Mar 12

My notes from the session by Ron Brandsen from Holland Christian School.

I was excited to see that this session was being offered at MACUL this year.   I’ve always been interested in ways to combine faith with technology. This something I have tried to do when I was teaching in the computer lab, so I am always interested  in discovering new new ideas of things that teachers are doing.

What is fundamental to religious education?

  • reading the text – although he prefers students to use an actual Bible, he is starting to allow students to use online Bibles, including Bible Gateway (my fav!!), Youversion (neat, it let’s you listen to scripture, also has a social networking feature where people can comment on different verses), and Textweek. Has students look at pieces of art that reflect on a Bible story, students post links to the work on a forum and talk about what they liked about the artwork.  Uses to show locations of stories.  Uses movie clips to discuss different topics ( – subscription, and Wingclips – free! )  Showing for images of locations in the Bible. includes Greek and Hebrew words. Also has resources, powerpoint backgrounds.
  • reflecting on the text – Uses google forms to get students to reflect on Evidence for God Brainstorm.  Has kids fill in 3 ideas as they brainstorm. (Like this idea – get to hear more students’s voices, beyond an oral discussion).  Then asks kids to find 10 resources online with 10 evidences.  Uses moodle database for students to post their evidences link and to summarize and rank each one.   Uses journaling (in moodle) online to gather information, feedback, prayer requests, from students and then can respond back to students in private.  (Really neat way to interact with students!)  Has students submit questions to ask missionaries and then Skyped the missionary.  Using the Q and A forums in moodle (great student interaction.)
  • responding to the text – Seniors create their own Faith stories, they may use whatever means they wish to create their stories.  Freshmen study prophets and create public service announcements to deliver in one minute the message of an assigned prophet.
  • representing our faith  – how can our students safely represent their faith online.

Ron’s link:

Thanks, Ron, got some great ideas from your session!

Mar 12

Notes from the iLife session on “Engaging Students in the Curriculum With Technology” from Gabriella Meyers and Cheryl Boes, Utica Community School, Apple Distinguished Educators.

They began by showing an outstanding video from Jeff Hall on “Create a New World.”  I’ll try to find a link and add it later.  Excellent!

Meyers says you can present standards and rubrics that let students choose the tool that they use to create their message.  However students must first be familiar with the tools.

iPhoto09 – document images of what is going on in the classroom.  Use the “Places” feature to stamp where the photo was taken.  An iPhone will do this automatically or you can stamp the pictures in iPhoto.  Great to use with “Flat Stanley” projects.  Boes is using this with the “Walk our World” project.

Use the slideshow themes to automatically create a slideshow with a folder of photos. Instant!

Photo Books –  using Lintor Publishing it is easy to create your own books. Create the book in iPhoto and print, and then make your own book.  My note:  this company is great!!!! I have used them for creating student books.

iMovie09 – has made it easy for kids to do simple things.  They use the webcam to record themselves to practice a speech or to create a finished product.

Math Boot Camp – spring musical centered around math concepts.  Very clever!  Showing skit talking about strategies to solve word problems.

Cherokee Trail of Tears – example of a student project.

March is Reading Month – students created a song about reading, included a special needs child who normally didn’t complete work.  Another idea: students create a song on math properties.

The new version of iMovie has great new features including the dynamic themes.  (Agreed!) An advanced feature is that you can create your own themes.

Animated Travel Maps – easy way to create a map as part of a movie. Idea: use to track the travels of a Flat Stanley.

iMovie has a variety of ways that you can export your videos so students can have them.

iTunes8 – a way that a teacher can organize all your media resources. Idea: use a clip of music as a transition time signal that to move from one subject or task to another.  Use different playlists to anchor different activities, to energize, or to calm.  (Great idea!!)

iTunes has lots of free podcasts that you can download.  iTunesU has great content!

Thanks, this was a great session!  iLife is the best and I picked up several new tips and tricks!

Mar 12

I’ve been hearing lots of tweets about the excellent sessions that Rushton Hurley has been doing.  Here is a link to his resources:

And his nonprofit:

Showing Lost Generation video.

Showing:  Airport video of troops arriving home.

Kids are fascinated by video.  Showing a video only of his students made to show a nines math trick.

Categories of videos at

Light Bulbs: ideas

Global Views: different views of the world

Seeing Service:

The videos he posts must be 5 minutes or less, copyright friendly, ok for audience of young students, factually accurate and cited appropriately, for a student audience.   Explaining that Royalty Free means you don’t have to site it, Creative Commons you usually have to cite.

Simple Video:

Showing Audacity, pulled in a clip of music, adding a news welcome with your voice.  Demonstrating how to move the voice and then use the envelop tool to lower the music under the voice.  Can also do this on Garageband. (my note: Garageband does this same trick very easily, has automatic ducking under the voice.)

Showing Moviemaker.  Very clever example using flickr images to illustrate song lyrics. Note: students need to export the project file into a file that can be shared.  It is easy to teach students how to do this.  Images are powerful! You can also use a cam like a flipcam to get video, but that adds an extra step, which sometimes can be a hassle.

Equipment – free software that came on computer such as iMovie and MovieMaker, Photostory, GarageBand and Audacity.  Flip video camera,  microphone.

Planning is key:

  • Set time limits on how long the video should be
  • Rule – no violence or martial arts
  • podcasts and slideshows – he has a handout on common mistakes for video projects. (need to check this out)
  • alone or with others
  • give non-video projects with 4 weeks to do, but give them the option to turn in a poster.  (No body turns in a poster!)

Links to copyright-friendly media:

Students love to celebrate each other’s work!

Mar 12

Here are my notes from the Friday morning session with Steve Dembo.  I am looking forward to an entertaining and insightful presentation.

(Idea: Powerpoint Kareoke, give students five slides, give them 30 minutes to put together a presentation.)

Steve says his preschool son already has a permanent record, including pictures on Flickr.

There is a shift. Parents today are posting photos of their kids all the time.  They don’t care if your school has a policy about name and images not being together.

Facebook asks their age, under 14 have higher security.  Kids lie about their age, bypass the security.

College Confidential website – hints on getting into a college, but admission officers also use this to check out candidates.

New Facebook settings make much more information more public.

Google is starting to set up live search for Facebook and Twitter posts.

Marc Prensky – if we want to reach digital natives, we need to change.  Characteristics: extremely social, risk takers, nonlinear, instant gratification,  etc.

Website:  will check for all the sites you are registered at.

Friendfeed allows you to create one feed that everything feeds into.  Ping.  Hellotxt.  – can choose what places you want to send your posts to, includes phone text. – lets you go to all your sites at once to change your profile.

Invest more time up front, and so you don’t have to more time later.

What can you learn in 30 minutes from Google Reader, Delicious, Twitter, Facebook?  Steve shows all the things that he was able to learn.  Steve calls all the people he learns from “his team.”

Where does social media fit into education?  Dembo notes that many schools don’t follow into any of their followers on Twitter – they miss out connecting with their audience.  Doesn’t engage the parents.  Need to respond back to the people.   “Ambient Intimacy” helps people feel connected.

“If you don’t organize it, they will.”  – parents form Facebook groups.

Social media resumes – take control of your presence online.  You have to see what you are “doing” not a static page.  This is what classrooms should be doing.  Be sure that people can find something good.

funny “Flutter” video

Dembo’s predictions for the future – 3 trends:

  • live broadcasting: (ustream, livestream) can replace school broadcasting, free and robust, can cut to video from live.  Can use live cell phone video and cut to it.
  • Geo-Applications: brings all posts, aggregates into one site. Foursquare – posts where you are into a gaming format.
  • augmented reality: have a code in your wecam that will create a 3D object.  Put a card before a camera, develops an interactive.  imaginality has cards that you print.  Heart, planets. They interact with each other.  WOW!  This is number one on my things to look at further!

Showing how people use people to tell when the laundry is done, when the plant needs watering, cats GusandPenny, Kickbee – baby kicking in stomach.

Google Lit Trips – so you can interact.

Take your own personal experience and mix it with the technology to make it your own.

Best way to predict the 21st century is to invent it!

Mar 11

Here are my notes from Leslie Fisher’s session at MACUL.  Leslie is always one of my favorite presenters – lots of fun and lots of new stuff for the geekiest of geeks!

Handouts here: /goodies to get a widget to add to your website. Can set width, height, color, and then embed the code.

Use TweetDeck columns to search for a certain topic.

Google Calendar -embed your calendar on your webpage, can customize which events it shows to the public.

Google Maps – can create your own map, can collaborate with others on the map.

Google Web Forms – can embed into a website.  Yes, this I have used this feature a lot with my students!

Evernote – Yes, love this! Use it all the time. Great way to collect recipes from the web. Also use it with my phone to take pictures while shopping.  I didn’t know until today that it would try to do text recognition.  Neat!

Etherpad – hmm, only  16 people allowed at a time in the free version.  I couldn’t get into her example. That’s new, I think.  Good to know if you want to use with a class, you couldn’t get entire class in at one time.  (An alternative is – thanks @yoopertechgeek on twitter.

Google Wave – a wave of information, a document that people can join.  I haven’t quite figured out this app, yet.

Use Google Sites to create a webpage. Can set up areas to be collaborative.

Google Voice – a phone number that connects to your  home and cell number, can create groups, customize. – $12 for 10 minutes worth of talk time.  Uses with Remember the Milk.

Ustream TV –  use to stream classes, activities using webcam or phone.  Can add a poll to the stream.  #”roomname” to open the chat so you don’t have to log in to chat.  iPhone app only works over wifi.

Smugmug – photos, gives free account to nonprofits.  Can use as a fundraiser.

Audioboo – record with your iPhone.  I’ve used this with my fifth grade class.  I ask students to reflect on what they have learned at the end of the lesson.

Tripit –  place to put all your confirmations for your trips, puts together your itinerary.  Can network with other people via the app, also supports iCal info.

Yelp –  food reviews and more

I’m familiar with most of these, but she shared some new ways to use them.  Thanks, Leslie!

Mar 11

Here are my notes from Vicki Davis’s session on Differentiated Instruction from this afternoon.  I have followed her blog and twitter for several years, and it was such a treat to actually be in a session with her in person.

Suggests you leave a conference with Top Three Things to Do (just 3) and start them that weekend.

Choose the Web 2.0 tools that help you to do what you want to do, not just because it is trendy.

The only thing you have complete control over in your school is YOU – you have a choice on your attitude.

Vicki uses old equipment, has to raise money for everything she does.

Successful technology integration is people centered.

Professional development needs to be in little bites.

Invest in others who will teach and stimulate others to learn.

Teaches a tool once, then gives the students choices to use that tool.

Car analogy for the classroom:

  • Doesn’t run a social network, runs an educational network!
  • Learn to not use IM, especially if you are networking with a global school with English as a second language.
  • Uses Ning with kids 13 and older. Starts private, then public. No pre-moderation, need to be trusted online citizens by graduation.
  • Uses students to help build the Ning each year.
  • by 9th grade, on their school supply list is a google account and email that parents must set up for the students.
  • students subscribe to her calendar, they have their own igoogle page.
  • have lists to websites they are using, must subscribe to wiki history for all their project.
  • They are required to know how to record audio and video.  She spells out at what grade they are required to know how to do this.
  • At age 13 you should be able to take down the wall and be ready to collaborate.
  • Audience improves student learning more than work that ends up in the waste basket.
  • OpenSim –   – Digiteen Island
  • requires students to turn work in on the wiki – that is h

Skills kids should know:

  • hyperlink
  • how to embed  (toondo or classtools to embed)
  • digital citizenship
  • online behavior has offline consequences
  • automated monitoring

Davis uses a Wheel of Learning for projects – that addresses various learning styles.

Good point – for students, video is all about being funny, but she stresses that it must meet her criteria, she doesn’t grade on “funny”

Only lets them use cellphones for assignments, put phones in box during tests.

Uses Invention projects where they have to invent a new way to do something.

Have a “Hall of Fame” for the very best projects, “extra credit” for kids that finish easy.  Only teaches the “cool stuff” once, and then this person teaches everyone else.

Give students the rubric when you give them the assignment.

When learning facts, they have each kid make games at for 10 words, they play each other’s games.

Students need a home base – uses a wiki as their home base.


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