Monday, January 26, 2009
Check it out, people!!! For those of us teachers who find the Greatest Videos on youtube, but can't access them at school because of local or state filters...here is your Holy Grail. CamStudio. There is a free solution. Camstudio is open source screen video capture software that you can download. Right now. Really! Just go to camstudio.org and download the free version.
Then, all you have to do is choose a youtube video that you just can't live without, select the region on your screen you want to record (usually just the video window, but you can record whatever else you're doing on your desktop if you want...), press record and then watch the video...voila!
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Take the quiz yourself and see how nerdy you really are. You might be surprised.
You Are 36% Nerdy
You're a little nerdy, but no one would ever call you a nerd.
You sometimes get into nerdy things, but only after they've become a part of mainstream culture.
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
EduCon is in Philadelphia this weekend!
Boy oh boy, do I wish I was going to Philly this weekend. It promises to be a very interesting weekend at the Science Leadership Academy (who is hosting the conference). Click on the title to this post to link to the wiki that has all the conference information, or paste this into your browser:
But since I can't actually go, I am going to be a virtual attendee--yes, that's the beauty of all this social networking buzz that's going on...I can experience it anyway (and save gas!) by joining the wiki and watching live streaming video (or listening to audio) of the conference sessions. You can also watch the videos after the conference has ended.
I actually have never been to an EduCon event, and I found this one through Classroom 2.0, the educators social networking site, par excellence created by Steve Hargadon on Ning. Click on this link to check it out:
Since I am pretty new to classroom 2.0, I am only a little familiar with the network, but I do know they offer a very rich selection of free online workshops for educators! Just what I needed...I swear, this stuff is coming at me faster than I can read. Anyway, as an example of what you can find on this site, take a look at this movie tutorial posted by a facilitator on how to set up an RSS feed reader (bloglines) for your classroom. Be patient, it's a screen capture of what she wanted to show you on her computer. So at first it just looks like a webpage that you can't use...listen for her voice...
Friday, January 16, 2009
- Sign up for a free Google account!
I have a gmail account which makes using all sorts of Google tools very easy to integrate into my life, professionally and personally. However, you can open a Google account using your current email address and avoid concerns you may have about opening an additional email account.
Ahh...I will digress...I remember when I opened my gmail account. It was a very swish thing to do because back then you had to receive an invitation from an existing Google account holder to open one. Very exclusive. You had to have a confirmation code text-messaged to your cellular phone and enter the code to open the account--very Mission Impossible. Who knew if the message would self-destruct? Now, it's so easy anyone can do it!
GoogleDocs allows users to create word-processing, spreadsheet and presentation documents online that are compatible with MSOffice and many open-source office suites. It allows you to store, edit, share and collaborate with others to create these documents and you can even IM to the collaborators while you do it! This is an excellent way to facilitate collaborative projects for your students without requiring them to plan face-to-face meetings outside of school.
You can keep track of who is editing the document and when they are doing it (yes! date/time stamps!) and what they are adding to the project. This solves the age-old problem of being able to tell if the workload in a student group is being carried in a balanced way, which is one oft-cited drawback of participating in a group project.
I had the idea of posting times to your students of when you will available via IM to provide real-time feedback to students on their writing or other work. For example, "If you need help with your homework tonight, I will be available online through Google between 5 and 7 pm." Also, students can also ask you questions or you can give answers or feedback when you are online at different times by adding comments to the document in different colors.
One of the best reasons to do this is that there is ONLY ONE, most recent version of each project at any given time. There aren't multiple versions of the file bouncing around to everyone's email address! You don't even have to bring a flash drive with you anywhere to grade anyone's work. It's all online. All the time.
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
Several teachers were very reflective about making sure the technology use was meaningful for the students. Comments included:
1. Make sure you keep a few probes in your classroom for impromptu experimentation and demonstrations. This will encourage you to use the probes frequently in a way that keeping them in a supply closet down the hall cannot.
2. Frequent use of the probes and LoggerPro software reduces the "wow" factor of the technology. This is a good thing. It allows the students to see past the hardware and into the content that you are trying to convey to them.
3. Frequent use also encourages the students to think about how they might use the probeware in their own, student-directed experiments. This is the key to effectively using probe technology to help the students develop 21st century skills. For example, one of the teachers in the training offered this advice:
"I always say to my students, 'Pretend there is a Vernier probe to measure anything you want to measure. Then, invent your experiment. After your experiment is invented, ask me if we have a probe that will do that.' This way, their problem solving is not limited by what they don't know about the available probes." --Middle School Science Teacher