Thursday, November 5, 2009

RSS Feeds

I have been working (in the evening) this week to ensure the information I am interested in reading searches me out rather than the other way around. Using Google Reader as a gadget in my iGoogle page, I have subscribed to my favorite sites and blogs (including this one).

What is so neat about this is that because I have set iGoogle as my home page, my information appears everytime I open my matter where I am in the world--as long as I have a computer with the Internet, I have all my "stuff." (Yes, I did subscribe to The Sioux City Journal's feed) but I also have Alan November, David Warlick, and ISTE's feeds. So...tonight when I opened my browser, Layne's latest blog about his T&L Conference stared me in the face. I didn't have to go out to the WWW and check to see if anything new was posted to this blog. Time saved...and admittedly I probably wouldn't have searched it out on my own tonight.

Think of what we could do in the classroom with this. Students could filter and direct information on any topic to come straight to them...and from many different sources with different perspectives. Just think of how differently our own network news programs can present an issue; how would the same compare to a more worldly view? Subscribing to these RSS feeds can pull in that information to compare and contrast. And we all know that a lack of information is not an issue in this age. How to sort, organize, evaluate, and validate is, however. Rather than reading/regurgitating information a textbook, students are required to use higher order thinking skills. And it's free!

Another article that so magically appeared on my iGoogle home page was a neat analogy of Differentiated Instruction to how the National Weather Service presents its online info. Check it out:

Jo Dee

T+L Conference Report

I recently attended the National School Board Associations Technology and Learning (T+L) conference in snowy Denver, CO. It was my first National Tech. Conference and it was an excellent experience. It was really the best of the best coming together for 4 days to network and share information about this mystery of efficiently and effectively infusing technology into teaching and learning. They setup the breakout sessions in tracks. This was helpful, because it provided continuity to the information I was taking in. I tried to stick to the track of "Digital-Age learning culture". However, I did stray some because there were some excellent sessions outside my chosen strand.
I heard about several things, but nothing "breakthrough" that I had never seen before. The biggest "buzz" topics, in my opinion were:

  1. online learning, using moodle/blackboard with the classroom instruction.

  2. 1:1 computing, giving every student netbooks or macbooks to use for school instead of textbooks.

  3. Google wave. Some people were saying that this is the next facebook. I was able to score myself an invite to wave, so I should be waving by the end of the day :)

  4. Finally, just using all the tools that are already there in a more effective and efficient way. The two Keynotes were exceptional, Frans Johannsen (book link) and Marc Antonio Torres [website]. Both spoke about being innovative and allowing students to be PRODUCERS of information instead of consumers of information.

Overall, I feel like we are in a very exciting place in Sioux City. The next 3- 4 years, implementing new technology, new buildings and differentiated instruction will prove to create huge learning opportunities for students and for adults!


Awesome Presentation Tool:

Amazing Timeline Creation Tool:

Impressive FREE photo editor:

Another Free Image editor:

Another cool Presentation/tutorial tool:

Easy YOUTUBE downloader:
This is the easiest Youtube converter ever! Now you can convert and embed Youtube videos by simply :1. Typing a word (Kick)Change this...

To this...

Left clicking on a word (Go) Upper right corner.

Right clicking on a word (Download) and it will save that video to your desktop! Sweet!

I also still use Zamzar, because it emails me and I like email. :)

Google Gadget called Motion Chart: [link]

Make Word Clouds from any document or spreadsheet:

Animate in videos while you watch them :

I love and I openly share my bookmarks this way: check me out!! This is an amazing networking tool and we just conducted an online meeting through the chat portion. Wasn't ideal, but it worked. and adobe connect now are two online meeting sites that are free. I think dimdim allows for 20 free and connect now is only 2 or 3.

Google Voice and Google Wave - look these up, they are cool!!

Google Books is an amazing tool that is just going to get better:

Okay, I better quit now. Gotta save some stuff for future posts!