Sunday, October 28, 2007

More Interactive Web Sites

Earlier this month (10.8.2007) I listed some interactive web sites I had found in recent research. Here’s the remainder of that list, covering grades kindergarten through 12 and many of the subjects taught in those grades.

Resource Materials and Technology Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing
Interactive web sites for language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, and general
Kindergarten Literacy and Math
Online interactive web sites for mathematics and literacy, includes additional links for activities for grades 1 through 8
internet4classrooms search results for “interactive”
includes interactive sites for grades 1 through 8

SmartBoard Resources
Interactive web sites and lessons for using SmartBoards
Internet Math Web Sites for Students and Teachers
Links to many good sites for mathematics
The Teacher’s Guide
Wide variety of sites, rated
Primary Interactive Whiteboard Resources
Mathematics, literacy, science, other subjects for primary grades
Free Elementary Science Activities
Interactive science web sites for elementary grades
The Interactive Classroom
Pre-K through 12, ready, spelling, mathematics, language arts, art, foreign languages, music, science, social studies, multimedia
Human Body
Interactive Web Sites for AP Statistics
Interactivate: interactive Java-based courseware for science and mathematics
Topics in Mathematics
Interactive web sites, mathematics
Transforming Teaching Through Technology
Fine arts, health, language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, financial literacy for elementary
Interactive Websites - Reading and Language Arts
Economics and Financial Literacy

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Podcasting Made Easy

Play the podcast of this week's blog entry on the player... or read the blog entry itself!

Podcasts are not difficult to create. Nonetheless, they do require a decent microphone, some audio editing software, a set of procedures… and a bit of a learning curve. Well, at least, until Gabcast became available. Now they’re just plain easy!

Use a cell phone or a VoIP client or a landline touch-tone phone. No microphone. No audio editing software.

After you record your podcast, post the podcast to your blog. Gabcast plays well with Blogger, TypePad, WordPress, and other blogging software.

Individuals who subscribe to your Gabcast channel are notified when you publish a podcast made with Gabcast.

A basic membership is free. You can use up to 200 MB of disk space and each episode can be up to 60 minutes long. RSS feeds and integration into your blog are included. Upgraded memberships with additional features are available for a fee. You must be 13 or older to create an account.

So how do you create a podcast with Gabcast?

1. Sign up
2. Login
3. Create a channel
4. Record an episode
5. Publish the episode

You’re done! ☺

Gabcast is published by a small company in Canada. You can check out their web site ( to learn about other useful features.

I learned about Gabcast from Liz Kolb’s presentation, Cell Phones as Classroom Learning Tools (, at the K12 Online Conference 2007 ( Gabcast is just one of many Web 2.0 applications that Liz discussed in her excellent talk about applications for cell phones and how we can use these applications in the classroom.

If you’ve thought about using podcasts in your classroom, but thought they were too much work, this may be the solution for you.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

K-12 Online Conference 2007: Playing with Boundaries

This year’s K-12 Online Conference ( is truly an international conference… and it’s free. Educators throughout the world are sharing ways that Web 2.0 tools and technologies can be used to help our students--and us--learn. The theme this year is Playing with Boundaries. The pre-conference keynote took place this past week. This week and next, October 15-19 and October 22-26, forty presentations will be available to download and view. Live events will also be announced. If you’re interested in information about professional development and/or graduate credit, check out this site:

PRE CONFERENCE KEYNOTE: Inventing the New Boundaries by David Warlick

I just listened to the pre-conference keynote address by David Warlick. He commented that his generation was the last that could develop an insight into its future by watching their fathers and their fathers’ careers… that we are now educating students for a future that we do not know.

As I think about teaching my students, David’s comments ring true. When I taught mathematics, I knew what my students would experience when they studied mathematics in college. And I knew what they needed to be able to do when using mathematics in their careers. When I started teaching computer science --programming-- I was self-taught. Well, to be truthful, my students and I taught each other. But, I soon returned to college so I could experience what my computer science students would experience in college. All so I could do a better job teaching them. Now that I teach instructional technology for preservice teachers, I find that we are preparing for a future that does not yet exist. There’s no place to go to experience what these students will experience in their careers. Instead, we--i.e., they and I--need to invent their futures… and be open for change… by communicating, collaborating, and working creatively.

David also talked about boundaries… old ones no longer existent, new ones developed when and as needed. Well, obviously, David’s comments got me thinking. I recommend that you view and/or listen to his pre-conference keynote!


The easiest way to access the conference presentations is through the conference schedule, which is linked and updated daily. The conference schedule and lots of other helpful information is available at I urge you to “attend” this conference. Remember… if you’re too busy to attend this week or next, it’ll still be available on the web for your perusal later.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Interactive Web Sites

As I've looked for good, interactive web sites that can be used on Smart Boards and other interactive white boards, I've found that these web sites are more likely to be accessible in groups rather than singly. So, most--although not all--of the web sites listed in today's blog entry are locations where you can browse and choose the web sites most useful to you. I think you'll find some very helpful sites in this list!

TeachersFirst ( shares an interactive web site that can be used to help study Edgar Allan Poe’s poem, The Raven. Literary devices highlighted are alliteration, assonance, internal rhyme, and vocabulary words. I think this is a very interesting approach for studying this poem, but I do have to admit that Poe is my second-most favorite poet!

While still at TeachersFirst, check out the featured sites for the week of September 30, 2007. You’ll find several interactive web sites that look very useful…
  • BBC-GCSE Bitesize English, recommended for teaching writing in grades 8 through 12
  • and other web sites: reading, upcoming elections, oceans, music

Teacher Magazine ( features the National Library of Virtual Manipulatives which has more than 100 free digital games, tutorials, and virtual manipulatives. PreK through grade 12 students can practice a variety of mathematics concepts aligned with the standards. Activities range from playing with virtual blocks to programming a “turtle” to navigate a maze.

Readers of Edutopia in a survey taken in 2006 ( considered Marco Polo as the best site for downloading free lessons and materials. Marco Polo is now known as Thinkfinity: Literacy, Education and Technology
( I think the easiest way to search for interactive sites at Thinkfinity is to use the Search Thinkfinity search engine ( with interactive as the keyword. This search engine finds the interactive web sites and indicates which professional organization (e.g., NCTE or NCTM) is responsible for them. You’ll find some very good sites here.

To learn about the Constitution, try where you can interact with information gathered from documents, background essays, and a bibliography. You'll be able to read George Washington’s annotated draft of the Constitution, visualize the Founders by using an interactive painting, and participate in other interesting activities.

The NetSmartz interactive web site teaches students about Internet safety. Many resources, including videos are available… and the site is up-to-date.

Interactive Websites for Grades PreK-12 in reading, language arts, mathematics, science, social studies, and assessment are available.

teacher tap has interactive web sites, games, and activities for a variety of areas.

Interactive Websites for the Primary Grades as compiled by Sue LeBeau for mathematics, literacy, science, and miscellaneous topics are available.

Elementary Mathematics Sites can be found at

Ten Cool Sites provides some interesting sites at the Exploratorium when you do a search for interactive.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Rubrics, Safety, History, Computer Lab, and a Game

As I was preparing a list of interactive web sites for an upcoming blog entry (hopefully, next week), I came across several web sites and short items that I think you’ll find interesting. It’s a diverse lot, but with some useful… and some fun… ideas.

The October 1, 2007 update from TeachersFirst ( includes a short course--Rubrics to the Rescue--for creating and implementing rubrics as an assessment tool. See

Their Featured Sites for the Week of September 30, 2007
( include a very useful site--Safe Teens--about Internet safety for teens. Even if you know this topic well, this is worth examining… and sharing. See

They also featured a fun site--Fake Out!--which is great for building vocabulary. Your students can even participate by making up some of the “incorrect” definitions for words to be featured in upcoming weeks and submitting them. I had fun at this one! See

Teacher Magazine led me to the Time magazine archive. See
This is a free database of the almost 300,000 stories published since 1923. You can search by topic or keywords or by date. These stories--which are history for us--were current events when the articles were written. That changes the perspective!

Teacher Magazine also published at a good article--What Could Go Wrong?--about taking elementary students into the computer lab. The author has some good ideas for saving your sanity!