Saturday, August 30, 2008

Resources for Blogging... for Teachers, Administrators, and Students

Are you considering blogging… as a teacher? As an administrator? As a student activity?

If your answer is yes to any of these questions, you will probably want to examine some helpful resources. The Moving Forward wiki -- administered by Dr. Scott McLeod -- lists resources dealing with moving into the 21st century. One section of this wiki -- -- contains resources for K-12 blogging, including real-life examples for students, teachers, and administrators. You’ll find helpful information here whether you’re beginning a blog for the first time or you’re an experienced blogger.

Resources include a list of the reasons why blogging is such a good tool for teaching as well as reasons why administrators should blog. Guidance is provided for teachers who blog and those who use blogging as an instructional tool. A workshop from TeachersFirst for teachers who are starting blogging in the classroom includes safety suggestions. A variety of tools for setting up blogs either for an individual blog or for a classroom blog can be examined.

Links to many examples of blogs are available. You can read blogs from elementary classrooms, elementary teachers, secondary classrooms, secondary teachers, principals, central office personnel, librarians, and counselors. There are also blogs focusing on music education, K-12 computer science, and special education.

I am convinced you will find lots of ideas at this site to help you in your blogging activities.

If you would like to listen to this blog entry rather than read it, select play on the Gabcast player below.

Gabcast! Learning and Teaching in the 21st Century #11


Sunday, August 24, 2008

Make Free Games with ClassTools

I discovered a cool tool at Vicki Davis' blog recently. She told about, a site where you can create games, activities, and diagrams which you can host on your blog or web site. And using the site is free!

You can create several different types of arcade games or create a timeline or analyze sources. (Look at the list I've posted to see what the various options are.) The site is easy to use. Samples of each option--with comments--can be viewed. You can save your creations as well as post them. You might even have your students create the games.

Try my
matching pair game about polygons!

Click here for full screen version

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Classroom 2.0 is a Great Resource

I’m busy preparing for the courses I’m teaching this fall. One is new to my schedule and I’m excited about teaching it. I think its content is relevant and will be interesting to my students who will be fulltime teachers before too long. The other course is one I’ve taught for several years. This fall I’m changing the teaching process in this course to allow the students to have more opportunities to collaborate, to communicate, and to be creative. I’ll probably write more about some of these changes in the next weeks and months.

As I’ve been thinking about this new school year, I knew that I’d like to share in this blog something that would be valuable to you throughout the whole year. The first thing that came to my mind was Classroom 2.0 (

Classroom 2.0 is a social network for educators who are interested in effectively using technology in education. What might you do at Classroom 2.0? You can…
  • watch a video or chat with hosts or explore on your own to become familiar with Classroom 2.0,
  • search the web site for information about programs that particularly interest you,
  • go to the forum to ask questions,
  • read blog posts,
  • add one of the live web meetings to your schedule, or
  • find interesting discussions via tags.
What might you find? How about other teachers who are using…

blogs, calendars, collaborative documents, collaborative idea maps, collaborative spreadsheets, course management, gaming, google earth, interactive boards, instant messaging, internet telephony, mapping, microblogging, online meetings, photo sharing, podcasting, presentation, rss and readers, screencasting, social bookmarking, social networking, social notetaking, start pages, video conferencing, video sharing, virtual worlds, webmail, wikis…

or who teach…

art, biliteracy-bilingual education, biology, chemistry, English, English as a foreign language, English as a second language, foreign languages, geography, history, math, music, physical education, religion, science, social studies…

or who are interested in…

acceptable use policies, administration, assessment, collaboration opportunities, computer labs, cyberbullying, elementary, gifted, inter-classroom collaboration, internet safety, middle or junior high, online education, open source software, parents, philosophy / pedagogy, pre-K, professional development, secondary or high school, software and service reviews, special needs?

Are other teachers using this social network? There were 10,687 members when I last checked (on August 17).

A (very) few of the many groups that you can join are…
  • DigiSkills
  • The Inclusion Revolution - Technology in Special Education
  • John Dewey's Import on Education Reform
  • Second Life
  • Elementary School 2.0
  • Implementing Instructional Technology Innovations
  • Professional Development
  • elearning for music
  • Elementary Reading Teachers
  • Online Educators
  • Assistive Technology Now
  • ArtTeach
  • Exchange Teachers
  • Five Minds for the Future: Discussion
  • Secondary Social Studies & Technology
Check out these Classroom 2.0 links…
I think you will probably agree that Classroom 2.0 is an excellent resource that you can use throughout the entire school year.

I hope your school year is a great one for both you and your students!


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Use Olympics data for student graphs and an RSS illustration

Are you enjoying watching the Olympics? Your students probably are, too, so use this interesting event to help you teach.

Gather some data from the Olympic Medal Tally, a gadget for your iGoogle page, for your students to use to create graphs. If your students are in school before the Olympics are completed, their graphs can also illustrate the changes from day to day.

Vicki Davis suggests using the Olympic Medal Tally to illustrate RSS to students in an interesting way.

Saturday, August 9, 2008


Would you like a quick, easy way for your students to hear the presidential candidates talk about various issues? Check out a new gadget from Google. It’s called the Google Elections Video Search.

You enter a term to search. I tried education, of course. Then choose whether you want to see and hear all politicians or McCain or Obama. A list of videos from YouTube’s political channels is then available for you to choose. Each one has a title, how long ago it occurred, how long the clip is, and how many times your search term is used. When you look at the video, you can see yellow annotations where your term is used in the video timeline. Videos are ranked by frequency of search term, date, and source.

How does this work? Google Elections Video Search uses speech recognition software to create transcripts of the videos. Google’s blog states that some of the transcripts may not be 100% correct, but that Google is working to make the transcripts more accurate. The blog also points out that
Candidates can control the videos that appear in the gadget by managing the content they upload to YouTube.
You can choose the Google Elections Video Search as a gadget to install on an iGoogle page. To learn more about this gadget, go to

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Electing the President in the USA

In the USA we talk about "one person, one vote"... yet that is not how the president of the country is chosen. And sometimes that's a bit difficult to explain.

CommonCraft--the company that produces the excellent "in plain English" videos--has created a video to do the explaining.

Check it out!