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:

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:

More information about the LEGO League Challenge is available online at

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: 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:

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,, 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