Archive for Tech Tool

Feb 05

heart_den_featuredWhat do you think of when the month of February appears on your calendar? Is it Ground Hog’s Day? What about President’s Day? Black History month? Well, our bet would be Valentine’s Day as the common event one associates with the month of February. In staying with the theme of Valentine’s Day, the Kansas DEN Leadership Council has a challenge for teachers and students. The teachers’ challenge focuses on the completion of a Board Builder answering the question of “Why do I love Discovery Education and the DEN?”. Teachers are encouraged to share their favorite lessons, SOS strategies, resources and more on the board.

As for the students, the KS DEN LC wants to challenge students to design a Board Builder that looks to persuade viewers to show their love in supporting the cause of a real world issue. The real world issue will be selected by the student or group of students. Once the issue has been identified, the Board Builder tool will be used to construct their case for persuading each viewer for support. To help the students get going, consider answering the Who, What, When, Where, Why and How points.

The Board Builder challenge is to be completed by February 28th. All projects will be shared in a culminating post by the KS LC during the first week of March. Participating teachers and classrooms will be provided something special from Discovery Education.

The KS LC looks forward to sharing everyone’s love for the DEN and real world issues!

Those taking on the challenge, we encourage you to visit these DEN STAR created resources for additional insight into DE’s Board Builder and the rubric to be used in evaluating the submissions.

Sharon Thorton’s Board Builder tutorial video on Vimeo

Shelby Bailey’s Board Builder 101 example (You will be asked to login to your DE account for access)

Discovery Education’s Board Builder rubric

KS DEN LC February Challenge submission page

Oct 10

I am currently working with pre-service students attending Sterling College as well as facilitating the “Technology in the Classroom” course online.  In trying to explain what a 21st Century Classroom and Technology Integration should look like I wanted to show off the power of my PLN.  Therefore, I ask that my PLN members and blog post readers respond to this Voicethread. Besides defining a classroom environment, this project allows me to introduce them to PLN, social media, and Web 2.0 tools.

In all, please take a minute or two and share your vision of what a 21st Century Classroom and Technology Integration looks like.  Thanks to all that contribute!


Oct 17

I have the honor of presenting at ESSDACK’s iPad’s For Learning Conference on Tuesday (10/18/11) along side of Cyndi Danner-Kuhn as well as several other leading edge educators, administrators, and technicians. The concept for this conference can best be explained by this quote from the iPads For Learning website.

iPads for Learning is designed to help teachers, administrators and schools find the best way to implement iPad tablets as part of learning and instruction.
You’ll find lists of apps by content, helpful instructional strategies, recent research, iPad-related articles and posts by a stable of knowledgeable curriculum / technology experts.
Learning is a complex activity. It happens in many different places and many different ways. And we’re finding out that the use of technology can help the process along. Technology, especially in the form of mobile devices, provides access to information, to other people and to a wide variety of tools.
And we want you to be a part of it! Help make the community stronger by posting comments, suggesting articles and sharing your best ideas.

Now that the quote has peaked your interest in this small but thought provoking one day conference in the heartland, enjoy the following Cover It Live session. This live blogging session will be composed of Tweets from all participants using the hashtag #ipadsforlearning as well as participants contributing information directly to the interactive posting.

The following two resources are materials that I will be sharing during my portion of the “Best Practices” session with Cyndi Danner-Kuhn. I will start focusing on using three apps with Cover It Live’s app for a collaborative note taking, creative writing or interview tool as the first recommendation. The second practice for discussion is how to successfully implement Discovery Education via mobile learning devices. In saving the best for last, I will introduce Wesley Fryer‘s ebook Playing With Media.

Finally, I am including the following resources for all parties interested in learning more about iPads, iPod Touchs, applications, and mobile learning. Enjoy!

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Sep 12

Image is being hosted on Amazon's book website. As an educator, I am always asking, “How can I improve myself?” as well as “What successful methods are out there and can be applied to education?”  In searching for answers, I read Jim Collins’ book Good to Great as part of an administrator’s book share.  I highly recommend this as an excellent resource for those looking to find methods used in the business world in taking the next step and being successful in the business world.   Here is a quote from Amazon as part of their book description:

The findings of the Good to Great study will surprise many readers and shed light on virtually every area of management strategy and practice. The findings include:

  • Level 5 Leaders: The research team was shocked to discover the type of leadership required to achieve greatness.
  • The Hedgehog Concept: (Simplicity within the Three Circles): To go from good to great requires transcending the curse of competence.
  • A Culture of Discipline: When you combine a culture of discipline with an ethic of entrepreneurship, you get the magical alchemy of great results. Technology Accelerators: Good-to-great companies think differently about the role of technology.
  • The Flywheel and the Doom Loop: Those who launch radical change programs and wrenching restructurings will almost certainly fail to make the leap.

In reflecting upon this book I began thinking of two amazing ladies and their passion to succeed all while providing educators the opportunity to share, collaborate, and permit students to create.  These two ladies are Tina Schneider and Barbara Tallent of LiveBinders.  Tina and Barbara are always listening to their users and communicating with educators globally on what enhancements would best suite classroom needs.  In using LiveBinders for the past two years I have seen it grow and improve by leaps and bounds.  In this post I will provide some insight ito those improvements which exemplify the progress of Tina and Barabara’s path from “Good to Greatness”.

In the following screencast I will be walking you through three of the newest enhancements to LiveBinders.  Those enhancements focus on the creation of a book shelf, subtab imagery, and an extremely powerful text editor.

As mentioned in the video, you can establish your own “Favorites shelf” to store those binders created by other great minds. However, I did not demonstrate the process in adding binders to your new shelf.  The following two images will illustrate the process of adding binders.  In this first illustration, you will look for the “Options” button located below the binder image and details.  Now click on the red down arrow.  Next locate the “Add to Shelf” option.  Once this link is selected users will be asked to select the appropriate shelf for assignment.

As for the second illustration, this is the process for adding a binder to a shelf while it is open for viewing.  With a binder open look in the lower left hand corner.  Along the bottom, going left to right, find “Add to Shelf”.  Click on it and select the appropriate shelf for the current binder within the new window.  There you go, two methods of adding a different users LiveBinder to your own shelf for future reference.

In all, educators should always be looking to improve themselves regardless of receiving raises, being honored by other educators or organizations.  After all are we not here for the students?  I challenge each and everyone of you to set a goal of moving from “Good to Great!”

Apr 24

As many of you know I am a dedicated user of LiveBinders. Tina and Barbara have done an excellent job of listening to their users in making enhancements to this web 2.0 tool. Their most recent update allows for users to embed their entire bookshelf on their own site while maintaining interactivity. Here is the released information pertaining to this new enhancement.

Add Your Public Shelf to Your Blog
April 18, 2011
You can now add your public binder shelf to your blog or website. It will look something like this (but it actually be live if your blog is hosted on something other than WordPress):

Unfortunately WordPress hosted blogs (like this one) will not allow iframes, so you cannot use this feature. If you are running the WordPress software, you can implement this feature through a plug-in.

To see a live example, please go to my testing blog on Blogger.

For Blogger, and other websites and wikis that accept iframes, go to your “My Binders” shelf and just cut and paste the embed code that you will find there on the right side:

Then select the embed code and copy and paste it into your blog or website:

For those of you who are a little more advanced, you can customize the embed code to have a different number of rows and columns. To do this, please see the Tips and Tricks binder under tab #4 “Embedding Binders” and the subtab “Customizing the Shelf Embed Code”.

Here is a collection of additional LiveBinder resources that may assist you in creating your very own 3-ring binder.

(Republished w/permission from LiveBinders blog)
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Jan 03

In this time of education initiatives including 1:1 and Interactive Whiteboards, Google has taken another step towards solidifying their role as an education resource. Prior to Christmas break, one of the hot topics on Twitter was Google Lab’s Body Browser. I found the conversations very interesting and I decided to investigate the new Google Lab’s resource out of curiosity. After downloading Google Chrome beta and installing it on my laptop, it was time to test it out. Here is my overview of Google Lab’s Body Browser.

Screen shot of Google Body Browser

This is a fantastic site for allowing students to interact with the human body and all the components that compose it. There are some features of the site that require a more advanced web browser so they suggest you use one of the following browsers:

  1. Google Chrome Beta
  2. Firefox 4 Beta
  3. Webkit
  4. WebGL implementation information

What I found truly interesting about this interactive site is the ability to rotate, zoom, and pan the human body much like you do in Google Earth and Maps. Some features that will truly catch your attention include the ability to view the skeletal system, circulatory system, nervous system as well as several body organs. When viewing these specific items, use the scroll option in the left hand menu to remove those anatomical layers that compose the human body.

Human Body scroll optionsWhile using the scroll option, I would also suggest clicking on the scroll option on the right hand side (blue option in screenshot). By selecting this option, viewers will have advantage of hiding specific regions of the human body while still viewing other features. The very bottom of the vertical bar allows for names (labels) to appear as the viewer moves around on the site. What I did find as a distraction to having the labels appear was how some overlapped one another making it difficult to read at times.  Finally, their is one additional feature I found beneficial.  As you explore the human body watch the browser’s url address.  The address changes as the body browser changes.  Thus, each unique url could be used to provide quick reference points saving time for students and teachers.

Over all, this is a fantastic site that provides great insight into the human body and how it is composed. To view the site in action, watch the tutorial video I have created to demonstrate how to access the site, selecting an appropriate browser, and walking through the process of accessing each anatomical layer.

Oct 19

These are my links for October 19th:

Oct 18

These are my links for October 17th through October 18th:

Oct 15

These are my links for October 15th:

Oct 14

These are my links for October 14th:

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