Friday, September 26, 2008

Clipping the Web

I have enjoyed and learned much from the online courses in which I have participated. I have appreciated being able to access the courses at times and places convenient for me. I like the fact that I can send communications to my instructors at whatever time works best for me… and my experience has been that they respond to me quickly.

I recently read an article in Education Week about online learning. I wasn’t interested in bookmarking the entire web page. However, there were a few quotations that I thought I’d like to keep for use in future discussions of the subject. ( allows me to do just that… to save text clippings or even images and videos on a web page. So I clipped some comments that I wanted to keep and posted them to Delicious so I could access them later. I could also post them to FriendFeed, Twitter, Facebook, iGoogle, or a Netvibes home page.

I can view my clipping on my Clipmarks page. If I choose to make my clippings public, I can view them on the public Clipmarks page. I can post them to my blog—several blogging platforms are supported—or email them to friends or print them. Here’s the clips I posted to this blog.

clipped from
One must have a level of maturity that usually only comes with chronological age to engage in such a responsibility.

Overall, I found the experience GREAT! I believe it helped me to grow intellectually in the way of technological intelligence and in my abstract and critical thinking.

But I don't miss at all the distractions, the unavoidable traffic and parking, the need to make an appointment with a professor who is only available 3-5 pm twice a week.

blog it

In order to use Clipmarks, I installed an extension for Firefox. Extensions are also available for Internet Explorer and Flock. To clip, I first click the green clip button. Then I highlight what I want and click the clip button to select it. When I have finished clipping, I click Done Clipping and choose what I am going to do with my clippings—save, blog, email, or print them.

I can follow someone by choosing him/her as a Guide. That way I can see what that individual clips.

I can place a widget of my clips to a MySpace page, blog, or other site. I chose to put a widget on my iGoogle page.

Why would I—or you—want to use Clipmarks? The testimonials listed on the Clipmarks page suggest these reasons:
  • archive information
  • store information that interests me
  • stay up-to-date on a topic
  • share ideas that I think are important
  • clip and save part of a page
  • clip and save text, graphics, and YouTube videos
  • save directly to your blog
  • e-mail something you just read to a friend
I particularly like the fact that I can save my clippings to Delicious. That way I can access the information I clipped to use it for future work. And the ease of posting clippings to my blog is useful. I haven’t succeeded in posting to my wiki automatically yet. I would like that!

I also like being able to save portions of a web page to my Delicious account. When I pull up the information later when I’m researching a particular topic, I won’t have to re-read the entire page to find the information I wanted to keep.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

K12 Online Conference 2008: Amplifying Possibilities

The K12 Online Conference 2007 provided some of the very best professional development that I experienced last year. My understanding of personal learning networks increased as did my perspective on using cell phones as classroom learning tools. Liz Kolb shared so many great ideas about using cell phones in the classroom! And thanks to Vinnie Vrotny I tested the waters of a professional learning network. I began using Gabcast for my work and introduced it to my students. I learned more about Web 2.0 and understood more about using it in the classroom.

It’s almost time for the K12 Online Conference 2008. Considering how much I learned last year, I want to very strongly encourage you to participate in this year’s conference. Educators (all volunteers) have designed this conference for educators. I expect that the presentations and conversations from this year’s conference will do the same that last year’s did: help us incorporate new technologies into the teaching and learning processes.

This year’s conference uses the theme
Amplifying Possibilities and begins with a pre-conference keynote during the week of October 13. That is followed by two weeks of presentations, October 20-24 and October 27-31. There is no cost for participating in the conference and conference materials are covered by a Creative Commons license. Are you busy with other projects those weeks? You can view the presentations later in online archives. In fact, there are 82 past presentations archived and viewable from the K12 Online 2006 and K12 Online 2007 conferences.

This year’s conference has four strands. Quoting briefly from the conference materials, these strands and their purposes follow.
Getting Started: Everything you wanted to know about getting started with web 2.0 technologies for learning but were afraid to ask.
Kicking It Up a Notch: This strand amplifies ways new technologies can be used to transform classroom and personal learning.
Prove It: What are “best practices” for teaching and learning with the new participatory media?
Leading the Change: Presentations in this strand will both showcase successful strategies as well as amplify critical issues which must be addressed for innovative learning methods to be adopted by teachers, librarians, and administrators on a more widespread basis.
Mark these dates on your calendar and join me at the K12 Online Conference 2008!


Saturday, September 13, 2008

Dumpr Creates Unique Photo Effects

Rubik Cube Generator
Create your own Rubik's Cube

John Evans posted some interesting sites on Leader Talk recently. I haven’t investigated all the sites yet, but I had fun with the one I did visit.

Art Museum
Museum by

Dumpr ( is a utility for photos. You select one of several effects, upload a photo, and Dumpr creates a unique product using your photo.

You may create as many effects as you wish. Most of the effects are free; however, some are available for Pro users only. You don’t have to have an account to use Dumpr. But, if you do register, you can add titles and descriptions and re-use recently-uploaded photos. Dumpr supports JPEG, GIF, and PNG formats. Users must be at least 13 years old.

If you do sign up for a Pro account ($12 yearly), you can use some effects that are not available for free accounts, you see no more ads, and you can embed directly to blogs and some social networks.

Check out the photo effects that I very quickly created.

Easter egg
Create your own Easter Egg at

Annenberg Produces Multimedia Mathematics Series

I am always impressed by the products that Annenberg Media produces. Mathematics Illuminated ( is no exception.

Mathematics Illuminated is an interesting series about key themes in mathematics. The content is geared for adults, including high school teachers. As I examined the series, I also found sections that can be used effectively by middle school teachers. I would have loved to have this series available when I was teaching mathematics! The goals for those participating in the course are that they:
  • "recognize the fundamental role of mathematics in all intellectual and artistic pursuits"
  • "appreciate that mathematics can help us illuminate, define, and predict the world around us"
  • "develop a better understanding of the nature of mathematics"
Units in the series include primes, combinatorics, infinity, topology, symmetry, geometry, game theory, networks, and chaos. Learning is accomplished with videos, online textbooks, interactive web activities, and group and individual activities. The videos provide historical background for the concepts, interviews with experts, animations that explain the concepts, and real-world applications of the concepts. Mathematicians of both the past and the present are included in the course materials. And national and local standards in mathematics are referenced.

Some of the additional resources include video transcripts, a glossary, and a timeline of mathematical concepts. Components in the series may be used individually or as part of the entire course. The facilitator and participant guides are based on an inquiry-based model in which participants become active explorers. The course materials may be downloaded as PDF files.

If you teach middle school or high school mathematics or just find mathematics to be fascinating, you definitely want to examine Mathematics Illuminated. And when you visit, be sure to check out the interactive web activities!


Saturday, September 6, 2008

Create CD and DVD Labels That Look Great!

When I recommend software, I usually try to suggest free programs. I also make sure that anything I suggest works with both Windows and Macintosh operating systems. However, I am currently using a Macintosh program which is not free ($35.95), but which I love… so I thought you might be interested in learning about it.

DiscLabel (from SmileOnMyMac) is inexpensive software for Macs which you can use to create and print labels for CDs, DVDs, and jewel case inserts. And… best of all… the labels and inserts look professional!

My husband and I created DVDs of family photos and movies as Christmas gifts for our family last year. I played with several designs for the DVD labels. I've posted one of them here.

Some of the features of DiscLabel are:
  • works with multiple layers
  • can apply effects (blur, sharpen, distort, color, stylize)
  • use circular text (multi-line, if you wish)
  • import playlists and track art from iTunes
  • import albums and pictures from iPhoto
  • can use direct-to-disc printers
  • drag and drop images from Finder and Photoshop (PSD) files
  • can copy and paste images
You can use one of many provided templates or create your own design. More than 1,300 clip art images come with the program for you to use. DiscLabel is available in English, Japanese, German, Italian, and French.

Technology allows both teachers and students to create projects and to share stories. Sometimes the best way to distribute these creations is by posting them on the web. Other times a CD or a DVD that you can make available to parents or the community is the best choice. DiscLabel can help make those CDs and DVDs look professional!