Monday, October 18, 2010


 On of the complaints I hear from foreign language teachers  from time to time is about typing accents and special characters.  Our SWIFT page is one example where you can't type them.  This website, Typeit, allows you to type special characters until your little heart is content and without keyboard combinations!  Once you have said what you need to say in French or Spanish, you cut and paste your text into your Swift page, word doc, or what have you.  Very cool!
Not only would this be useful for teachers and students doing their day to day homework, but it would also be handy for kids quoting a foreign author in a paper.  Or, for writing to parents.  
Thanks, yet again, to Free Tech 4 Teachers.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Universal Leonardo

This site, Universal Leonardo, is a beautiful way to explore the many, many accomplishments of Leonardo da Vinci. The site was originally set up as an adjunct to a museum exhibition, which is now closed. You can explore his paintings, drawings, and his writings. One of the features I liked best was the magnifier that appears with his drawings and paintings. With it, you can more closely examine his work.

This would be a terrific way to introduce students to the breadth and depth of Leonardo's works and curiosity. It would also be a good place to send students as they are studying the Italian Renaissance as it not only has works by da Vinci, but some of his peers as well.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

A New Way to Lecture

Today's post is about a nifty handout I found thanks to Kathy Schrock's "Sites of the School Days" email.  The publication, called "A New Way to Lecture, Using Web 2.0 to Create Interactive Lectures With Your Students." It describes 14 Web 2 tools that  can be used instead of PowerPoint (that's so '90's!).  Some, like Prezi, Glogster and Animoto, I have used.  Others like Weebly and Sliderocket I haven't seen before and I can't wait to play with them!  The brochure is embedded below.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Get Smart!

Summer time is always such a busy time for teachers--despite what the general public thinks we do during our summers "off." Most of us take classes, work on curriculum and/or do a lot of lesson planning. Many of the NWS classrooms either have or will be getting SmartBoards during the summer, so I thought it would be useful to put together a list of online SmartBoard tutorials that you can use to get yourself prepared for next fall. (Sheesh!)

The following is a list of 9 sources that can help you get ready for the fall and using a Smartboard.  Whether you're an experienced user or a total novice, you'll find lots of new ideas in these sites.  And why 9?  It just seemed less daunting than 10.  

1. Download the SmartBoard Notebook 10 software (Windows) (Mac) to your home computer so that you can play with it. Because we have the boards, you are licensed to install this software on your home machine. BE FOREWARNED: it is a huge, gigantic, gynormous download and will take a good, long while to download.

2.  Two-minute tutorials This is a fairly lengthy list of quick tutorials from Smart on single tasks.  Creating objects, using the Gallery, using the page sorter and the like are part of this page plus a list of the official Smart workshops and what they cover.
3. Teacher Tube Smartboard Videos This is a listing of the Teacher Tube how-to videos that people have posted.  One a novice user might find useful is "50 Things We Love About Smartboards."

4.  Teachers Love Smartboards is a nice site with some ideas about integrating the boards into your practice. They have some for-fee tutorials, but they also have several complimentary ones for you to try, as well.

5.  Florida Diagnostic and Learning Services has a nice list of tutorials, some from the Smart site, others developed by independent users.  There are several articles about how to use your board to improve student engagement, many templates and lesson plans.

6.  Get Smart with Smartboards is a website and podcast series.  Harvey and Jim, the series hosts, have done a series of podcasts in which they talk about how they use the boards in their classrooms and then they provide the resources they have discussed on the website.  The podcasts are useful and entertaining.

7.  Wichita Public Schools Smart website has hundreds of lesson examples, sortable by level or subject.  There are lots and lots of ideas here.

8.  Smartboard Lounge Loads of tutorials, templates and lesson ideas.  This site is also home  to Smartboard 101 and :60 second tech.

9.  The SmartExchange is a forum for teachers who use SmartBoards, sponsored by Smart.  Lesson ideas, how-to's and troubleshooting are just a few of the things you'll find on the forum.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Presenting...Something Other Than PowerPoint

Hi, everyone!

For this session, I will be teaching mostly from this page. It's just easier to have everything in one place, plus it's a sneaky way to get people to read this blog.

The first non-PowerPoint resource we will be using is Prezi.

Let's look at MovieMaker, Photostory.
Wallwisher is a tool more for discussions, but we should look at it, as well.
Tilt-Shift Maker is an interesting way to use photographs in your presentations and lectures.

Web 2--An Endless Source of Entertainment and Education

Mostly, this post is going to be about links, links, links.  There is so much out there on the Interactive Internet for both productivity and time-wasting, that I'm mainly interested in showing you different things you can use and then letting you just play with them.

To narrow this session down, I began by asking myself what Web 2 tools I use most and which ones I just would not want to give up.  Then, my phone buzzed and it was a new message from Twitter.  Hmm....that's a really good place to start.

Twitter is a microblog site.  Basically, you can send and receive messages of not more than 140 characters, or the same length as a text message.  Whohoo, you say.  Why do I need one more way to get text messages when I can barely keep up with the ones my kids send me?  Professional Development.  Put another way, Twitter is a really, really effective way to grow your Personal Learning Network.  I know very few of my Twitterverse face to face, but they are all people I learn from, some on a daily basis. Let's take a look...

A term you will be hearing more and more often is "cloud computing."  No there's isn't some nefarious plan by Gates and Jobs to turn the ionosphere into a giant mainframe.  Cloud computing refers to internet-based applications and storage.  Google Docs are a great example of computing in the cloud.  This blog is a great example of computing in the cloud.  I don't have to have anything installed on my computer to create content and what I do create gets saved somewhere in the cloud.  Another really nice example is Windows Live, something you may have noticed is being integrated into Hotmail. 

And, now for something completely different:  Matzoh Ball

For your edification, or to figure out what your children are saying in their texts to you NetLingo 

Here's a paperless way to publish student work in journal form;  Youblisher

One for the "Wow" factor and a terrific illustration of how technology can make the distant become immediate.  Panoramic tour of the Sistine Chapel.

There's been a lot of talk about the various Google toys.  One that hasn't gotten a lot of press but is a nice survey/collaboration tool is Google Moderator I've created a Moderator discussion that I'd love to have your feedback on.

Other Interactive Internet sites you might find useful:
Flikr  Photo sharing social network.  Can be searched by copyright permissions.

Snagfilms Watch documentaries for free.  Very high-quality films, many foreign.

SafeShareTV  Enter the URL of a YouTube video you want to share and watch it without all the advertising.You can also crop out inappropriate content.

Scriblink Online interactive whiteboard.  Great way to collaborate, and that's not just for classrooms.

Voo2do Shareable to-do list.  Assign tasks, add tasks, delete them when they are complete.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Art for Smarties

It's been a while since I posted anything. I'm not really sure why, but I just haven't. Life in the lab has been busy, I guess.

Today's resource is a really, really fun one: Art applications that would work really well for an Interactive White Board. The links are from a blog I just discovered, The Whiteboard Blog. Today's post has 12 links to fun and useful art applications. These would be terrific for use with an IWB but, they're just plain fun anyway. One of them, This is Sand I have actually posted to my online activities page. The kids are fascinated by the Falling Sand game and are always looking for new versions to play.

Another one of the links from The Whiteboard Blog goes to Bomomo, an abstract art creator. There's something hypnotic about controlling the bouncing balls to create pretty pictures!

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

March 29 Professional Development Survey

Please take a couple of minutes and fill out our survey.  Thank you, everyone!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Visualizing The World

While reading the "Horizon 2010" report, I came across a reference to Worldmapper.  Worldmapper is a "visualization too that redraws maps based on the data being displayed.  For instance, on a world map showing population, countries with more people swell while those with fewer people shrink." (Horizon 2010  report, New Media Consortium and Educause Learning Initiative, 2009.)
I poked around on the website and, it's pretty interesting.  For example, the map depicting deaths caused by infectious and parasitic diseases, Africa and the Indian subcontinent are giant bulges and Europe and North America appear almost emaciated.  These maps are very interesting and could be the source of some enlightening discussions with your classes.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

For Francoise (and others!)

At the social networking session on Friday's prof dev day, one of our administrators asked if there was a Reader's Digest for web 2 applications. I responded that it's people who do what I do: surf the web, play with the toys and read, read, read all day. However, what I didn't tell him was that I have a couple of resources that do function a bit like the Reader's Digest for me. The many times aforementioned Free Tech For Teachers (source of today's post), Wes Fryer's "Moving at the Speed of Creativity" and "Digitzd"are among my favorites.

So, to today's topic, Youpublisher.  Youpublisher is a free, online service that turns your pdf's into online magazines.  Very cool, and a fantastic way for students to publish their work.   Francoise, one of our French teachers, has her French IV students do a literary magazine, and we usually find a way to put it up on the web so parents can see it.  This takes it one step farther!  Even better, she can embed the code into her SWIFT page and parents can read the publication right there. 

Come to think of it, our Journalism teacher was asking about something similar just the other day!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Copyright and Fair Use

Thanks, again, to Free Tech For Teachers and it's wonderful author Richard Byrne (@rmbyrne on Twitter) for bringing to my attention a very good presentation on copyright for educators done by Wes Fryer.  I've embedded it below, but here are a couple of suggestions to add to your RSS feed, and/or your Twitterpeeps: If you don't subscribe to Free Tech or Wes' blog, At the Speed of Creativity you are missing out of some really good resources.  Wes' slideshare presentation runs close to an hour, but it well worth listening to.