Monday, June 12, 2006

Can you hear this?

I came across an interesting article in the New York Times technology section today. Students are downloading a high frequency ring tone to their cell phones that many "older" adults cannot hear! The pitch of the ring tone is about 17 kiloherz, and as we age we tend to lose that spectrum of sound first.

In my informal survey here at work, a 19 year old, 30 year old, and I (46) could hear the ring tone. Another 40-something and a 50-something could not!

Many schools require students to turn their cell phones off during classes. Leave it to our ingenious youth to figure out a way to get around that rule! They may not be able to speak on their cell phone without being noticed, but they can probably text message surreptitiously enough.

Click on the embedded player below to hear (or not) the ring tone for yourself.

powered by ODEO

Thursday, June 08, 2006

FREE Internet safety guide for parents

USA Today had an interesting article in their Tech section on what parents like and fear most about the Internet (Parents mark Internet favorites and dislikes).

The article featured a couple of quotations from James Steyer, CEO of Common Sense Media. This San Francisco based non-profit organization has just released the results of a survey of parental attitudes toward the Internet. They've also begun an educational campaign on their website, and have produced public service announcements to appear in print, online, television and radio.

Featured on the website is a downloadable 24 page PDF entitled "Keeping your kids Internet safe and smart: a survival guide for parents" (free registration is required). The guide contains sections on communicating, social networking, web surfing, downloading, and gaming. Each section explains "What is it?", "Why you should care", "Hot words", and "Common Sense says"

There are also color coded "On", "Off" and "Pause" buttons that explains what is good and bad about each subject, and also what parents and students must be cautious of. This helpful booklet concludes with Internet survival tips for kids, teens, parents, and teachers.

There is a wealth of information about Internet safety available online. I especially like this guide because it seems very up to date with information about social networking sites, and for the very frank advice it offers: "There is no such thing as private on the Internet."

I wish I'd said that!

Vicki Davis has such great, thought-provoking posts on her Cool Cat Teacher Blog, and today was no exception. Here's the line I wish I had said:
"An effective educator can no longer be a stingy island of information but
must work to encourage, help, and teach others."

Many teachers today still "close their door" and do their own thing. Forget about collaborating online, they don't even work with the teacher down the hall. I tried to point out to a group of teachers last fall that they don't need to reinvent the wheel! There are dozens, hundreds, even thousands of passionate teachers who would LOVE to collaborate, to share ideas and success stories, and even to commiserate. And with blogs and podcasts and RSS and wikis and other Web 2.0 applications it's easier than ever, and it's even FREE.

I am inspired by reading the blogs of Vicki Davis, David Warlick, Will Richardson, Tony Vincent, and others. They are truly "big thinkers" who express themselves so eloquently. I am in awe of their gift and that they are willing to share themselves with the rest of the world.

I'll keep on trying to spread the gospel and to share the good news, but I sometimes wish I could just flip a switch to turn on the lightbulbs above other teachers' heads so that they could just GET IT!

450K Digital Images from NY Public Library

"Free and open online access to hundreds of thousands of digital images..." is the greeting you'll see on the home page for the New York Public Library's Digital Gallery.

I browsed the site for only a few minutes and was amazed at the quality and variety of the images: pictures of the Empire State Building under construction (like the one shown here), sketches from the 1840's of archaeological sites in the Yucatan, George Catlin's historic paintings of North American Indians to name just a few.

You can search by keyword, or browse by category and collection, and you may legally download images from the online gallery for personal, research, or study use including classroom use and student projects.

Friday, June 02, 2006

New Blog Search Feature on Bloglines

I am a huge fan of Bloglines, and recently they added a cool new search feature that makes this service even better!

There is a search box on the upper right that will return a list of blog posts and feeds that match your search criteria.

Best of all, you can then subscribe to your search by clicking on the Bloglines or RSS links.

Here's a better description of this new feature right from the Bloglines News feed:

    • Search for Posts, Feeds or Citations (a.k.a. links).
    • Limit your search to your Bloglines feeds, or exclude them.
    • View additional results for matching feeds & news are offered in the right column.
    • Give us a name and we'll also present you with posts Authored by and About them.
    • Preview 5 most recent posts for any feed by mousing over Preview Feed.
    • Expand the summary to view the entire post inline using the + button.
    • Subscribe to search queries in Bloglines or any other reader.
    • Email the article, or Post it to your Bloglines Blog or Clippings folders.
    • Sort your results by Relevance, Date or Popularity.
    • Filter results by time or popularity on Bloglines. Exclude news feeds (or search only news).
    • Find matching results in up 20 languages.
    • Mobile-friendly search from your pda at

When I conducted a search for Digital Storytelling, I was amazed to find a link to my previous blog post (that I had posted only a few hours earlier) among the results.

What a great feature!

Digital Storytelling Resources

In preparing to lead a workshop on digital storytelling in the classroom in August, I have come across several great resources that I wanted to share:

Tom Banaszewski has an excellent blog called Teach Story with a lot of great information and links, including his 121 page thesis written for his Master of Science in Information Design and Technology degree from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

While reading Tom's thesis I came across the name Jason Ohler. I immediately Googled Jason and found many more outstanding resources on his website Jason will be publishing a new book entitled Digital Stories in the Classroom: A Telling Experience this fall, but you can download his 96 page book Telling Your Story from his website!

David Jakes has a very comprehensive list of resources, handouts, and screencasts on his website and his blog Strength of Weak Ties. As a matter of fact, thanks to David I found my next resource...

...The Adobe Digital Kids Club: Digital Storytelling with great articles written by Bernajean Porter, author of DigiTales: The Art of Telling Digital Stories who has her own website at:

There are others, but I consider these the best of the best.