Sunday, May 24, 2009

Creating Online Posters with Glogster

Why assign traditional poster projects for your students, when they can create digital posters using Glogster for Education? Glogs can be printed or shared online on your blog, wiki, webpage, or on Glogster's website. I learned about Glogs during the Discovery Education Spring Virtual Conference from Discovery STAR Educator, Traci Blazosky. Her class wiki is a must see for elementary teachers. Make sure you also check out examples of Glogs her first graders helped create. Traci also has a terrific step-by-step tutorial on how to create a Glog that was very helpful for me in creating my first attempts below.

My Comic Strip Generator Glog

My Photo Editing Glog

My Screencasting Glog

My Copyright and Fair Use Glog

My Media Conversion Tools Glog

Saturday, April 25, 2009

DEN Virtual Conference Notes

I spent six hours yesterday in my living room attending my first Discovery Education Network Virtual Conference. Despite a few audio problems, I loved listening to the lectures while being able to chat in my pj's with 300+ other educators at the same time. I'm new to Discovery Education, so this was a real eye-opener to see all of the available resources. The quote that stood out the most for me from the Closing the Global Achievement Gap presentation was "Isolation is the enemy of improvement." So, with that quote in mind, I'm posting my conference notes (and hope that some of the other 1,000+ attendees will do the same.)I overslept and missed the first keynote speech, but was able to catch the other sessions:

Turning Data Into Action: Exploring the reporting features of Discovery Education

In this session, Matt Monjan shared his computer screen and took us through the administrative section of DE. Before this presentation, I didn't know there was an admin. section. Our district subscribes to Discovery Streaming, and as a campus technology integration specialist, I think I need administrative privileges on this site so that I better support our teachers in the use of dowloading videos, images, etc. With administrator access, you can monitor which teachers are downloading and/or streaming and at what time of day they are doing this. You can monitor which videos are the most popular downloads with your teachers, and you can export the data into Excel to sort the data if you'd like. Matt shared his DE blog, The Bird House, which is filled with terrific resources that he said other educators were free to use.
Other topics discussed were the Discovery Educator's Network, STAR Educator applications, DEN Leadership Council applications (open until May 15), and DEN in Second Life

Sowing Seeds of Success: Projects, Ideas and Tips from STAR Discovery Educators

My favorite session was DEN Star Traci Blozosky's presentation on using GoogleEarth with Glogster, Blabberize, and DE videos & images. She shared her computer screen with us and guided us through two GoogleEarth projects she did with her 1st grade class. One was a Christmas Around the World GoogleEarth tour and the other was a study of frogs around the world. She imported videos and images from DE and Blabberize into Glogster to create her GoogleEarth placemarks. She also showed us how she uses the writing prompt generator on DE's website. Traci has a step-by-step tutorial on using Glogster on her Wiki and another good tutorial on using Blabberize. One other cool tech tool that Traci shared with us is a free comics generator for kids called Make Beliefs Comix. I can't wait to share these resources with teachers in my district!

Another DEN Star educator, Lea Anne Daughrity from Pasadena, TX, shared some neat tips on creating interactive PowerPoints for K-1 students using audio directions recorded within the PowerPoint program. She also has started a collaborative classroom project called Green 180 that I want to investigate further for ideas on getting something like this started on my campus.

Chris Lehmann: Building School 2.0

Chris Lehmann is the principal of the Science Leadership Academy in Philadelphia. He gave an inspirational keynote address on Building School 2.0. He started with MIT's slogan, "Lifelong Kindergarten." He expressed that he wanted his students to come away from their school being thoughtful, wise, passionate, and kind. The quote that stood out for me during this session was, "Technology must be like oxygen: neccessary and invisible." He said that we need to "stop talking about technology so much" and that we should get away from, "Oh, I want to do a technology project with my students." He stressed that technology should be transparent. Chris Lehmann's blog is Practical Theory and is definitely worth checking out.

Other resources I want to explore further include,

The Cogdogroo Wiki (lots of Web 2.0 resources here)

You can register for a free tote at Think Green.

Upload slides and sync with audio at My Plick.

I posted other sites I learned about on My Delicious and my Diigo accounts.

This was a terrific experience and well worth spending six hours of my Saturday on. I can’t wait to share these resources with other educators.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Happy Birthday Dr. Seuss!

Come one, come don't want to miss this. On March 2nd, many elementary schools celebrate what would have been the birthday of Theodore Seuss Geisel, known better as Dr. Seuss. Here are a few technology integration ideas to honor this special day in schools:

  • Check out Seussville for many online activities, games, and printables.
  • Have your students fill out this online Cat in the Hat birthday card.
  • Or, create your own online birthday card to share with other students around the world. Students could also use Kerpoof to make birthday cards for Dr. Seuss.
  • Get a free educator's voicethread account, and let your students comment on these Dr. Seuss digital stories. Or, better yet, take pictures/video of your class and create your own Dr. Seuss digital story to share.
  • Use Voki to let your students create a speaking avatar to record and share a birthday message on your wiki or blog (can also be emailed).
  • Use Skype (requires a webcam and mic) to video conference with another class over their favorite Dr. Seuss books . Check out this blog on using Skype in the classroom.
  • Join a Dr. Seuss Wiki such as or create your own Dr. Seuss class Wiki. You can still get an ad free wikispace at no cost if you're an educator.
  • Have your students record podcasts using your cell phone and Gcast or Audacity and a mic on what their favorite Dr. Seuss book is and why to put on an iPod, blog, or your classroom webpage. Or create a vodcast using Garageband if you're a Mac user. If you're a PC user, you could convert a Photostory 3 Dr. Seuss digital story to a MPG4 using Zamzar to put on iPods as well.
  • Create a mind map and collaborate with another class using the free application
  • Thinkfinity has lesson plans and web links for this day.
  • Your students could also create their own comics using ReadWriteThink's Comic Creator.
  • You can find several free Dr. Seuss videos such as The Lorax at Google Video or at Discovery Education (formerly United Streaming) if you're a member.
  • Many Dr. Seuss images at Google
  • There are also great ideas and printables at Hubbard's Cupboard , A to Z Teacher Stuff, and Ed Helper. Scan any of the cute printables that your students do as JPEGs and then put them into Photostory 3 for your students to narrate.
  • Have your students rewrite one of his books. Each child could do their own page in PowerPoint or Keynote. Save these pages as JPEGs and put them in Photostory or Garageband to share on Teacher Tube or School Tube.
  • There are many examples of digital stories at Teacher Tube and School Tube such as the embedded video below by High School Students.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

2009 Texas Computer Education Association Conference: Accelerate Technology

Our district sent the seven of us in our technology department to the TCEA conference last week in Austin, TX. A month before the conference, I joined TCEA's ning (social networking site) and began collaborating with others who planned to attend the conference. Listed below are my notes from the sessions I attended.

Day 1: An hour into our trip to Bastrop ISD to check out their 1:1 program in grades 5-8, I spilled a soft drink on my cell phone and ruined it....I spent all five days of the conference without a cell phone, so I used the free download Skype so I was able to video conference with my husband and three kids back home...thankfully, the Macbook has a built in camera and mic. Back to visiting Bastrop...their techs were gracious enough to let us "pick their brains" about the pros and cons of their program, and there's no doubt after seeing their program first hand, that we would have to hire full-time technicians if we were to implement a 1:1 program! After visiting Bastrop, we stayed at an absolutely beautiful home of a friend of my co-worker in Westlake Austin (very close to Michael Dell's home) and had a fabulous dinner and great conversation.

Day 2: I attended a full day of Technology Applications Network sessions:
Day 3: After I volunteered to collect door prize tickets at the general session, I attended,

  • Get a Life! Second One, That Is - presented by Elaine Plybon

    This is a snapshot of my somewhat "confused" avatar, Corina Longfall, on ISTE's island on my first visit this week. I finally met a docent last night who gave me a tour of the island and lots of great 2nd Life tips. I'm already involved with many personal learning networks such as Twitter, Plurk, Facebook, Classroom 2.0, Elementary Tech Teachers, etc. but I always love learning about new ways to establish professional global connections.
  • Help! I've Got a SMART Board- Now What Do I Do? from Giddings ISD. The presenter was a "newbie" to interactive white boards, and shared some neat ideas for elementary teachers.

  • TEC SIG luncheon was very nice, but I had to step out before the Pink Jacket Awards because our middle school tech specialist and I really wanted to attend the "Mathcasting" session ....I should have stayed for the awards!!

  • Creating Podcasts, Vodcasts, and Screencasts by Patrick Crispen, who's a doctoral student at USC (Go Trojans!) The presenter demonstrated how to use Camtasia for screencasting and compared it to the free, open source software Cam Studio. I tried to download Cam Studio on my Mac, but it seemed to be Windows based, so I did a little investigating and found that Jing works well with both Windows and Mac platforms. I downloaded Jing on my PC at home and my Macbook at work, but couldn't get the audio to work on my PC...worked wonderfully on my Macbook though.

  • I visited the exhibits after the sessions, but didn't have a whole lot of time to explore the booths.
Day 4:

  • Bookflips with Promethean Boards--during this session I learned about some neat literacy websites for elementary teachers:
  1. Storynory- audio books that can be downloaded to Mp3 players
  2. Storyline Online- streaming books

  3. BookFlix - Video storybooks

  4. Tumblebooks - ebooks for kids (fee based)
  • We went to the Past President's Luncheon where speaker Don McMillan gave guests a good laugh with How Not to Use PowerPoint.

  • After lunch, I attended Gentlemen, Start Your Lessons- Lewisville ISD and DigiTech Spotlight where Lancaster ISD shared how they plan, organize, and deliver a tech showcase for parents.
Day 5: I visited vendors and traveled back home.

On Sunday after we returned home, I participated in an online workshop through PBS/ Classroom 2.0 on Using Tags in Diigo. After the workshop, I exported my bookmarks from delicious to Diigo since it seems to offer more features. I love to see elementary teachers in our district join and collaborate with other on Elementary School 2.0.

Reflection: I gathered a few neat ideas and websites to share with elementary teachers on my campus, but I must admit that I learned more from networking with other TCEA members and from reading blogs and microblogs than I did from attending the TCEA sessions. Maybe it's due to the current economy, but I didn't really see anything this year at TCEA that made me say, "Ah ha" like I did last year at NECC.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Digital Storytelling with the Flip Camera

Our campus just purchased 4 Flip Video Recorders for teachers to check out and use with their students. As educators, we know that 90% of the brain’s sensory input comes from visual sources, so it stands to reason that the most powerful influence on learner’s behavior is concrete, visual images (Jensen, 1994). Research also reveals that simulations/role play increase meaning, are motivational, and facilitate transfer of knowledge (Wolfe, 2001). Difficult concepts will be easier to understand when our ditigal students become more actively and authentically engaged in the concepts being taught. Digital media is a great tool to help teachers do just this.

Our teachers have created several digital stories with their students using Photo Story 3 and iMovie, and now we're anxious to try out our new Flip Recorders in an educational setting. Here's a quick video on helpful tips for using the Flip camera.

Although I've found that the video quality isn't great with these cameras, I do love how simple and inexpensive the Flip is to use...even your Kindergarten students will be able to record with these cameras. I also like how the camera has a built in USB plug that "flips" out to download to your computer. The Flip comes with built in software to help you produce your videos. See the video below on the basics of downloading your video.

Here are some great ideas from Lee Summit, MO for video projects . Most teachers use storyboards for planning video projects with their students. Here's a template I like for the elementary level and this is another template that I think would be useful. There are also many useful resources for digital media at

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Inauguration Day 2009!

I just discovered this video that morphs all 44 presidents in less than 4 minutes on the Free Technology for Teacher's Blog that I plan to share with teachers on my campus. Our district will also be streaming the Inauguration live on C-Span's website. For teachers at the elementary/middle school level, there are great Inauguration Day printables (could also be used with Smartboards or projectors) at Edhelper and Enchanted Learning. Some great tech integration ideas for Inauguration Day can be found on the Innovative Educator's blog. I'm curious what other schools are doing to integrate technology with Inauguration Day?

Here's another version.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy 2009!

It took my daughter about 10 minutes to create this talking avatar for free at Voki and email it to her friends and our relatives. Click on the arrow on the player to check it out!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Using Gcast to Podcast

This is a summary of Alan November's blog post on using Gcast which is a free tool that allows anybody to podcast by phone. I followed his steps to set up my own account. Our classrooms are not all equipped with mics, so I think this is a great way teachers can create quick, easy podcasts with their students.

First you need to set up an account. To set up an account (;/, begin by clicking on the Sign up now link You will be taken to a form that asks your email address, your zip code, and a password. Fill out the form and click I Agree, create my account . You can edit your podcast's name and description and upload a picture if you choose. Click Next. The next step will ask you to enter the ten-digit phone number that you would like to register with as well as a four-digit PIN number.

You should receive a confirmation email. Before you start podcasting, open this email and click on the confirmation link. Now, your class is ready to start podcasting using any phone. Once finished recording, press 3, and the recording will immediately be published.

  1. Podcast during field trips from your cellphone.
  2. Record a book review or report
  3. Use podcating for a classroom newscast
  4. Have student record poetry or short stories they've written
Suggestions from Alan November's post:
  1. Provide parents and others with your Gcast account's address. They can visit this account and to listen to the podcasts. The address will be
  2. If you'd like to edit your podcasts. Login to your account, or go to Each of your podcast recordings has an mp3 icon next to it. Click on the icon, and you can download the podcast onto your computer. You can edit the podcast using Audacity or Garageband.
My first podcast using Gcast can be found at I'd love to hear your ideas for podcasting with elementary students.