Monday, June 25, 2007

Attending NECC… Virtually

I’d love to be at the NECC Conference in Atlanta this week!

The NECC conference has been around for approximately 30 years. It has workshops and other sessions, keynotes, and a very large vendor exhibit. ISTE sponsors the conference with the help of the Georgia Department of Education, Georgia Public Broadcasting and Georgia's Leadership Institute for School Improvement.

Topics at the conference include social networking and virtual worlds; 1-to-1 and mobile computing; 21st-century literacy and standards; and the globalization of education. Themes include school improvement, ethics and equity, technology infrastructure, professional learning, 21st-century teaching and learning, and virtual schooling/e-learning.

When the conference has concluded, we will be able to access selected content as video-on-demand and also as podcasts.

We can download handouts from some of the sessions now. So far I’ve found a list of web tools to use to differentiate instruction and also instructions for creating a virtual museum in PowerPoint (including a good looking building with halls and rooms to explore).

There’s a lot of blogging going on at the conference. I’ve been following David Warlick’s blog. He’s sharing his experiences as the day progresses. I feel like I’m at the conference!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Gliffy--an Online Diagramming Tool

I'm continuing my exploration of Web 2.0 tools. This week I tried several applications and found Gliffy to be the most helpful, friendly, and potentially useful.

Gliffy is an online diagramming tool. No download is necessary. I tried making a simple chart to see how it works. It was pretty easy. I exported it as a JPG. I can keep it as a private diagram or I can allow others to access it and work on it, too. I used flowchart symbols to create my (non-flowchart) diagram. There are, however, symbols for a variety of types of diagrams -- including network diagrams, mindmaps, seating charts, and floor plans -- in addition to flowcharts. The diagrams that you create are stored on Gliffy’s servers, although you can export them to your own computer, too.

You can sign up for a free account which is supported by ads. The free Basic account has limits on the number of private diagrams you may have and the amount of storage space you use. A Premium account (with a fee) has no ads and less limits.

You and/or your students could use this tool from school or home... anywhere you have Internet access. Try this tool for yourself at and read more about it.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

Schoolr... a handy reference tool

I’m checking out a variety of Web 2.0 tools this summer. This week I found one that is a useful reference tool. It’s called schoolr (

From this one web site you can perform searches in…
Urban Dictionary,
Encyclopedia, and
Book Summary.
It will translate text between a variety of languages.
It can convert a wide variety of units.

The “r” in schoolr stands for research. The site’s blog indicates that schoolr was launched in December 2006 by a university student in Canada and that it is available in both English and French. The author of the site states that he is receptive to adding other useful reference tools to the site.

Schoolr is a handy one-stop reference utility.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

Virtual Field Trips

Have you viewed some of the virtual field trips available on the Internet?

From ancient Indian mounds to paintings at the Louvre to a tenement to mummies… your students will enjoy their field trips as they’re learning new information. They can share their new knowledge with their parents as they examine these virtual field trips with them at home afterwards.

I have provided a glimpse into three web sites and just a few of the links available from each. In addition, I have listed some individual sites worth checking. Enjoy!

An article in eSchoolNews talks about the use of video, animation, and graphics to showcase places and events from the past. View ancient Indian mounds, museum exhibitions, or a Mandan village.

Earthworks: Virtual Explorations of the Ancient Ohio Valley

Learning Sites Inc.

On-A-Slant Virtual Village


Tour Colonial Williamsburg, the solar system, or the Louvre. View the universe through Chandra’s X-ray astronomy. Learn about the lives of the immigrants who lived in a New York tenement in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

Check out the electronic field trips from Ball State University. The series for this next school year includes topics in ecosystems, civil rights, migration, and science and mathematics. These field trips include “webisodes,” website, classroom lessons, and two live, 90-minutes TV broadcasts. (There is a fee for schools to participate.)


In addition to many links to virtual field trips, this site provides lots of good ideas for educators who are considering using virtual field trips.

Visit the Smithsonian’s collaboration with the National Zoo for a walk along their Asian Trail.

Watch the Franklin Institute Science Museum’s view of the human brain as it follows bicyclists on the Tour de France.

Additional Sites

Virtual Field Trips

The Teacher’s Guide: Virtual Field Trips

The “OOPS” Virtual Field Trip Page!

VolcanoWorld Virtual Field Trips

Geology Field Trips

Field Trips

Apple Learning Interchange 2007 Virtual Field Trips

Virtual Field Trips

Homework Spot Field Trip Archive