Monday, January 26, 2009

Frustrated by YouTube Filters at School?

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 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 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

We can't all be leaders...why not follow my blog???

Hey, I'm not trying to say that I'm a leader here...I'm actually madly trying to keep up with it all. It also seems like the more I learn about Teaching 2.0 the less it feels I know!

HowEVAH...why not follow my blog? In my sidebar, you'll see a link that says "Follow this blog" on it and this blog will pop up on your blogger dashboard under "blogs I'm following".

Cool people follow lots of blogs. Really.

Let's see how many people I can get to follow my blog!


How nerdy are YOU?

I am not as nerdy as I like to think I am. I'll have to work on that. I scored very low in the "witty T-shirt fashion" category.

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

My Eyes Have Seen the Glory...

Of the coming of the BLOG!

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

GoogleDocs as an Educational Tool!

To those of you who are not familiar with GoogleDocs I offer this advice:

  • 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

Do you have Vernier probes at your school?

Last week, I ran a series of workshops (middle school level) on using Vernier probes. The teachers in the 7th and 8th grade workshops were so adventurous and clever in the ideas they came up with on integrating the probeware into their classrooms.

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

Vernier Grants

I do a lot of training for Vernier probeware, and the Vernier website is an essential resource for software updates, sample lessons, ideas for innovative uses of the probes (because who wants them sitting in a closet simply because you don't have the time to be creative?) as well as information on free 4-hour training workshops that are offered by Vernier.

This link (you can click on the title to this post, or on the link at the bottom of this post) will bring you to a page that lists resources for writing a grant to help you bring Vernier technology into your classroom.


FREE Web Seminars on!

A few weeks ago, I registered for a free web seminar on (the website for the National Science Teachers Association). I am a member of NSTA, so the seminars are free. I can't recommend joining the NSTA strongly enough for all teachers of science; the depth and breadth of the resources--free and otherwise--is impressive. I find it to be indispensable in my work.

In any case, the webinar I registered for was something like "Stop Faking It! Teaching Force and Motion". I was interested in how the content was being presented and the technology used to present it interested me as well. I was creating a workshop on the same topic and I wanted to see how teachers were reacting to the content and what types of questions they would ask.

How cool it was! There were people participating from all over the world: the US, South and Central America, Europe, the Middle East and Australia. All in real time! There were interactive video presentations and demos...each participant got to manipulate the 'virtual manipulative demos' on their own screen. There was no waiting in line to use them... The presenter used some interesting features in the software to formatively assess the understanding and learning of the participants and adjusted his teaching on the spot.

Even better, you get all sorts of free digital resources to use (for one year) in your classroom or for your own learning when you have finished the web seminar and filled out an evaluation.

Go to it!


Toyota Tapestry Grant Deadline is January 21, 2009!

Don't miss out on this terrific opportunity for science teachers! You can apply for large grants or small/mini ones (maybe you just want to go the NSTA conference in New Orleans next month? I know I do!).

This link will take you to the NSTA site that has all sorts of important information on writing an effective grant application, examples of applications from past winners, links to websites of the winning projects and lots of other stuff that will help you get that money to support your professional learning goals or your classroom practice.