Friday, November 18, 2005

Bloglines Tip of the Day

While reading Will Richardson's blog I came across this excellent tip from Steve Dembo's Teach42 blog:
If you go into Bloglines, click on My Feeds and scroll down to the bottom of the left hand frame, you’ll see a link called “Tell a friend”. Clicking on it allows you to enter in a list of email addresses and to pick among blogs you currently subscribe to. It will send out an email with a link to bloglines that will allow someone to register a new account at bloglines prepopulated with your chosen blogs!

WOW! Had I only known about this about 12 hours ago!!! But it's still not too late! If you attended the Technology Summit and you haven't yet set up a Bloglines account, I can send you an email that will enable you to start your very own account with all of my RSS feeds. Just send ME an email and I'll get going on this ASAP.

OR you can do the same thing for a friend or colleague to tell THEM about this cool new technology.

Technology Summit

My thanks to the 25 or so elementary teachers who attended today's Technology Summit at the Monroe County ISD.

I hope you will find the time to create your own blog (Blogger), and that you find and subscribe to many worthwhile RSS feeds in Bloglines.

Please share your comments with me in the EdTech Update blog, and allow me to post links to your blogs on this one.

Here are links to the interactive websites and RSS and blogging sites we explored today. Let me know of other interesting websites that you have discovered so that I may share them.

Remember, all of us are better than any of us. Let's not reinvent the wheel!

The First Thanksgiving

Discover what REALLY happened at the first Thanksgiving by going to Plimoth Plantation's you are the Historian website.

This highly interactive site offers students a chance to play history detective by examining evidence including the text from a letter written by Edward Winslow in 1621, the only eyewitness account still in existence.

By exploring this site you can learn what foods were served, how many people attended, and many of the myths that are still assumed to be true nearly 400 years later.

There's also a printable glossary, and an EXCELLENT teacher's guide with several blackline masters.

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Google Earth tips

While reading the Google Earth Community bulletin board I came across a post that recommended this website:

The Earth Explorer website has posted pictures of hundreds of locations from around the world. Even better, you can then open the site in Google Earth, Google Maps, MSN VirtualEarth, TerraServer, or NASA World Wind by clicking the appropriate hyperlink.

A "KML" file loads the selected site in Google Earth (GE). What a time saver! It can be very difficult to find what you're looking for in GE, kind of like the proverbial needle in a haystack!

Here's a GE picture of one of my favorite places in Detroit...Comerica Park.

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Sudoku is addictive!

Have you discovered Sudoku? I first saw these puzzles in the newspaper about a month ago. They require no math skills, only logic to place the numbers 1 to 9 in each row, column, and 3X3 grid only once. I think these would be a great brain teaser for any classroom. They really are addictive!

There's a great website, The Daily SuDoku, with a new printable puzzle every day. You can also print out the archived puzzles. They even have a Sudoku for kids page with easier puzzles, and downloadable blank grids in PDF.

You can have puzzles emailed to you each day, or subscribe to the RSS feed. Or you can check back here each day, because I've embedded the HTML code that will display their daily puzzle right here on the EdTech Update (with their permission of course!)

But wait! There's more!!! If you would like to try Sudoku on your Palm handheld computer, there is a freeware version (although the developer is accepting donations) available from Andrew Gregory's website.

An online Sudoku Flash tutorial is available at:

[print version]

Visit for more puzzles, solutions, hints, books and other resources.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

FREE Microsoft Photo Story Software

Thanks to David Jakes' excellent blog, The Strength of Weak Ties, I learned about some free software that tries its best to be a Windows alternative to Apple's iPhoto. It's called Photo Story 3 for Windows. Here's the overview taken from the Microsoft website:

Create slideshows using your digital photos. With a single click, you can touch-up, crop, or rotate pictures. Add stunning special effects, soundtracks, and your own voice narration to your photo stories. Then, personalize them with titles and captions. Small file sizes make it easy to send your photo stories in an e-mail. Watch them on your TV, a computer, or a Windows Mobile–based portable device.

Digital storytelling is HUGE! Apple has made this very easy with the outstanding iLife software for Macs. Now PC users have an alternative to the free Windows Movie Maker software. Please observe the following system requirements: Windows Genuine Advantage, Microsoft Windows Media Player 10, Microsoft DirectX 9.0

I downloaded and installed the software and was able to create a 2:30 slideshow with zooming, panning and background music (generated by the software!) in about 20 minutes. I found the software very intuitive and very user friendly. You can render a movie for playback on a computer or handheld Windows device, or even in a smaller format that's perfect for emailing. Bravo Microsoft!

You can read David's review of the software by clicking the link to his blog above.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

I want to...

I came across this helpful website while reading the excellent CNET blog.

It's called "I want to- a page of utilities that help you do stuff you want to" created by Phil Bradley.

The categories of utilities include: Share stuff, Manage myself more effectively, Find things that I'd enjoy, Do things with web sites, Create tutorials, Do a bunch of other stuff!

There are DOZENS of links to practical online resources that will help you do the stuff you want to do but didn't know how to or where to go. (Does that last sentence make sense?)

For example: you can create an online, sharable spreadsheet at Numsum. You can set up online bookmarks that are accessible from any computer at Furl. Create tutorials with Wink. Some really cool technology related STUFF that you may have heard about but had no idea how to get started.

Online Interactive Sky Chart

Jeff N, a science teacher at one of our county schools, showed me this great website today: Sky and Telescope Magazine's Interactive Sky Chart. Here is the description from their website:

Create a custom naked-eye map of the whole sky for any place
on Earth, at any time of day or night, on any date from 1600 to 2400. Our Interactive Sky Chart works in most Java-enabled Web browsers.

You can enter the location by zip code, latitude and longitude, or city and country, then select the date and time and get an interactive sky chart that shows the position of stars and planets. Best of all, you can then create and print a PDF that will help you to find these celestial objects in the night time sky in your own backyard!

Because it gets dark so early, this is the perfect time of year to help elementary students learn about the Moon and stars. Here is a "Real World Context" from the Michigan Curriculum Framework:
Science/Strand V/Content Standard 4/Elementary/Benchmark 2: Outdoor observation of the Sun’s and stars’ motions during the night and the Moon’s motions over several days
To avoid any browser "issues" be sure to check out the extensive help files posted on the Sky and Telescope website.

Tonight's Sky over Toledo, Ohio