Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Check out my Slide Show!



A Mashup with Flickr and Slide.com. A repeat, but being used in a class I'm teaching.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

[TIPS] Splashcast Launches One Player to Bind them All

SplashCast looks like a very cool application just out of beta. Techcrunch has the above review of the site and what it's all about. Want to try it yourself? GO to: http://www.splashcastmedia.com/ and register. Here's what the site says about itself:
- - snip - -
"SplashCast enables anyone to create streaming media 'channels' that combine video, music, photos, narration, text and RSS feeds. These user-generated channels can be played and easily syndicated on any web site, blog, or social network page. When channel owners modify their channel, their content is automatically updated across all the web pages 'tuned' to that channel."
- -
Sounds interesting, eh?

[TIPS] The Comic Book Periodic Table of the Elements

Here's a site that I had sent out a few years back but since I've got new people on the list I thought I'd send it again. The Periodic Table of Comic Books. Check out the adventures of Metal Men, or Dr Solar, Superman, Metamorpho, and many more. Bring those elements to LIFE!
 
 

[TIPS] Criminals 'may overwhelm the web'

In today's Kim Komando News email was this one about botnets. According to this article, as much as 1/4 of all computers worldwide on the Internet are 'bots - robot computers.
 
- - snip - -

Botnets are made up of large numbers of computers that malicious hackers have brought under their control after infecting them with so-called Trojan virus programs.

While most owners are oblivious to the infection, the networks of tens of thousands of computers are used to launch spam e-mail campaigns, denial-of-service attacks or online fraud schemes.

- - -

How does this happen? You'd be amazed at the number of people who have NO up-to-date antivirus software installed on their computer, or who have no firewalls. Are YOU one? Of course not. That's THOSE people, right? :-) Bottom line - YOU M-U-S-T have an up-to-date antivirus program on your computer and you M-U-S-T make sure you've got a firewall! Minimum!! Don't be part of the problem.

 

Monday, January 29, 2007

Help! Where did my blogs go?

I had quite a shock today. During a break from the class I was teaching (another Intro to Powerpoint - will they ever end?) I tried to check my bloglines account. It was BLOCKED! Our newly installed web filter flagged it as being in the "Blog or personal web page" category and it was blocked. I tried to come here to my blog and it, too, was blocked. Every blog I tried... same thing.... blocked. THe pages that I use when doing workshops were blocked, too. (http://home.comcast.net/~jgates808/twfile.html and http://home.comcast.net/~jgates808/scfile.html) "What am I going to do?", I thought. "This is disastrous!"

It then hit me. This is how I learn. It's my constant professional development. This is how I grow professionally. It's how I find out about best practices in student blogging and student use of wikis. It's how I stay engaged and connected in the conversation of education and the role of technology. And Ohhhhh was I missing it - even in that first minute.

And then I thought, "This is how those teachers in the districts feel - many of them - when they can't access the sites that they find at home that they feel are good resources for their kids. It's no wonder that so many of them are just saying, 'To heck with this. It's not worth the aggravation.' " It's no wonder I often find it difficult to excite them about technology.

The good news is that by the time the day was over I was again able to access my bloglines account and all my favorite blogs. I just can't imagine going to work and NOT being able to access my feeds. Can you?

[TIPS] Top 10 Flickr hacks...

Make Magazine, Makers of the Weekend Projects that I had mentioned back in November, points to this blog on the top ten FLickr hacks. I had mentioned a few of them before. It's just such a cool site. Check 'em out.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

[TIPS] Another writing prompt idea for sr high

 
Wes Fryer pointed us to this article in the latest National Geographic. Don't read this if your stomach rolls over when hearing about gross injustice and flagrant corruption and the plight of helpless people. But, DO read it and encourage your sr high students to read it and blog about their reactions to it. They'll want to just vent, I'm sure, but you'll help them focus and find links and try to make sense of it all, won't you? Be sure to check out the Sights and Sounds link, too.
 
The web is RICH with articles and videos that make excellent writing prompts, don't you think?

[TIPS] Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia is a site that encourages folks to upload and share their media files that they have created. No, not like YouTube. These are images, sounds, animations, etc, and are available for others to download and use under the Creative Commons license. There are sites all over the Internet that encourage the open sharing of content that is owned by the viewers. I've made a few of mine available under that license on the Flickr site. Most of my pictures aren't the kind that anyone else would want, but there are a few that others may like. Here's a wiki being used for the same type of thing.

http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Main_Page

[TIPS] Monitor of the Future

In the above forum post Kim Komando pointed to this video (http://tagzin.com/main.aspx?cat=v&q=display#) of the touch screen monitor "of the future." It's the design behind the iPhone and it's an extension of the other video I pointed to in the Ted Talks site a few months back. It's great for doing things like they're doing on the video, but they still don't say how you'll type a letter. :-)

Friday, January 26, 2007

Geogebra

From the website:

---snip---

"What is GeoGebra?

GeoGebra is a dynamic mathematics software for education in secondary schools that joins geometry, algebra and calculus.

On the one hand, GeoGebra is a dynamic geometry system. You can do constructions with points, vectors, segments, lines, conic sections as well as functions and change them dynamically afterwards.

On the other hand, equations and coordinates can be entered directly. Thus, GeoGebra has the ability to deal with variables for numbers, vectors and points, finds derivatives and integrals of functions and offers commands like Root or Extremum.

These two views are characteristic of GeoGebra: an expression in the algebra window corresponds to an object in the geometry window and vice versa."



powered by performancing firefox

[TIPS] more (just in time) snow sites

Thanks to Robin again for this email...
 
"There are many "make your own snowflake" sites as well.
 
 
 
 
 
 

[TIPS] Footnote - The place for original documents online

Thanks to Robin M for sharing this one. She wrote:
 
"A new website:   footnote.com    allows you to browse or print some primary source documents for Free. There is also another section of the website with a fee, but Pennsylvania Archives is a free section.  This site also allows you to create your own user page to upload some documents to share with others."
 
Thanks for sharing, Robin

[TIPS] Extreme closeups of s-n-o-w!

http://emu.arsusda.gov/snowsite/default.html
http://www.its.caltech.edu/~atomic/snowcrystals/photos/photos.htm

Do you know how long I've waited this year to send these? Two sites with images of extreme closeups of...SNOW!! It's 8 degrees in Harrisburg as I write this but last night was the first real snow of any kind that we've received this winter. Not that I'm complaining, mind you. I'm just sayin'.... :-)

A teachable moment about today's snow may find you searching for pictures of snowflakes. There you have two good sample sites. And you don't have to shovel either of them.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

[TIPS] What Would MacGyver Do?

Thanks to Tony O - O Tony! - for sharing this one.
 
http://tags.lifehacker.com/software/macgyver/ - This is a cool blog that links you to articles that show you how to do all sorts of cool things with other common household items. What sorts of things? Like sterilizing your sponges, or removing gum with wd40, or giving yourself a facial with Miracle Whip or repairing scratches in furniture with walnuts - and on and on. OK, so the Miracle Whip article may not be the best example, but you get the idea. :-)
 
- - - Before I forget- -
Thanks to Lee C for telling me about the 2057 show on Discovery!

[TIPS] MathWorld: The Web's Most Extensive Mathematics Resource

 
I know this has been mentioned before but it's still a great site for Math teachers. Over 10,000 visualizations on the functions site alone. Explore the sites. Tons of interactivity. Just right for the math class that just received a room full of laptops.
 
- - - bonus- - -
From TechCrunch... You may not be able to see this one at school, but if you like animations check out this site: http://www.channelfrederator.com/index Regular animations featured here and you can even subscribe to the RSS feed or even put in the code that it gives you to pull the videos into your own site.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

[TIPS] 2057: Discovery Channel

This just may be the show that makes me turn on the TV. Yes, you heard it here first. The show - 2057. The channel - the Discovery Channel. I hope it's not a major series. We'll see. :-)
Given today's best technology that has the potential to change life as we know it, what might we look like and live like and learn like in 2057? This site doesn't appear to be active, yet, but it does look like it'll be fascinating once the show premiers on January 28th at 8PM ET. Bookmark the site. Mark your calendars. Order in enough food and beverages. Get ready to see the future.
Am I a geek, or what? :-D

[TIPS] Connectivism Online Conference update

 
An FYI -
- - snip - -

The evolution of teaching and learning is accelerated with technology. After several decades of duplicating classroom functionality with technology, new opportunities now exist to alter the spaces and structures of knowledge to align with both needs of learners today, and affordances of new tools and processes.

Yet our understanding of the impact on teaching and learning trails behind rapidly forming trends. What are critical trends? How does technology influence learning? Is learning fundamentally different today than when most prominent views of learning were first formulated (under the broad umbrellas of cognitivism, behaviourism, and constructivism)? Have the last 15 years of web, technology, and social trends altered the act of learning? How is knowledge itself, in a digital era, related to learning?

- - -

I encourage you all to consider participating/"attending" this conference. Join in the conversations - literally and figuratively.

[TIPS] TAKE10!

http://www.take10net/funforstudents.asp - Another example of how one thing leads to another. Remember me pointing you to Anne Davis' blog page where there are a BUNCH of student blog links? Well, in one of those student blogs the student mentioned this site.
 
- - snip- -

.

TAKE 10!® is a classroom-based physical activity program for kindergarten to fifth grade students.

.

TAKE 10!® is a curriculum tool created by teachers for teachers and students.

.

TAKE 10!® integrates academic learning objectives (in Language Arts, Math, Social Studies, Science and Health) with movement.

[TIPS] The Internet Bird Collection

Looking for a good site to see pictures of birds and hear bird songs? Here's one option.
 
http://ibc.hbw.com/ibc/

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

[TIPS] How to Save A Life - from Tim Lauer's blog

This is why I read blogs. I get to read stories like this one as posted by Tim Lauer. Do you subscribe to his blog? If not, make sure you do before leaving his page.
 
This is another story that will surely move you. Make sure you watch that video!!!

[TIPS] Rafe Esquith Offers His Fiery Teaching Methods

Here's a story that just may boost your faith in the teachers in this country and perhaps even motivate you to be the best YOU can be, too. Rafe Esquith teaches in one of the poorest schools in the country with over 92% of the students living below the poverty level. Yet he manages to be among the most successful teachers anywhere. Listen to his story about why he teaches and how he teaches. You'll be glad you did. 

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6939776

- - - For fun - -

Here's a story that defies explanation:

http://news.sky.com/skynews/article/0,,70131-13564124,00.html?f=rss It goes something like this. A guy goes duck hunting a shoots a duck. He takes it home and throws it in his fridge. Two days later the wife goes to get it out and finds that it's still alive. Then... well, you'll just have to read it to find out. Suffice it to say that I'll bet the next time he shoots a duck he'll also strangle it for good measure. :-)

Monday, January 22, 2007

[TIPS] EduBlog Insights » Podcasts from elementary students

Now THIS is VERY cool. Can you tell what you're experiencing with these links? Do you know what you're seeing and who the authors are? Spend some time in here looking at the pages, reading the articles and listening to the podcasts. Do you think these students are engaged? interested? Have pride in ownership? Are they learning? Are they learning the types of skills that they'll need for the world they face? Can you find even one thing wrong with this approach to their education?
 
Neither can I.
 
Subscribe to this one! http://anne.teachesme.com/
 

[TIPS] Students' new best friend: 'MoSoSo' - USATODAY.com

Well, it hadda happen. I'm still not used to having people talk on their cell phones while eating dinner or at a movie or in a checkout line. Now this. But, check this out.
 
- - snip - -
"Walk on a college campus these days and you'll see cellphones everywhere, but only some being used for conversations. Baruch College sophomore Yelena Slatkina in New York City recently rustled up an emergency sub at work by typing a plea to her entire work group on her cellphone. University of South Florida sophomore Nate Fuller routinely uses his cellphone equipped with Global Positioning Software (GPS) to find recruits for his intramural football team and locate friends in Tampa Texas 21-year-old Brittany Bohnet uses photos she and 20 of her networked buddies snap on their phones to locate one another, using visual landmarks they spot in the pictures they send."

[TIPS] edubloggers - and FIRSTLife

Want a list (although certainly not an exhaustive one) of education bloggers? Students, teachers, administrators, librarians, and more? Wes Fryer points to this one. http://supportblogging.wikispaces.com/Links+to+School+Bloggers A very nice list. He's forgiven for not including this one. :-)
 
Oh, and SecondLife fans will enjoy this one, pointed to by Tim Lauer and TechCrunch. This one is called FirstLife. Enjoy.

Friday, January 19, 2007

[TIPS] Horror story about internet filtering gone awry

Thanks to Chris C for sharing this with me via the for:jgates513 tag at del.icio.us.
 
Here's a story of a substitute teacher who is now facing 40 yrs in prison for exposing her students to online porn. She claims it was spyware that caused the porn popups that she simply couldn't close. But, the prosecutors won and unless her appeal finds in her favor she faces 40 yrs in prison. Read about it here: http://www.pbs.org/teachersource/learning.now/2007/01/teacher_faces_40year_prison_se.html
 
What could have stopped this from happening in the first place? If it WAS spyware, then perhaps this hosts file could have prevented it. Whether or not you can use it at school you should consider it for your home computer. Here's how the site describes what this file does:
 
"The Hosts file contains the mappings of IP addresses to host names. This file is loaded into memory (cache) at startup, then Windows checks the Hosts file before it queries any DNS servers, which enables it to override addresses in the DNS. This prevents access to the listed sites by redirecting any connection attempts back to the local machine. Another feature of the HOSTS file is its ability to block other applications from connecting to the Internet, providing the entry exists."
 
Read the front page for that hosts file to see more about how it works and what you can do. It's easy. It's free. And it's a HUGE help in the battle against spyware.

[TIPS] Los Angeles Principal Transforms School

How does it happen that a school can go from being among the worst performers on standardized tests to one of the best? Listen to THIS interview for how it was done in Los Angeles: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6902582
 
- - -
And, how do you feel about THIS argument regarding "teaching to the tests." It goes something like this:
 
       "We're not teaching to the tests, we're teaching to the standards. Semantics? I don't think so.
 
       "Setting standards for proficiency in various subject areas is NOT a bad thing. In fact, it's a GOOD thing. Wanting them to be proficient in reading and writing and math and science is a GOOD thing. It's necessary, in fact, if we're to expect our kids to compete in a global marketplace. So, the standards are a good thing. Wanting all of our students to be the best they can be is a good thing. We're all changing our curriculums and methods so that our students meet those standards so that they can be the best they can be. How do we KNOW if we've been successful? How do we KNOW if they're achieving the standards? We test them. And, if we expect those test results to truly reflect the student's achievement levels then the students must feel comfortable taking that test. All that means is that those tests must be familiar to them. They must have seen those types of test questions many times bef ore the "big test." So, we test our students OFTEN, using the format of the larger test. Is that teaching to the test? Or is it teaching to the standards and making sure that the tests accurately reflect the achievement levels? Take the NCLB laws out of the picture. Imagine that there IS no NCLB law mandating this. NOW is what we're doing wrong?"
What do you think?

Thursday, January 18, 2007

[TIPS] Descartes - maybe the ONE applet you'll ever need

- - snip - -

Descartes is an applet (a program written in Java) which can be configured. It has been designed to present educational interactive tasks with numbers, functions and graphs. Descartes can be used by creators of educational Web pages as a means of supplementing their material with a wide variety of interactive mathematic models.

Teachers can use Descartes to produce their own interactive Web pages, which cover a wide variety of subject areas within mathematics. For example, the following parabola graph has been created using the Descartes applet.
- - -

A QUICK tutorial

Once the applet loads, click the Config button in the top right corner.
Click the various radio buttons near the top of the resulting window to gain access to the variables and formulas
NOTE the animation button!!


Wednesday, January 17, 2007

[TIPS] whiteboard movies for Math

I was directed to this site - http://www.coolschooltools.com/whiteboardmovies.html - from a posting in a discussion thread at Moodle. CoolSchoolTools.com has this section of whiteboard movies. This site lead to this site: http://math247.jot.com/WikiHome . (Note that it's a wiki!) That site lead me to this site: http://meta.wikimedia.org/wiki/Help:Formula, another wiki which shows the syntax for Tex, the html markup language for making math expressions. That site, in the External Links section, lead me to this site: http://us.metamath.org/symbols/symbols.html, a public domain collection of math symbols in .png and .gif formats for use on web pages. If it's not there, you don't need it!
 
I'm convinced that if we had the time and the (INTENSE) desire, we could start on one web page and follow links and eventually hit every web page out there. :-)

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

[TIPS] Skype -> new Internet television project - USATODAY.com

Don't have Skype yet? Get it! In the meantime, check out the future of your TV.
 
Interestingly, however, I still won't be buying one. TV, that is. Many of you know that I haven't watched TV (save for a handful of recent Steeler playoff and Superbowl games over the years) since 1993. I can't imagine anything that would change to make me want one, either. My philosophy: I can't imagine that when I'm on my deathbed that I'll be saying, "If I had only sat on my butt and watched more tv reality shows ...." :-)

[TIPS] CLiCk, Speak: A Talking Extension for Firefox

Thanks to Karen for leaving a comment on the previous tip that pointed me to this site. For those of you who are NOT yet using Firefox, you should consider it, if you're able to install software on your computer. There are tons of extensions that add some VERY cool features to the browser. This is one of those. Simply select some text on the page you're viewing and click the "Speak Selection" button and your computer will read it to you. Available for Mac and Linux users, as well.
 
This is what's so great about this Read-Write web stuff. You say one thing and someone else adds to it or points you in another direction. Are YOU a blog reader? Why not? Join the conversation.

[TIPS] Cite Bite

Here's a neat little application that you will want to hold onto for when those laptops arrive that your students will be using.

Ever want to send someone to a particular spot on a webpage as opposed to just the top of the page with hopes that they'll find the specific text of interest? Now you can, with CiteBite. Here's an example: http://citebite.com/e7i8s8d7fjdf

Notice that my selected quote is highlighted? Pretty neat, yes?

Notice: I tried this with my blogger blog but it wouldn't allow the page to fully render. I reported the bug to the site owner and he replied back in minutes to say that he would work on making that fix. But, it'll work for the VAST majority of your needs.

[TIPS] very cool Earth desktop

Thanks to Larry W for sending this my way.
 
 
Remember the NIST site that showed the flattened earth and where the day/night lines were?
 
- - snip - -
 Desktop Earth is a wallpaper generator for Windows. It runs whenever you're logged on and updates your wallpaper with an accurate representation of the Earth as it would be seen from space at that precise moment.
- - -
 
Pretty neat, eh? Yes, I know you can't download or install at school. This would be for your home machine - or if you're a science teacher you might be able to get approved to install it on your teacher's station.

Thursday, January 11, 2007

[TIPS] Two more great writing prompt ideas - and... something VERY COOL!!

Here are two more Ted videos that HAVE to be great writing prompts. They will inspire and haunt the viewer. I'll just betcha your high school kids would enjoy writing/blogging about these two videos.
 
- - snip - -
In this stunning talk, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Wade Davis celebrates the extraordinary diversity of the world's indigenous cultures, many of which are disappearing, as ancestral land is lost and languages die. (50 percent of the world's 6000 languages are no longer taught to children.) Against a backdrop of extraordinary photos and stories that ignite the imagination, Davis argues that we should be concerned not only for preserving the biosphere, but also the "ethnosphere," which he describes as "the sum total of all thoughts and dreams, myths, ideas, inspirations, intuitions brought into being by the human imagination since the dawn of consciousness." (recorded in 2003)
- - -
 
- - snip- -
Photographer Phil Borges displays his stunning portraits, documenting the world's disappearing cultures, from persecuted monks in Tibet to embattled tribes in the Ecuadorian Amazon. He also shares inspiring results from his digital-storytelling workshops, which give indigenous teenagers tools for cultural preservation and self-expression. A former dentist, Phil Borges rediscovered his passion for photography, and spent the last 25 years documenting indigenous cultures around the world.
- - -
 
- - snip - -
Our Mission
BRIDGES to Understanding engages K-12 students worldwide in direct, interactive learning and storytelling to build cross-cultural understanding.

Our Vision
Be recognized as a leader in utilizing engaging, life-changing communication methods to develop mental flexibility and emotional resiliency in students around the world.
---
 
And now for something completely..COOL! http://events.apple.com.edgesuite.net/j47d52oo/event/
Watch the iPhone introduction. 'nough said. Whether you're a Mac user or not, you will have to agree that this little device DOES change everything. The bar has been raised WAY high. See for yourself.
 

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

The iPhone - a MUST SEE!

I just finished watching part of Steve Jobs' Keynote at the MacWorld expo in San Francisco. You are NOT GOING TO BELIEVE this iPhone. It TRULY is the future of phones. The discussion on the iPhone starts around the 40 minute mark. Check it out. Unbelievable!!


Oh, long-time subscribers of my tips will recall a video from a short while ago in which the demonstrator showed off a new operating system where he moved things around with his hands, and enlarged then just by touching his pinched fingers to the screen and dragging them open. Here is the practical application of that system.


Education is one of the few things that people are willing to pay for and not get. - William Lowe Bryan

[TIPS] It's here! It's here! (Plus Online Safety Contest)

No, not the iPhone. (And WHY WHY WHY didn't I buy Apple stock the day before yesterday!!!) No, it's time once again for our quarterly newsletter from the tech department here at the CAIU. As usual, it's very nicely done by Mary Ann Hoff, and I'm not just saying that because of the article, either. :-) Check it out here: http://snipurl.com/1714y

- - Online Safety Contest - -
Thanks to Susan S for sharing this with me. Very timely, too. Attorney General Tom Corbett's website is another grat place to start when looking for information about online safety. But now he's announcing a contest, "Operation Safe Surf", a high school VIDEO contest. Students are to create a short video as a Public Service Announcement. There will be nine regional semi-finalists with the top three being chosen by online voting by the public. Great prizes, too. The winning video will be shown as a Public Service announcement on PA TV stations.
Having hosted regional computer fairs in the past I've seen some AMAZING videos done by our students. Put them on this and watch them shine! But don't delay. Deadline for entry is March 5, 2007.

Send this email to every PA teacher you know who teaches in this area. Here's the contest information: http://www.attorneygeneral.gov/kidsparents.aspx?id=1560

Good luck!

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

[TIPS] Advice on Blogger for Word

For the last couple of years I've been occasionally using a Microsoft Word add-on called Blogger for Word. It was great! I could write a blog post in Word and with one click post it to my Blogger blog. Today, however, I opened Word for the first time since I updated my blog to version 2. C-R-A-S-H!!! Down went Word. Crash and burn! It was so bad I had to use the Detect and Repair (and find the cd to complete the process) to fix it. According to the error report, it was the BLogger for Word that caused the crash.

So, this is a heads up. If YOU use that neat little add-on for Word, either don't update your Blogger blog to version 2, or Uninstall that add-on FIRST.

Oh, and according to the website, they don't know if they'll make a version that will work with the new Blogger or not.

[TIPS] Teaching the Civil War with Technology

Here's an interesting blog. Teaching the Civil War with Technology. I'm thinking that those Social Studies teachers who are fortunate enough to have (occasional) access to a computer lab or mobile cart may want to check this out. Lots of good links on the right side, as well.
 
- - - bonus - - -
 
Why memorize for the SAT's when you can ROCK! Click the Listen To button at the top of the article.
 
 

Monday, January 08, 2007

[TIPS] 22nd Century - cyborgs! And Geographic web in GE

Here are four stories that are sure to have you pondering the future of computers. Years ago (1974!!!) we were introduced to the Six Million Dollar Man who had bionic... everything, it seemed. Then the Bionic Woman and RoboCop. Then, in the 1990's we met the cyborg race of people. "You will be assimilated."
 
The above site is a series of four short videos about people with computers in their brain, or eyes, or ears... well, you'll see. Project this out 5 more years. Ten more. Fifty more! Sound like a writing prompt to you?
- - -
And, check out this article in TechCrunch: http://snipurl.com/16vd8. If you're a Google Earth fan then this will interest you. It's a mashup with Google Earth, Wikipedia, and Panoramio. Looks very cool.
"As you zoom into a specific location, you can see place marks of points of interest, user-generated photos, and selected Wikipedia articles."
- - -
For those of you who have actually visited my blog, I've changed to a new template. The new system in Blogger makes it VERY easy to add links and coding. I put everything back how it was, but the options exist to really customize it. Let me know what you think of the change.

Friday, January 05, 2007

[TIPS] two more writing prompt ideas - plus old magazines

http://www.ted.com/tedtalks/ - (Yes, I do love this site!)
 
Here's another great writing prompt for your upper grade Sociology classes. Bjorn Lomborg's talk, "You're Worrying About The Wrong Problem" is quite interesting. He does tend to repeat himself a bit, but the basis for his talk is quite interesting, I think. If you had to prioritize the world's problems and then invest $50 billion in those problems where you would get the most bang for your buck, which would be your top four? Fighting poverty? Global warming? Aids? His answer may surprise you and may also be an excellent writing prompt for your students who watch this 18 minute video.
 
The second video is of Robert Neuwirth, author of "Shadow Cities", those squatter cities that lie in the shadows of the larger cities of the world that are home to a BILLION people. See if his talk doesn't also give your students fuel for some very good writing. Real world scenarios, don't y' know.
 
- - - bonus - - -
Finally, this site came across another listserv this morning. (Thanks Steve) http://www.oldmagazinearticles.com/  Old magazines with articles scanned into pdf formats. What fun to go back and look at those. I'll bet THEY would be great for writing prompts, as well. Check out this description of one article I found:
 
Germany Defends It's Military Build Up (The Literary Digest, 1913)

A defense was offered for the growth of German military expenditures based on the spread of "Slavik pride" and the rise of a "great Pan-Slavonic movement" due to "victory of their kinsmen in the Balkans". German leaders, furthermore, felt a deep uneasiness about the fact that about one-third of the population of the Hapsburg Monarchy consisted of Slavs and therefore felt that military aid from the Austro-Hungarian Empire was not guaranteed in the event of a war with Russia and France. KEY WORDS: The Balkan War and the Kaiser, German Military Build-Up, German Military Expansion, the German Government and It's Austrian Ally in 1913, Alliance Between Austria and Germany, Germany and Serbia, German Fear of Slavs in 1913, Slavs and the Hapsburg Empire, Slavs and the Austro-Hungarian Empir e.
 
 

Thursday, January 04, 2007

[TIPS] Moon atlas, inspirational movie, and cybercrime - oh my!

How about an interactive map of the moon for your science teachers? It's here: http://www.lunarrepublic.com/atlas/index.shtml Pretty cool.

Then, I've had this bookmarked (Couros Blog) to watch for some time (October 20th) but just got around to watching it now. If it doesn't bring a tear to YOUR eye, too, then I'll be quite surprised. http://educationaltechnology.ca/couros/570

Finally, have you noticed an increase in the amount of SPAM getting through to your computer? So has everyone else. This article talks about the increase in criminal activity online, and the rise in SPAM.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/12/26/AR2006122600922.html

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

[TIPS] Designing Worthwhile PBL Projects - and more

There are high school projects and there are high school projects. This three part article (the links to the other parts are on the right side) helps to demonstrate how to make a quality project worthy of 17 and 18 yr old students. Very well done, I thought.
 
 - - - Did you hear? - - -
Did you hear or read about Oprah's new school? http://snipurl.com/16fx7 This year, 300 girls (I believe that's what I heard) will enter this school as 7th and 8th graders. I heard some of them speak this morning on Morning Edition, and not one of them used the word 'like' even once! Imagine!  :-) These girls are from the poorest of the poor areas of South Africa and each and every one of them wants to change the world.
 
Why do I mention this? Three hundred more "hungry" kids  (remember that 5 part series?) have just entered the race, that's why. We MUST somehow make our students aware of the HUGE importance of this race and get them motivated. As I keep saying,
http://www.geogreeting.com/view.html?ziOofRAy+cBwuwU$98yz (Thanks to Karl Fisch for first alerting me to this very cool mashup)

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

[TIPS] Infinite Thinking Machine - wiki or blog?

Welcome back. So, 2007, eh? Wow... so... modern. :-) But time marches onward, etc etc. The only thing we can be sure about is that most of our students will be celebrating New Year's Eve at 2050! Half way through this century!! YIKES! What will our schools be like then? 
 
Anyway, a line at the top of this blog reads, "ideas to help teachers and students thrive in the 21st century." The above article discusses the notion of blogs vs wikis and offers some nice links to some great wiki examples. When you finish browsing those, check out Chris' Show on blogs here: http://www.infinitethinking.org/2006/12/itm-4-welcome-to-blogosphere.html. There's an interesting section from Wes Fryer in there, too. (Check out his podcast, "Be (Constructively) Digitally Disruptive in 2007")
 
A couple of cools things here. First, The conversation about technology in education continues here and the contributors to this blog link to some excellent examples. Second, the site itself is clever, offering both blogs and "shows." You know, YOUR class could do something like this, as well. What if your school newspaper offered both blog posts and videos? What if your school site was based on that idea? The IU offers an open source web application called Joomla that would allow you to make a site like this. Interested? You know how to reach me.
 
Here's hoping that YOU will make 2007 the year that you investigate and embrace the use of these tools with your classes. You won't be disappointed.