Tuesday, February 28, 2006

[TIPS] - multiple tips

Several people wrote to ask how to set Google as the default search engine in IE. (You didn't think MS would make it EASY to switch from MSN, did you?) The above links to a file (Windows only) that, when double clicked, will make the necessary registry entry to change the default search engine to Google.
Here's one for your favorite physics teacher: http://www.whatthebleep.com/download/  This is a page that contains an excellent movie called the Double Slit Experiment. (Ask your favorite Physics teacher) At the bottom of THIS page (http://www.whatthebleep.com/trailer/) you'll find a link to the movie trailer for, "What the Bleep Do We Know?" The first movie is part of the larger movie.
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Friday, February 24, 2006

[TIPS] - browser shortcuts

In IE:
So you wanna find a definition of a word - say, *moodle. How do YOU find the definition? Do you rush off to Merriam Webster's site (http://www.m-w.com) and search from there? I'll save you some time: For a definition of a word just type - define moodle - in the address field.
Another way to search for something, say, penguins, is to simply type: ? penguins in the address field - right over top of the address that's there. Presto - your default search engine pops up with the search results.
For Firefox:
In the address field type: google moodle - and hit enter. Google appears with the search results.
To find a definition of the word, in the address bar type: dict moodle
To do a wikipedia search, type: wp moodle and hit enter and up comes Wikipedia with the search result.
To get a stock quote, type: quote GOOG and up comes the latest stock quote from Yahoo Finance area.
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And speaking of Moodle, don't forget the training sessions scheduled for March 1, 8, 14, and April 11. Choose one and sign up via 48 CARATS. I need 6 per class to hold the session)

Thursday, February 23, 2006

[TIPS] - Kitzu - Find, Learn, Create

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What's a kitZu, Anyway?

At kitZu, you will find a collection of free, educational, copyright-friendly media resources. Students and teachers around the world can access pre-made collections, or "kits," of various digital assets - still images, background music, narratives, video and text. Each kit is built around a common theme, or curricular topic. For students, this becomes the construction paper of the 21st century --allowing them to create reports and projects filled with rich, immersive media for communicating their vision of whatever subjects they chose. AS they master the technology, they will progress from building projects with supplied materials to projects where they find or create their own resources -- a strategy that results in truly authentic assessment as measured by the projects produced.

Kit Contents

A digital kit is meant to provide students with the building blocks necessary to build video and multimedia projects that tell a story and demonstrate learning. A kit can be made up of:

  • - Photos
  • - Illustrations
  • - Animations
  • - Video Clips
  • - Audio Clips
  • - Document
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Don't forget that I've got more Moodle classes scheduled for March 1, 8, and 14, and April 11. All from 4-7 pm. Cost is $40.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

[TIPS] - Podcast for nothing - CastWiki

Someone told me that putting the word free in the subject line throws the mail into the SPAM bin, so that 's why I didn't say it was free in the subject. :-)
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Five Steps to Free Podcasting

How you can podcast with a free website, free audio software, free hosting and free bandwidth. Free as in doesn’t cost you a penny, except for your computer and microphone.

Making a podcast is a five step process

  1. Create your audio file
  2. Upload your audio file
  3. Create your show notes on your website
  4. Create and publish your RSS feed
  5. Tell everyone you know where to find your RSS feed
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Sunday, February 19, 2006

[TIPS] - stamps of the future are here NOW!


This is spooky - animated postage stamps. Run this idea 25 years into the future and try to imagine what our textbooks will be like, and what a basic word processing document might look like. Oh my... VERY cool, eh?

Friday, February 17, 2006

[TIPS] - Microsoft Office Live and a bonus

Remember the other day when I showed you goffice, and ThinkFree Office and I said that this was the kind of thing that has Microsoft worried? (Why spend big $$ to buy it if you can access the tools online, right? Or better yet, get Open Office or Star Office!)
Well, here is MS's answer to this challenge. There's a forever free version, and then other versions for fee, including one that allows you to collaborate with others. (MS's answer to Writely.com, maybe?). But guess what? It only works in Internet Explorer. You get a big Server Error when trying to hit it using Firefox, for example.
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Oh, and THIS truly IS useful information: How to fold a fitted sheet PERFECTLY EVERY TIME! WOOHOOO!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

[TIPS] - Blogs 2 Teach

Don't Panic! This isn't MySpace or LiveJournal. This is a blog that you can use in your teaching. It's free, as well
What can you do with a blog in your classroom? Talk to your students, for one thing. At the end of each day you could post an entry about the day's activities. Maybe remark about some good questions that arose in one class and maybe some other questions that came to mind as a result. Read the sample blog entries below that I'm about to make up on the fly. Do you see any benefit to being able to post this kind of information to your students?
- - - social studies blog entry 1- - -
Well, today was sure an interesting one. First, the firedrill interupted second period's class. Then, the network was out for 15 minutes. (What did we do before networks?) We made it through, though.
I thought that today's discussions on Andrew Jackson's decision to run the Indians out of the East were very good. So many of you commented that it wasn't fair and how could the American people let that happen? I can certainly understand your concerns, both for fairness and for what appears to be the apathy [that word would be linked to its definition at Merriam-Webster's site] of the American people to let it happen. Where was the outrage?
It's difficult to understand that time in our History, isn't it? I've lived through the Civil Right's movement of the 60's and when I see videos of how badly the black people were treated as they peacefully fought for basic human rights, I'm now embarassed that I didn't do more to help them. But, we can't apply today's sensitivities to yesterday's events. Do you know what I mean by that?
I'd be interested to know... if you could talk to President Jackson right now, what would you say to him? What arguement could you make that what he was doing was wrong? Why not click the Comment link below and add your thoughts?
- - - - - math blog entry - -
A math teacher might write:
Whew! We did our first slope-intercept work today and we all survived! I haven't lost a student yet. :-)
I was so busy today trying to get us all on track that I forgot to tell you who uses this sort of thing. I mean, if the only reason to do something is because you CAN, then it's not a good use of our time, is it?
I'll try to remember to tell you what professions use this tomorrow in class; don't let me forget. (Now I'll see who actually reads my blog posts, won't I?)
In the meantime, here is a nice little applet that you can play around with to see how the M, the X, and the b effect the line. Just move the two sliders on the left and watch it go.  http://www.analyzemath.com/Slope_Intercept_Line/Slope_Intercept_Line.html
Good work today, y'all. :-)
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What do you think?

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

[TIPS] - ThinkFree Office Online

This is the kind of application that has Microsoft worried. http://online.thinkfree.com is a free web (2.0) application that allows to create word processing, spreadsheets, and "powerpoints" that mimic the Office application. But, the BIG difference is that it's FREE! And since it's accessible on the web you'll never need to worry about taking your jump drive containing all your important files along with you. They're already on the web.
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Have you ever wanted to edit an Excel spreadsheet on a Linux system? Have you ever wanted to show your colleagues a presentation on a computer not equipped with Powerpoint? Would you like to be able to add the interactivity of spreadsheets and presentations to your blog? How about accessing your Word documents from across the Internet and around the world? With ThinkFree Office Online, new from ThinkFree, Inc., you can do all this and more.
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How can these companies put this stuff out there for no charge to the consumer? They hope to become another Flickr, for example. That was a great startup company that made a great product and gave it away. Once it had the following that attracted the attention of the big companies, someone came along and bought it - for big bucks.
Previous tips pointed to some other online office-like programs. Remember goffice? http://www.goffice.com) You say you don't want an online office application for home because you're still on dialup, but you still want a free Office application? Try Star Office which is free for educaiton: http://snipurl.com/e0sl. Or, get Open Office here: http://openoffice.org Of course, if you're on dialup at home then you'll want to download these at work and take them home on your jump drive. (Try Star Office first)
Microsoft Office does NOT come pre-installed on the computers you buy, so if you want an office suite, these are some good options for you.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

[TIPS] - PictureClouds

Got a digital camera? If so, you'll like this site.  http://www.picturecloud.com/index.php

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A picture cloud is the easiest way to make a photo come to life. By using a picture cloud you can turn still photos into images that spin 360° by uploading images you take around an object with your digital camera. Whether it's houses, cars, toys, or pets, picture clouds are easy to create and can be used anywhere. Picture clouds are helping give depth to the web, and best of all - picture clouds are free.
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Either walk around something and take pictures, or stand in one spot and take pictures of your room, for example. Check out the examples on their site, as well.


Friday, February 10, 2006

[TIPS] - Uncovering the pharming/phishing scam

Another scam was just brought to my attention. This time it's supposedly from PayPal. Jason was smart enough not to fall for it and he didn't click the link it supplied.
He's one way you can try to tell if the email and especially the link it wants to click is legitimate:
Right-click on the link and Choose properties.
Note the address in the Properties window. If it's not PayPal (or ebay or whoever it claims to be) then it's a scam. DO NOT CLICK THE LINK!!!

[TIPS] - LivePlasma

Here's a cool site that likes to show you relationships between things. Specifically, between movies and their actors, or songs and the groups who sang them. For example, in the search field type: Elton John. Watch as it shows you the relationships it knows about. Click one of them to redraw from there.
Interesting technology.
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Don't like that one, check this one out: http://www.babynamewizard.com/namevoyager/lnv0105.html
Notice that when you move your mouse over the chart different names come up at the different colors. The wider the swatch of color the more common that name has been over the years. And, you see the > sign just above the top left corner? Start typing your name (or some else's) in there and watch what happens.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

[TIPS] - ChemCollective.org

Thanks to Cheryl C for sharing this one. It's for your chemistry teachers, and it's a good'n
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The Chemistry Collective is a collection of virtual labs, scenario-based learning activities, and concepts tests which can be incorporated into a variety of teaching approaches as pre-labs, alternatives to textbook homework, and in-class activities for individuals or teams. It is organized by a group of faculty and staff at Carnegie Mellon University for college and high school teachers who are interested in using, assessing, and/or creating engaging online activities for chemistry education.
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It's java based, so if you have trouble with jave this one won't be for you. But if you CAN do java, the virtual lab and some of the other activites are VERY cool!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

[TIPS] - news map

This is just a site with some very cool technology. It creates a map of the news. Larger blocks are bigger stories. The color differences reflect the "newness" of the item. Want to see the news from other countries, as well - or instead of US? Click the check boxes at the top. Don't want to see, say, the Business news included? Remove the check from the boxes at the bottom.
There just HAS to be a connection to education in here somewhere, don't you think?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

[TIPS] - audio books on the web

This link is to a recent story on NPR about the growing popularity of audio books on the web. Not only will you learn where to find some of them, but it may even become a second career for you. Got a good voice for audio books?
And, it MAY EVEN spark an idea or two about how your STUDENTS could turn this into a great lesson. What if they got to read their own stories and post them online? Your class could even have its own podcast going wherein they took turns reading their poems or stories. What if you had a wikibook story that they could read? (It's a book open for all to edit. Supply a couple character types, a location, a time, and a generic plot and see what happens.) Geez - Imagine! Your students writing - and LOVING IT!
You'll need Real Player to hear the story.

Monday, February 06, 2006

[TIPS] - Ancient Egyptian Life - and a bonus

An excellent site to read and learn about the ancient Egyptian culture. Well done.
Also, I know we're still in the minority (and I DID break down to watch the Super Bowl last night with my brother), but there really ARE people out there who don't watch TV. Here's an article from another one. http://www.lewrockwell.com/westley/westley17.html

Friday, February 03, 2006

[TIPS] - wiki ideas

If you've heard of a wiki, then perhaps you're struggling for other ideas of how to use them. Here is a list of ideas that come to mind immediately.
Word list - For example, Words that are Fun to Say (blubber, macadamia, spaghetti :-)  ) Students would enter the word on the first page, make it a link, and on the resulting page use it in a sentence - complete with a picture, maybe. (Have you ever heard the Bulbous Bouffant recording?  http://www.fireball20xl.com/slapdash/bb.swf If it's blocked at school, try it at home.) MUKLUKS! MUKLUKS!
Spelling lists - same idea as above. Maybe the teacher populates the first page with the terms and the students make the links and use them in sentences. If so, write each word a few times to allow more than one student to choose that term.
Important People, Places, Events (in general, or from a unit of study) - The teacher could list the names of the people, places, and events that will be important to know for the unit test. Students can then take one and define it. What if they define it incorrectly, or if they miss the important aspects of that item? Teach your students to read other people's entries and make additions or suggested corrections (kindly, of course). That's the power of a wiki, after all.
Places We've Been - Of course, with some classes of students this won't work, as many may not have been outside the city limits or certainly not outside the county. But, on the front page students would be encouraged to write down the name of the place they've visited and make it a link. On the resulting page they could discuss what they saw, what they did there, and what surprised them about what they saw.
After a field trip, "What Did You See?" - Let the students add what they saw to the front page, make the link, and then talk about what they saw. If you took along a digital camera you can even add pictures from your trip. Many wikis are able to be downloaded in pdf format, too, for a printable copy of their discussions.
Are you getting the idea? Think of a community bulletin board where the students could post pictures about a topic. Now translate that into words and you've got an idea for a wiki. Want a wiki of your own? Try this site: http://www.pbwiki.com for a free wiki.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

[TIPS] - Package for CD in PowerPoint

I've mentioned Sonia Coleman's site before when I mentioned places to go for free PowerPoint templates. She has some nice collections, but they are packaged in .exe files, making them inaccessible for most people at school, and for all Mac users. Still, she has some nice collections. Download and unpackage them at home and email the individual files to yourself at school.
But, today's tip refers to one of her tutorials on PowerPoint 2003's feature called Package for CD.
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 Package for CD will read your current presentation, identify all links, locate the linked files, and ensure that the link addresses are pathless, so normally you don't have to specify any files that need to be included on the CD.  However, there may be occasions when you want additional files not used in the presentation to be included on the CD.  For example, you may want to include background information, research papers, documentation, etc.  In that case, click on Add Files and use the dialog to point to them.
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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

[TIPS] - Top 10 Web sites for students

Thanks to Larry H for sharing this.
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I have these love-hate emotions about Microsoft, and I know that you have distributed some of the featured sites on this page, but for teachers, it is a well written page. Their Related Links on the right side were somewhat self serving, but the Make the grade with 10 homework helpers link is also useful.