Monday, December 31, 2007
It's been tough trying to find a way to collect your favorite links for your students. You can get them all in one place, but then trying to organize them is tricky. Let's look at one way to display your organized bookmarks on your website using a tagroll on del.icio.us.
First you set up your own del.icio.us account. Then, grab a toolbar or extension from this page: http://del.icio.us/help/ Grab the right one for your browser and drop it onto your Links toolbar. From then on, when you see a page that you want to keep, just click that button and it will guide you through adding it to your del.icio.us account.
The KEY to this whole thing is how you TAG your links. You'd like to tag them with multiple tags when applicable, but you don't want to go crazy with them, either. For example, a site about Saturn would rightfully be cross-tagged with Science, space, and perhaps planets. But, a site that lets you edit digital photos could be filed under digital, photos, photography, editing, etc etc. The result is that it's filed in TOO MANY places.
Finally, once you've gone through your favorite sites and added them to your del.icio.us account with the tags you're comfortable with, grab the code from the http://del.icio.us/help/tagrolls page and add it to your site. You will then see a tag cloud (if you so choose) that contains all your tag words, with the more popular tags being in larger sizes and/or colors. So, when your students are sent to find a site, you would just say, "On my page, click the 'planets' tag. In there you'll find my link to ...."
Oh, you can add that to your blog or to your Moodle class, as well. You could even choose to have a Linkroll (http://del.icio.us/help/linkrolls) instead.
Saturday, December 29, 2007
This one is for all teachers, students, and parents in the state of Pennsylvania. By now I DO SO HOPE that you're aware that you can have a FREE account on the Nettrekker site. You've been able to have such an account for a couple of years, but in spite of our best efforts to inform you, a great many still have not heard the news. Want an account, email your contact at your local Intermediate unit. That person will tell you how to set up your own account - or an account for your son or daughter.*
Nettrekker is a search engine that returns results that have been evaluated by teachers.W hile a google search might return 13 million hits, a Nettrekker search might return only about 1000. But, Each one is home run! Some folks think it's a watered down search engine. Not so. It's just a very focused search engine. PLEASE give it a try!
Now on to the tip. Nettrekker has just released word of their latest upgrade. Here's what the email said about the upgrade:
- Effectively locate a variety of resources to support general and differentiated instruction.
- Efficiently save only the resources that meet your search objectives.
- Collaboratively share saved resources to others within your class, school or district.
For more details on the major product upgrade, please go to: http://crm.nettrekker.com/training/shared/training/nTdi_enhancements.pdf
Friday, December 28, 2007
Monday, December 24, 2007
This is an old report, but one that I’ve never forgotten since I first heard it in July of 2005. Here is Frank Deford telling a wonderful story about Jack Nichlaus at a British Open Tournament years ago.
Save this for AFTER Christmas. It’ll keep. But, it’s a great story of sportsmanship that should be heard by players and parents alike. That Jack Nichlaus is a class act.
Present this story to your students in the form of a multiple choice poll, with one option being what Jack did, and the other two choices being the other possible options. See how many students would do what Jack did.
THERE’S a writing prompt in this, too, don’t you think?
This link was brought to my attention in Vicki Davis’ blog (again). This is an NPR audio file about the blog. What’s very cool is that the story is being told, in part, by the bloggers themselves. It’s very well done. And, it’s just the first of a five part series on blogging. Every once in a while you’ll hear an echo in their voice which represents what would be a hyperlink. And… well, wait ‘till you hear them scroll down the page.
Bookmark it and follow it through the week, if you’re not sure what this blogging thing is all about.
What’s ironic in this whole thing is that Vicki Davis’ voice is heard in this report, yet, for SOME VERY STRANGE reason, neither her blog nor her OUTSTANDING wiki project won the edublog award, although both were nominated in their respective categories. I thought both were shoe-ins. “Pick it up – it’s a gimme.” (*I* voted for you, Vicki!)
Sunday, December 23, 2007
While reading my blogroll today I came upon this post from Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach (http://21stcenturylearning.typepad.com/blog/2007/12/the-best-web-20.html) in which she pointed me to THIS post on Larry Ferlazzo’s blog:
Here, Larry tells us his top fourteen web 2.0 website picks for educators. Stop by there to check out his list. There were several on the list that I hadn’t heard of, including http://showbeyond.com , http://sketchcast.com , http://www.CircaVie.com , http://www.daftdoggy.com (yes, where DO they come up with these names?) and others.
Anyway, stop by there and check out his list. Be prepared to be at the computer for a while as you go to the sites to play.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Thanks again to Sue Sheffer for sharing this one via email.
Now, while I WAS around to hear this debate, I don’t remember it. But I somehow doubt that THIS was their topic of conversation back then.
In this fun little remix of the Kennedy/Nixon debate, listen to them discuss the notion of whether wikis or blogs are in the best interest of the country. J Just for some fun.
Remember, if youtube is blocked, either send this to your home account to see it there, or use this link: http://www.zamzar.com/url/?u=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AsFU3sAlPx4 to convert it to viewable format (mov or avi, etc) and have the link to it sent to your email address where you can then download it.
It’s that time of year again when I send out this pointer to a story that I have listened to for... several years. (How many years in a row have I sent this out?) I’ve heard tell from a few of you that you, too, enjoy listening to it each year. This is absolutely one of THE BEST stories I’ve ever heard told. It’s a wonderful tale and message in itself, but it’s also just TOLD so well.
I don’t know if this is OK to play in school or not, but if not, it’s a darned shame. I think it would a wonderful story to play for the elementary students – maybe as a writing prompt, or a study of vocabulary, or even just a study in story telling. “What does it mean when this boy says, ‘We played Christmastime..’”, or “Describe the house in which that this boy and his family lived.” Or, maybe even, “Draw a scene from this story.”
In any case, if you have never heard this one, do yourself and your family a favor and listen to it. Play it for your family, too. It’ll bring a warm smile to your face – and to your heart.
When both groups were given a test that measured their ability to estimate amounts of, in this case, dots, the monkeys were correct 75% of the time. Their rival group, some
Now, we shouldn’t look at this as a measure of the quality of Duke undergrads. Nor should we look at it as a commentary on humans vs monkeys in general. If the rules were to change to allow the participants time to actually COUNT, then the humans would have obviously outdone the monkeys.
This harkens back to a story I heard tell a long time ago on Johnny Carson, I think. (Ah, he was the Tonight Show host before Jay Leno.) It seems that a study showed that when the monkeys start to count, they only get as high as FOUR - before they break out into a chorus of, “Last Train to
::ducking and running::
Many thanks to Sue Smith for sharing this with me via email.
I would be willing to bet that this district is unlike anything you’ve ever seen or heard about. Within the same district you’ve got one school that functions like a private school, with dress uniforms, students sitting in rows of desks, etc. A few miles away is another school is a technical school for the computer kids. In another school, the students study one topic all year long, with ties to all disciplines. Yet another school focuses on teaching leadership skills.
What have these changes done to their test scores? “’Oh they're terrible, they're embarrassing,’ Ciancio says.”
This is definitely an article to read and/or listen to via the link at the top of the article. I think it’s interesting that the district (parents, administrators, tax payers) are willing to give this a chance to succeed. I wonder what kind of professional development they had for the teachers. Wouldn’t THAT be a story in itself?
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
I hope it’s ok that I merely copied that from NASA’s article headline. But, I heard the story on the way home tonight and I had to check it out. Read it here: http://www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/chandra/news/07-139.html
Here are some cool facts: The two galaxies are 1.5 BILLION LIGHT YEARS from earth. This collision has been happening for about one million years! Scientists believe that these collisions may be both destroying AND creating life forms.
Listen to the NPR story here: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=17371531 (The audio will be available sometime after 7:00pm)
Send this to your favorite Earth and Space Science teacher. If kids think that the ‘60’s were ALMOST B.C., what will they think of THOSE numbers?
Monday, December 17, 2007
From time to time, Atomic Learning makes certain resources of their site available for free. Some are free ALL the time. This one arrives at just the right time. http://movies.atomiclearning.com/k12/digital_story/
Will YOU be working with students and doing some digital story telling? If so, there are some rules to follow that will make your presentation stand out far above the rest of the pack. Some may seem simple. Others are not. And there are a
This is an excellent resource! It’s available from now until January 15th, too, so you can sit down at the site and explore the many videos and pages of hints and tips.
Y’ know, I *do* feel like an echo chamber at times, and this time is no exception. I’ve mentioned this guy’s blog many times before. http://educationaltechnology.ca/couros/ I look forward to reading what he has to say every time he posts.
In this post: http://educationaltechnology.ca/couros/729 he embeds a YouTube video (Danger, Will Robinson!) of a man who has invented a printer that prints 3-D objects. Wait ‘till you see what it does. It’s in its infancy, but here’s another one to project out 20 years. Then go out another 20 yrs or so. What will the world be like when we can build those little things that we need on the spur of the moment – when we’re ALL able to manufacture things. Those folks with the creative talents will have a field day, won’t they?
This reminds me of the saying, “The only sure way to predict the future is to invent it.”
Friday, December 14, 2007
This is the last time I’ll try to send this (the 5th time). Thanks to Sue Sheffer for sharing this with me via the for:jgates513 tag on del.icio.us
This site allows you to search the web for data and then it gives you the tools to create great charts to show that data. Best of all, you can share those charts! In previous attempts to send this I gave examples of things to search for. That may be what was preventing it from going out. So, I’ll leave it to you to check out the samples on the page.
My only complaint was that I couldn’t find the Save button. I know it’s got to be there, but I couldn’t find it.
This is the fourth time I’ve tried to send this. No idea why it’s not going out (It must sound too much like that OTHER kind of email), but here goes again….
Again, many thanks to Sue Sheffer who sent this to me via the for:jgates513 tag on del.icio.us.
Imagine doing a search for, say, “Iraq civilian casualties”, or “highest paid athletes”, or maybe, “education spending” and then having the site search the web for any tables of data it might find with those numbers and finally creating a chart of that data. What if you could then share those graphs? Does that sound cool to you? Then you must check this out. You can search for, for example, graphs made from table data found on the Web, or custom graphs made by other users.
The only thing I couldn’t find was where to Save the graph. I know it can be done but I didn’t find it.
Thursday, December 13, 2007
OK, here’s a little Jeopardy quiz. Don’t feel bad if you get it wrong. You supply the correct QUESTION.
Here you go: “It was 5% in 2001. It was 70% in 2004. Today it’s over 95%.” What is it?
*Playing the Jeopardy theme*
Time’s up. What is your answer? Ooooohhh, I think some of you got it right. The correct Question is, “What percent of all emails in those years was spam?”
Think about that for a moment. Some of you receive a LOT of email in a day. Lots of people do, right. Yet, GOOD emails account for less than 5% of ALL emails being sent out daily. And if the best filter can only catch 99% of them, then that leaves a TON of them that still get through.
I guess that’s why this post was necessary. : - ) So, don’t be too hard on your network person if a few spam emails get through, even if they DO appear to be obvious.
Do you think this school “gets it?” They’re going to have a one day conference for students and parents – on a Saturday. Check out their agenda: http://colearning.wikispaces.com/Schedule (It’s on a wiki so you may have to wait until you get home to see it.)
Listen to this description of the purpose of this day:
“Education is conversation. Conversation creates change.
The future of education does not exist in the isolated world of theory and abstract conference sessions. Instead, it exists in conversations. It exists in creating a robust learning network that is ever-expanding and just-in-time. Learning 2.0 is not the beginning of this conversation. It is merely a stopping point, a time to talk about the visible difference that we all seek. We read. We reflect. We write. We share. We learn. Come join us for a day of conversation about learning and technology.”
Raise your hand if you want to have one of these in YOUR district! Keep your hand raised if you wish you could work there. They “get it.”
Show this one to your favorite math teachers. Mathemagician Arthur Benjamin dazzles the audience with some cool math tricks. At the end he thinks out loud to reveal some of his “magic.”
The number he squares in his head at the end is 57,683 squared. Amazing!
I thought I had posted about this before, but I couldn’t find it. I watched it today in preparation for something coming up soon – that I’ll say more about later.
In this PopCast video, Daniel Pink relates the right/left brain ideas to the economy – and summarizes his book.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
This is so frustrating. On the one hand, I met with some teachers today who expressed sincere frustration because their ... person in charge of making this kind of decision ... has diabled the right-click on all of the computers in the school. I can't even BEGIN to get my mind around such an outrageous plan. And I'll bet that whoever is making that decision is also bragging about the kinds of computers they have in school. "Yes, we only buy HP's with two gig of ram and we upgrade to all the latest Microsoft products the minute they hit the streets." FOR WHAT? ARRRRGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!
OUTRAGEOUS!! And somehow the administration and the Curriculum Directors stand by and let it happen. Who is supporting whom? Isn't the network supposed to support the curriculum? Not there. The curriculum must be rewritten to allow for the crippled computers.
And THEN I come home and read this: http://coolcatteacher.blogspot.com/2007/12/what-happens-when-students-take-reigns.html Just look at all the things her students are doing. Listen to her talk with such pride at how they have taken responsibility for their education and are making things happen, using the tools that are available on the web.
I'd like to ask those who disable the right clicks on the computers and who block all blogs and all wikis to read that story and tell me why it can't be done in your district. Ten to one it can't be done because it isn't convenient.
Folks... those of you who are in the way... we don't have time for this nonsense any more. Are you not paying attention to what's going on in the world? Have you not heard that today's kids must have some SERIOUSLY competetive skills to compete in this global marketplace? Do you EVER pick your head out of the sand to look around at the world? GET OUT OF THE WAY!!! We don't have TIME for this! And Superintendents and Curriculum Directors.... we don't have time any longer for you to stand back and allow this to happen. You MUST insist that your students have the tools they'll need to compete in this world, and if that person won't make it happen, then find one who WILL! Have you not seen Shift Happens? (http://thefischbowl.blogspot.com/2007/06/did-you-know-20.html) Oh wait... sorry.. this links to a YouTube video, and while it may be possible in your district for you and the teachers to see it without giving students access, that may not be allowed either.
One more time - We don't have time for this any longer. There is too much at stake.
Once again, I guess YOUR students will just have to wait until they get OUT of school to get their education.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
There are two sites here. First, the TED video: http://www.ted.com/talks/view/id/51 (You can download his powerpoint and presentation here, too.)
Then there is the speaker’s site: http://www.oilendgame.com/
Send this to your sociology teachers and your current events teachers and even you business teachers. Amory Lovins takes us through his vision for how the
This is a fascinating talk with even more fascinating statistics. What do you think? Watch this video and you, too, may be convinced that it CAN happen.
Oh… and watch it to see his powerpoint, too. Do you think it’s an example of a GOOD powerpoint?
Once again I find another gem in my blogs. This is another from Alec Couros. He points us to a movie that tells a very moving story – with no spoken words. Just a game of scrabble.
Send this to your favorite digital movies teacher and your favorite Creative writing teacher. Very nice. A bit sad for this festive time of the year but well worth the time to watch it.
Monday, December 10, 2007
In this video, Johnny Lee shows you how to create an interactive whiteboard using the remote from a Wii and a cheap pen that he made with very cheap materials. He claims that this interactive whiteboard costs less than $50 to make. I doubt that the price includes the wii remote, though. Can you buy those separately?
Anyway, watch this amazing video. What do you think? I’d love to make one and take it with me when I give presentations. Now THAT would be fun!
This would be laughable if it weren't so sad.
Someone just sent me an email to congratulate me on the award from edublogs (I'm still grinning!). I had sent out an email to some folks in the schools to say that they might want to check out the list of nominees for some other examples of excellent wikis and blogs.
But... he said that the edublogs awards site (http://edublogawards.com/) is BLOCKED at his school!!
CAN YOU HEAR ME SCREAMING????
A reader writes, (I love to say that :-) ) “After the embedded YouTube video plays, there are thumbnails that appear inside the widget that are links to videos on YouTube with the same keyword descriptors. How can I turn that off?”
That’s a good one, because those little videos could be embarrassing. So, the next time that you are grabbing the code to embed a video from youtube, look for the link called “Customize” that appears just above the code to the right. There you can find the radio buttons that allow you to choose whether to show the related videos or not. You can also change the color schemes and show a border around the player.
It’s too bad that the default is to SHOW related videos, isn’t it?
Sunday, December 09, 2007
Ever since bloglines started to display erroneous numbers for my unread messages I’ve been using Google reader as my aggregator. (http://www.google.com/reader) I’ve gotten used to it now, and I will continue to use it until Bloglines works as it should. Who knows, I may never go back.
But, I found one an interesting feature today by reading the google news blog itself. It’s called Discover. While viewing the home screen of the reader, click the Discover >> link that’s just to the right of the +Add Subscription link. Google reader will suggest other blogs and feeds that you might like, based on the feeds you already have. It also gives you information about the blog, such as the number of average posts per week. I actually turned one down because it said it had 17 posts per week on average. Yikes! I’d get WAY behind on that one. But, I’ve added three feeds, as a result of that feature. (As if I needed more, eh?)
Try it. I think you’ll like it.
Many thanks to John G (name withheld as he’s a student) for sharing this with me via the for:jgates513 tag on del.icio.us. John receives my tips, too. Do you think HE is in control of his education? Do you think he is a self-directed learner? Yes, I do, too. (He’s got his own business, too)
This article in the Economist is subtitled, “Money and effort aren't enough to impart the skills and knowledge needed in a cut-throat world”
This year the study focused on science.
“Letting schools run themselves seems to boost a country's position in this high-stakes international tournament: giving school principals the power to control budgets, set incentives and decide whom to hire and how much to pay them. Publishing school results helps, too. More important than either, though, are high-quality teachers: a common factor among all the best performers is that teachers are drawn from the top ranks of graduates.”
Maybe it’ll take a while before the NCLB efforts are reflected, eh? Maybe. But, do we have the luxury of time any longer?
The ceremony took place in Second life and was broadcast over ustream.tv. The audio was choppy but I think that was largely due to the fact that the computers of those who were running the show just couldn’t keep up with the processing demands. But, what a VERY cool concept. Folks meeting up in second life and streaming the presentation live. Y’ gotta love it.
Now… my sincerest, most heartfelt thank you goes out to each of you who took the time to vote for my blog. It WON!!! YES!!!!! WaaaaaaHOOOOOOOOOO!!!! I’m grinning so hard my cheeks hurt. J I still find it so hard to get my mind around it, and the fact that my clustr map (see the left sidebar on the blog itself) shows that folks from around the world visit this blog. I used to scoff at people who would say that the world is a small place. Now I know that it IS.
Anyway, again my sincere thank you to those who voted for this blog. I am honored and flattered and – ALMOST speechless. J
I’m a VERY lucky man.
Saturday, December 08, 2007
I really like to listen to Rocketboom – every day. It never fails to teach me something.
The above episode is an interview with Garrison Keillor of “A Prairie Home Companion” fame. Give it a listen. He mentions Wikipedia. Hear what he says about it. Very interesting.
Friday, December 07, 2007
Thanks again to Sue Sheffer who shared this with me via the for:jgates513 tag on del.icio.us.
This easy to follow index links you to a host of nice videos for use in your class. Topics range from Physics and Math, to Psychology. The ONLY problem is that the videos reside on youtube. Some are listed as no longer being available, but you can still find some excellent videos here.
Guess you’ll just have to use zamzar, eh?
Today I have a chance to get caught up on my reading and I found this post: http://blog.longnow.org/2007/12/05/a-long-view-of-world-population/ which features a video (on YouTube) that deals with the idea of zero population growth. Don’t panic. I don’t want to weigh in on this topic, but I do suggest that you watch the first part of this video. It shows ANOTHER video that depicts the population growth of the planet from year 1 to the present. It’s very well done. In the corner are smaller images that show the era that is being depicted as the ‘clock’ runs towards the present year. Watch the graphic of the population explosion.
There are lessons in just this part of the video. I’m thinking that sociology teachers will want to keep this handy, for one thing. Math teachers can use this as a starting point to talk about the math behind the data. And we can ALL benefit from the exposure to this reality.
Many thanks to Kristin Hokanson for sharing this with me. I missed it on Twitter. (Maybe there IS some positive stuff there.)
Administered, designed, edited, and written by a global mix of students of varying ages, interests, voices, and points of view, Students 2.0 will feature content written by both staff writers and guest contributors. From
The moment for a student-centered edublogosphere has come. The staff at Students 2.0 invite their adult partners in education to treat their posts as they treat all others: as serious writing, as invitations to their readers to listen, reflect, agree, disagree, extend ideas - and above all, to create new possibilities, understandings, and insights in education.
You MUST visit this site and read the Who What Why and How sections. The site begins in earnest on Monday.
Do you understand what is happening here? What does this line mean to you, “Students 2.0 is challenge for leaders and teachers alike: are you willing to listen to students.” The power of the tools in the web is making this possible. They will do doubt open their doors on Monday to a standing room only crowd… er.. so to speak. I can’t wait to hear what they have to say.
Is this cool stuff or what?
Oh.. and for those for whom blogs and wikis and most of the web 2.0 tools are blocked in your school, I’m truly sorry. I guess your students will have to wait until they’re OUT of your school to get their education.