Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Universal Newsreels on YouTube

Today I discovered that over 600 Universal Newsreels have been archived on a YouTube channel. In our age of 24/7 news and live coverage, we, and especially our students, don't understand how slowly news traveled 50 years ago.

Here's a nice description from the Universal Newsreel channel:
In the pre-TV era, people saw the news every week in their neighborhood movie theaters. Newsreels were shown before every feature film and in dedicated newsreel theaters located in large cities. Universal Newsreel, produced from 1929 to 1967, was released twice a week. Each issue contained six or seven short stories, usually one to two minutes in length, covering world events, politics, sports, fashion, and whatever else might entertain the movie audience. These newsreels offer a fascinating and unique view of an era when motion pictures defined our culture and were a primary source of visual news reporting.

Here's video from 1933, of FDR and one of his fireside chats, in which he outlines his economic recovery plan.

Mapping the swine flu outbreak with Google Maps

I am a big fan of Google Maps. Not only can you create your own customized map, but you can invite others to collaborate. Recently we traveled to Washington, DC. I invited a few others who were more familiar with the area to add some of their favorite restaurants and attractions to a map I had created. You can add photos, videos, and links to your "bubble."

This map of the swine flu outbreak was created by Dr. Henry Niman. Click on one of the colored markers to learn more about each location.

I would love to see some students create maps related to local historical landmarks. They could include photos, audio, video, links to documents or articles.

View H1N1 Swine Flu in a larger map

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Hummingbird nest cam

I'm a bird lover, and today while watching Dean Shareski and Alec Couros' presentation on ustream I was distracted by a link to a hummingbird webcam.

Check it out for yourself. Go directly to the ustream site to learn more about the nest, mama hummingbird, the location, etc. I am absolutely fascinated by this! When mama leaves the nest you can see 2 tiny eggs.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Sick students go to school virtually

From CNN

Great new blog to follow- MakeUseOf

MakeUseOf features "cool websites, software and internet tips." There are several contributors to their website and they write on a variety of topics. A recent post was Top Educational Websites For Children That Are Fun. Check out 10 Essential Cheat Sheets To Download or a 50 page guide to iTunes:

Did you ever wonder how students are able to bypass your school's filter? You can learn how they did it and set up your own proxy server on your home computer! You can learn how to transfer executable apps to your USB thumb drive, or 10 YouTube embed code tricks.

Spend some time exploring their many links, articles, and reviews. I have so much to learn!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Today's must have software: LastPass

The reality of Web 2.0 is that we all have way too many usernames and passwords to remember. Using the same ones for multiple sites is far too risky, but we can't remember the complicated, secure passwords we know we should be using.

That's why I'm writing about LastPass. You only need to remember ONE password. LastPass will remember the rest. This free site has been recommended by ZDNet, Kim Komando, and PCMag among others.

After downloading the LastPass software and setting up your account, you can resume your internet activity. Whenever you log in to a site, LastPass will ask if you'd like it to remember your information. On future visits to that site LastPass will fill in the fields for you automatically.

And if you decide to change a password, LastPass will detect that, and even suggest a strong password for you to use. You won't have to remember it though--- LastPass will do that for you! Now you can use a different password for every site and make it as long and complicated as you like.

It gets better! If you're not on your home or office computer you can generate and use a one time password (OTP) to log in to your LastPass "vault." You can generate as many of these OTPs as you like, print them out and keep them in your wallet or purse. This protects you from key-logging software that may have been installed on a public computer.

I have a fingerprint reader that I use on my home computer, but not for long. I'll be migrating to LastPass.

Here's a video from their website:

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

360 degree panoramic photos from around the world

Yesterday I worked with a group of teachers on Google Earth, specifically, on how they can create their own placemarks that contain pictures, links, videos, or even games.

Today I came across a wonderful site,, with panoramic photos from around the world. There are many from the USA including the Jefferson and Lincoln Memorials in DC, the Grand Canyon, and the Golden Gate Bridge. But there are numerous locations that I'll probably never see in person that are truly fascinating to visit virtually. It's not as good as being there, but it's the next best thing.

When creating a Google Earth placemark you could provide a link to one of these interactive photos.

Check it out at:

The Grammar Girl in real life!

Her name is Mignon Fogarty and here's a behind-the-scenes video. Was that audacity software she was using to record her podcast?

Visit her website at You can also download her weekly podcasts in iTunes.

Monday, April 06, 2009

Twitter in plain English

Another great video from the Common Craft gang. In case you don't use Twitter, or maybe you just don't understand what all the fuss is about, perhaps this video will help you appreciate it.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Twitter in the classroom?

Twitter seems to be capturing everyone's attention lately. Here's a presentation I discovered on Jane Hart's e-Learning Pick of the Day blog that shows some interesting ways to use Twitter in the classroom.