Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Hat tip to Spiro Bolos: Power Point Kills

Monday, November 23, 2009

Enough about tools.....

Read this thought-provoking article from the Innovative Educator Blog:

"21st Century Educators Don't Say 'Hand it in'; they say 'Publish it'."

Dig this:
The authentic publication of student work should be a part of EVERY SINGLE UNIT OF STUDY. If an educator can’t figure out a way to help students publish anything in a unit of study they need to either 1) Rethink the unit or 2) Rethink the assessment.

Sounds like it's time to re-think many of our assessments and assignments.

Are you seriously into Tag Clouds? Check this one out!

See WordPress plugin for flash-based tag cloud "movie". This is open source software and does not require use of the WordPress blogging platform.
Click here to install the plugin from WordPress.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Murgurdy Visual Search -Where do they get these crazy names?

Here's a new one that may go head to head with Google Fast Flip! Check out the Murgurdy Visual Search. See more!

Storage is cheap now. That's why we are seeing a growth in visual search engines.
Where do they get these names anyway?

Went onto the Mugurdy Visual Search Engine blog which explained how this search needs to store a lot of data.

If you like Wordle, you'll think Tagul is cool

A new tag cloud tool --Tagul is different than Wordle because each tag in Tagul cloud is linked with an URL and is “clickable” that enables visitors to use it for navigation and sends the user to a Google search. Tagul has some features that Wordle doesn’t, like custom shapes selection and multiply fonts usage in one cloud.

The documentation offers many ways to embed the tag cloud properly; this is where it gets complicated for me. I think the simple embed code will work nicely with eBlogger. However, I know it would be more difficult to implement with our CMS400 web software.

I used the Quartet Roadmap to Israeli-Palestinian Peace [April 30, 2003] because I have recently been developing some resources for a Middle East Project. Interesting that the word Palestinian is the most used word by far.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Another cool image tool from Google

Take a look at Google Image Swirl

When you type a query, you get a visualization of about a dozen results. Click on any of those and you get more in that category of results. At this point, it seems to work best with everyday objects and art work. You can narrow your results by clicking on "Find similar images".

Find out more at the Google Blog.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Get the Kindle experience on your PC

Amazon now offers 360,000 Kindle books on your PC with their free application for your Windows PC with a simple software download.

Read Kindle Books on Your Computer

* Get the best reading experience available on your PC. No Kindle required
* Access your Kindle books even if you don't have your Kindle with you
* Automatically synchronizes your last page read and annotations between devices with Whispersync
* Create bookmarks and view the annotations you created on your Kindle

Mac version coming soon!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Some short Podcasts on the Power of Twitter

Mary Ann Apple sent me some very short podcasts posted on Drop.io --another cool web 2.0 tool for storing/saving things online. This "drop" has 3 very short podcasts regarding the value of Twitter as a Personal Learning Network (PLN).

I embedded one of the Twitter podcasts here:

Discover Simple, Private Sharing at Drop.io

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

New! Google Sites Templates

To browse site templates click the Create new site button. You can choose one of the popular templates highlighted on the site creation page, or you can click Browse the gallery for more to see more options.

Visit www.sites.google.com to start using site templates today! So many options...I tried the wiki format. Cannot figure out how to delete it. Experimenting for use as a class project pathfinder.

TagCrowd - make your own tag cloud from any text

Scroll down to the right to view the tag cloud generated from posts on this blog.

According to the TagCrowd site:
TagCrowd is taking tag clouds far beyond their original function:

* as topic summaries for speeches and written works
* as blog tool or website analysis for search engine optimization (SEO)
* for visual analysis of survey data
* as brand clouds that let companies see how they are perceived by the world
* for data mining a text corpus
* for helping writers and students reflect on their work
* as name tags for conferences, or wherever new collaborations start
* as resumes in a single glance
* as visual poetry

Saturday, November 14, 2009

100 Great Google Docs Tips

100 Great Google Docs Tips for Students & Educators posted Nov 9th, 2009 on the Colleges.org blog.

This blog links to tips beyond the basic features to make your Google Docs experience even more productive. Here are 100 great tips for using the documents, presentations and spreadsheets, keyboard short cuts and ideas for collaboration.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Post Conference Conversations with danah boyd & Marco Torres

Joyce Valenza interviewed Marco Torres at the Charlotte AASL Conference.
Marco Torres presents classroom innovation, the power of digital media in the classroom, and how to empower students & teachers to add value to learning by using today's cool tools and resources.

View some of Torres' resources: Flick School - a tools/tips page for audio/video production and digital storytelling. A new resource is the Documenting Wiki webpage which offers ideas for documenting using video, photography, and audio.

danah boyd speaks to the importance of being present in kid's lives online: NeverEndingSearch blog. Unfortunately the audio was barely heard on the interview tape. The most important thing I take away from this is to unblock social media sites to enable adults/teachers to help students navigate social media and figure out how to live successfully in a networked world.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


Hey everyone,
Check out Middlespot.com - a new visual search engine.
Mashtabs is a new tool that allows you to present and share your search results.

Play with it and figure out how to use with student research as a starting point for gathering keywords.

Monday, November 02, 2009

"The biggest Losers: Going bookless is sure to shortchange your children"

This title came from the note from Brian Kenney, Editor-in-Chief of School Library Journal.

He had a great editorial on the new library at Cushing Academy - one without books. As Kenney states, "Libraries aren't just about instructing students in finding and assessing information. Librarians also work to develop a love of reading in students that lead to information literacy skills. We do this by encouraging free or voluntary reading - reading because you want to."

While the fact that Kenney, an editor-in chief, ended his sentence with a preposition, which is so grammatically incorrect, he adds a few sentences that, I would hope, would convince any administrator to keep libraries and teacher-librarians, as well as the wide variety of materials available to students.

He states, "According to education researchers like Stephen Krashen, kids need books that they find so compelling, they don't want to stop reading them. Browsing YouTube, reading snippets on CNN.com, and updating their MySpace pages aren't enough."

No, the activities above are not enough to educate our students, to engage our students in critical reading and thinking, and developing in our students the ability to and desire to contribute to a democratic society.

He adds that most of the 86 titles on the 2009 Best Books for Young Adults are not accessible digitally. Already the students at Cushing Academy are at a loss. Just because technology is touted as the be-all and end-all, it doesn't give students access to some of the most important people, characters, words, and concepts to them at this time and stage in their lives. For these attributes will prepare them for the future of our 21st century world.

Great tool for file conversion


If you get a student who sent themselves something from home and it won't open up because it's in the wrong file format, try out this website,


It converts files --- it was fairly straightforward to use when I used it and it worked great!!


Reading about how to improve search: Beyond Google is a freely downloadable brochure which can be shared for non-commercial use. This short guide to 15 tools and strategies for helping your students (and your colleagues) improve their Internet search results was written by 2008 EduBlog winner Richard Byrne. I follow his ideas on Free Technology for Teachers blog via Steve Anderson's active Twitter feeds. To follow him on Twitter do a people search for web20classroom.

I will be experimenting with Google's "Wonder Wheel" option as I prepare for an American Studies project: Civil Liberties in Perilous Times.