Sunday, December 23, 2007
Friday, December 21, 2007
Until then, have a safe and merry holiday!
(And remember to take it easy on the eggnog........)
Friday, November 30, 2007
Common Craft is a production company. To quote their website "Our product is explanation." Explanations are what they do and they do it well (with great diagrams and simple common words). I really enjoy their videos - clear, concise, and to the point. The little paper animations are lots of fun too.
What I learned from this particular video describes exactly how and why WebBlogs (Blogs) have been an important innovation. Yes they are an easy way for somebody to post up their daily thoughts and ramblings, but they are much, much more. Blogs take the media out of the hands of the giants and gives it to us little guys (and no not all of us are Davids). Anybody with access to a computer can easily become a publisher.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Here they are:
Using Google Docs, Part 1 and
Using Google Docs, Part 2 (Formatting)
Google Documents is an excellent FREE web based set of office tools (word processor, spreadsheet, presentations). The nice thing about them is that you can access your files from any computer with an internet connection.
Part 1 of Rob's screencast is the basics of opening, using, and saving documents in Google docs. Part 2 shows how to use formatting options like alignment, text fonts, and text colours. If you are familar with other word processors than Part 2 will seem a little elementary but that is ok.
What I am waiting for is for Rob to get to adding collaborators to a Google document - that way multiple people can work on the same document at the same time! Lots of possibilities for us teachers!
Good work Rob. (And thanks for letting me post them here. Blogging is so much easier when you don't actually have to make up anything yourself.)
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Wednesday, November 7, 2007
This is a short video summarizing some of the most important characteristics of students today - how they learn, what they need to learn, their goals, hopes, dreams, what their lives will be like, and what kinds of changes they will experience in their lifetime. Created by Michael Wesch in collaboration with 200 students at Kansas State University.
Umm, how many of us are old school teachers. Come on admit it (as I sheepishly raise my hand). Are we really giving students what they need? Do you hate the question "Why do we need to learn this?" Am I delivering content in the most appropriate way? Is it the right content?
Bah, what am I thinking. Since I am always right my methods must always be right. These students just don't know what they need to know. No need to change how things are done.(/sarcasm)
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
11 Steps to Online Parental Supervision of Your Children
She makes some great points about how to supervise them. The main points I picked up is that you have to be online with them. If they Facebook then join them as a friend. Comment on what they post online. She also advocates educating your children. Yes, use blocking software but don't overblock.
Vicki also has a policy of "my house, my business." I like that policy. Keep in mind that out in the corporate world email and web histories are never private, so let them get used to it.
Read her post. To me it strikes a good balance between safety, security, and freedom.
Tuesday, October 23, 2007
More posts coming when I calm down. Why? Because there is more.
Monday, October 22, 2007
Sunday, October 14, 2007
Saturday, October 13, 2007
I have heard many good things about Skype. It is a free program that lets you talk over the internet just like you would on a telephone. You need to download a 22mb aplication (and so does everyone you wish to talk to.) A microphone and an internet connection and away you go. It also looks like you can call real phone numbers using Skype as well (but not for free).
On any of these programs always take a minute or two to set up the microphone. It seems that every microphone seems to record at different levels. Expect to take a few minutes online during your first phone conversation to get the levels set up right. I find that the quality of the microphone makes a real difference. Chances are you won't be all that happy with the bargain bin microphone. I am not saying to go out and spend a fortune on a microphone. I use a Logitech headset that I bought for about $40. I prefer to use a headset. If you use a desktop microphone and your computer speakers sometimes the microphone will pick up the sound from the speakers. The other party in your conversation will hear themselves talking back to themselves through your microphone.
Check Skype out. Be cheap and talk over the internet for free.
Thursday, October 4, 2007
In order to use these tools you will need to sign up for a Google account. Rob Wall, one of the other fellows that attended the In School Technical Support PD made a really good screencast of how to sign up for a Google account. (A screencast is a video captured from your computer screen.)
Creating a Google Account
Here is a link to Rob Wall's blog.
Sunday, September 30, 2007
Del.icio.us has some other features that aren't available in most web browser bookmarks. It has a more powerful organizing tool. You can apply numerous tags to each link. You can then organize your links based on tags. You can also sort them by how often you use them. Del.icio.us even lets you subscribe to other users bookmarks. This means that when they add a new bookmark you will get access to it as well. (I haven't tried that feature yet.)
I have mixed feelings about Del.icio.us.
- I can access and edit my links from any computer.
- Sorting options. (Love the tag idea.)
- Networking your bookmarks with other users.
- You can export your existing bookmarks to and from Del.icio.us
- It is not quite as quick to use as the built in bookmarks tab on my web browser.
- I can't install the Del.icio.us buttons on the work machines.
Well, I will keep using it and I will make my final decision later. You can check out my Del.icio.us links on the right side of this page. Please ignore the fact that I obsess over my hobbies.
Thursday, September 27, 2007
Coming soon - video posting instructions.
Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Anyways, how did I do it? I Googled hits counter. It led me to a how to article on the Blogger site itself. The site listed several free counters and I picked EasyHitCounters at random. It gave me some HTML code to put directly into my blog. I added a new page element. When it asked me what type I chose an HTML element. I cut and paste the code from the counter directly onto that element. Done.
Okay- a couple of thoughts. First of all the free counter I used requires me to leave a link to the website that created it. Advertising for them. I am not the most comfortable about that (and may try a different counter later). I guess that they did provide a service. The other thing is that I could have set the starting number at any number I wanted. I thought about it for a minute, but who would believe me if it said that over 1000 people had visited my blog in the first week?
It doesn't help that they took out the section of the blocking pages that allowed us to respond to the administrator (about the blocked pages). Apparently some of our more expressive students were sending colorful messages when they were blocked.
Tuesday, September 25, 2007
The links page really wasn't very hard to add. I just went and edited the blog template. I clicked on the link "Add Page Element." I was asked next what tipe of element I wanted to add. There were about 10 types. A link list is what I used.
I am just experimenting with adding web links to my blog. Here is the address to the In-school Instructional Support Teacher PD information. This is from the presentation where I got all my information from. There are tons of links here to tools that help you use the web to teach.
Adding the link was not too tough. I typed the label I wanted to show. Then I highlighted the words and then clicked on the link button in the window (button has a globe and a chain link on it). It prompted me for a web address to attach to the label and then I was done.
If you want to just show the raw web address then just skip adding a label. Hit the link button without having anything highlighted.
Now I say that it was not too tough but it took me 3 tries to get it right. I just made some silly mistakes.