Thursday, December 23, 2010

LearnBoost Update

Yesterday, LearnBoost, a site that enables teachers to manage their classroom with a free gradebook and software to create and manage lesson plans, track attendance, maintain schedules, integrate calendars, and much more, announced three changes designed to improve your LearnBoost experience.


The first change is the introduction of networks that represent a group of like minded users or people who teach at the same school entity. You can add multiple networks as well. In the future, you'll be able to share privately or publicly within your network.

The second change eliminates the dependency on usernames, simplifying the login process by only allowing email address logins.

The third change makes signing up for a LearnBoost account easier. Just enter your first name, last name, email address, and password and you are ready to get started.


Go to previous posts about LearnBoost


Changes at Spelling

Popular website Spelling City is now Vocabulary & Spelling City.


The rebuilt site now includes games and vocabulary content addressing these new topics:

  • Defintions
  • Parts of Speech
  • Synonyms and antonyms

Most of the new content is available only to paid Premium members ($49.99(US) per year).


Watch a video describing the changes at Vocabulary & Spelling City


Go to a previous post on Spelling City


Happy Holidays!!!

EDge21's "Catch of the Day" will be on holiday until January 4, 2011.

In the meantime, enjoy these clips from National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation.


Have a great holiday season :-)

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Catch of the Day - To Learn English - 12/22/2010

To Learn English is a free site for English language learners. You will find free English vocabulary and grammar sheets and hundreds of English exercises.


To Learn English has games, jokes and cartoons, multimedia files, and more to help ELLs.

There are thousands of ELL penpals waiting for you at To Learn English, too. Your penpals can help you learn English. Also, there is an English forum and chat.


To Learn English provides a number of useful tools:

  • A spellchecker in multiple languages
  • Audio translators read out translations
  • Enter a text and have it conjugated
  • Pronunciation tools


Subscriptions to the To Learn English weekly email newsletter includes one weekly lesson, all the latest lessons published on the site, and all the To Learn English news.


The To Learn English website is also available in French:


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Catch of the Day - Figment - 12/21/2010

Figment is a community where you can share your writing and connect with others and discover new stories and authors.


You can submit your own stories to Figment. You can make your story publicly available, share it with only select people, or keep it visible only to you.

Figment lets you follow authors you like. All of their writing will appear on your desk, so you’ll know when they update a story you’re reading or add a new work. Comment on a story or "heart" it. A heart is a way of showing you enjoyed a story and boosts its status helping it become more popular.


In Figment Features, you'll find exclusive excerpts from new books, interviews with authors, articles about writing, and more.


Figment was founded by veterans of The New Yorker: Dana Goodyear, a staff writer, and Jacob Lewis, the former managing editor.


Monday, December 20, 2010

Catch of the Day - Sumdog - 12/20/2010

Sumdog is a source of free math games for kids to play at home or at school.


Sumdog's games cover a hundred numeracy topics organized into ten levels of increasing difficulty. Most of them are multiplayer games, so kids can play against thousands of students around the world.


Teachers who sign up with Sumdog can get free accounts for their students which allow kids to track their progress. When beginning a game, students can select which topics to practice.



Watch a video introduction to Sumdog

There are three access levels to Sumdog: No Account, Free Account, and Subscription. All offer free individual and multiplayer games. The free account includes several features useful to teachers such as creating competitions and challenges for students. The $160 (US) annual subscription provides detailed student and class reporting.


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Forvo Releases Spanish iPhone App

About a month ago, I posted aboutForvo, the world's largest pronunciation guide where users can find millions of words pronounced in their original languages.


Forvo just released a new Spanish pronunciation iPhone app with the following features:

  • Access to all the native Spanish pronunciations in Forvo.
  • Play the pronunciations directly from the app.
  • Keep a history file of your previously pronounced words.

The app is available for 99¢ (US) from the iTunes store.


Go to the earlier post about Forvo


Friday, December 17, 2010

Tasty Alternatives to Delicious

As a consequence of yesterday's unfortunate news that Yahoo! would appear to be dumping the online bookmarking service, Delicious, many users of that service, like myself, are looking for a good replacement.

For many, the first thought would be Diigo. However before you rush to Diigo, there are several good but lesser known alternatives that you should consider.



The focus of Pinboard is less on socializing, and more on speed and utility. The goals of the site, in order of priority, are to never lose data, be ridiculously fast, and offer useful features.

Pinboard's basic functions work very much like Delicious. I think that if you liked using Delicious, Pinboard will be your choice.


The unfortunate part of Pinboard is that users pay a relatively small one-time signup fee. In return, they are promised a fast, spam-free service with prompt support.



Zootool is about collecting, organizing and sharing your favorite images, videos, documents, and links from all over the internet. The Zootool graphic interface is unique and sharing web content is easy.


Some of the accounts you can connect Zootool with are Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Posterous, Flickr, LinkedIn, Vimeo, and YouTube. At the time I was preparing this post, Zootool was offline because of extremely heavy import traffic.



Historious saves you time by enabling you to find webpages you saw before. Bookmark sites with a single click, then find them again by searching for any word in the content of the page.


All your bookmarks are individually indexed to create a personalized searchable database of your links. Note: The free account will import only 300 bookmarks.



Licorize is a minimalist and fast to-do manager that you can feed with your bookmarks and web updates. With Licorize, turn web page bookmarking and status updates into projects, ideas, and collaborative teams.


Licorize can import your bookmarks from Delicious as well as from Instapaper, Firefox, Chrome, Safari, Opera, and Internet Explorer. You can also synch them with Read It Later. By enabling DropBox integration the user it will be capable of sharing strips with project colleagues.

Migrating from Delicious

These services will all import your Delicious bookmarks from an HTML file. You must first export your bookmarks from Delicious as an HTML file, and then upload it.

Adding Bookmarks

You can easily add bookmarks to any of these with bookmarklets and/or browser extensions.

Google Bookmarks has been around for a long time and is easy to use, however, there doesn't seem to be an easy way to import your Delicious bookmarks without installing the Google toolbar in Firefox.

Catch of the Day - Ready Kids - 12/17/2010

Ready Kids® is a website designed to help parents and teachers educate children in grades 4-5 (ages 9-11) about emergencies and how they can help their family to be prepared.


The Ready Kids website features age-appropriate, step-by-step instructions on the role kids can play in their family's effort to be better prepared for emergencies.


Ready Kids has four principle modules:

  • Create a Kit - how to build an emergency supply kit that includes everything a family needs.
  • Make a Plan - help your family figure out the best ways to stay in touch at all times.
  • Know the Facts - an overview of the most common terms, as well as websites you can visit for more information.
  • Graduate from Readiness U! - get all the answers right on this quiz to graduate.


Ready Kids is part of FEMA's national public service advertising campaign, Ready, designed to educate and empower Americans to prepare for and respond to emergencies.


Thursday, December 16, 2010

Catch of the Day - Collaborize Classroom - 12/16/2010

Collaborize Classroom™ lets you to extend your classroom discussions online in a structured and private community.


Students can continue discussions beyond the classroom and interact with online lessons allowing for broader participation both in and out of the classroom.


Collaborize Classroom provides teachers an online platform to facilitate discussions while encouraging every student to participate. Collaborize Classroom lets students participate on their own time using a blended-learning platform. Students can learn how to have productive, respectful, and supportive discussions online.


Enrich your curriculum with multimedia using Collaborize Classroom. You can attach videos, images, and PDF files to your lesson content. Students can read or view the attached content, then respond to the posed questions.

More features available through Collaborize Classroom:

  • Teachers can easily message students using the built-in messaging system. Students can also message the teacher to ask questions or seek clarification.
  • View participation reports tracking each student’s activity on the site.
  • Receive daily activity reports by email.
  • Helpful tutorials, like "How to be a Great Moderator", will support you as you establish an online site.
  • Search available for teacher and student use.



Watch teacher Nico Saldana talk about using Collaborize Classroom in this video.

A Collaborize Classroom site can be set up quickly and easily. Collaborize Classroom is offered to teachers at no cost. All sites are secure and password-protected. The sign-in process is only known to you and your students.


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Catch of the Day - - 12/15/2010

20101130-82pfdp34ppje7539tt193p96aw.png offers a variety of online games and quizzes to facilitate the educational growth of children ages 3 through 12.

20101130-edw7ka8u8bkj6nx4dpndxn846i.png provides educational games to help children explore their young minds and exercise their imagination. Their goal is to encourage "children to be enthusiastic about learning and keep them interested in education."

20101130-xutfj9n1ikjd4q5idimgnafngs.png strives to bring you and your kids the highest quality educational games the can, thereby providing a safe, fun, interactive, and challenging environment where children can learn and grow.


Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Catch of the Day - Imagine Cup - 12/14/2010

The Imagine Cup by Microsoft is a preeminent student technology competition with significant goals inspired by global needs. The idea is to show how technology can help solve the real world’s tough problems.


Beginning with local and regional competitions, the Imagine Cupconcludes at the Worldwide Finals in New York City this year. Once you register as a student or mentor, you can sign up for a competition right away or just explore a bit.


The mentor teacher's role in Imagine Cup is as an advisor, a counselor, and an "official brainstorming guide." Your job is to help students collaborate efficiently as a team. You can discuss technical issues with students and refer them to valuable resources.

Here are some ways a mentor teacher can help …

  • Answer students' questions
  • Discuss issues that arise
  • Remind students of upcoming deadlines
  • Be a good listener



Watch this video featuring Imagine Cup teacher feedback

The Imagine Cup started in 2003 as a way to get students involved in the connection between people, information, and systems.


Monday, December 13, 2010

Catch of the Day - PDFaid - 12/13/2010

PDFaid is a free service offering an assortment of applications that can be used to manipulate pdf files.


PDFaid's online tools let you make a number of useful changes to PDF files. Since these tools are all web-based, they do not require you to install any software on your computer. The interface is simple and intuitive.


PDFaid tools include …

  • PDF Watermark lets you watermark PDF files
  • Image to PDF enables you to select one or more images to save as a PDF file
  • HTML to PDF converts a web page or custom HTML to PDF format
  • PDF Joiner combines multiple PDFs into a single file
  • PDF Splitter extracts selected pages from a PDF file
  • PDF Rebrander finds links in a PDF file and lets you reassign them
  • Office to PDF/XPS changes .doc, .xls, and .ppt files to PDFs

Extract Images from PDF and Popup Inside PDF are additional tools promised for the near future.


Free, unregistered PDFaid users have a file size limit of 200 Kb, the limit for registered users is 400 Kb files, and subscribers can handle files up to 20 Mb.


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Twitter as a Tool for Professional Development

Following is the document which accompanied my recent presentation on the use of the social network Twitter to develop a personal learning network (PLN) at the Learning Forward (NSDC) annual meeting.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Catch of the Day - wePapers - 12/10/2010

wePapers is a free website where people can expand and share their knowledge. wePapers call itself "the world's biggest study group."


wePapers helps students and others learn from each another. Furthermore, wePapers "believes everybody deserves the right to learn for free."


Users can search wePapers by papers, members, courses, or paper key. Browse the wePapers library by subject, paper type, or language. The kind of papers in the wePaper bank includes abstracts, articles, cheatsheets, lecture notes, presentations, and more.


Share what you’ve learned with people who are studying the same thing. Discuss your work with other users and get useful feedback.


Use wePapers to store all your papers, exams, lecture notes and research work in one place with access 24/7 from anywhere


Thursday, December 9, 2010

Catch of the Day - All About Computers - 12/9/2010


All About Computers is a joint effort of CDW-G and Discovery Education to create a web resource to help today's 21st century educators develop a new generation of thinkers in our schools and in the workplace.


All About Computers provides lesson plans, articles, a technology showcase, and links all related to connecting the the 21st century teacher and learner.


Educators are presented four lesson modules …

  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Digital Citizenship

Each downloadable PDF multi-page module includes a related introductory article and lesson plans for grades K-12 (ages 5-17).


The All About ComputersTechnology Showcase links to the products of CDW-G's technology partners including such industry leaders as Lenovo, Toshiba, PolyVision, and others.


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