Saturday, July 30, 2011

Did You Get the Notes? #edtech

I'm noit sure how tonight's post will be looked upon.  But it's a utility I wish I had in High School called MySchoolHelp.  Basically, it allows students to upload files that include notes taken from class.  This is an interesting form of collaboration.  Not quite a Google Doc since it's not shared and edited by multiple users, but more a repository of documents that students create during the year.  So now if students are uploading notes from class, a student who was absent can simply go to MySchoolHelp and find the necessary information.  On the flipside, this would seem like a great way for a teacher to review the students notes and gain a sense of the understanding happening in class. Very helpful for the paperless classroom model as well.  If everyone is taking notes and uploading them to MySchoolHelp, there is no need for those dreaded spiral bound notebooks.  Sure, you could create and share a collection of files in Google Docs.  But MySchoolHelp seems to make the files a little more public and accessible.  I'd be interested on your take of MySchoolHelp  Please feel free to drop a comment.

Friday, July 29, 2011

A Googley Game #edtech

Normally, I shy6 away from Google applications for this project simply because it's a bit like shooting fish in a barrel.  But A Google A Day, is an interesting concept Google has come up with.  Every day they ask a different question that you can use their search engine (or any other) to research.  When you think you have an answer, you can submit it.  If you're wrong you can continue to guess, if you're right they will show you how they came up with the answer (AKA what keywords the searched).  If you eventually give up you can still see the answer.  It's a great safe way to teach students how to conduct effective research on the web.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Wondering About Wonderpage

One of the sessions I'm considering proposing for the ICE Conference 2012 (perhaps NETA) revolves around the idea of social bookmarking.  With Delicious being sold to AVOS a number of people have decided not to make the transition or have opened their eyes to alternatives like Diigo.  But there are a number of amazing options out there for social bookmarking and I could easily spend an hour debating the multitude of resources available.  One of these is Wonderpage.  As a visual person, Wonderpage is extremely appealing.  You simply add your links to folder structures you create and then when you browse those folders or search by tags you are given an instant thumbnail preview of the site.  Another interesting feature of Wonderpage is that you can subscribe to various "scouts". These are basically RSS feeds based on a tag (e.g. Technology) that streams information to you.  Wonderpage allows your bookmarks to be private if you so choose, but you take the social aspect of social bookmarking out of the equation when you do.  Wonderpage is one I am going to have to explore more in depth before I can truly recommend it, but it certainly has possibilities.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Share Files the Twitter Way #edtech

Ever want to share a file in 140 characters or less? TwitDoc allows you to do just that.  TwitDoc is a Twitter and Scribd Mashup.  Once you authorize TwitDoc to work with your Twitter account, you simply upload the file you want to share. TwitDoc then turns your file into a Scribd document, shortens the URL link to the file and allows you the 97 characters remaining to describe your file and share with your followers and the world.  Simple, huh?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Tagging Outside the Network #edtech

Tonight's post I'm actually pretty excited about.  For years now it's been possible to tag photos in facebook and MySpace.  More recently Flickr has joined the tagging fray.  But until now it has been difficult at best to tag photos within blog posts.  Today, I found out about Thinglink.  This site provides code you can add to Blogger, WordPress, Tumblr and Other Platforms.  Besides being able to tag people, think about the other possibilitiesThinglink provides.  Maybe you tag a drawing of Jamestown with various bits of information for your history class or add notes to a diagram of a frog so your students know what to look for during a biology class dissection (there are still schools that do that right?)  Best of all if someone shares the image using the embed code provided with the image on your site, your tags go with it.  Take a look at the example I placed here of myself and Jim Bazianos grilling Greek Style in Athens during the 2004 Summer Olympics.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Mock It Up #edtech

When you design a website, it is often important to get feedback before it goes live.  Perhaps your looking for a simple way to create a portfolio of your designs without the actual site being live?  Recurse allows you to do both by creating examples of web pages as flat images. Recurse allows for clients to add feedback before your site goes live.  But, I can imagine it also would be a good way to get peer assessment as well.  Give recurse a try and let me know what you think.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

When a Picture Doesn't Quite Tell the Whole story #edtech

Real quick post tonight as I have a major rollout happening at work tomorrow.  I wanted to share a site that I found this weekend and by which I am intrigued.  Flickrwire is a Flickr mashup that allows you to create blog posts based on your Flickr photos. Flickrwire for when the picture simply doesn't tell the whole story!  I could definitely see Flickrwire being used for digital storytelling.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Content Creation for Kids #edtech

We talk about digital natives a lot.  I'm not a huge fan of the term particularly since we are truly now close to 40 years of individuals who have grown up with technology.  But, I think the real difference with this generation of digital learners is that they have more resource at hand to become content creators.  Unfortunately, they don;t always have a safe outlet for that content.  YouTube and Facebook tend to expose young people to  a world full of harsh cynics and critics.  KidsTube appears to be a safe alternative.  While not surprisingly many of the clips on KidsTube are related to video games there is also a growing Educational section (currently with 780 videos). Most of the videos uploaded to KidsTube are by kids for kids and it appears to be a safe alternative to YouTube which is also blocked in most schools. I also like the rules they lay out.  Certainly worth a look.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Who Doesn't Like Green Eggs and Ham? #edtech

I missed a post last night due to working an 18 hour day.  So, tomorrow will be the double post to make up for it.  But tonight is Friday Fun Night once again and what isn't fun about Dr. Suess?  Many of us have grown up on the Dr. Suess Franchise, have seen the cartoons, watched the movies and even riden the rides at Universal. Now Random House brings us Suessville.  Filled with reviews and a search engine for book of course, but there are also games and interactive as well as printable activities and online games.  There are also history's of your favorite characters.  Suessville also has sections for Parents and Educators (including some pretty amazing projects and lesson plans).  It's easy to get lost for hours with The Cat in the Hat, Thing 1 and 2 or my personal favorite the Lorax and learn a lot along the way.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tynt Your Web Presence #edtech

I am always looking for more ways to drive traffic to Zenodotus.  Part of being a publisher on the web is understanding the concept of SEO (Search Engine Optimization).  Part of SEO is how many people link to your content, otherwise known as a backlink.  But what if people just copy and past you content?  Not only are they breaking copyright, but also not providing attribution and hence no backlink.  Enter Tynt Publisher Tools.  Simply by placing some code in the header of your blog or website, Tynt now places custom code with anything that is copied from your site that includes a backlink to your page.  For example, if someone grabbed some text from my post on July 14th and pasted it to their own blog it may look something like this once Tynt is in play:  

"There are some pretty interesting features and I haven't fully explored the possibilities with MultiURL, but I'm sensing that they are plentiful.

Read more:"

Under Creative Commons License: 

As you can see Tynt not only does provide a back link but also allows you to include a Creative Commons license. (thus protecting your work).  Tynt has many other tools as well.  but those may be saved for a future post once I have had more time to explore.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Lacking Comments? #edtech

Today, I was privileged to drop in on a Google Camp and witness some of the great ideas that were blossoming. One question did arise concerning Google Sites: "How do we include comments on a Site page?"  Good question! Within sites there is a section for comments on a page.  But, only those with edit rights are able to leave comments (somewhat confusing, eh?)  So, I did a little research and came across an online application called htmlcommentbox.  This tool allows you to add a customized comment box to ANY page on the web (provided, you can embed code on the page) including Sites (provided you use the Code Wrapper Gadget).  What I really like about htmlcommentbox though is that you have control over who can leave comments.  Do you want it open to the Public? Do you want people to be able to post anonymously? Do you want to approve comments before they go live?  Need to have control over the ability to remove comments? htmlcommentbox gives you all that and much more.  You don't need to use code to use htmlcommentbox.  Just answer a few questions and the code is created for you to then copy and paste to your web page's html code area.  Too caveats to htmlcommentbox.  If you want to moderate comments you will need to associate your email address to the code.  Not sure just how secure that is.  Additionally, if you want to remove the plug for htmlcommentbox from your comment section it will cost you all of a $5 donation. If you're looking for a way to make comments happen easily on a page that doesn't allow comments; then, htmlcommentbox is for you.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Let Your Voice Be Heard #edtech

I have yet had a chance to experiment with tonight's utility.  But, I am looking forward to trying out Spreaker.  this appears to be the audio version of Ustream.  You can apparently use Spreaker to create a podcast or a live audio program.  So if you have ever had the urge to produce your own radio show, Spreaker may just be right for you.  If you've used Spreaker I'd be interested in your comments.  i can certainly see this being incorporated into the PBL4PD project i am currently working on.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Don't get Left in the Cold #edtech

While honestly being left out in the cold may be just what those of us in Chicago need (heat index of around 105 today and even hotter tomorrow), you don't want to miss out on tonight's Web 2.0 utility.  IcyVideo is another app that allows you to download YouTube videos.  OK, big deal?!  But, how many times have you wanted to download a friends video on Facebook or find something on Vimeo that you wish you could download? Yup,  IcyVideo allows you to do that also, as well as videos from DailyMotion, Metacafe and Veoh.  As always, remember to obey copyright and fair use laws.

Don't Clean This Spot #edtech

You won't want to ignore this post, because it contains a special invitation to Spotify!  Normally, I only post about utilities that are purely online and don't require any downloads to use.  But recently there has been a rash of new online music utilities including Google Music, the upcoming iCloud from Apple, and now Spotify has landed in the US! Spotify not only allows you to search online and play almost any full album you can think of, but like ICloud and Google Music you can also upload your own library, make playlists and share with the social aspect all within the free version.  There are also two additional tiers of subscription services one at $4.99 a month and another at $9.99 each with additional services (you get what you pay for). While Spotify has been in Europe for some time, it is currently open to US residents who have received an invitation.  Lucky for you, you are reading this post and have a Klout (if you don't simply sign in with Twitter or Facebook) account, you should be able to follow this link to get your invitation code:

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Double Post Tomorrow

Tomorrow will be a double post. Tonight I got to see Blue Oyster Cult and quite frankly am way to tired to post about a utility.

Published with Blogger-droid v1.3.6

Friday, July 15, 2011

Are You An EdHead? #edtech

Where does the time go?  It's Friday again?  That means it's time to share yet another fun but educational site.  Tonight I want to tell you about EdHeads.  The activities at EdHeads are designed around various scenarios and are tied to lessons and standards.  EdHeads is fun, addicting and educational.  Currently, there are about a dozen challenging activities available.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Sharing Multiple Links in One #edtech

Ever have a need to share a number of links at once?  Maybe for a presentation or for a webquest? You could build an email, wiki or just a basic html page.  But that's a lot of work.  Instead give MultiURL a try.  You can add multiple links to one page that you can then provide a group name and even password protect your page.  You complete your signup for MultiURL after building your first page and you can come back and re-share the link to the lists you create at any time.Additionally you get to see how many people have clicked the links within your page.  There are some pretty interesting features and I haven't fully explored the possibilities with MultiURL, but I'm sensing that they are plentiful.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

ASL Lessons #edtech #spedtech

HandSpeak is an interesting dictionary that teachers American Sign Language (ASL).  HandSpeak is basically a repository of videos demonstrating different words within the ASL lexicon. There are also a number of articles regarding ASL.  I've always found ASL to be a fascinating subject and a beautiful language.  Now maybe with HandSpeak I'll be able to learn as well.

In a Holding Pattern

Let me begin this post by saying, if I haven't gotten back to you regarding an email or a request for contact, I apologize. Life has this funny way of making one busy and not providing enough hours in the day to handle it all. This summer I had planned to complete the writing of a book on building Personal Learning Networks (PLNs), re-vitalize the Ustream show and get the Teacher Tech Academy open for business. 

Unfortunately, those projects took a backseat to my full time gig as a District Technology Coordinator (where we are not only rolling out Active Directory to replace Novell, but also upgrading most machines from XP to Windows 7 in the process.  Not to mention I am working on an exciting project known as PBL4PD (Project Based Learning for Professional Development).  

After hours I continue to work on my Web 2.0 365 project blog, preparing presentations and workshops for IETCFETCICE and hopefully NETA (I have heard great things about this conference),  hopefully successfully completing my Google Certified Trainer application, serving on the volunteer committee for EdCamp Chicago and was recently honored to be invited to join  SET Connections Board with some truly amazing and wonderful educators.

And all that I just mentioned doesn't even begin to touch on my family and social obligations. My big problem is I can't stop having ideas! I really wish I could turn the brain off once in a while.

So, again, if I have not responded to an email, tweet or social network invitation, I apologize. Don't think for a second that I forgot about you.  But just in case, please do be persistent and send me a reminder!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

If a Pictures Worth a Thousand Words... #edtech

...what would a collaborative space to share images and video be worth?  We'll that's exactly what CanvasDropr provides. A relatively new application CanvasDropr allows you to drag and drop images to a canvas with others.  You can also search for and and YouTube videos.  CanvasDropr is similar to many ways to other lightboxes that are out there, but imagine the possibilities that come into play when the lightbox becomes a collaborative, real-time space.  Would love to hear your opinions!

Monday, July 11, 2011

License for a Lifetime #edtech

I saw an interesting tweet from Vicki Davis today regarding a new tool that allows to permanently and legally license Creative Commons images. That tool is ImageStamper.  Currently it only works with Flickr Creative Commons licensed images.  And basically what it does is create a stamp (as the name suggests) proving that the license existed when you grabbed it.  So even if the owner changes the license at a later date, you have proof that you obtained it under the license originally provided.  A very interesting concept indeed.  ImageStamper has some interesting potential.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Who Are You? #edtech

Taking the idea of an online biography page (such as a step further is VFolio.  VFolio allows you to build a multipage presence which cannot only help with your online presence but make it easy for people to get to know you as a professional.  This is great not only for educators but also for students to showcase their work.  You can post a coverletter, resume and work examples as well as a contact page. So whether you just want to showcase your work or are a recent graduate looking for their first job VFolio may just be for you.

Who's Making Noise #edtech

Always in search of a solid backchannel that is not only free, but open to unlimited users with an automated archiving feature BackNoise seems to have some real promise.  I haven't had a chance to use it yet, but the next conference I help to organize or attend you can bet I'll be giving BackNoise  a try.  P.S. Sorry for the hour of the post, passed out early last night after playing 27 holes of golf in the heat (up early to go at it again!)

Friday, July 8, 2011

What's Your World Look Like #edtech

Normally on fun Friday, I try to come up with some fun site that still has educational purpose for elementary students. Well tonight, I have not been able to stop looking at maps from ShowWorld.  These are very interesting visualizations of data from all over the world (they also have subpages for just Japan and the US).  ShowWorld takes data from a number of sources and creates categories and subcategories for a number of topics.  For example, you may be surprised to note that the US accounts for approximately 18% of the world's wind energy as you can see in the embedded map below.  This is one of my favorite components of ShowWorld, you can get embed code for a standard or an animated map or even download the data as a spreadsheet.  I'm all about visualization of data and ShowWorld does an excellent job of sharing such information.

Adieu to Wonder Wheel #edtech

An amazing thing seems to happen with Google.  They have so many features and extras that sometimes they disappear without notice.  Such was the fate of Wonder Wheel this week.  Wonder Wheel allowed you to do what I like to call tag cloud searching.  You would perform a standard search and then turn on the wheel for some magic. Suddenly a tag cloud would appear around your search topic with related key words and the process would continue as you selected the key words. It was a real nice way to perform some deep dive searches.
As I always say once you build a skillset, you now can apply it with other tools.  Enter DuckDuckGo.  While certainly not as powerful as the dominant Google, DuckDuckGo does have some interesting features.  Among them is a column off to the right called search ideas.  Simply clicking one of these tags, changes your search results.  DuckDuckGo also has a safe search option and it seems to work well.  However, if you turn it off the internet does open up, you've been properly warned.  Additionally, you can give  DuckDuckGo's !bang feature a try allowing you to search hundreds of other search engines directly.  DuckDuckGo also has a very interesting explanation of one of my most recent pet peeves known as "filter bubbles".  With a number of syntax and goodies DuckDuckGo is definitely worth a try (and you can do so directly from this post by using the widget below)

DuckDuckGo logo
DuckDuckGo is a search engine that protects privacy and has lots of features.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Looking for an Argument #edtech

Who remembers writing position papers in high school and college.  I do! I dreaded them.  Who among my readers still assigns them?  Well, if you do, tonight's post is for you (more specifically your students).  aMap allows you to create a graphic flow chart based on informal logic which includes your Position (I think), Propositions (Because), Arguments (As) and Evidence (Supported By).  You can have multiple "tails" coming off of your position.  I wish I had something like aMap back when I was in school. Additionally, they have a service allowing you to create printed copies of your arguments for a fee. aMap is a pretty nice tool overall.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Do They Really Like You? #edtech

Who can ever forget Sally Field's "You Really Like Me" speech?  But who really remembers what the award was for? Your tweets can be much the same on Twitter.  Full of flair, but if there is no substance, there is no value.  So how do you know if what your sharing has credible value?  You can see who has favorited your tweets by using  By simply typing your user ID into their search engine, the site will show you your most popular updates based on who has favorited them.  So, while you may often be retweeted on Twitter, it's those updates that people favorite are what will truly add value and be remembered.  You may be surprised by who has been paying attention to your timeline if you search for yourself on  So, do they really like you?!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th #edtech

Tonight's post will be short but sweet seeing as today is the 4th of July and I just got back from the Fireworks in town. Had I taken any pictures, I might want to edit them using tonight's application: SumoPaint.  SumoPaint is as close as you're going to get to an online version of Photoshop that's free.  There are layer options and filters.  You can upload files from your desktop, url or from your  SumoPaint account. So, if you have images that need a little touch up give SumoPaint a whirl.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

I Du...Tu you? #edtech

O.K., so the title was a stretch, but since I'll be telling you about myUdutu in tonight's post I thought it was creative. Before I get into the description though I wanted to touch on the writer's block I was having last night.  Up until this point I have been trying my best to share Web 2.0 utilities I have actual real world experience with.  I'm now struggling to find more.  With this 365 project half done, I figured this may be the appropriate time to switch it up.  So the second half of the year will be based on sites I don't have much experience with.  We will learn together.  Again, please be sure to share sites you would like to see reviewed here or if you would like to write a guest post for please contact me so we can work that out!
Now, for the featured site of the night.  myUdutu is a utility that I have seen in the past on my journey's through Cyberspace but never bothered to stop and look at until tonight.  myUdutu is course authoring software that is completely hosted in the cloud.  Supporting all types of media, myUdutu allows you to create presentations that become enagaging interactive online learning experiences.  Creating these presentations seems easy enough.  You are given a number of different templates to work with including basic screens, assessment screens, advanced screens, groups (to keep your content organized), scenarios and even an option for uploading powerpoints.  Each format has a number of options and layouts available.  I may have to use myUdutu to create the content for an upcoming project I have in the fall and report back once I have more experience with it.
One caveat, online hosting is not free.  You can offload the files in a zipped format and upload them to your own server.  There is an option to save the projects at myUdutu for free if you don't mind the watermark.  Otherwise they do have online subscription services starting at $19.95 a month.  I do wish they had a cheaper option for educators.  But as always, you get what you pay for and myUdutu looks like it holds value.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Yet another Directory #edtech

I explained early in this 365 project that there would be times when I would share a repository of tools rather than the tool itself.  Since I have a bit of writer's block tonight, this will be one of those posts.  One of my favorite sites to peruse for Web 2.0 utilities is Listio.  I just like how clean it is and the tagcloud design to search for related items.  If you ever have a day to spend searching web 2.0 tools give Listio a try.  I'm off to try rid myself of this blasted writer's block.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Make It a Double (part 2) #edtech

Our second fun site for tonight also focuses on games.  And it's simply called Learning Games for Kids.  Here you will find games to enhance almost any subject matter.  Everything from Art to Literature and everything in between. The majority are geared towards elementary age students.  Learning Games for Kids has a little something for everyone.  I particularly like the keyboarding games.  What will you discover.  I'm off to discover sleep!

Make It a Double #edtech

As promised, Friday Fun Night will be a double post to make up for last weeks missed post.  Let's start with a site called Academic Skill Builders.  With games related to Math, Geography and Language Arts, Academic Skill Builders takes educational gaming to a different level.  As a registered user you can track your progress.  But more importantly Academic Skill Builders, takes a unique approach to educational gaming.  These are standards based games.  Yes, you read that right!  And you can find out more about their pilot study here.  In addition to tracking progress, you can customize gaming assignments and earn achievements.  I highly recommend you visit this site to discover just how impressive gaming tied to standards can be.
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