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
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