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.