Friday, May 30, 2008

[TIPS] fixed the URL

Thanks to those who wrote to tell me that my tinyurl wasn't working. I forgot the .com. ARGH!!

"Are you an education blogger in Pennsylvania? If so, would you KINDLY complete this 4 question form? If you know a blogger in pa who doesn't follow MY blog, please pass this post along to them so they can complete the form, as well. 

Want to watch the list grow? Here it is embedded in a wiki:

(Note: I posted this on twitter a few minutes ago, and before I even had time to finsh the process I had one entry. Ian McCoog is #1. In less than a minute after that, I had my second entry. Amazing, this Internet stuff.)"

[TIPS] The Bottom Billion - on TED

Around the world right now, one billion people are trapped in poor or failing countries. How can we help them? Economist Paul Collier lays out a bold, compassionate plan for closing the gap between rich and poor.
Another one to show your students. It's not as totally compelling as Robert Ballard's talk, but this one talks directly to the young who will be dealing with this problem. "What did you do the LAST time we got serious about this problem?" (You, meaning the world)
Send this one to the Sociology teachers you know.

[TIPS] Attention PA Bloggers

Are you an education blogger in Pennsylvania? If so, would you KINDLY complete this 4 question form? If you know a blogger in pa who doesn't follow MY blog, please pass this post along to them so they can complete the form, as well.

Want to watch the list grow? Here it is embedded in a wiki:

(Note: I posted this on twitter a few minutes ago, and before I even had time to finsh the process I had one entry. Ian McCoog is #1. In less than a minute after that, I had my second entry. Amazing, this Internet stuff.)

Thursday, May 29, 2008

[TIPS] Tag Galaxy

Again, a tweet (twitter note) pointed me to this site. (Nod to @courosa)

Won't raise a single test score, but it's tons of visual fun. Enter a tag word that you might find on flickr, say.. cabin. :-) Then watch as it displays that tag and related tags as satellites to that main tag. Click and drag your mouse to rotate this or later screens.

Now the fun starts. Click one of the tag orbs. I won't spoil the fun, but do try it - if flickr isn't blocked where you are.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

[TIPS] World Science Festival

This post on the TED blog points us to the above site. It says:

Tomorrow, Thursday, May 29, begins the World Science Festival: a four-day celebration of scientific exploration and discovery in New York City created by TEDster Brian Greene. Members of the TED team will be liveblogging the event right here on the TED Blog, keeping you updated on the latest from many TEDTalks favorites who will be presenting there. A few events we plan to cover:

Send this one to your favorite science teachers again.

Oh, on the worldsciencefestival site, watch the faces and read the names. Watch the entire list. FYI - we're not related. :-)

Monday, May 26, 2008

[TIPS] Robert Ballard will WOW you in this TED video

If I had seen this video when I was 17 I would have spent the rest of my life in this field. In this TED video Robert Ballard will excite you about the wonderful, AMAZING underwater world. This talk is impossible to describe. But, I want you to send this to your favorite Science teacher who teachers earth science. I'm telling you, I FIRMLY believe that this talk will change a student's life.

Watch it!

[TIPS] The Consequences of "Everybody Wins"?

I couldn't watch this entire video sequence from 60 Minutes. It made me too angry. This segment talks about the "Millenium Generation" of workers who have grown up with doting parents and a system that didn't have winners and losers -only winners. How are they as a workforce? Watch this and see. Do we need to be teaching proper business and workforce etiquette, too? Passing grades only, of course.
BTW (By The Way) - I picked this one up from a group list at Diigo. Diigo is a social bookmarking site like, but you can get daily digest emails of the links (with comments). While I still think I'd show to newbies, I AM getting the diigo bug.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

[TIPS] gigapan - AMAZING images

This is one of the blogs in my blogroll that I read as soon as a new post appears. Andy Garwin always has some great things to share. (Remember Amanda's Story?

Anyway, Andy tells us about a new technology that we'll all be seeing soon that allows us to take gigapixel images. Er... we're now taking maybe 8 Megapixal images now. Soon - gigapixel - thousands of times richer than current images. So what, you say? Well, check out this image: Now zoom in. Go ahead. Click on a spot in the picture and zoom in. Further. Further! NOW you get the idea what the big deal is all about.

Very cool stuff. It may not raise a single test score, but it just MIGHT inspire a student to investigate this and one day become the person who comes up with the terapan! (1024 giga's) :-)

Friday, May 23, 2008

[TIPS] Download the Immune Attack video game now

From the site:
"The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) presents Immune Attack™, an educational video game that introduces basic concepts of human immunology to high school and entry-level college students. Designed as a supplemental learning tool, Immune Attack aims to excite students about the subject, while also illuminating general principles and detailed concepts of immunology."
I picked this one up from the ASCD Brief - again. What do you mean you don't subscribe to it? Do it here:

Thursday, May 22, 2008

[TIPS] the NEW $100 laptop - now at $75??

Just read this article pointed to by the ASCD brief. (Subscribe to that!)
According to this article, the latest edition of the OLPC computer will not only be better but it will cost less - a mere $75.
The race heats up, folks. At $75 this thing can be around the world in no time flat (world).

[TIPS] smallworlds

If you're not connected to a network of people with simliar interests, then you REALLY need to do that. Just this morning, in the email from Diigo (social bookmarking site) a member of that educators group posted this link: This looks like a lot of fun for the younger kids. You can create your own 3d avatar and dress it up in all sorts of ways, then add furniture and activities to your "room." Finally, invite your friends in to play pool or other games with you.

Now, we're coming into summer. Why don't we bookmark this one until the winter (or at LEAST a rainy day) and encourage our kids to go outside and play! :-)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

[TIPS] Open Source Alternatives

I just learned about this site today while attending a webinar on open source apps. You've gotta check it out. Ever wish you could afford that piece of software that costs about $600? Well, chances are you can get it for free!

Go there NOW!

[TIPS] skpye via cell phone?

Amazing. I am sitting awaiting a webinar and someone rings me in Skype. Eric Rosendale, if You know him. If there's a cool high tech tool around he has either used it or he HAS one. :-)

He was calling from an Ice Cream store in Pittsburgh which is on that is featured in a book that this teachers are reading with their students. But, he couldn't find wi-fi access so he connected to the internet via his cell phone and then to me via skype. I had a chance to meet with the teachers briefly, but I didn't have a chance to talk more about his connection. I got the sense that his cell was tethered to the computer and was providing the internet access. He then opened skype on his mac, turned the camera on, and connected to me. He was recording the session, too, so that he could show that to the principal of their school who was the one who would not permit skype in the buildings.


[TIPS] Chemistry lesson idea

Today, I was showing a Chemistry teacher social bookmarking, specifically delicious. One of the links at the top of the list was this one:

The idea is this: take the periodic table of elements and ask some artists to create new symbols for each element. Their work included woodcuts, silk screens, linotypes and more, and they're very.. artsy. All sorts of colorful images, one for each element.

So what, you ask? Take a look at it first. Then consider this lesson - especially here near the end of the year. You show that table to the students up on the screen. (Interactive whiteboard not necessary) You first see how many elements the kids can identify by their locations on the chart. That should be several, at least. Then you ask them what the connection might be between the drawing and the element. THERE's the rub.

Take Cesium, for example. If YOU were going to create a painting for it, what would it be? Well, after researching you'd discover that Cesium is an incredibly hazardous element that is produced by nuclear (Not, Nucular, GW!) reactions, and was the subject of great concern at the Chernobyl accident. So, this artist chose to draw something like this: Read the text on the right.

So, I think the first lesson would be to see if kids can make the connections of the artwork to the elements. Some are a reach, others not. They may only actually get a couple of them, but the thought process is what counts, right?

Or, what about teaming up with your own art dept for something like this? The tough part will be to get them to come up with unique ideas for the elements first. Drawing them will be the easy part for those art students.

Anyway.. check it out. What do you think?

Monday, May 19, 2008

[TIPS] graphs and charts in Google spreadsheets

This isnt brand spanking new, but relatively so. Now you can make some really cool graphs - even animated ones - in Google spreadsheets. Graphs include the animated bubble charts ala, or worms or trains, or Gantt charts, and more. And, as you would expect, when the data changes so does the chart.

I'm going to experiment with a spreadsheet that is already set up to make a graph, and then have folks use the form to submit their data and see if the graph shows it. I'm betting, of course, that it does, and wont THAT be cool?

Check it out!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

[TIPS] slideshare widget

Did y'all know this and just not tell me? Did you know that has a cool little widget that will let you display a panel of between 3 and 5 thumbnails of your slideshare presentations? They're then clickable to view the full slideshows.

Very nice.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

[TIPS] A Darfur project

An event was held recently at Pennsylvania's Capital Rotunda to showcase student work that was created since the start of the Classrooms for the Future project. (
Sorry, I can't make hyperlinks in this Mac web version of outlook - don't get me started.

Anyway, I had the chance to talk to some students who were doing projects on the topic of Genocide. Here's the project that one student created. It was interesting talking to this young person about what he learned about doing the project. Those things included the fact that there is SO MUCH MORE of that kind of horror in the world than just Darfur. And, the rest of the world has never felt horrified enough to interfere. And, they found that there seemed to be a relationship between the willingness to become involved and that nation's oil production. I wonder if that idea was put into their heads or if they "discovered" that?

Do you remember when you were 17 or 18 and you had a chance to wax philosophical about such things? Did you ever have a chance to create something for the rest of the world to see that JUST MIGHT make a difference? That's an example of how the web has changed things for the common man (or woman), eh? In the past the student would have cut out some pictures from a magazine and taped them to a piece of posterboard, it would have been tacked to a wall for a few days, then taken down and destroyed. Now, LOTS of people can see it, and they can be linked to other sites that are providing ways for folks to DO something about the problem, and you JUST MIGHT be making a difference.

Y' gotta LUV what the web is doing, don't you?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

[TIPS] worldwidetelescope is LIVE!

Thanks to Alma Row for reminding me via email that the Worldwidetelescope from Microsoft is now active.

I had mentioned it back in February( and now it's active. Of course, it's not yet available for the Mac, and it does require the .NET network, and it's not the easiest thing in the world to install. BUT, if you CAN meet all the requirements, it's going to be a phenomenal experience! - That's the tour page. You can download it here:

It's just a shame that microsoft has this instead of someone who isn't concerned about your OS. Let's hope that a MAC version is out soon.

[TIPS] update on Google talk translator

I was excited to show the Google talk translator ( to the German teacher at school. She wondered aloud as to its accuracy so I decided to check it out. Here is the way the translator translated this sentence: "Soon the school year will be over and both the students and the teachers will be happy."  You can tell me how well it did with the translation.

Bald des Schuljahres wird und sowohl über die Schüler und die Lehrer werden glücklich.

She replied that it was almost gibberish. Had she not known what it was supposed to say she could not have guessed, she said.

Anyone read German? Do you agree?

Oh well, it was a great little idea while it lasted.

Monday, May 12, 2008

[TIPS] GREAT Google Talk tip

Thanks to Tony Oneal for sending this to me in an email.

This is a blog I hadn't seen before, but one to which I've just subscribed. This article shows you how you can talk in any one of about 8 different languages using Google Talk. I tried it in the Google Chat that appears along with the Gmail page, and it works just fine.

Here's the bottom line. Once you add the account as he describes, you send the message to IT and it will reply with the translated version of what you just typed. Then you COPY AND PASTE that translated version into the other windows to be able to 'speak to them in that language." For instance, I typed in, "Can you read this?" and it returned, "usted puede leer esto?" Er, that means, "Can you read this", in Spanish. :-)

Try it! It seems to work VERY well. Thanks to Tony and the RecruitersLounge blog for this great tip.

[TIPS] Smartboard podcast blog

Yes, I know. Podcast blog? Well, you'll see when you check it out.

There are 125 episodes so far. This is very nice. If you've got an interactive whiteboard, you'll want to subscribe to this blog.

Now, on an interesting side note, you'll never guess how I learned about this blog. I had just received an email notice from twitter saying that someone was following me. (No, Caren P it's not stalking :-)  ) Before I even consider following that person I look to see the kinds of tweets he or she has ben sending out. If they appear to be professional I consider further.

Well, while considering I noticed a tweet this person had posted in which she mentioned this blog. I'm now following that person, too. I just LOVE my learning network!

[TIPS] A video to see

I'm sorry I didn't see this earlier, but better late than never, I suppose.

This is one of the winning videos from last year's Horizon Project. You know, the amazing project that Julie Lindsay and Vicki Davis and others ran last year. I point to this year's version all the time in my workshops.

Anyway, I was just browsing and I discovered this video. Check it out, when you get a chance. No wonder it won the award in that category last year.

oh... YouTube blocked, you say? Remember, you can use the online conversion sites to get a converted copy. Go ahead, it'll be good practice for you.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

[TIPS] authorStream - Slideshare alternative

Again, I found this one while scanning a website made by Larry Ferlazzo ( The site is authorstream: and it looks like it's similar to I'm showing this because slideshare can be VERY slow - to the point of being unusable during peak times.

authorStream allows you to upload your powerpoints and get the embed code, as well, but it offers some other features, too. Unlike slideshare, authorstream will keep the animations in your slides. I guess this can be good and bad, depending upon the the animations. Check out this example: Dont blame the tool, of course. And, if your powerpoint is timed or with recorded voice narrations, it will be converted to both iPod and video formats.

Did you catch that last sentence? If you've got recorded sound in your presentation, and if your slides are on a timer, then it will be converted for download to your ipod or as a video format, like the YouTube videos. HELLO! Oh, and if you put hyperlinks on the images in your powerpoints, they will work, as well. (Not hyperlinked text)

My sample powerpoint loaded very quickly (on this Sunday morning) and it was processed very quickly, as well. I even received an email to let me know that it was processed, although I had hung around to see how long it woult take. I don't think it took a full minute. Maybe it did, but not much longer than that. I'll just HAVE to try one with sound and on a timer. I did email to ask if they support Keynote files, but I'm suspecting not. I'll let you know if they do. They DO support Powerpoints made with the Mac version of Office, however.

The FAQ's on the site pointed to this application, too: It's a free powerpoint to flash converter, but it's windows only.

Bottom line - very nice! Check it out.

[TIPS] iCue - from NBC News

WOW! I was just catching up on my reading (my blogroll) and I started down through Larry Ferlazzo's blog and stopped on this post: In it, he points to this great site: (the online tour of the site) from NBC News.

I could try to describe it, but I know I wouldn't do it justice. Larry, as well, pointed to where HE heard of it, David Warlick's blog: and David gives a nice overview of it. Suffice it to say, for the moment, that this is a social learning site, with activities and the ability to compile your own NBC News videos and images to create you own project. And you can participate in discussion forums with your friends and teammates.

Second thought, don't let that description suffice. Go check it out. And send this to your favorite Social Studies or Current Events teacher. It looks like it has a bit of a learning curve to it if you want to use all its features, but it appears to be an amazing resource!

I DO hope I can get some time to create a sample like they used in the tour.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

[TIPS] a 235 mpg car?

With a top speed of about 74 mph, this car won't appeal to everyone. Plus, it looks like it seats just one. But, if the price is right this thing could change urban traffic tremendously.

One commentor on the article suggested they shoot for 150 mpg and allow faster speeds. But, as I say, this may be perfect for the urban areas, and they don't need the speed. They're bumber to bumber anyway.


[TIPS] dipity timelines - and TimeTube

This post in Techcrunch ( pointed me to this site. Dipity (who said "Dipity Do?") allows you to make very interesting timelines, like this one: Notice that you can view it in List form (The Listview Tab) and you can zoom in or out. Plus, you can embed it! First stop - check it out.
Then, the part that Techcrunch REALLY pointed me to is this: Timelines made up of YouTube videos. It looks like you can embed THIS timeline, too.
Timelines just got MUCH cooler!

Friday, May 09, 2008

[TIPS] GEARS - MORE than a game

Many thanks to Kevin Conner who shared this with me via the for: tag on delicious.

As the site says, "GEARS is serious education delivered through fun games." Check out these demo movies:

Holy cow! I need to look into this further, but this looks amazing!

[TIPS] css in google docs

Am I one of the last to learn this? You can now edit the CSS in Google Docs.

That article leads to another page with examples. they show different headings, customized bullets, and more.

I'm thinking that this would be great for your programming kids or the kids who are learning html. Have them create different kinds of custom documents, complete with your school heading, and more. What fun!

[TIPS] Pangea Day

Just a final reminder that tomorrow is an historic day. Pangea Day. Read more about it here:

One thing is assured - these films will be POWERFUL films, and ones that your students should see. Do they have a blog in which to reflect about the films? How will you maintain the dialogs?

I'd LOVE to hear how YOU brought these films into your classrooms. Please leave a comment in the blog to tell us about it.

[TIPS] need an avatar?

Heres another great tip I picked up from a tweet from someone (nod to gcasy) this AM. Its a site that lets kids make cute avatars that they can then use as their avatar for their blogs or other profiles.

What fun!

[TIPS] Speechless

I havent been able to forget this ever since I heard it yesterday. A teacher told me that she had mailed out a technology needs survey to the teachers in her district. Her UNION PRESIDENT would only comment, We dont need more technology. Buy more books.

Ive been rendered speechless about that. Even now, the best I can say about it is, He is SO VERY MUCH in the WRONG profession.

And then I read a message from another person who said that he had just seen a teacher coloring in a map which was taped onto the face of the $6000 interactive whiteboard in the room.  Im speechless all over again.

Rally the troops weve got a LOT of work to do.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

[TIPS] Watch this video

Thanks to a post by Ken Pruitt I saw a very interesting video. Of course, someone shared it with him and someone shared it with that person, and so on. But, our learning networks serve us well. Who's in YOUR learning network?

Watch the video. What do you think?

Live from IU 5

[TIPS] Footnotes in PBWiki?

Wow! A nice feature has been added to PBWiki - the ability to add footnotes. Watch the video here:

You'll need to be registered as an educator.

But, this appears to be a very nice feature.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

[TIPS] free documentaries

Whether you're a History or Social Studies teacher, or maybe a Science teacher, you should check out this site. You may not agree with the content in every documentary, but you don't have to, right?
There are dozens of full length documentaries with accopanying trailers. They're arranged by catogory, making it easy to find just what you're looking for.

Saturday, May 03, 2008

[TIPS] Is YOUR school irrelevant to your student's futures?

Once again, Dr Scott McLeod has a post that I think should be read by every School District administrator. At the very least it is EXCELLENT food for thought. Here it is: In it he points to this article: (Now I know that many of you won't be able to use that link as it's a snipurl link and someone has decided to block that, so you'll have to read this at home.)

Now, here's the thing. This is an excellent article, and it's especially important to those districts that block blogs because, "We don't allow blogs in our school." You need, then, to access this post from home. And when you're done reading the post, ask yourself where your district falls with this statement: "[S]chool district leaders have a critical choice to make: Will their schools pro-actively model and teach the safe and appropriate use of these digital tools or will they reactively block them out and leave students and families to fend for themselves?"

If your district blocks wikis - for whatever excuse you want to stand on, then it's clear where your district falls with this question. If you had to read this post from home, then it's clear where your district stands. If Wikipedia is blocked, then it's clear where you stand. If your teachers don't have a key to the firewall, then it's clear where your district stands. Then the question becomes, "Who made those decisions? Were they made by the Curriculum Director as a philosophy of curriculum, or by someone else?"

As I've said before, we REALLY don't have time any more for that kind of philosophy. There is FAR too much at stake. PLEASE read Scott's blog post and the article he points to and begin to ask the questions and make the decisions. Time is NO LONGER on our side.

Friday, May 02, 2008

[TIPS] google for Macs?

This is another example of the benefits of Twitter. I just logged in to Twitter for a couple of minutes tonight before I closed up shop and I saw a tweet from arthus ( ) pointing us to this site: - the Google desktop for the Mac.

I've had several notices this week of people who are following me in twitter. That's nice, and it points to how you get the most out of twitter. You learn from the company you keep. Imagine that you're in a giant room and only certain people can talk to you - those whom you follow. LOTS of other conversations are taking place around the room, but you're only hearing the conversations of your friends. Now, if your friend says hi to someone outside your circle, you can hear that "hi" but you can't hear the response. That's what it's like in twitter.

If you're only following other friends who are new to twitter, then you're likely not to get much from it. But, if you can follow others who are sharing ideas and links and thoughts, then you're growing along with them. It's all in the company you keep.

So, reach out and find those who advertise their twitter names and begin to follow them. Sure, you're going to hear someone mention that he's "hanging with friends", or "grilling steaks with friends" and other information that you coud live without. But, you'll also hear them talk about articles they've read, and sites they've tried, and conferences they're going to, and SO much more. Be patient. Lurk for a while. Then when you find your voice you'll be sharing real ideas, too. Yes, you'll likely tell us all that you're watching American Idol (sigh) but there WILL be good stuff, as well.

[TIPS] blogging helps encourage teen writing?

or [www_eschoolnews_com]
This won't come as any surprise to those of us who have been encouraging the use of blogs for teens. So why aren't more people using them? Lots of reasons, I suppose, ranging from a fear of legal ramifications to lack of time to a lack of a clear model, and lots of reasons in between.
From the article:
Forty-seven percent of teen bloggers write outside of school for personal reasons several times a week or more, compared with 33 percent of teens without blogs. Sixty-five percent of teen bloggers believe that writing is essential to later success in life; 53 percent of non-bloggers say the same thing.
There are lots of places that offer free blogs for teachers and students. Blogger, wordpress, epals, 21classes, classblogmeister, and edublogs come to mind immediately. (I can't make them links in the webaccess for Outlook when running in Firefox. All hail Microsoft) And you won't have to look far in my blog to find pointers to some excellent work being done with blogs in the classrooms. I do hope that yo'ull give them a long hard look. Maybe start off next year with student blogs, eh? You won't be disappointed.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

live document

oh no!This is an example of a live word processing document created in Zoho Writer. One nice feature is that as I make changes, this blog post can be updated. I think I'm LUVIN' this!

I've just added this line. Will it update?

Can this be embedded or shared?

This was added after the original was posted.

I wonder if I can put this in a wiki.

YES!! I CAN! Woohooo! But, the document must be Public, meaning ANYONE can see it. Of course, for the kinds of things we do, the public won't be interested. But, must you refresh your wiki page in order to see these changes? We shall see.

I'm going to add something else. Will it show up on the wiki?

I just added this at 1:06 PM. And I just added THIS at 10:07 AM.

This comes from the workshop on May 7 at IU5.