Saturday, December 31, 2011

One Wonderful Page to Rule Them All #edtech

It's been an amazing year and I will be writing a reflection post about this 365 project in a few days, once I have had a chance to recover.  And the 365th utility of the year will help you organize the other 364.  Wonderpage allows you to create categories or "folders" for all the sites you come across and then create a visual snapshot of those sites.Wonderpage is easy way to keep all your web explorations neatly categorized.  Call it a start page, call it a social bookmarking tool, call Wonderpage simply wonderful!  You can make your folders public and share them with others or hoard the sites you find for yourself by keeping them private.  Connect with others and follow their folders as well.  Change the view from thumbnails to lists if you choose.

I wish you nothing but the best in 2012.  While there will not be a new site a day listed at Zenodotus, I will continue to share resources I find throughout the year.  It's been a wild and sometimes wacky adventure!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Continue the Conversation #edtech

I can't believe that this is the second to last post in the miraculous 365 project.  I say miraculous because it is truly a miracle I got through it.  I'll be writing a reflection post about this in the near future I'm sure.  But in the meantime, I wanted to point out a new feature I have added to and that is the forum I have added at the bottom of the page.  Forums are still alive and well on the internet and is a fantastic resource to add a 5 subject forum to your blog or website for free!  Adding a forum to your site is now as easy as grabbing some Embed code from  The free version allows Unlimited posting, Unlimited members, 15 recent topics can be displayed and five forum topics to be created. If you need more than that there are reasonably priced paid versions available as well.  What's nice about is that you don't need to have an extra account to participate.  Simply log in with your Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter, Google, MySpace or OpenID and you are free to participate. is a nice addition to this blog and I hope you will take the opportunity to scroll down log in and share your thoughts and ideas.  For now I have created a suggestion and Web 2.0 category.  That leaves me with three topics left to create.  Leave me a suggestion in this new forum and I will consider adding it as a topic. does offer some administrative tools but I won't know how well they work until you start participating.  Please don't leave any "snarky" comments, since I don;t know yet if they can be deleted.  Don;t want one bad apple to spoil the bunch and force me to take it down before it even gets started.  Let's explore together shall we?  And keep on Tal.king!

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A New Kind of Blog in Town #edtech

There is yet another new blogging platform out there in cyberspace called Novalet.  I've been holding off on posting about it since I had some trouble signing up (if you choose to do so make sure you put your email address in all lowercase letters). After contacting the developer for help, I explained I wanted to post about  Novalet  here on Zenodotus.  They asked that I hold off until they rolled out a set of widgets, which they obviously have since you are reading this.  The concept is fairly simple, sign up and start blogging. Make sure you tag your posts so others can find them easily via the post search engine.  This is where Novalet starts to get interesting and a bit unique.  When you find a blog post you like you can add the standard comment.  But, you can also "like" the post which let's others know what you are reading.  You can also follow the author.  These features seem to be a lot like Facebook which is the social aspect of Novalet.  Then of course there are the widgets.  At the moment you have Embed, Feed, Twitter and HTML.  I haven't had enough time to experiment with Embed and HTML, but, it looks like the Feed widget will pull the last four messages from the RSS of your choosing and Twitter widget does the same for your Twitter account.  Novalet is definitely interesting and will be one to watch in 2012.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Final Four #edtech

I realized today, I am down to 4 days left in this 365 project and while it has been a valuable learning experience it has been exhausting! Especially, when I have so much on my plate the next few weeks with preparation for a number of different conferences.  So, the last few posts may be short but hopefully sweet.
One of the many items I have on my plate is putting together a video with my team explaining a professional development "experiment" we have been conducting at two of the satellite schools with which I work.  Part of creating a good piece of media is storyboarding.  We chose to use Spaaze to create ours.  Spaaze is a lot like Wallwisher in that it is an online corkboard of sorts that allows you to create notes or stickies (which was how we laid out our ideas).  But, you can also post videos, images, links, bookmarks, files, labels and even "snippets" of html.  Spaaze is also collaborative and you can invite a number of people to work on the corkboard at the same time. What really makes Spaaze unique though is the ability to create "hotspots" making navigation around your board extremely easy.  It's can almost become a Prezi presentation.  You can Publish, export and even share an RSS feed!  There is more here than I could possibly explain in a short post. Go explore Spaaze tonight!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Read the TOS #edtech

TOS stands for terms of Service and they have been popping up all over the place and most recently on video games (just saw one to use the EA Sports network on an XBox game).  We often joke that as we scroll through these and click accept that we are giving up their first born.  But these TOS agreements are important.  Perhaps most importantly is a sites right to refuse services for any reason.  Why am I rambling about legal issues when I am not a lawyer nor do I pretend to play one on TV?  Because Google made a young girl cry this week: Google Shuts Down Youth Account.  And while many sites hide behind COPPA to protect themselves from lawsuits, they have every right to do so!

Who really made this young blogger cry?  In my opinion, her father, who should have read the agreement and done his homework before signing her up for a gmail account. Google clearly states that children under 13 should not sign up for an account.  Now, I felt bad for this young lady who had her blog ripped out from under her and email taken away.  But, this was not Google's mistake.  I heard the father this morning on the radio talking about the situation and felt bad for all involved.  I even called the radio station this morning on the drive in to tell them about Kidblog which also does not allow children under 13 to register directly for an account.  Instead a teacher (or presumably a parent) signs up for an account at Kidblog and then creates sub accounts for students to blog under.  Within the TOS, they clearly state:

"1. Membership Policy
You must be at least 13 years or older to register for this Service. Users under the age of 13 must use an account created by a Member over 13 years old. Kidblog is uniquely designed for teachers, students, librarians, administrators, parents, and anyone else involved in education. The Member registering (or maintaining/moderating) a class account (and subsequently creating and/or adding students/users to the account) is responsible for obtaining permission of a parent or guardian of any users under 13 who use the Service within the Member's class account."

A lot of tears could have been saved.  I understand that the young lady and her father were able to recover and offload the data.  Perhaps they can migrate the information to Kidblog so she can continue to grow as a cyber citizen.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Bonzo Out of The Box #edtech

Throughout the year I have shared many different social bookmarking tools.  It's important to keep your internet lives and research organized. BonzoBox is another one of these tools with a lot of potential.  With a built in Bing search engine (they really need to add other options to make it a viable research tool), it's easy to search and bookmark sites.  When you add a bookmark you get a visual snapshot of the site an can add tags and descriptions.  You can then rearrange a page of all your bookmarks and even share them out to Facebook.  If you are looking for a new social bookmark tool BonzoBox may work for you.

One Day Off, Two Posts On #edtech

I took yesterday off for Christmas.  Happy holidays too you and yours.  So that means a double post today.  First up, OnePage and it's interactive contact cards.  Similar, to other "online presence" tools OnePage enables you to build an embedabble contact card with all your different social networks connected to it.    What makes OnePage particularly unique is that you can connect and collect colleagues contact information from their own OnePage.  Always like the short simple posts/

Saturday, December 24, 2011

A Commendable Site #edtech

I've been following @wmchamberlain and the #commentsforkids campaign he has been supporting throughout the year.  I think he and anyone else involved in the campaign may enjoy today's post.  My understanding of  #commentsforkids is that it encourages student blogging and the global feedback,encouragement and assessment they can get by doing so.
Not all students blog, however, I have never met a child who does not enjoy receiving praise for something they have been working hard at or in which they excel.  When I stumbled upon CommendableKids, I think it may just fill that void.  While CommendableKids is not designed as an educational tool (it's more for individuals wishing to give their children praise), it could certainly be used in a school setting and CommendableKids should consider adding an educational strand. The concept is simple, an adult signs up for a free account and then adds their children (or students) under their own account.  Then as the child achieves different accomplishments the adult can award badges (sounds a little like FourSquare and other social networking tools doesn't it).  Each child gets their own site to collect their badges and people can give "high fives" and leave comments, if the adult has allowed these options.  I usually don't mention the paid services of free utilities, but the paid version (which I believe is $10 a year) allows you to print out badges as well!  We all do this because we believe children are special, CommendableKids let's us express it.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Santa Claus is Coming to Town #edtech

It's family fun night at Zenodotus and what's more fun for those who believe in Santa than the Norad Tracker.  This year they have added an entire North Pole village that acts as a countdown (which I wish I had known about before now) which is full of educational activities.  I like the way in recent years they have teamed with Google Earth to give a geography lesson of sorts.

Admittedly, I am not as familiar with Hanukkah, but I need look no further than to find a great deal of great information and fun activities.

I haven't found anything for Kwanzaa yet.  So, if you know of something please add a comment.  Also, feel free to share any other holiday sites you may know about!

Happy holidays!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

I think you may like using Hycku. #edtech

Can you edit yourself enough to keep your status update under 255 characters and less than seven words? Then Hycku may be the nano-blog for you.  I have a hard enough time with 140 characters - but 7 words? Forget about it! Hycku does allow you to attach a picture to enhance your post.  Interesting concept, but not sure how long it will survive in the Web 2.0 stratosphere.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Ever Find Yourself Wanting More? #edtech

If you find a good utility, it's always a good idea to find a back up in case the startup goes belly up.  I've posted in the past about SimilarSites.  But, what if that tool suddenly disappears?  That's when you might want to look at the search engine Moreofit.  Basically, you type in the website that you'd like to find more of (hence the name) and Moreofit will return websites that serve a similar purpose.  Quick and simple - just the way I like it.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Are You a Bookworm? #edtech

One of the hottest gifts on the market for the holiday season are e-readers.  You know the Nook, Kobo and of course the various flavors of Kindle.  And in fact there has been a strong push to start integrating this technology into the classroom. And while cost has come down significantly on these devices it's still not necessarily cost effective.  And not all formats are easily readible on all devices.  Take EPubs for example, I haven't seen an easy way to open them on the Kindle.  Sure, I could convert the file but who needs the hassle? Enter Bookworm.  This great tool from O' enables you to read any ePub file on any computer or cell phone with a web browser in an e-reader style.  Bookworm let's you upload your epub from your desktop and allows you to read them directly in your browser and pick up where you left off on your cell browser.  With hundreds of thousands of free epubs out there, Bookworm may just be the tool that brings you into the world of digital books!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Make Conversations Pop!

How it's taken me this long to tell you about Voxopop I have no idea! The concept is similar to Voicethread but without the images.  With Voxopop you simply create threaded verbal conversations or "talkgroups".  These groups can be public, restricted or entirely private.  Designed as an e-learning too to help students develop their speaking skills, I can see numerous educational applications for Voxopop.  This tool could be applied as a global communication tool for projects and also utilized for ESL and Special Ed.  The audio recordings I have heard in some of these Talkgroups have not always been stelar, but my guess is that is do to equipment not the product.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Top Shelf Application #edtech

Have you ever been doing research work on a presentation or document and had ideas that you didn't instantly write down?  Of course you have.  Shelfster may be the solution to that problem.  At it's core, Shelfster is an online document creation utility.  You can create multiple documents within a "project" (although I think they should have called it a shelf, just saying).  But what sets Shelfster apart from other online document creation tolls are the add-on's.  The browser add-on allows you to snip parts of webpages, make notes or "quick ideas", bookmark sites and neatly categorize them all to your "project".  If you don't like using browser extensions there are desktop apps that provide the same features. There are also iOS apps which apparently will let  you record voice notes as well.  Overall, it's a very interesting concept for keeping your research organized.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Take the First Step #edtech

Tonight's post is about a simple but powerful tutorial creator called Stepstation.  You pick a category for your tutorial and then start filling out the text boxes for each step.  Take a screenshot or grab an image to attach to it and you have an "instant" tutorial thanks to Stepstation.  Of course you can publish your tutorial for others to read or the results would just be a document.  Comments can also be added by viewers and you can request and explore others tutorials.  Again simple tool but powerful.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Ready to Learn Through Play? #edtech

Continuing the theme of content creation you may want to take a look at Educaplay. This amazing website allows teachers to create flash activities without having to know any flash and do so in multiple languages (Spanish, French, Potuguese, Dutch and Gailic to name a few).  In fact, Educaplay's original .com is in Spanish.  Once registered for a free account you can create from the following categories.

While I have yet to figure out how, you can create your own grouping of activities. You can attach audio and images to your activities as well.  You get to decide if you add a time component to your activities on Educaplay.  Those who complete said activities can post there results and compete against each other.  I have yet to figure out all the features but it does appear there are some management features as well. Too much to cover in a post you really need to explore Educaplay on your own.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

You LitSay #edtech

One of the most exciting features of the Web 2.0 universe is the ability for students to become content creators and gain global feedback. Litsay is a writing community that allows students to do just that.  Once registered for a free account you can begin uploading writings.  You can tag and rate your creations to make it easy for others to find enjoy and perhaps most importantly leave comments.  Litsay also has communities for you to join.  These are basically categories of similar types of writing.  You can create your own communities at Litsay as well which can be public or private allowing the moderator to decide what is published.  There are a number of settings within the community control panel to make you feel more comfortable as a moderator.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

There's an App for That #edtech

You've heard the expression but have you ever had trouble finding one? No longer thanks to Quixey.  This search engine will do the work for you!  Simply type what your looking for into Quixey and it will find a plethora of applications for IOS, Android, RIM, Windows, Chrome, Firefox, different social networks and a host of other platforms! Can't take all the credit for this one however, and must thank @shannonmmiller for sharing Quixey via Twitter this morning!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Are you a dynamo? #edtech

I'm not sure how new the Dynamo feature of is, but I just discovered it and I'm hooked!  There are word lists and fun challenges galore for all ages at this site.  Broken down into four grade level sections from 1st grade through post-graduate with numerous categories in each subsection to explore, Dynamo is a logophile's dream come true.  When you sign up for a free account they perform a quick assessment of your word knowledge and give you a rank that you can improve by completing word challenges.  The challenges at Dynamo include Match, Crossword, Listen, Write and Flashcards in numerous subject matter and grade levels.  They also have standardized test preparation for everything from the PSAT to the MCAT.  And it doesn't stop there!  Dynamo offers lists for ESL, Spanish, Latin and French!  Whether you build your own lists or choose from the hundreds of pre-made neatly categorized lists, Dynamo is sure to bring hours of challenges.

Scripting in Google Sites? You Bet!

If you are a Google Apps for Education user you may just have people building some pretty amazing Google Sites. Unfortunately, the coding within Sites doesn't always co-operate with embed code that you pulled from different Web 2.0 utilities. For example, Sites does not seem to accept any of the Twitter Widgets codes (which was what a co-worker was trying to do).  This was likely do to the <script> code that makes the widget work.  For those unfamiliar, <script> typically indicates the presence of a client-side script such as JavaScript.  Most of the embed codes you can pull from Web 2.0 sites, includes this type of code.  So after a few hours of struggling with alternatives and having little to no success, I put a call out to my Professional Learning Network, who once again came to my rescue (thanks Aida Awad)!  She led me to an article called Add Twitter to Google Sites.  This simple 4 step process solved the Twitter Widget issue with which we were struggling.

Now if you know me at all, you know my mind is always churning and trying to push the envelope.  So, I started wondering would this work with other <script> code.  Guess what?  It does!  If you are not afraid of "hacking" html code read on.

Using the code at the end of this post and replacing the <script> tags (highlighted in red) with whatever script you choose to use, you can "wrap" the code and it's results into your Google Site.  But first you must save the file as a .XML and upload it to a hosted website.  Uploading the .XML as a Google Doc will not work!    Once you have the file somewhere on the web, copy out the URL to the file.  Then open your site and choose "Insert Gadget".  Under the option "Add gadget by URL" paste the link to the XML file.  When you save and apply the change, the script should now successfully be running on your Site!

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8" ?>
<ModulePrefs title="ErinBurge" />
<Content type="html"><![CDATA[



Sunday, December 11, 2011

What's the Code? #edtech

QR Codes are all the rage right now in the US.  They seem to be popping up everywhere.  But what are you to do if you don't have a smart phone with an app on it to decode the mysterious blob?  That's a good question and one that I've been researching the last few days thanks to @polluckburke sharing Snapmyinfo with me last week. When you sign up for an account it automatically generates a QR code for your e-mail address.  Supposedly, you can email qr codes and have them decoded for you without the need of a cell phone.  I have tested it and found it works.
But, QR codes can be tricky (especially custom codes).  It failed for codes that I know work with a scanner.  So, I went hunting for others. ZXing, the Patrick Wied QR Generator (and decoder) and Esponce all allow you to upload a picture of a QR code and will decode the result for you.  Incidentally, I have found Esponce does the best job and almost gets the custom QR Codes (most results came back scrambled).
So, if you are going to use QR Codes in an educational setting, I suppose the best advice is either make sure people have a way to read the code or keep them extremely simple and clean so people have a chance at using some of the utilities mentioned in this post to decode what they snap with a regular camera.
I felt bad about falling behind yet again on the 365 project so today I gave you 4 for the price of one! :)

Do You Think It's Funny? #edtech

There's a new comic book creator on the scene that comes courtesy of Comic Master.  I like the idea of online comic book tools because it puts students in their element and allows them to become content creators.  They can tell a story or create storyboard for larger projects.  Comic Master has a drag and drop interface for everything from the layout, to characters, to props.  The selections available are currently fairly limited but it's a good starting point.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Are you Loopy? #edtech

As I said somewhere in this 365 project, not every post would be an application but occasionally I would share a resource repository or two.  Such is the case tonight  If you work with digital media you will eventually find yourself in need of a video loop video loop.  Perhaps, you are working with chromakey and need a dynamic background?  Well, I recently discovered a number of free resources to access some pretty high quality loops. 

First up, Dreamscene.  While designed as live backgrounds for Windows 7 users, these wmv files can also be used in DVD menus and in non for profit videos.  There are a number of nice professional loops at the Dreamscene website and even more if you do a search for Dreamscene on Youtube.

Next up is Movietools.  They have a number of free loops and background effects as well.  Movietools .info site has a subsection just for free loops.  They of course have a much larger selection if you choose to purchase their products.  I mention Movietools because they also have a number of  "Lower Thirds."  These are bars you can put text into for your productions.

StockFootageForFree is also a subsection of a larger pay site.  But, they do have some very nice clips available for download. also has a fairly large public domain section full of loops that club djs might use.  These also work amazingly well as video loops for projects.

No matter what site you choose to use for your vido loop needs always remember to give credit where credit is due.

Tomorrow I will talk about free audion and then return to the standard Web 2.0 posts.  I realize I am a day behind...again.  But, wanted to at least get one post in before I turned into a pumpkin at midnight!  Mission accomplished. :-)

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Need a Prompter? #edtech

I was working on a video project earlier today and I had to record a short script with very little time to memorize.  A quick Google search brought me to Cueprompter.  This is a very simple configurable tool that will allow you to paste up to 2000 characters into a box on their site.  When you start Cueprompter, you have the option to change the speed, pause and reverse the text.  I was actually able to pull it up on my Android based phone which was an excellent way to be able to have a teleprompter on the fly.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A Double Shot #edtech

You may think that I missed last night's post.  Well, I did, with good reason.  Because I was going to share a dual utility with you tonight. And color me surprised, it's now a triple utility! So, you're getting a bonus. FileLab is quickly building a suite of online multimedia tools.  The first is the Video Editor.  With JayCut being bought out by RIM, they have announced their free service will be coming to an end in January 2012.  So, I needed an alternative.  I like the idea of being able to quickly edit video files in the cloud.  You never now if you'll have a software package available.  Video Editor fits the bill nicely allowing for many effects and transitions, add soundtracks and even overlays.  You can also export in multiple filetypes directly to your computer.Worked like a charm when I had to help a teacher edit video earlier today.  There are some downsides. First, you must use a Gmail, Facebook or Yahoo account to login. Additionally, as @cchausis pointed out earlier today - it apparently is Windows only and will not work on the Apple platform.  I'm still confused by how a Web 2.0 tool can be platform specific?  Especially since it seems to be based on HTML5?! Wasn't that supposed to be the new common ground?

The second utility is the Audio Editor. As the name implies it allows you to open MP3, WAV, WMA, M4A, FLAC, M4r, AIFF, M4B, OCG, AAC, AMR and other files online and then edit the file, apply effects and download and convert the audio into the format of your choosing.

Finally, just today FileLab added a "Windows Cleaner" designed to clean and fix your registry.  I'm a little leery of trying this one out.   Not sure I want a Web 2.0 utility poking around in my registry.

So there you have it a triple post for this Wednesday!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Wahooly #edtech

I love it when a website has an intriguing enough name that I don't have to come up with a creative title.  Such is the case with Wahooly.  A Start-up that will soon be full of start-ups.  The concept of Wahooly is simple.  In 2012 they will be partnering with over 200 Web 2.0 applications and as a Wahooly member you will get first crack at these sites as a beta tester.  They are currently trying to acquire 25,000 members.  When I signed up earlier today via Klout, I was the 4,325 user.  I'm sure by now they are over 5,000. So make sure you head to Wahooly and grab your account.  Then starting in 2012 you will be contacted when a new site needs beta testers.  Here's the Wahooly hook, by signing up for one of the available start-ups you instantly become a shareholder.  You can find out more about what that means by visiting Wahooly.  It's an intriguing concept and I can't wait to see how it all shakes out.  Why not join me as an early Wahooly adopter?

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Tracking Class #edtech

TrackClass is a marvelous tool for students to stay on top of their work.  If your school does not have a portal or SIS system that allows teachers and students to communicate - then students need to take matters into their own hands with an application like TrackClass. This is the digital version of the planners we all carried when we were students.  With the ability to take notes, keep track of assignments and assessment (tests and quizes), and upload files, TrackClass should help students manage their school lives easily.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

There's a New Kid in the Hall #edtech

I only have a few minutes to get out this post, so I'm going to keep it simple.  Hall is a simple mashup that combines many web 2.0 tools into a powerful collaborative force. At the surface it is a chat room that keeps a record of all activity.  But, it's the four integrated applications that make Hall special.  A poling tool, ranking tool, a to-do app and a collaborative notepad that can be attached to the chat.  You can invite people to join your room via email, Facebook and Twitter.  This may be just the walled garden for which a lot of you have been searching.

Friday, December 2, 2011

My #eddies11 nominations

What a long strange year it's been.  I have met and learned so many amazing things from so many amazing people.  Hopefully, you have learned a thing or two from, as well.  One way to thank people for their efforts is through the yearly Edublog Awards nominations. Hopefully, some of you have voted for at  If you haven't, there are still a few hours left to do so.  Nominations close at 11:59 EST tonight!  While I certainly don't expect to win, it is nice to at least get a nod.  Posting about almost 365 Web 2.0 utilities this year (the project comes to a close December 31st - but the journey will not end) has truly been a labor of love and a learning process.  Because I know how much work goes into attempting to be a valuable asset to to the EdTech community at large, I feel it's important to share my personal nominations with you.  So, without further adieu, here are my nominations for the 2011 Edublog Awards:

Best individual blog
While Scott Weidig and I don't always see eye to eye (after all, he's a MAC and I'm a PC)  :) VanishingPoint always makes me think and often re-think my views on education and technology.  Additionally, I would not partake in many of the events and communities that I do, if not for Scott.  You see, during a conversation at IETC just over four years ago, he convinced me to start presenting at Education Technology conferences and re-kindled my passion for teaching through providing professional development to teachers.  So, I am indebted to him and proud to call him a friend!

Best individual tweeter - @AngelaMaiers
Angela Maiers is by far my favorite person to follow on Twitter.  The value she adds through her short bursts of inspiration cannot be put into words.  Angela is always there with a boost of inspiration and information and is someone that everyone should be following on Twitter.

Best new blog
The category is best new blog and while Ryan Gallwitz only has two posts so far at The Learner his thoughts are inspiring and enlightening.  A principal and Technology Director rolled into one for East Knox High School located in Howard, Ohio.  How he does it, I have no idea! I am so glad he has decided to make the leap of faith and start blogging. I look forward to the insightful posts that I know will be coming across my RSS feed!

Best ed tech / resource sharing blog
There are so many good blogs in this category, it is extremely hard to choose. And since I can't choose my own, I would be remiss if I didn't nominate Projects By Jen curated by Jen Wagner.  Jen in her very special way has made the world of Ed Tech a happier place.  The innovative and creative projects she develops and graciously shares with the world should be a reminder to all of why we choose to dedicate our lives to education and technology.

Most influential blog postWhat Type of Difference Do You Make?
Pernille Ripp's, Blogging Through the Fourth Dimension is full of inspirational posts.  One of my favorites from this year is What Type of Difference Do You Make?   A very introspective view on the impact that all of us involved in education and technology have on the future of our students

Best twitter hashtag#spedchat My focus over the past five years has been on helping teachers at two special education satellite schools in my district integrate technology into the classroom.  One of my favorite conversations to participate in on Twitter has been #spedchat. Hopefully, we will be able to organize the very first #Spedcamp very soon.

Best teacher blog - Forward Into History
I met Shawn McKusker at EdCamp Chicago last May and have been following his Blog Forward Into History ever since.  While it is heavily focused on his work as a social studies teacher, Shawn's posts will add value to any teacher's curriculum

Best free web tool: Twitter
If you know me at all, you know I am all about the Twitter.  You can follow me as JMGubbins if you don't already.  Twitter is my lifeline to the global world of Education and Technology.  I learn something knew everyday thanks to Twitter being the cornerstone of my PLN.

Best educational use of audio / video / visual / podcast:
I would be a fool if I did not nominate in this category.  With many different podcasts, produced by some of the best educators I know, this network always has something valuable to offer

Best open PD / unconference / webinar series - EdCamp Chicago
While I give all credit for the success of edcamp Chicago to Steve Dembo and Chad Lehman, I was heavily involved in the planning process and I can tell you first hand how much work went into making this event a success.  While I don't see EdCamps being the wave of the future in terms of Professional Development, they are a vital cog in the wheel.  All educators should have an opportunity to participate in such and open minded free form event.

Best educational use of a social network - FETC Edmodo Network
This one was hard for me.  Especially, since one of my favorite conferences is ICE right here in Illinois.  And they run an absolutely fantastic Ning.  But, I have to give the nod to the FETC Network thanks in great part to their partnering with Edmodo last year.  The network is continuously active and is always chalked full of valuable resources and conversations.

So, there you have it, my nominations for the 2011 Edublog awards.  Hopefully, you find the resources shared within this post to be valuable and life changing.  Again, it's not the winnning of the award but the recognition of efforts that matters.  It was very difficult to make my choices because I am indebted to so many of you fantastic people who make my world a brighter place every day.  If you did not see your name or organization in this post know that I appreciate you and all you do every day for the cause!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Never One to Be Transparent #edtech

I have been battling migraines this week and have been plugging along trying to make sure I get out my nightly post.  Unfortunately, tonight I can barely see, but the show must go on as they say.  But please excuse the brevity and any grammatical issues with this post.  Earlier today I was working on a presentation at work to which I wanted to add an image.  The problem was that I wanted it to "hover" an image with a white background  over another image.  The solution is simple, create a transparent image.  The trick is finding the best way to create the transparency.  Photoshop does a good job but can be difficukt to get a sharp image from after stripping the background color.  So, I hoped online and found Iaza.  This simple to uses image editing and enhancing tool allows you to convert, edit, mix and create images online. Between these four categories there are probably 100 easy to apply image effects.  Simply upload an image to Iaza from your desktop, camera or even via URL and start applying the effect you want (in my case removing the white background from an image).  I will be using Iaza again in the future.
There is still a day to get nominated for a 2011 Edublog award.  If you have enjoyed reading these nightly posts and have found some useful utilities, please take a moment and nominate for an #eddie11 award at

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Doodle Your Next Meeting #edtech

I have Judy Okazaki to thank for tonight's utility.  Earlier this week, I received a scheduling Doodle for an upcoming SET Connections board meeting.  Basically, it was a grid of board members and possible meeting times with check boxes to tick when you were available.  I immediately signed up for an account to see the capabilities of Doodle and I must say I am impressed.  Besides hosting meeting "polls", you can integrate Doodle  directly into various calendars including Google, Outlook, Lotus and others.  Additionally you can publish a MeetMe page that allows anyone to schedule 1:1 meetings with you from the web without needing to know your email or contact information.  Doodle is a pretty darn powerful tool for organizing meetings and keeping your busy life organized.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

New to This Joint #edtech

I'm busily looking for an alternative to TodaysMeet for the SET Connections workshop tomorrow night to use as a backchannel.  We typically use TodaysMeet because it ties in with Twitter and anytime someone uses an associated hashtag it gets added to the backchannel.  Apparently the new changes to the Twitter API have caused this feature to be disabled.
While Joint is not a perfect alternative, it is interesting.  You provide Joint with a hashtag to follow and it filters the Twitter timeline to that hashtag.  Then you can start a side chatroom to discuss what is happening within that hastag conversation privately.  Not quite sure how it could be used for our purposes but it is interesting.  Lot of work to do tonight - but wanted to get a quick post in.  Still hoping to at least make the voting stage of the #eddies11 next week.

Monday, November 28, 2011

This Site has Collaboration Pegged #edtech

Pegby takes those online corkboards to a different level and allows for true collaborative project management. Pegby is based on cards you create and peg to a board with different columns including pending, in process and done (you can add to and customize these columns as well). You can attach files to cards, tag them, color code them and even set the time the cards should appear. You can then share the load by inviting others to create new cards or add information to existing cards. As projects evolve, sometimes tasks become related and you can group cards. Pegby seems very impressive and full of potential. By the way, this post was written on my Kindle fire. I figured out if I switch to HTML instead of compose the keyboard will appear.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

So Much Content, So Little Time #edtech

Now that I have a Kindle Fire, I'm realizing how little time I actually have to read.  I never took a speed reading class but perhaps it's time and may be the solution I choose. is a reading improvement.  After you first sign up for an account, you take a baseline assessment (currently I'm reading at 380 words a minute).  The also provide comprehension quizzes and you can pull in your own articles to practice on from any website. only shows a certain number of words from the article as it scrolls through to help keep you focused. It's an interesting idea.  It also has a social and competitive aspect in that you can friend other users of the site.  Definitely worth a look.

Get Some Karma #edtech

I'm intrigued by SiteKarma which is designed to give information about any web site and get a rating on the reliability of a website.  The SiteKarma score appears to be based on a number of  factors including browsing stats and whois information as well as site ratings by visitors. While there is a disclaimer that explains that SiteKarma takes no responsibility for the validity of information on any website.  It may be another good Web 2.0 application to add to your research tools.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Black Friday Hole #edtech

With the craziness of Black Friday, I forgot to post last night.  Between shopping and a project I am working on for the ICE Conference in February I was a bit busy. While I can't reveal the nature of the project just yet, one component required that I HEX color match part of the ICE logo.  In order to do that I needed what graphic artists call an eyedropper.  I could have simply pulled the image into a graphic editing program and used the tool within that software.  But what fun would that be?  I'm all about Web 2.0 right?  So, I searched for quite some time and couldn't find anything.  Instead I found something even better in one of Steven DeGraeve's projects called the Color Palette Generator.  This tool allows you to upload an image and as the name suggests will build a HEX color palette based on that image.  Great if you are designing a site or logos based on an image. Thanks Steven for taking the time to develop such an awesome tool!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Why YouTube? #edtech

I have avoided blogging about major websites like WikiPedia or YouTube simply because I have been trying to share things with you during this 365 project that you may not otherwise have known about. Well, I discovered something pretty amazing about YouTube last week and thought it important enough to share.  So while YouTube is the Thanksgiving utility, it's really a subfeature I wanted to share with you.  A Thanksgiving Easter Egg if you will.  There are a number of Web 2.0 utilities that have partnered with YouTube to allow you to create content.  By visiting you will find options to create and edit media through OneTrueMedia, Vlix, XTranormal, GoAnimate, Magisto, Stupeflix, YouTube Video Editor and WeVideo (all of which have their own merit as content creation tools - so there are actually eight utilities in this post!)  If you have some time while digesting your turkey and are not in a tryptophan induced comma - take some time to explore some of these tools and how they integrate with YouTube.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Hippo is the Word #edtech

Who knew hippos were so smart? The one at WordHippo certainly is!  I stumbled across this site last week while blogging and looking for the plural form of a word (which one escapes me at the moment).  WordHippo acts as a dictionary and thesaurus.  But it also helps you find antonyms, places the word in a sentence, provides words that rhyme with the one you are looking up, will help you find words that contain certain characters, translate the word and help you find it's plural format. These extra features separate it a bit from sites like

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Juxtaposing Media #edtech

Somewhere between Twitter and Tumbler lies Jux.  Jux is a great way to share content simply.   Basically it is your content gallery on the web.  Not sure it would fit in the Digital Storytelling framework and it's also not quite your average social networking timeline.  You can share quotes and stylize them with pictures, add pictures from across the web, share articles and videos, create slideshows and even top ten lists. Jux is unique and I encourage you to explore it on your own.  Racing to beat the 5% battery life left on my laptop and the 1% battery life left in me!  It's been a long couple of weeks and I am really looking forward to a nice long Thanksgiving weekend!

The Kindle Fire Review

If you know me, you know I have been biding my time to dive into the Mobile Internet Device (MID) market.  I was among the first to have an EVO 4G, but that doesn't quite count.  The IPAD came along, but I was holding out for the HP Slate.  I couldn't join the IPAD revolution because it lacked a camera and wouldn't handle flash. Then the HP Slate basically died during production when HP decided it should be released with Web OS instead of Windows 7. I had been down the disastrous IPAQ Pocket PC road some 12 years ago and once a company has burned me, it's hard to regain my loyalty.  Why not the IPAD2? I was actually in line for it's release but by the time they got to me they did not have the model I wanted. So, I remained without a tablet.  I was constantly trying to keep up to date with the Android tablet market, there are some pretty reasonably priced one's out there, but many do not have a viable Android OS version.  Most are of the 2.1 or earlier flavor which prevents them from running flash.  But then the Kindle Fire announcement hit, and I suddenly found a device that intrigued me at a price that wouldn't break the bank $199.

So, that's the basic background.  Here's the full story.  I've wanted a Kindle for some time, but couldn't bring myself to spend that kind of money on a device that only did one thing, albeit very well. The fact that the Kindle Fire would work as an e-reader, browser (with flash), media device and overgrown Android version of the iTouch was what put me over the top.  I've also been impressed with the Amazon Cloud services.  The ability to have a book, movie or song at my fingertips wherever I have a connection to the Internet has been fantastic.  But, I am also not delusional, I'm well aware the Kindle Fire is not an "IOS killer".  What I was hoping to get for my $200 was a content consumption device.  Plain and simple.  So, that's the perspective that this review will take.

First the Good:

  • It's an Amazon Product - There was nothing to setup out of the box.  In fact there was barely anything in the box.  The 7 inch tablet and the charger.  Amazon is very good at the basics.
  • The Fire has some heft. While many would see the weight of the device a drawback, I like the fact that it feels like I am holding a hard-bound book in my hands.
  • Plenty of battery life - After a full charge, you will get 10 hours of actual use. When it goes into hibernation, it actually hibernates.  Trust me if I have time to read a book for 10 hours straight without being able to charge the device there is something wrong with my life!
  • The Silk browser is FAST! and will load pages that use Flash.  The pages you visit actually load properly (what a novel idea)
  •  The 7 inch screen.  The 4 inches on my EVO, while great as a phone, was just too small to read a book on comfortably.  The backlit screen takes some getting used too, but you can always tone down the brightness and tweak the display settings for your comfort level
  • The integration with Amazon's cloud - pulling files directly from Audible or purchasing books is a breeze (sometimes too easy).
  • Email Integration is a snap.  I'm a Gmail user (both Apps for Edu and personal) and had no trouble integrating both of my account using these configuration details
  • Multi-media streaming on the web, or through YouTube, Netflix or the Amazon cloud is flawless and gorgeous.
  • PDF Browsing - While it's not obvious at first, you can download PDFs to read on the Kindle Fire.  One would think these would appear in the DOCs section of the interface, but they don't.  Instead, you need to use a browsing app to find and open the file.  But, this opens the world of public domain books available from Google Books or Project Gutenberg.
The Bad
  • No 3G - That means when away from WI-FI there is no Amazon Cloud, no Internet access, no EMail, even some apps become unavailable.  You still have access to audio books and any downloaded items from Amazon or other resources.
  • Limited Android Market - Whatever deal Amazon worked out with Android, the marketplace is limited.  Surprisingly, there are not many Google Apps?!  You can still get Angry Birds and many other popular apps for free. In fact Amazon offers a paid app for free daily. Get 'em while their hot.
  • Limited content creation - I've found that trying to blog here at Zenodotus or at attempting to type in other "paragraph" sections of websites is impossible.  No keyboard comes up.  This is a serious issue and hopefully one the Amazon addresses soon.  The lack of camera also means no images or video can be generated from the device.  But again, expected, so I am not disappointed
  • Lack of Navigation Buttons - More of an a nuisance than anything, there is no easy way to navigate once you are in certain applications. You have to press the power button to bring you back to the slide screen to unlock the device and then press the home button.
  • Lack of Ports - There is no SD Card - for expansion or access to documents. You can email files back and forth to yourself or get an app that will allow you to access files over WIFI.  It may be possible to plug the Fire in via a micro USB device, but I have yet to find one that fits the charging slot.  My guess is there isn't. But again since this device is not designed for content creation, it's really not a big deal.
I've enjoyed my first few days as a Kindle user and will be adding updates to this post as I find things and explore the application further. I will also likely be inline for an IPAD, once HTML 5 has firmly taken root.  I understand the draw and am hoping it will eventually be a tool that serves all of my needs.  Until then, I have a tablet device that enables me to stay connected and close to my content and that makes me happy!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Time for Some Toast #edtech

I was reminded at IETC of another Web 2.0 tool that I have used in the past, but was amazed to discover I had never blogged about it here at Zenodotus.  Timelines are marvelous tools that can be used not only to make sense of historical events but can also for review and exploration of more recent events.  Timetoast is one of the easiest to use and is 100% free.  Add your own images, details and links to events and then publish them so others can view and comment on them.  Added bonus with Timetoast you can view your timelines as visual interactive applications or as a simple text graph. Only thing I wish you could do with Timetoast is embed your timelines.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

This is Your Brain on Cards #edtech

There are a number of flashcard applications out there on the web.  But I've recently found another that I really like.  Braineos allows you to build flashcards by hand or from csv lists that you may have created from your own question and answer database.  Once complete you have four options of review from which to choose.  There is your standard flip, reverse flip, multiple choice and even a fun game using your questions and answers. Braineos is also social so you can challenge others to see if the can complete a flashcard deck faster than you.  Pretty impressive.  I know I'll be using Braineos the next time I have facts to memorize.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Grassroots Audio #edtech

I enjoy a good audiobook now and again (especially since I rarely have time to read books) and currently have an Audible account.  But am about to let it go since I found Librivox.  Volunteers at this website record chapters of public domain books and then re-upload them to Librivox for all to enjoy.  There are almost 5000 books available and many of them classics. Great for the auditory learner in your life.

Friday, November 18, 2011

I'm a Little Spacy Tonight #edtech

Quick post for Friday fun night.  Not because HubbleSite is a simple site but because there is so much to cover I couldn't possibly do it in one post. If you are an astronomy buff or have children who are you need to visit.  Not just for the loads of information but also for the loads of interactives. Without those I would not consider HubbleSite a Web 2.0 tool.  I spent a full hour exploring the black hole section alone.  It's very interesting to use the different types of telescopes and get a simulated view of what different types of telescopes display.  I've always been interested in astronomy and am glad a site like HubbleSite exists.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

PicLit from my new Lit Device #edtech

Or so I thought. I was planning on making this post from my brand new Kindle Fire. For some reason, I am unable to pull up the keyboard within the wysiwyg editor.  It works everywhere else. Odd.
Anyway, one of the tools I learned about at IETC was called Piclits.  It's nothing fancy, but the concept is powerful.  Encouraging you to put art and literature together in a meaningful way through "Inspired Picture Writing".  It's an interesting idea.  Select a picture from their site and let it inspire your writing.  Great idea for visual learners.  Once your Piclits image is done, you can email it or embed it in your blog.  Piclits lacks one feature that I would like to see (and maybe I'm missing it since I am sick) but I can't find a way to upload your own image?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Quick - What's the Answer? #edtech

I am really hoping to get nominated for an EduBlog award this year.  Either as a blogger or Twitter user - but, that isn't going to happen unless I get my act together and catch up on some back posts.  One thing I noticed at IETC were a number of SurveyTools being used in sessions to poll the audiences.  This is fantastic.  Of course the old standby is, I got a quick glimpse at as well.  There's also PopSurvey. Whatever tool you choose to use - these survey tools can help keep your students engaged. There that should about catch me up on blog posts for the week.

An Open Letter / Thank You to Some People Who Matter #edtech

Before I get to tonight's blog post for my Web 2.0 project, I still need to post information to the IETC Ning.  But before I do that, I must share this with you.  Forgive me if I ramble a bit during this post, I am going on six hours sleep over the last 56 hours or so.  This post isn't about a tool (that will come later, if I can stay awake), but about people. And, hopefully, will share how my social network friend Angela Maiers has changed my perspective on life.

Angela is one of my favorite people within my PLN (Professional Learning Network).  Not only because she shares great information about education and technology (which she does very well); but, because she never forgets that we are human and have an inherent need to feel appreciated and recognized.  Her daily bursts of information coming across my Twitter timeline and Facebook wall have mattered more to me more than she may ever know.

I work extremely hard at what I do regarding education and technology, because it is my passion. At IETC, many people asked how I find time to be as active as I am in the EdTech community.  Well, as humans we sometimes make sacrifices for our passion (such as sleep).  Those sacrifices often go unnoticed (and are often to the detriment of our own well being).  Which, can occasionally make one a tad, shall we say, "cranky"?  But, Angela is always there too save the day with a quick burst of recognition through her #youmatter campaign. If you have not seen her TEDxDesMoines Talk or read her most recent blog post: The 12 Most Important Ways to Let People Know They Matter, before continuing to read this post, take a minute to do so.

As I said, Angela matters to me more than she will ever know.  I have her TED Talk downloaded to my phone as an .mp3 and often listen to it on the way to work.  For me it's better than an energy drink (probably healthier too) and often empowers me to get through my day!  Her mission to make people matter has made me realize that in the craziness of life, I often forget that thank people for what they do.  And I'm starting to change that.

After spending the evening talking with educators and technology professionals, on the way back to my room, I encountered an Army private and even though I was dead tired, I stopped to thank him for his service to our country.  He thanked me in return and told me I made his day! Least I could do, right?

During my morning session at IETC, I made it a point to thank the people who attended my session and reminded them how much they mattered to me.  After all, without them, I would have no one with whom to share my knowledge and passion for education and technology!

As I was dragging myself down the hall after my session to checkout (remember 6 hours sleep in almost 3 days), one of the hotel housekeepers said "you're not leaving me are you?".  I thought she was talking to someone else and kept walking.  But, then she repeated herself  "Sir, you're not leaving me are you." and I realized she was talking to me, so I stopped a bit puzzled.  She must have noticed the exhausted look on my face and she seemed to be expressing genuine concern for my well being, reminding me to bundle up out there (it can be chilly in Springfield, Illinois this time of year), to get some rest and take care of myself.  I think I mumbled something along the lines of "I will" and moved on.  As I started to become more alert throughout the day I realized this woman had just taken the time in her own way to tell me "I matter".  She didn't have to do that.  It's not in her contract.  She had no idea was or what I do. She's not in my PLN, but she took the time to acknowledge my existence.

I realized all of this on the way home and sent the following message on Twitter: "To the housekeeper at the Holiday Inn Express Springfield, IL Thanks for your positive words and encouragement this morning " I then realized that may have seemed a little odd (especially since I told people earlier that morning to re-think what ever they post online) and in fact I received some responses asking me what in the world I was talking about.  Which is why I am writing this post.  Sometimes 140 characters doesn't do a story justice.

Here's what's interesting.  I was and am planning on sending an email to the management of this Holiday Inn Express, to let them know about this fantastic employee who really made a difference in my day.  But, I know someone already at corporate already knows about it, since @HolidayInn immediately started following me after the post.

So to that weary soldier, the people I met or re-connected with at #IETC, the housekeeper at the Holiday Inn Express in Springfield, IL, my PLN on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn Google + and elsewhere on the web and most especially to my friend Angela Maiers - and I will never forget that!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Got a Bunch of Links? #edtech

On the fly today during an apps shootout session at IETC, facilitated by @pollockburke, I found and shared the link sharing tool  Great way to share a number of links from shortened link.  You can even open all the links at once in different tabs of your browser.  OK, got my post in time to prep my IETC sessions for tomorrow.

Monday, November 14, 2011

A Day or Two Behind #edtech

Hey, I've been busy preparing for the IETC Conference in Springfield.  I may be a day or two off schedule at this point but promise to catch up this weekend.  In the meantime, I encourage you to take a look at It's a fantastic tool to quickly help you make those QR Codes everyone's a buzz about. allows you to make QR Codes for just about any type of data.  Whether it's a standard link, iTunes link, email message, telephone number, or even wifi access codes (among a host of other types of data).  er gives you a simple form to fill out for each type of code it can create and even let's you adjust it's color before allowing you to download it as a .png file or better yet add it to a t-shirt or coffee mug to make your code mobile!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Quick But Powerful #edtech

If you use online filestorage, it's always good to have a backup plan. may just be it.  Allowing you to upload a single file to many online storage sites simultaneously. You can also send up to 10 files at once across multiple networks. allows you to upload to your Rapidshare
Depositfiles,, Oron, Hotfile, Uploading, MegaUpload,WUpload, MediaFire , ZShare, FileSonic, FilePost, FileFactory and FileServe accounts.  Many of these storage tools I am unfamiliar with and very may be exploring in future posts.  But if you have accounts at these sites you may find valuable.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Another Friday Fun Post

It's Friday again and it's time for another post about an fun but educational site.  This one is for the budding zookeeper or animal lover in your life.  It's a SIM and social networking game call Zoomumba.  You build you your own online zoo adding habitats, animals and attractions as you perform your daily zookeeping and caring for your animals. Zoomumba is a great way to teach students about different types of animals as well as about  commerce as you you need to keep a steady stream of customers happy to keep your zoo open.  I think it's probably best to let you explore it on your own and maybe even connect with a zoo buddy or two. Because it is also a social network Zoomumba can be a good way to teach good digital citizenship as well.  Go out there and explore!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Are You Following Me on Twitter? #edtech

As I said, posts will be short in coming days.  This one will be extremely short.  If you have ever wondered if someone follows you on Twitter or vice versa, it can be difficult to scroll through hundreds or even thousands of accounts.  Enter DoesFollow.  By typing in two Twitter IDs you can quickly see if one follows the other and vice versa.  So give DoesFollow and if you don't already follow me on Twitter be sure to do so! Look for the link in the left rail to start following me.  I promise to share quality information with you!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Visualize Your World #edtech

Tonight's post teeters on the brink of being a toy instead of a tool.  But I think their may just be some educational value to Vizlingo.  Using 30,000 video clips to visualize over 400,000 words, you can type a sentence up to 14 words in length and create a video representation of the words used.  I can see this as having some real value as an assistive technology tool for individuals who have trouble communicating verbally.  You can customize and save your Vizlingo creations and there is apparently an App being developed for your IDevices.  So, Vizlingo could be a web 2.0 app to watch.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Making Art #edtech

Remember those banner softwares that we used many moons ago on our dot matrix printers to make large banners?  The 21st century version is called Block Posters.  Take any image upload it to Block Posters and choose a size.  Block Posters will beak that image into printable "blocks" that you can then reassemble into larger than life posters.  This application would be great for art student work in much larger form or even science teachers looking to show more details of specimens or smaller objects.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Quick Before I Forget...Again #edtech

I'm a busy guy.  Between family responsibilities, work, conferences and other volunteer work I do it's sometimes hard for me to remember everything I have on my plate.  As I get older, my memory seems to be slipping even more.  But, I know there are people who rely on me and the last thing I want to do is miss an appointment.  Sure I could use Google Calendar or Remember the Milk to help me with that.  But I'm always on the look out for backup tools.
Memorari may just fill the bill.  With options to send me updates about important events via text message, Email, ICQ, MSN Chat, Yahoo Messanger and AIM (Does anyone use those anymore?), as well as GTalk and Jabber, I can literally inundate myself with reminders an just so that all my "alarms" are going off at once.  Now, if I can just remember to write the reminder at Memorari. :)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Just a Quick Blip #edtech

I've mention on this blog in the past in passing.  But never really suggested it as a content creation tool, until now. I'm going to let you in on a little secret - Next years 365 project for me is going to be more of a 52 week adventure.  Instead of blogging ever night (to be honest I am so over it), I will make sure that I produce at least one VLog a week.  And I will be hosting the program via It seems pretty easy to upload videos and create a channel and while I have explored other vlog hosts - I think is the direction I am going to go.

Don't worry, is not going anywhere, anytime soon.  I just won't be blogging every single night in 2012. I still have about 56 more posts to complete this 2011 365 project.  Incidentally, he next two of which may only be one or two sentence posts encouraging you to explore utilities I share almost entirely on your own.  With IETC just over a week away, I will be in hyper-focus mode reviewing my presentations and just won't have time to create my typical review.

Meet Any Time for Free #edtech

This is a post that I need to expand on and cover a number of free web conferencing tools.  We've all heard of GoToMeeting, WebEx and perhaps Adobe Connect.  Powerful web conferencing tools indeed.  But power often comes with a hefty price.  I recently did a webinar using Adobe Connect and I loved it's feature set.  What I don't love is it's almost $5000 price tag!
I am hoping to do more webinars and needed a platform to perform these on.  So, I am on the hunt for free alternatives.  The one I am currently most impressed with is AnyMeeting.  AnyMeeting allows you to upload and share documents, has a whiteboard and also allows you to share your screen and yourself via a webcam.  All important aspects of a web conference tool for me.  There is a chat interface and a way for people to raise their hands to alerting you to their questions.  You can also transfer control if you are co-presenting.  You can record your presentations as well.  Now the free version is sponsored by advertising, but if you sell tickets to your attendees and split the revenue with AnyMeeting the advertising supposedly goes away..
AnyMeeting doesn't have all the bells and whistles of Adobe Connect for example but it does the trick quite nicely

Friday, November 4, 2011

Reading Should Be Fun #edtech

And Tumblebooks at the Portland Public Library makes reading fun again!  Full of fantastic books that are read aloud to students online (including some on the IPAD).  Tumblebooks includes StoryBooks (with images for younger viewers), Language Learning Books, Read-Along, Non-Fiction and all the books have a fantastic narrator to read the story as the text is highlighted.  When the book is done there are games that enhance learning through reading comprehension quizzes, word search and catch, memory games and puzzles all related to the stories on Tumblebooks.  Favorite the books you like most and create playlists.  I love reading to my kids, but sometimes there just isn't time and they love books.  Tumblebooks is a great alternative (and sometimes even better) than the real thing!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Go Paperless #edtech

I'm excited to share tonight's post with you.  Especially if you are someone who is determined to take your classroom or office paperless.  PaperAct is a new electronic filing system that helps you sort your scans, files and emails all in one place and have access to them on almost any device.  Take a picture of a document with your phone, upload and convert it to a digital document.  Use a scanner to upload paper documents.  Store important emails.  PaperAct can help you store, archive and share important documents while organizing them in a searchable format.  I have not had much chance to explore the potential of this web 2.0 tool, but I encourage you to sign up for an account while they are still in beta testing because once they go live they will switch to a paid subscription model. However, beta testers of PaperAct will be "Grandfathered" so that they will continue to have access to the services for free.  That alone is worth signing up and exploring what PaperAct has to offer!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Interested by the Concept of a Micro Diary #edtech

Somewhere the micro-blogging world of Twitter and time consuming authorship responsibilities of a blog lies Histofme.  Histofme purports itself as a "micro-diary" and the concept intrigues me. Posts written at the site need to be 400 characters or less allowing for a quick paragraph instead of a microburst status update.  I can see Histofme being a powerful introduction to the concept of writing online for students.  While there is a social aspect of Histofme it was only launched a few days ago and their is not yet a large network.  So it is hard to judge which audience Histofme will appeal too.
I like the simple clean approach to posting - no WYSIWIG editors or extravagant bells and whistles to get lost in, just a micro-diary of events that are important to you.  You can categorize your posts by tagging it as well as add a date and picture to accent and commemorate your writing.  The fact that you can keep your posts private and choose who you let read your posts is another important aspect that could help to teach digital citizenship to younger students.
I wish they had a cross platform client for mobile devices.  I think it would be easier to remember to post to Histofme.  What are your impressions?

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween #edtech

Tonight's post is somewhere between glogster and wallwisher I think.  You see I'm still waiting for my invite to Pinterest.  But from some of the pinboard examples I've seen it looks like a great way to organize and share images  (and I'm hoping other items from the web).  Pinterest allows for comments and some social network aspects as well.  That's all the stream I have for tonight.  Four hours of trick or treating with the kids is enough to scare the feet off anyone.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Fare the Well Retaggr #edtech

As I prepare for a session at IETC in Springfield in a few weeks, I have been checking links to make sure the sites I mention still work.  I was disappointed to see that the social profile site Retaggr will be shutting down at the end of the month.  Hey, that's tomorrow, yikes!
So, I thought I would share an alternative I found to replace it called DandyId.  I haven't had much opportunity to explore what DandyId has to offer, but it does allow you to add a multitude of networks to your online profile. They have a free and a paid model which apparently give you access to more features like analytics.  The free version will serve my purposes for now.  If your looking for a way for people to connect with you across your networks, DandyId may just do the trick!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Yes, I Missed Fun Friday #edtech

Too be honest I collapsed when I got home last night following the insanely busy week I had.  I was going to share one of the Halloween sites @ShellTerrell has been sharing on Twitter called Halloween Horror - Pirate of the Undead Sea.  But then I got to the site and realized it was hosted on the amazing site Digital Play.  All I can say is wow!  Some of the content here is most definitely "edutainment" but most of it is stellar! What is impressive is that they review Educational Games on the blog and take it mega steps farther than I do here at  By giving you suggestions on how to actually integrate these games into your classroom. I wouldn't quite call it a lesson plan but Digital Play categorizes each game nicely by skill level, language location.  Then give you a brief description followed by instructions for preperation, pre-play, play and post play exercises to use the game in question with your students. Digital Play is should be added to your favorite blog reader ASAP so you never miss a beat!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Testing It Out #edtech

I've been hearing a lot of good things about the online quiz builder TestMoz.  I finally got to explore it tonight and it is amazing and more importantly a breeze to use.  No registration required.  Simply go to TestMoz and click create a quiz by giving it a title and a password (this will be needed for administration purposes later).  Give the quiz a description / instructions, add a conclusion comment for the end of the quiz if you like and decise if you want the students to see their score, which answers they got right or wrong and whether to display the correct answer. You can also password protect your test. Then add questions in true/false, multiple choice, multiple response and fill in the blank format marking the correct answer along the way.  Move to the next step of TestMoz which involves clicking a big red publish button.  Save the provided link (it's the only way you'll be able to access it again) and share it and the passcode with the students.  They take the test and get their results.  You then log on as the administrator and can review the results.  TestMoz seems to be a fantastic assessment tool and I have @Chausis and @Fernandezc4  to thank for sharing it with me over the past few days.
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