Tuesday, December 09, 2008

My first Eye-Fi photo

Originally uploaded by jdornberg
I just got my Eye-Fi Share card today. This amazing SD card turns my digital camera into a wireless device, and it was VERY easy to use.

In about 2 or 3 minutes the card installed the software on my computer (connected to a USB port with the included card reader), I created my Eye-Fi account, connected the card to my home wireless network, and configured the software to send my photos directly to my Flickr account.

Then I popped the card into my Kodak digital camera, snapped this photo of yours truly, and within a minute the picture was sent via wi-fi to my computer, and from my computer to Flickr. That's right, no more USB cables, the pictures are automatically transferred.

I don't know if I can use the Eye-Fi on more than one wireless network or on more than one computer, but I am very pleased that it worked as advertised. Now I can share my photos with relatives and friends that live far away within minutes after I take them.

I got my Eye-Fi Share on Buy.com for $60 shipped (it retails for $99). They also make two other products. Check out the details on their website: http://www.eye.fi/ Their most expensive card automatically geotags your photos and will upload them from anywhere (if I remember correctly) that there is wireless access.

HP Netbook $360 shipped

This price on the HP Mini 1000 is much more competitive with the Acer Aspire One that I love so much... $360 shipped!
It even comes with Windows XP!
Learn more about it on HP's website.

Voicethread for K-12 education

You can purchase a 1-year teacher/classroom subscription for $60 that will allow your students to create their own Voicethreads.

Christmas 2004

I can't believe it's already been 4 years since the Griswold Family Christmas tree. I can laugh about it now!

Now, four years laters, we've downsized to a 7-8' tree.

A Voicethread about Voicethread

Since I'm a firm believer in not reinventing the wheel, permit me to embed this excellent introduction to Voicethread by Dianne Krause. Add Dianne's blog to your aggregator, and check out her wikispace.

Testing Voicethread

Monday, December 08, 2008

Google Earth Image

David Jakes has written about using Google Earth as a tool to teach students about the Kennedy Assassination (see http://newtools.pbwiki.com/JFK+Assassination and http://strengthofweakties.org/?cat=22). Today I noticed that many of the buildings in Dallas have been rendered in 3D, making the view of Dealey Plaza, the book depository, and the "grassy knoll" even more stunning. The picture shown here was captured in Google Earth.

Get Google Earth. Put the world in perspective.

( http://earth.google.com)

What a coincidence!!!

In an earlier post I talked about the need to further explore the many excellent resources on the Teaching With Google Earth website.

Well, I did start to explore, and was VERY surprised to see this picture of a KML file and placemark bubble:

The reason for my surprise???

Lodge Grass, MT was my first teaching job! It is a very small, remote Montana town on the Crow Indian Reservation. What are the odds????

More Google Earth goodness!

I am fortunate to learn of a number of great websites from the people I follow in Twitter. Today "cliotech" (be sure to check out her excellent blog) posted a link to this one, Teaching with Google Earth.

Topics include: What is Google Earth?
Becoming Familiar with Google Earth
Why Teach With Google Earth?
How to Teach With Google Earth
User Guide
Working with KML
Google Earth API
Google Maps
Examples of Google Earth Activities
Complete List of Google Earth Activities

I'll need lots more time to explore this site, but it looks very promising!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

The Gift Hunters

When our boys were little I came up with a brilliant idea... I hid clues all over the house about where to find one of their presents. We videotaped the whole thing. They were outside in the backyard, out to the mailbox, upstairs, downstairs, inside the dishwasher. I think even they would admit they enjoyed it.

Well, now Best Buy has taken my scavenger hunt for Christmas presents into the 21st century. Enjoy this video. It has me thinking...

Wednesday, December 03, 2008


Step by step solutions to math problems. Enter the problem in the space provided, or click one of the samples (like this one). They are embeddable!!!

Click Here to Find the Area of the Circle

Check it out! http://www.mathway.com

Edublog Award Nominees

Some wonderful exemplar blogs for the rest of us! Vote for your favorites:

Add some of these to your Bloglines or other aggregator of choice.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Google Custom Search Engine

Another of my favorite bloggers... Dean Shareski

Take some time to read this post by Dean Shareski, and the many thoughtful comments that follow. This is a great example of the "conversations" that take place on a lot of blogs.

This is why Sheryl Nussbaum Beach is one of my favorite bloggers

"Why do we need to understand the shift in education? Because they can learn and teach themselves anything they want to know without leaving home. When you move from a classroom structure to a community structure- the students become teachers AND learners and so do we. 21st Century teaching and learning is about shifting classrooms to learning ecologies."

Add Sheryl to your aggregator: http://21stcenturylearning.typepad.com/blog/

Creative Commons Defined

This short video provides an easy to understand explanation of what "Creative Commons" is all about. My epiphany was the statement that CC is about moving away from CONTENT and focusing more on COMMUNITY. Thanks to Darren Draper for embedding this video on his blog. Share this video at your next faculty meeting to make teachers aware of the tremendous amount of content that is freely shared by people all over the world.

Copyright tells you what you CAN'T do, Creative Commons tells you what you CAN do.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Acer Aspire One Netbook only $249

This won't last long! It's a Black Friday deal available on Wednesday at Newegg.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

New and improved Google map street view

The new controls for "pegman" are straight out of Google Earth. It is now much easier to move around in street view, and the pictures are bigger and better.

Street view is a great way to take your students on a virtual field trip. Take them to see Independence Hall in Philadelphia, the Old North Church in Boston, the Golden Gate Bridge... you get the idea. Here's a demo of the new street view.

Cheap tech gifts at Wal Mart

From the New York Times via a Tweet from Ira Socol.

For the techies on your gift list, get to Wal Mart this Friday for some great tech bargains:

Samsung L200 10.2-megapixel digital camera with 3x zoom for $69
Kodak EasyShare CD1013 10-megapixel digital camera with 3x zoom for $79
Kodak EasyShare ZD8612 8-megapixel digital camera with 12x zoom for $149
Pure Digital Flip F230 30-minute digital camcorder for $79
JVC 30GB hard drive camcorder with 28x zoom for $249
Samsung SC-DX103 mini DVD camcorder for $179
enVue digital photo album with 3.5-inch LCD for $40
Digital picture frame with 8-inch LCD, clock, and calendar for $39
HP Photosmart A526 photo printer with 2.4-inch LCD for $49
Philips 7-inch digital photo frame alarm clock for $89***
Kodak 2GB Secure Digital memory card for $7

***Best Buy has it for $50 right NOW on their website!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Learn about Astronomy with SkyScout

Did you know you can have your very own planetarium with audio guidance? This amazing product, the Celestron SkyScout, must be seen to be believed!


And it's $186 shipped on Amazon!

I've learned that it also works with Google Sky (part of Google Earth).

A very interesting white paper from the MacArthur Foundation

I downloaded the 58 page whitepaper from the MacArthur Foundation: Living and Learning with New Media: Summary of Findings from the Digital Youth Project. I've only browsed through it so far and it will be a good read some time in the near future.

It explores in some detail the 3 "genres of participation with new media": hanging out, messing around, and geeking out. And in the concluding section it has this: "Peer-based learning has unique properties that suggest alternatives to formal instruction." Here is what I found VERY interesting:

"In contrast to what they experience under the guidance of parents and teachers, with peer-based learning we see youth taking on more "grown-up" roles and ownership of their own self-presentation, learning, and evaluation of others." Isn't this the "mantra" of many school mission statements, that we make our students love learning and to become lifelong learners??? And yet it sounds to me like the students have figured this out without our (i.e. the schools) help!?!

And on the same page another money quote:
"In contexts of peer-based learning, adults can still have an important role to play, though it is not a conventionally authoritative one. In friendship-driven practices, direct adult participation is often unwelcome, but in interest-driven groups we found a much stronger role for more experienced participants to play. Unlike instructors in formal educational settings, however, these adults are passionate hobbyists and creators, and youth see them as experienced peers, not as people who have authority over them." Isn't this what the truly GREAT teachers are-- passionate and creative???

Download and read this report for yourself: http://www.macfound.org/atf/cf/%7BB0386CE3-8B29-4162-8098-E466FB856794%7D/DML_ETHNOG_WHITEPAPER.PDF

LEGO robotics competition comes to Monroe

The Monroe Evening News had a nice article about the FIRST LEGO League Challenge held at Monroe High School.

Read it here: http://monroenews.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081123/NEWS01/111239986

More information about the LEGO League Challenge is available online at http://www.usfirst.org.

The NCTE Definition of 21st Century Literacies

The NCTE Definition of 21st Century Literacies

Thursday, November 20, 2008

MORE resources for K-12 educators

I just received an email from Ricki Chowning from MACUL that mentioned MORE- Michigan Online Resources for Educators.

ALL of the resources are correlated to Michigan Grade Level Content Expectations (which we Michiganders affectionately refer to as the "glicks"). Currently there a couple thousand math and science resources (from the former Michigan Teacher Network), and they anticipate 8000 resources within a month. After that, they will add another 55,000 resources through a partnership with Thinkfinity.

You can browse the resources by subject or content expectation, or do a keyword search. My search for "water" resulted in 199 websites! Each site in the list has a brief description with a link to the site, and a full record with even more information about each resource.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

SMARTboard video from CBS News

This five minute video has been around since 2006, but those schools wishing to introduce SMARTboards to parents (or teachers) may like to show it:


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Google tracks the flu?!?

This is so simple, and according to Google, it can predict a flu outbreak 2 weeks sooner than "traditional systems."

When people across the country begin to feel sick, they turn to Google and search for "flu symptoms." Google is able to track these queries geographically, and aggregate the data which they are now sharing on the Google Flu Trends website: http://www.google.org/flutrends/ There's a graph, an interactive map of the USA, a link to the CDC, FAQs, and even a link to download the raw data!

Read more about it in the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2008/11/12/technology/internet/12flu.html

I wonder if a Google Earth kml file is in the works???

The power of collaboration

Ben Hazzard issued a challenge to his Twitter followers-- to create a presentation for parents and community members on why SMARTboards should be used in schools. Here is the presentation they came up with in just 12 hours!

Black Friday is coming!

I've been getting a sneak peek at the "Black Friday" ads. In case you didn't know, Black Friday does not refer to the stock market, but it's the day after Thanksgiving when many retailers are finally profitable ("in the black") for the year.

The Black Friday Ads website, http://bfads.net, has compiled a growing list of great deals on technology:

  • An 8 GB flash drive for $12.99
  • A Motorola bluetooth headset for $9.99
  • A Dell netbook for $299.

They will either publish a list of the items and prices, or, in some cases, a scanned copy of the actual Black Friday ad. Check the site daily, because some retailers have made them remove their ads citing legal reasons. An ad that's posted today may be gone tomorrow.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Interesting article on CNN

Take a few minutes to read an article on CNN about anonymous anger on the internet.

There are more than a few interesting quotes including:
"What the Internet has created is groups of people where there are no repercussions with being too aggressive" and "It's hard to be aggressive when you're face to face."

Wow! Watch this video and be amazed!

This is something right out of StarTrek, only it's here right now! Controlling a computer with only your thoughts!

Watch CBS Videos Online

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

WOO HOO! Missing taskbar buttons are found!

I don't know why it happened, but my taskbar buttons were missing from my taskbar. You know, the little buttons that show you all of your open applications? If you're like me, you have at least 3 or 4 program windows open at one time. When these buttons are missing, you have to rely on the Alt-Tab trick to switch between windows.

A Google search showed me that this is a fairly common problem, and some of the solutions were not exactly easy... until I found the Taskbar Repair Tool Plus! This little gem (did I mention it's free?) took only a few seconds to download and install, and within 10 seconds my taskbar buttons magically reappeared! Hallelujah!

Now, on a much deeper, more philosophical level... had I not "learned how to learn" I would have had to pay someone to come to my house and fix this minor, but annoying problem. But because I knew what I was looking for, I was able to Google it and find an answer within minutes. This is one example of what it means to be a "lifelong learner" and what we need to be teaching to our students (and other teachers).

Thank you Kelly's Korner! The software will also repair a whole list of other Windows XP problems. http://www.kellys-korner-xp.com/taskbarplus!.htm

Monday, October 20, 2008

Deal of the day!

I've reviewed the Acer Aspire One on my blog. It's a great little netbook computer. Buy.com has it for $310 with free shipping!

Here's the link: http://www.buy.com/retail/product.asp?sku=209875656

You can also see if there are any Buy.com coupon codes at www.retailmenot.com

Sunday, October 19, 2008


I'll have to experiment with this. Similar to Jing, but all web-based as far as I can tell. Recordings are saved in flash format and hosted on the ScreenToaster website. I don't know if audio recording is available, but I do like the captions at the bottom of the video. Here's a demo from their site:

Recorded with screentoaster.com

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


WOW! Amazing 360 degree panoramas of cities around the world! And the locations are visible in Google Maps or in Google Earth.

See the inside of St. Patrick's Cathedral, Chinatown, the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), the Pyramids... 360 cities in all, and they're even visible in full screen mode!

Here's a link to the Pyramids: http://www.360cities.net/image/giza-pyramids

Check this site out!

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

More about GoAnimate

From Chris Pirillo and CNN

Check out GoAnimate.com

PPT to Slideshare to Blogger

A teacher asked about posting multiple pictures to her blog. I suggested she create a Photo Album with her pictures in PowerPoint, then upload the PPT to Slideshare.net, and finally embed the Slideshare presentation in her Blogger blog. This short video will show you how.

Slideshare demo

Backyard Garden
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own.

Monday, October 06, 2008


I was finally upgraded to PowerPoint 2003 last week. This is a significant upgrade because the Classroom Performance System (CPS) "clickers" from eInstruction have software that works with PowerPoint 2003 (and 2007).

You actually compose your questions within PowerPoint using a special CPS toolbar. After engaging your question with the clickers, you'll see a screen like the one shown here.
This is a nice upgrade from the typical CPS screen which is pretty basic, even boring looking.
You can download the CPS for PowerPoint software from the eInstruction download page: http://einstruction.com/Downloads/index.cfm
And remember, you can only use this version of the software in conjunction with PowerPoint. If you want to use the regular CPS software you'll need to have it installed on your computer also, it's not replaced by the PPT version (so don't uninstall it like I did!)

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Beta testers wanted...

... to test drive my Moodle course: "23 Things Teachers Should Know About Web 2.0"
If you're interested, leave a comment with your email address. I won't publish the comment, but I'll get your email address and send you the URL and enrollment key.

Thanks for your help. The course goes "live" for 2.0 SB-CEUs on November 3. I need help testing it out on multiple browsers, OS, etc.

This site has been needed for a LONG time!

Print what you like! Why print all of a web page when you only want part of a web page. And I've tried the print "selection" thing before and it doesn't work in certain situations either.

Here's what you can do:

  • Make Any Page Printer-Friendly
  • Edit any public page in your browser - no installation required!
  • Change page font size and type, remove the background, and remove images
  • Edit any part of the page by clicking a page element or selecting text
  • Any selection can be removed, isolated or widened
  • All changes are undoable
  • Combine multiple webpages together - edit and print them as one document!
  • Save your changes - if you have to print the same document again, just reapply your changes instead of starting over
  • Reuse other people's changes - if someone else has already edited your page, just apply their changes
This site is a MUST SEE! Play around with their homepage to see how it works.

Monday, September 29, 2008


Dr. Scott McLeod, blogging at Dangerously Irrelevant, started a Yahoo Fantasy Baseball league for 12 edubloggers back in April. Now that the season is finally over, I'm proud to announce that I WON! I WON!

Maybe Scott will send me a CASTLE coffee mug?

Do you take time to reflect?

Jeff Utecht, one of my favorite bloggers, has another brilliant post: "Do you give yourself permission to reflect?"

Take 10 minutes to read it and the many thoughtful, insightful comments that follow. And if you still have a few more minutes to spare, REFLECT!

Friday, September 26, 2008

I know this guy! Heck, I work with him

We went out to lunch together. I'm not worthy! He's Chuck Estep, our Social Studies Curriculum Resource Consultant, and he's on the cover of the Cable in the Classroom magazine for his work on the MCISD's award-winning virtual field trip program.

Read more about it, and listen to an mp3 of an interview with Chuck on the CIC website: http://www.ciconline.org/cicmagazine-oct08

Tim Davies' "one-pagers"

Here's a long list of one page guides to a number of different Web 2.0 technologies including blogs, wikis, Twitter, Google Maps, RSS... you get the idea. These would be excellent introductions to these newfangled technologies for the "newbies" in your buildings.


Tim is a 23 year old independent consultant, researcher and social entrepreneur now based in Oxford, UK. Nice work Tim! Thanks for sharing these.

Virtual jogging with a Wii-mote

A Wii-mote is Nintendo's wireless motion-sensitive controller for their Wii video game system. Someone in Japan has figured out how to use Google Maps Street View as a virtual world for jogging with the Wii-mote, similar to the jogging game in Wii Fit. The motion on the screen is not very fluid, because Google Maps Street View is a series of still photos, but I'm sure it's only a matter of time before this technology evolves and we'll be able to jog anywhere in the world virtually.

Try to run on the google street view like a jogging game of wii fit from katsuma on Vimeo.

Hot off the press- my October newsletter

Create, communicate, collaborate

Alan Levine's CogDogBlog had a truly remarkable story today! Last night Alan was in a restaurant in Hong Kong and took a picture of the TV screen with his cell phone of the Chinese rocket lifting off. He posted the photo to Flickr, and now, this morning, the picture is on the Discover Magazine blog!
Isn't it amazing how connected we've become?

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Brain Rules Presentation

Brain Rules for Presenters
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: reynolds garr)

Technorati State of the Blogosphere

Rather than just a chart that shows the tremendous growth of blogging over the past 5 years, Technorati conducted a survey of a random sample from the over 1 million bloggers who have registered with Technorati.
They've done a nice job of reporting their data with lots of tables and graphs like these pie charts.
Among the many quotes, these 2 jumped out at me:

“The word blog is irrelevant, what's important is that it is now common, and will soon be expected, that every intelligent person (and quite a few unintelligent ones) will have a media platform where they share what they care about with the world.”
Seth Godin

“The future of blogs will have arrived when you check your favorite blog for sports news in the morning, instead of your local paper.”
Richard MacManus
Founder / Editor

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Keeping things in perspective

I have a puppy, well technically he just turned 1 so that makes him a dog, who loves to go outside, find the nearest stick, and be chased around the yard. If only I could be that happy over something so simple. This LOL dog pretty much sums it up...

see more puppies

Monday, September 22, 2008


While working with colleagues on an upcoming presentation, I came across the Florida Educational Technology Clearinghouse (FETC) Lit2Go website. There are hundreds of downloadable audio books in an mp3 format. But even better, the Lit2Go site makes PDFs of the text available as well!

You can browse the collection by author or title, search the database by keyword or reading level, and even add titles through iTunes.

Unlike many of the other free, public domain audiobooks sites I've visited, the Lit2Go website has shorter readings in addition to full length novels, and a large selection for younger readers.
Spend some time browsing their extensive and growing collection today: http://etc.usf.edu/lit2go/

Need a USB headset mic???

Here's the deal of the day from Buy.com! http://www.buy.com/retail/product.asp?sku=204954228

$31.77 shipped free, $10 rebate, final cost: $21.77

(FYI, the same headset at Best Buy is $52.99)

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I DARE you not to smile while watching this video!

Where the Hell is Matt? (2008) from Matthew Harding on Vimeo.

I wonder how many of these places can be found in Google Earth?

First impressions of the Acer Aspire One "netbook"

I've really enjoyed using our new Acer Aspire One (AA1). Despite it's smaller size, the keyboard is not bad for my rather large hands. I only seem to have problems when I try to use the backspace key.

The size is truly amazing! The computer is not much bigger than its manual! When slipped into the black vinyl sleeve it looks and feels like a small leather-bound book.

Our AA1 has Linux, and an 8 GB flash based hard drive that is expandable with up to an 8 GB SD card. There's a VGA port, a couple of USB slots, network port, a 5 in 1 card reader, and headphone and microphone jacks. It has a built-in 1.3 megapixel webcam and microphone, and a wireless card.

I've had no problems getting on to any wireless networks so far, which I can't say for a couple of Macbooks I've tried on my home wireless network. The Firefox browser has worked well, and I haven't yet found any websites that wouldn't load. The Acrobat Reader has also worked, and although I haven't used it yet, Open Office is preloaded.

I've downloaded and used Skype without issue, and I've even managed to figure out how to get the Skype icon on the desktop. It wasn't easy, but with the right information from a couple of websites, I was able to "hack" my way in. It's also possible to search for and install other Linux apps like Tux paint, Tux type, and many others. I think I have about 3 GB left on my hard drive so I will need to think about buying an expansion SD card if I want to install many more programs.

The list price for the Linux version is $329. Education resellers prices may be lower (ours was $317 from CDW-G). There is also a Windows XP version available with a conventional hard drive that lists for $379.

I'm really excited by the potential for using these netbooks in a 1:1 initiative. I showed ours to a principal today, and she is looking into funding a classroom set with a grant.

Stone Soup

Growing up in the 1960's, I loved watching Captain Kangaroo every morning. One of the stories that was told from time to time was "Stone Soup" by Marcia Brown. According to wikipedia, "Stone Soup is a Grimm Brothers[citation needed] tale about returning soldiers and their guise to get a selfish, starving town to learn the lesson of cooperation and its benefits. As with all Grimm Brother tales, it offers a lesson to those willing to read between the lines. The fable of the stone soup is about co-operation amid scarcity. "

I thought about the spirit of that story as I reflected on the past week in Toledo, Ohio, the site of an Extreme Makeover Home Edition (EMHE). Coincidentally, a couple of my colleagues were directly connected to the makeover. One of them knows the Frisch family personally, and the other colleague's wife works for the company that was in charge of building the new home. He took a week off from work to volunteer on the site, spending as long as 20 hours in one day onsite.

They both told wonderful, heartwarming stories about the family and the thousands of people who came together to provide a new home for this deserving family. But the story doesn't end with the family moving back into their home! The people and businesses of the greater Toledo area continue to collect money, and provide goods and services that will touch this family for many, many years. For example, the University of Toledo has pledged full scholarships to the 11 boys in the Frisch family (8 were adopted, 5 of them from Haiti).

On my way to work this morning I happened to hear an interview on the radio that listed some of the many ways people came together for this family. The hairs on the back of my neck stood up, and I got goosebumps to learn of this outpouring of care, love, and concern for a family that these people had never met. Wave after wave of good deeds, and this in spite of the relatively high unemployment rate and economic down turn of the local economy. (You'll be able to hear the interview after it's posted to Mary Beth & Rick's blog: http://1015theriver.com/pages/mbrick.html They've also posted some pictures)

For at least a few days now we have had a welcome respite from the bad news and the many problems in our world. We have focused our attention on all that is truly good about people despite our own personal problems. I can only hope the same goodwill is evident in the other locations that EMHE visits.

This experience illustrates the enormous power of COLLABORATION! And with the many Web 2.0 tools that are now available to students around the world, we have a responsibility to teach our children of the potential we have to change the world.

As Dr. Seuss said: "Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."

Monday, September 15, 2008

Storytelling 101

The sound and the visuals don't always align, but it's a very captivating story about storytelling. Thanks to Dean Shareski for the link. This is a great example of how to use visuals in a PowerPoint presentation.

Storytelling 101
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: sherlock rockstar)

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Defining who you are online

I'm reading a terrific article in the New York Times by Clive Thompson entitled "I'm so totally, digitally close to you." Still reading it as a matter of fact, but I simply had to stop reading and post this money quote:

"If you don't dive in, other people will define who you are. So you constantly stream your pictures, your thoughts, your relationship status and what you're doing--right now!-- if only to ensure the virtual version of you is accurate, or at least the one you want to present to the world." A very powerful epiphany.

Thanks to Ira Socol for pointing it out on his SpeEdChange blog, and also for his very intelligent response to the NY Times article in his post entitled "Back to the Future."

I have truly discovered the "strength of weak ties" through my RSS feeds and the people I follow on Twitter.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Extreme makeover home edition comes to Toledo

One of the best shows on TV is ABC's Extreme Makeover Home Edition. This week, a very deserving Toledo, OH family is the recipient of an extreme home makeover.

I looked up the homesite on Google Maps and came up with this street level view of what I believe to be the house.

View Larger Map

The Frisch's have 11 children, many of them adopted. Mr. Frisch is a Toledo firefighter, and Mrs. Frisch has battled medical problems. You can read more on the following websites:

Build with Buckeye.com

This episode will air in November on ABC. Bring lots of kleenex!

September 11th explained on BrainPop

A very sensitive, difficult topic to discuss for many teachers, and parents, is September 11, 2001. It's hard for me to believe it's already been 7 years. Many of our upper elementary and middle school students may have no idea what happened, or, more importantly, WHY it happened.

BrainPop has done a very nice job of explaining the what, why, where, and how of this important day in our nation's history.


I'm a big fan of James Hollis' blog, Teachers Love SMART Boards. I emailed James to ask him about the Sketchcast.com website, which seems to have disappeard from the internet, and to tell him about my idea for using the Jing Project as an alternative.

He in turn told me about Freescreencast.com which, like Jing, will allow you to record and then upload a screencast for free, and then to embed that recording in a blog or wiki.

I just looked at the site briefly, and it seems like a winner! Here is a sample screencast that James Hollis created with FreeScreencast:

Monday, September 08, 2008

FREE Starbucks coffee for teachers!

Here's the official info from the Starbucks website: http://blogs.starbucks.com/blogs/customer/archive/2008/09/05/welcome-back-to-school-teachers.aspx

Thank you Doug Johnson

I'm still catching up with some of my Bloglines feeds from the past 2 months. Today I finally got to reading some of Doug Johnson's Blue Skunk blog.

He shared the slides from a presentation he did that contradicts the old story about how a banker or doctor from 100 years ago couldn't function in a bank or hospital today, but that a teacher from 100 years ago could do quite well in a classroom.

Have a look!

View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: my talk)

Saturday, September 06, 2008

I love this Fuji camera!

I found this great little camera on the Best Buy website. It's an 8 megapixel point and shoot that comes with a 1 MB SD card and a little carrying bag for $110. Now what's really cool is that it shoots video-- full 640X480 and 30 frames per second--- in avi format. You can fit about 20 minutes of video on the 1 MB SD card.
I'm a BIG fan of the Flip video cameras, but they only do video. This Fuji camera will do both stills and video.
Check it out for yourself on the Best Buy website.

Vicktory Dogs

Yes, that's the correct spelling. I just watched the premier of Dog Town on the National Geographic channel. It was 2 hours on the rescue and rehabilitation of Michael Vick's pit bull terriers. I am such a dog lover that some of this program was very difficult for me to watch. There is a happy ending however, thanks to the dedicated staff of the Best Friends animal sanctuary in southern Utah, the "dog town" in the title of the show.

Best Friends has a YouTube channel, and here's a short video on the "Vicktory" dogs featured in the TV show.

Copyright comic book

I saw a link to this great resource on Clarence Fisher's blog, Remote Access. It's a 12 page, full color comic book about copyright. It does a nice job of teaching what "intellectual property" is. It's from the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

Download the PDF here: http://www.wipo.int/freepublications/en/copyright/484/wipo_pub_484.pdf

Technorati claim

Technorati Profile

Friday, September 05, 2008

Search flickr creative commons

Found this great website on Jeff Utecht's blog. It allows you to search the flickr Creative Commons, and then, by clicking on a thumbnail of a photo, will give you the embed code WITH the correct citation format! Like this cute photo of a Boston Terrier, my favorite dog breed.

Photo by Elevated
Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs License

My first cartoon

Created with Comic Life with some help from BeFunky and DesignComics.

Read this document on Scribd: cartoon1

Cool school tool: authorSTREAM

I like slideshare, but today I found a site that makes sharing presentations WITH narration much easier: authorSTREAM.

Here's a nice example of a presentation with narration from Shawn Brandt.

Uploaded on authorSTREAM by sbrandt

Graphic novels--- they're NOT comic books!

I've been doing some research on creating comics and graphic novels, particularly in the Web 2.0 "cloud." I just checked out a book entitled "Drawing Words & Writing Pictures" by Jessica Abel & Matt Madden.

There is an interesting companion website to the book, and while exploring the various links I came across this trailer to a new graphic novel to be published this fall. WOW!


You can view other trailers from first second books here: http://www.firstsecondbooks.com/trailers.html

SMART board resources now in netTrekker d.i.

From an email I received from netTrekker this morning...

900 SMART resources are now available in netTrekker d.i.

SMART resources were developed in SMART Notebook software, correlated to curriculum standards, and can be customized to suit the needs of your classroom.

In addition to being available throughout netTrekker d.i. search results in elementary, middle and high school, SMART resources are easily accessible by performing a search and selecting SMART in the Collections refinement menu.

netTrekker d.i. is available FREE to all Michigan educators who sign up for a Michigan LearnPort account. Here's a short video tutorial I created that will show you how: http://misd.k12.mi.us/technology/training/nettrekker/player.html

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Online comic creators

I hit the jackpot when I found this blog post from Down the Tubes: http://downthetubescomics.blogspot.com/2008/07/online-comic-creator-tools.html
which lists MANY online comic creators from the US and abroad.

I've seen a few of these before, but there are several others that look promising.

September Technology Update newsletter

I haven't used Scribd.com in a long time. Here's my attempt at embedding a PDF I uploaded.

Read this document on Scribd: 08sept tech update

Hey, it really worked!

More on netbooks

Dell FINALLY put their Inspiron Mini 9 netbook on sale on their website today. Currently, only a Windows XP version is available. The Linux version won't go on sale until October.

I was not very impressed with the price/features of the Dell as compared to the Acer Aspire One netbook that I had written about previously. CDW-G has the Aspire One in white for $329. They're no longer listed on the Circuit City website. I ordered one today. I'll be sure to let you know my impressions when it arrives.

And now you can purchase a "refurbished" Asus Eee PC in your choice of 5 colors from the Geeks.com for $250!!! It only has a 7" screen though, as compared to the 9" screen on the Dell and Acer netbooks.

I would love to get a grant to outfit a class with netbooks to see what's possible. I believe this is the future of any 1:1 laptop initiatives, especially if the price point drops below $250. A few years ago, this was the price for a Palm and keyboard.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Food for thought

Here's an excerpt from a SpeEdChange blog post by Ira Socol worth thinking about:

"Consider all the things routinely done in classrooms that threaten students who are less than perfect: "Trading papers" with the student next to you. Passing tests, homework, or in-class assignments "forward." Having one student collect the work of other students. Putting grades on the front of papers. Letting students pick through a pile of graded work to find their own. Required writing on the board. Requiring students to read outloud. Demanding answers from students who are struggling. Is public humiliation a goal? Or is it just that no thought at all has gone into it?

What is funny about this is that the very same teachers who might be extremely sensitive to humiliations in physical education or on the playground ("just because I'm not good at sport shouldn't be a reason to be humiliated by being picked last, or laughed at") seem most oblivious to the everyday humiliations of struggling students in school. But those humiliations push students away from school, away from learning, and away from opportunity - and they are often pushed away long before they reach the age of eight.

So next time you look at the students in your room, and ask for an activity, consider this: Think about being in front of a room full of your peers, people you must see everyday, and being forced to do whatever you are absolutely worst at - singing opera, painting with oils, dancing ballet, doing gymnastics - in front of everyone. Now imagine them all laughing at you, and judging you worthless.

Then re-think your classroom environment. Please." - Ira Socol

Read the entire post here: http://speedchange.blogspot.com/2008/09/lives-of-others.html

And speaking of Comic Life...

They offer very generous education discounts! A 25 seat license for Comic Life Deluxe for only $199.00!!!

Get an individual license for $19.99!

Google Chrome comic book

OK, maybe I should say it's a "graphic novel." But back in the day, they were comic books and heaven forbid you actually got caught with one in school!

But seriously, Google has a wonderful way to introduce their new "Chrome" browser: http://www.google.com/googlebooks/chrome/index.html

I haven't tried the new browser yet, but their comic book got me to thinking (again) about how this is yet another way to tell a story--a way that many students would love to try!

I know that macs have a version of "Comic Life" pre-loaded (or at least they did a couple of years ago), and there are other free online comic creators (I'll have to go back through my Bloglines and delicious account to find them). I'd be interested to see what students could come up with if given the chance.

Check out the Google Chrome comic book, and brainstorm some assignments that students could complete in a similar way.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Track Hurricane Gustav in Google Earth

On his Google Earth Blog, Frank Taylor has made available an online KMZ file that, when opened, will allow you to load a HUGE amount of data related to Hurricane Gustav into Google Earth (GE). The basic version of Google Earth is FREE, and may be downloaded from the GE website.

My advice is to selectively turn the various "layers" on and off. Turning all the layers on at once leaves the map virtually unreadable.

I'm sure other KML files and data layers will become available over the next several days as we all anxiously wait to see where Gustav tracks.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Teachers, here's your pep talk for opening day

From the Dallas ISD, their 5th grade keynote speaker, Dalton Sherman. Thanks Kevin Jarret for pointing this out on your blog.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Big Dog video

This is both amazing and a little bit creepy.


SMART board lessons from Scholastic

I'm getting ready to show the Scholastic class homepage builder, and while browsing the Scholastic.com site I came across a link to some SMART board lessons.

I saw this on Tony Vincent's website

Simple Spark is a directory of almost 10,000(!) web-based applications.

The directory is broken down into various categories including EDUCATION. Oh.My.Goodness. I need a sabbatical to look at them all! Fortunately, there is a brief description of each site.

Creating and sharing a "mathcast"

I haven't been able to access Sketchcast.com, and I wanted to demonstrate how to create a "mathcast" to a group of teachers. Then I remembered the Jing Project. This free software from TechSmith allows you to capture your screen-- either pictures or video-- and then upload your captures to TechSmith's Screencast.com website. You have 2 GB of storage for FREE, and Screencast includes embed code so that you can display your screen captures on your blog, wiki, or website.

Those teachers that have SMARTboards have the Notebook software to use to create their mathcast. If you don't have a SMARTboard you could use Microsoft Paint and your mouse to "write" with, although it's not as easy and will require some practice.

I also saw QlipBoard today, but haven't tried it yet. It may also be an option for screen captures.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Vote for me!

While doing research for my latest posts on netbook computers, I came across an interesting site: Liliputing.com
They have a lot of great information on small computers, AKA "Liliputers."

I also happened to see that they were having a logo design contest, so I did my best to come up with one that reminded me of Jonathan Swift's Gulliver's Travels (remember the Liliputians??).

Returning to the Liliputing site this morning, lo and behold, there was my design among all the others that had been submitted, and even better, an online poll that allows you to vote for your favorite.

Please go to the Liliputing site, and have a look at all the designs, and, if you think mine is the best, please VOTE FOR ME! The top 3 logos, as selected by the site designers, will win Amazon gift cards.

Above is my logo. Hope you like it.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Dell gets into the netbook business!

Rumor has it that Dell will launch the Inspiron 910 TODAY (August 22) for a price of $299!
Here's the leaked specs as posted on Gizmodo: http://gizmodo.com/5038298/leaked-dell-inspiron-910-mini-note-specs-and-release-date

And they have a way cool red color too! And it has VGA output.

Well that didn't take long... Acer Aspire price cut!

I just read on Engadget that Acer has announed (TODAY) $50 price cuts on their Aspire one netbooks. Now the Linux model is $329, and the Windows XP model is $349!!!

Read for yourself: http://www.engadget.com/2008/08/22/acer-remembers-netbooks-were-supposed-to-be-cheap-drops-price-o/

Mogulus-- your own Internet TV studio!

I've only recently started playing around with ustream.tv. It was very easy to set up and get started. Today, while clearing out my overcrowded aggregator, I came across a reference to Mogulus.com. I immediately set up a new free account, and now I'm playing around with the very cool Mogulus studio.

This site is WAY BEYOND what I was able to do with ustream. You can use multiple cameras, cue up pre-recorded video clips, do storyboarding, have a ticker... very advanced stuff like a real TV station would have in their control room.

You can even embed your TV station like I'm doing here:

Still MORE computer hardware news

I'm still catching up in my bloglines feeds, and found a reference to Intel's "Classmate PC." So immediately I Googled it and found their website which I'm sharing here: http://www.classmatepc.com

They're being sold on Amazon, starting at $399 for a 900mhz celeron, 9" screen, 40GB HD, and 512MB RAM that runs Linux. For $50 more you can get Windows XP.

The "second generation" specs look similar to the Acer I wrote about last night, but I don't think they're on the market yet.

With so much computing being done in the "cloud" these days, a large hard drive is not as crucial as it used to be. Battery life can be increased and weight reduced with the advent of flash hard drives. I'm very excited about the possibility of 1:1 computing with these new "netbooks." I can't wait to try one!

Another good read on CNN.com

This CNN.com article deals with students communicating with their teachers via social networking sites. The good, the bad and the ugly are presented along with a couple of memorable quotes.

This one from a 52 year old Missouri teacher: "Just the very fact that I have MySpace makes them think, 'Well, maybe we can talk to this guy and open the lines of communication,' I realized this is a major way of communication for them."

Or how about this one from a school board lawyer: "As an educator, there is a line of demarcation between you and your student. It's a line that you cannot come close to, let alone step over. You've got to establish it from Day One and say, 'I'm not your buddy; I'm not your friend; I'm just your teacher.' "

One school board in Missouri has implemented a policy forbidding teachers and students from having any text-message conversations or social-networking friendships.

IMHO, schools are again trying to interpret shades of gray as either black or white. Not all teachers who use social networking sites or text-messaging to communicate with students are bad! And I'm not that naive to think that all of them are good either. But the "easy" solution is, once again, FORBID it, or BLOCK it for everyone because, as the 52 year old teacher observes, "... you are going to have people who are attracted to the profession because of easy availability of kids." And rather than increasing their efforts to identify, punish and prosecute the guilty, school boards would rather take a legitimate communication tool away from everyone.

Video games help kids learn?!?

That's what researchers are saying at the APA convention in Boston. Studies from Fordham University and Iowa State University are cited in an online CNN article: http://www.cnn.com/2008/TECH/ptech/08/18/videogames.learning.ap/index.html?eref=rss_tech

Laparoscopic surgeons who played video games were 27 percent faster at advanced surgical procedures and made 37 percent fewer errors than those who didn't!

Parents and teachers have long suspected what was confirmed by other studies: "students who played violent games tended to be more hostile, less forgiving and believed violence to be normal compared to those who played nonviolent games. And those who played more entertainment games did poorer in school and were are greater risk of obesity."

Thursday, August 21, 2008

And since I'm talking about computer hardware...

Techbargains has found an unbelievable deal on an HP TABLET for $699 with free shipping!!! 160GB and 3GB RAM, DVD burner, webcam, wireless G, 8 cell battery. I bought one of these a few months ago for my wife and I paid WAY too much! A real deal. Get one before HP figures out they made a mistake: http://www.techbargains.com/news_displayItem.cfm/131439

This is awfully tempting!

Have you heard of "netbooks"??? Those small notebook computers that are becoming more and more popular? This Acer Aspire one from Circuit City looks pretty suh-weet! $380 with free shipping. I know, I know, a low end laptop doesn't cost much more, but this little baby weighs in at just over 2 pounds.

Ever since I saw the first ebook readers about 5 or 6 years ago, I was hoping for some kind of convergence between it and a handheld computer (i.e. Palm). Palms were too small for any real serious applications (especially if it involved typing), and laptops were too big and bulky. These netbooks are just the ticket.

When the price point gets under $250 I predict schools will be all over them!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Have a look at this!


It's Ben Hazzard's Cross-Classroom Collaboration Projects Matrix. (Try saying THAT 10 times fast!) Good stuff. Much to think about. As the LOL cats would say, "I haz a ponder."

more animals

This is absolutely BRILLIANT!

If you've never seen Jessica Hagy's Indexed blog, you are missing out on some insightful, humorous, way-outside the box thinking. Here is one of my favorite graphs she's ever done! I have tried my best to explain Web 2.0, but this picture says it all...

Read the Words demo

Check out this website!

Thanks to Vicki Davis, the coolcatteacher, for pointing out ClassTools.net. You can create educational games and graphic organizers that can be embedded on a website like this one:

Click here for full screen version

And still ANOTHER notredame Slideshare!

This one is on iPods:

I Pod In Education
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own. (tags: ipod education)

And ANOTHER excellent Slideshare from notredame

The Web 2.0 alphabet!
Web 2.0
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own.

Advanced featuers of unitedstreaming

I found this excellent presentation on Slideshare. It's for more advanced users of unitedstreaming. Thank you to Slideshare user "notredame" for uploading it.
De Streaming
View SlideShare presentation or Upload your own.