription in your reader, it will stay there till your ready. Take a look here.

Want more than a few pages at a time well try out Google Book Search- Search for books that are full version All are free!

Looking to get started with that Google Reader?
This bring any web information to your reader for you to review, tag, share and look at when you have time.

A RSS Quick Start Guide for Educators 9 from Will Richardon at
(file is pdf)

Google forms for Surveys, Quizes and more..

Here are some video's and resources so you can get started with google forms.

Teachers and Students can make a survey in minutes, the data automatically goes into a spread sheet and you can view a summary of results without even having to create charts. Here is a video posted by.

Well what about a paperless test or Quiz?- watch this...

10 Google Forms for the Classroom
Looking for more ideas,
what about a spelling test, and emotion scale, a reading log, an evaluation form
Take a look at this site and if you click on the links provided you will have a blank form in you google account ready for you to use and customize.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Learning to Change, Changing to learn

21 Century Literacies and the Role of the Education

video source:

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Statistics, Forms come to life and have meaning.

Google Forms- Take Excel to the next level with Google Forms. You can create a form that will auto enter into spreadsheet!
Do you or your students ever need to create a survey or collect data, want an online form for evaluations, poll, quiz or anything?
Google forms is really easy to use and form can be embed in website or Blog,
Heres a sample of one I made for School Survey on technology and Communication

you tube how to make google forms-from

Gapminder- Bring meaning to statistics!
I came across this web site over the holidays, might be of interest to teachers of: world issues, economics, international business teachers. It makes statistics interesting, really!

It is an animated interactive web site that has world statistics over time and you can select specific countries etc.
There are also 2 worthwhile (20 minute) Ted Talks presentations. (watch the video first then check out the site)

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Google Docs- Teacher's in Digital Age need to know!

Google is much more that just a search engine it is an entire resource of information management. Teachers and students can benifit by exploring the many new features of Google. Here are some of my favourite features (so far)
1. IGoogle- customize your search page with all your favourite site feeds.
2. Google Reader - Any one that has an area of interest that they are passionately seeking to learn more about need to set up a reader. Information comes to you. I think this is the single best form of professional developement since my last formal graduate course.
3. Google Forms- Excellent for gathering primary data, evaluations, surveys etc, easy to make and automatically go into a spread sheet. Easy to post on website, blog, or email links directly to those you want to complete the survey.
Here is an excellent resource on how to use Google Forms in classroom.

4. Google Docs- ducuments, presentations and spreadsheets with a free program and that can be easily shared and posted to websites, develope your work, docs, presentations with others in collaboration or securly kept your items private.
5. Google geers -allows you to view files and work off line.

I teach high school but am totally impressed by the younger generation and how they are using these new tecnologies. Here is an wonderful example of how grade school students in New Zealand are using Google docs in the classroom.

Check out this web site to find out more about Google forms and educational uses in Virgina.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Comparing what if? to the Connected Student for 21st Century

Watching this video, I'm reminded of the hurdles in education.
Are we moving ahead yet? More importantly how do we get there?

The Networked Student

I recently came across this video in my reader that was posted on
I agree with the author that education is changing and so is the roll of teachers.
The learning curve is steap and constantly changing for both educators and learners.