Monday, March 29, 2010

Excellent Web Based Educational Resources

This web site has some great resources for students and teachers, including test prep, study skills, organization, grammar and writing, and career planning. Everything broken down by topic and is listed on one page, so it is easy to find things.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Free Book - Amazing Web 2.0 Projects

Terry Freedman has put together an excellent, free, book entitled "Amazing Web 2.0 Projects." This book has links, resources, tips, and examples of projects to do with your students using Web 2.0 technologies.

Some of the features of the book:
  • 87 projects.
  • 10 further resources.
  • 52 applications.
  • 94 contributors.
  • The benefits of using Web 2.0 applications.
  • The challenges of using Web 2.0 applications.
  • How the folk who ran these projects handled the issues...
  • ... And what they recommend you do if you run them.
  • What were the learning outcomes?
This is a great resource for any teacher. The projects can be easily modified and there is so much other information and links to help educators come up with their own projects. I recommend this to any teacher, especially teachers who are just starting to use Web 2.0 technologies.

It is available for download, for free, as a pdf file.

PS - my blog is listed in the book as a resource.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Recent Resources I posted on Twitter

Recent resources I've posted on Twitter:

Tech Tip - access US government online -

Tech Tip - Manage and Customize Tabs in Firefox -

Tech Tip - Capture and Upload Screenshots with GrabOut -

My PLN presentation resources: , , feel free to use
My thoughts on creating a PLN & why- , PLN Prezi-
here's the handout I use during the PLN presentation I do -

Tech Tip - making a photo story -

How to recover missing files -

Google Calendars Smart Rescheduler Searches For The Best Meeting Times -

Prezi Education Exchange - Collaborate via @prezi and share your lessons, slidedeck, etc. for the benefit of all

iPad vs Kindle vs Netbooks vs Books: Whats Best for Students? -

Course mngmnt system - "it's learning" -

Tech tip - remove scroll bar from Windows 7 start menu -

Tech tip - browse blogs, videos, news with Google Reader Play -

Pretty cool - wireless body area networks -

Project Based Learning with Web-based Tools

Mobile learning makes it's mark on K-12 -

Tech Tip - the fake internet - not everything online is true or real -

When students don't prepare for class:

Tech tip - 10 essential Windows freeware programs, part 3 -

Tech Tip - manage Twitter and Facebook accounts using Mixero -

Tech Tip - educator discounts -

Palm introduces new homepage -

Thursday, March 18, 2010

it's learning Course Management System

It's very rare that I review apps and services that are not free. However, I found out about it's learning last month and was able to see a demo and I really liked it as a course management system.

it's learning is a web-based system containing course management tools that enable students and teachers to create multimedia learning experiences. You can create your own content or merge free and commercial content into the library.

You start with a dashboard that contains links to your courses, calendar, tasks, messages and more. The system is easy to navigate and quite intuitive.

Features include: course listings, project management, calendar, messaging, ePortfolio's, a library of lesson plans, full search, a community forum, tasks, blogs, built-in audio and video recorders, plagiarism control and much more.

Pricing is based on an annual license for each student and teacher,
typically ranging between $10 - $15 per user/year. Parent and mentor
accounts are free.

it's learning is a very good alternative to other course management systems like Blackboard or Moodle. I found it to be easier to navigate and use also.

(disclaimer - I was not paid for this review and have received nothing from it's learning for the review)

Below is a full list of features and descriptions from their site:

it’s learning is a user-friendly and flexible learning platform that can be used for:

§ Communication and cooperation

§ Administration, reporting and evaluation

§ Production and management of learning resources

it’s learning is not adapted in any specific pedagogical direction. We supply the tools that are used to build up courses, while the teachers and schools fill the learning platform with content. it’s learning supports learning activity, new learning forms and simple access to knowledge. We support standardised e-learning standards such as AICC, IMS and SCORM.

User-friendliness is an important factor for successfully implementing a learning platform, whether in private or the public sector, or in an educational institution. Even if different e-learning systems often seem to include the same functions and tools, it is the intuitiveness of the user interface that in practice decides if the learning platform is actually used. When our customers choose it’s learning, it is most often because of the user-friendliness.

Communication and cooperation

it’s learning has a number of built-in learning tools. The application can easily be set up so that only parts of these tools are made available for the users of the learning platform. This is an arena in which the participants cooperate, both synchronously and asynchronously. Available tools for communication and cooperation are, for example: the internal message system, e-mail, discussions,process-oriented documents, bulletin boards and news services.

Administration, reporting and evaluation

it’s learning is also an administrative tool, both for system administrators, course administrators and teachers. The idea behind the learning platform is that the teachers themselves have the flexibility to choose their own methodology in their educational work. Teachers are not dependent on a superior administrator to set up and administrate their learners and content resources. Reports are automatically generated providing overviews of the learning process, either of a single learner or that of a group. it’s learning also supports assessment portfolio evaluation, and provides possibilities for individual follow-up and reflection.

Production and management of learning resources

it’s learning is a powerful tool for production, organisation, updating and re-use of learning resources. We allow both internal and external tools for producing content.

Our users are interested in content production. By using the Add function in it’s learning, you can access about 15 different tools that allow you to add your own learning tools and organise them within a subject. You can organise course content in many different ways, for example, thematically, chronologically and functionally. For the more advanced users we recommend the additional module Library. The Library allows teachers to create and share lessons. Our customers can also make their own learning tools by means of the proxy tool function.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Some Random Thoughts on Education

My brain has come up with some random thoughts after reading lots of articles, blogs, and tweets about education over the last week.

1. Everyone child deserves a strong, good education. But, what does a strong, good education mean/ look like?

2. Some facts are important to learn, but learning how to find and analyze information and how to think critically and solve problems is more important.

3. Encourage students to create and be creative. Help them be creative and use ingenuity to solve problems.

4. Relate educational lessons to the real world and do the students' experiences.

5. Use technology, tools, toys, props, etc. to emphasize and explain concepts and topics.

6. Use technology to expand the school day and learning environment.

7. Use technology to do different things with your students that you would have been able to do without technology.

8. Make your lessons exciting, engaging, educational, and fun.

9. Collaborate with other teachers to improve student achievement. (a PLN is great for this).

10. Care about your students.

11. Educators need to have a strong voice in educational policy. Too much is decided by non-educators with minimal educator input.

12. Everyone is responsible for the quality of education and student achievement and success. We all have to work together.

13. There is a lot of money wasted by governments in running schools. There are plenty of ways to save money without affecting the quality of education. Use less paper. Use open source and free resources instead of expensive software licenses and textbooks.

14. Schools are designed poorly. We need more room for group work, collaboration, exploration, and projects and less rows of desks.

What are some of your thoughts on education?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Free Teacher resources from Microsoft

I received this email the other day listing a lot of great education resources from Microsoft. Instead of re-writing everything, I figured I would just post the email with the links. I have used some of the resources and they are very good.

Hi David,
I thought your readers might be interested in the free teacher guides, step-by-step instructions, and resources from Microsoft. The guides are designed to make it easier for teachers to integrate technology into the classroom.

To help teachers engage students in a variety of subject areas – from art to music to science – Microsoft is providing free software and online tools, step-by-step instructions, videos and getting started teacher guides. Beyond learning about access to free software and tools, the getting started guides will also help teachers get the most out of the software they use every day. I have included a brief overview of each teacher guide below.

Microsoft offers a number of free tools and software that make it quick and easy to engage students and create energized lesson plans. Why not introduce a new subject with a 3D viewing experience using Photosynth or take a virtual celestial tour with Worldwide Telescope? Or showcase your students’ musical talents with Songsmith or create a movie in a minute with Windows Live Movie Maker? Microsoft provides the tools and instructions to make this possible.

Microsoft will be providing daily teacher technology tips, tricks and ideas for the classroom leading up to May 4, 2010, National Teacher Day. Twitter users can follow @TeachTec or hash tag #TeachTips for teacher technology tips. Facebook users can follow Microsoft TeachTec. Check out the Microsoft Teacher Tech or the Microsoft Blog posts for additional details.

Please let me know if you have questions.

Teacher Guides

• The Free tools teacher guide and materials will help teachers engage students, energize lesson plans, and save time using free tools that can be download today.
• Free software downloads and online tools include: AutoCollage, Worldwide Telescope, Photosynth, Songsmith, Photo Story for Windows XP, Office Live Workspace, Windows Live SkyDrive, Bing Search, Bing Maps, Bing Translator.

• Enhance classroom lessons with movies made with Windows Live Movie Maker. The teacher guides and materials show how fun and easy it is.

• Office 2007 and 2010 can help improve collaboration and increase productivity with Microsoft Office OneNote, PowerPoint, Office Word and Office web apps. The teacher guide and materials will help teachers get the most of Microsoft Office programs.

• Make everyday tasks easier, and take less time to complete them. Quickly discover shortcuts to the things you use the most, including the interactive whiteboard.

• Creating digital stories ignites a love of learning and is a powerful student-centered learning activity. This eBook helps teachers get started with digital storytelling in the classroom.

And some more details from the Microsoft Blog:

Free software downloads and online tools include: AutoCollage, WorldWide Telescope, Photosynth, Songsmith, Photo Story, Office Live Workspace, Windows Live SkyDrive, Bing Search, Bing Maps, Bing Translator. *AutoCollage and Songsmith are available for free to members of the Microsoft Partners in Learning Network. Participation in the Partners in Learning Network requires a free one-time registration. Learn how to take advantage of these free tools in the classroom with the Free Tools teacher guide and resources.

Teacher guides and resources are available for Free tools, Microsoft Office 2007 & 2010, Windows 7, Windows Live Movie Maker, and Digital Storytelling.

You can also watch a video about our free tools and a video about our Windows 7 interactive whiteboard.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Genetics resource

Learn Genetics and Teach Genetics are great resources from the University of Utah.

Learn Genetics has interactive videos and demos that explain different concepts of genetics. The web site is nicely designed and easy to navigate.

Teach Genetics is a beta preview teacher companion site for Learn Genetics. There are some resources now, with more coming in the future.

These are great resources for Biology and Genetics teachers.

My wife, a Biology teacher, found them and told me about them. She found them very useful and easy to use.

More Educational Apps for Palm webOS


Palm's new operating system, webOS, is gaining more and more apps each day. While the iPhone and Android get the most media attention, Palm is slowly gaining share. Many teachers used Palm PDA's in class in the early part of decade. If they are looking for the same ease of use with increased productivity, functionality, and graphics, they should check out webOS on the Palm Pre and Palm Pixi.

Two new apps were released today that would be great for education:

1. Quizmine Math Reference - this app is a math reference app that allows you to get quick and easy access to math formulas from arithmetic, algebra, geometry, measurement, trigonometry and derivatives. $0.99
UPDATE: Quizmine also has a great Physics reference app too!

2. Soshiku - this app is a simple, but powerful tool for students to use to manage their classes and assignments. It will keep track of assignment due dates and will notify you by email or text message to remind you it is due. For each assignment, you can add notes, tasks, view attachments, and share messages with assignment partners. The app syncs with the free account on $1.99

And of course webOS phones have all the basic features:
contacts, email, excellent web browser with Flash support, text messaging, camera, phone, tasks, media players, note taking, and lots more, including Evernote, Twitter, Facebook and Google.

Some additional apps that are great for education:
Evernote - "remember everyting"
A+ Student Organizer - keep track of schedule, grades, calculate GPA, assignments, tasks
Flash Cards - create your own flashcards, download from site, or download user created
Easy Stopwatch - useful for keeping time and in science labs
Seismograph - show students how vibrations are recorded
Convert - unit conversion calculator
Newsfeed - RSS reader
pReader - ebook reader
Epocrates - excellent medical reference
Wapedia - encyclopedia
SciCalc - scientific calculator
Periodic Table - interactive periodic table of the elements
World Atlas - world atlas with data on countries and regions
Twee - Twitter app
AP Mobile - news from the Associated Press
New York Times - read the NYT

There are also apps to learn Spanish, a grade book app for teachers, math games, and much, much more.

And, you can use all of those older Palm OS apps (Centro, Treo, TX, T3, etc) by using the app "Classic" on the Pre or Pixi. It will then run the old Palm OS apps on the Pre or Pixi. Pretty cool!

Related Articles:
** Palm Apps for Education ** (really a companion to this article)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

List of Discovery Education Training Resources

I found this great list of Discovery Education Training Resources on Jen Dorman's blog (she is a DEN Account Manager).

Most of the great resources Discovery Education has to offer for educators are listed here.

Training Resources

Discovery Educator Network

Discovery Education streaming - Links to service overviews, demonstrations, and efficacy research

Discovery Education streaming Getting Started Guide
Discovery Education Classroom Resources - Links to free resources, sponsorships, and competitions

Tutorials and Learning Resources

Related Articles:


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