Technology Education Know-How

Helping Teachers Teach with Technology
February 22nd, 2009

Free Web Browser Teleprompter

This week I ran across this cool tool that students can use when recording their podcasts or any other script. It helps students flow in their reading. As multimedia and podcasting continues to grow this tool will come in handy. You simply copy the text from the script, past it into the block and click the scroll button. It changes to full screen and the text rolls just like on a real news teleprompter. AND IT IS FREE! http://www.cueprompter.com/ You can adjust the speed of scrolling, stop and start, and reverse during live scrolling. You can even do the mirror display if you are using real teleprompter equipment. It does all of this right in your web browser so no download or other software needed. AND IT IS FREE!
It will only take you about 30 seconds to copy and paste your text and have it scrolling, so swing by http://www.cueprompter.com and give it a try. Leave a comment letting everyone know how you used it.

February 17th, 2009

New Free Flash Tool for the Classroom!!!

This week a friend of mine introduced me to a new web app that your students will just LOVE! It is Ajax Animator found at http://antimatter15.110mb.com/ajaxanimator/build/ I’m always looking for free alternatives and this one is AWESOME! This is an alternative to Adobe’s (Macromedia’s) Flash. Students can access this application by simply going to the link. You can export to flash or animated gifs. Most of all it’s FREE! That being said, it does have some bugs. But, for the most part it works great!

When your students get involved with creating animations with frame based apps like this they will learn higher order and problem solving skills. They will be forced to calculate and solve animation glitches to correct speed, direction and handling multiple objects. They can create animated graphics for their powerpoints, videos, and web pages. They can tell short stories, give demonstrations, and create simulations and much more. Wouldn’t it be nice if you were teaching about the moon phases and your students created a simulation to demonstrate their understanding? How cool would that be!? The ways this tool can be used is endless. Just the hands on math experience alone is worth giving this a try with your students.

Please leave a comment letting others know how you use Flash or other animation tools in your classroom.

Note: Be very careful you can get addicted to this!

February 9th, 2009

Flickr and the Library of Congress

As a photographer I’m always on one the lookout for great photography. As an educator I’m always on the lookout for photography that captures a piece of history with great relevance that teachers can use in education. This week the Library of Congress added a Photostream Set of Abraham Lincoln. These are truly great photographs! You’ll find the entire Library of Congress’ Flickr Sets of over 5,000 pictures here. http://www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/ I’ve included the photo stream in my post below but I’m sure you’ll enjoy perusing the complete collection. You can subscribe in your RSS reader and get updates any time they add to their collection. Thanks Library of Congress, this is a great tool for education!!!

You can also find other great collections from the Worlds Public Photography Archives in the Flickr Commons at http://www.flickr.com/commons. There you’ll find collections from the Smithsonian, Imperial War Museum, and the New York Public Library along with several others.

Be very careful here History Buffs, you can end up spending a lot of time here. I hope you find this resource useful for your classroom and instruction. Please, leave a comment letting me and others know how you’ve used this resource in your classroom. We can all learn from your experiences!

January 13th, 2009

Updated WordPress to 2.7

I finally got around to updating my wordpress to vs. 2.7.  I’ve been on 2.0 for a while now.  I’m liking the new dashboard!  Anyway, please let me know if you find anything on my site that isn’t working correctly.

January 9th, 2009

Educational PowerPoint Resources Galore!!!

This week I was reminded of how powerful PowerPoint can be in the classroom if used correctly. So, I went back to one of my former blog posts to pull a resource for a teacher. Well, the link to my resource was dead. I spent a little time this morning reacquainting myself with some PowerPoint resources and found plenty to share. I love not having to re-invent the wheel. Below you will find links to a plethora of PowerPoint resources, templates, premade presentations and even tutorials. I hope you find the resources helpful.
http://jc-schools.net/PPTs-la.html This one is LA but you can click on other subjects to get resources for them. Lots of great stuff here!
http://facstaff.uww.edu/jonesd/games/
http://people.uncw.edu/ertzbergerj/ppt_games.html
http://teach.fcps.net/trt10/PowerPoint.htm
http://teach.fcps.net/trt14/Power%20Point%20Games/power_point_games.htm
http://elainefitzgerald.com/gametemplates.htm
http://www.pppst.com/templates.html
http://www.nebo.edu/misc/learning_resources/ppt/
http://www.pppst.com/index.html
http://www.murray.k12.ga.us/teacher/kara%20leonard/Resource%20Folder/Integretating%20Technology.htm
http://www.vickiblackwell.com/ppttemplates.html
http://it.coe.uga.edu/wwild/pptgames/
http://grammar.ccc.commnet.edu/grammar/powerpoint.htm
http://clear.msu.edu/dennie/matic/
http://its.leesummit.k12.mo.us/powerpoint.htm
http://www.wiu.edu/users/mfjro1/wiu/tea/game-files/gamesfront.htm

Enjoy!

November 25th, 2008

Online Voice Recording for Student Playback

Sorry for the delay in posting, I’ve been extremely busy these past few weeks.

What an awesome tool http://vocaroo.com/widgets.php !!  With this tool and a microphone your students can login onto your wiki or blog record their reading and play it back!  What K-2 teacher couldn’t use this?

It doesn’t save the recording in any location so you don’t have to worry about copy right issues.  The student simply clicks the record now button, reads his/her story into the mic and then presses stop.  The student can then listen to his recording as many times as he likes.  (just don’t close it)  Once the page is closed the recording is lost. 

Another option for use is having a student read for other students to listen or for a teacher to read and have students listen.  This is a great way for struggling readers to hear themselves or other quality readers to help them improve their reading skills. 

One librarian is using this as a library center http://monarchcenters.wikispaces.com/readingrecording .  What other ways can this be used?  Leave a comment and share your ideas for this tool.  Play with it over Thanksgiving break and see what you can come up with.

If you want to save the recordings then you’ll want to look at other options, but then you need to be careful with copyright issues. 

October 24th, 2008

Timelines in the Classroom

Timelines can be used for a lot of subjects in education. They can be used for things like studying US History and Scientific Experiments to tracking the stats of your favorite (Longhorns) football team.

An online collaborative tool that you can use is www.xtimeline.com Your students can collaborate in the classroom or from home. They can post images, maps, links and videos that they find to their timelines.

Check out this US Civil War timeline that a student created. Use the green dot at the bottom to navigate the timeline.

Do you have a student that you have a hard time getting to buckle down and do his research? What if you gave him a topic that he likes and a computer to create a timeline of that topic? He can find articles to link to, videos to post and images to demonstrate. Check out this timeline about the life of Michael Jordan. What kid wouldn’t research their favorite athlete?

For your kindergarten students you can even timeline your daily events together. This can help them get an idea of sequencing, time and scheduling.

This tool can be used in hundreds of ways. Leave a comment about how you plan to use it or how you have used it.

September 25th, 2008

Wordle in Education

Over this past summer there was a lot of educational blogging about the use of Wordle. So, I’ve debated about bringing it up again. But, being that the purpose of my blog is to bring tools and ideas to teachers, I determined that this was the right time to bring it up. Basically, this is when teachers are searching for ideas.

Wordle is a tool that creates a graphical display to show the frequency of word usage in a text, web page or document. This is called a Word Cloud. The bigger the word is, indicates its dominance of usage. As I’m sure you know; Visual Feedback can give a more lucid understanding of what you read. To give you an example here is the “First Inaugural Address by George Washington in 1789”.

You or your students can use this tool in many ways.

Here are some ideas that I’ve had:

1. Students can use it to monitor the frequency of word usage in their own writings.

a. How often do they use the same adjectives or nouns?

b. Are they overusing words?

2. Students can use it to analyzing news articles.

a. What is this article about?

b. What’s the gist that the author is trying to get across?

c. Check out this assignment http://www.boxoftricks.net/?p=103

3. Teachers can use it for field trip reviews.

a. Have each student generate a list of what they saw are learned on the field trip. Combine the list, copy and paste into Wordle. Whoop! you have an instant “What’s Important List” from the field trip. (side note: A wiki would be good for creating that list. 😉 )

4. Teachers can create a Current Events Analysis.

a. Copy the RSS feed from popular news sights like Google News and use Wordle to give you the hot topics.

b. Copy the text from a news page and use the same way.

5. What are your students listening to? Copy and paste the lyrics of popular songs into Wordle and find out.

6. What is important on your school campus? Copy and paste your schools mission and vision statements into Wordle and find out. My schools Wordle.

7. Self Reflection; If you where to write a story about yourself, what would your Wordle say?

8. Current Study posters. What is curricularly important in your class this week? Create a Wordle that visualizes that.

There are as many ways to use Wordle as there are clouds in the sky. If you where to Wordle this blog post what would be the biggest word? So, today’s theme would be? You guessed it, Wordle!

Leave a post and let me know how you used or plan to use Wordle in your educational setting.

September 9th, 2008

Pre-made Presentations and Templates

I’m always on the prowl to find something new. This week I found a collection of pre-made presentations and templates. The presentations, templates and activities range from ABC to Zoo. If you can think of it, there seems to be one here. Many of the presentations are in Power Point, pdf or online. Most are Power Point. In each topic there are presentations, templates, student activities and many of them have teacher lesson plans to go with it. Take a look around at http://www.pppst.com/themes.html#L. I think you’ll find some great stuff to use here.

The good part about using these pre-made Power Points is that if you need to change something, you can. It’s totally adaptable for you and your students.

Some of the topics that I found of interest were ADHD, Telling Time, Texas History, Asthma, Bill of Rights, Cause and effect, Decimals, and even Thunder. There are over 1050 topics to pick from. What are you teaching this week? Maybe there is a Power Point or activity there just for you!

August 29th, 2008

Parent Newsletters in Email

It’s that time of year where teachers start sending home newsletters.  It’s becoming more popular to send those newsletters home in email than on paper copies.  You know the whole save the trees thing.  I’m going to share with you three bad parts of this and then a resolve. 

Bad #1. Not every parent has the program or fonts that you used to create your nifty little newsletter.  When they get it they can’t open it or the fonts have turned to gibberish, so they can’t read it. 

Bad #2. If you send your news letter in the most popular format .doc then the parents can edit and make changes to your news letter.  (A good reason to keep your original on file!)

Bad #3. Again, if you use a .doc file parents are able to see all the little red and green squiggly lines.  Not that any of you make mistakes, but if you did it’s like BROADCASTING “there is a mistake here . .  . . hey hey look over here. . . I’m a mistake look at me!” 

Resolve. Use a converter and convert that .doc file into a .pdf file.  Anyone can read these.  If they don’t have the program to view the .pdf file they can download it for free.  You say, “What if they don’t have internet access?”  Well, good point!  If that’s the case, they can’t get their email.  So, you’ll want to print it for them and send it home.  😉  I know that was smarty wasn’t it.  Sorry! 

Here is an online converter that I have found to work perfectly with Word and Publisher files.  http://www.doc2pdf.net/converter/  You simply brows for the file on your computer and click the convert button.  It automatically opens your new .pdf file.  All you need to do is save it.  Note:  Be sure to use the save button in the PDF area not the file save of Internet Explorer. 

I hope you find this tip helpful.  If you have other ideas about this please leave a comment so everyone can benefit.  Thanks for reading!