Tuesday, May 31, 2011
Monday, May 30, 2011
Sunday, May 29, 2011
Saturday, May 28, 2011
Friday, May 27, 2011
Thursday, May 26, 2011
You see this SafeShare.tv allows you to paste a link to a YouTube video and instantly strip out all the extraneous noise and provides a link to just the video. No extra ads (in the case of the video I tested no "buffer" ads either), no comments, no "fuzzy" noise - just the video. Plain and Simple. Much like Tubechop, (which I reviewed in an earlier post) you can also cut segments of the video before creating the new link.
As an example, take a look at this video explaining Meporter a new location based app with actual educational applications that I just discovered thanks to Vicki Davis. Something tells me next years 365 project is not going to be about Web 2.0 utilities but mobile applications. They seem to be taking over the world!
My goodness that was a lot of extraneous name dropping tonight! But, they're all people you should be following if you aren't already.
Wednesday, May 25, 2011
that improve literacy." So why not give Penzu or even Penzu Pro a try?
Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Monday, May 23, 2011
Sunday, May 22, 2011
One of the groups that developed decided to have a Web Site Smackdown! This was one of these times that I wish I could have split myself in two, since I was in another session. But apparently one of the sites that came up was Present.me. So I decided to take a look at it today. And I think this fits right into the Flipped Classroom model. Basically it provide you the ability to create a two-paned presentation. On one side is your slides full of valuable information. On the other is your recorded presentation or lecture. Currently their free version only allows 15 minute presentations. But, it's a start. Remember that Edtech is about learning a skillset. Once you learn with Present.me, you just may come up with an alternative method of presenting that better suits your needs.
Saturday, May 21, 2011
So, why am I upset with Twitter? Because they seem to keep changing the rules of their API, and breaking many 3rd party apps in the process. For example: tonight's post was and still is about a utility that enables you to archive Twitter conversations via hashtag! TweetDoc does an amazing job with this. You can simply type in a hashtag and TweetDoc will find each occurrence on the timeline and build an beautiful PDF (example). That builds a list of the people who used the hashtag, the trending words for that hashtag and up to 500 tweets that were sent. The problem is because you are limited to 500 updates (likely do to the number of API calls 3rd party apps can make - but don't quote me), if you are using Twitter as a back channel for a large event or a hash chat, you better build a new Tweetdoc every few hours.
But, if you don't think about it in advance good luck trying to recapture all the knowledge. I must have looked at 15 different online apps tonight claiming they could do the job. Some had been shut down for violating Twitter's TOS (OK, I get that). But others, just were to limited in their scope.
I even download and tried Archivist but it only went back so far in time as well. So what did I end up doing, in order to capture the Twitterstream from today's #edcampchicago? I ended up going to search.twitter.com and manually copying and pasting 50 tweets per page for 30 (yes I said 30 pages) and pasting it into a word document! Come on Twitter really? OK, I got the app out for tonight and entered my frustrations in one post. Mission accomplished!
I'll be posting a reflection about a marvelous day spent at #edcampchicago tomorrow. After I've had some time to reflect.
Friday, May 20, 2011
Then last night on Facebook, I saw this from one of my "friends" (who also happens to be a former colleague, I won't mention names here just to perpetuate the myth of anonymity on Facebook):
"Stressed over how my students did on their exams. I never thought they would do as bad as they did. I knew it was tough, but not that tough. Did they learn anything this year?"
First thought I had was: "Wow it's great to see a teacher that concerned over his student's well being, when so many put exams on 'Set It and Forget It' " Then the conversation started to unfold. Of course, there were the cute Facebook responses such as [paraphrasing] 'just give them all A's - the kids will appreciate it'. Somewhere from the thread grew thoughts of authentic assessment. And then this:
"I completely agree with you! If we want them to use the material, let's make them use it. How about product-based assessments. Make the language assessment be a project that incorporates what they've used all year."
I of course had to throw in my 2 cents about "Project Based Learning". Which of course is different from "product-based learning" and certainly, different than "student-driven service projects" accomplished by students participating in the East Initiative. Or is it?
You see, when we place a label on something, we change our expectations of the outcome. And the same is true for standardized testing. Those students who don't score as well are expected to fail. Those in the top 10% are destined for success. Right? Maybe?
Let's forget for a moment the bubble sheets of the classroom or even the dreaded state tests which society hold in such high esteem that many states have suggested tying teacher salary to them. Let's talk about the SAT's, a national standard that can become a roadblock to the hollowed hall's of learning. Did you know that Bill Clinton is widely reported to have scored a 1032? In fact, "A survey of 1,371 millionaires by Thomas J. Stanley, author of "The Millionaire Mind," found that many had SAT scores below 1200, and they averaged 1190. Many of them were told by high school teachers that they were mediocre students but had engaging personalities" Fortunately, for these individuals they were able to "beat" our system or just gave up on it. Ever hear of Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg?
Do we need a way to assess student progress? Absolutely. Does it have to be a cut and dry as standardized tests? Probably not. Where is the middle ground? Where and how does learning happen? Until our labels and perceptions start to change our systems cannot. As my Facebook "friend" said, there is a need for "changing the entire culture of "learning" and school: students, parents, and most difficult, teachers." And he's right! We need to change our perceptions of learning. And one way to do that is to change remove the labels we apply to just about everything.
One thing is certain. I will continue to learn from my friends like Jen and my anonymous Facebook friend, no matter the label or category applied!
Cross posted at: TeacherTechAcademy
Thursday, May 19, 2011
Wednesday, May 18, 2011
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Monday, May 16, 2011
If you've ever tried to learn a foreign language, you may have found (like I) that reading in a foreign language is much more difficult than learning to speak it. One thing I often like to do is play a DVD with foreign language subtitles on so I can try and read along in that language while listening to the English audio track. Lingro akes this an amazing step further. When you first arrive on their home page they give you the opportunity to apply their dictionaries to any web page. Basically, when you put in a website and select the translation direction you would like, any word on the page can be clicked on and translated with the definition. It's hard to explain, you just have to try it. Bonus? Do you ned more reasons? What if I told you each word you click on gets added to a word list for you to later review? Still need one more reason to give Lingro a try? Those word lists can be turned into flash cards? Are you still reading this post? Why aren't you visiting Lingro?
Sunday, May 15, 2011
If you send home newsletters, it may be worth looking at Madmimi.
Saturday, May 14, 2011
That is until today. In looking for another site to post about today, I became reacquainted with ScribbleMaps. At first glance, I thought the site was just another "toy" Big deal you can draw on a map?! but I actually spent some time with this today and have been extraordinarily impressed with it's potential.
Now, you may have noticed over the past few months that I have been trying to shorten the lengths of my posts because I prefer that you form opinions about site recommended here on your own through exploration. This will be a longer post because there is SO MUCH here.
As the name implies you can draw on a Google Map. But you can also change the map to OpenStreet, ScibbleMaps (which is basically a blank canvas), something called CloudMade and a version called CloudMade Plus (which I know nothing about but will need to explore), Astral and ESRI (which includes Physical and Topographal maps). See what I mean about all the potential.
Once you choose your map, you can add features like circles and rectangles. But the powerful bit is that you can also create multipoint shapes. So, if you wanted to fill in Illinois for example you could simple follow the contours of the state and then use the fill bucket.
Not enough? What if I told you that you could not only add pins, but icons to mark areas of the map? Still not enough? How about overlaying an uploaded image of your choosing that is autosized to fit the point you are placing it into?
You can also use the search engine to find map locations, add directions, find businesses and search for other maps that have already been scribbled upon! Additionally, from the menu button you can Save your map, load/import a map, print it or save it as a jpg, embed it or create a widget, add even more features from the Style Map, Save it as a KML or GPX file, and view it in Google Maps or Earth. See how feature rich this site is all without even signing up for an account!? There are even more things you can do if you decided to sign up for a pro account which is also free!
I really would like to hear your feedback on this one, including how you are already using Scribblemaps or the potential you see for it.
Friday, May 13, 2011
Well, if Blogger ever decides to come back to life tonight's post will be about http://www.plotbot.com Lost somewhere in between a Google Doc and a Wiki, Plotbot is a rather interesting collaborative screenwriting application. Very simple in it's nature, Plotbot gives you an interesting way to start creating your own storylines for later video production. You can create your own scripts, invite others to work on an idea collaboratively, or even find and join other projects on which to work (known as a showdown). What is nice about Plotbot, is that you can see who has added what to the project and even make comments for the collaborators to see. Formatting, is the key to Plotbot. Depending on whether you choose action, dialogue, slugline, transition or shot, your text will be indented and highlighted differently. You can choose to make your work public or private. So wether your writing the next great epic or mearly a class play or vodcast, Plotbot might be worth a visit.
Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Tuesday, May 10, 2011
Monday, May 9, 2011
Sunday, May 8, 2011
Saturday, May 7, 2011
Friday, May 6, 2011
Thursday, May 5, 2011
I'm furious. Last night as I read the Chicago Tribune (yes, I still like to read the newspaper) I noticed a little blurb that caught my eye. "AT&T to cap broadband usage." Really? Yes, really. AT&T in their greedy infinite wisdom has decided to cap monthly broadband usage for DSL subscribers to 150 GB of data (UVerse users get an extra 100 GB). Every 50 GB you go over is another $10 tacked onto your bill.
Hey AT&T get with the times! Information is ubiquitous thanks to the information superhighway. People rely on this to not only gather information, but to disseminate it as well. We have enough people in this country who cannot even tap the power of the internet and now your going to control how much access those of us who can afford it are able to get? How about you deliver what you promise in the way of what I already pay for your services? When I was at 1.5 DSL, my service rarely provided me above the 1 Mb range. So, I ponied up and jumped to 3 Mb so I could harness the power of the internet a little better and I'm getting speeds in the 2.2 range. Before you start limiting access, maybe you should get your act together.
Better yet, I issue a challenge to those who have the ability to do this (including myself) - contact your neighbors and build a wireless mesh in your neighborhood. If you walk up and down the block, you are likely to find that many of your neighbors have an access point set up. This indicates they are paying for their own internet access (and probably low end access at that). If one person agrees to subscribe to high end service (as long as everyone chips in) you could easily throw a wireless cloud over your entire block for a fraction of the cost you are paying now! End the information monopoly!
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
The one thing I did notice (and it likely is just my lack of experience using the search engine), is that there is no way to search by date. This makes it hard to search for hot button topics like the recent Japanese Earthquake/Tsunami or the death of Osama Bin Laden. Maybe a date feature is in the future?
Definitely spend some time perusing Edyoucator and let me know what you think. Or better yet let them know yourself via Twitter by following @allofek12 on Twitter like I do!
Tuesday, May 3, 2011
I must apologize for tonight absence of a post. Between children's soccer practices and recitals. By the time I got home I thought my head was going to explode. And the site I had planned to share tonight deserves more attention than I could possibly give tonight. I will make it up to you dear reader with a double post this weekend.
Monday, May 2, 2011
Notice that it's interactive. But what if you wanted to see how the words in the cloud actually interact? You may want to generate a Word Tree:
As you can see, you can embed your visualizations. I'll let you explore the ins and outs of this site on your own to discover how it can work for you. I hope you find it as intriguing as I do.