Moving Up in the Ranks….

It would just be wrong -on so many levels- if I were not to give credit to some remarkable teaching – and learning …. I have only gotten through the first half but these aspiring teachers have knocked my virtual socks off!   Here’s the deal:  A few weeks ago, I received an email from Dr Jason Zagami, Lecturer, School of Education and Professional Studies, Gold Coast Campus, GRIFFITH UNIVERSITY QLD 4222 AUSTRALIA who explained to me:



:My second year primary education students have been busy responding to the challenge set by the students of Suffern Middle School and I thought you might like to see some of their responses – I tried culling but still ended up with quite a few. 

This was part of their first assessment half way through their course in learning about technology education (think STEM for primary schools) and they completed it as a group – as well as a larger task in developing and completing a design challenge. They will also be completing an individual response to No Future Left Behind at the end of the course to round off a reflective process – that will generate almost 200 videos !

Anyway, just thought you might be interested, and the students of Suffern might be keen to see that their video is having a direct impact, albeit on the other side of the world, in the development of new teachers. “

It is therefore with great pleasure that I present for your enjoyment, n and inspiration….


Responses to “No Future Left Behind” by future teachers from Griffith University, Queensland, Australia

Fast and Furious…

That’s how the summer is proceeding so far- and I am running across SO many great resources.  Remember-this is where I pass them along to you.  Rarely will this blog contain personal musings but rather will serve as a catch-all for the remarkable work of my PLN.  Just a note- NECC provided so many new connections and introductions for me this year and as I sort through my copious notes, email and cards I will be adding the gems associated with them to this forum.  Question, cross reference  and debate if you choose!

The latest from:

Angela Maiers     (AngelaMaiers)

YouAreHere: Materials for Parents and Teachers
enter the food court

In our virtual mall, you can play games, design ads, chat with customers and store owners, and much more. You’ll learn key consumer concepts, such as how advertising affects you and how you benefit when businesses compete. What better place to do it than at the mall!

Each area of the mall focuses on a different topic. To enter, choose an area. In the mall, scroll over a store to find out more about it, then click to go inside. You can also use the Mall Map or the options at the bottom of the screen to navigate.

A Call to Arms …

A colleague, Patrick Wagner,  is reaching out – 

He wrote….

“….I am working with a Bronx middle school and we are attempting something extremely ambitious (or insane, whichever), and I would really appreciate any assistance that you can provide.
The event we’re hosting is Dot-to-Dot: A Global Learning Reception. The concept is that every class will go online on June 9 (U.S. EST) from 1p.m. to 5p.m. to present to both a physical and virtual audience. Not all of the presentations will be live-streamed, but all of the project plans, resources, many lesson plans, and student work will be viewable, and we’ll incorporate chatrooms, etc.
The kids are already so excited, and we’re starting to attract interest from different places. Visitors can just participate passively, get ideas from the projects, tag their location on the Google map, visit the chatrooms, or even collaborate with our classes beforehand. For instance, some schools, like one in Australia, will make their own 2-3 minute videos about “connections”. Another Australian school is collaborating with one of the Bronx science classes on a preserving the coral reefs project.
I know it’s a lot to ask when I haven’t given you anything in return, but I’d really appreciate it if you promoted this event through Second Life, with teachers, or trainee teachers, with classes of students, with ed tech forums, or with family and friends.
It means so much to us. Simple as that.
The community of CIS 339 would be really grateful for any support that you can give. The RSVP form can be found on the event website that is under construction.”
—and so I am putting it out there – sounds to me  like participating will be a win/win!  

Google, Google, and More Google!

Google Sites


The Tool:

The Crib Sheet:

GCT Google Sites Resources:

Exemplar Google Sites:

Legal Stealing!

I am passing on teh very best of my PLN’s resources to you!  This first batch is from my Twitter Pal, rmbyrne‘s website: Free Technology for Teachers:

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

My 12 Favorite Resources of 2008 – Part I

1. – The first time I saw I knew that it would be a very useful tool for teachers. was launched in the fall of 2007 and continuously add new, free, features throughout 2008. Some of things that I’ve done with in the last year include recording podcasts, posting slide shows, posting lecture outlines, posting rubrics, posting links for my students, leaving voice messages for my students on the days that I’m out of the classroom, and collecting students’ assignments without cluttering my inbox. Getting started with is extremely quick and easy. In fact, it’s easier than setting up a blog. To read more about how can be used in the classroom click here, here, or here. To see just how useful can be when you’re short on time read How Saved My Morning.

2. Google Docs – I used Google Docs off and on last year as a collaboration tool with my co-workers and administrators last year. Then my hard drive unexpectedly failed (I was less than six months old) in May taking a lot of files with it. That’s when I decided that I trust Google’s servers a lot more than my local hard drive or my school district’s servers (which failed the prior year and took a lot of my files with it). Since May, every document that I have created has been created in my Google Docs account.

Many of my students are now using Google Docs for their word processing tasks. I encourage all of my students and colleagues to use Google Docs because it eliminates the “I forgot my flash drive” and “my printer is broken” excuses.

Here are a few previous posts about using Google Docs in education.
Eight Ways to Use Google Docs
Bibliography Templates for Google Docs
Projects Using Google Docs

3. Zoho Show – Zoho Show is part of a suite of free web based tools offered by Zoho. There are many free slide show creation tools available on the Internet and I’ve tried a lot of them, but every time I need to create a slide show, I find myself using Zoho Show. I find myself using Zoho Show because it offers more editing options and templates than those found on Google Presentation. Zoho Show presentations can easily be embedded in a blog or shared via email. I also like Zoho Show because my students can work collaboratively to create group presentations. Interestingly, when my students have to create a presentation I give them the choice of Google Presentation or Zoho Show and most end up using Zoho. Click here or here to see a couple of previous blog posts about Zoho Show.

4. Jing Project – Jing is a free screencasting tool available for Mac and Windows. Jing allows me to make short screencasts to explain to students and colleagues how to perform a function on the computer. I used Jing numerous times this year to produce screencasts for my colleagues that had to learn how to use Mac.

5. Google Maps & Google Earth – As a Social Studies teacher I teach and have taught history, geography, and economics. Google Maps and Google Earth can be used to teach all three of these topics. Google Maps and Google Earth can be used by students to create content like virtual tours or as research tools. A few of my favorite uses for Google Maps and Google Earth can be found here, here, or here.

6. Zamzar – Zamzar is a free resource that allows me to convert YouTube videos into a number of different formats to download, save, and playback on my local computer. This is a particularly useful tool if you’re in a school district that doesn’t allow access to YouTube. You can download videos at home, save them on your laptop, flash drive, or email them to yourself to use in the classroom. You can read about Zamzar and other ways to save YouTube videos in Can’t Use YouTube? Try This.

Synthasite – Build a Great Free Website

Synthasite is another entry in the free website builder market. Synthasite is one of the better entries into this market not only because it has great templates and great design flexibility, but because it offers very good help pages for first time users. Another outstanding aspect of Synthasite is that not only is your website free, it is advertising free (unless you want advertising), and remains free regardless of how much content you add to it. This is a good thing if you plan to post a lot of audio or video content as some website builders and hosts begin to charge once you reach a certain volume content.

Applications for Education
Synthasite can be used to create a website for your classes. If you decide later on that you also want to have a blog for your classes, you can add that as an element of your website. Synthasite could be used by students to create websites as a way to display what they have learned through a research project or during the course of a unit of study.

Here are a few other very good, free website building tools and hosts.
Snap Pages
Free Webs

Newsweek’s Year in Cartoons

Last week I posted a link to MSNBC’s year in cartoons and year in pictures slide shows. This morning I was reminded, by Jeffrey Hill’s English Blog, of another year in cartoons resource. Newsweek has a collection of political cartoons featured in their magazine throughout the last year. Most of the cartoons are based on US politics with a healthy dose of global economics and global affairs thrown in.

Applications for Education
Those of you that are still in school today, may want to use the MSNBC and Newsweek year in cartoons and year in pictures as the basis for a discussion of the year’s top news stories. Those of us that are on vacation until 2009 may want to use these slide shows as a way to remind students of the past year and have them make predictions for the coming year.

A related resource that you may want to consider using in your classroom is The Week in Rap.

Small Update for Email Subscribers

If you subscribe to Free Technology for Teachers by email, you will see a small change in the next update. The emails will now come from an email account addressed as “my name” at Nothing else has changed, you do not have to do anything unless you don’t see an update from me tomorrow, in which case just check your junk mailbox.

If you’re not subscribed to Free Technology for Teachers via email and would like to receive a daily email containing the newest content, you can subscribe to the email here.

Sticky Screen – Your To-Do List Homepage

There are a lot of reminder services and sticky note services available on the Internet. Sticky Screen might be the simplest of them all. Sticky Screen lets you put three short notes on a sticky placed in the center of your screen. Make sticky screen your Internet browser’s homepage and your reminders stare you in the face every time you open a window or tab.

Applications for Education
Reminder services don’t get any simpler than Sticky Screen. If getting on the Internet is a daily occurrence in your classroom, consider making Sticky Screen your students’ homepage. Students can then quickly check their to-do list and update it accordingly.

Here are some other reminder and sticky services you might want to consider if Sticky Screen is too basic for your needs.

Monday, December 22, 2008

1 + 1 = 2 Mathematics Podcasts

The Math Factor podcast is a podcast that I discovered today while exploring Alltop’s mathematics section. Math Factor is series of short (10-15 minutes) podcasts produced by University of Arkansas professor Chaim Goodman-Strauss and Kyle Kellams. Each episode presents a mathematics problem for listeners to ponder. Each episode gives an explanation of the solution to the previous episode’s problem.

Another mathematics podcast that I discovered today is the West Virginia Math and Science Initiative’s video podcasts. These video podcasts, available on iTunes, give short demonstrations and explanation of mathematics concepts. Visitors will find video podcasts for Algebra, Statisitics, Trigonometry, Contemporary Math, and Chemistry. You can access the podcasts here.

Applications for Education
The Math Factor is a good podcast for the “math team” student that is interested
in finding interesting and challenging mathematics problems. Math teachers may also want to play the podcast in class then have students discuss and work on solutions to the problems.

The West Virginia Math and Science Initiatives’s podcasts could be useful for high school mathematics students that need a visual explanation of mathematics concepts. These podcasts could be helpful when for students when they get stuck on a homework problem.

TED 2009 Presenters List

Every year the TED Conference brings together some of the most influential figures from business and academic fields to give twenty minute talks about their work. The conference costs $6000 to attend in person or $900 to attend virtually so, needless to say, I won’t be attending this year. Even though I, like 99% of public school teachers, am not able to attend, I am able to watch the videos of presentations from previous conferences. Knowing that eventually I’ll be able to watch the TED 2009 presentations, I am intrigued by this year’s list of presenters which includes Bill Gates, Seth Godin, and Herbie Hancock.

Applications for Education
The videos of previous TED presentations are engaging and informative. Letting students explore previous TED presentations is a good way for students to explore topics they’re interested in on their own.

Nibipedia, which I’ve written about a couple of times here and here, has added all of the available TED videos to their database. Nibipedia matches Wikipedia references to the topics and terms mentioned in each TED talk. Watching TED presentations through Nibipedia makes the videos a great independent learning resource.

You can read more about TED here.

This Library is Awesome!

Today while searching for some US History resources, I came across the Awesome Library. The Awesome Library is a collection of more than 36,000 educational resources organized by academic category and sub-categories. For example, if you click on the “teacher” category you can then select from nine sub-categories about teaching. Or try selecting the “technology” category where you will find guides for using technology including this Internet guide for beginners.

Applications for Education
The Awesome Library could be a good reference resource. The categorization scheme is easy to navigate which may be helpful for students that have difficulty refining general Internet searches.

Projects Using Google Docs

This afternoon the official Google Docs blog posted a collection of eleven academic projects that incorporate the use of Google Docs. All of the projects in the list were developed by practicing educators. There are projects for science and social studies. Teachers will also find ideas for rubrics and evaluation forms in the collection.

Here are some additional resources and ideas for using Google Docs in the classroom.
Bibliography Templates for Google Docs.
Eight Ways to Use Google Docs from Tom Barrett
Give An Old Lesson New Tricks

My Edublog Nomination

Although many of my friends, colleagues, and mentors have remarkable blogs that I rely on each day , the one most influential, and consistently rich, robust and reliable blog  for me is that of my friend, Kevin Jarrett, The Story of My Second Life. The posts are iluminating, written in such a way that the novice can understand as well as the seasoned techy and Kevin always makes himself available for followup to the “pesky
questions that might ensue after a particularly timely post!

Ooooh – Have you seen…

” Your friends are global… you can send them links… but what if the action is on your screen? … Point out a quick suggestion to a colleague or pass on that funny moment from an IM chat, post images to MySpace, eBay, forums or via email…”

” It is just as ingenious as Comic Life and is designed for sharing, annotating, managing and generally having fun with images. It is amazingly powerful yet simple to use and should find a ready market, not only among consumers but in schools and professional studios.”      Garry Barker, The Age – read article

Feature Highlights

See it…

* Snap a website

* Capture a chat moment

* Screenshot an application

* iSight snap your bad hair day

* Quickly sketch an idea

* Tap into your iPhoto Library

* Re-open images from your Skitch History

Say it…

* Annotate with circles and gorgeous arrows

* Add text that always stands out

* Scribble and jot… it’s automatically smoothed

* Re-size and crop by simply dragging a corner

* Drag the file to wherever you like, no need to save

* Return to what you were doing — in seconds — not minutes!

Share it…

Skitch + + one click = your image online!

My Skitch

Or, use your own FTP, SFTP, Flickr or .Mac account. Paste your link into any web-page, forum or chat, then wait for your friends to ask how you did it so quick!

Skitch is the Internet age’s Camera and it Rocks!

Google Teacher Academy NYC

“The Google Teacher Academy is a FREE professional development experience designed to help K-12 educators get the most from innovative technologies. Each Academy is an intensive, one-day event where participants get hands-on experience with Google’s free products and other technologies, learn about innovative instructional strategies, receive resources to share with colleagues, and immerse themselves in an innovative corporate environment. Upon completion, Academy participants become Google Certified Teachers who share what they learn with other K-12 educators in their local region. ” (

Here is a LINK to my 1 minute application video

“Google Certified Teachers are ambassadors for change”

Sitting in the main room waiting to begin and I can’t even believe the list of teachers here! It’s like a “who’s who” of my heroes! I will try to keep up here but today is one of those days that I know I will need to give my full attention to matters at hand — I don’t want to mis a thing! I was just informed that there are no pictures during the actual workshops. Cristin Frodella, Education Outreach for Google, is introducing the staff. This is the 6th GTA and there were over 250 applications for this one – 50 are here. Lead learners are Thomas Cooper; Erica Hartman; Kern Kelley; Dan Russell: Kathy Schrock; Jesse Spevack; Lisa Thumann; Esthre Wojcicki.

So far Mark Wagner has shown us some cool data about our group – 75% female–strong contingent of classroom teachers, then tech coordinators, librarians, and “other”. Showing race car analogy no “You don’t look at where you are – but looking at where you’re going

Google’s Mission: Organize the world’s information and make it useful!” DNA of GTA is Search Learn Share. Miracle Drug (song from U2) “With science and the human heart there is no limit”responsibilities for GCT are to facilitate at least 3 Google Workshops a year – can be anything from 1-1 to large group!

By end of day develop action plan for the three activities you plan to lead the intended AUDIENCE AND THE INTENDED RESULTS! AT END OF YEAR WE DO A FINAL REFLECTION AND PUBLISH IT!

Colaboration is fundamental.

Overview now of Google Apps

Understand that Google provides the infrastructure : Google puts everything “up in the clouds” meaning on their servers . Everything is all in one organization – FREE NO ADS hosted at YOUR DOMAIN— Addresses CIPA and COPPA so for students under 13 Google Docs education version is a solution.

Google Apps premier in education

Google Sites offers 5 types of web pages and can be customized

Check out Dan McDowells World History site as an example

WHEW!  As you can see, I ran out of steam for the live blogging factor – as this day  was so intensely content rich and I really had to be very present!  Tonight though, I attended a great presentation in Second Lfie at the DEN headquarters where GCT,  Anne Truger, (Instructional Tech Specialist, Special Education, District of Lake County) gave a brilliant overview of her day at GTA in Chicago!  There were many Google Certified Teachers in attendance and her slide re available at:

I plan on “hitching my horse” right up to this presentation at my next faculty meeting!  Thanks Anne!

I guess for now I will suffice to say  that GTA is a NOT TO BE MISSED opportunity…

And the lists keep coming….

Kudos to this list List published by Hoover City Schools from Engage08 » Sent from Beth Ritter Guth via Diigo (See?  These tools really do work!)  AND THIS ONE IS A WIKI – SO ADD TO IT

For those of you who want it NOW:

Photo Hosting/Sharing/Editors

SmugMug – SmugMug is a photo uploader, editor, and community portal all in one. You can upload and share your photos, then store the photos with up to four backup.
Flickr – The most popular photo sharing site. Upload photos, create sets and join one of the greatest communities of professional and unprofessional photographers.
Picasa – Google’s answer to photo sharing. The main application is a download, but there are also web albums.
Lunapic – animate your pics
Picnik – Photo editor with many interesting features which is directly connected to many photo sharing sites.
ToonDoo – Use this site to create your own cartoons.
BeFunky – Use this site to create fun pictures of yourself and others.
Dumpr – Use this site to create fun pictures of yourself and others.
PhotoBucket – Upload photos and share.

Image Mashups and Fun Stuff

Flickr Logo Maker – Turns any text into a Flickr-style logo.
Spell with Flickr – this tool enables you to write text in letters based off Flickr images. Can emebd in website.
Captioner – adds comic-style captions to your images.
Bubblr – Add bubbles, captions etc…to your pic
FD’s Flickr toys: Lots of fun things to use with pics….make a magazine cover of your students.
create a talking avatar of yourself.
DoppelMe – Create an avatar of yourself…a lot of files. It runs slower than Voki.
online version of Kidpix.
Cool Text – create cool banners, text, buttons etc…for a title page
Wordle – create a banner (word clouds) with text.

ImageChef – put pictures in signs, movies, campaign posters…all kinds of templates.
Flaming Text – add cool fonts…
Marquee Text – Scrollling Text
3D Textmaker – add cool fonts…..
Glitterize Your Text – add cool fonts…..
Bigoo – glitterize your text and backgrounds

Class Tools – embed timelines, graphs, diagrams etc….
In Microsoft Word, you can also create cool pics and fonts to be used on your wiki. You can also save a TuxPaint drawing as a JPEG and put on your wiki.

Photo Mixing and Slideshows

Slide – create slideshows easily and embed them on your site or social networking profile.
RockYou – offers several free services, including slideshow creation, photo hosting, photo enhancement and more.
Scrapblog – An online service that lets you upload your photos from many of the popular photo sharing websites and mash them up with hundreds of stickers, shapes, text and YouTube videos to create a digital scrapbook.
Vuvox – Vuvox lets you create online animated and interactive slideshows using a range of effects, theme templates and designs.
Mixercast – Mixercast lets you mashup your photos and movies into animated, interactive slide shows and throws in a good library of stock photo, video and licensed music to use as a soundtrack.
Flektor – Flektor has a great set of tools for adding transitions, text, stickers, effects and overlays into movies made out of your photos and online videos
One True Media – slideshow, video, and photos….
Animoto – slideshow, video, and photos….this site chooses how your pictures will be shown


Edublogs – Create a blog to link to your Wiki
Posterous – You can create a blog from your email. Just email


Slideshare SlideShare is a cool place to host and share presentations. Upload all your slide decks, and find / download interesting presentations.
Splashcast SplashCast enables anyone to create streaming media ‘channels’ that combine video, music, photos, narration, text and RSS feeds. These user-generated channels can be played and easily syndicated on any web site, blog, or social network page. When channel owners modify their channel, their content is automatically updated across all the web pages ‘tuned’ to that channel
– Share slides
Voice Thread
– Share slides, pictures….has voice cabablities

Video Hosting Sites

Surveys, Polls and Tests

Zoomerang – create a survey
Survey Monkey – create surveys etc.
Poll Daddy – create a survey or poll
MyStudiyo –Embed a quiz, test, survey online…really great.

Widgets, Counters, and Games

Widget Box
Yahoo Widgets
Google Widgets
Show Yourself
Add This

Latest finds…

From Kevin Jarrett…

DABBLEBOARD:Dabbleboard is a powerful interactive whiteboard that’s actually easy and fun to use. With a revolutionary new interface, Dabbleboard gets out of your way and just lets you draw.

Draw with flexible tools. Reuse previously-made drawings. Share and collaborate in real-time. All as naturally as using a marker or a pencil.

SMARTBoard Lessons 144: Brain Rules and SMARTBoards (for staff and students) (yes – works for Promethean)

Oh Boy !  This is fun!  (and the earning possibilities are limitless!) a free project to create digital art using images and a computer software. With AndreaMosaic you can create your own photographic mosaics made with your own pictures. A photo mosaic is a mosaic where every tile is a photograph and not just a simple colored piece. Enjoy this artwork and feel free to contact the author Andrea at