Monday, March 31, 2008

speaking engagements?

My highlight of the day: being asked to present on Web 2.0 as a teaching tool during a monthly meeting of local school technology administrators. Humbling indeed, and very cool as well! Looking forward to that...meanwhile, I've been busy planning and foraging for content for my inservice class I'll be teaching to staff at the end of this month. The topics will include blogs, podcasts, wikis, social media (aka Web 2.0). I already have a few things in mind to share, but if any of you out there know of a particularly cool site, app or tool, leave a comment and I'd be forever in your debt!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Article: Safety and Social Networking

This article on Safety and Social Networking has been the basis of a discussion on the Long Island Leadership Center's social network forum (on Ning, a great place to create your own social network). I'm posting it here to share with anyone who stumbles upon my site; feel free to leave comments!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Anyone here use Schoolrack?

So, I was nosing around Michael Whalen's blog (which I found while searching for a better blog skin, via iJustine's blog) and discovered one of his projects, SchoolRack. According to the site, users can:

"Create a free teacher website to keep students and parents informed outside of the classroom.
Create a professional web page in just a few minutes! Sign Up Free!...

With SchoolRack you can post homework, upload files for students, and much more."

Haven't used it, looks interesting, will get back to you on it...anyone who has given it a spin, let me know? Thanks!

SchoolRack: Create a FREE Teacher Website!
Uploaded with plasq's Skitch!

Blogged with the Flock Browser

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Flip(Video)ping Out...

Yes, you did in fact just read the lamest post title EVER, but don't let that distract you from reading on about my new obsession: the FlipVideo Ultra Camcorder. As I said in my previous post, I'm loathe to use this blog to pitch products, but once again I've found something that I think can be a real boon to educators who are inclined to incorporate media into their curriculum.
The Ultra is an ultra-low priced (for what it can do, anyway), ultra-user friendly camcorder that comes in 30 minute and 60 minute models, takes 2 AA batteries, plugs right into your computer via a built in USB connection (through which it loads its own software, and is Windows and Mac OS compatible) and takes MPEG-4 video that is almost as good quality as my hard disk camcorder that I shelled out almost $700 bcks for this past summer. Sure, it's limited: no zoom, a built-in mic that's only good up to 12 feet, and it doesn't play nice with iMovie (yet, so the manufacturer says) but it's still got LOTS of possibilities. I think I may have solved my long-lived dilemma of providing my Film class students with equipment for their 3 minute short videos while preventing me from sweating buckets every time I loan out a DV camera to adolescents.
I may have even convinced my dept. coordinator to buy us a couple (they do offer an Educator discount on 3 or more) of the non-Ultra version, so my impulse-purchase this past weekend may be paying for itself in due time. Please write me if you've had successful experiences using the Flip for classroom projects!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Creative software for teachers and students

I don't plan to use this blog as a place to plug products, but I had to make the exception with ComicLife. I learned about this product from a teaching-artist friend who used it to make a comic "travelogue" of a trip to Jordan that she took with her son. She also utilized it with a Social Studies class for virtual "travel guides".

ComicLife is from (which has other great user-and-classroom-friendly programs such as Skitch and Doozla) and is a very simple program for creating your own comic/graphic novel from any pictures you have on your computer. There's a template for anything you can think of, and there are both PC and Mac versions. I had my students use it for making storyboards in Film class, and a colleague is considering using it in her journalism class as part of an online student magazine.

Plasq offers a 30-day free trial; the paid version is very reasonable, so it's worth considering supporting a very creative and innovative company. And if your district won't pay for it, you can always get yourself a copy and write it off your taxes! Here's a comic I whipped up in five minutes, featuring my rabbits:
Uploaded with plasq's Skitch!