Thursday, August 30, 2007

[TIPS] digital forgery

As we teach kids about trying to decide what’s real and what’s not, the issue of digital images raises the bar. It’s a LOT tougher nowadays to tell if images have been forged. The first link below is a short movie showing a few examples of images that have been altered. I think it’s a great place to start.


The second link below takes you to a spot on a page containing several links to other sites that show forged digital images. I’m sure a good search will show even more. But, it sure is fascinating! - lots more

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

[TIPS] the drugging of our children

Watch this – if you can.


The drugging of our children – to keep them in their seats? This is a digg post.

[TIPS] newly updated splashcast due tomorrow (Thursday)

I just received an email from the team at saying that a new and improved version will appear on their site tomorrow. New features include a full screen button (YEAH!), captions, and more. Since I plan to demo that one for my part of the k12online conference I’m glad to see that it’s out now – rather than the day after I finish making my presentation.




[TIPS] corrected links - wikiscanner

When I copied the email out of Outlook (don’t get me started!) the url’s were changed to include the address of our webmail server. Clever, eh?


Here are the corrected links:


The wikiscanner search engine that "reveals all"

A "best of list" from Wired Magazine

An example:  Diebold attempting to wipe out references to security
issues with voting machines. (theirs!)

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

[TIPS] wikiscanner - get this!

MANY thanks to Dan Berger for sharing this with me. I'll post it just as he sent it to me:
- - -
What it is, is a site (setup up by a 24 year old Grad student) to link anonymous wikipedia edits with the organizations "owning" the IP ranges from which the edits where made. Even though we've probably suspected it, this data-mining project lifts the curtain on that fact that organizations are doctoring their wikipedia entries. What I am fascinated by is the fact that it does lift the curtain so that companies can no longer hide behind anonymity when "white washing" their entries.

The wikiscanner search engine that "reveals all"

A "best of list" from Wired Magazine

An example: Diebold attempting to wipe out references to security
issues with voting machines. (theirs!)

[TIPS] teen fined for posting video of teacher


It was going to happen, wasn’t it? A student records a teacher doing something and posts it on YouTube. It gets seen by hundreds and the teacher is harassed as a result. The student is fined.


It makes me wonder what will come of the student who recorded a friend of his calmly walking to the windows of his classroom, and taking his good old time crawling out – all while the teacher worked at the board. It also makes me wonder WHO should be getting in trouble.


Thanks to Lee C for sharing this.

[TIPS] the spawning of a University

How do you start a University? And don't say, "Start with a four year college and then change your name." How do you start one from the ground up? What an interesting challenge that is, isn't it? That's what's going on at the Harrisburg University.


I just had a fascinating conversation with one of the people in charge of recruiting students and faculty to become a part of this new University. She talked about the kinds of students who would be attracted to the programs being offered there, and I was struck with how well I think that MY learning style would have fit well here. The classes are small, and since it’s new the students and the professors are exploring together and sharing and building the program as they go. Consider an established curriculum, for example. There may be (aka probably ARE) courses in that program that haven’t been updated in years, and in THIS field of learning technology ( a couple of years is ancient history. We talked today about blogs, wikis, google docs, and other web 2.0 tools and how the program will use those tools as they teach. It really sounded very up-to-speed with current technology trends and tools.


A new university is in a catch 22 situation. It needs students to get started, but it needs to HAVE students to attract students. It’s a tough position. But, it’s going to work, if what I”ve seen of the dedication of the staff is any indication.


So, for those of you who are in the research stages of deciding on your master’s college and degree, Harrisburg University just may be right up your alley. This is for educators as well as business leaders. After all, learning doesn’t stop when you take ‘the walk.’


Did this sound like a commercial? I didn’t mean it to. I just wanted to highlight the efforts of those who are building a university from the ground up. VERY cool!

[TIPS] Moodle classes - Come and Get 'em! (or want to give away 200,000 (You read that right) moodle classes to your teachers. The link is at the bottom of this post.


Think about what this means, potentially. Around the world there will be teachers creating content. Using Moodle it will be collaborative, content-centered playgrounds for your students. Not only your students, but students from around the world. You’ve got students in Africa (which, according to some of the recent speakers at Ted is the next HUGE market) with $100 laptops who are hungry for the education that so many of the world’s students take for granted.


I can’t give too many details here or this email will be flagged as.. you know what. (The sp*m word) J But, DO go here: to register for your free Moodle class – while supplies last. This is HUGE!! It’s doing for moodles in education as Wikispaces did for wikis in education.



You should know that I teach a course for this organization. However, my motivation for telling you this is truly to spread the word about the free moodle classes.  Tell your teacher friends!

[TIPS] Let the blogging begin!

Those of you who are thinking about whether or not to look into the notion of maybe finding out more about the possibility of MAYBE … :-) … having your students blog this year (whew!) may want to watch these blogs for a while. Anne Smith's students in Arapahoe School District in Colorado have been doing nice work for some time. (Remember these posts:,,,

Well, Anne just sent me the url's for this year's class blogs, as well as her own learning and Laptops blog. I encourage you to watch these for a while. In fact, I encourage you to do MORE than just watch them; I encourage you to comment on the posts that you find interesting. Provide some positive feedback on what they're saying and doing. As you do that try to imagine the power of those comments and the way that it changes the student motivation. Compare that to the stereotypical writing assignment that most students turn in for grades. Give them some time to get into the swing of things. The year is just getting started for them, too.

Anne uses blogger. If it's blocked in your district then send the url to your tech person and ask that it be opened up. I think your students need to see this, as well.

Good luck to Anne and her students this year. We're anxious to see your work. Er.. Not to put the pressure on … I'm just sayin'… :-)

Her blogs:

Monday, August 27, 2007

[TIPS] Printing Notes with powerpoint slides

One of the problems with Powerpoint as we've been using it, is that kids can complete the entire project without ever having written a complete sentence. Not good. So, here is a method that I've been showing teachers that WILL get the kids writing complete sentences. - That's my slideshow detailing this process. Embed it in YOUR blog or wiki, if you wish.

It goes like this:

1. Start in the OUTLINE view of Word. This forces certain styles on the outline
2. Using Tab and Shift-tab to move in and back out in the outline, write your powerpoint. (Heading 1 style= new slide and title, while heading 2 style=bullets)

3. When the students complete the outline they show it to you. You will ask them questions and make suggestions as you would ANY powwerpoint, since this IS their powerpoint.

4. When you're satisfied that they have a good presentation and that they know what they're talking about, it's THEN OK for them to choose File>Send to…>Microsoft Powerpoint. Powerpoint opens and the outline comes in and makes the presentation automatically. Now, they've got ONE PERIOD to play with animations, if they must.

5. Next, they add their speaking notes in the Notes area underneath the slides. These are the complete sentences that explain their position and speaking points for when they present the project.

6. Finally, with the notes added, they choose File>Send To…>Microsoft Word.
7. A box appears asking if they want the notes printed next to the slides. It's set by dafault. Simply click OK and Word opens and a macro takes over that puts miniatures of the slides in a table column with the slide notes in the column next to it. It's THIS FILE that they turn in for their grade.

The final word file is HUGE! Each of those little miniature powerpoint slides is actually editable! Double click on them to see what I mean. I don't understand the need for that, but they never asked me. They could have saved a TON of space by making those little gif images or jpegs.

So, there's your tip for the day. Check out the slideshare. If I get a chance I'll make it in splashcast.

P.s. Sadly, I don't think this works in the Mac version. Someone let me know if I'm wrong, please.

Friday, August 24, 2007

[TIPS] Oh boy! THIS will save us a TON of money!

Thanks to Allan Kliss for sharing this one. This article in the WorldNetDaily reports that the IRS has lost its argument against a lawyer who failed to file his taxes. The lawyer successfully argued to a jury that there is no constitutional foundation for our income tax.

So, watch for huge close-out sales at the Federal Government in D.C., as well as a lot of big white buildings there being put up for lease.


Thursday, August 23, 2007

A thought for teachers

As we head into another school year I thought I'd share something that just MAY give you a lift. File it under the category of, "You never know the impact you have on a kid's life."

I was a rotten student in high school. I had been on the fast track in math class but I had to be moved to a slower class in order to get band and chorus into my schedule. As a result, I was VERY bored and so my grades fell. I was GOOD in math - but VERY bored in class. And, I also became obnoxious. NO!, you say. Yes. I was obnoxious - especially to my French and English teachers.

This story is about the English teacher, Miss Belfour. She LOVED her literature and her poetry. I... didn't share her enthusiasm. In fact, one day she was having us read, "The Road Not Taken." She asked me something about the symbolism in the poem, and I didn't acknowledge any. I said something like, "No, I don't see any symbolism. I mean *I* could write a poem.." "Oh COULD you, Mr Gates?" ... "and then someone later could apply symbolism to it that I had never intended." Remember, this was THE, "The Road Not Taken."

Fast forward to 30+ years later when I was back home for a funeral. Another of my old teachers came to the funeral and I asked him if Miss Belfour was still alive. She was! He told me where she was living and assured me that her mind was still sharp as a tack. (Wow! She was old when I was in her class!)

Later that evening I looked up her number and called her. "Hello?", she said. "Miss Belfour?" "Yesss?" "This is Jim Gates - a former student from a long time ago. Do you remember me?" "Noo... I don't think so." "Good! I graduated in (a while ago) and I was a pretty obnoxious student back then." "Well, I'm afraid you'll have to be more specific. I had a lot of them." We both laughed.

"I just wanted to call and say, 'Thank you'. Back then you taught us the Robert Frost poem, The Road Not Taken, and I refused to acknowledge the symbolism in it. Today, however, as we speak, I've got a copy of that poem in my wallet. And, when my seniors - I'm a teacher, if you can believe it - when they ask me to sign their yearbooks I put a copy of that poem in the book at my page." "Well," she said, "at 17 you don't have many roads not taken, so it's hard to find the beauty in that poem." "Yes," I said, "and I have it memorized and my wife will ask me to say it for her from time to time."

At that point in the conversation she began, "Two roads diverged in a yellow wood..." I joined her, "and sorry I could not travel both and be one traveler, long I stood and looked down one as far as I could to where it bent in the undergrowth." We recited the rest of the poem together on the phone.

When we finished we were both silent for a bit - maybe ten seconds - as we both just felt the moment. And I heard her crying. I shed a tear, as well.

Another moment later she whispered, "Thank you SO much for calling. I do appreciate it." I wished her well and hung up.

It took me over 30 years to finally get a chance to thank her, and I'm sure that MANY of her students never did. But, she - like YOU - made a big difference in the lives of her students, whether they knew it or not.

So, have a great and memorable year. And, if a student offers you his or her picture at the end of the year, take it and keep it. Write yourself a note about that student on the back - or on another piece of paper that you clip to it. This student is saying, "Remember me! I will remember you." Then, when they call YOU thirty years from now you can look at the picture and remember the child whose life YOU touched in such a positive way so long ago.

Discovering the embedded code in wikispaces

This one is for the more techie folks who read this. Until this morning I hadn't known how to embed an RSS feed in my wikispaces wiki. (My wife calls them, 'Drippies'. She only HALF listens when I talk. :-) ) Once I was shown how to do that (thanks, Kurt), I immediately rushed over to add one to my last wiki - It was fine, but then I decided I wanted to edit that code.

The embedded code that I had typed in now shows up as the grey embedded code box, but when you click on the embed code tool you can't see the code, as you can when you embed, say, a slideshare. If you should ever get into that predicament, click the Text Editor button up there by the Save button. You can then see and edit the code.

You may have already thought of that. This, then, becomes a tip for .. the rest of us. :-)

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

[TIPS] Google Sky - a MUSTsee

Thanks to this article by Mark Wagner ( I now know about Google Sky! Check out the news video on the right of this page for Good Morning America's broadcast of the unveiling of the program. This program is free and truly amazing!

[TIPS] Tony Buzan - Teaching HOW TO learn - eSnips, share anything or

I was first pointed to this video from a post at the Classroom 2.0 ning by a member of that ning. He called it the best 15 minutes of professional development that he's seen.

I agree.

Tony Buzan was one of the brains behind concept mapping and creative thinking. In this speech he talks about the need to teach students HOW to learn. He also discusses creativity and how it is fundamental to learning.

Please give this a listen. I'd LOVE to hear your comments (below) on it.

[TIPS] The Web 2.0 catalog - Simple Spark

MANY thanks to Jennifer Dorman (aka cliotech) for sharing this one last night on WOW2. This link takes you right into the set for education but you can browse through any of the categories. If you cant find some good tools in here then youve fallen asleep at the wheel. J

[TIPS] Outlook update

To be fair to Microsoft.

I finally was able to get my Outlook backed up. It did NOT involve editing the registry, as I had thought. It was a bit easier than that. I just had to remove all the files that I had put into the Outlook folder and drop only the .pst file in there. Or SOMETHING like that.

HOWEVER, would the average user know that there are invisible folders? Would that user know how to make them visible? Would that user also know that other parts are stored in other places like the address book, for example? Would the average user know how to make the file extensions visible in order to figure out which was the outlook.pst file? Would the average user even know what file extensions are?

The level of sophistication that a Windows user MUST HAVE in order to maintain the system has gotten HIGHER, not lower over the years. How long does it take to restore your OS when it becomes so corrupted that youve got no choice but to start fresh? HOURS! It will take HOURS and HOURS to back up your files (if you can find them), find a bootable OS cd and figure out how to boot from it, and then format C:\ (Were STILL using that syntax???!!!), reinstall the OS and configure it, acquire and install the TONS of updates to the OS, reinstall drivers, reinstall all your applications, reinstall all your browser plugins.. It takes HOURS and HOURS! And THAT is acceptable?

Every user should buy Nortons Ghost program (or something similar) and an external 240 gig hard drive and make frequent images of their system before installing any new software, and then monthly after that. Then, when the inevitable happens, just replace the image. Even THAT isnt straight forward, but once you figured it out you would save MANY hours of frustration. And, the air in the room would be a LOT less blue!

Word to the wise have you set a restore point on your machine lately? Better find out what that is and DO it! Of course, should you not be able to boot, as was my case, that restore point is worthless. Good luck to you!

Hmph. I STILL dont feel any better. J

[TIPS] Letterpop! - WOW!

The WOW in the subject refers, in part, to the fact that I heard about this site while listening to the WOW2 broadcast last night. Ive now found my Tuesday nights professional development. WOW2 stands for Women Of the Web 2.0. Outstanding! Its a great group of women with great topics, and great conversation. As part of their weekly broadcast they each share their WOW site a site that theyve recently learned about that makes them say WOW! Go hear to check out the archives of past episodes and to see the schedule of upcoming events. You can subscribe to it, as well!

Where was I? Oh yes... letterpop. This site was mentioned by one of the WOW2 speakers last night, but I dont recall who it was, now. Hats off to her, anyway. is a VERY easy to use site that lets you make wonderful newsletter with multiple pages, if you wish. And, if youve got your pictures on Flickr you can link to them and drag and drop them right onto the page. On some templates you can even drag the images to the other side of the page (see page two on my sample) to alter the layout.

This is a great site for so many things. Dont have a flickr account? GET ONE!!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

[TIPS] schooltube - You heard right - SCHOOLtube

- snip - -

SchoolTube is a network of students, educators, and industry working together to foster video production & internet publishing in a safe online learning environment.

·       SchoolTube gives you the ability to safely upload your video onto the internet to share with other educators or students.

·       SchoolTube videos have been moderated or Teacher approved for viewing. 

·       SchoolTube has high Standards: STN Code of Ethics

Its just getting started, but do check it out. Think its got potential?

[TIPS] Read this - "The Future of Work"

Read this:

What do you think? Are YOU making plans to open up your classroom to the world this year? Will YOU be engaging your students in collaborative challenges with students from around the world? If not you, then who? If not now, then when? If we agree that the workplace has changed, then shouldnt we be reflecting on what and how we teach? Shouldnt we be doing everything we can to make sure that our students KNOW that its not our parents world any more.

While youre in a reading mood, read this one, too: I like what he has to say about the importance of information literacy.

Monday, August 20, 2007

[TIPS] Battle at Kruger

This is a classic struggle for survival in the Desert Plains. Watch as a herd of water buffalo get surprised by a pride of lions who then catch a young buffalo. Watch further as an alligator tries to steal the prize. Then continue watching for a very surprising ending.
The only sad part of this whole thing is the traffic. This all took place right next to a highway. I think I mourn the loss of the wild territory more than the loss of a baby water buffalo.
This is a good one to show your students, I think.

[TIPS] zamzar and YouTube

There are plenty of ways, now, to get videos downloaded from the Internet so that you can play them later at school where the video site is blocked. I've mentioned one such site before, Keepvid. Plus, there are extensions that you can get for the Firefox browser that will let you download the videos from that page to your desktop. And, as long as you've got a player (like VLC or Miro) that will play the flv format you're in good shape.

Here's another option: zamzar. Remember zamzar from a while back? ( It's a site that will let ou convert files from one format to another, such as pdf to doc. Well, back in February they added a feature that will convert an online video on the fly. It saves the step of having to download and install another viewer to watch the flv formatted files. It's a matter of pasting in the url for the video and selecting the desired output format. In moments the file is converted and you will receive the link to it so that you can download it. Check out this video demo of the Zamzar tools in action:

So, schools blocking YouTube doesn't really bother me that much any more. It's just too easy to get those videos from home in the evenings.

[TIPS] Google and StarOffice - A package deal

An assignment for a grad class a couple years ago had us 'researching' and recommending a Word Processor for use in schools. (I think there was a right answer, which I missed.) The other groups recommended Microsoft Word because, they said, it came installed on all computers. So much for the research part, eh?
On the other hand, I recommended StarOffice. (I also recommended AbiWord for elementarty schools and that didn't go over any better.) I said that StarOffice was a full package with all the same parts as Microsoft's Office, but it was free for Education. And, the difference between StarOffice and the MS Office package was no more of an issue than Microsoft's next version would be from its current version. Little did I know the dramatic changes in store for users in Office 2007.
So this morning (it's now 4:13am and I can't sleep) I read this article from TechCrunch that says that StarOffice will now be bundled in with the Google Pack of desktop applications. Read more about it here: The pack also includes Google Earth, Google Desktop, Picasa, Firefox, and even some anti-virus and anti-spyware apps. The pack can also include Skype in the bundle. A grand slam package, is it not? For fun (geek fun, perhaps) read the comments on the TechCrunch article.
Since StarOffice can read and write in MS formats, what's not to like? Neither the TechCrunch article nor the Google Pack site page nor any other article I could find on the Google site, offer any hint about whether or not this means that there will be any sort of ability to sync StarOffice with Google Docs, but... isn't that the next logical step? Maybe if all technology advancements stopped right now then the answer would be no. But, take this partnership out a few years (probably less) and it makes the perfect "Giant Killer" app.
Yes, it's now 4:35am and I can't sleep. But I'll bet there are LOTS of folks in Redmond who aren't sleeping well these days, as well.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

[TIPS] The New 7 Wonders the World - mashup

This is a mashup with youtube videos. Each of the new 7 Wonders of the World are bookmarked on a Google Earth map, and each pin also contains a link to a YouTube video about it.
I'm just not sure who would teach things about the 7 Wonders of the World.

Friday, August 17, 2007

[TIPS] Google Gadgets on your wiki or web page

Im sure this is coming as no surprise to many folks, but I didnt make the connection until just moments ago. I knew that you could put google gadgets on your desktop, but did you know that you can also put them on your web page or wiki?

There are hundreds of them from which to choose, and they are sorted by category. Some samples include a stock chart, or weather modules, or clocks, rss readers, YouTube players and search fields, mp3 players, pointers to Picassa web albums, your google calendar or links to your google docs, games (including Mario and Bejewled!), converters, and SO much more. Even flickr plugins and Flickr is owned by Yahoo!

Teachers: Looking for a way to draw your students to your web page? Youd get ME coming back if you had Bejeweled on there somewhere. J

To add a plugin to your Wikispaces wiki, you first select the plugin you want. On the next page is a description of it. Click the button to Add to Your Website. On the next page you will be given the chance to modify it. Some only allow you to modify the colors and others let you specify much more. When youre done with your customizations, click the Get Code button and the code will appear below. Copy and paste it into the appropriate place on your page or wiki and its yours!

Y gotta LUV this stuff, eh?


For those who haven't done this in wikispaces, you click the blue "TV" icon in the toolbar that says, "Insert media." Paste the code in there, Preview it, then save it.

[TIPS] PBwiki - Wiki Workshop - Atomic Learning, Inc.

Thanks to Sue Smith for sharing this with us. Atomic Learning is famous for its cool video tutorials. This link points to a series of such tutorials for PBWiki. They are very well done, of course, and they include such topics as, Introducing Wikis in Educational Settings, and Using Wikis as Teacher Collaboration Tools.  There are over 40 tutorials in all.

Check them out!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

[TIPS] Google Experimental

I just happened to stumbled into the Google labs tonight and I played around with some of the new tools that they are working on.

Try the timeline. I thought this had great potential. In the google search field, try something like: Abraham Lincoln view:timeline

Or, iraq war view:timeline.

You'll get a visual timeline with markers on it to reflect the number of articles in that year. Click on a year in the timeline of on the articles themselves.

Or how about this one: Start to type a search word and it offers suggestions to autocomplete your entry.

I still like the timeline one the best. A nice tool for education.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

[TIPS] Apple IIe's - alive and... well?

I swear this is true...

Yesterday (or.. maybe it was this morning.. oh my...) in a workshop I was giving to some PA librarians, one woman reported that she worked in a school district not far from here that still had APPLE IIe computers in use in the district!

At first I said, "Well, they sure got their money's worth out of THOSE machines, eh?" But, I couldn't help but think that by those machines still sitting there it spoke VOLUMES about that district's view on the role of technology in their curriculum. Doesn't it? Apple IIe's? Even if they're teaching keyboarding there is no excuse. I'm STILL in shock!

Someone needs to show those folks the video. You know.. THE video. Don't you know? Or should I say, "Did you Know?" :-)

[TIPS] Bloglines looking toward the future

This article from the Bloglines news blog got me thinking:

The article says, "I've been busy the last couple of months working with the team to define our next major releases. We've been talking to Blogliners and charting the next generation version of feed readers. "

I DO hope that in their next release they ABANDON that @#$%^&* image wall! I'll say it again, it serves NO PURPOSE, but it IS reason for some districts to BLOCK bloglines altogether.



[TIPS] windows cannot boot - missing hal.dll

Here's a way to start your day. Last night before I went to bed I allowed my windows operating system to perform its updates that it wanted to install since earlier in the evening. I told it to install and shut down. Of course, when I got up this AM the screen was saying that something or other didn't quit nicely and did I want to End the Process now. Or.. what? How ELSE was it going to shut down?

But, fine, I ended the process and it shut down - which meant that I had to restart it and wait for it to boot. But... I went back into the room moments later to see a black screen that said that windows couldn't boot because of a corrupt or missing hal.dll file and it told me to replace it. Hmm... I'm thinking it's going to have to BOOT before I can repair or replace it, but what do I know.

I tried restarting - same message. I tried Safe Mode - same message. It will NOT boot. I'm NOT a happy camper.

I opened this Mac and did a search on that error and yes, I have to repair or replace that file. HOW IN THE.... ARRRRGGGGGHHHHHHH!!!!!

All Hail Microsoft!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

[TIPS] google apps for your district

This was new to me, but not for Kurt Paccio ( ) who showed this to me just moments ago. You can apply to get the Google Applications Suite for YOUR district. Details here:
"You can select any combination of our available tools and services and customize them with your school's logo, color scheme and content. Manage your users through a web-based control panel, or use the APIs to integrate Google Apps into your existing systems."
You can get email accounts (or not), Google Chat (or not), Google Docs and Spreadsheets, the calendar.. and more.
What does this do for your curriculum? Upon installation it IMMEDIATELY changes how teachers (could) view word processing assignments. The assignments become collaborative. That forces teachers to think about other types of assessments and projects. And, once teachers get comfortable with those tools the next step is to expand the classroom walls to include students from down the hall or across the globe.
While you're thinking about this, check out this page of google lesson ideas using Google Earth, Picasa, Google Docs, and more:


Thanks to Kristina Hurley for sharing this site with us.
This site lets you convert a youtube video (or any flv video file) to eh AVI or Mov format - on the fly. Supply it with the url for your favorite youtube video and choose your desired output file type and off it goes. My test showed that it worked just fine, but the download speed for downloading the converted file was pretty slow. Still, it sure 'nough did work.
Windows users be sure to read that it says about what else yo'll need for the AVI file to play.
Remember, a previous post mentioned that would download the flv version but then you'd need a special player to play it. This will convert it on the fly.

[TIPS] communicating with the brain

You're going to have to create an account here, if you don't have one, but it's something you may want to do anyway to get access to their articles in the future.
This article talks about how scientists are using light to communicate directly with the brain, turning on and off portions of the brain - remotely. Project THAT out ten.. fifteen, or twenty years. Holy cow!!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

[TIPS] Northern lights - amazing!

I was playing with Miro (Mac version) tonight when I stumbled upon this video. It's now 1:00AM and while I was beat, I had to finish this video. If you talk about the Northern lights with your students, then download this video!

I've only been fortunate enough on three occasions to see the Northern lights and it's my dream to see them at least one more time. This video tries to explain them - but even the scientists don't agree entirely.

Oh, and while you're on the site, give a look around. There is some excellent material in here.

Friday, August 10, 2007

[TIPS] 500 years of women in art - video

This is excellent! Send this to your art teacher friends. Watch as the women morph from one to the next.
It turns out that all those paintings ... it was all of the same woman! :-)

Thursday, August 09, 2007

[TIPS] Want ideas? Ask the web

"A Pentagon office is taking advantage of the collaborative nature of the Internet as it studies potential applications for space-based solar power"
Wisdom of crowds, maybe? (
(So, can you tell I've been catching up on my reading tonight?)

[TIPS] THIS is a flash flood!

Show this to your kids - and your students. We hear flash flood warnings frequently, but how many of us take heed to them? You might if you live along a stream, but the rest of us likely don't give it another thought.

[TIPS] differentiated testing

I'm teaching online classes this summer and I'm lucky enough to have many dedicated and motivated teachers on board. One of those students (Kevin - spotted me an skype just a short while ago and wanted to share a video he had just seen. It's a rather long video, but I thought it was excellent. It's all about differentiated testing. Sounds boring, perhaps, but I was captured by it the entire time.
Dan Meyer is a relatively young teacher who LOVES entering grades. Why? They are a constant reminder of the success he's having in class. How refreshing is that?
You should play this video - perhaps in the background while you're sending emails or something, and bring it front when he talks about his specific slides. Bookmark it.
I'd love to hear what you think of what he has to say.

[TIPS] looking for Educational Feeds? Look no further

In looking for a nice directory for RSS feeds I came upon this site. Im sure its nowhere close to an exhaustive list, but its a nice one to get you started. Its only missing one thing a FEED to keep you posted when it updates! SHEESH!!

[TIPS] Photography of James Nachtwey

Pictures are, indeed, worth 100 words and more. See his photographs if you dare.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

[TIPS] Social Bookmarking in Plain English

Many thanks to Donna Bragg who alerted me to this video via the for:jgates513 tag at
You've see tne RSS in Plain English and Wikis in Plain English, and Social Networking in Plain English. Now comes, Social Bookmarking in Plain English! Check it out! Very nice, but I agree with one commenter. "Bery nice, but missing the 'Boo'/'yeah' "  :-)

Twitters and Memes

I can't help it. I just don't get Twitter. I know that there are lots of cool add-ons to twitter that make following your friend's every move much easier. But, I don't WANT to follow ANYONE's every move. It's WAYYYY too connected for my taste. Obviously, I just don't get it, eh? So, don't look for me on twitter.

And, while it's flattering to be tagged for a meme, to me it smacks of chain mail and not a very good use of bandwidth. :-)

So, while I'm flattered about being tagged, I won't be participating. Please dont hate me for being an old curmudgeon. I'm old. It comes with the territory. Ask Ken. :-)

Sunday, August 05, 2007

[TIPS] Look at what's happening in Dubai

This is it! After I send this I'm going to get up from here and go play, or something. But seriously, did you know that 24% of the world's cranes (contruction type not bird type) are in Dubai? Neither did I. Wait until you watch this series of videos about the amazing growth in that area.  When one video ends you can start the next one. Do that.  You won't believe what has been happening over there is just the last four or five years. This is the GE (General Electric) site, and the narrators of the videos work for GE. Ignore that, if you wish, but DO watch and listen to the amazing story of the growth in that part of the world.
America needs a wakeup call. The world hasn't been sitting still while we're busy.. with other things. The country and the WORLD that our children are inheriting are FAR different from what WE inherited and worked in. The race is ON, and we're still arguing over whether or not our students can read the blog (don't panic!) that pointed me to that video or to some of the other great resources we've seen. We've still got gatekeepers in our schools who block everything that hints of being a blog. It is time for those people to get out of the way! There is FAR too much at stake.

[TIPS] beelinetv - watch tv from around the world

I can't resist. I promise I will TRY not to repost every cool site that I find from that Top 100 list from the previous post, but this one is too good to pass up. Send this to your foreign language teachers.
This lists tv shows from around the world that you can watch LIVE.
"Watch free online TV channels from around the world. Beeline TV provides a selection of the best broadband internet television channels. Enjoy news, TV shows, movies, music, entertainment and sports. A fast connection to the internet is recommended."
What better way to have your students practice their listening/interpreting skills than by watching TV? Of course, we've got no control over what they put on for commercials, but that shouldn't prevent you from seeing Russian, Kurdish, Chinese, Greek, Italian, French and many others.

[TIPS] 100 Website you should know about?

I don't know how I missed this, as I'm as much of a Ted-aholic as I am a chocaholic, but Tim ( points us to this blog post from Ted.
It's a list of 100 websites that Julius Wiedemann, editor in charge at Taschen GmbH and Ted speaker, offered up for us to see. Categories include: CURIOSITY & KNOWLEDGE, GRAPHICS, MUSIC & ARTS, E-COMMERCE EXPERIENCE, SEARCHING & FINDING, ONLINE RESOURCES, TOP INTERACTIVE EXPERIENCE CREATORS
Tim said he hadn't heard of over half of those sites. I can say that I didn't even come CLOSE to knowing half. Check them out. And, if you're not reading tim's blog, give it a try. I don't know where he finds his "assorted stuff", but I always learn something from his posts.

Friday, August 03, 2007

[TIPS] NASA hacker discusses his findings

What would you learn if you were able to have full access to thousands of computers at the Dept of Defense or NASA? What if you could have that access for a couple of years?

This man was in search of evidence of UFOs. Hear how he took control of those computers how EASILY he did it, and what he found.

Fascinating! How is THIS for a writing prompt with your upperclassmen?

Thursday, August 02, 2007

[TIPS] The Skype story continues

Remember Celest and Brian Crosy's efforts to bring her into his class via Skype? This is the first story: Click the picture for the movie. Then, remember that they had to stop skyping her - because she was well enough to join the class fact to face? The story continued here: 
Well, now Brian has this post That further shows the power of today's technology, specifically Skype.
I must be getting old, because stories like this get to me. I recall trying to tell the story of Celest to a couple groups in various workshops and I got choked up. Male manopause? :-) I don't know. But, it's been a LOT of fun following this story. I only wish I would have had the nerve to spend some time talking to Brian at NECC. He always appeared to be busy and I didn't want to be a bother.... Oh my... now I sound like my mother!! :-)

[TIPS] 16 Awesome Data Visualization Tools


I wasn’t going to send any more today, but this is just too cool! This is a list of 16 sites that do amazing things with visualizing data. What does that mean? Well, take Quintura, for example. Type in a search word and it brings up a tag cloud around your search word that lists various categories for your search word. If you think about it, it does what vivisimo does, but it does it graphically. And I think this would be a good way to show kids the relationships between the search word and the tags.


Take this one, as another example: Watch the Diggs become “live.”


What’s important is how people are exploring ways to categorize and visualize all the data that is being created (remember, 161 EXAbytes last year alone) on the web. And we’re still in our infancy. Project this out 25 or 50 years. Wow!


[TIPS] 5min - How to make your papers longer - Video

::sigh:: If people would spend half as much time DOING the work instead of looking for ways to get OUT of the work.

This video shows students how to increase the length of a paper simply by changing the point size of the periods! Changing a period from a 12 pt to a 14 pt doesn’t significantly change the size of the period to the naked eye, but what it DOES do is increase the height of the line, thus increasing the space between them. So, a 4.5 page paper becomes a 5 pager, and the longer the paper the the more effective this trick becomes.

The guys not so smart, though. If he was REALLY clever he would be changing the size of the SPACES something that would REALLY be tough to figure out.

Show this to your English teachers. The way to see if your students have done this is to simply highlight a period or space in a paper and look to see what the point size is set to. Its easily detected but it takes time.

[TIPS] fast calculator

Youre sitting at your desk and you need to do a quick calculation. IN this case, I needed to multiply 101* .485. I was using firefox, but it doesnt matter if youve got the Google toolbar installed on your browser. I just typed: 101*.485 in the search field and ... The result=48.98500 came right up. For help on this and other things you can do in that search field, check out this page:

Check out this video for some other very cool search tricks:

Think about this google is on many cell phones, too, right?

I suppose you could do this in the Yahoo toolbar as well, but Im boycotting that one since it installs itself BY DEFAULT when you install some other software, like Adobe Acrobat Reader, for example. NOTHING should be installed by default, IMHO, so I boycott them. (Well, except for Flickr, which is a Yahoo-owned site)

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

[TIPS] Jingproject

This has been floating around on the blogs for some time, and I was trying to avoid being an echo (again), but since some folks receive these tips via email and don't read the same blogs that I do, then this isn't an echo. (The rest of you may move on to something new. :-)  )
Jing is.. well.. here: "The concept of Jing is the always-ready program that instantly captures and shares images and video…from your computer to anywhere."
It's a free download that I've run on both my mac and my widows machines and it works very well. It lets you create screencasts and save them to another site with a link to play it. It will also capture screen shots and allow for editing and enhancing of the images. I'm not as impresed by that piece, however, as I wasn't able to quite figure it out - without reading the documentation anyway. I can tell you that I liked it better on the mac version than the windows version. It just seemed to be friendlier. I didn't like what it did to the resolution on my windows monitor, nor could I figure out how to save an image that I captured. But, I WAS able to get it to work just fine on the mac.
But, check out the video tour on that site. It's the poor man's solution to making quick screencasts - for free. While supplies last, at least.