Last week Richard Byrne posted 15 Things You Can Do With Edmodo on Free Technology for Teachers. He touched on a couple of things that really peaked my interest. One of the activities was embedding Wallwisher into Edmodo for group brainstorming. The embed feature makes options for embedding content limitless...all you need is an embed code and you can create a wide variety of assignments, activities, and resources.


As this fall progressed, I continually found new ways to utilize Edmodo. It has proven to be a most helpful tool. I facilitated all of my projects through Edmodo, posting project instructions there and then having students submit all of their projects to the site. This made grading projects so much easier and it allowed for me to comment more fully on each and every project. Students also liked receiving their grades there before they were posted in the grade book.

Until the Quiz feature was added, I embedded Google Forms frequently. Most were graded activities and I used self-checking templates for those. Once the Quiz feature was rolled out in Edmodo, using the Google Forms has lessened, although if you were needing to compile information, there is still a need for their use.

I have used the Poll feature several times for project evaluations as well as website evaluations. One of my students even posted a poll about tech preferences: Dell vs Apple. While we are a Mac district, I have to say, Dell was the overwhelming student favorite in that poll!
I think one of my favorite tools I used this fall was embedding Quizlet flashcards for students to review information and play games in preparation for tests. I have also figured out whenever I now prepare a review for a chapter test, creating it as an Excel spreadsheet rather than a Word document will expedite the creation of the flashcards. Quizlet allows you to just copy and paste information into Quizlet site and it will generate a set of flashcards and some review games with the click of a button! Many of my students have even created their own Quizlet accounts.

Edmodo has definitely added a valuable dimension to my classroom this year so I decided to jump off a ledge this week and use Edmodo to facilitate my semester exams. I really wanted to give this a try, but the thought of relying on things like the Internet and power made me a little leery. It did however, force me do some major problem solving as I planned and plotted to pull this off. After the test, I had students take a poll evaluating this activity and the response was overwhelmingly positive. A couple of things I did in preparation for this were:
  1. Made a paper copy of the test just in case the Internet or Edmodo went down.
  2. Sent the test to each student individually rather than as an entire class since I some were taking a modified version of the test. 
  3. Positioned student desks facing away from me so I could view all laptop screens at all times.
Students used laptops to take their semester exams located in Edmodo.

A couple of things I would like to see Edmodo add to the Quiz feature:
  • A randomizer button so multiple versions of the same test could be created with ease.
  • An option for the quiz to assign a grade, not just how many they got right out of the total number.
Students have quite naturally acclimated to Edmodo and it has been very rewarding to view their communication on the feed in which they are helping each other with questions that crop up outside of class. All in all, Edmodo has probably had more of an impact on my classroom than any free Web 2.0 tool I have ever come across.
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I stumbled upon a website today that I just had to share, Shadowhouse Creations. This blogger wrote a post about 12 free fonts everyone should have. This was a great find; I loved the suggestions. They provided a great array of fonts for a variety of uses and looks. They are definitely worth downloading. Click here to view the list and start downloading today!
While poking around this blog, I discovered some other cool downloads such as some backgrounds and textures. It is always fun to find a new source for resources and learn some new techniques. Check out this blog...you may find some interesting ideas, tips, and techniques...oh, and don't forget fonts! It may even be worth a donation...
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I was at a Distance Learning Conference at Region 11 today and found out about a cool website called Contxts. When you sign up with this site, you create a contact card with any contact information you wish to display. Then, when you need to share your contact with people, just have them text 50500 and enter whatever screen name you have chosen. In my case it is withersa. When you text to 50500 and message withersa, you will receive my contact information...pretty cool. What a great tool for sharing your contacts when presenting or networking. There is an app for the iPhone to manage your contacts as well. This site is pretty simplistic and in the words of Contxts themselves, it appears to be a great way for professionals to share their contact information and more!
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When I discovered how fabulous Google Forms was last spring, I managed to find multiple uses for them. I loved using the various themes and found a variety of tasks for them, but mostly for gathering information. There are a variety of templates that can be accessed through the Google Docs website, but recently, I have been using the self-check quiz templates. This is an excellent option for a paperless activity and paperless means saving money! While I love using the cool themes Google has created to use with these forms, if users are accessing these with mobile devices, it is best to forgo the themes.

Click here to access a list of various lengths of self-checking quizzes. You cannot add or subtract questions because it will not score the entries correctly. Wondering how they work? Check out Tammy Worcester's Tip of the Week #81 where she explains how it is done and provides links to the templates she has created. Now if you are using a template that includes a large amount of information, you may want to take a look at this spreadsheet formula that allows you to transpose information. Check out Tammy Worcester's Tip of the Week #104 link. 

Hope you find these templates as useful as I have! Go forth and make life and grading much easier!
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If you are a teacher looking for a fun and easy solution to use for animation projects, you have got to look at GoAnimate4Schools as a great choice. It is free to educators and is a fully functioning version of this web app. You can create custom characters and you can have multiple characters in one scene unlike some other popular choices that limit you to two characters. The more I played with this site, the more options I found. Students can record their own voices within this site and/or upload audio files to their creation. The only thing the free school version doesn't allow is the ability to download copies of your student's creations. But you can embed these videos and they are extremely easy to create. The video below is the one I created for our convocation this year.

This is a great tool for many different types of projects from writing, teaching a concept, or creating content on a particular topic. Our Spanish teacher, Lupe Mendoza is using it with his Spanish students. I love this site and highly recommend it...try it out.
GoAnimate4Schools.com: Disco Convocation by Ann Witherspoon

Like it? Create your own at GoAnimate4Schools. It's free and fun!
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The new Tech App TEKS (or standards) for Texas have been released and are slated to go into effect for the 2012-2013 school year. A component of the new TEKS includes developing PLNs, or personal learning networks, for the students. As a result, I have thinking about ways to make this happen. Using Livebinder, an online notebook or binder, is the perfect solution! In our discussions on how to make this happen, we were thinking about all of the teachers within a grade level having input on setting up these binders to house all of the student's resources in one place to ensure the best possible opportunities for success. So...we are thinking we will divide up the binder into the following tabs and sub-tabs, then all of the resources will be at their fingertips. The ideas for exactly what to include are limitless and one cool feature to this website is the ability to include notes on a page you have placed a link; the biggest problem...how do you narrow it down to a manageable amount without overwhelming them?! Click here to check out the Livebinder I created for my students this year...suggestions welcome!
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Image from librarian.net
We have been working on planning our summer tech camp and one of the sessions is going to be on Cool Things You Can Do With YouTube so I decided to share what we are working on with this...YouTube Mashups. I went to a session at TCEA this year that detailed how this high school English teacher had her students create videos recounting the various stories they were reading. They had to use scenes from YouTube videos and could not use any scenes from movies that were actual remakes of the tales they were presenting. I found this project to be on such a higher level than just "acting out" the story for a video project. It got me to thinking about other things you could use YouTube videos for and I have come up with a list. I would love for anyone to chime in and add to the list. We are going to present this as a session during our summer tech camp and judging from the initial response after one day of sign-ups, I think it is going to be a popular session! But, why would these be of beneficial use in the classroom?
Educational uses of Mashups:
  • Enhance instructional content
  • Engage with the material on a deeper level
  • Explore and uncover previously unsuspected aspects of the data
  • Provide additional venues to discuss, debate ans share insights and sources of information
  • Develop analytical skills
  • Connect to real-world situations
  • Make connections between instructional content and learning outcomes
  • Encourage self-directed exploration
  • Encourage collaboration
  • Allow students to learn by doing
So...Here are some specific examples of how to use video mashups:
  • Video Mashups: Have students create a video detailing a story or concept using video clips from various movies either of their choosing or if younger, provide a file of, say, 10 clips for them to use. Check out: Pocohontas vs Avatar
  • Genre Identification: Show video clips from older movies and have students identify the genre OR have them take a video clip and have them edit to change the genre. Here is a great example: Sleepless in Seattle
  • Story Starters: Show clips from older movies that illustrate either some suspenseful or intriguing scene and have the students either create a title for the movie, write a "what happened next" or maybe an ending to the scene. There are so many things here that these video clips could be used for. North By Northwest
  • Content Information: Have students teach about a particular concept or event using digital media through the creation of a video made from YouTube video clips. Vote Different
To download these video clips, I personally like to use Keepvid, but there are a variety of other options such as Savevid.

So leave comments about ways you have used YouTube in the classroom or video mashups. We would love to share your ideas.
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I have been using ClassTools.net for a couple of years now and it was really only to create review games for students to play in preparation for a test or maybe the student picker. I really never had explored much beyond that. The first thing I like about this site is...NO LOGIN! They have introduced a new tool, Fakebook in which you can have students create fake Facebook pages. This is a fabulous activity that truly calls on utilizing those critical thinking skills necessary to take learning to a deeper level. 

Another tool I really liked is called Keyword Checker. Students create a list of key words in the first box and then paste in their essay in the second box. This tool scans the essay for those words and helps to provide critical information in case there is a need for revision. The site even provides an example:
Click here for a sample to see how the keywords are found in an essay on the Origins of the Spanish Civil War. What a great tool for students to use in an effort to improve their writing skills and develop a well-written essay. While writing the essay, they can also use Plagerizr to check for plagiarism (which brings up the question of how to actually spell the word...check the Internet, MANY misspellings!).

The tool I had the most fun with was called Lights Out. This is an engaging way to help students make predictions or simply take a closer look at things. This tool can be embedded in a webpage as well as can many of their tools.

The site has a Timeline that is so easy to use and can be made to look great with the ability to upload images. This timeline can also be embedded on a webpage. There are just so many of these tools, I could write all day. An additional thing I really like about this site is the links to resources for each of these tools. Check out those pages; they provide samples and ideas for how to integrate them into the classroom. You just need to check them out! Below is a link list of all of their tools. Find your favorites and share how you are using them.

Classtools.Net Tools for the Classroom:




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When they were beta testing Firefox 4, I was pretty under-impressed. In fact, I deleted it and went back to 3.6 mainly because it kept crashing. Well, today I wanted to get onto the Mozilla Motivational Poster maker website and it wouldn't really work without Firefox 4, so I downloaded. It is no longer being beta tested so I am assuming the kinks have been worked out. I did the little tour and found some really helpful aspects to it and even changed my personna. My browser is looking pretty snazzy. Well then I had to change my iGoogle page so it would be color coordinated, of course. But, back to Web O' Wonder; it's more like Web O' Eye Candy Wonder...I LOVE this site. There are a multitude of options to explore. Today's pick came from the TCEA TechNotes recommendation of the Mozilla Motivational Poster maker. This is a lot of fun; you can load in your own picture or you can use one from their database. I can see so many uses for this website in all core content areas. So, if you want to get motivated, start creating!
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When I first saw the link for this on my TCEA Technotes, I thought it was a typo, but alas...it was not. There is actually an interactive, and quite compelling, simulation called Blood Typing, in which the player must take blood samples, type the blood, and administer blood transfusions! It is on the NobelPrize website and I will have to admit, it's fun! Let your students experience the thrill of saving lives all while learning the process of typing blood. Who knows, one of your students may save your life one day!
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If you are looking for a new website that offers students the opportunity to create their own stories, you may want to check out this site, Little Bird Tales. What I love most about this site is the ability to narrate the stories. Each page of the book can be read by the author! The website also allows students to create their own drawings right on the site or upload a picture of their choosing. There are no ads on the site and it is quite visually appealing! What a great way to reinforce reading and writing skills!

Once the book is completed, it is saved within your account and you can go back and edit the story, delete it, or enter email addresses with which to share the finished product. A link is sent for the audience to view the book. It plays as a video showing each page along with the narration...pretty cool deal, but I would love to see an embed code added to the offerings. Check it out...one more great tool for digital storytelling.
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With the increased use of learning management systems like Edmodo or Project Share, I found a great and easy online quiz maker, ProProfs Quiz Maker, that allows for the embedding of the content. This is a great tool to use with your LMS to provide formative assessments so the students can check their progress. Another great component to this quiz maker is the ability to explain each answer so if the student misses a question, they will be able to determine not only what the correct answer is, but an explanation of why. This site also allows you to track the quiz results and view reports. It is a free site, but there is also a paid version. This is a great tool that will certainly compliment your learning management system...implement one today and see just how easy it is!
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During Spring Break last week TCEA published their Technotes that I always look forward to because of the great resources they include. One of the sites they listed last week really peaked my interest so I checked it out; it was called PrintFriendly. It is a website that allows you to turn a webpage into a print friendly page or it can PDF the page for you. I found this particularly helpful this past week as I was preparing to take the Tech Apps certification test. There were various websites with practice tests and material that I wanted to print for study guides. As long as the page has text for the site to parse, it works beautifully and provided me with some great study material.

Another cool thing I found on this website is a plugin to embed in your blog or website that allows your readers to print or PDF the webpage. What a helpful widget to add for your readers! Check mine out...it is at the bottom of this post.

The main thing I loved about this site was how easy it was to use and how helpful it was in my pursuit of gathering study materials. Wouldn't this be great for students as they work on research projects! So, my suggestion would be to bookmark this site for the future when you need to print a copy of the information detailed on that web page you just have to keep.



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Want some free music? Here are links to 140 free music downloads from the SXSW 2011 Artists. There are some great songs, so take advantage while you can. There will be many of the groups that you are familiar with, but SXSW features many new artists so check these out, you may find your new favorite artist. A few of my newly discovered favs are:
  • April Smith and the Great Picture Show, Colors
  • Social Studies, Weathered White (and it's not because I was a Social Studies teacher!)
  • Solid Gold, Get Over It
Here are the downloads; just right click to download:

Read more about these artists by clicking here.

SXSW 2011 Free MP3s Part 1 (Download):
American Music Club, ‘All The Lost Souls Welcome You to San Fransisco’
[lastfm]An Horse
, ‘Postcards’
Ancient Astronauts feat. Raashan Ahmad, ‘Risin’ High’
Apache Beat, ‘Another Day’
April Smith and the Great Picture Show, ‘Colors’
Arms, ‘Emily Sue Pt. 2′ (BRAHMS Remix)
Army Navy, ‘My Thin Sides’
Asobi Seksu, ‘Trails’
[lastfm]Bad Veins
, ‘Gold and Warm’
Bahamas, ‘Sunshine Blues’
Barcelona, ‘It’s About Time’
Beach Fossils, ‘Youth’
Bear Hands, ‘What a Drag’
Beni, ‘Maximus’ (Harvard Bass Remix)
Bikini, ‘American Mourning’
Birds of Avalon, ‘Invasion’
Black Lips, ‘Short Fuse’
Bonjay, ‘Stumble’
Brandt Brauer Frick, ‘Berlin’
Brett Dennen feat. Femi Kuti, ‘Make You Crazy’
Buck 65, ‘Shutter Buggin’
Cadence Weapon, ‘House Music’
Caitlin Rose, ‘Sinful Wishing Well’
California Wives, ‘Purple’
Callers, ‘You Are an Arc’
Chapoo, ‘Sweet Sigh’
Charles Bradley, ‘Now That I’m Gone’
Chromeo, ‘Tenderoni’
Cloud Nothings, ‘Understand At All’
Cold War Kids, ‘Hang Me Up To Dry’
Colour Revolt, ‘Naked and Red’
Cruel Black Dove, ‘Isolation’
Dale Earnhardt Jr., ‘Vocal Chords’
Damien Jurado, ‘Cloudy Shoes’
Datarock, ‘True Stories’
Deer Tick, ‘Christmas All Summer Long’
Eksi Ekso, ‘Killing Texas’
Eli “Paperboy” Reed and The True Loves, ‘Am I Waisting My Time’
Elizabeth and The Catapult, ‘Taller Children’
Eternal Summers, ‘Pogo’
Fake Problems, ‘Soulless’
Fitz and The Tantrums, ‘Brakin’ the Chains of Love’
Flosstradamus feat. Caroline Polacheck, ‘Big Bills’ (Flosstradamus Powe House Remix)
Franz Nicolay, ‘This Is Not a Pipe’
Fredrik, ‘Dance of the Peacock Phantom’
Friendly Fires, ‘Jump in the Pool’
Gold Panda, ‘Snow and Taxis’
Har Mar Superstar, ‘Tall Boy’

SXSW 2011 Free MP3s Part 2 (Download):
Holiday Shores, ‘Phones Don’t Feud’
Home Video, ‘I Can Make You Feel It’
Hooray for Earth, ‘Surrounded by Your Friends’
Houses, ‘Soak It Up’
Hurray for the Riff Raff, ‘Bricks’
Indian Jewelry, ‘Oceans’
Innerpartysystem, ‘Don’t Stop’
Ivan & Alyosha, ‘Glorify’
James Vincent McMorrow, ‘If I Had a Boat’
Jeff the Brotherhood, ‘Bone Jam’
Jeremy Messersmith, ‘Organ Donor’
Joan of Arc, ‘Explain Yourself #2′
John Grant, ‘Marz’
John Vanderslice, ‘Sea Salt’
Josh Ritter, ‘To the Dogs or Whoever’
Jukebox the Ghost, ‘Empire’
Kevin Devine, ‘She Stayed as Steam’
Kid Infinity, ‘P.Y.C.O.’
K’s Choice, ‘Echo Mountain’
Letting Up Despite Great Faults, ‘In Steps’
Liam Finn feat. Eliza Jane, ‘Plane Crash’
Light Pollution, ‘Oh, Ivory!’
Living Things, ‘Let It Rain’
Locksley, ‘All Over Again’
Lord Huron, ‘Mighty’
Maritime, ‘Paraphernalia’
Matthew and the Arrogant Sea, ‘Pretty Purple Top Hat’
Mexican Institute of Sound, ‘Alocatel’ (Ad Rock Remix)
Mexicans With Guns feat. Chico Mann, ‘Me Gusto’
Miniature Tigers, ‘Cannibal Queen’
Monareta, ‘Llama’
Moneybrother, ‘Born Under a Bad Sign’
MSTRKRFT feat. Nore, ‘Bounce’ (Felix Cartal Remix)
Netherfriends, ‘Tac Tac’
Nicole Atkins, ‘Vultures’
Nite Jewel, ‘Am I Real?’
Obits, ‘Two-Headed Coin’
OFF!, ‘Upsidedown’
Oh Land, ‘Sun of a Gun’
Oh No Oh My, ‘Brains’
Olof Arnalds, ‘Klara’
O’Spada, ‘Time’
Paleo, ‘World’s Smallest Violin’
Papercranes, ‘Synapses’
Pete and the Pirates, ‘Selena’
Poirier, ‘Marathon’

SXSW 2011 Free MP3s Part 3 (Download):
Portugal. The Man, ‘People Say’
P.O.S., ‘Never Better’
Professor Green, ‘Ballers is Bouncin (London)’
Pujol, ‘Too Safe’
Rah Rah, ‘Salty Cities’
Revolver, ‘Get Around Town’
Royal Bangs, ‘My Car is Haunted’
Say Hi, ‘Devils’
Screaming Females, ‘Wild’
Secret Cities, ‘Pink City’
Shilpa Ray and Her Happy Hookers, ‘Venus Shaver’
Smoosh, ‘This Modern Love (Bloc Party Cover)’
Social Studies, ‘Weathered White’
Solid Gold, ‘Get Over It’
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin, ‘Sink/Let It Sway’
Sounds Under Radio, ‘Portrait of a Summer Thief’
Sugar & Gold, ‘Aya’ (Justin Van Der Volgen Remix)
Surf City, ‘Crazy Rulers of the World’
Surfer Blood, ‘Swim’
Suuns, ‘Arena’
Takka Takka, ‘Everybody Say’
The Antlers, ‘Two’
The Black Angels, ‘Telephone’
The Black Heart Procession, ‘Rats’
The Dears, ‘Blood’
The Dodos, ‘Fools’
The Glass, ‘Four Four Letter’
The Good Natured, ‘Prisoner’
The Hours, ‘See The Light’
The Joy Formidable, ‘Whirring’
The Moon Doggies, ‘What Took So Long’
The Mother Hips, ‘White Falcon Fuzz’
The Raveonettes, ‘Come On Santa’
The Rural Alberta Advantage, ‘Don’t Haunt This Place’
The Spinto Band, ‘Pumpkins and Paisley’
The Stationary Set, ‘Brick and Mortar’
The Sumbarines, ‘Waiting for a War (The Morning Benders)’
[lastfm]The Whip
, ‘Trash’
Toro y Moi, ‘Blessa’
Tulsa, ‘Rafter’
Tulsa, ‘Shaker’
Ty Segall, ‘Caeser’
U.S. Royalty, ‘Equestrian’
Uh Huh Her, ‘Say So’
Vetiver, ‘Everyday’
Wye Oak, ‘I Don’t Feel Young’
Yellowbirds, ‘The Rest of My Life’
Young Man, ‘Up So Fast’
Your Youth, ‘Diamond’
Zowie, ‘Broken Machine’ (RAC Remix)

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I just spent the last three days in Austin at the inaugural SXSWedu conference. Much different from the TCEA event, the focus of this conference was Project Share. A couple of years ago the Texas legislature funded the creation of this learning management system that would provide students with an online digital portfolio and access to their coursework in a 24/7 environment. Project Share offers teachers and entire districts many tools and opportunities to enrich their curriculum and provide students with unprecedented access to their coursework. The sessions offered covered a variety of topics. Some were strictly about Project Share, some offered resources available within Project Share or that could be incorporated into it, and some discussed the future of education which obviously included the seamless integration of technology. Several case studies were presented that documented the profound impact technology has on the curriculum. Check out this video that explains Project Share in detail:

A few notable sessions included:
Tom Burnett from Apple showing the rich content located in iTunes U. He highlighted a couple of specific categories to check out:
  • University of South Florida (USF) has a Lit2Go program in which they have created audio books of all of the classics, ready for download.
  • MIT has video of all of their lectures, most notably, physicist Walter Lewin.
  • The states of Virginia and Tennessee (Barnett's favorite) have created a wealth of content worth checking into.
Another session of particular interest was about developing Classroom Learning Networks. Modeled after the Personal Learning Networks, teachers can create these with their students using Twitter, and social bookmarks like Delicious or Diigo,along with subscribing to some blogs of experts in the field of the topic at hand. This session was led by two communications professors from St. Edward's University, Corinne Weisgerber and a fellow colleague. A fascinating topic, this session was filled with lots of possibilities.


Another session that proved interesting detailed a resource that has been built into Project Share by PBS. June 1st of this year, PBS will be launching a new resource website, Digital Learning Library, that will be aligned to 20 of the state's standards. This new resource has been launched first through Project Share in the Content Repository tab and is currently available. Check it out; once a topic search is enacted, it is the tab next to the New York Times resources. There are some incredible assets included here. 

The last session I wanted to mention was one I did not attend, but that received a lot of Twitter activity. One blogger, EdTechSandyK did attend and I wanted to include information from this session. It covered Dynamic Digital Portfolios. Sandy included some detailed notes from the session along with resource links and a link to the Prezi.


This was an incredible conference with stimulating dialogue. I am in hopes of returning next year...at least if I have a job.



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We have been trying to figure out a way to broadcast our morning announcements at Miller Elementary with little setup and prior preparations. Trying to video a school broadcast, create the video, send it to the webmaster, and get it posted everyday is too much trouble...so we have been searching. UStream was not an option due to the inappropriate commercials that have begun to appear on their site, so last fall the search began. We stumbled upon Vokle, a great little website that allows live broadcasting with interactivity. Currently there is a live broadcast occurring right now with 11 people being broadcast at once! Skype hasn't managed to get 11 people on at once, but this website has! What I really love about Vokle is the ability to embed your event on a web page. In trying to facilitate a live broadcast of our children doing the morning announcements, we are thinking about embedding it in a closed environment that requires a password. If you check the Test box in your event setup, it will not be available on the Vokle website for others to view. I love this site. I could see teachers embedding an event window in their Edmodo account and broadcasting student presentations or class parties. The possibilities are endless. I love you Vokle...you make me vocal about your awesomeness.
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In the Apple launch yesterday, Steve Jobs mentioned that many say the iPad was the most successful launch of a consumer product ever. It made Apple $9.5 billion in 9 months! To date, there have been 65,000 apps developed specifically for the iPad. That doesn't include all of the apps developed for cross platform. Check out this video shown at the launch yesterday, 2010, the Year of the iPad; very compelling. (Both videos below are hosted on YouTube so if you are blocked, you will need to override)

I know everyone wanted the new iPad2 to have a camera, and yes, I thought that would be nice, but I think as a teacher, the best new feature is its capability to project its desktop. This is crucial for maximizing the use of all those fabulous apps! One of my favorite is the Frog Dissection, but its inability to project for the entire class to see at once, makes it much less desirable. So...in my opinion, I would have given up the camera for this one feature...just glad I didn't have to! 

Some other features of the new iPad2 include:
  • Comes in a white or black version
  • Faster processor that promises 9 times faster graphics performance
  • HD camera on the back of the iPad2
  • VGA camera on the front for Face Time
  • Two new apps: iMovie and Garageband
  • 1/3 thinner than the original
  • 10 hour battery life  
  • Cool and colorful magnetic covers that fold up to act as stands for the pad
There has been talk that these pads would revolutionize learning. I don't know if that will happen, but it sure will be fun to explore the possibilities...enjoy the video that describes this new product. Thanks Apple!

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We have been playing with Voxopop for about a week now. I started to blog about it last week, but I just really wasn't sure how it could be used. In fact, I really didn't have a clear understanding of its function. It's not that it is hard to use...it's really easy. But when something comes along that really changes how things are usually done, it takes a little bit to wrap your brain around it...So, what is Voxopop? This site allows you to go in and start threaded conversations with collaborators, but I think the feature I like the best is you can then load it into iTunes as a podcast with chapters. You create these talkgroups. It is a bit like a voice version of a message board. You no longer have to collaborate only with peers in your classroom. You might have two students from different classes work together on a project, or better yet, a student from another school! We have been talking about how this could be used in the classroom. Book talks, collaborations on the development of projects, story or writing construction...the list of possibilities is endless. So check this site out and I would love to get some dialogue on other ideas for how this could be used in the classroom. Interestingly, Voxopop is up for an award at the SXSW Interactive Conference in Austin March 15th. They present awards for the best interactive websites of the year. Good luck Voxopop...you are a winner in my book.
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Our district requires all teachers to receive a minimum of 19 hours of professional development for technology each year. Many different trainings are offered throughout the year, but the mainstay is the three day tech camp in the summer. This camp provides teachers the ability to receive all the needed hours so they don't have to worry about it once school starts. The problem is...new teachers to the district sometimes miss out on this opportunity and struggle throughout the school year to fulfill that technology requirement. Click here to view a listing of free professional development webinars offered every day that can provide you with valuable information on the latest edtech trends. Check it out; you can find a variety of topics that will certainly be beneficial for both you and your students...Go forth and get educated!
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If you are looking for a really slick online journal that allows you to embed photos, it's Penzu. I really like the simplicity of this site. It's is pretty straightforward. The paper looks like notebook paper. The tools are just above the paper. You have the ability to lock an entry, it keeps track of how many words you have written, and if absolutely necessary, you can even print your entries. I love the look of this site. For $19 a year, you can go Pro and create a more customized look. This would be a great alternative to those student journals you have stacked up on the shelves of your room. Everything is stored in the cloud and students would have access to this 24/7. Another great reason why I love this site is you can access it on an iPad or iPod so students could use their own devices to access their journals. This is yet one more way to go paperless in the classroom...write on!
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According to the post on the Webspiration website, there will be no more free accounts after April, so I would suggest jumping on board now. This is a great website for creating dynamic mind maps that can include hyperlinks, graphics for a variety of topics, and a wide array of graphic organizer elements. Another fabulous component to this website is the ability to collaborate with others on a particular project. This allows for the development of critical 21st century skills such as creativity, problem solving, critical thinking, and collaboration. Check it out, I think you will agree, mind mapping can be fun with Webspiration!
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While I was at TCEA, I learned about a new web browser called Rock Melt. This browser has redesigned the idea of what browsers should be and how they should function for today's user. It is slick! It's almost too amazing for words...Want to stay connected to friends? Want to share your information with those friends? Want to search more quickly? Want to keep up with the latest news? Then Rock Melt is for you because all of that is at your fingertips! It really is a paradigm shift in thinking about the functions of your web browser. I am having fun diving in and uncovering its true power and potential. Check out the video below hosted on Youtube. It reveals the power of Rock Melt for the social network junkie...Just one thing, you have to get an invite. Just friend me on Facebook and I'll pass your invite along. Have fun!

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A teacher sent out a link today of Justin Bieber reading The Cat In The Hat. I mean...how cool is that to have Justin reading to our kids! This website, Book It, is a reading incentive website sponsored by Pizza Hut. If the site gets a certain number of viewers (over 215,000), Book It is going to donate $25,000 to help Pencils of Promise build schools. Yesterday they began a webcast of Justin reading this Dr. Suess story. You can follow the site on Twitter and receive posts for upcoming reading events. The site is loaded with activities and resources for parents. Their goal is to get American families to begin the tradition of spending 20 minutes a night reading bedtime stories; the initiative is called, Give Me Twenty. That is certainly doable! So check out the website, listen to Justin do his thing, and refer this to your parents so they can begin a tradition your students are bound to treasure.
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Yodio is a great way to create a podcast on demand. No need for any fancy equipment here. All you need is a cell phone to make your recording! You can upload pictures, sound files, and of course your narration to your computer to complete your Yodio. You can have a dynamic slideshow in minutes. What a great project for students to create and it takes no time at all! This website account is free although if you get too fancy, it could cost you. Once you are done, just grab the embed code and you're in business. It's time to Yodio y'all, so give it a go!
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Looking for a cool way to animate text for that next digital project. Look no further than Wondersay...It is so much fun and there are a multitude of looks you can create. Don't like the first one...click to create another one! The only problem I see here is...it might keep me mesmerized a little too long.


made on Wondersay - Animate text with style








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Is it possible to get something cooler than Animoto? I think maybe so and it's called Kizoa. I just discovered this site. I have been playing with it and it really has some pretty functional aspects to it! You can do the following:
What I like about Kizoa is the inclusion of a dynamic overlay that provides a cool effect. This site takes the video slideshow to a new level. They have beautiful backgrounds, audio, and transitions built in for your convenience. It can connect directly to your Facebook to snag photos from there. In the end, you can download to burn to a DVD or grab an embed code to post online. Check this site out...you will have hours of fun. It would also make for a great end product for a school project.
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        This past week Peggy Davidson and I presented iLearn with iStyle at TCEA 2011 and I wanted to post our presentation wiki that also contains the PPT. We had so much fun putting this presentation together. We both really appreciate the packed house; you were a great audience. We were fortunate to have the people from Qwizdom provide our session with clickers to poll our audience. I have loved teaching with student response tools; it allows you to assess your audience and where they are. Our session really promoted the idea of a 1:1 initiative that allows students to bring their own devices...most notably, their cell phones. We presented ideas for activities you can implement within your classroom that utilize these devices in a way that can transform learning. I have seen students so engaged with using their cell phones, they were willing to bring phones that didn't even work just to use the calculator on it! We also kept a backchannel running using Todaysmeet that provided some interesting dialogue during the presentation and I thought you might be interested looking over the conversation that took place there. As I prepared for this presentation, I found a provocative video that is really an indictment on evaluating what we are doing in our classrooms. Are we preparing students for the jobs of tomorrow or are we simply preparing them to do well in our class? Below is that video along with our presentation. Any questions or comments...let's hear them!


        Here is our presentation:
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