Monday, October 29, 2007

Podcasts Help Engage Maryland Students

Podcasts help engage students
... educators across Frederick County (MD) Public Schools, have discovered the potential of podcasts. They use them to enhance classes, engage students and translate classic subjects into the digital age.
‘‘You can use podcasts in any subject area,” Amy Boehman, a technology curriculum specialist for Frederick County Public Schools said. ‘‘You can do interviews, or record student research ... Any content that a child learns can be turned into a podcast.”

Plug into iPods

High-tech classes plug into iPods
At Chenango Valley (NY) High School, Michael Breed's freshman earth sciences class members receive and submit their assignments not with notebooks and day planners, but with iPod Shuffles.

The iPods are used as electronic storage devices. They hold assignments, Breed's podcasts of test preps and, yes, a few songs of the student's choosing. "They're the only kids in the entire district allowed to have an iPod in school," Breed said.

The iPods are effective because most of the nonschool day, students are listening to their iPods, instant messaging, text messaging or surfing the Internet, Breed, a 13-year science teacher, said. "And they get to school and it's cut off. It's not a surprise to me to see that kids are bored."

Breed produces his own podcast for the class, where he assigns homework, reviews for tests and offers some personal music selections. A podcast is a digital media file distributed over the Internet for playback on portable media players, like iPods, and personal computers. They are most often audio files, like a radio broadcast.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Complete Guide to Copyrights

This site, from the Stanford University libraries, provides a complete guide to copyright, fair use, intellectual property, and other concepts important to any teacher whose students create projects using downloaded content.

Stanford Copyright & Fair Use Center

Recommend you bookmark this site for future reference.

Education blogs - Two free education blogs

Edublogs - education blogs � Get free education blogs at Edublogs
Edublogs was started in July 2005 in Melbourne, Australia. Since then they’ve grown to host tens of thousands of blogs, provide an enterprise blogging solution for schools and other educational institutions and continue to develop and support what they hope is the best blogging platform and community for educators, anywhere.

The Class Blogmeister - classroom appropriate blogging solution
Class Blogmeister is a online classroom blogging tool provided free of subscription or purchase charge by The Landmark Project. This blogging service is intended for classroom use. Blog accounts are established and maintained by the classroom teacher. Teachers may use this service for professional blog publishing functions, and to manage and publish student writings intended for assignment-based instructional activities.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Using MS Word 2007's Reference Tools

A short tutorial from the MS Office Word Team on using Word 2007 to create a table of contents, adding citations, and making a bibliography.

The Microsoft Office Word Team's Blog : Final paper time

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

NBC makes archive footage free to teachers online

NBC, in partnership with HotChalk, has opened its video archives to teachers and students of all grades and subjects, to supplement textbook learning with primary source multimedia content.

NoteStar : A Project Based Learning Research Tool

NoteStar is an Internet utility to assist in the preparation of research papers. Teachers and students can set up research projects with topics and sub-topics. Students may then take advantage of NoteStar's many features to collect and organize their notes and prepare their bibliography page.

What teachers can do:
• Create, assign, and manage projects
• Check sources for authenticity
• Track each group's progress
• Send messages to students
• Help students organize their notes

What students can do:
• Create sub-topics for research topics
• Assign topics to group members
• Take notes
• Easily track source information
• Organize notes and sources to create printable notes and bibliography
NoteStar : A Project Based Learning Research Tool
NOTE: In the directions for the NoteCard button setup, IE7 will not allow you to drag the button to you links bar. Click on Help and follow the direction.

Pay Attention

A YouTube video to help teachers understand ...

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Halloween-themed Lesson Plans

  • All Day Nightmare- This book is a good fit for a reluctant reader because the story is spooky, the reading level is not overly challenging, and it is fun for students to feel like they have control over the story.
  • Atmosphere & Symbolism in "The Raven"- "You will need multiple copies of the poem "The Raven" by Edgar Allen Poe for this activity."
  • Bat Thematic Unit- The only Flying mammal?
  • Cemetery Path- Students will read and predict what happens next. Students are to use their reasoning skills and imagination to predict the story's outcome.
  • Creative Writing: Halloween Theme- "The students will identify practice incorporating the different aspects of a story (character, setting, plot, etc...) into their own seasonal story after reviewing these aspects."
  • Frighteningly Fabulous Festivals- In this lesson, students explore the significance of holiday foods, first by researching Halloween-type festivals from around the world, and then by reporting on foods related to different holidays celebrated in their homes.
  • Ghouls and Goblins- This lesson is based on a Halloween game or activity.

Halloween How To Guides

How to do just about anything Halloween ...
Make costumes, carve pumpkins, party ideas

Halloween How To Guides |

Monday, October 22, 2007

What Is this RSS stuff, anyway?

RSS, huh? There are differing opinions as to what the letters R S S stand for. And, it's not really important anyway.

RSS is the easy, efficient way to see the new things on the web that interest you. New information comes to you, you don't need to go out and look for it.

It's kind of like the difference between Netflix and the traditional neighborhood video store. If you want to see Young Frankenstein, you tell Netflix and in a day or two you'll find it in your mail box. Or, you drive to your local video store and hope they have it on the shelf. If not, you wasted your time and gas.

All you need is a feed reader. Some browsers like IE7 and Safari have built-in feed readers. There are also numerous desktop feed readers, many free like FeedReader or Omea Reader. The best feed readers are the Web-based readers like Google Reader and Bloglines. By using one of these, you can read your RSS subscriptions using any computer any place you have an internet connection.

Listen to a podcast What is RSS, Anyway?

A brief, rudimentary, one-page explanation of RSS with links to numerous resources ...

What Is RSS? RSS Explained -

Texas School Uses Technology to Reach Students

The San Felipe Del Rio schools in Texas are successfully integrating technology to reach today's students.

Imagine a room full of middle school students arguing to stand at the head of the class and answer a question. No, it’s not some alternate universe of overly zealous 13 year olds – it’s Jessica Voss’ eighth grade language arts class at Del Rio Middle School.

Voss is one of more than 250 teachers in the San Felipe Del Rio Consolidated Independent School District who gave of their own time to obtain a technological foothold in their classrooms.

“Students today are surrounded by technology … get them into a regular classroom without it and they’re bored,” said district technology director Donnie Weaver.

Getting that technology into classrooms, however, proved to be a challenge, said Weaver.

In the past, the district purchased classroom computer equipment that sat almost entirely untouched because teachers weren’t properly trained on how to use it.

Del Rio News Herald

Friday, October 19, 2007

Subscribing to RSS from Internet Explorer 7

In an earlier post, I presented directions for adding RSS subscriptions to Google Reader. It seems those work in most browsers, but not in Internet Explorer 7 (Thank you, Microsoft!). I'm not an IE7 guy, so I had to do some research but I don't seem to be able to find a convenient way to add RSS feeds to Google Reader. As far as I can see, IE7 will only subscribe to feeds using itself as the reader. That's OK, but then your subscriptions will only be readable on the computer you used to subscribe to them.

Anyway, here goes.
1) First navigate to the feed you want to subscribe to, in this case, I'll use my CFF/MV blog.
2) Locate the orange RSS icon in the right side of your command bar and click on the little pointer to the right of it.
3) Choose the RSS option (not Atom). You should now see this.
4) Click on [Subscribe to this feed]
5) The above dialog should appear. Accept or change the Name:, be sure Feeds is chosen for Create in:, the click [Subscribe]. You should then see this ...
Then to read your feeds, click on the [Favorites] star, then the [Feeds] button.

From the list choose the RSS feed you wish to read.

Listen to a podcast of these directions: Subscribing to RSS using IE7

Get a better, faster, safer browsing experience. Download FIREFOX

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Computer Viruses - BBC

This BBC web site will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about computer viruses, including ...
  • What they are
  • How they work
  • How to avoid them
  • What to do if you get one

BBC - Science & Nature - Hot Topics - Computer Viruses - Homepage

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Web sites offering RSS feeds related to Education and Teaching

A List of Web sites offering RSS feeds related to Education and Teaching to get you started. You can subscribe to any Web site that displays the orange RSS logo in the address bar.

Federal Resources for Educational Excellence

Today's Document from the National Archives

U.S. International Polar Year 2007-2008: Educational Resources

U.S. Department of Education

Get Technology & Learning's RSS Feed

RSS Feeds from PBS

Teaching Mathematics

Tame the Web: Libraries and Technology

Feedage RSS feeds on teaching (supersite)

Teaching with Technology@BSU

Teaching Excellence Network

English Teaching and Learning Tips

e-Learning Online

Reading Rockets journalism-learning-teaching

These are just a few of the RSS feeds related to teaching that exist out there. There are dozens, hundreds more. How do you find them? Google for something like "teaching science rss feeds" or something like that.

Two New Toolkits

I've put together two edtech toolkits. One is for anyone who wants to get started in podcasting. This toolkit includes Windows software and a collection of informational and instructional videos to help you get going. The other kit includes all the tools to build and use a PowerPoint version of the popular game show Jeopardy in your classroom.

You can get these toolkits by ...
  • Downloading from the Internet
  • Copying to your USB flash drive
  • Burning to a CD-R
Send an email or drop by Room 220 Tuesdays or Wednesdays

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

How to Subscribe to the CFF/MV Blog Using Google Reader

(I have discovered that this works for almost every browser except IE7. I'll post directions for IE7 in another post)

1) First go to the CFF/MV blog site.

2) Then look for the RSS icon at the right end of the address bar.

3) Click on this icon to see the following ...

4) Be sure Google is selected from the drop-down box, then click [Subscribe Now].

Then you will be given a choice of whether to add this feed to your Google home page or to Google Reader.

5) Choose [Add to Google Reader].

If all has gone well, you will see the following ...

To get to Google Reader to read the RSS feeds you have subscribed to ...

Bookmark the page or add it to your Favorites.

The same procedure can be used to subscribe to any RSS feed. Just look for the little orange RSS icon in the address bar.

Take Notes Like Thomas Edison

Thomas Edison, yeah, the light bulb guy, was a prolific note-taker. His diary contains approximately five million pages! Edison developed his note-taking system to support his work.

The keys to his system are ...
  • Any useful or important development was recorded so that no effort was wasted in repeating experiments or efforts unnecessarily.
  • Any useful or important development was recorded so that no effort was wasted in repeating experiments or efforts unnecessarily.
  • Rearward-looking.
  • The record system was searchable.
  • Who, what, where, when and how much.
  • How and why.
  • Extremely powerful memory aid.

Today's powerful technologies can enhance Edison's system in ways he could never have imagined.
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