netTrekker - A busy teachers best friend

Recently voted number 1 educational search tool for k-12.
This is an excellent tool for any busy teacher. Its safe and easy and allows you to search for info that is aligned to standards and anchors.

Check out the short video below on netTrekker - make sure you show your tech guys this one... You wont regret it.


Lets Have Some Phun Already

Phun, a free open-source, cross-platform 2D physics simulator, makes you want to pick up blocks, or maybe crayons, and learn more about the way things fall and move under pressure. Written by a Swedish graduate student, the program teaches concepts of restitution and friction, so it's great to load up with the kids, but you'll probably find yourself sneaking a few turns by yourself at creating, and knocking over, shapes and lines. Phun is a free download for Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux systems; hit the link for instructions on using and having, well, fun in Phun.

Check out this video on Phun:

Dog Ate Your Zip Drive????

Ever heard the following excuses when kids don’t finish (word processed) papers on time?
-I don’t have a flash drive (I can’t save it to finish at home)
-I don’t have a printer at home
-I don’t have email (to email the document to myself)

The following site allows them to upload a document, picture, ppt., etc. file and then retrieve it later by simply going to the drop.io site they create. All they need is internet access to finish it at home. There is no registration or fee. It eliminates the previous excuses. Check it out!


A special thanks to Jody Conrad, United Teacher/CFF Coach, for this info.


MobilePodding-Podcasting on the Go

Hopefully you have had an opportunity to create podcasts with your students. To create a podcast you truly only need several tools: A microphone and software that converts your audio into a wav.file. Audacity is the freeware that allows the simple conversion. Visit their site to download a free version. But, what if you want to go the next step and allow your students the freedom to create podcasts from any remote locations? Example: Your students want to interview people at a local political rally with hopes of creating a podcast from the interviews. Well now its simple. I have been working with a Zoom H4 Handy Recorder. This simple device allows you to record and store audio on a hand held device. From there, it doubles as a USB drive - just plug it in and transfer the audio file to your computer. It will convert and transfer the file as a wav.file. Cost - under $200.
A must for the podcasting enthusiasts.

Click here to go to the Zoom site.


Converts Documents to PDFs - NOW

Stumbled on this great (and free) Pdf converter program - doPDF.
All you have to do is download and install it..... It will allow you to instantly convert any document into a Pdf file. This is how it works:

1. Go to the site: www.gopdf.com
2. Download the software - the pdf converter will automatically be added to your printer list. Do not check the box that says, make gopdf your default printer.
3. Open the document that you want to convert to a pdf
4. Choose print, select "doPdf" and then send it to the desired file/location ie:desktop
5. Your document will be automatically converted and sent to the desired file/location

Its that easy. And free.
Happy Pdf'ing


Second Life - The Future or the End?

You can argue till the cows come home..... Second Life - insanely ridiculous or insanely relevant? Allow the facts to speak for themselves: Over 250 universities have established "Second Life Islands" for their distance learners. Second Life is merely an ingenious new-wave packaging design for online learning. It allows learners to become virtually engulfed in a cyberworld that the learners control and manipulate. And that is the key: Allowing the learner to manipulate and fully customize their own cyber experience. That is the essence of (and the demand of) the Millenial/Digital Learner. Take a few moments and watch this SlideShare slideshow on Second Life. It will be the most eye-opening 5 minutes you spend in a while.

Those who embrace the inevitable will be the ones who lead the charge toward change and emerge victorious"
A. Steinly circa 2008


Create A Global Classroom Today

Want to create a Global Clasroom today, but not sure how to do it??? Try these simple steps:

1. Have your students create a Bloglines account. This is easy and free. Bloglines is simply a web aggregator/web catcher/feed reader that allows your students to subscribe to any site that provides RSS Feed. Everytime the site is updated or a feed is added, your students will automatically get the information.
2. Have your students create a blog account using eBlogger. Its free and easy. Your students probably already blog constantly - MySpace and FaceBook are blogs.
3. Create your own blog using eBlogger. Its free and easy. Put your assignments and messages on your blog daily.
4. Subscribe to your students blogs using Bloglines. This will allow you to monitor your students' blog entries. Also, when you assign your students a blog entry/assignment, you will automatically get their work in your Bloglines account (when they post it)
5. Have your students subscribe to your blog using their Bloglines account. Then, everytime you make an entry (each day) the information will automatically go to your students.
6. Have your students' parents subscribe to your blog (using a Bloglines account).

Blogging and RSS Feed are "all the rage" and here to stay. Make the time and effort to create a global classroom. It will increase the motivation and participation of your students, increase reading and writing in your classroom (important timely info) and allow you and your student to stay connected to timely cutting-edge information.


SmartBoard RSS Feeds

Check out this informative resource on Smartboards. Great for lessons and innovatove ideas.


This Just In!!! RSS Training Guide for Educators

I stumbled upon this excellent RSS training guide from Will Richardson. It is a step-by-step easy to follow "how to" manual for setting up a web aggregator account (he mainly discussed Blogline-which I also use) and subscribing to RSS feeds. He also looks at implementing RSS feeds into the classroom. A must read for anyone who is trying to turn their classroom into a global learning community.


Some Great RSS Feeds

I stumbled upon an excellent edublog recently and found that it contains some excellent info on RSS feeds. The blog is titles Techno Constructivist and it provides cutting-edge top-notch IT info. The entry that I linked to below contains a list of great RSS feeds (grouped by subject area).


And if you are in the market for just podcast here are 2 great places to find subject specific podcasts:

itunes.com (of course)

RSS Feed - In Plain English

Allow Commoncraft to explain RSS Feed. In my opinion, utilizing RSS feed in the classroom is an extremely effective way of globalizing your classroom. I cant think of a better way to open your classroom up to the cyber-world while making it fun and exciting for the kids. Allow the internet to come to your kids by subscribing to RSS feeds via a web aggregator - like Bloglines. Eliminate web surfing (which waste precious class time) and streamline your internet usage.

Check out this video from Commoncraft.


Professional Library now available

If you are looking for more information on I.T. trends or help with implementing effective instructional technology into your classroom, look no further. Stop in and check out United's new (and growing) I.T. Professional Library. You will find several of the hottest I.T. books out there along with several of the best I.T. magazines - all focused on improving tech literacy.

Monthly Magazine Selection:
i.e, Edutopia, Technology and Learning, The Journal, and eSchools News

Current Book Selection:
The World is Flat (Freidman), Leading Change (Kotter), On Leadership (Gardner), The Teaching Gap (Stigler/Hiebert), On Common Ground(DuFour/Eaker/DuFour)

Coming Soon:
We will be adding all of the books that are listed under the Shelfari Book list (located on the right side of this blog)

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. Bloglines.com 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.

3. Create a Bloglines account. It is simple. I swear by it.

Proxy Site Update!!!

After closer research, I found that there are currently 130 proxy sites (web circumventing tools) available online (today).
Here is a site that lists the "Top 100".


"We must work diligently just to stay one step behind"
A. Steinly


Staying One Step Behind the Kids- V Tunnel Alert

Just in from the front lines of the-
Edu-Cyber War: Kids v. Schools
Kids 1 - Schools 0.
No surprise. Today's digital learners are relentless and motivated - everything we want in our students. Unfortunately, the motivation I am speaking about involves circumventing firewalls and website blocking tools in order to reach the ultimate goal - unadulterated internet usage at school....... The tools I speak of are just simple websites that automatically connect students with any website (allowing them to go right around, beside, and over web-blocking systems). All you have to do is type a web address into the search/link window and wa-la.... instant access. Here is a list of the most popular "un-blocker" sites out there (I am sure there are more).

www.vtunnel.com - the most popular to date
Tech guys (and Dr. Koz) - get busy........ staying one step behind isnt easy.....