The Journey Continues…

I really liked the format that  Liz Davis suggested for our session at BLC08. It kept us on task for the short time we had and we were able to organize a large amount of information and still (hopefully) present it in a clear fashion. In the spirit of the positive responses Liz and I received two weeks ago, I have decided to repeat that format this Monday when the teachers (and their administrators) return for our roundtable discussion on what everyone enrolled in the Initiative has gained from immersing themselves in their newly formed professional learning networks.

The format is simple. We schedule the morning around three questions: What? So What? and Now What?

What?

  1. We’ll revisit our essential questions that we answered together and published as a Google doc.
  2. We’ll talk about the discussion of the merits of joining Twitter and Diigo as a way to establish your personal learning networks and maximize the benefits of social bookmarking.

So What?

  1. We’ll use Diigo Webslides to scroll through everything that has been bookmarked to the CMSCE-4-Learning group asking the person that bookmarked the site to give a quick description of it.
  2. We’ll talk about the discussions in the Forum and the participation and usefulness of the Forum as a place to communicate.
  3. So what did you learn? Everyone around the table has a chance to share their experiences. Those that did not join the group should speak specifically as to why and what would help/encourage/guide them to participate.

Now What?

  1. What do you want to do? What grade levels and subject areas to you want to begin working with?
  2. What is or is not appropriate in this new learning environment? Firewalls, Acceptable Use Policies and Internet filtering can sometimes keep us from accessing the tools and resources we need to accomplish our objectives.
  3. Questions and comments from all participants.

iTouch The Future…I Teach Myself

It’s amazing how many applications are available for the iTouch / iPhone. So far, I’ve blogged about sites for music, math and science and I’ve only made a dent in what’s available to use with students. There are also many sites that we can use for ourselves for productivity and just for fun. Today’s post will be a little bit about all three.

Productivity

· iDetect http://spicyclam.com/idetect/
This is an internet detection connector. If you have an iTouch, iDetect will automatically connect you to wi-fi if there is one available.

· Google Notebook – Mobile Version http://google.com/notebook/m
If you have an iGoogle page set up for yourself, this is great to have access to on your iPhone or iTouch. You could use it in lieu of a Google Doc to access information on-the-go. I’ve used it to access sets of links similar to this Google Doc that I’m no interested in sharing or publishing as a webpage.

· Glide http://www.glidemobile.com/
Sync with your desktop to view Powerpoint and Word docs on your iTouch. It’s a complete mobile desktop. Here’s an article about it.

· Widgetop http://www.widgetop.com/mobile.html
This is the mobile version of Widgetop Check it out if you are a fan of widgets or if you are a developer and you’d like to submit one to them.

· Pogonotes http://www.pogonotes.com/iphone/pogonotes.php
These “notes” are accessible beyond the iTouch unlike the notes that comes pre-installed – take a look at their site.

· iPhone Typing Test http://www.iphonetypingtest.com/
Try it out – see how fast you type with one finger.

· iNetwork Test http://www.inetworktest.com/
Measures the speed of the network your device is attached to.

· iTouch RSS Converter http://rss.blogcast.jp/login.php
iPhone/touch RSS Converter enables you to bring your favorite audio and video podcasts without syncing with iTunes. This tool allows you more space for many music and video on your iPhone and iPod Touch. Try your favorite podcast and you can also discover many podcasts from other people’s choice.

Education

· Quizzler http://www.quizzlerpro.com/quiz/online/index.html
Preloaded quizzes for SAT prep vocabulary, Harry Potter Books, State Capitals, Animals and Nature and more. When you tap on the wrong answer it highlights in red. When you tap on the correct answer it highlights in green so you know to move on to the next question.

Purchase Quizzler Pro to create quizzes yourself.

WARNING: Quizzler was originally developed for Pocket PCs and Palm handhelds. You can adapt the quizzes for the iPhones and iTouches, but their website suggests contacting them directly with any additional questions. It makes me think they are working on developing software specifically for the iTouch.

· iBookmark http://ibookmark.myiphone.pl/en/
There is a function that allows you to import from Del.icio.us

Entertainment

· iDoodle http://www.idoodleapp.com/
I could have used this one in the iTouch Math sites for geometry. You can “replay” your strokes. New to this latest version of iDoodle – you can now add text

video tutorial found at: http://www.idoodleapp.com/iDoodleGuide/index.html
iDoodle.jpg

· Free eBooks http://iphoneplaza.net/books/
They currently have about 20 books- supported by ads for Amazon. (There’s a link right on the main page for a “Deluxe eBook Reader”. It’s a link to buy the Kindle on Amazon.com)

· iPhlickr http://www.chandlerkent.com/iphlickr/
This site is not affiliated directed with Flickr -but allows you to search and view your Flickr photos or the millions of other photos on Flickr from your iPhone or iTouch.

· Google Talk http://talkgadget.google.com/talkgadget/m
IM your Google contacts from your iPhone / iTouch

A few additional items I wanted to mention…

If you are looking to Jailbreak your iPhone – check out Mark Wagner’s blog. He is a fellow Google Certified Teacher that I had the pleasure of meeting in person at NECC in San Antonio last week. He has some great posts on the topic.

Wouldn’t it be great if Diigo had a mobile site?

Still to come iTouch Foreign Languages, iTouch Social Studies and you never know what else I’ll come across. Feel free to leave me a comment with some suggestions. And as always, there were a few sites I looked at that I didn’t list here. Feel free to view my Google Doc.

Gearing up for the beginning of a journey…

On Friday, June 27, teachers from four districts across New Jersey will gather at the Center for Mathematics, Science and Computer Education at Rutgers University to begin the first year of a new initiative I am pleased to be working on. These educators will spend the day getting to know each other and begin immersing themselves in online professional learning networks.

I’ve outlined the day as follows:

  • Topic 1: Why do we teach what we teach?
    • Grade levels
    • Subject areas
    • Areas of interests
  • Topic 2: Focus on the learning not on the tools
    • What skills do you need as an educator?
    • What skills do you need as an individual?
    • What skills will our students need to be successful in higher education and ultimately their careers?
  • Topic 3: Developing your professional learning network
    • Who do you want in your network? Why?
    • What will you offer to educators in your network?
    • What tool(s) do you want to use to develop your network?

I’ve collected some resources I’d like to share with the group:

Council of 21 Concludes its Year-long Study: Preparing Schools and School Systems for the 21st Century

You Tube – Did You Know 2.0 Video

Dangerously Irrelevant: Key Question

21st Century Learning: 9 Principles for Implementation

I’m very much looking forward to meeting everyone and participating in the discussion among this group of educators. Before we reconvene on July 28, participants will have a chance to communicate with each other via Twitter, Diigo and any other form of online networking they choose including Nings, wikis and blogs to define their vision for 21st Century Learning.

What’s New with iTunes U

This past Friday I attended the end of the year monthly meeting for NJECC. Members are asked to bring guests with them to present success stories of technology integration from the school year. We saw some great projects spanning the WII Fit to Scratch to Tablet PCs to the folks I brought from North Plainfield School District who spoke about their iPod and Podcasting initiative.

I Tweeted some new links while I was there. But what I couldn’t summarize in 140 characters or less was what Dave Marra from Apple demonstrated for us.

Among some other amazing tips and tricks Dave shared, he took us through a tour of iTunes U. I admit that I wasn’t as familiar with it’s offerings as I thought I was because I couldn’t wait to get home to starting searching around.

When you get the chance, take a look at these areas in iTunes U to see if there’s anything you’d like to subscribe to and remember – it’s all free.

·         Under the Categories section on the left, you’ll find a link for “Teaching and Education”
Within this category you will find so many wonderful things to view and listen to as an educator.

1.    Teaching and Learning – UMBC’s Hybrid Teaching Workshop

2.     Educational Policy from Stanford University

3.     Duke’s Digital Initiative

4.     Tech-Ease: Classroom Tech Help includes video podcasts on Inspiration, Wikis, Blackboard, podcasting as well as many others.

·         Under the Categories section, you’ll find links for Science, Mathematics, History and Fine Arts as well as other areas of interest. Check them out too.

·         iTunes U is SEARCHABLE!! Try it. I typed “Twitter” in the search box and got back 50 related podcasts.

·         Scroll down to the bottom left and you’ll find a link for the “Beyond Campus” category. Take the time to check these out. Here’s a few.

1.     Little Kids Rock – nonprofit organization that provides it’s curriculum and musical instruments to schools in need. They have guitar and drum lessons posted in podcast format as well as other videocasts.

2.    The New York Public Library – provides literature podcasts from the author visits as well as a business series on credit management and marketing.  They even have a teen program called “Turn It Up @ The Library” which you can subscribe to.

3.     American Public Media – offers a podcasts on the 2008 Election Issues

Take some time to explore and sync some these podcasts to your iPod or MP3 player. Have fun.

 

iTouch the Future…I teach – Math

Sorting through the insane amount of applications and mobile websites that are available for the iTouch has proven to be a time consuming task. But I am having a great time. There are so many that can be applied to classroom practice and of course, so many that can’t.

Again, I’ve created a Google Doc, that I’ve shared with you here. You’ll see that all the apps didn’t make it to this post. As I did for my last post, I used the Google Doc to access each of the links from my iTouch. Some of the reasons many of the links didn’t make it here are due to the advertisements on the site, the site was down, or I just didn’t think the layout on the iTouch was student friendly.

As promised, the focus of the second post in this series is Math. I’ve divided the links into four categories; Flash Cards, Converters, Calculators and Reference Tables.

You’ll start to see me repeat some of these sites as they should be listed in more than one category. I’ve posted below a video of my 6-year-old using one of the flash card applications on my iTouch. iFlipr has preset flash cards that you are welcome to use, or you can generate your own decks. I’ve created two as of the day I posted this. The first I create for simple math and subtraction reinforcement and the second you’ll see in an upcoming post (it uses pictures of insects).


Flash Cards

  • My First App – Kids Study Cards – Prek-1 pre-set flash cards –  for numbers, colors, alphabet and shapes
  • http://iflipr.com – It’s FREE (right now). Easy to use.  Check out their demo video below.

 Calulators

Converters

  • Comoki Converter (only viewable on the iTouch/iPhone) – This one is AWESOME – divided by category (angle area, energy, temperature, time, length, speed, pressure, power, volume, weight )- You could spend hours here.
  • Currency Converter – Easy to use
  • iConvert – 26 categories (a few more than Comoki) including torque, density, and clothing sizes. I’ve never been able to convert US shoe sizes to European shoe sizes and now I can!

Reference Tables

Please leave a comment if you know of any others and I’ll add it to the Google Doc. Or just to say you’re finding this information useful.

Next time – iTouch the Future…I Teach – Science 

iTouch the Future…I Teach – Music

We know that Christa McAuliffe was not referring to the iTouch when she made that famous statement during her training for the early 1986 shuttle mission to the moon. Technology had come so far and she was preparing to be the first teacher to set foot in space. It was an exciting time. Ms. McAuliffe’s words have stuck with me all these years that I’ve been teaching and I revisited many of the articles written about her as I was waiting for my 32 gig iTouch to arrive. 

I’ve been teaching a session called “iPods in Education” for the Center at Rutgers University now for about a year. I’ve brought it into many New Jersey school districts as well as they begin buying iPods for their teachers and utilizing the iPods that their students already have from home. I love it! There are so many things we can do to integrate iPods into the classroom.

We spend the day checking out Discovery Education, Mogopop, iWriter, iTunes, RSS, Google Reader, Bloglines, Flickr-Storm, and many other sites and applications. But I’ve noticed over the last couple of months that in each of my sessions, there’s at least one person that either has an iTouch or an iPhone and I was unsure as to ALL the differences except the obvious – how they looked and the access to wi-fi.

Pictured to the left is my white, 30 gig iPod Video Classic, which I love. To it’s right is my new, black, 32 gig iTouch. Each stores music, video, pictures, will sync with my Outlook contacts and will store information in the notes section. Theoretically both should allow me to attach a voLook at the difference in the thickness.ice recorder to record and store audio directly to the hardware, but my iTouch is not recognizing my Belkin TuneTalk Voice Recorder. Read here.

So…..there is an awful lot you can do with the iTouch that you can’t do with the Classic. Too much to write in one post, so I’ve decided to write a series, categorized by subject area. Since one of the teachers I worked with this year on podcasting and using iPods in the classroom happened to be a music teacher, I’ve decided to start with the category of music applications:

By the way, I used a Google Doc to compile my list of music apps and then narrowed down the list as I accessed the Doc from my iTouch to see what worked well and what didn’t.
Here are the apps in no specific order:

 

  • Piano Chord Dictionary
    http://www.mdmalin.com/webapps/piano/index.html – hold your iTouch sideways to select and see finger placement for a piano chord, turn it upright for help
  • Bearden’s Music Terms 
    http://www.beardensmusic.com/musicterms/ – The first screen is the alphabet – click on the letter that begins the term you are looking to define and it will navigate you to it
  • iPhone Lyrics
    http://www.iphonelyrics.com/ – The first screen is the alphabet – click on the letter that begins the name of the artist or group you are looking for and it will navigate to a list of their songs

Please leave a comment if you know of any others and I’ll add it to the Google Doc.

Next time – iTouch the Future…I Teach – Math 

Designing with Wikkis

My husband and I had grand plans to celebrate our 11th wedding anniversary this past Friday night at a quiet, pricey, romantic restaurant. Our plans were squashed when my brother-in-law called early Friday morning to inform us he had the flu. Both grandmothers already had plans that night – and mysteriously the next night as well. I called the babysitter and left a message on her cell asking if she was available that night and waited all day for her to leave school grounds so she could turn on her phone and retrieve it. (Why can’t highschoolers check their voicemail during studyhall?)

It was a no go. She wasn’t available to watch them on Saturday night either.

Saturday morning I called the back-up sitter. She was unavailable as well. I even called the back-up to the back-up. She was unavailable too. I went out to run errands.

When I got home, my husband recommended that instead of staying home and he and I having to cook, that we change the reservations and take the kids out to a more family-friendly locale.

On to the reason why I’m blogging about this meal…
When we entered the restaurant (we were in the Atlantic Highlands in New Jersey, about to sit on the deck overlooking the Sandy Hook Bay) my two daughters, ages 4 1/2 and 6 were asked if they wanted to make some wikis.

MAKE SOME WIKIS? This fried seafood restaurant that was going to supply my girls with hotdogs and chicken strips had wi-fi? My kids don’t even get technology at school and my full-day kindergartener is right across from the computer lab all day long.

It turns out that there’s another kind of wiki I was not aware of. But my girls loved them. They used their Wikki Stix to make all sorts of creative creations: dogs, people, microphones, lolipops. They had a blast. They hardly ate. They requested more Wikkis (which fortunately for us the kind waiter didn’t even blink at) and while they collaborated with each other on how to use the tools they were given, my husband and I talked about our eleven years of marriage – and yes, wikis and blogs and all things ed tech.

Wikki Stix can be found at http://www.wikkistix.com.