Blogamania - Allow Commoncraft to explain

M.I.T Provides Free Classroom Resources

M.I.T (Massachusetts Institution of Technology) has created a new Web site which offers free online resources that aim to improve science, technology, engineering, and mathematics instruction at the high school level. "Highlights for High School", which builds on M.I.T's OpenCourseWare (OCW) initiative, is designed to inspire the next generation of engineers and scientists and to serve as a valuable tool for high school teachers.

Check out the site:


Skype - You wont belive it.

Skype is almost too good to be true. This 2.0 tool allows you to communicate with anyone across the globe, via the internet - for free (as long as you are communicating pc to pc). A fee is charged if you want to skype to cell and/or home phones. But never-the-less, pc to pc communication is free. All you need to do is set up a free account and hook up a $5 microphone (on both ends). And, if you want to take it to the next level, just hook up a simple webcam, and you have free video conferencing. Just imagine what you could do with Skype in a language or science class (or any class for that fact).
Your students could interact with other students - anywhere.
A most useful tool.

TeacherTube v. YouTube

Afraid of unleashing YouTube in the classroom? Cant blame you one bit. That doesn't mean that YouTube shouldnt be used, it just means that you must be extrememly cautious when using it. But fear not cautious educators, there is a solution - TeacherTube. TeacherTube is almost identical to YouTube in every way. The only difference - all content is classroom appropriate and geared exclusively for educators and students.
Definately bookmark worthy.

Mash-Ups. Cyber-worlds collide.

In an attempt to keep you abreast of what's new and cool, I must discuss one of the hottest 2.0 tools out there - Mash-Ups. A mash-up, by definition, is a web application that combines data from more than one source into a single integrated tool. Mash-Ups were originally created by hip-hop artists. A good example - taking Led Zeppelin music and overlapping it with Ludacris lyrics - creating a "mash-up" or new song. In education, mash-ups are truly in their infancy -but rest assure, creative minds are turning their wheels as we speak.
Check out this article on on techLearning that explains how mash-ups are being used (in the classroom) with Google Maps

Web 2.0??? I just mastered Web 1.0.....

Just when you thought you had a handle on the web, it went 2.0 on you. Well don't be discouraged, you already have an understanding of this new creature called Web 2.0 and probably just dont know it. Simply, Web 2.0 refers to a seemingly endless collection of new tools available on the web. These tools have been created to facilitate creativity, communication, and sharing between users. Allow me to provide concrete example: YouTube, Wikis, Blogging, Mashups, Facebook/MySpace and Skype. The term Web 2.0 was coined by Tim O'Reilly at the O'Reilly Media Conferenc in 2004.
Some of the 2.0 tools are more uselful and practical than others. In the classroom, you can easily bury yourself in 2.0 tomfoolery. The trick is to research what's out there, get to know what others are using and how they are using it, and ask yourself this simple question, "How can I use it to improve what I already do in class?"

Here is a remarkable site/directory that contains every current 2.0 tool out there.


Blogging 101

Get a head start on our next I.T. training session.

Blogging has become quite the craze. It has evolved into a hugely popular communication tool both inside and outside of the classroom. But my focus will be solely on the educational value it brings to the table - and that value is huge. Talk about increasing reading and writing across the curriculum and getting students involved and active? I have enclosed a few links to get you primed for the next professional development training "Blogamania".

Allow Mark Wagner from the Ed Technolgy and Life blogsite to give you a basic explanation of a blog:

No blog discussion can be complete without an explanation of RSS Feed. You will find that subscribe-ability is one of the most powerful capabilities of a blog - you can actually subscribe to them!
Allow CommonCraft to explain, in their own creative way, RSS Feed.

And if you really wanna get a head start, try to create your blog. It is as easy as falling off a log. I use Its free and easy and it is one of the tools on iGoogle. So, when you log into your iGoogle account, you are also automatically logged onto your blogger account - which makes blog management quick and super easy.


Subscribing To This Site

If you are interested in automatically receiving updates to this site, all you have to do is subscribe. You can subscribe to this site several ways:
1. Go to the bottom of the page and click "Subscribe To Posts: Atom"
After clicking, you will be asked to identity a web aggregator to use to retrieve the new feeds. is a popular web aggregator.
2. Create an account in iGoogle and use their Google Reader tool. After setting up an account, just access the Google Reader site, click on "Add Subscription", then copy and paste the Professional Evelopment address into the window. Then, everytime info is added to the site, your web aggregator/reader will automatically capture and file the info for you to read at your leisure.

United Streaming Receiving Rave Reviews

Discovery's United Streaming is a digital video-on-demand and online teaching service to help improve students' retention and test scores - and it is aligned to state standards. It is a great classroom resource and an effective tool to engage students.
The United School District currently has an account - if you are unsure how to access the resource, just email Mr. Steinly or Mr. Soltesz.

United Streaming Video Website:


SMART Board Lesson Database

Instead of wasting time searching for useful SMART Board lessons, just check out these sites in order to find that perfect SMART lesson. Each site allows you to search by subject area. This will save you lots of time.

Here are some great links for SMART Board lessons:

The best of the best. Hands down the best place to find SMART Board lessons. This site allows you to search for a lesson by grade level and subject area. It also addresses each and every standard that each lesson hits.

Most effective if you search by subject:

Very powerful and very user friendly - encompasses everything SMART - a true one-stop-SMART-shop:

Lots of lessons - the only draw back is that the lessons are not organized by grade level - instead are organized by subject area.

Some international flavor- this site is from the UK. We don't discriminate, so here it is. Navigating is a little strange at first but after playing around, you will figure it out. Not my favorite site but still good.

More geared toward younger audiences, but there are some great links and resources on this site so I added it.

Well organized- with lots of lessons. Best thing about this site - there is a description for most of the SMART Board lessons.

Unique - it is organized by three categories: Ideas, Lessons and Websites.
Intersteing and useful. A good place to get some new ideas flowing.

In a hurry? Looking for an easy lesson supplemental?
Easy to navigate and lots of good material. Great place for maps.

A comprehensive site on Everything SMART Board. Another must visit. Hope you have a few minutes to spare.

SMART Board 101

Perfect for the busy teacher:
This link will take you directly to the SMART Board training site. Here, you will find a collection of 2-minute tutorials. Topics range from SMART Board basics to using PowerPoint and other advanced Notebook software tools. The 2-minute format is perfect for anyone who just doesn't have a lot of time to waste.

Here is the link to the SMART Board tutorials:

Technical Update

Check out the new Technical Update I.T. tutorial.
This slide show covers quite a few of the newest and coolest I.T. tools out there.
Topics include: wikis, blogs, RSS Feed, web aggregators/web readers, podcasts, vodcasts, United Streaming, webquests, virtual field trips, Skype, Social Bookmarking, social networking and more......