Wednesday, May 31, 2006

[TIPS] - a site that's hard to explain

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Phylotaxis is an exploration of the space where science meets culture.

Its structure, derived from the Fibonacci Sequence and closely related to the Golden Ratio, is one of nature's most elegant. The Fibonacci Sequence is the set of numbers where each number is the sum of the previous two numbers. This simple sequence governs phenomena as diverse as the petal arrangement of roses, the breeding patterns of rabbits, and the shape of our galaxy. It is also evident in the design of the Great Pyramids, the composition of the Mona Lisa, and the construction of Stradivarius violins.

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Drag the slider to the left or right at the bottom to see how the Seed changes.

And a bonus...

How can you tell a person who means well but who is still not understanding your privacy concerns with regard to emails? For example. have you ever gotten a forwarded email where the top 9/10th 's of the email are nothing but the email addresses of everyone that had forwarded that message and all those who had received it? People SHOULD put those names in the BCC field (like I do with these tips)  so that your addresses aren't made public. In any case, perhaps THIS site can cmoe in handy:


Friday, May 26, 2006

[TIPS] - make screencasts

Thanks to Jarod F for thinking of us to share this. You may recall that I had mentioned this program a year or so ago, but at that time is was still version 1 and it wasn't the best. It's now version two and there are lots of new features. It seems to be MUCH better, now.
Here's what Jarod had to say...
 - - clip - -
I haven't tried Wink yet (we have Captivate), but for free, it will be worth my time to check it out.  Here is the web site:
An example that the guys at MI created for their kids is at:
Although he uses Camtasia, there is a very good ScreenCast on how to create a good ScreenCast:
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Wednesday, May 24, 2006

[TIPS] - Creative Commons Copyright

I forgot to set up a tip for yesterday when I was out at the High School Computer Fair. Congratulations to Stephanie B from West Shore for winning Second Place in the Digital Movie Category!

Here's yesterday's tip:
Copyright issues are always on the minds (or SHOULD be, perhaps) of our teachers and students. The definition of Fair Use is confusing and still very limiting, at times. But, there is another type of copyright that is becoming more widely used. It's the Creative Commons License.

- - snip from wikipedia - -

The Creative Commons website enables copyright holders to grant some of their rights to the public while retaining others through a variety of licensing and contract schemes including dedication to the public domain or open content licensing terms. The intention is to avoid the problems current copyright laws create for the sharing of information.

The project provides several free licenses that copyright holders can use when releasing their works on the web. They also provide RDF/XML metadata that describes the license and the work that makes it easier to automatically process and locate licensed works. They also provide a "Founders' Copyright" [1] contract, intended to re-create the effects of the original U.S. Copyright created by the founders of the U.S. Constitution.
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Watch for this to become more and more common as "the long tail" of users/authors/designers/etc push to make information more accessible and usable.

Discovery Day - should be a good one!

Announcing... Discovery Day. August 14th. Time - 8:00am  - 3:30 pm
Cost - $0.00 - nada - zip - zilch - zero
Still up in the air. In order to meet the demand, it may happen in a local school district, rather than here at the IU.
Lance Rougeux from Discovery Education will be on hand to conduct this workshop. If you're using - or considering using - UnitedStreaming's videos, this workshop is for you. Lance will show you the new UnitedStreaming Interface (set to be revealed in June) as well as some EXCELLENT ways to use it. I've seen him show how to put videos into powerpoints, and how to use Google Earth with unitedstreaming, and he's quite good. You'll love it.
The day will involve being broken out into groups where you'll learn specific ways to integrate it. It's a tried and true method that he's done many times before. I'm sure there will be other little bonuses, as well.
How to sign up:
Sign up on 48 carats. I've capped the attendance at 75.

Monday, May 22, 2006

[TIPS] - podcasting tutorials

I almost forgot to send this one today.
This site (sometimes slow to load) contains a BUNCH of links to podcasting tutorials.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Live from Firefox

THis tip is coming to you live from within Firefox. I'm using the extension called "Performancing." It allows me to type my blog entry into a window that appeared at the bottom of the firefox browser, and then click to post it to my blog. I have configure it for multiple blogs, as well.

How cool is THAT?

[TIPS] - learn Spanish sites, Bits'n'Bytes, and more

Those two sites will help your students learn Spanish - free. After the discussion of the Ammendment to that bill yesterday I thought this one would be appropriate. :-)
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Also, the new Bits 'n' Bytes magazine is out. Find it here: (I've got an article in it this time. Woohoo!!)
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Finally, Read what BIll Gates has to say about the future of desktop computing.
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He used his keynote speech on Wednesday to tell the more than 100 CEOs of major global corporations attending his 10th CEO Summit that nothing has changed about that prediction. "I don't see it slowing down," he said.

Then he proceeded to explain and demonstrate how a wide range of areas and products that Microsoft is working on interrelate in his evolving vision of where the next 10 years will take global business.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

[TIPS] - podcasting video series from Apple

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Apple's new iPod and podcasting solutions help you engage today's students who are living in a media-rich world. More and more educators are discovering the teaching power of podcasts-audio and visual content distributed easily over the Internet and useable on a Mac, PC, or iPod. From foreign language recordings to school newsletters and audio or video professional development, podcasting opens new doors for students, teachers, and administrators.
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"Rethink the Frontiers of Learning"

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

[TIPS] - WeatherMole - and a bonus

Another Google maps mashup - and a cool one. Click on the google map (or zoom in first and THEN click) and it will load the five day weather forecast for that area, direct from NOAA. For the contiguous states and Hawaii only. No Alaska. (Just count on it being cold for a while, yet)
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And here's an interesting time killer:  Try some of the other examples on the right, as well.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

[TIPS] - Gcast. Make your voice heard.

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About us

Gcast is run by the same people that run Our goal with GarageBand is to redefine how music is discovered and promoted. Our goal with Gcast is to make personal broadcasting simple. In pursuing these goals we hope to democratize both music and media.

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Take a quick tour here:


Friday, May 12, 2006

[TIPS] - NPR : What's on the Web About You?

If you've got Real Player installed on your machine, give this story a listen. This may be a good episode to play for your students who have the tell-all blogs about themselves.
- - and for the rest of us - - - - This site APPEARS to be completely school safe, but I've not looked at it completely. (My disclaimer) BUt there are puzzles, illusions, sudoku puzzles, and assorted fun stuff. Give it a shot.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

[TIPS] - changing case in Excel

What's this? A non-website tip? Yes, but one that SOMEDAY may come in handy for you.
You've got an Excel document. One column contains text that is in all upper case (or all lower case) and you want it to be a different case. The question then becomes, "Is there an easy way to change the case of text in a column in Excel?" The answer is: NO! The answer to "Why not?" is a mystery.
There is NO easy way to change case of text in Excel. If you search Excel's help text you'll find a method that goes something like this: Insert another column, use a function - upper() - to change the case of one column and put it into another column. Then you have to work a little magic so that the cells contain the VALUES and not the formulas, and then delete ... See? I told you it wasn't easy.
But, here, at least, is a faster (and I think easier) way.
1) In Excel, select the text that you want to change
3) Open a WORD document
5) Select the table that you just pasted in Word (a quick way is to ALT-Double click it)
6) Press SHIFT-F3 once to make it all upper case, again for lower case, and again for Sentence case (First word is capitalized). Press it again to start over.
7) Once it's the way you want it, COPY
8) Back in Excel, PASTE the text on top of what you had copied.
9) Done. See - in 9 easy (sigh) steps.  :-)
Now, on your home computer so might consider trying a little FREE program that will add a menu to Excel that will do this automatically. I won't give the name here, but you can find it if you try. Use at your own risk.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

[TIPS] - Sketchup tutorials - to read about it - SEE an example (if you've got Google Earth installed) Open it
Google is making Sketchup available for FREE! What does it do? It's a LOT easier to have you WATCH what it does than for me to tell you about it. I will tell you, however, that more and more people are using it to add sketchup (3-D) models for Google Earth.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

[TIPS] - a cool flickr mashup site

Thanks to Candy S (How many Candy's do you know? I can't disguise that name very well) for sharing this one. Here's exactly what she sent me:
From the FlickR mashup list:
see my sample:
1. Teach sequencing skills, especially with speech/language small groups who need to develop written and spoken language (can narrate to you).
2. Create a strip to illustrate a concept, such as the water cycle. Email it to the teacher.
I like the fact that you do not have to use a "real" name or enter any info about yourself --- safer for kids.
The elementary speech folks would love it!!

Monday, May 08, 2006

[TIPS] - Happy Teacher's Day

Two things today. First, HAPPY TEACHER'S DAY!!
If that doesn't work, go to and
copy and paste this code:
XAFQDN526U2QZ  (I hope this site isn't blocked for you)
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Second, I've got a Google Earth workshop tomorrow from 4-7pm that needs a couple more people to make it fly. If you're interested in learning some REALLY cool things about this amazing program (like where to find some amazing images, how to save your findings, how to put your findings in powerpoint, and much more) you should come to this class. You'll have to email me with your intent, as the deadline to register has passed. I'll need to cancel the class by noon today, so if you want to attend you'll need to let me know this morning. I hope to see you there.

Friday, May 05, 2006

[TIPS] - they've hatched

In case you've not seen the new arrivals, here's the link. It gets busy so sometimes you can't get in. But there are 4 new falcon chicks? It's fun to watch the parents feeding them. One egg that was laid 10 days after the others is still there.

[TIPS] - videoegg - and a bonus

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What's the VideoEgg Publisher?
The VideoEgg publisher is a small website plug-in that makes it simple for end-users to capture, edit, encode, and post digital video online. A "universal adapter" that captures directly from hundreds of devices and reads dozens of formats, the VideoEgg Publisher allows users to painlessly publish videos that anyone can watch without worrying about player compatibilities, encoding settings, or extra software.
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Now, I'm going to guess that this will be blocked in the schools, so this is more of a "look what's happening on the 'net" sorta thing. With an eyeball camera you can capture some video, upload it to this site, edit it, and with a click of a button upload it directly to your blog site - or ebay.
- - - BONUS! - - -
Thanks to Jane H for sharing this one.
and I quote...
Here's a great link for all your walkers and runners. Neat tool for approximating distances. You can save your maps too!

Thursday, May 04, 2006

[TIPS] - Young Americans Geographically Illiterate?

Thanks to Jeff G for sharing this one. The article talks about how
poorly our students fair on a Geography test. The link to the test is in
the article. The average score is 54%. Take it for yourself.

I wonder if using Google Earth for teaching geography would make any

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

[TIPS] - Map Builder::Rapid mashup development tool for Google and Yahoo maps!

- - - snip - - - is an Web2.0 service or rapid mashup development tool to build custom Google and Yahoo maps without any knowledge of the Google/Yahoo Maps API and JavaScript. MapBuilder provides a decent visual interface for the map building process with geocoding and import features. Also MapBuilder lets users tag locations on their maps, and then publish the map either on or their own website.

As a short summary I would like to say that Map Builder is:
- a great tool for webmasters, webdevelopers, people who likes mapping at all.
- an excellent resource to get started with Google or Yahoo maps.
- a good resource to build communities around your maps or just start collaborated map development.

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And here's a cute site:

It's an etch-a-sketch that anyone can join in on. Most of the time it's chaos, but every once in a while it seems that most of the people are actually working on the same idea. It would be neater if you could see the country where that user is from, but it's still an interesting diversion.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

[TIPS] -

- - - snip - - - is an organization dedicated to sharing the newer and emerging "learning tools" of science education. Tools such as real-time data collection, simulations, inquiry based lessons, interactive web lessons, micro-worlds, and imaging,  among others, can help make teaching science an exciting and engaging endeavor. These tools can help connect students with science, in ways that were impossible just a few years ago. Take a look at a few different types of "learning tools" at this link, Tool Examples. At this point in our project we are highlighting some of the best web resources for science concepts. Although our main emphasis is on students, teachers, and parents, really anyone interested in science education will find the site useful and informative. 

Monday, May 01, 2006

[TIPS] - unique numbers - and a bonus

Thanks again to Barry S for sharing BOTH of today's tips. This first one starts with -1 and goes up to the number 200 and tells why each of those numbers (including some decimals) is unique and special. Send this to your Math teacher friends.
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And this tip: will (hopefully) bring a smile to your face this Monday morning.