The power of collaboration

Uber librarian Joyce Valenza has created an extremely helpful wiki listing copyright free music and art sites for student projects.  Since it’s a wiki, anyone using it can also contribute sites to it, and create as she calls it, an “uberwikipathfinder” for copyright free media.  The wiki’s sidebar lists links for music, clipart, and even image creation sites. Recently one of our teachers asked me in a workshop why I like blogging.  This is why–through the power of reading someone’s blog, I discover a tool that I can […]

Parents and Google Docs

The Wall Street Journal had an interesting feature today about various web 2.0 tools like Google Docs and Spreadsheets and Zoho that parents can use to help their children with homework remotely. It especially caught my attention because the Gregg La Montagne in the article lives in the same household I do and happens to be my husband. 😉   (There’s also a nice mention of Steve Hargadon and Vicki Davis.)

Ubiquitous wiki use

Newsweek Online has a fascinating article about how the use of blogs and wikis is spreading across government agencies, businesses, etc.   “In what’s been dubbed the “wiki workplace,” a growing number of organizations have begun shifting from traditional hierarchical structures to self-organized and collaborative networks, using wiki software—a basket of technologies that include wikis, blogs and other tools—to foster innovation across organizational and geographic boundaries. Executives say the new tools make it easier for teams to collaborate and share information, and to get projects up […]

Removing the barriers

One “techie” tool that has got me jazzed this summer is Skype.     If you haven’t used Skype, it allows you to “phone” or “conference call” others from your computer to anyone anywhere;  it also has a chat room feature which you can use along with the conference call or separately. Some great features include the ability to log or bookmark the chat or call, so that it can be read or heard later, for your own reference or to share with others. In the last couple of […]

Speaking of student voices. . .

  Speaking of student voices, a couple of months ago, I had posted a request from Edutopia on our student blog, asking students what technologies they use at home that they wish they used at school. We had several responses on the blog, which I sent to Edutopia, and to my delight today, I stumbled over the resulting Sky’s the Limit article  at Edutopia’s site, where several of our students’ ideas were included, and one of our students, Christina, was quoted!   I’m very excited for them!   (Though […]

A few cool new tools

For some summertime “play,” here are a few new tools that I found on Karen Janowski’s blog about assistive technology– She has posted a very extensive list of helpful study skill types of tools. My favorites from her list? is a free brainstorming tool.   We have Inspiration on our district computers, but what about when students get home?  This tool can help them create mindmaps, complete brainstorming activities, and organize their thoughts.  The added advantage?  They can share their mind map with others, either […]

Searching in visual style

When you are searching for sites that are helpful to use with students, it’s such a slow process, looking through each site to see if the graphics, design, layout, etc., are appealing for younger students.  During a workshop I was teaching today on Pageflakes (great visual tool for introducing RSS feeds–Thanks Will Richardson for sharing it), we ran across a very helpful tool I hadn’t seen before, Pagebull. Pagebull is a visual search site–it displays the results of your searches visually.  For example, I did a search on […]

Teaching “kismet”

I love it when teaching “kismet” happens, when you accidentally find things that are useful right when you need them.   I’m teaching a workshop tomorrow on using wikis in the classroom, and today just by happenstance as I was reading through several blogs, I ran across three items about wikis that I’ll be sharing tomorrow. Earlier today at the Communication Nation, I ran across this mind mapping tool, Wiki MindMap, that can be used with Wikipedia to outline any topic.  It opens up the topic map as you […]

Ipods in the classroom

  We’ve requested six iPods from our PTO for use in the classroom, for checking out audiobooks to students, and for podcasting use, and they’re arriving next week. Want some ideas how to use them in the classroom?  Check out this incredible presentation by Gloria Woods from the Bolles School at NECC last summer and at FETC for a creative wealth of ideas for using iPods across the curriculum! (A few of the slides wouldn’t play for me, but the presentation is chock full of ideas!) photo credit:

Baby with the bathwater?

A new study from the U.S. Dept. of Ed relating to technology is going to stir up some conversation. The findings, as described in the Washington Post, were that after studying standardized math and reading scores:  Educational software, a $2 billion-a-year industry that has become the darling of school systems across the country, has no significant impact on student performance, according to a study by the U.S. Department of Education. However, if you read to the very end of the article, it lists the software that […]