Tuesday, June 30, 2009

The iPod Touch/iPhone Application Support Group

Leslie Fisher is a gadget head. She loves to learn and share tips and tricks about her gadgets. These are her favorites about her iPhone and iPod touch.

Battery savers:
If you are not doing major web surfing turn 3G off
Other things is turn off bluetooth, wi-fi, location services, dim the screen, turn the phone off for a while.

Battery extenders:
Kensington products for battery extension, Solio- uses solar power to charge your phone (great in emergencies), Mophie juice pack
Cool Cases:
Slider by InCase, Showcase by Contour, Speck Quickdraw

Cool Easter Eggs:
#1 Take a screen shot of your iphone screen by holding down the power button and home button and wait for a flash. It's now in your camera roll.
#2 Click the home button and it will take you to the first page of your applications.
#3 If you are on the web and you are typing in a website on your iphone/ipod touch you can hold down the .com button and it will give you other suffix choices.

iPhone 3.0 Software - Great sites!
How to use the top 40 iPhone 3.0 features
100+iPhone 3.0 Hidden Features

Some of the coolest 3.0 features?
cut, copy and paste
MMS messaging
Turn by Turn navigations
landscape almost everything!

Keeping up with new applications
It will update many times a day and review all the new applications. It will also allow you to only see itouch or iphone applications instead of both. You can put it in your Google Reader.

Teacher Productivity Applications

SaiSuke: Built in calendar stinks! SaiSuke offers a plug into Google Calendar and displays your calendar (color coding and all) just like it would look like on Google. You could also sync with iCal and Google together. $9.99

Note Pad: By Polar Bear No Marker felt. Allows you to group notes into categories.

Evernote: Basically an extension of the online version.It allows creation of new notes as well as access and editing of any note. Can use the iphone camera and upload directly to Evernote to run, can tag notes as favorites which will save them to your iWhatever and allow access when you are not even on a network. Free!

Twitterfon: Twitter for your iphone. There are many twitter apps out there, but this one is Leslie's favorite. Will display direct messages and direct replies in different colors. One of the few twitter apps with search and trend functions. Can use built in camera to snap GPS tagged photos.

Remember the Milk
: The iphone version of the popular Remember The Milk web based To-Do application.

Duck You Undo: How many times have you typed in a word only to have the spell check change it when you did not want it to? Duck You Undo will keep track of all of the spelling changes and queue them at the bottom of the screen to review.

Loopt: Uses GPS location services so it will show exactly where you are. It is supported by Facebook also. Only people you allow to can see where you are. Friends can request an update to show up on their SMS page. It can also notify you when someone is in a specific range. Hooks into Yelp as well. WEb version offers widgets to add to your blogs. Free!

Around Me: Uses GPS location services to find things around you such as banks, hotels, coffee shops, restaurants, etc. Free!

i-Finder: i-Finder uses GPS or towers to find your location. Will then provide GPS information as well as altitude. You can then store your location or even cooler, email your location to yourself or your friends. She used this when I got lost in a mall. Honest! .99

Soon....Tom, Tom Navigation! It will have turn by turn navigation. Can download a variety of voices including , New York cabbies, John Cleese, Homer Simpson. Should be released later this summer. Guesstimates at $50.

What's your favorite iPhone application?

Winning Strategies to Conquer Information Overload

Are you a connected teacher who needs strategies to assist you in conquering information overload? In this session, Kathy Schrock shared tools that will help you organize information and make it readily available saving you valuable time and energy.
Email: How do you manage it?
Set up email filters.
You can forward and file emails that are not necessary for you to receive all the time. How?
1. Monitor your email for two weeks to see what type of email you are receiving.
2. Create applicable folders or labels.
3. Look for the filter instructions.
4. Create your filters or rules so mail is forwarded and filed
5. Monitor the folders for two weeks
6. Re-evaluate to change if needed

IMAP is an Internet Message Access Protocol. IMAP is useful if you check email on more than one computer or from more than one email account. It centralizes and synchronizes email.

Conquer Information by having hardware help you.
Stay connected with the Netbook:
Netbooks are cost effective and smallish. For recommendations on specific machines see slide 11 on the presentation. http://kathyschrock.net/score/score.pdf

Stay connected with a SmartPhone.
Not sold on the idea yet? Watch this convincing short video.
If you don't have the need for all the bells and whistles and are only worried about email, try staying connected with the Peek.

Stay connected with a Chumby.
A little device that sits on your counter, attaches to a wireless network, and gives updates. A subscription is not needed.

Stay connected with an Amazon Kindle.
Read books without going to the book store. You can easily search, pay, and download to keep up to date. This text based browser on the kindle will go to all the mobile sites. Read blogs and wikis, and go to social networks. There is now an app for the iPhone/iTouch to be a Kindle.

Lowtech Tip: Get information captured without a SmartBoard.
Take photos!
There are hundreds of online tools to help you organize and receive information.
Online Faxing: Faxage.
This on-line fax allows for multiple users and cover pages, faxes are all stored on-line, and you can be notified by email with the PDF attachment. The one downside is that you have to scan an item if it is not already electronic.

The single biggest thing to keep you from overload...
RSS, Feeds, and Newsreaders

Aggregate your web content so you have one source for receiving updates. Two popular readers include Google Reader and Bloglines.

Get an iGoogle page.
iGoogle is your personalized page where you can add news, photos or stuff from across the web on your personalized page. This tool makes it easier and more efficient to check all your favorites.

Sign up for Google Alerts.
Would you like to know if someone writes a blog post using your name or writes something about an event at your school? This cool tool gives you the opportunity to receive an email to alert you. You can also insert a gadget into your iGoogle page.

Applications to help you harness information.
Be involved in Social Networks.
Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, Nings, all these social networks lay the foundation for building relationships with others and for your own professional learning. If you aren't taking part, you are missing out on an essential PLN.

Microblog with Twitter.
Kinda like IM but not, it is web-based and gives you the opportunity to follow others and for others to follow you. Type your message in 140 characters or less, and see where the learning takes you.

Use on-line social bookmarking
This is an on-line account shared to any computer so you can easily access information you have tagged from the web. The social part of comes when you follow what others are adding.

Use Google Documents, Google Spreadsheets, Google Calendars
Collaborate efficiently with colleagues using these on-line sources that provide for multiple users to update and build products together.

Work in the Cloud: Glide OS 3.0
Works within the browser, cross-platform and 10 GB of online storage, 20+ tolls included, can install a syncing client, glide mobile for use on over 75 devices, and it transcodes the files. http://www.glidedigital.com/

Measure the quality of the information you are receiving
Make a list of the sources you read regularly, figure the percentage of the last 10 posts you found useful, consider the length of the posts you read and the rate at which the person posts, and eliminate the bottom 50%. Deciding what to keep and what to delete will help you manage the data clutter that may be collecting in your electronic closet. Ask yourself, "If I save this, will it mean anything in a year?" If not consider purging it.

If you embrace these helpful strategies it will help you organize information and diminish the chances of overload.

Tweet Up @NECC 2009

When I asked Suzanne (aka @shalls on twitter) if she wanted to attend a Tweet Up one night during NECC she said, "A what?" This year, ISTE (the organization that hosts NECC), had the forethought to plan a meet up for all of the folks that communicate on twitter. When you're at the conference sometimes it's hard to approach people and say, "Hey! I think I follow you on twitter!" So it was really nice to walk around with the purpose of connecting face to face with the members of our Personal Learning Network. If you haven't given twitter a try, you don't know what you're missing. It's the best PD you'll ever receive. Here are a few photos of the meet up!

The 10 Best Free Web 2.0 Tools for Teachers

Steve Dembo of Discovery Educator Network shares the 10 best free Web 2.0 sites to transform learning-both your students' and your own.

Before sharing the tools he suggested that there are three broad rules for considering a tool a Web 2.0 tool. They are entirely web based, interactive, and they play well with others. This is his short list...

Bloglines: This aggregater allows you to grab information and bring it to one central location. The advantage is that you don't have to continue checking an array of sites to see if there are updates, rather this one stop shop shares the updates for quick and easy access to new information. The social part of this site (plays well with others) allows you to see who else is a follower of the blog.
Delicious: A social bookmarking site which allows you to store, share, and discover bookmarked sites. Forget the days of adding your sites to your favorites. The social part of this site, allows you to search within the delicious site and view the sites that others have bookmarked. It gives you the history on who bookmarked it, too. Tags allow you to tag the site for categorization. There is an RSS (Real Simple Syndication) feed which allows you to subscribe. If you find someone on delicious who is really organized, teaches a similar subject area, or has an area of similar interest to you, you could subscribe to their delicious tag, benefiting from their work. Also, you can bundle tags to make it easier for kids to search more easily if you use it in the classroom for students' research projects.

ShareTabs: Allows you to add a list of links to a window (central location). You can click, tabify them, see the preview, and the site creates tabs so you can click through them easily. You no longer have to type the whole url in the address bar. (Read more at this blog for classroom application.)

drop.io Upload files (images, PowerPoints, word docs etc...) The beauty is that you can phone it in, fax it, email it, text it, upload it, and share it. The site also allows you to do a full podcast for free, as well as provides a conference bridge. There are many different views in the settings, and drop.io provides you a chat box if you have friends on the site. You can use it to post assignments to your students and they can chat with you about the assignment. You can podcast through this site via a phone, and like the others on this list, it too, is totally free.
JayCut provides you with a full videobrowzer editor. Upload media, drag and drop into the video tab, and you can cut/edit. You can add images and JayCut has all your transitions, overlaps, effects, and titles. Audio is simple with a drag and drop. How do you get it out of JayCut? Download it or simply copy the embed code. Another bonus is unlimited capacity.

Edmodo, a private communication system built for teachers and students to share notes, links, and files.

Would you like to be able to easily poll your students, but don't want to spend money on a Classroom Response System? Try having students use their phone to text you their response. Poll Everywhere allows for 30 votes per poll for free. Set up many polls, download it as a PowerPoint, and as the results come in the slideshow will update. You can then copy, cut, and paste the results into anything. If you do want to do it in mass, they do have school versions for purchase. If every student doesn't have a cell phone, they can share their response via the computer. Just make sure that students have text coverage to make it a practical application in your classroom.

xtra normal: Text-to-speed moviemaking. Students can write a script and create a movie set. They can change the scene, the background, and the language. They can add animation. The only drawback is that when they finish the video must render. It gives you an embed code or can be published to youtube.
Livestream Allows a live free broadcast.

Prezi, a presentation tool that is much more intuitive than PowerPoint. No borders and slides. Simply add your links and talking points to this non-linear presentation and easily navigate to access information. To check out Steve's presentation from this session visit http://prezi.com/117545/.

Monday, June 29, 2009

VideoPodcast Your Way To Measurable Results

Would your teachers benefit from more class time? Is mastery really possible? Can differentiation effectively occur in today’s classroom? Jonathan Bergmann and Aaron Sams say, “Absolutely!” As high school chemistry teachers, they recognized that students were ineffective note-takers and often struggled to complete homework independently. When the students got stuck at night, they would call a friend, give up, or cheat to make their way through an assignment. This led to gaps in student understanding which interfered with later learning.

This dynamic duo decided to begin vodcasting some of their lectures that were part of their regular class time to make them accessible to students at night and for review. After the first year, they reflected on the project and asked, “What does a kid really need from their teacher?” They decided that most kids needed interaction with the teacher when they are trying to process and understand the information, during homework time and not for the content of lectures. They needed to be able to ask questions and have them answered on the spot.

Upon reflection, they decided in Year 2 to pre-vodcast every lesson, and make the lecture part of their instruction the homework. Students needed to watch the vodcast and come to class prepared to apply their learning. Just imagine how much class time the teacher got back to actually dialogue with students about their learning, help them conduct their labs, and give them feedback on their assignments and assessments. Class time had value. The teacher was now meeting with every kid every day. One student asked, “Why are you making us do all the work?”

Not surprisingly, by the end of Year 2, Bergmann and Sams had extra time on their hands, because students were moving more rapidly through the content and mastering it. Happily, the two teachers knew that they could now cover more content and in greater depth. Additionally, they had collected assessment data to prove this project was creating student learning gains. Pre-vodcast students with lower math scores performed as well as non-vodcast students with higher math scores from previous years. They also polled students and parents and discovered that the feedback was good, and there were not as many Ds and Fs in AP Chemistry. Kids showed up to class to work and learn.

In Year 3, Bergmann and Sams took it to a whole new level-Mastery Learning. Students began self-paced learning- (sort of). The teachers set up benchmarks during the year, but basically students worked through the Units of Study at their own readiness pace. When they got to the end of a unit, they took an assessment, if they scored 75% or better, they moved on to the next unit, if not, they had to go back and redo the unit. Students progressed as they mastered the content. (Now that's a novel idea!)

The benefits were apparent. Students became independent learners. They took responsibility for their learning, because they were no longer being handed the material. Students were active and engaged, so fewer gaps in understanding occurred. And, when a student was in Unit 6, the teacher knew that they had mastered the content in Units 1-6. In addition, teachers gave immediate and useful feedback holding students accountable for their learning and being able to articulate their thinking. No longer would kids simply be handed a graded assignment or test. Now, with this learning cycle, there is no place to hide. Every worksheet, assignment, and assessment was graded on the spot and oral feedback given by the teacher. I'm sure you can see the instructional implications of this type of on the fly, all the time, every single child differentiation.
Are you wondering about their vision for the future? They would like to see system wide implementation of mastery learning; they would like to add honors level learning; they would like an on-line community of likeminded people to collaborate to build a video library of vodcasts. I'm certainly intrigued! If you want to know more, think about attending their three day workshop to make it happen in your classroom. You can contact them through http://learningformastery.com/.

Teaching the Nintendo Generation: Innovation Creates a Collaborative Classroom

Camilla Gagliolo has a passion for her job. She tries to engage her students and make them excited about coming to school. One way she does this is by using Nintendo DS in her classroom! Here is what she shared with us about using this fun tool with her kids.

Students today have access to many mobile devices that could be used in the classroom. They prefer learning online and want to learn with devices they have and use everyday. Obviously, they prefer to learn with games.

Here are the top four things that elementary students use and do:
#1 Online and computer gaming
#2 Downloading music
#3 Communication by email, instant messaging and texting
#4 Maintain a personal website.

Why did Camilla choose to use Nintendo DS with her students? Check out this video made at the Robin Hood Primary School in Birmingham.

Nintendos are a great tool to use in the classroom because many children have them, they are relatively inexpensive, students know how to use them, there are many available software applications, it includes a built-in networking application called Pictochat, the learning is entertaining and games encourage learning.

Some immediate benefits to using DS were: limited or no training needed for teacher or students, networked classroom instantly, learning is transparent, allows for differentiation, teachers can tutor one on one without other students knowing, low cost and multiplayer downloads.

Here were some of the ways she used the DS in her classroom: student response system, math questions, skill practice, morning warm up, discussion questions during read aloud, finding evidence in the text they were reading, paperless classroom, station work, tutoring one on one, shared learning/instant networking, grammar practice and review.

Doesn't this sound like a classroom you'd like to visit or attend? What a neat idea!

Gadgets for Everyone!

Does anyone else love gadgets? Most teachers do! Leslie Fisher loves to share them!

Tripit.com Can be used anytime you make a reservation you send your itineraries to their email address at plans@tripit.com from your email and it will create your itenerary. So all those hotel confirmation emails and airline confirmation emails are put together. Share calendar formats with others. Use your phone to check itinerary while on the road. That way you're not pulling out a folder of travel information.

Yelp.com can be used by typing in your address and yelp can search for food closest to you. You can search specific foods. It is community driven so you can read reviews. Perfect for traveling or just looking for something new to eat around town!

Twitter.com Created by the guys that created Blogger. It is microblogging. If you just want to let someone know that there is a new iphone application you won't write a whole blog post about it, but you would twitter about it and everyone that follows you would then see that. You can have conversations with the people you follow also. It is limited to 140 characters for each "microblog" or entry.

Jott.com You join jott and it gives you a 1-800 to call and give yourself a reminder about something like picking up the laundry or remembering a birthday.
Remember the Milk is a similar application that is all about the lists you keep, so if you jott you can ask it to go to your Remember the Milk application. Nominal fee for jotting.

Evernote will grab anything: web pages, pictures, notes by using a web cam, phone camera or Evernote iphone application. It will sync these images or web pages today and organize them for you to find later.

Ustream.tv Allows you to set up a free account and post videos live as they happen. Perfect for recording presentations at conferences, classes for a student that is home sick and archiving lessons.

Mozy.com Are you backing up your computer regularly? Are you prepared to lose what is stored there? Online backup for Mac and PC $5.00 a month unlimited space. (2g free!) Install software, select files to be backed up and it's done! You can depend on it. Don't take chances, be proactive!

Orbicule Undercover If your Mac is stolen it will secretly transmit information once that computer accesses the internet again. The webcam will turn on and record the thief secretly. You can also install this on your iphone. It will send out a signal where your phone is and it will look like a game to the crook! Well worth the $ to you!

Smugmug.com You can get a professional level account as an educator. You are able to upload photos here for sharing. Consider possibly starting an account for all class photos where your parents can always have access to pictures they might want for themselves.

Sling Media External box that hooks up to your home theatre no matter how big or small and then uses a Internet connection to broadcast the signal to your CPU, Phone etc. You can watch your shows via wifi on your iphone or itouch. You can also attach a videocamera to the sling media and you are able to log in and view a live stream.

Leslie had even more things to share than these, but I couldn't keep up. I hope to catch up with her in another session tomorrow. Do you have any cool gadgets or apps you love?

The Missing Link...Preparing Teachers to Integrate SmartPhones Effectively

Wake Forest University presenters shared their pilot program of using SmartPhones with pre-service teachers within their classrooms. They explored whether the hardware and software tools were appropriate for formative assessment data collection and whether the teacher candidates recognized the value of the tools. Teachers used the handheld portable SmartPhones to capture video footage, take photographs, email parents, and record formative assessment information.

Until recently, I haven’t given much thought to the use of SmartPhones in the elementary classroom, however sitting in this session got me wondering about the possibilities. At CCE, I think we use our own cameras and flip videos for many of the functions they mentioned, but one avenue we haven't ventured down is the recording of formative assessment data electronically, on the spot in real time, archiving it for reflection. So, I immediately thought, how could we start using this to assist teachers without adding more to their plate, and to fill a void that we may have?

Here's what I'm thinking--I don't know many teachers who feel good about keeping anecdotal notes when they meet with their kids in either small groups or individually. It seems that each year they try something new because they just don't feel that they've gotten it right or keep up with it like they should. They want to do it, but fall short of their own expectations. So, I'm wondering if a teacher created a spreadsheet beamed it to their SmartPhone and then used the handheld device to record their anecdotal notes while the conferring was happening if they might find it easier to keep up with. The benefit would be that it synchronizes to the computer automatically so the teacher could access the information at anytime and anywhere, it makes recording neater and more manageable to retrieve, and it gives the teacher the opportunity to sort and report information if it is kept in an EXCEL spreadsheet. The pre-service teachers from Wake Forest shared some of their work in this arena with spreadsheets and I think it is definitely a possibility. Of course if we want to make it a logical goal, we'll have to call on Melanie. Are there any takers?

Get a Life! Second Life!

Started in 2003, Second Life is a 3-D virtual world run by Linden Labs and has 14.7 million residents (avatars) from around the globe. It is a multi-user virtual environment where basic accounts are free, however if you chose to buy items, money does become involved. You can actually create, buy, sell, and travel. SL has an economy with Linden dollars ($1 = 300 L$). In fact, the virtual world supports millions of U.S. dollars.

In 2007, users spent over 220 million hours in SL, and by the end of 2011, it is predicted that over 80% of internet users will have a virtual world avatar. Users must be over 18 and SL runs on U.S. west coast time.

When you register for SL, you create an avatar and chose a name. As you move around in this 3-D virtual world, people know you by your avatar. You can walk, fly, or teleport to get from one place to another and you are able to search for locations to visit.

The presenters, Joan Greene and Don Marchant, don’t support the use of Second Life with students (It really is an adult world.), but they do think there are many possibilities for professional development. You can work in virtual classrooms and other amazing learning spaces, and take part in simulations and role plays building environments collaboratively. You can visit the Alamo, attend University classes, and do science heart simulations, to name just a few.

Linden Labs supports a program focusing on the use of Second Life for educational, academic and serious applications. In fact, there are about 400 Universities holding sessions in SL. The University of Alabama is on SL and plans, this fall, to offer the first class for college credit in SL--a trend that is spreading like wildfire.

I must admit that before this session, I thought a few of my colleagues had fallen off their rockers when I saw and heard about their avatars. I mean, why in the world would they want to spend time in a virtual world when their real world offers so much. But, as I sit here watching the presenter’s avatar move from one learning experience to the next in SL, I have to acknowledge that the learning possibilities seem endless. In truth, I’m now thinking that if I don’t get involved in this virtual world, I will be turning a blind eye to a remarkable learning tool.