Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Items I've Gleaned from my PLN 2/17

Things shared by members of my in Diigo, Twitter, and my RSS feed.

How to Use Google Reader: Video Series from @eHow.
-get professional tips and advice on using web-based aggregators for reading Atom or RSS feeds while you're online or offline in this free instructional video series.

Thinkature Real time collaboration for the Web. Similar to Etherpad.

Unprofound Offers Royalty-Free, Public Domain Photos 

Facebook Is the Web’s Ultimate Timesink How much time do you spend on Facebook?

ABCya!  Word Cloud generator.  Gives you the option to save to your computer and to print out the cloud.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Facebook and Educators...Be Careful!

I saw in the paper this morning; "Teacher may lose job after derogatory comments about her students on Facebook" and I thought not again. It seems as if teachers are always getting in trouble over Facebook.  I know that's not the case, but sometimes it just seems that way.  

How ironic the story came out on the day I was scheduled to talk with teachers about Facebook.  I thought with the story in the paper I might get more teachers to show up for the session, but that wasn't the case.  Still less than 10% of the teaching staff showed up, but that is a different blog post.  (All of theses sessions are voluntary.)

The plan for today's session was to have a conversation bout some of  the risk associated with being on Facebook as well as how to check and adjust their privacy settings.   The conversation was good; we discussed  the expectations the public seems to have about teachers' private lives and the pros and cons of friending students.  But mostly we talked about how to check privacy settings.

I was concerned. It seemed as if some teachers were becoming scared of Facebook and were talking about de-activating their sites; of course this is not what I intended.  I tried to help the teachers see the good points and that they should not be afraid to participate in social networking sites.  Educators just need to use common sense, and always remember...even if your site is private, always act as if it is public.

Resources I shared with the teachers.

8 Steps to Regain Control of your Facebook Privacy, and 8 MORE Steps to Regain Control of your Facebook Privacy  from

A Teacher's Guide to Using Facebook by Bernadetta Rego, B. Com, B. Ed.

10 Privacy Settings Every Facebook User Should Know  from

Monday, February 15, 2010

Items I Gleaned from my PLN 2/15

Things shared by others in Diigo, Twitter, and my RSS feed.

Social Studies Skills Tutor:  This site provides tutorials to help students learn some of the skills required to be successful in a Social Studies class.  A site from the United Kingdom focusing on helping teens understand the importance of good digital citizenship.  Site focuses on Social Networking sites and Cyberbullying. 

A Thin Line from MTV a site that helps with Cyberbullying, Sexting and other Digital Citizenship issues.

Pixton Do it Yourself Comics:  This site allows you to create comics.  This would be a good alternative for some projects.

Something to think about.  Don't Teach Your Kids this Stuff. Please?  From Scott McLeod's Dangerously Irrelevant Blog The Safest Way To Share YouTube videos. SafeShare.TV removes distracting and offensive elements around YouTube videos, and it also allows you to crop videos before sharing them.

3 Types of Web-based Instructional Activites (w/examples) Posted by Amanda Kenuam at Learning Today blog.

5 Questions for Planning Successful Web-Based Activities Posted by Amanda Kenuam at Learning Today blog.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Creating an On-Line class. What is the best way?

I have been collaborating with a teacher in our district as she puts together an online Psychology course. We've had many discussions about the best way to put the course together that would keep the students actively engaged.We haven't really come up with an idea of the perfect on line class.  But what we both know is; putting together an on-line course is very time consuming.  Probably more so than in a face-to-face setting.

Some of the things she is doing in the online class to simulate what she did in Face-to Face class:
  • Uses Blackboard and Ning as platforms for course distribution
  • Uses i-Spring to add audio to her notes.
  • Uses Hippocampus and YouTube for related videos
  • Collaborative work using EtherPad
  • Having the students Blog
  • Using Adobe Connect to work with students
With all of this technology she still doesn't feel like the class is what it could be if she was there with them.

My questions:  Can you create an online class that is truly engaging, interactive and has the ability to capture the learners attention?  Can we create this in a face to face class?

I was re-watching the video below and made me think.  The online classes presented now to students (at least the ones I am seeing)  are like the regular escalator.  They get the job done but they are just not that exciting.  What I think is possible is an online class that is engaging and interactive like the stairs on the left.  It will require more work by both the educator as well as the learner.  And it is going to require some good technology.

Give me some feedback on what you think makes a good online class.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Word Clouds and Vocabulary Tools

I have recently been playing around with some tools looking at text and words. Here's a Google Presentation on three great resources that can be helpful to students. Wordle, WordSift, Word It Out and EasyDefine.