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 (http://novemberlearning.com/http;/www.gcast.com), 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.

Ideas:
  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 http://www.gcast.com/u/yourusername.
  2. If you'd like to edit your podcasts. Login to your account, or go to http://www.gcast.com/u/yourusername. 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 http://www.gcast.com/u/cclong. I'd love to hear your ideas for podcasting with elementary students.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Playing Around with JibJab

I just learned about JibJab from a presenter in a webmastering workshop. My kids got a good laugh at my husband and me dancing to disco music.

Try JibJab Sendables® eCards today!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Powerful Words

My husband, three kids, dog, and I have now been evacuated for 7 days due to Hurricane Ike. We got word today that power should be restored in our neighborhood in 2 more days...yea! I've been attempting to homeschool our 11, 12, and 15 year olds during this time using as many online resources as possible since the kids didn't bring their textbooks with them when we evacuated (imagine that) and they are better engaged with technology than with listening to me. While looking on TeacherTube for math video clips, I came across this great video of powerful quotes which really inspired me today. Please feel free to share your favorite inspirational quote on this posting.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Jot, Remember, Done Article Summary

Sandra Hines, Director of Instructional Technology in Burleson ISD, has just published a great article for this busy time of year entitled "Jot, Remember, Done" in the Texas Computer Education Association's journal, TechEdge (volume 27, No. 4). By using my cell phone and three free web applications, I can keep my to-do lists at my fingertips anywhere at anytime. Basically with Jott.com, I call a toll free number and leave up to a 30 second voice message for myself. Jott translates it and sends me an email and/or text reminder. However, according to the author, RemebertheMilk has more features than Jott, so she recommends joining both and setting Jott up to control your RemembertheMilk account. Here's a summary of her directions:
  1. Go to http://jott.com/ and get a free account.
  2. Enter your information, and Jott will send you a confirmation email with a link.
  3. Enter your cell phone number, and add any important people to whom you don't mind sending text messages or email.
  4. Get a RembertheMilk account.
  5. Return to your Jott account; select "Add Jott Links" and then select "Remember the Milk."
  6. Get a Google account and set up an iGoogle page if you don't already have one.
  7. After clicking on Add Stuff, search for RemembertheMilk, and add it to your Google page.
  8. Add Jott to your cell phone contacts.
  9. Call 866-568-8123 and answer the question, "Who do you want to Jott?" with "Remember the milk" and clearly state the item you are adding to your to-do list. State the date, day of the week, or tomorrow to set a due date for the task.
  10. In a few minutes, your item will appear in the gadget on your Google page.

Some of the author's ideas for administrators and teachers are,

  • Use Jott with one call to send messages to staff
  • During walk throughs, Jott awesome teaching strategies you observed.
  • Add daily assignments to RemembertheMilk and share the assignment list with students and parents who have added you to their contact list.
  • Organize collaborative projects through lists and prioritizing dates.

A few of Hines' ideas for students:

  • Create a list for the course and Jott important ideas learned each day. At the end of the unit, use the list as a review.
  • Create a vocabulary list. Jott each new vocabulary word and its definition. Use the list to review before a test.
  • Create a list call "confusing" and Jott any concepts that are unclear to them.
  • Create a homework list and Jott daily assignments.

What are some other ideas for using this in education?

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Back-to-School Tech Ideas for K-5

I'm headed back to school next week, and my three kids start back the following week. Let's just say that getting to school by 7:30 a.m. is going to be a challenge for us for a couple of weeks. When my husband and I asked our kids at the dinner table tonight, "Who's excited about returning to school" only one of our three kids replied, "I am." The other two complained that school's "too boring." Our kids (11, 12, & 15) are typical digital kids who have many of the latest gizmos and gadgets but return to school to "sit and get," do busywork, and prepare for THE TEST (TAKS). In my opinion, a must see video for all teachers before the school year starts is http://homepage.mac.com/dvchelo/page1/page3/files/page3-1003-pop.html.

We're all aware that we're in a time of rapid change and that we are still losing too many kids and wasting too much talent. With that in mind, I'd like to suggest and gather ideas from others on back-to-school integration ideas for teachers that will hopefully start the year off right by stimulating and actively engaging their elementary students the first month of school.

Another idea from Tammy Worcester's book is created acrostic poems with their names using Word Art and text boxes.

  • Have students create a newspaper clipping that summarizes their first week of school to share with parents.
  • Have students get in pairs or trios and create a two or three circle Venn comparing and contrasting each other. Have students do a gallery walk to share completed graphic organizers.
  • Let K-1 kids create self-portraits in TuxPaint (requires a free download) or Kerpoof's Super Doodle




    • Use http://www.bubbl.us/ or Kidspiration for brainstorming.
    • Use digital camera to take full-face and profile photos (mug shots) of each student. Students then create Wanted Posters using a blank PowerPoint slide (portrait view) that includes the student's name, description, interests, dislikes, reward, etc. This idea comes from the book PowerPoint Magic by Pamela Lewis.
    • Students could interview each other and create podcasts.
    • Use Google Earth or Google maps to find the distance from their home to school.
    • Have students create speaking avatars with Voki and embed in your class blog.
    • Create a student interest survey in SurveyMonkey for kids to complete online.
    • Many K-2 literacy resources can be found at Carl's Corner.

    I'd love to hear other back-to-school tech integration ideas.





    Saturday, July 26, 2008

    Thinkfinity Field Trainer - Day 2 Notes

    In day 2 of Thinkfinity training, we created a list of WoW resources from the content partner websites and then created a customized training plan for presenting Thinkfinity to teachers in our districts.

    The best website (unrelated to the content partners) that I learned about from the presenter, Lori Gracey, is searchme which is a visual search engine. Since this website shows the landing pages of websites related to whatever topic you're searching, it may not be the most appropriate site for children. I LOVE how you can search for images or videos in this search engine (see top left on their homepage). Another cool website that she shared is Wordle where users can create free word clouds such as this one on Web 2.0 (click to enlarge). Some back to school ideas we discussed at this workshop were having all of your students names in Wordle and displaying the cloud with your projector as your students walk in the first day or at open house. Another idea I liked was displaying topics your students are going to learn about throughout the year in Wordle. Other ideas discussed were using Wordle for word wall words, vocabulary, prewriting brainstorming, etc. A word of caution....do not scroll through the gallery of Wordles with your students as I ran into several that were inappropriate for classroom use.
    A free website that I was unaware of before this training is Natural Reader , which converts text to speech. I can see where this would be a good resource for ESL teachers. For each of the activities we did during the training, the presenter used this freeware timer.


    Lori used many inspirational and humorous videos throughout the two-day training sessions. Here are a few that I would like to use when I train teachers.

    video

    video

    video

    video

    video

    video

    Friday, July 25, 2008

    Thinkfinity Field Trainer - Day 1 Notes

    I just finished the first day of the Thinkfinity Field Trainer session in Region 4 presented by Lori Gracey, Director of Technology in Bastrop ISD. If you have the opportunity to attend this training, I highly recommend it. The partner websites we visited today (sponsored by Verizon) are full of free, standards based online resources for educators, students, and parents. I'm housed on an elementary campus, so most of the materials I focused on pertained to that level. I found the Search Engine within Thinkfinity very helpful in that it gives the user access to all of the resources created by the Partners. Some of the sites I'm going to explore further this evening are,

    Music integration

    Math

    Reading

    Science

    Wednesday, July 23, 2008

    Neat Website I Learned About Today





    I discovered voki this morning on this kindergarten blog and am quite intriqued by it. I just created my own speaking avatar that's embedded above (I think she's quite a bit younger than me). Creating the avatar was very simple. However, to avoid negative phone calls from parents, I would caution teachers (especially of young students) to guide their students away from the "edgy" avatars. I recorded my message so that my avatar would have my voice.....can you tell I'm a Texan? I used a microphone and probably had it too low when I set it up. Apparently if you use your cellphone, it is a free call, but I haven't tried this yet. You are allowed a voice message up to 1 minute, so you may want your students to have a script that they have practiced and timed. If your students don't want to record their voices or if you don’t have a mic, they can type in their message which generates a computerized voice.The only snafu I ran into with voki was embedding it in Blogger. When I tried to get a Blogger code for my avatar after I had saved it, the result was just a link to "Get Your Own Voki." Finally after playing around with some of the codes for other spaces, I used the code for "other" which worked. One other negative feature is the commercial ad on the embedded player.

    Here is my daughter's first attempt at using voki.



    I think voki would be great for students to introduce themselves to collaborators around the world without posting actual photographs of themselves. I also see where this could be used in reading classrooms to give a 1 minute summary of a book chapter or a 1 minute book trailer of their favorite books they want to share with others. Wouldn't parents of PK-K kids just love to see/hear their child's avatar counting their numbers on a classroom blog? I would like to hear other ideas for using voki in K-3 elementary classrooms before I share the website with teachers in my district this fall.

    Monday, July 21, 2008

    Microblogging

    This summer, I have become fascinated with microblogging. Microblogging is a way to share information ("What am I doing?" in less than 140 characters) with people in my network. From what I've read, Microblogging is part of a new trend called "lifestreaming" or "lifecasting."

    I started experimenting with microblogging last year on MySpace's "status update" and expanded this summer to Twitter, Facebook, and, most recently, Plurk. It was too time consuming for me to update each site separately, so I started using Ping.fm , which I learned about on Twitter, to post simultaneouly to these sites. Last week, I learned how to search for "Tweets" that I'm interested in using Summize. I haven't used this yet, but with Twitter 100, users are supposed to be able to see their followers at a glance. I have more followers on Twitter than Plurk, which is relatively new, but the downside of Twitter has been the "downtime." I've also had to block several self-promoters who have thousands of followers.


    The appeal to microblogging wasn't exactly immediate for me since I didn't find an educational purpose to it at first. However, once I started following communication from other technology educators, I began to learn of great tools and resources that will be invaluable for me as a new campus technology specialist this year.


    Plurk video from YouTube:




    Twitter in Plain English video:
    Other microblogging sites that I've heard about but haven't signed up for yet include, Pownce, Jaiku (who is supposed to be joining Google), and identi.ca. I'm sure there are many other sites like this, and I'm curious which microblogging sites other technology specialists prefer for this type of communication??

    Friday, July 4, 2008

    My First NECC


    Wow! What an exciting and enlightening conference experience NECC 2008 was. Despite being unsuccessful in getting into a Moodle presentation (tried 3 different times), I was impressed with the quality of the presentations that I attended. My favorite sessions were Quick and Easy Computer Activities for Kids and Beyond Copy and Paste, both presented by Tammy Worchester. I ended up purchasing two of her books and plan on ordering the others.

    I also attended three digital storytelling sessions at NECC: Digital Fluency in the Age of InfoWhelm, Excite and Engage Students in Books with Photo Story 3 Book Trailers, and Literacy in a Digital Classroom which was podcasted. I had already played around with Photostory 3 before the conference and found it very user-friendly. I have a new Macbook through my school district and need to check further into IMovie.

    A few of the other sessions I attended were Web 2.0 Meets Grade 2.0 and got these great links, Google Earth for the Elementary Teacher, School Center's updates, and the three general sessions. I also visited the poster sessions on the second floor and took many pictures of various ideas with my cell.

    I learned a great deal through collaborating on NECC's 2008 Ning and Twitter. I even ended up joining Second Life but am not quite sure what I'm doing in this virtual world quite yet since I didn't get a chance to sit in on any of these presentations. I've posted new sites I learned about at NECC to My Delicious. Check out the comprehensive list of delicious sites from NECC attendees at the NECC2008 Ning site.

    I have to say that the exhibit hall was so overwhelming that I only spent a few hours in it. I certainly have come away feeling like a very small fish in a big pond...but... a tiny fish full of great ideas to share with other educators.

    Saturday, May 17, 2008

    Photo Story 3

    “Digital Storytelling is the modern expression of the ancient art of storytelling. Digital stories derive their power by weaving images, music, narrative and voice together, thereby giving deep dimension and vivid color to characters, situations, experiences, and insights. Tell your story now digitally.”- Leslie Rule, Center for Digital Storytelling





    I just learned about the Microsoft download, Photo Story 3, from a post on Classroom 2.0. I love how user-friendly this program is and that I can edit my photos from within Photo Story 3. The basic steps I followed are...

    • Import pictures
    • Edit pics if desired
    • Save and close the edit window
    • Drag and drop to arrange pictures.
    • Add titles to pics.
    • Save your project.
    • Narrate pictures and customize motion.
    • Add music. You can select music from your music files or create music in the program.
    • If you create music, it will start and end with your story.
    • Preview- Use the back arrows to go back to any part of the story and make changes.
    • Save again.
    • In the final step, output the story into a format that is suitable for viewing. The .wp3 file is a working file, not a finished product.
    • Click next, and choose one of the saving options.
    • The file being created is a movie file that will play back in your Media Player.
    • View your final story.
    • To make changes, you'll need to open the project file, make your changes, and then save as another movie or replace the first one.

    There's also good tutorial at Techlearning.

    I imagine, ideas for using this in the classroom are endless. My daughter just informed me that her class used PS3 to create a video for the new 4th graders on campus. They also used this program to make commercials for products they created. I would love to know how others are integrating this in the classroom.

    Thursday, May 15, 2008

    Intel's Thinking with Technology Training

    I just finished a very intense 40 hours of Intel's Thinking with Technology master teacher training at our Regional Service Center. The 10 modules focused on higher-order thinking skills through the use of online tools. During the course, we learned researched based instructional strategies for teaching and assessing thinking skills using technology. We created individual curriculum units that integrate the use of Intel's online thinking tools, are aligned to our state standards, and support a project based approach to learning. Once you are trained as a master teacher, you're required to train 10 other teachers in this course. I think the online tools in this training are more appropriate for teachers in grades 4 and up than for the primary grades. Overall, this training was beneficial, and I plan on enrolling in Intel's Essentials Course.

    Friday, April 25, 2008

    Web 2.0 for Administrators

    After attending a technology leadership academy with Patsy Lanclos, I've been pondering how Web 2.0 could help school administrators. I'm a former district administrator and my husband is a campus administrator. Here are a few Web 2.0 ideas that may help administrators be more productive.

    1. Wikis - Wikis are a great way to collaborate with others. I have used wikis to conduct online book studies and to collaborate on group projects while taking graduate technology courses.

    2. Blogging - Blogs help us reflect with other administrators, educators, and/or community members. If you use Blogger, you may want to remove the Navbar so that the "Next Blog" feature does not appear since there are many inappropriate posts on Blogger that you don't want people to have access to via your blog.

    3. Google docs, ZOHO, box.net - great ways of working collaboratively with others by sharing documents. Google docs has many templates to choose from or you can create your own. ZOHO has a large suite of productivity and collaboration applications. Box.net provides free online file storage that you can share with others.




    4. Google calendar - My family shares information about our schedules using Google Calendar.

    5. RSS feeds - I use Google Reader to get the news and blog posts I want in one place.

    6. Podcasts- Record weekly/monthly superintendent or campus principal messages, messages to new substitutes on your campus, messages to parents and student, etc. Employees or community members can listen to your podcast on their computers or iPods.

    7. Skype - free computer-to-computer calls can be used to interview applicants who for whatever reason are not able to meet face-to-face on the day of the interview. For example, I know of a district administrator who interviewed an applicant using Skype because the out-of- town applicant was committed to presenting staff development in her current district.

    Wednesday, April 23, 2008

    RSS


    I recently set up a Google Reader and absolutely love this new tool! RSS feeders are an excellent way for frequent Internet users to get updated news and articles -- the information I want to keep up with--without having to spend time searching. Basically, when a new article is posted or a change is made to a webpage that I have subscribed to, the RSS keeps track of recent changes and delivers them to my Google Reader account. The video below explains RSS in "Plain English." My question is why aren't more educators using this with their students? Let's say that a group of students were doing a science project. Those students could create an RSS feed that would bring news about their topic to their reader as soon as it was published instead of speding hours searching for the information.

    Wednesday, April 16, 2008

    Frank McCourt

    On April 10th, I attended an academic lecture at Lamar University presented by Pulitzer Prize winner, Frank McCourt. I have to admit, the only reason I attended this lecture was because it was an assignment in the technology course I'm currently taking. I'm more of a kinesthetic type learner, and was really dreading this lecture; however, I was surprised at how the speaker held my attention with his poignant and colorful stories. I've already ordered his books, and highly recommend attending his lectures if you have the opportunity.

    Frank McCourt shared with the audience that he was born in New Yorkto Irish immigrant parents. Unable to find work, his family returned to Ireland, where they sunk deeper into poverty. Three of the seven children died of diseases. McCourt himself nearly died of typhoid fever when he was ten. Despite the horrors of McCourt's childhood, he lectured with humor. After quitting school at 13, McCourt alternated between odd jobs and petty crime in an effort to feed himself, his mother, and four surviving brothers and sisters. At 19, he returned to the United States and worked at odd jobs until he was drafted. After receiving a college degree, he taught high school English in New York City. At first he had trouble teaching; he shared colorful stories about his "unruly" students in a tough high school. Eventually, he says he stopped being a dictator and developed a sense of humor. To help keep his students' attention, he told them stories of his childhood in Limerick, Ireland. Frank McCourt became a very experienced teacher at a prestigious high school and ended his teaching career after 30 years.

    Thursday, March 27, 2008

    Creating a Podcast

    I just finished uploading a podcast that was a group project assignment for a graduate technology class at Lamar University. We began our project by first deciding on a topic and an audience. The topic for our podcast was using wikis in education, and our audience was obviously educators. We decided to write a script in an interview type format and assign roles for each of us. Then, I created a wiki for us to collaborate on about our script. Once our script was finalized, our next step was to record and edit the podcast. We used the free download Audacity http://audacity.sourceforge.net/ and a microphone for this (see my March 2 Blog for a video on using Audacity.) Our podcast ended up being longer than we thought it would be (over 7 minutes) so we did a little editing using the Audacity tools. We also added free play music to the beginning of our project before saving it as an MP3 and posting it to the free host site podOmatic at http://www.podomatic.com/. Finally, I linked the final project to this blog.
    I thought creating the podcast was really fun and quite interesting. I can see a lot of uses for podcasts for educators. Check out this Teacher Tube video on how to use podcasts in the classroom.

    Tuesday, March 18, 2008

    Robin Williams' Thirteen Telltale Signs



    In Thirteen Telltale Signs by Robin Williams, the author describes thirteen common mistakes people make in "do-it-yourself" desktop publishing. Please note that this article was published 12 years ago in Adobe Magazine. With the recent explosion of Web 2.0 tools, I'd like to know what other common mistakes are being made than the 13 listed in this blog. The author recommends the following:

    • Helvetica font is outdated-don't use it.
    • Use curly quotes for real quotes and straight quotes for inches and feet.
    • Don't hit the enter key twice between paragraphs-use the paragraph after and paragraph before features.
    • Space once between sentences.
    • Avoid typing on gray boxes. Use something else such as a headline font or heavy ruled lines to focus on a piece of type.
    • Avoid centered layouts-they're dull.
    • Avoid placing borders around your type.
    • A standard topographic indent is one em space, which is a space as wide as the point size of type.
    • Don't use hyphens in place of bullets.
    • Don't use outlined shadowed type
    • 10, 10.5, or 11 point type looks more professional.
    • Never use the underline feature.
    • Avoid using all caps.

    Importance of Color

    What better time to discuss color than spring? People have know for hundreds of years that color can create a mood, attract attention, and/or evoke an emotion. Color is one key to an effective web design and should be chosen carefully as it affects the mood of viewers. When a visitor makes a choice to visit a website, the designer has to keep their attention. Designers have about 8 to 10 seconds to appeal to the surfer. W.L. Wilder in The Importance of Color in Web Design suggests to use colors that support or add to the information being displayed and to remain consistent throughout the website with color choices.

    Check out the monocromatic song performed by elementary students at a fine arts school.

    Monday, March 3, 2008

    Communicating Through Spreadsheet Layouts

    Spreadsheets are commonly used in offices to organize large amounts of data; however, many educators seem to be intimated by using Excel in their teaching. The capability to generate charts and graphs in minutes makes it easy to quickly demonstrate relationships between numbers. Charts and graphs provide a visual representation of data that makes it easier for students to analyze. The following websites may assist those teachers new to teaching Excel.

    Basic Terminology
    Entering Data
    Using Functions
    Spreadsheet Safari
    Integrating Excel in the Classroom
    Excel Tutorial
    Creating Charts

    Multimedia in the Classroom



    Text, animation, graphics, video, sound, and pictures are all different media. Any combination of these is considered multimedia. Multimedia includes projects in different formats such as music, video, documentaries, and storytelling. These projects have to be well planned out and designed from the very beginning. Once students choose their topics, the planning should begin. It's crucial that teachers instruct their students on how to plan and organize their multimedia projects. Storyboards are instrumental in this stage of the process.

    Individual students can create multimedia projects; however, the the process lends itself better toward cooperative groups. Roles at the middle school level could include a managers, researchers, writers, and editors. I believe collaboration and teamwork are just as important to learning multimedia (if not more important) than the actual technology skills themselves.

    As specified in the Texas technology TEKS, middle school students are required to design and create interdisciplinary multimedia presentations for defined audiences including audio, video, text, and graphics. The following websites have a wealth of information for teaching students about multimedia.

    Teaching Students How to Create a Presentation
    Guidelines

    Power Point Tutorial
    Power Point Rubric
    Another Rubric for Power Point
    Adobe Digital Kids Club
    10 tips in Taking Great Pictures
    Royalty Free Music
    Gimp download

    Sunday, March 2, 2008

    Electronic Communities

    There are few places in the world where people work strictly alone to accomplish tasks. Why should schools be any different? The brain is a highly social organism. Collaboration internalizes and solidifies new learning as well as allows students to be more authentically engaged in their work.

    A "new world" of collaboration has certainly started with Web 2.0. Wikis and blogs are being utilized more and more in the classroom. Because they are web-based, everyone can easily contribute and edit. Teachers can make comments or monitor to see the level of student contributions. I recommend the following websites for teaching your students to participate with electronic communities as a learner, initiator, contributor, and teacher/mentor.





    WIKIS
    For teachers new to Wikis
    Wiki tutorial for teachers
    Free Wikispaces for teachers


    BLOGS
    Blog Basics
    EduBlogs
    Teaching with blogs


    PODCASTS
    Podcasting Guide
    Podcasting in Education
    Audacity for recording and editing sounds


    SOCIAL BOOKMARKING
    http://del.icio.us/about/
    Corina's del.icio.us site


    EMAIL
    Free email for schools





    Wednesday, February 27, 2008

    Desktop Publishing

    With today's computers and software, it's gotten much easier for anyone to create desktop documents. More and more people who have not had proper instruction on combining text and graphics in an effective way are publishing documents. As a result, there's a lot more bad design floating around out there.

    The following websites may be beneficial in teaching your students to plan, create, and edit documents created with a word processor using readable fonts, alignment, page setup, tabs, and ruler settings as specified in the Texas Technology TEKS.



    In the district where I work, we also use http://www.learning.com/ in teaching the technology TEKS to our K-8 grade students.

    Tuesday, February 26, 2008

    Teaching Search Strategies


    Obviously, the Internet has changed the way our students learn and the way teachers teach. Just about anyone today can "surf" the Internet, but finding exactly what you're looking for in a short amount of time requires an understanding of search engines and how they work. I like the following websites for teaching students to search the Internet as specificied in the Texas technology standards 4A-B:

    http://www.landmark-project.com/fotb/search1.html
    http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/TeachingLib/Guides/Internet/SearchEngines.html
    http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/TeachingLib/Guides/Internet/AnalyseTopicForm.pdf
    http://www.kn.att.com/wired/21stcent/wgensearch.html

    Personally, my favorite Metasearch engine is Dogpile because it searches multiple search engines simultaneouly.

    Friday, February 22, 2008

    Teaching Students to Evaluate Websites


    Anybody can post information on the Net, making it possible for student to find "proof" of any ideas or belief. For many students, "If it's on the Web, it must be true."The fact is that students increasingly depend on the Net for information. As they search the Web, they need to evaluate their findings. We teach student about author's purpose in Reading/Lang. Arts classes, but we also need to teach students to determine a Web site's purpose. Most Web sites are designed to sell services and products, present information, advocate ideas, or entertain. Some do several of these at once. Teachers should make sure that kids understand the purpose(s) of a site, and that the purpose(s) may not be entirely obvious. A good starting point for students when teaching TEKS 6A-6C of the technology TEKS is to ask the 5 W's of Evaluating Websites.


    1. What am I getting?

    2. When was it created?

    3. Where am I?

    4. Why am I there?

    5. How can I distinguish quality information from junk?

    Websites that may assist in teaching kids to evaluate websites are as follows:
    http://www.shsu.edu/~lis_mah/documents/TCEA/hoaxtable.html

    http://school.discoveryeducation.com/schrockguide/evalmidd.html

    http://school.discoveryeducation.com/schrockguide/pdf/weval_02.pdf

    http://www.sdst.org/shs/library/evalrole.html

    http://www.2learn.ca/evaluating/div3netscheck2.html

    Wednesday, February 20, 2008

    Teaching Copyright Laws and Issues


    Copyright is a reality we face in this time when technology makes it easy to steal others' ideas. We must oue teach students to not only be familiar with what copyright law restricts, but also what it allows in regard to "fair use". Students need to be aware that just because a page doesn’t have the © symbol, doesn’t mean it’s not copyrighted; almost everything on the Web is copyrighted.

    Under the Foundations strand of the Texas Technology Standards, students are expected to

    (A) discuss copyright laws/issues and model ethical acquisition and use of digital information, citing sources using established methods, and

    C) describe the consequences regarding copyright violations including, but not limited to, computer hacking, computer piracy, intentional virus setting, and invasion of privacy;

    I found the following interactive website helpful in teaching grade 6th-8th students about Copyright laws/issues and Fair Use. http://www.stfrancis.edu/cid/copyrightbay/

    Check out the Citation Machine which is more appropriate for high school and university level students who need assistance with citing their research sources.

    This is a great video from Teacher Tube on the topic: http://www.teachertube.com/view_video.php?viewkey=628442b3d4dc00fca434

    If you plan is for one year, plant rice;If you plan is for ten years, plant trees;If your plan is for a hundred years, educate children.
    -Confucius

    Tuesday, February 19, 2008

    HTML Interactive Websites for Beginners

    The technology Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for grades 6-8 specifies that students must use terminology related to the Internet appropriately including, but not limited to, electronic mail (e-mail), Uniform Resource Locators (URLs), electronic bookmarks, local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), World Wide Web (WWW) page, and HyperText Markup Language (HTML).

    I found the following interactive websites extremely helpful in learning the main HTML tags.
    http://www.quia.com/jg/65619.html
    http://www.funbrain.com/html/index.html
    http://www.quia.com/jq/19638.html

    However, I need a lot more practice with learning the language of the Internet. What other websites are helpful in learning hyper text markup language?