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Embedded Web Browsing in Notebook software

posted Oct 10, 2012, 5:02 AM by Unknown user

I just discovered that you can embed a web browser in a notebook page. This makes it much easier to use web content - you don't have to bounce from program to program. You can also 'pin' a site, which means you set it as a home page for that particular notebook page - the content you want to use already cued up in Notebook! I'm pretty psyched about this find and wanted to share!

Chat with author Seth Grahame-Smith!

posted May 23, 2012, 5:31 AM by Unknown user   [ updated May 23, 2012, 5:32 AM ]

Through Goodreads I was sent invite below to participate/view a video chat with the author of Pride & Prejudice & Zombies and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, amongst others. This is a very cool opportunity! Click here or the image below to go to the page where the video chat will happen. 

Managing Gdocs

posted Apr 6, 2012, 4:11 AM by Unknown user

It is no secret that I'm a big fan of Google Docs. Managing student work can be a nightmare though. Collections help but you still end up with multiple open tabs (or windows if that's your style). The Free Technology for Teachers Blog (written by a Maine educator and something you really need to check out) had a post that provided a link to yet another blog that gives some step by step directions on how collect assignments via gdocs and click through them all in the same window. I've set up the form on my site here. I'm going to try it out just for Lord of the Flies assignments as a test run. 

The post can be found here and it includes a link to make a copy of the form (you don't even have to create it, just add the list of your assignments (or you could have the student fill that out and remove that piece of work. 

The Dvorak Simplified Keyboard

posted Mar 9, 2012, 8:45 AM by Unknown user

Whoa, I came across a reference to this when reading an article about using one or two spaces after a period (the answer is one - read more here). 
The keyboard, pictured to the right, isn't new.
According to this Wikipedia article, it was developed in 1936, but the QWERTY (I actually had to look at the keyboard to type that) keyboard obviously won the popularity contest. What I found interesting is this chart: which shows that with the Dvorak keyboard your fingers stay on the home row 70% of the time, imagine the increase in your typing WPM!
Interested in trying it out? The wiki article says this: "Although the Dvorak Simplified Keyboard (DSK) has failed to displace the QWERTY keyboard, it has become easier to access in the computer age, being compatible with all major operating systems (such as Microsoft WindowsMac OS XGNU/Linux. and BSD) in addition to the standard QWERTY layout. Most major operating systems have the option of toggling to the Dvorak layout.[4] It is also supported at the hardware level by some high-end ergonomic keyboards.[5]"
If anyone tries it out I'd love to hear about your experience.

Meditation in School: An Infographic

posted Mar 1, 2012, 8:57 AM by Unknown user   [ updated Mar 1, 2012, 8:57 AM ]

An interesting thing to think about. . . 
Click to make the image larger.

Get eBooks from the library!

posted Dec 30, 2011, 5:17 AM by Unknown user

Many of our students have ereaders (like a Nook or Kindle). I've had my Nook for five months and haven't purchased a book yet but have been able to read a large number of books. With your library card and a free download of Adobe Digital Editions you can get free ebooks from the library (this is the Maine library).  It is relatively easy to use. It is very much like using the physical library in the sense that not all books are available all the time - this must have something to do with licensing on the part of the publishers, but you can place holds on books.
More info can be found here.  The NH eBook library can be found here.

Article: When an adult took standardized tests forced on kids

posted Dec 6, 2011, 2:16 PM by Unknown user   [ updated Dec 6, 2011, 2:24 PM ]

From the article in the Washington Post:
 A longtime friend on the school board of one of the largest school systems in America did something that few public servants are willing to do. He took versions of his state’s high-stakes standardized math and reading tests for 10th graders, and said he’d make his scores public.
“I won’t beat around the bush,” he wrote in an email. “The math section had 60 questions. I knew the answers to none of them, but managed to guess ten out of the 60 correctly. On the reading test, I got 62% . In our system, that’s a “D”, and would get me a mandatory assignment to a double block of reading instruction.
He continued, “It seems to me something is seriously wrong. I have a bachelor of science degree, two masters degrees, and 15 credit hours toward a doctorate.

What is the "backchannel"?

posted Nov 22, 2011, 6:02 AM by Unknown user

The term "backchannel" refers to what teachers would call the side-conversations that happen during class. Now we know that not all of these conversations are off topic, sometimes students are getting clarification of directions, brainstorming, getting feedback, or engaging with the topic/material in some other way. Tapping into this backchannel brings all that to the attention of the group. It brings questions and answers, feedback, and other chatter that has the potential of creating a whole new level of engagement to your class. You don't have to acknowledge everything that is posted and obviously some direction and modeling and practice using it will have to happen. You can archive these conversations and make them available for students to access later.

Todaysmeet is a free resource that allows you to create rooms that expire. (A different room for each unit? class block?) There is no signing up for you or students to use this site. Students enter a name to use and start typing. The downside is that students could put whatever name they want and you would have a hard time monitoring who is saying what (if you wanted to do that), easily dealt with by having clear expectations. The benefit of this site is that only people who have the link can join the room.

Twitter is also geared perfectly for this. The use of hashtags (#) keeps everyone together and allows for a more complicated organization to happen (if desired). This does need a (free) account for all who want to participate. The downside is the need of an account (it is free and easy to set up), and that it is public to anyone (they would have to be following a user or search for the hashtag which would limit the number of outside audience members). The benefit of this is that you could track who is saying what easier, it would be easy to access later, the conversation could continue after class ends.

Top Eleven Things All Teachers Must Know About Technology

posted Nov 17, 2011, 11:23 AM by Unknown user

This is from one of my favorite blogs, TeachPaperless
They are:
1. Technology is not a monolith.
2. Technology is not a monolith, but many technology providers are monolithic.
3. The Digital Age is not going away.
4. Meeting strangers is a good thing.
5. This ain’t your pappy’s technology.
6. The Digital Divide is not the result of technology being expensive.
7. The most important thing we can do right now as teachers is to be campaigners and advocates and organizers for free universal Wi-Fi Internet access.
8. When it comes to authentic tech integration, parents are the best friends a teacher can have.
9. Kids need to be taught digital citizenship.
10. Specific devices and tech apps become obsolete.
11. You must be fearless.

Read the full post with explanation for each number here

"The Complete Dropbox for Educators"

posted Nov 16, 2011, 4:18 AM by Unknown user

Use this link to sign up for Dropbox and I get extra storage space!

From a blog:
Dropbox is a very useful tool to store online files, sync your computers and mobile devices and share files.  With all those capabilities it makes it a natural tool for educators!
Today, MakeUseOf published “Using the Magic Pocket:  A Dropbox Guide”
Using The Magic Pocket: A Dropbox Manual

Read the full post and

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