Tuesday, September 30, 2008


It does not get easier!

Screencast-O-Matic is the free and easy way to create a video recording of your screen (aka screencast) and upload it for free hosting all from your browser with no install!

Click Create to create a screencast.

We're in beta right now so let us know if you have feedback or find any bugs by using our feedback form.

Lesson Writer

What it is

Lessonwriter creates lesson plans and instructional materials for teaching English language skills from any reading passage
How it works
  • Copy & paste any text you choose into LessonWriter.
  • LessonWriter analyzes text for vocabulary, grammar and usage, pronunciation, and word roots and stems.
  • Then, LessonWriter writes a lesson plan and a lesson that teaches the skills you chose in the context of the passage - automatically.

How LessonWriter helps teachers

  • Save Time Create high-quality, standards-based lesson plans and teaching materials from text in about a minute.
  • Be Creative Scripts, poems, articles, stories, and more. LessonWriter automatically creates lessons and materials from any text from any source. Choose different content to meet the interests and needs of individual groups of students while teaching the same English language skills to the entire class, or teach the same content but emphasize different skills and vocabulary for separate students.
  • Accommodate Students LessonWriter generates suggestions for differentiating and implementing the lesson to individual students.
  • Track Classes All lessons are permanently recorded for easy and reliable reporting.
  • Design a Unit of Study Content and skills taught to each registered class are automatically tracked, and the next skills needed to systematically cover English Language Arts Learning Standards are recommended.

Friday, September 26, 2008


Adobe has a room where you can share content - I've made my own


Now to use it.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

PBS Online Community for Educators

Past Sites of Week - PBS launches new online community for educators
PBS launches new online community for educators

Primary Topic Channel:

Also of Interest
Tech giants invest in global ed reform
Digital debate: Prepare kids for exams or life?
Update: Online math program could boost learning
Colleges spend billions to prep freshmen
Technology makes art education a bigger draw

PBS has unveiled a new online community for preK-12 educators that aims to support the advancement of digital media content in education. "PBS Teachers Connect" provides Web 2.0 tools and opportunities for teachers, school library media specialists, technology coordinators, early childhood educators, and other education professionals to share ideas, collaborate, and support the effective use of technology to enhance learning. The new online community is built around PBS Teachers, the web portal to the wide-ranging multimedia instructional resources and professional development services that PBS offers preK-12 educators. At no cost, educators can search more than 3,000 standards-based classroom activities, lesson plans, interactive resources, and other materials on the PBS Teachers web site, then easily bookmark, annotate, share, and manage their tagged content within the PBS Teachers Connect community. The site also enables educators to form shared-interest groups online. The community features a personalized home page for each user, enhanced user profiles, a searchable database of resources and community members, bookmarking tools, and discussion threads. Additional components, such as private messaging, community feeds, friend feeds, online events, and a digital media gallery, will be available this fall, PBS said.


Dipity - an online Timeline


I read on Digital Learning Environment Blogs by Jim McDermitt the following:
Dipity is a timeline tool that is web-based, free, and collaborative.  Each point on the timeline can include text, images, and streamed video.  It’s easy to use and produces beautifully interactive timelines.  I don’t need to tout the merits of building timelines to help students have a chronological frame of reference for events because you know that already.  But this web-based tool really takes it to the next level with interactive digital timelines that can have multiple contributors, images, videos, maps, and links to wikipedia articles (or any website for that matter) — all wrapped up in an attractive easy to use interface.

So I think I will need to take Dipity for a spin.  I should be able to give you a report on it in a little while. Till then lets have some time to make it happen!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Distributed Learning


Supporting the Global Advancement of Distributed Learning - worth a look as one tries to put the pieces together on technology and learning.

Glog instead of Blog?

I am not familiar with Glogster - but have heard Steve Dembo of Teach42 fame discuss it in a Webinar today - looks like a tool i had best place on my radar.

Glogster.com/edu - New tool for education
Teachers, try education 2.0

Glogster is proud to present Glogster.com/edu, a NEW addition to the site for all your educational needs! This is just the first step in making education and technology more engaging for educators and students! We will continue to add more and more features and improvements to make sure all your educational needs are fulfilled! Feel free to give us any feed back that you think would make this site better for educators and students.
Why Glogster for education?

1. Glogster is also a perfect web 2.0 tool for your learning and your WIKIs
2. Glogster gives support and help with creating school accounts and keeping Glogs PRIVATE
3. Glogster brings updates based on your feedback. Glogster is Yours!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Distributed Learning


Supporting the Global Advancement of Distributed Learning - worth a look as one tries to put the pieces together on technology and learning.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Putting it all together

Too many ways to keep track of friends and family - this site claims to pull them together - I will give it a spin and see.

FriendFeed - About Us
FriendFeed enables you to keep up-to-date on the web pages, photos, videos and music that your friends and family are sharing. It offers a unique way to discover and discuss information among friends.


More ways to share

Post anything. Tumblr makes it effortless to share text, photos, quotes, links, music, and videos, from your browser, phone, desktop, email, or wherever you happen to be.


More than once I have struggled with trying to get a meeting going - I wonder if this is a better way

Doodle: Easy Scheduling
Schedule an event…

… such as a board meeting, business lunch, conference call, family reunion, movie night, or any other group event.
View example, create poll
Make a choice…

… among movies, menus, travel destinations, or among any other selection.
View example, create poll
How does Doodle work?

1. Create a poll.
2. Forward the link to the poll to the participants.
3. Follow online what the participants vote for.

Learn more


As a conference is planned - could this be used?

CrowdVine: Create Your Own Social Network for Conferences, Events, Groups or Organizations
CrowdVine, founded in 2007, builds simple and powerful social software to help people connect. While we believe our products are very good, the killer feature of social software is people. That's why when you go to our features page, you'll see a list of reasons to use our software, not just a list of tools. Everything we do is aimed at making it easier for people to meet. Once they've done that, it's our job to get out of the way.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Listening to your Text

Listening to your Text

By Louis Loeffler
Assistant Professor and Department Chair of Instructional Technology - Cardinal Stritch University

I do a bit of driving as well as other activities where an mp3 player comes in handy.  While driving I will listen to a variety of podcasts or my favorite music. Recently I decided it would also be a good use of my time to have some of the articles that I am asked to read for a class I am taking at UWMadison available in audio form - so in this way I replace reading with listening. 

It turns out this is done rather simply by software - there are a variety of Text to MP3 software programs available. I choose (since I am using a Macintosh) TextToMp3 (http://www.sveinbjorn.org/texttomp3)

According to the web site, "TextToMP3 is a simple droplet program which accepts dropped text files and converts them into speech in MP3 format using Apple's Speech Manager technology and the open-source LAME MP3 encoder." This means that you simply need to have a text file, drag and drop it on the program, and it generates an MP3 file for you.  It works for any file with ".txt" as the extension.

Creating the txt file is fairly simple.  Most word processors have a Save as feature which allows you to save the document you are working with/viewing as a text file - eliminating the formatting (italics, bold, font size, etc).  Once saved I could create the mp3, move it onto my mp3 player and voila!

I ran into a problem though, my document that was assigned was a pdf - I needed a simple way to convert pdf files to txt files.  I did some searching and while software and/or translation websites existed, they either had a price associated with them or gave me unsatisfactory results.

I then turned to a feature available in Gmail. If you have ever received a document as an attachment in GMail you know that one of the features is to view the attachment as HTML. This includes pdf documents.  So I emailed the pdf document to myself, and when I received it I was able to view as HTML!

Once it was in HTML format I was able to highlight the text, copy it, and paste it in a simple word processor which would allow me to save the file as txt.  Once it was txt I ran TextToMP3 and I had the audio file - getting my reading done has become easier - by having the document read to me.

So the steps in this process are:
  1. Email (using Gmail) yourself the pdf attachment (if the document is in PDF form)
  2. View the attachment as HTML
  3. Highlight the words in the HTML document - then copy
  4. Paste into a word processor
  5. Save as Text file (.txt)
  6. Convert using a Text to MP3 piece of software

I see uses for this as we work towards differentiating or assisting students with reading difficulties.  Easily and quickly you can take a reading assignment and convert it to a format where students may hear what they are reading.


Additionally you might want to try this web resource with your text file.

Friday, September 12, 2008

UStream - Interactive Broadcasting

I have seen some start using this for virtual office hours....


Experience live video. In just minutes, you can broadcast and chat online with a global audience. Completely free, all it takes is a camera and Internet connection. Try it now!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

250,000 more free Wikispaces for Educators

Wikispaces is giving away more Wiki's for educators.

Wikispaces Blog » Blog Archive » 100,000 Free K-12 Wikis - and 250,000 More!
100,000 Free K-12 Wikis - and 250,000 More!

September 9th, 2008 by Sarah

Wikis for TeachersThis weekend we gave away our 100,000th free K-12 Wikispaces wiki!

So today, we’re celebrating and sharing with you our continued commitment to the educational community.

Great Work So Far

Cellphones in Schools

Steve Dembo of Teach42 does a great analysis of some things he is doing with his mobile phone - wow. Worth the read.

My cell phone can beat up your laptop - Teach42

Shortly before NECC, I had a tough decision to make. I was ready to upgrade my mobile phone and had narrowed it down to two choices: the iPhone 3G and the Nokia N95. Both have their pros and cons when compared to each other, but I decided to go with the N95 for two reasons. The first is that it has an incredible high quality camera that takes phenomenal video, which is definitely something I’m very interested in right now. The second reason is that having been around for about a year and running the Symbian 60 operating system, it is very well developed and had a slew of applications built for it. I know, I know, the iPhone didn’t take long to catch up, but that’s why I decided to go with the N95.......

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Rationale for educational blogging

Anne Davis writes this...

EduBlog Insights » Blog Archive » Rationale for educational blogging
Rationale for educational blogging

I was recently asked to give a rationale for educational blogging. I thought I’d share what I wrote and invite comment.

Blogs are reshaping our environment. They are beginning to emerge in large numbers in the educational field and offer great potential to transform learning and teaching. It is about new literacies appropriate for this time. The quote below comes from Don Leu, to be published soon in a book by the International Reading Association (http://www.sp.uconn.edu/~djleu/newlit.html) I feel it is a very appropriate focus as relates to the new literacies and blogging for educators. Donald Leu of Syracuse University expresses it far better than I ever could.

What does Teaching and learning in Web 2.0 look like?

Wesley Fryer asks some good questions and invites us all to add to the discussion

What does teaching and learning 2.0 look like » Moving at the Speed of Creativity
4th September 2008
What does teaching and learning 2.0 look like
posted in digitalstorytelling, distributed-learning, leadership, literacy |

In his follow-up presentation / facilitated conversation after his keynote at BLC08, Ewan McIntosh asserted that no single image or video can represent what the new era of teaching and learning looks like. I agree there are multiple ways of thinking about blended learning and what an ideal learning environment in the 21st century can and should look like. I also agree with Ewan’s point that as educators we need to teach, facilitate, and lead in the ways we believe are best for learners and learning and share that with others. I also think there is value, however, in reflecting on images of teaching and learning, as well as technology, and discussing how those images reflect or fail to reflect what is best and needed for learning inside and outside of classrooms today.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Free Mobile alerts

My thanks to Wesley Fryer for this.....

Free Mobile Alerts: One-to-many text messaging and voicemail » Moving at the Speed of Creativity
TextMarks: Create text-alert groups using cell phone numbers, permit others to subscribe to alerts, facilitate one-to-many and many-to-many text discussions. I’m using this with our youth deacons group, along with a private Facebook group.

Phonevite: Create voicemail reminders for groups, schedule delayed voicemail updates if desired, record Phonevite messages from your mobile phone anywhere, anytime. I’m planning to use this with our 5th grade parents to send out updates and stay in touch.

Back to School

Back to School: 10 Great Web Apps for College Students

Written by Frederic Lardinois / August 27, 2008 8:25 AM / 52 Comments

college_logo_aug08.jpgFor a lot of college students, the new semester is just around the corner. Last year, we created a long list of great Web 2.0 tools that we thought would be helpful for college students.

But given how fast things develop on the web, we thought we would revisit this topic again this year and look at some of the most useful Web 2.0 tools that have the potential to help students do better in school, collaborate with their fellow students, and save them time.