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Matt’s Tips and Tricks

First and foremost we’ve upgraded our ISSUU.com account (that snazzy site that allows you to view this document online) so that you no longer see ads on the side AND you can open now open Matt’s Tips and Tricks on an iPad!

Second - don’t forget to register for, and upload your student videos to, the the first student media contest of the year! http://links.discoveryeducation.com/videochallenge.  This challenge asks your students to listen to and select one of five songs about Math, Social Studies, Science, Geography, watch its corresponding kinesthetic lecture, and then create their own interpretation of that song in a video.  10 finalists will win 30 backpacks, a Flipcam, and a DEN Polo shirt.  The Grand Prize winner will win the backpacks, Flipcam, shirt, and a school assembly!

Third – I need your help.  In order for me to keep the Matt’s Media Tips relevant, concise and timely, I need your thoughts and feedback.  I’ve created a very short little survey to help make sure that these tips and tricks stay on target and provide value to you.  Please take a few moments (less than 10 minutes) to fill out this short 15 question survey.

This week I’m highlighting the Discovery Education STEM Connect, Interactive Calendar and Atlas resources found inside the Teacher Center.  I’ve also included information about the current student media contest that we are hosting and a whole list of great webinars.   I hope that you find this information helpful. http://issuu.com/mmonjan/docs/monday_morning_media_tip_2-27?mode=window&viewMode=singlePage

If the document appears too small on your screen there is a zoom function at the top of your screen.   Simply slide the circle towards the right to enlarge the document.  You may also print the document or save it as a pdf.

The Bird is Back!

I know, I know, it’s been a while since I’ve posted a blog entry on Geekybird.  That doesn’t mean I haven’t been sharing the good word it’s just been on a smaller micro blog scale through my @monjan tweets.  You know…like all Tweetybirds do?  Sorry I couldn’t resist.

But a good friend of mine, THE DEN Princess and colleague Porter Palmer, asked me if I could embed my weekly tips and tricks on the blog.  So just as the saying goes, “the bird is the word,” I will post my Matt’s weekly tips and tricks on the blog in addition to sending it out through Twitter.  This one’s for you Porter Palmer.

If you like what you see and learn please copy, share, steal, do whatever you like so that the good word gets out!

Want to Shape the Future of Ed Tech?

We want to hear from you. Discuss the future of Discovery Education streaming in one-on-one feedback sessions.  Each session will last approximately one hour.

If you are interested in volunteering please send your name, school district, subjects/grades that you teach and time slot that you are interested in to Shelley Santora Jones

Thursday, February 12th
4:00 ET
5:00 ET
6:00 ET
7:00 ET

Tuesday, February 17th
5:00 ET
6:00 ET
7:00 ET
8:00 ET

All participants will receive a copy of the four-DVD set of When We Left Earth:  The NASA Missions.

As always – we appreciate your help and support!

Tis The Season

Wow January is flying by and that means that February, and its many conferences, is just around the corner.

For those keeping score at home, here’s the skinny on the my February Conference schedule:

February 2-4, 2009 I’ll be at the eTech Ohio conference .  Can you believe that I’ll have to travel on Superbowl Sunday? Go….fill your favorite team here (as long as it rhymes with peelers).

Here’s a list of all of the fun stuff we’re doing at eTech Ohio.  If you’ll be there, please join us!

When -  Monday, February 2, 2009
WhereBar Louie Columbus (Arena District)  from 6:30 – 9:00 PM
The address is 504 N Park Street • Columbus, OH 43215 614.220.0900 and you can click here for directions to the restaurant.

You are welcome to bring friends.  So that we can plan accordingly, please let me know if you’ll be coming and if you’re bringing anyone with you.

I’ll also be presenting two sessions at eTech this year and it would be great if you and/or your colleagues could help spread the word and/or attend.  They are as follows:

Feb 2, 2009     11:45 AM-12:30 PM     Room E160 A-B
Here, There, And Everywhere–From Your Chair: Technology For Administrators

Feb 3, 2009     12:45 PM-1:30 PM     Room E172
50 Ways To Use Discovery Education streaming

Finally, please don’t forget to come by and say hi to Damien. Alex and I at booth number 931!

February 8-11, 2009 – I’m  be hanging with my PA Peeps at PETE & C.  Throughout the conference, we’ll have lots of activity including a super cool pre-conference event with an all-star cast including; Jason Ohler, Steve Dembo, Hall Davidson, Jannita Demian, oh yeah and that Lance Rougeux guy.

In addition to the pre-conference I’ll be delivering these two sessions:

Session Number: EL08
Session Time: Tuesday 9:15 am – 10:15 am
Program Title: Bend, Break & Bust it Loose:10 Ways to Engage Your Kids
Room: Magnolia C

Session Number: GL08
Session Time: Tuesday 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm
Program Title: Here, There & Everywhere: Tech for Administrators
Room: Magnolia C
If you’re coming to Hershey please come by and say hi – I’d love your support :)

February 22-24, 2009  is going to be awesome because I’m going to be with my VA Peeps.   We’ve been working on a super special Digital Storytelling Day of Discovery and it is going to rock.  We still have space for you so,  if you’re going to VSTE and/or will be in VA Beach on February 22, 2009 please join us – we’d love to have you!

Whew and that is just February :)

Archdiocese of Philadelphia Tech Conference – LOVE IT!

Ok guys this is THE way to start the year off!   For the second year in the row I’ve had the opportunity to attend and be a part of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia Tech Conference and, I have to say, it was awesome…dare I say one of the best!

Will Richardson kicked things off and challenged participants to embrace 21 century literacy skills on Friday, January 16, 2009.   The following day Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach, continued Will’s discussion and participants then broke into several break out sessions – including sessions by DEN Stars Jen Dorman and Joe Konecki!

One of the best moments for me came tonight.  As I walked out of my room towards the ballroom for dinner I overheard conversations from two administrators who expressed the following, “Did you get on the Wiki tonight” followed by “Yes, and I jumped on Skype to tell my friends about it!”  There was such an awesome buzz and genuine excitement throughout the day – I couldn’t wait to get back to my computer and share it with you all.

The Tech Conference wraps up tomorrow with a closing keynote by our very own Jen Dorman but not before the Archdiocese of Philadelphia really celebrates technology tonight:
I told you they were awesome!

A Global Film Challenge For All

Ok I have to brag about my friend Janet English and her super cool project, Film on The Fly. KOCE Film on the Fly   Janet has launched a fantastically creative project that anyone with a cell phone and built in video camera – and they all pretty much have them – can participate.   Janet’s organization, KOCE, has launched a global filmmaking challenge that is open to all ages.  And it breaks down a little something like this.  Janet is texting a secret story prompt to cell phones all over the world on 2/7/2009.   Then, over the next 20 hours,  people from all over the world will make and post their mobile phone videos on YouTube.    Janet has posted more information (including great How-To’s) on her website www.koce.org/filmonthefly – check it out!

Will you be part of this global experience?

Got games?

Ok so the GEEKYBIRD was searching the net the other day in search of interactive, neat, easy, and free templates that you could use in your classroom.

Here is a five of the coolest ones that he found:

EclipseCrossword.com
With over 2,000,000 downloads it goes without saying…this tool is pretty cool. EclipseCrossword is a fast, easy, free way to create crossword puzzles in minutes.  As the site says,  you can use crosswords to review vocabulary and lessons for all subjects.  And these crosswords can be printed or uploaded to your teacher website and/or blog.

Powerpoint Templates Galore
I found this site and fell in love with their templates.  They’ve got templates from Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader to Wheel of Fortune, to Jeopardy and more!

Dr. Jeff Etzberger’s Microsoft Office game templates
Here you’ll find links to games built in PowerPoint, Word, and Excel.  He’s even got a few countdown timers that you can download and use.

Quizlet.com
This site is super cool and super free.  It lets you create flash cards that you can download or embed in your blog or website It also has thousands of flashcards already created for you!  Check out this game I created with Quizlet: Drag corresponding items on top of other to make them disappear.  What was your best time?

Wordle.net
This free site lets you create word clouds that you can download or embed in your blog or website.  Here is a quick example

We Need Your Focus!

The Discovery Education product development team is constantly looking for ways to make Discovery Education streaming better and better.

And you guys play an important role in the direction of our site!  Along that vein our Product Development team is hosting a Focus Group Webinar tomorrow evening at 5pm EST.  It will be open to teachers from around the country.  During the webinar they’ll be seeking feedback on a redesign of the My DE page.

So if you would like to provide feedback to the team and leave your stamp on the new page, please sign up for the webinar and give us your two cents!

To keep it manageable we’re going to tap the roster at 20.

To sign up all you have to do is click here and follow the registration steps.  As always – thank you so much for your support!

Time To Be Thankful!

Each Thanksgiving my family goes around the dinner table and lists one thing that they are thankful for.  Usually, I’m just thankful that we’re finally allowed to eat!  And can you blame me?  I am not allowed to eat until everyone has been served their mashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, stuffing, turkey, beans, and…well the list goes on.  But the really hard part is fitting all that food on my plate.

And like that table o’plenty, DE streaming offers thousands of images, videos, sounds, and more to satisfy our appetite for knowledge.   For that I am truly thankful.

But I’m also thankful for the Assignment, Quiz and Writing Prompt Builders which are three ways that you can put all of your digital stuff on one virtual plate.   You can find the “Builders” by logging into www.discoveryeducation.com, clicking on DE streaming, and then the Teacher Center.”

The Writing Prompt Builder gives you the ability to find images, videos (full and segmented), and clip art from the site and create a writing assignment for your students.  Your students can then access and respond to your prompt from any computer that has access to the internet  like a learning center, your library, a lab, or even at home.

The Quiz Builder, like the Writing Prompt Builder, gives you access to images, videos (full and segmented),  and clip art.  But it also lets you tie in speeches and sound files to multiple choice, true/false and essay questions that you design.  You can even choose to have video play before a question appears or, if you would like, appear if the student gets the question wrong!  Your students can then access and quiz from any computer that has access to the internet  like a learning center, your library, a lab, or even at home.

Finally, if the Writing Prompt and Quiz builders were the stuffing, the Assignment Builder would be the grand turkey – because you can stuff anything into this builder!  You can create assignments that include quizzes, writing prompts, images, video, calendar events, articles and more.  Basically if you can find it inside DE streaming you can put it into an Assignment!  You can even include links to other websites and create your own webquest.  Of course, your students can then access and respond to your prompt from any computer that has access to the internet  like a learning center, your library, a lab, or even at home.

If you’re feeling stuffed or slightly overwhelmed, don’t worry!  Here is a link to a PowerPoint that will show you, screen shot by screen shot, how to create each of the Builders described above.

Wait a minute…it is already November?

It seems that as soon as the last Harry Potter, Dora the Explorer and, if you’re my 11 year-old neighbor, Artemis, left my door and, the last bits of candy in my trick or treat bowl were barely empty, that the Christmas advertisements were already rolling on my TV.

By the way, if you’re asking yourself who the heck is Artimis?  So was I.   Apparently she was the twin sister of Apollo, (told to me with a heavy sigh and eyes rolling back – seriously how was I supposed to guess that one?)

So, having said that, let’s talk about all of the good stuff that is going on this month!

I’m really excited to go to Howard County on November 11, 2008 to deliver a professional development session on our brand new Discovery Education Science product.

That Saturday, I’m hanging out with my friends over in Prince George’s County on November 15, 2008 for their 12th Annual Powering Up With Technology Conference at Dr. Henry A . Wise Jr. High School.

I’m delivering three sessions there:

If you are interested in learning more about these sessions or would like me to deliver them at your next inservice -just let me know!

On November 17th I’m back in Howard County and Montgomery County to deliver professional development sessions on Discovery Education streaming.

That pretty much takes us up to the Thanksgiving week and then, before you know it, we’re into December.  Probably about the same time my little next door neighbor comes back dressed as Saint Knut or some other obscure holiday reference singing carols and expecting a tasty treat in return.

But that, my friends,  is for another post.

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