Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Working to Benefit Haiti

Read about the New Trier Project to assist Haiti:

Beading for a better Haiti :: PIONEER PRESS :: Wilmette Life

See also:  a slide presentation on the impact of the Haiti earthquake on the town of Petit Goave

Teens, Cell phones and Texting

Yesterday, the Pew Internet & American Life Project released a report on "Teens, Cell phones and Texting".

Some major findings are shown graphically here and on that site:

--75% of 12-17 year-olds now own cell phones, up from 45% in 2004.

--More than half of teens (54%) are daily texters.

--Fully two-thirds of teen texters say they are more likely to use their cell phones to text their friends than talk to them to them by cell phone.

There is an entire chapter in the new report which deals with cell phone regulation by parents and schools.

--As we know, teens overwhelmingly bring their cell phones to school. In this survey, 77% said they do and the number is only slightly less (65%) for schools where cell phones are not allowed.

--31% of teens who take their phones to school send text messages every day during class time.

I wish that Pew had probed more deeply about how educators are integrating cell phones in their classes. Maybe that will be part of a future study.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Henry Jenkins on Participatory Culture

I thoroughly enjoyed the conversation at tonight’s Webinar – though I’ll have to go back and look at Buffy’s slides and the chat in more detail to fully appreciate all of the great ideas.
For now, I just wanted to share a link to TEDxNYED, an all-day conference examining the role of new media and technology in shaping the future of education, was held in New York City on Saturday, March 6, 2010. Here, for example, is Henry Jenkins roughly 20 minute presentation on participatory culture:

Well worth listening to and yet another reason why YouTube should be more widely available at school.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Try Creating a Google Search Story

Take a look at the search story created for an upcoming IGSS unit on ethical issues.

Create your own search story with the video creator.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Looking for a quick picture editor? Try PICSLICE

Our technology integrator, Mary Ann Apple at New Trier High School, shared PICSLICE on her blog, Connecting with Technology. This cool tool creates slices of picture, which can easily be cropped and resized. 
Crop is useful when you need to adjust a picture to your needs. Enter an url OR select a picture from one already saved in your computer. (gif,jpeg,png) 

Friday, April 16, 2010

Citing Sources: Help sheets

The Noodle Tools folks have provided some handy help sheets for constructing bibliographies in the new MLA 7th ed. format.

See the help sheet for citing online web sources.

See also the help sheet for a variety of print sources and databases.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

More info on Libraries and Transliteracy

 What is Transliteracy?
"Transliteracy is the ability to read, write and interact across a range of platforms, tools and media from signing and orality through handwriting, print, TV, radio and film, to digital social networks. –"

Best Sources of Advice for Making Good Presentations

Dilbert Feb. 22, 2010
  Here are teacher/blogger Larry Ferlazzo's best picks for helping our students do great presentations:

10 Powerpoint Tips for Preparing a Professional Presentation
Ten Tips For Students In Making A Good Presentation by Dr. Delaney Kirk (Thanks to Angela Maiers for the tip)
5 Ways to Ruin Your Next Presentation (thanks to Doug Peterson for the tip)
The 10/20/30 Rule of PowerPoint
The TED Commandments – rules every speaker needs to know
Tom Peters On Presentations
From design to meaning: a whole new way of presenting?
Top Ten Delivery Tips from Garr Reynolds
Make Better Presentations – The Anatomy of a Good Speech
Really Bad PowerPoint by Seth Godin
Brain Rules For Presenters (thanks to EdTech Update for the tip)
The 10 Worst Presentation Habits

Bottom line:  simplicity is the ultimate sophistication

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Crisis Webinar on TLNing!

for teacher-librarians and other educato
Don't miss the next TLNing Webinar hosted by Joyce Valenza.
Organized By: Joyce Valenza
Event Description:
Monday April 19 - 8:00 pm. EST
7 pm Central time

Special Guests: Chris Harris and Buffy Hamilton
Hostess: Gwyneth Jones and Carolyn Foote

It's the most exciting time to be a teacher librarian. The opportunities for learning have never been more rich. The studies prove the value of the role of strong school libraries in student achievement. Yet, the pink slips are flying. Where do we go from here? Led by Buffy Hamilton and Chris Harris and moderated by Gwyneth Jones and Carolyn Foote, this webinar is a crisis planning session for moving forward with purpose! Please join us!

TL Cafe events, the first Monday night of each month.
Visit the Elluminate room:
(allow around 10 minutes to login!)
Further information: TLVirtualCafe

New Online Language Learning Venture from Middlebury College

Today, Middlebury College revealed plans to create online language programs for pre-college students. Middlebury, long recognized as a leader in foreign language teaching, will partner with K12, a for-profit company with expertise in online education. "We believe this initiative can revolutionize the way languages are taught and learned in the United States. " said Ron Liebowitz, President of Middlebury College.

In this video, faculty describe the innovations to be included:

The first courses, beginner French and Spanish for high school students, will be available in late summer 2010. More video and links to articles in the New York Times, Forbes, and Chronicle of Higher Education can be found on the college's web site.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Using Twitter as a 'Back Channel' in the Classroom: Pros & Cons

 Read this recent ProQuest article, shared  by Linda Straube:

Jeffrey R Young. The Education Digest. Ann Arbor: Mar 2010. Vol. 75, Iss. 7; p. 9

Purdue University Professor shares his experiences of using Twitter as a back channel in the classroom. He says: "students in class are online or texting on their phones anyway, so why not try to channel that energy to class discussion?"  Although there are some negatives, he explains that students seem to love the chance to make their voices heard in class without having to actually speak.

Libraries and Librarians As Sponsors of Literacy

Check out Buffy J. Hamilton's latest presentation (April 2010) looking at libraries as sponsors of literacy, or more specifically, transliteracy.

Basically, she speaks to helping students harness the power of the cloud.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Google Docs: New and Improved

The one word that describes today’s updates is collaboration.  
Google believes that “collaboration is broken”: People make revisions to the same document, but one bad save by a late person can ruin the whole document. Thus Google’s belief is that creating a browser version of collaboration software that bridges the gap between the desktop and the web is key to better collaboration and quicker innovation.

Other key upgrades:
  • collaborators can now see what others are typing character-by-character
  • 50 people can now collaborate on one document
  • new chat feature added for enhanced collaboration
  • Google added features such as rulers, tab stops, spell-check as you type and floating images
  • new Spreadsheet features: auto-complete, the ability to drag-and-drop columns and faster load times, autofill
  • new “drawing editor” allows you to draw and download images that can be copied and pasted into multiple Google Docs.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

No longer black or white: the many colors of information and the possibilities of authority

Presented to classroom paraprofessionals and teachers for Day 3 of Information Literacy, Cherokee County School District, December 1, 2009

See for resources
This slide show speaks to how librarians can help students with evaluation of information and questioning authority of information is an act of inquiry.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

10 simple Google search tricks

Do you know all 10? Most? Some?
See the full list at this recent New York Times article.

It's a nice summary which we should consider enlarging for a future bulletin board.

Friday, April 09, 2010

Tagxedo - Like Wordle on Steroids

Tagxedo, a word cloud generator, was beta-released this week and it already supports the “future plans” of using either image or words as shapes. Also, you can now save to both Jpg or Png.

Here's one I created for Justice John Paul Stevens

"Please check out the Tagxedo gallery (currently just my creations; community submission to come later). There are almost 30 examples — all clickable and leading you to Tagxedo for further editing — showcasing what Tagxedo can do. Please believe me when I say even I am stunned by the artfulness of the word clouds!"
– Hardy Leung (creator of Tagxedo)

Lexipedia - Where Words Have Meaning

Cool tool  which operates like a visual thesaurus. This is a powerful tool with an audio component and can be used by foreign language teachers (English, French, Dutch, Spanish, German, Italian) . It can also be added to your browser tool bar.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Touchscreen use and trends

Yesterday’s press release from Gartner Research highlighted a new study’s findings: "What we're going to see is the younger generation beginning to use touchscreen computers ahead of enterprises," said Leslie Fiering, research vice president at Gartner. "By 2015, we expect more than 50 percent of PCs purchased for users under the age of 15 will have touchscreens, up from fewer than 2 percent in 2009."

The ReadWriteWeb blog has a commentary and some discussion on this report, too. It says that Gartner is "predicting over half of U.S. schools will specify touch and/or pen input within the next 5 years."

Share your reactions and join the discussion on that blog, on Mashable’s or on this one. How do you think increased use of Touchscreens will impact education?

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Value of School Libraries

 Joyce Valenza posted a link to this on Twitter today:
"Standardized scores tend to be 10 to 20% higher than in schools without an investment in a school library program and the “relationship between library resource levels and increased achievement is not explained away by other school variables (e.g., per student spending, teacher-pupil ratios) or community conditions (e.g., poverty, demographics). In fact, no fewer than forty years of research provides an abundance of evidence about the positive impact of qualified teacher-librarians and school libraries on children and adolescents.”   Stephen Abram
Stephen Abram lists many recent library studies using statistics to highlight the benefits of a strong school library program on his blog: Stephen's Lighthouse.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Learn more about 1:1 computing

On April 7, 2010, CASTLE and the school districts in Iowa with 1:1 laptop programs will host the state's first-ever 1:1 Institute in Des Moines. The purposes of the Iowa 1:1 Institute (I11I) are to:
  • help Iowa's 1:1 districts learn about innovative teaching, learning, and administrative practices that are occurring in each others' districts;
  • build excitement and 'buzz' around 1:1 laptop computing initiatives in the state; and
  • help others who are interested in 1:1 computing learn more about how to get started and be successful.
  • Be sure to consult the wiki of resources later in the week when best practices, research, and success stories are shared.
The Institute is open to ANYONE interested in 1:1 laptop computing initiatives in P-12 schools, whether they currently are working in such a program or just want to learn more.

Dr. Scott McLeod, CASTLE Director, offers its online school technology leadership courses at ISU!

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Professional Learning Network