Friday, March 13, 2009

Week 10 - Gaming, kids and education


Gaming intro. Let's begin with some overview information. First, we turn to MediaWise for a quick overview of gaming and kids. You will need to go to the link below and download the guide called "MediaWise Guide to Online Gaming." You can also download a guide to video game addiction.
Gaming defined. A good place to begin is with Wikipedia. They also provide a substantial list of game links if you are interested:
If you would like to read an academic, yet very accessible overview about what educational gaming is by those who think deeply about this topic, I recommend the following, from Penn State:Incidentally, Penn State maintains a very informative web resource about educational gaming that I recommend you visit, called The Educational Gaming Commons.

Gaming ratings
. Like movies, games are rated. According to the PBS site about this topic, "The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) ratings are designed to provide information about video and computer game content so parents can make informed purchasing decisions." Go to the link below to read about the details of video game ratings:
The issues
Gaming and kids inspires strong feelings. Here are a few sources that cast it in a positive light:
Here is the other side, viewing gaming with concern and/or skepticism:
  • Parents Growing Fear of Video Games, from the Redherring blog.
  • David Perry (maker of Earthworm Jim, MDK, Messiah, and game adaptations of films such as Terminator) – a Ted Talk. This is most interesting, because David seems to be very positive about gaming, but presents a video art/philosophy piece in the middle of it that is very articulate about video game addiction.
  • ParentsTV, a public advocacy group concerned about the role of video games and other media in the lives of children. Their bias is clearly a concern with gaming's downside.
And in case you would like to hear another game maker talk about his art:
Games online
Finding good, free games online turned out to be harder than I thought. Most of the games I found were very low level, or were simulations. But I pass on these links to you for your edification:
In addition, the Wikipedia article about educational gaming provides a list of links to information about some of the more popular educational games:
One of the most interesting site I found was the Games of Social Change website, that offers a number of free online games to learn about issues concerning social justice and the environment:
The Games for Change organization sponsors a conference and a contest every year.

Future of gaming?
David Perry says it will be away from single player games and toward more social, multi-player, web-based games:

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Week 9 - Kids and the risks and opportunities of social media

(Week 9, beginning Sunday March 8th)

This week was going to be about gaming, but I am finding so much about it that I am still sifting through it.

Instead we are going to change gears this week and address what we were going to address next week, namely "Kids and the risks and opportunities of social media." Described below are a few items I would like you to read to prepare you to join in our Google Groups conversation, as well as develop your blog entry at the end of the week.

Kids and social media. The National Institute of Media and the Family has recently published two new reports that do a reasonable job of explaining the risks and rewards of kids and social networking. Go to the Guides section of their website, and download the top two guides that you see:
  • Guide to Social Networking: Risks
  • Guide to Social Networking: Rewards
They are brief, and easy to scan and refer to later.

Teachers and blogs. This US News and World Report article offers an interesting perspective of the risks and rewards of teachers using blogs:
Why we fear social media. This brief article was written from a corporate perspective, but adequately describes some of our inherent fears of social media:
Should kids blog? I thought you might enjoy reading a blog that discussed the question, "“Should children be required to blog in grammar school?”
Social websites and kids' brains. Here is a fascinating discussion about the impact of social media on kids' brains. I quote from the website: "Susan Greenfield, neuroscientist and head of the Royal Institution, has warned that young people's brains may be fundamentally altered by internet use. Dr Aric Sigman has claimed that sites such as Facebook and Bebo could harm people's health. He joins Jeremy Paxman and Ben Goldacre, author of Bad Science and the Guardian column of the same name, to discuss Baroness Greenfield's claims." View it at:
Read these, ponder, then dive into the Google Groups conversation.


Thursday, March 5, 2009

Wiki Resources


Wetpaint – An easy to use, ad-free wiki. The site can be open to the public to edit, or can be set so that only people you invite can edit the site.

PBwiki - PBwiki lets you monitor changes to your wiki by email and RSS. You also have the ability to reverse any changes instantly.


YMCI Wiki . WOW! This wiki really got me thinking about resources I can provide next year’s students. I like the way students can simply click on the subject they need help with and then from there choose their specific class and teacher. I would like to create something similar to this with scanned homework assignments and resource guides. For example along my sidebar I could have Math: Unit 1, 2, etc.

Wikiteacher. I am really excited about this site. While it is not a true wiki, at least not from what I can tell, it is a vast resource of lesson plans and DEMONSTRATION VIDEOS. These are GREAT! I am going to share this resource with my entire staff. It was a great find.


Wikispaces for Educators. Start a wiki in 30 seconds.

Educational wikis (examples of many). There are many examples from all grade levels. It is a great site to check out the wiki possibilities for your classroom.

PBwiki. Set up a wiki.

PBwiki2.0 for Education. This video demo for PBwiki2.0 for Education addresses some of the
questions I had about controlling access and editing.

Wikiversity--a community devoted to collaborative learning from pre-school to university

Second Life Education Wiki. This is a collection of information about Second Life for educators kindergarten through university level. I found it while looking at Wikiversity.

For Teachers New to Wikis
This site gives some basic informationa as well as some links for wiki beginners.

COPPA (Children's Online Privacy Act). This is the website for COPPA (Children’s Online Privacy Act) on the wikkis in education website. It explains the act and how to comply. This lists several “patterns and anti-patterns” that either help or hinder the use of wikis. It was far too technical for me, but those who are hosting wikis may find it useful. For instance, one of the anti-patterns was “thread mess.”

Wiki Ettiquette. This is a short article with good tips for beginning users.


Edutech Wiki. Looks worth exploring.


Wikipedia. It is an online encyclopedia that allows the users to edit content. Even though many people criticize Wikipedia, I find it useful for student-based research. I do have students confirm there findings with other sources, just like they should for any other resources.

Blog "10 Best Practices For Using Wikis in Education." It provided some good tips for using Wikis for interactive classroom use. A couple of tips that stuck out were; 1) Post conventions and rules, 2) Create an atmosphere of trust, and 3) Include common goals.

The Connected Classroom. This site contained a good amount of information about using Wikis in educational settings. There was also a video similar to the "Shift Happens" videos, which reinforced the reasons for making the shift to a more technology driven educational experience.


Moodle's wiki.


Gary Miller's Wiki.


WetPaint Wiki.




Wetpaint Wikis. “Wetpaint Wikis in Education, a place where educators come together to share tips about using wikis to enhance the learning experience.” Wetpaint Wiki is free and best of all is ad free. They have several types of Wikis that one can create for: the classroom,
higher ed, globally, PTO, teacher and group. Signing up was easy, information requested was basic, and automatically it asked me if I wanted to invite any other individuals to join the Wiki. This can always be done later, and if you have addresses in your e-mail the ability to import them is there. Also when I went to create a classroom Wiki, they listed all other classroom Wikis that have given permission to be shared. It’s like the mother lode on ways to use Wikis in the classroom.

Wikis in education.

Second Life Education Wiki: Discusses how to get started with Second Life and may cover some of the questions educators may have about how to use Second Life in their classrooms. Just thought I’d add it today, possibly as a resource when we begin discussing Second Life in the near future.


Pbwiki. Pbwiki is the only educational wiki that I have used, and I truthfully do not use it as much. I don’t use it much for a variety of reasons: lack of email address for younger students, parental concern for names or other information being posted on the World Wide Web, and also because I find blogging or other collaborative software or projects to be more effective.


For Teachers New to Wikis.

Columbia Center for New Media Teaching and Learning. About peer editing. Since my goals can be accomplished by both Wikis and Google Docs, one of my high school classes will be suing Google Docs (specifically it's peer-editing features) to write collaborative research reports. We will however include the Wiki-essence and Wiki-process in our instruction over how to use peer-editing Web 2.0 tools.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Podcast resources

Hello, all. Here are the resources you located about podcasts.

The Educational Podcast Network. This site has podcasts addressing all subjects in just about all grades. Some of the links are broken, but there are great podcasts on there. I particularly enjoyed one called "The Bobby Bucket Show," though it is for young readers.

LibriVox. The podcasts include audio versons of novels, short stories, and poetry.

NASA. This is a great resource for teaching about the solar system. The casts are interesting, and descriptive. I would definitely use this site in the classroom. All you need to do is visit the site, find the podcast you want, and download it. I found the site very easy to use!

Reference shelf. This site has podcasts on a number of different topics. Although they are on a pretty high level, some of the podcasts relating to history and science can definitely be integrated into the classroom. The site is organized pretty well, and easy to navigate.

Audible books. This site has many audio books available for download. Although there is a monthly fee, the site is a great resource for any teacher. It is easy to navigate, and well organized. You can search for a specific title or author as well. You add the title to your cart, and then download the audiobook!. I would definitely use this site in the classroom.

Recap. I also loved this site. It is well organized, and you can narrow the podcasts down into age groups. I am definately going to listen to more of the casts this weekend!

iTunes. There is always iTunes, you can search for a podcast about the subject of your choice.

Studio lighting. Maybe for advanced students looking for information on the career side. I'm not sure photography is a subject that is very well suited for audio only podcasts. This looks like a great advice of almost 200 episodes filled with photo shop tricks. However, you can only access the most recent episode free. Boo! I would pay, perhaps, for some of them but it limits it's use for students. Some great inspirational short interviews with some of Magnum's famous photographers. Looks like a good source of ideas and motivation.

Nyipodcast. A series from the New York institute of Photography. A mix of practical basics and interview with professional photographers.Looks to be perhaps the most suitable for students because some of it is at a beginner level.

Ted. Some amazing people talking about all aspects of art, technology and creativity.

Mastermaze. A good variety of subjects and easy to navigate.

Weaknesses. I don't feel that it it takes full advantage of the visual opportunities that video allows. A lot of the history lessons amount to basically someone reading a textbook with a powerpoint playing that just displays the main points bulleted form. While this may be better than a purely audio podcast, I think it could have used a variety of visuals, (artwork, photos, timelines, maps,etc) to make the presentation more engaging and dynamic. However, it's free and useful so I can't really complain too much. I could see this as an optional replacement for textbook reading in some cases.

Global Sound. What a great source of music from around the globe. I think it could be very useful as a supplement to a social studies/geography class. I think introducing music from different parts of the world as you study them allows the teacher to provide a little more variety and richness to a social studies classroom. I just think it helps the student create a picture in their mind of what those places and people may be like and gets their brains tuned into the fact that they are not just studying places on a map, but dynamic cultures of real people.

How stuff works. This seems like a great source of interesting videos on a variety of subjects. I mostly explored the history section and was quite impressed. I kind of see these videos as the opposite of the history videos on

Mastery Maze. This resource website helps both teachers and students improve success in the classroom. It features podcasts and videos on a variety of subject areas. Functionally, the site works well and even has a great resource section. I was disappointed, however, to see that the podcasts were sparse and almost entirely geared toward upper high school. Educationally, I may be able to use the site for personal reference, but it is too advanced for elementary.

The Education Podcast Network. This site hosts many educational podcasts that are separated into categories based on grade level and subject area. It is a site for teachers to share their podcasts with others as well as a resource for those looking for new information. I thought the site was well organized but there were many broken links and most of the podcasts were not named in a way that one could immediately know the content. Educationally, yes, I believe I could use this site to share podcasts I’ve created as well as get some new ideas for podcasting in the classroom.

Wikia Education. A fantastic resource for those who are new to podcasting. It not only explains what a podcast is, but also how to create one, tips and tricks, examples, and a variety of other useful tidbits. The site is well organized and easy to navigate. I found it very helpful and being that I am a novice when it comes to podcasting, I will definitely be using this site as a resource.

CNN News Podcasts. There are many podcasts to choose from: top news stories, politics, finance, etc. My favorites are Anderson Cooper and CNN Student News.

PBS Podcasts. They offers several options. My favorites are: Nature, Nova and Frontline.

Mastery Maze. A resource website that helps both teachers and students improve success in the classroom. It features podcasts and videos on a variety of subject areas. Functionally, the site works well and even has a great resource section. I was disappointed, however, to see that the podcasts were sparse and almost entirely geared toward upper high school. Educationally, I may be able to use the site for personal reference, but it is too advanced for elementary.

The Education Podcast Network. This hosts many educational podcasts that are separated into categories based on grade level and subject area. It is a site for teachers to share their podcasts with others as well as a resource for those looking for new information. I thought the site was well organized but there were many broken links and most of the podcasts were not named in a way that one could immediately know the content. Educationally, yes, I believe I could use this site to share podcasts I’ve created as well as get some new ideas for podcasting in the classroom.

Wikia Education. This is a fantastic resource for those who are new to podcasting. It not only explains what a podcast is, but also how to create one, tips and tricks, examples, and a variety of other useful tidbits.

Librivox. Librivox is a site that has audio podcasts of books, short stories, and poetry. It can be used for individual listening or for a classroom. It loaded quickly and the quality of the readers was quite good for those that I tested. Educationally, I would use this to play the reading of the book, story, or poem for the class and have students follow along with their own copy of the text. The amount of entries is fairly limited at this point, but there is a nice selection of different genres and many classics.

Global Sounds. Global Sounds is a site from the Smithsonian that has podcasts and vodcasts of music from around the world. There is a wide selection of musical genres and a wide array of countries to choose from. You can search by country, culture group, genre, instrument, and others. There is a nice descriptive paragraph about each song. I had trouble with the vodcasts being jerky while streaming. I did not have trouble with any other vodcasts that I had tried during the same evening, so I'm not sure if it was my computer or the site. I downloaded a few and there were no problems. I can see using these as a way to introduce a unit or play as background music when students are working on classwork. Also, I can see playing this while I collect homework.

The following list includes some of the podcasts and other audio resources that would be suitable for my 6th grade students:

Alaskool. Online materials about Alaska Native history, education, languages, and cultures.

Primary Source Materials: Moving Images and Sound Recordings from Berkely library.

Library of Congress. This link has many suggestions for using primary resources, and it has many links for audio resources.

The Red Planet is Not a Dead Planet. This title is one example of the amazing space exploration resource available at NASA. This site has podcasts, in English and in Spanish, for NASA’s news releases.

US History, current event podcasts
. This site has an incredible wealth of current event and historical podcasts. The topics are comprehensive. An example description includes: “A place where tears are dried.” Interview: Adapting an Israeli model for helping orphans, Anne Heyman is leading efforts to create a youth village for Rwandan orphans. She discusses the inspiration for the project and how she has managed to make it a reality.

Learning in Hand. A good site for podcasting tips. It is a database with resources related to Native Alaskans and their cultures. I was disappointed to find that many of the resources were not actually there or working properly.
After searching the audio/visual resources, I found that many of those listed were not there. They were waiting for permission from the authors.I also discovered that they needed RealPlayer to be viewed, and after downloading and installing it, I still had problems with the videos. Educationally, there is a good amount of information on the Alaskool website. It would take some time to ensure that the information you want is there. It could be used in the classroom to supplement current Alaska/Alaskan Native Studies curriculum.

How Stuff Works. How Stuff Works has a wide variety of videos in many different areas. The videos were collected from different authors such as The Discovery Channel, Science Channel, History Channel, NASA, and many others. The website was easy to navigate and the content was current. All the links worked and the only complaint I have is the advertisements before the videos. Educationally, I found it to be quite useful. This is a resource I can use throughout my classes to help explain concepts I am teaching. It is also usable by the students for research.

MasteryMaze. After reading some of my peers description of MasteryMaze, I felt it would be worth looking at. It is a collection of media files for teachers and students. It also allows teachers to submit their own Podcasts for easy availability for students. This site worked well, but was a little difficult to navigate and find what you are searching for. It does have a good amount of educational functionality. I believe MasteryMaze can be used to upload Podcasts and make them available to students as well as use the resources that are already there.

Allanah. A teacher from Australia who has been podcasting for at least 3 years, so has it down cold. I have even heard that she has Skyped with teachers about podcasting. She has a wiki that explains how to get started in the classroom.

Podomatic. The podcasting resource to go with Allanah is They have been around a while and seem to be pretty solid.

Jason's class blog.

Mastermaze. I can see myself using this site as the "go to" source for all of my background information needs for:

# Ancient World History
# US History
# Math
# Science
# English/Language Arts
# Modern World History
# Languages

and more. I was particularly interested in the middle ages of man. I can't believe we used to live in a feudalistic fashion. The site worked well and I didn't have any dead links or any problems navigating.

How Stuff Works. This site has a vast array of images, articles, and videos to explain everything from gyroscopes to the world's largest machine. I think it would be fun to ask my students to find one article or video that interested them and report on it. I would also use this site as a teaching resource for background information on curricular topics. The uses for these sites are as limitless as their content. This site has an easy to remember URL and is as easy to search and navigate as its name suggests. The beginning of their slogan reads "Education podcasts from universities, colleges, students, teachers -- everyone who uses podcasting to learn and to teach others." The site is appealing to the eye and has a fairly large database of podcasts available for listening. I even found a Bering Straight School District vodcast put on by the students. They do a very nice job of school news. This is a great example of what can be done as a podcast project in schools.

Radio WillowWeb. The students create the podcasts for other students.

iTunes help. I found great information and help tips as well as.

MasteryMaze. It took me a little bit of time to find what I was looking for, but I did find some things that I would be able to use. I also liked the videocasts. These would be great to add to a flipchart as an addition.

Edutopia. I think that this is one of my favorites. The negative is that it took me a lot of time to navigate through this; however I think that this was due to the fact that I was new to the site and did not have a clear idea of what to look for. I have used this to get ideas for creating project based units. I did not find podcasts that I would show to my students, mainly this is used for me to get ideas.

iTunes. This is another one of my favorite. Some of the casts are free and my personal podcasts have ranged from personal finances, grammar help, music and fitness help, etc… As for educational use it is severely lacking. The main categories are learning languages; this was a bit frustrating, as a teacher who is in need of support in the classroom. But, on a personal note I liked the finance and the fitness help. After teachers are people too!

Jamestown 3rd grade. Jamestown 3rd Grade Podcast Team explains how to podcast (3rd graders).

Wauwatosa School District Third Grade Podcasts. Good examples for kids.

Pine Lane Elementary podcasts. 24 examples by students.

Tools for the TEKS. This site has two links to podcasts that have good reading about them. As a side note, I also noticed that there is reading on Skype in the classroom for those of you who might be interested.

The Education Podcast Network. I found this useful to search on basics of podcasts a directory of podcasts. You subscribe and download needed software to use the resource. I hope to be able to spend some more time exploring this site. The address is:

School computing. This has interesting reading and good information. It includes software ideas for podcasting and does link to a couple of the sites I already described here.

Podomatic. (OK-good) Podomatic is a library of podcasts you can search to find topics of interest. The podcasts play easily and quickly on the podomatic player when you click on the podcast link. The ones I liked, I was able to download to my itunes in a reasonable timeframe. I felt the site worked very well however, was still “searching” too much. I felt random, much like when I was trying to navigate The Education Podcast Network. I didn’t find much for my classroom on this site yet, but did enjoy some of the podcasts for personal interest. I think the site has great potential and will be one to bookmark and watch as it develops.

Librivox. (OK-good) I love the idea of this site to provide books to listen to. Again, like Podomatic, I found several personal interests and a few reads that I could use in the classroom. Having an ipod listening center is a great idea someone mentioned. Using this site and others like it to load listening center podcasts would be a very purposeful activity. I am especially intrigued by the option to become a volunteer to read and record chapters of books. Is this something that students can do? What a wonderful, authentic, real-life activity! (good-great). I found this site most recently as I was continuing my search for podcasts to use with younger students. This site has been the best one that I have found in terms of a “library” of podcasts, next to itunes. I like the layout (it is set up in podcast channels) and searching was quick and easy. I watched a Sesame Street podcast within seconds of clicking onto play and had the option to download that podcast right next to the option to play it. The podcast topic organization seemed more relevant to how I would organize information. All in all, the site worked well for me. I will be visiting it frequently to start building my own library of usable podcasts for the classroom.

The Education Podcast Network. I have also found this to have some good podcasts.

Recap. The first site I looked at, besides some of the ones everyone else has mentioned, was a site from the UK. I used a podcast once in my class from England the kids loved listening to someone else's English that this was a good find for me. This site has all kinds of podcasts from different schools in the UK, from elementary to college level. There are also links to resources and to how-tos on creating podcasts.

Global sound. One of my interests is exposing my students to music from around the world. The Smithsonian has a collection of podcasts or rather vodcasts as they include video and a short interview. I might use this as a start to our morning to get the kids focused and ready for the day as something different than the regular morning work.

NASA. The third place I went to was a site recommended last week on the NASA Website, My next science unit will be on astronomy so it was a good place for me to look for some new things to add to the curriculum. There are a variety of topics and I'd link it on our class Wiki for the students to use.

How stuff works. “How Stuff Works” is a Website that has short video clips on many of the major content subjects. The title describes perfectly what the goal of the site is, to give knowledge and information to its viewers about how things in life, nature and the surrounding environment work. This site would be a great source to help reinforce ideas, almost like
Cliff Notes back in my early education. Yes, I do believe that this site could be used educationally. It would be easy to give students the videos to view from home to help supplement their classroom learning and content subject understanding. I really enjoyed this
resource because I was able to find some videos to show ECE students (on animals) as well as Videos for Intermediate, Middle, and High School students (on science). This site will definitely be added to my delicious site.

Learning in hand. I really enjoyed this Web site, it had many wonderful tools. This site allows the user to find, subscribe, listen, and create Podcasts. When trying to find Podcasts, they direct the user to a glossary, of sorts, of other sites that carry many types of Podcasts, such as
iTunes, The Educational Podcast Network, and Learn out Loud.

Learn out loud. The Learn out Loud site didn’t have a ton of teaching resources, but I did find one that I thought would be interesting to subscribe to, The Tech Teachers Podcast. Both contributors are teachers, Spanish and Physics, and their Podcasts could be beneficial to the classroom teacher in staying up with technology today.

One could use this site and it’s “How to Create a Podcast” section in their classroom with older students. The directions are clear and fairly easy to follow. Also they gave suggestions to free software that can be used to create Podcasts, and add both sound effects and music. The wonderful thing about the sound effect and music links listed, like PodSafe Audio, is the copyright free material, which could alleviate many copyright fears.

PBS. Lastly, there is little that needs to be said about PBS. This is an all time favorite and has wonderful Podcasts for each with any age group. Resources include but are not limited to video, music, children’s games and activities, and our topic of choice right now, Podcasts. Examples of shows that might be used in a classroom are Nova, Nature, PBS Kids Super Why and Dragon Fly. The last two PBS productions I thought would be great in ECE classrooms, while the other, Nova and Nature are much more beneficial to middle and high school students. I down loaded both a Vodcast and Podcast to iTunes, and had no problems using either. Because of their size, it did take longer then I had expected. So this is something that should be considered before beginning a lesson in class. Again this site has Podcasts that I would consider using as supplementary information that students could do at home to reinforce concepts and ideas.


How Stuff Works. I found when looking for some audio books. I have an iPod station set up for one of my literacy centers, as I am trying to encourage my students to read more. They love having iPods and listening to books. Funny, most of the students after listening to the story on the iPod ask if they can bring the book home, not the iPod. doesn’t provide free audiobooks. The podcasts and audiobooks are not free, but if you are looking for audiobooks, seems to have more than the iTunes store.

Masterymaze. I really enjoyed this site, as there is a lot of information covering a variety of subjects/topics. The theme of this site is to master your subject in minutes which is nice for me as an educator bringing mini lessons in my class, but for my own personal knowledge as well. You can subscribe to mastery cast through iTunes, too. (it’s free!) On the downside, there aren’t as many Podcasts as I would like on a variety of subjects, but there were plenty on Ancient Civilizations which is a social studies topic we discuss at my grade level. I do anticipate more and more being added as Podcasting increases in popularity.

ASTE (Alaska Society for Technology Education) has a new contest that began in 2008 called iDidaPodcast. Follow the link to listen to last year’s winners, and then consider submitting one of your own!

Mashable. Wow, what a resource. I like the variety on this one, and I have been asked by the edTech department at our district to team teach a half day course on Podcasting. I plan to recommend this resource as it is loaded with links such as: beginning podcasting, free hosting and publishing, forums, and online creation software. Cool!

iPod Educators Ning.

Education podcast.

Mashable. A website with loads of useful tips and free media links.

iTunes Store. Go there to explore podcasts of all varieties and genres, downloading podcast/ iMovie, and Garageband tutorial podcasts.

Masterymaze. The first resource I reviewed was MasteryMaze. I was very excited about the concept of podcasts that could be used to review for or even introduce content to students. After signing up for membership and reviewing the selections in the Language Arts area of the site, I was disappointed at the number of casts that would aid my low performing ESL students. These casts are geared to the higher grade levels, and to some extent, the higher performing students in the upper high school grades. I will definitely keep this resource in mind for the few students and classes I have that actually address classic literature and complex grammar. I will also keep it in mind as a place to post podcasts that my students create. Overall though, the site doesn't meet the educational needs of my younger and lower- performing students.

Podomatic. The second resource I evaluated was Podomatic. The first thing I noticed was how much easier it is to navigate this site as opposed to EPN. The layout of the site is much friendlier, and though it's still a bit too busy for my taste, it is far more streamlined than the extremely clustered EPN site. I also admire the social network aspect of the site, but am wary of the same type of abuse one could find on Facebook or MySpace. Overall though, I think this site has far more potential for use with my students because we can have a safe place to post our podcasts, and we can search for similar podcasts, and then develop a relationship with the producers of those podcasts! That alone is the greatest draw for me: giving my students the chance to connect with and collaborate on podcasts with students from different parts of the country and world. It's pen-pals gone 21st century!

LibriVox. The last site I evaluated was Librivox. I am willing to overlook their strict adherence to copyright law :) because they offer an amazing opportunity to address a wide variety of reading skills. After just a few minutes at this site, several project ideas popped into my mind. One of my favorite units is studying the Dark Romantics, and one of my favorite short-story writers from this genre is Hawthorne. I began thinking about how powerful it would be to combine reading of the story with the audio rendition provided on this website with an original recording of the work by my class! The potential is vast, and I will definitely be using this sight for the lesson mentioned above or one very, very similar!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Google Calendar Screencast

About a month ago, I began using Google Calendar for my lesson plans. I've used several different electronic calendars, including iCal and Entourage, and so far, Google Calendar has been the easiest and most portable planning/productivity tool that I've used. This screencast, created using Jing software, shows some of the features that have been very useful to me as a 6th grade teacher.

Warning: This screencast a minute to load on my computer. I should have saved a smaller file, but as it is now, I'm unable to change the formatting. Thanks for your patience.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Jing Screencast of is a great site for educational purposes. As you view this screencast, think of ways you could use this Web tool in your classroom. The teacher featured in this voicethread had used it in her Isreali classroom to communicate to a sixth grader in the U.S.

Friday, February 6, 2009


I might as well add in the picture for collaboration tools. See Week 4 post and my Techie Teacher Report blog

Well, nobody decided to talk about VoiceThread so guess I'll go for it. Voicethread, if you haven't heard of it, is a web-based collaboration and sharing tool on the Web. It's free for a limited license. Users can sign up and immediately begin uploading video or photos to share. The unique thing about it is that you can "narrate" your project with a webcam or simply your built in mic on your computer. You may submit a single photo or video, or submit a whole class project in one voicethread. You may keep the voicethread private, or you may open it up to the world. Visit my blog for an example of a Kindergarten project.

One way I would use this is to post a photo of a topic, and insert my narration asking students to comment on the photo using vocabulary on the topic. The sky is the limit on the versatility of this site. Once you log on, you won't want to stop looking at other people's projects. Another cool thing is that you already have project your kids are doing that you could take a picture of and post as a voicethread topic. Give it a try at