Monday, March 31, 2008

[TIPS] How does your state compare with mine in use of technology?

This page allows you to check the states that you wish to compare. Click submit and you'll see a nice grid showing ratings in areas like Access to Technology (in the schools), Use of Technology, and Capacity to Use Technology, and more. In each category the states receive a grade. Very interesting stats.

Good news for PA. We're ahead of the game compared to the others I checked.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

[TIPS] THIS is what I'm talkin' about!

Once again, Brian Crosby's class shows what can be done when you've got a teacher (two, in this case) who can take a regular lesson and transform it into one that also gives the kids some real skills that they can use as lifelong learners. Read the post. Here's a clip:
"The students are collaboratively writing stories in groups of 3 or 4 using Google Docs. Today they logged into their shared Google Docs so they could write and discuss the stories they have been brainstorming at the same time. What made this truly transformative was we also set-up computers in our rooms with web cams and had the students working on the same stories discussing characters and setting and plot and everything else involved in their stories over video-Skype, while at the same time editing together via Google Docs. So they were discussing and watching each other edit and add content while seeing and talking to each other at the same time."
Remember, these are elementary school kids! Imagine the pressure that the middle school and high school teachers must feel when they know that their students are coming to them with THIS kind of experience already. How can you possibly believe that they will be willing to sit and take notes in isolation in a high school class when they've already been collaboarting with kids from another state - while in 4th grade!!
Brian's blog is called, "Learning is Messy." I think, at least in HIS class, it should be called, "Learning is FUN!"

Friday, March 28, 2008

[TIPS] FlashEarth reminder

This is just a reminder about a site that I mentioned back in 2006. FlashEarth (

Want to see a Satellite view of someplace but you don't want to wait for Google Earth to load? Or maybe Google Earth isn't installed on your computer. (<sigh>) Never fear, FlashEarth is here!

In the bottom right corner you'll type the location of the spot you wish to see, and Presto! You can even then choose to see how that site looks with the Microsoft images, or the Yahoo images. Choose the corresponding radio button on the left side.

Very handy site - and fast, too.

[TIPS] movino - Mac users broadcast from your phone to your webpage?

Many thanks to Cheryl Capozzoli for sharing this one with me via email.

Get this...
" Broadcast LIVE video from your mobile phone
over 3G or WiFi onto your website.

Or use your phone as a bluetooth webcam in Mac OS X.

Free and Open Source. "

Take a moment to let that one sink in. Holy cow... It's tools like this and CoverItLive that are changing journalism as we know it. Amazing!!

Check it out!!!

[TIPS] xtimeline

Thanks to Laurie Vitale for sharing this one with me via email.

This is another very slick timeline application that also lets you embed the project onto your web page. Easy to use. Nice finished project.

Also, don't forget about (will plot an rss feed onto a timeline) and Now you've got some nice choices when making your timelines.

[TIPS] SlideRocket SOARS!

Once again I refer to a post by Alec Couros on his blog (

This VERY COOL web application is in limited beta right now, but when it's released you're going to WANT to use it. It's a presentation maker that is built to make both Powerpoint and Keynote green with envy. Check out that tour link.

From their FAQ page: "SlideRocket integrates flexible authoring, intelligent asset management, secure delivery and analytics tools in a single on demand application. SlideRocket allows you to quickly create stunning presentations, store, organize, tag and search your assets, collaborate with your colleagues, securely share your slides in person or remotely and measure the results, all in one integrated environment."

AND... they will have an offline app that will allow you to play your presentations without an internet connection!

Watch this one. It will be offered in various price levels, including a free version, but I've got a feeling that if they make the price reasonable that they'll have a TON of people signing up for the full features. This is a very cool web app!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

[TIPS] When I Grow Up - It's Baaaaccckkk on TeacherTube

You may recall the story of the viral video entitled, "When I Grow UP." It's been on teachertube for a while and then it disappeared due, I THOUGHT, to a copyright issue. I was SORTA right - his copyright lease on that music ran out. In any case, Matthew Johnson just emailed me to let me know that it's back up on teachertube. In fact, he has reposted both the original and the revised versions.

The original version is here: (with new sound track)
The revised version is here:

Check them out.

An interesting sidebar:
At the year's PETE&C conference held in Hershey, PA, Kathleen Brautigam (Then Director for Educational Technology with the Dept of education for Pennsylvania) showed this video to the audience of over 2000 teachers and administrators and tech directors. She did NOT know, however, that Matthew Johnson was sitting in that audience. :-) He was introduced to everyone the next day, however, when we discovered that he was "in the house."

Way to go, Matthew. You've created a hit!

[TIPS] Photoshop Express now online

Thanks again to Alma Row for sharing this one with me via email.

Remember this post from a year ago? In it I pointed to a techcrunch article that said that Adobe was going to put Photoshop online and offer it for free. "No way!", we shouted. Well, "WAY!"

Not only can you upload and play with your photographs using many of the photoshop tools, but they also give you 2 gigs of storage in which to store them. And, you can share your images. Very nice!

I've not yet uploaded and toyed with a picture yet, but I can report one oddity. The site doesn't want to load in Firefox on my Mac. It will open Ok with Safari, however. If anyone else experiences this, please leave a comment to tell me.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

[TIPS] Creative Commons on Limewire?

I learned something today. A team of students had created an excellent project for the high school computer fair. THe only thing that threatened to DQ them was the music they used. In their credits of this digital movie, they listed the music as having come from the Creative Commons area of Limewire. Now, my judges are sophisticated enough to know what limewire is and why people use it, and none of them had heard of this creative commons section of limewire. They called me into the discussion and I suggested we call the boys back to hear what they had to say about it. I'm glad we did.

Sure enough, Limewire now recognizes files that are licensed under the CreativeCommons license! They had a printout of the page hidden in their backpack just in case we didn't believe them. (Lesson learned - don't hide the documentation!)

Check it out here:

Verrrrry interesting.

[TIPS] moving columns in google spreadsheets

A commenter on the blog asked how to move columns in a Google spreadsheet. I hadn't tried that before so I went to a spreadsheet to check.

On my Mac, using Firefox, I simply clicked the column header to select the entire column. When I traced my mouse over the edge of the column I noticed that a border would flash around it and my cursor changed to the pointer hand. I then just clicked and dragged the column to the new location. The trick is in where you try to grab. You can't try to grab the middle of the column. Grab it by the edges.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

[TIPS] Change-Congress graph

On this page is a map of the United States with sections shown in different colors, ranging from clear to a muddy grey color. Each section represents a Congressional district. The colors show the extent to which that representative takes money from PACs (Political Action Committees). An interesting graphic for the social studies teachers, yes?

Then take a look at this slideshow:

No more comment. I just think it's an interesting topic.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

[TIPS] aspergers video

This was one of the videos nominated for the 2007 YouTube Awards:

In this video a 16 yr old boy talks about what it's like to live with this condition. If you work with children with this condition, you owe it to yourself AND to that child to watch this video.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

[TIPS] google docs tip - Save and Close

I MISS the Save and Close button in the newly revised version of Google Docs. It "felt right" to do that. It felt SAFE to do that. Now, according to the google docs blog, you're supposed to click the Docs Home link in the top right and THAT will perform the Save and Close function.

Maybe. But it just doesn't FEEL right. Or is it just me?

[TIPS] bitstrips

Looking for a quick and easy way to make a short cartoon strip? Try:

It looks like it's very easy to do, and I didnt run into anything that was inappropriate.

Got kids who want to do political cartoons this election year? Want to make a quick Action Hero out of the Periodic Table of Elements (a.L.A. - How about a quick cartoon representing a historical character? Not for a final project, certainly, but possibly for a fun quick assignment.

There are plenty of these kinds of sites so if you don't like that one, you can choose one of the others. Remember toondoo?

[TIPS] Whose cell phone is that?

Background: The school where I work has a NO CELL PHONE policy. Cell phones will be confiscated.

The incident: I was at my cabin over the weekend and I had to turn my phone onto Ring mode from Vibrate mode and I forgot to set it back to vibrate. So, when I was sitting in a class yesterday and my cell phone rang I panicked and quickly reached for it to stop it. (VERY embarrassing!)

But, the funny part is that almost EVERY student in the room ALSO panicked and reached for their pocket or purse. ROFL!!! I HAD to laugh out loud at it. The collective look of relief on their faces was also priceless.

There's a moral to this story somewhere.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

[TIPS] Watch this - telling the story of your own stroke

What if you could experience a stroke and remember it. Would it be painful or pleasureable? Would it be Hell or Nivana?

This is just what happened to Dr Jill Bolte Taylor, renowned Neuroanatomist, and in this Ted video she retells the story. And what an amazing story it is. Listen the whole thing. You will NOT be disappointed.


Friday, March 14, 2008

[TIPS] How dangerous is the internet

Thanks to Couros blog ( for pointing me to this article:

Oh my.. let's try a little shorter url, shall we?  [www_nytimes_com]  There. Much better.

Many of you in PA saw David Pogue speak at PETE&C and you might have subsequently begun to read his blog or his posts in the New York Times. That link points to an article of his in the Times that you may want to read. You may have to register (free) to read it, but I do encourage you to do so. The gist - "“Sure, there are dangers. But they’re hugely overhyped by the media."

Give it a read. Oh, and you'll remember that I point to Alex's blog often, too, so subscribe to that one, too.


[TIPS] A Globally connected teacher - read this

You KNOW you've 'made it' in the blogging biz when you can take a little vacation from blogging and have someone the likes of Julie Lindsay ( fill in for you. Such is the case with one of my favorite blogs called, "Dangerously Irrelevant" by Dr Scott McLeod. He's taking a little hiatus and he's got Julie pinch hitting for him. Julie's blog is also one of my favorites, so when she began to fill in for Scott I was excited to read what she had to say there.
This post, which she also posted on her own blog ( is one I think you should read. As you do, keep these thoughts in mind. "Did her students receive something truly special in their education as a result of their participation in those projects?" And, "If I KNOW about such projects, and refuse to investigate to learn how MY students can enjoy that same experience, am I guilty of... SOMETHING?"
The article begins with a discussion of some of the projects that she and her students have been involved in, and ends with some great suggestions. PLEASE read this. There is SO VERY MUCH at stake.

[TIPS] New features in CoverItLive

WOW! How VERY cool this is for live blogging. CoverItLive just announced their newest features, and as you'll see below, these will make live blogging easier and better. Can't wait to give this a try.
As I said before, this one application moves us LIGHT YEARS ahead in terms of instant publishing. I'd LOVE to see someone do a study on the variuos ways this is being used. But, while I'm waiting, for those of you who don't know this application, let me give the short version of what it is.
This site allows you to place a LIVE CHAT session right on your blog page. So, rather than your blog post being just YOUR thoughts, it's a record of a conversation, monitored by you. While the conversation is going on you can add a quick poll, a video, an image, or even an audio file. And, you can prep your playing field with audio clips  and images, etc that will be right there handy for you. So, imagine you're going to watch an event that your friends cannot attend. You set up this live blog application in your blog and, at the appointed hour, it goes live, allowing you to fill your real-time readers in on what is going on at the event. If the speaker says something funny you can play your audio clip (for your readers) of a crowd laughing. If the speaker asks a rhetorical question, you can quickly add a poll to find out how your readers feel about. You can upload an image of the speaker (with permission, of course), and.. SO much more.
SO many ways to use this with your students. I DO hope that you'll investigate this one.
Here's what the CoverItLive 'press release' had to say about their new features:
 New Features:

Quick Launch:  If you are covering breaking news or just need to start live blogging ASAP, Quick Launch (in the My Account section) lets you launch a live blog immediately.  Just paste the Viewer Window on your blog and start.

Panelist/Producer (multi-authored live blogging):  A much requested feature, "Can I have more than one author on my live blog?".  Now, it's as simple as sending an email to your Panelists (people who will ONLY write commentary) or Producers (people who can do everything you can do including approve reader comments and launch multimedia).  Very useful for live blogs with big readership or for running a Q&A session.

'Always Allow' Reader Comments:  Another popular request was to allow some reader comments to automatically publish without moderation.  Great for trusted readers or new readers who have great insights to share with everyone else.  This takes some of the burden off the writer of the live blog.  A maximum of 10 readers can be classified as 'Always Allow' per live blog (because more than that, and the live blog will become unwatchable for all of the disjointed commentary).

Standby Mode:  Instead of launching several different live blogs to cover multi-day or long events, users can now put their live blog into Standby Mode.  This lets them take long breaks and disconnect, then come back any time within 48 hours to continue.  While in Standby, their readers can catch up on what has happened so far.  A great feature for conference attendees or 'all day sports' live blogs.  When you combine this feature with the new Panelist feature, round the clock coverage becomes simple.  Standby Mode will also automatically activate if a user has been disconnected for 30 consecutive minutes.

Edit Completed Live Blogs:  Great for fixing typos or deleting unwanted entries.  Go to My Account/Completed Live Blogs and clean up your completed live blog.  All changes are immediately published in your Instant Replay.

Download Completed Live Blogs:  For those who would rather store their live blogs locally, go to My Account/Completed Live Blogs and download your live blog for posting on your site.

Syndication:  Although CoveritLive live blogs could always be syndicated to other sites and blogs, we have never really talked about this feature.  If you have other sites willing to 'carry' your live blog, simply give them the embed code (the code you paste on your site) to paste on theirs.  This lets them keep their readers on their own site while opening up your live blog to a wider audience.  Imagine sharing live blogs across a blog network or across multiple newspaper sites.

[TIPS] gmail update

Several people emailed me after they found THIS:, an article which explains further how that bit of code happened. And another wrote in with this:
"Thought you might like to know I was able to verify the information in Jeff Atwood's blog. G-archiver put out a statement on their website today and asking all of their customers and people who tested or purchased the software to please change their Gmail account information ASAP. the link is here:
It may be possible that this was accidental but ask yourself these questions and let me know what you think.
1. With what seems like a great archiving product for Gmail, why were there only approximately 1700 emails in the account?
2. Do you think its possible that only 1700 people who have Gmail accounts downloaded and at least tried the shareware in the last year, or was someone taking the information and sending it somewhere else?
All this and Google just purchased Doubleclick.....Things that make you go, ........Hmmmmm! Thanks for the heads up Jim!
Remember, knowledge is power!"
So, thought you might like to know. Just a lkittle discussion here.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

[TIPS] Gmail - are you OK with this?

Thanks to Lee C for sharing this. Lee is not a fan of google, and this is one of the reasons.

Read down through this article. Decide for yourself if it's worth it to YOU to continue using the product. If the answer is no, do some further investigating. You can't base your decision to drop the service on one article. But, you CAN base your decision to investigate based on one article.

[TIPS] translating videos on DotSub

Many thanks to Ann Johnston for sharing this one with us.

Here you can upload a video, in any language, and .. well... here's what the site says about itself:
"dotSUB is a browser based tool enabling subtitling of videos on the web into and from any language. There is nothing to buy and nothing to download. Recognizing the potential of global communication powered by the Internet, the founders of dotSUB created a web-based tool that enables video to be accessed in an open, collaborative, "wiki" type environment. The dotSUB tool gives anyone the ability to translate video content into multiple languages via subtitles rendered over the bottom of the video.

The idea of dotSUB was born in early 2004 after viewing the film "Fahrenheit 911." Michael Smolens, Founder and CEO of dotSUB, realized that if one documentary film in English might have an impact on a very close US Presidential election, what would happen if all independent and documentary films, television programming and video from all cultures could be made available in all languages - what a powerful impact on the world that would be!"

Did you catch that? Send this to your foreign language teachers. They will have a BALL with this - and so will the kids!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

[TIPS] New Formatting tools in wikispaces

For those who don't read anything but my tips, this will be news to you. It's all over the blogs, however. Wikispaces has just made it easy to change the fonts, the font colors, the background colors (highlighting) and the alignments. ( Until now you couldn't do that. The reason, I think, was to "save us from ourselves." If you're able to have different fonts all over the pages, some folks will put them all over the pages. Same with color. Not having those options promoted a cleaner design.

But, I'll just wait to see if it improves the wikis or just makes them look cheesy.  Teachers, this is where YOU come in to play to help the kids learn that pink text over a purple background is just plain UGLY!  :-)

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

[TIPS] Pangea Day

In it I talked about the upcoming Pangea Day celebration. From this site: " "Pangea Day taps the power of film to strengthen tolerance and compassion while uniting millions of people to build a better future. In a world where people are often divided by borders, difference, and conflict, it's easy to lose sight of what we all have in common. Pangea Day seeks to overcome that - to help people see themselves in others - through the power of film." - Watch the films on this page. Then, share this with some of your creative students. Consider hosting a Pangea Day Party. Yes, I'm serious. Tell me that you don't know some students who would eat this up.
Just today I saw one of the most creative iMovies I've ever seen, done by a girl who just didn't know how to get started. But when she did, she took off. I can't wait to post it here in the blog for the world to see. If that girl had the access and the after school time, she could make a GREAT movie for this event. I'll bet YOU know someone like that, too.

[TIPS] The Long Tail author discusses FREE

This is an interesting video with Chris Anderson, the one who coined the phrase, "The Long Tail." In this video he talks the economics of Free. Huh? No sure how that works? Watch this video. Send it to your favorite ecoomics teachers.

[TIPS] UN For Kids

"Providing flags, maps, and lesson plans to study the world. 1,967 downloadable files from 192 countries and the United Nations are available in Adobe Acrobat, PowerPoint and Word formats."

This site was created by a teacher who is looking to give back a little. Get maps of all kinds plus links to lots of other great resources.


[TIPS] A great Excel shortcut

Y' know, you know what you know. And, until someone else shows you another way to do something, you tend to continue to do it the way you learned it or were first taught. And, I'm not one to forget a really great shortcut, but if I EVER knew this little trick I had forgotten it - until a student in a Physics class yesterday stumbled upon it (or maybe he already knew it).
It's an Excel trick. Stay with me here...
You've got a column of names, say, next to a column of numbers and then you're trying to build a formula next to that column - one for each number in the list. So, you create the formula for the first cell. Then, you want to use the fill down feature to fill the formula down the column. Until yesterday I would have placed my cursor in the bottom right corner of the cell, and when it turned into the 'crosshairs' cursor I would have dragged it down through the column, thus executing the Fill-Down feature. Got it?
Well, yesterday as the physics teacher was showing the class how to do just that, this young guy said, "Just double click it." Huh? Double click WHAT? You double click on that bottom right corner with your crosshairs icon instead of dragging it. PRESTO! It fills down the entire column, stopping where it was supposed to.
Did YOU know that little trick? You didn't if you've learned your Excel from ME! :-)
This old dog learned a new trick. It was another good day. It COULD have been a really good day, but the physics teacher felt compelled to reveal to his class that I was his 5th grade music teacher! <sigh>

Monday, March 10, 2008

[TIPS] webware finalists

Want to learn about some of THE BEST web sites? This is the site of the WebWare 100 - the finalists in several categories. Check out the categories and their entries on the right side of this page.
I learned about SEVERAL sites that I didn't know about before. WHile you're at it, vote for your favorites.
James Gates
This message is intended only for the use of the addressee and may contain
information that is privileged and confidential. If you are not the intended
recipient, you are hereby notified that any dissemination of this communication
is strictly prohibited. Please contact me immediately if you have received this
communication in error.

[TIPS] Creating synthetic life?

First, I'll admit that I don't understand much of this. But, I DO understand that he's talking about creating synthetic life. Digitally. Creating synthetic life.

Before you panic, watch and listen. Using this process they hope to create 4th dimension fuels, ones that convert CO2 back into fuels. Sure beats the heck out of using food for fuel, does it not?

But, it sure is scary stuff. Fascinating. Wonderful! Powerful! Listen to the whole piece. This is HUGE!!! Send this to your favorite biology teacher.


[TIPS] Skitch - for MacOS

MANY thanks (again!) to Sue Sheffer for sharing this one with me via email. combines a free download and the web services to make for a very cool little application.

When installed, Skitch sits in the top menubar. When you're ready to take a screen shot or mark up an image, etc click the skitch icon and get the Cam Snapshot tool, then drag-select the area to be captured. Use the built-in tools to mark it up, including adding text. I grabbed a picture from my flickr account. Then, you can share the file in many ways. I inadvertently dragged the file and dropped it onto a name in my Skype list and it began the transfer. Or, upload it to the skitch website and share it by sending the url to your friends, or grabbing the code to embed, etc.

Very nice - especially the price. (For now, at least) Here's my no-talent image to test the tools:

[TIPS] Study groups vs Facebook

Thanks to Jimbo Lamb for sharing this with me - however indirectly. :-)

This is a story about an engineering major who took over the admin for a Facebook account that was used by a group of engineering students to ask questions about homework, etc. Now, to be fair, I don't know what else was on the site, and if it crossed the boundaries of help vs posting answers to tests. I don't know. But, let's assume that it WAS just an online study group. The professors are failing the student,and he's at risk to be expelled. If it truly is just a study group, does this make sense to anyone?

Maybe since it doesn't make sense, then there is more to it than just a site used for collaboration for study. But, does having a permanent record of your study group's discussions make it different than a face-to-face group?

This may be playing out at a college, but what will you do when you find out that it's happening at your school, too? You'd better have given it some thought.

Friday, March 07, 2008

[TIPS] Earth Album

Once again, many thanks to Sue Sheffer for sharing this via email. This little mashup shows images from the flickr website as they are linked to the various locations in the world. You can search for hummingbirds in Pennsylvania, for example, and just see pictures taken by folks who have tagged them with hummingbird and Pennsylvania.

Pretty cool way to see the world.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

[TIPS] 270toWin

I was just talking with one of our Social Studies teachers and he showed me a site that he likes to use around election time. You land on a page with a map showing the United States in Red and Blue. A dropdown menu at the top allows you to choose an election year to see which states went which way at that time. And, it shows the popular vote count, as well.

Check out 1860, for example. What happened in 1864? How about 1948 and 1952? Watch certain states as they swing back and forth between parties? What might account for that? Is it a fair characterization to call the South a Democratic base? Below the map see the list of the topics at the time or some election faccts. And, take the Electorial College Quiz on the right.

Send this to your favorite Social Studies teacher.

(Thanks, Chris!)

[TIPS] Interesting article in TeacherMagazine

I point this out because it's an interesting conversation about technology in education. It's based around this blog post by Karl Fisch:, entitled, "Is it OK to be technologically Illiterate?" It won the 2007 Edublog Award for "Most Influential Blog Post." In fact, you should probably just skip the top link and go right to the Fisch post. But, BE SURE to click the "42 Comments" link at the bottom of the article to read the comments.

Then, when you're finished, see if you can put into words how YOU feel about the subject? How do you feel about some of the comments? It's an important position to have, I think, because it certainly defines your approach to your profession. I'd love to hear your thoughts - whether here on on Karl's post.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

[TIPS] Rosetta Layers on Google Earth

Last January I posted a link to a Ted video in which the presenter talked about how the many languages of the world are disappearing at an alarming rate. Here's that link: I suggested that it might make a good writing prompt.

Now I've been made aware of this site: that has plotted the locations in layers on the Google Earth application of those areas where the native language is disappearing. Wouldn't this make a great addition to ANY lesson that talked about geography or current events, etc? Wow. You almost have to believe that any lesson in social studies, history, etc that doesn't include Google Earth somehow is missing a GREAT resource.

[TIPS] Open PD - starting soon at a computer near you

Darren Draper will once again hold his five part, free, professional development series beginning March 26 and continuing for the next five weeks. They'll be held from 5:00-6:00 PM, Easter time.

What are they? The above post will give you more of the details, but I can tell you that they will be both informative in their content, but also fascinating with the uses of the various kinds of technologies he incorporates. Check out the agenda for the first session here:

I would encourage you to attend the first session, at least. I plan to. Not only will you learn some new skills from your time, but you'll connect with other teachers from around the world!

Why not leave a comment to tell me if you're planning to be there, too. I hope to hear form LOTS of you.

[TIPS] My Live Blogging session with CoverItLive

As I say at the top of this post:, "I can't let Karl Fisch have all the fun. I HAD to try CoverItLive for myself. The results, in a word - outstanding!

On Tuesday, March 4th, I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to again present the opening remarks for a day of sharing and collaboration with about 180 science teachers from the area. It was the same presentation I gave before, but with a little twist. This time I had set up a CoverItLive session and posted it in the above blog post. Those of you who rely on the listserv to get my tips would not have seen it, but those who read the feed would have. What's cool about it is that for the days and hours leading up to the actual event, it presents you with a field in which you can enter your email address to receive an email alert that this live blogging will occur. Very nice.

I had set it up and then the day before it was to happen I skyped a call with Sue Sheffer (you may remember her from all the things that she passes along to me to share with you) and I gave her my CoverItLive password. We practiced with it for a while so that she could get used to how to moderate the discussion/comment posts, and she was ready to go.

At the start of the presentation on Tuesday I informed the other coaches in the room that if they wanted to try it they could do so by going to my blog post, etc. And then I began the talk while Sue started the CoverItLive session. The point of this was two fold. First, I wanted the coaches to see how this worked in a real setting, in case they were interested in trying it with a teacher or two. Second, I wanted to provide it as the 'backchannel' to my remarks. Knowing that this would become a permanent part of the blog I was hoping for some good dialog - and I got it. Check it out, if you've got some time.

Then, after the session was over I received an email from CoverItLive saying that they're going to be making a VERY nice improvement to the service. You'll be able to specify certain users as "Panelists" so that their comments will not need to be moderated. VERY nice!

In any case, check this out. It worked VERY well, and was VERY easy to use. I dn't think Sue used any polls or anything, but those are options. And, you can go into a "Prep" folder and add music clips and iamges and lots of other things so that you'll have them during the event. Also VERY COOL!!!

Let me know what you think.