Rambling Reflections

An online diary of my ‘online findings’, thoughts and experiences about the use of web 2.0 tools in my class, school and district.

Techy Tips

Techy Tips for Not So Techy Teachers

TeamPresent?id=ah72qvg2hjwz_19gzmxjdfk&fe=false

Evaluating Information on the Web

From Langwitches comes this post, Don’t Believe Everyting You See Online.

Why is our first impulse to believe something that we see, read or hear? Especially if it is in print, online or comes in an “officially” looking packaging?

How do we teach ourselves and our students, that another impulse has to follow the first one immediately: Evaluate…critical thinking… learn to listen for and to your own “gut feeling”… cross referencing…

Information literacy is an important part of being literate.  Being able to know how to read and write alone, just doesn’t “cut it anymore”.

There are many useful references and links in this post.

Another useful resource I’ve just come across is Identify Bias. This is an Austalian site which has a lot of relevant info in regards to research skills.

Great Slideshows

I recently came across a blog post with reference to the slideshow, Eating the Elephant created by Rachel Boyd. After watching this I investigated other slideshows which Rachel had created. Here is a sampling. There are some great ideas here!

Do You Teach or Do You Educate?

“Education is not the filling of a vessel, but the kindling of a flame.” – Socrates

Sir Ken Robinson

Have you seen this?

Thanks to Allanah for alerting me to this

The Lazy Bloggers Post

Oh My Gosh! I just had a terrible scare when I thought I have not updated this since they invented sliced bread… You would not believe I spend all my time in front of a computer. But I’m sorry you’ll just have to take my word for it..

I am totally exhausted with discovering time doesn’t stand still, commitments, just generally being asleep, dreaming and chancing to every man and his dog, my day starts with the dawn patrol from 4am to way past dusk. I am convinced that I absolutely deserve this after all my hard work. life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get.

I make a solemn vow to post at least once a month. Seriously! Don’t hold your breath though, you’re likely to turn blue..

The Lazy Bloggers Post Generator

Updated Firefox

While I haven’t posted here for ages I have been busy encouraging and commenting on my students’ blogs, updating our class wiki and generally keeping on top of all my responsibilities at school.

After a week of major Firefox frustrations I updated to Firefox 3 this weekend. The reason I hadn’t updated earlier was my beloved Unplug addon is not available for the latest version of Firefox but I have found that Download Helper is more than adequate in replacing it and it even converts the flv files to avi ones!

An even better experience has been Google Reader. Following the advice from someone, somewhere on the web I installed Greasemonkey, which for some reason I hadn’t bothered with before. This allowed me to update my Gmail and Google Reader with addon scripts (at least I think that’s what they are). Well, Gmail is not a lot different to what I had played with before with Stylish but Google Reader now allows me to add comments to the actual blogs that I subscribe to. Wow I don’t need to leave my reader and I can actually view the blog within my reader window. While others may have been using this new function for ages its a newbie for me and one I really greatful for.

Overall I am really impressed with Firefox 3, even though I lost some recent bookmarks in the upgrade!

Another new tool I have had a play with is Feedly. I installed the downloaded requirement and went through the process of putting all my RSS feeds into Feedly which meant that all my bloglines feeds (yes I had been using both Google Reader and Bloglines) were integrated into Google Reader. While I was initially doubtful at the wisdom of this (there is an undo function available in Feedly) I now have no regrets, especially with my ugraded functionality in Google Reader.  I don’t know if I will use Feedly though – so far I have been unable to integrate Twitter into Feedly and can’t really see the use for another ‘homepage’ type interface. Maybe someone can convince me of the usefulness of Feedly.

Link to an article about Feedly by MakeUseOf.com

Human Network

Found via my Diigo friends bookmarks

What Will You Do Today?

From Vicki Davis, Cool Cat Teacher,

Phenomenal video! What a great way to summarize the learning in a professional development course for a school! What a great way to let the teachers at your school understand what all of this means.

This video was created to inspire teachers to integrate technology into their curriculum and celebrate great teachers.

We’re Online!

As I’m writing this I’m not quite sure what to title this post but I guess it is a sort of celebration. We are in the third year of our Ministry of Education ICT contract and as the lead teacher for our school it has been **!! hard work motivating teachers to consider using online tools, like wikis and blogs, with their classes. Having said that, this term I have introduced all staff to our new Learning Management System, Ultranet, and have been totally surprised at their acceptance of having a class presence on the web and their readiness to set up a class page for public access.

This is just a start! A few teachers, myself included, have just linked what they were dong with wikis and blogs but now the whole staff is finally online! The next goal is to get teachers deciding what tool they will use to develop e-portfolios within their class. Options include using the feature within Ultranet (which teachers have not yet been exposed to), blogs or wikis. This is a focus for term 3!

If you are reading this from somewhere other than NZ please vist our school site ultranet.teawamutuint.school.nz so that our staff can see that having online presence does get interest from people around the world.

If you can’t access it please do try again in a few days – It is presently hosted on our server and tonight I can’t access it from home via my PC but it’s OK on the Mac!

Digital Natives

This is an interesting video from Free Technology for Teachers, a new blog I have found.

This fantastic video (which I found via Dr. Scott McLeod) completely captures and summarizes my philosophy about 21st century education and teaching with 21st century technology. My favorite quote from the video in regards to education with 21st century technology is “death of education but it’s the dawn of learning.”

One thing that every teacher and, more importantly, administrator should take away from this video is that the current web 2.0 space is a space where students can collect data, collaborate, verify and challenge information. The Internet makes available to today’s students far more information than was available ten years ago. Yes, students can find misinformation, but they more options to challenge or verify the information they find than students have ever had before in our history. As educators we have to take advantage of the exciting new tools tat are at our disposal, if we don’t we’re putting our students at a disadvantage in the global market.

Links

ABCya! The Leader in Kids Educational Computer Games and Activities
A selection of interactive activities sorted into grade levels (up to fifth grade).

ScrnShots
Upload, tag & share your screenshots. ScrnShots is the best way to share your screenshots of web and screen based design. Upload as many screenshots as you want, embed them in your blog, discuss them with your contacts and become a better designer!

Spectra Visual Newsreader
Read, play and interact with the news. Allows you to select the news channel you want to see.

BT Better World:Molly on Board
Aimed at children in KS2, the resource helps develop good communication skills and team work, as Molly encourages her crew to be good at listening, describing, and checking understanding.
Originally a comic book, ‘Molly and the Pirate’ has been expanded into a series of flipcharts. Each flipchart’s menu includes teacher’s notes detailing how to use the materials, suggested links to the curriculum, and pictures from the story in a Word document enabling teachers and
students to create their own comics or work materials.

Unofficial Tips and Tricks for Wikispaces
How to best use wikispaces, how to add or use other services together with WS for the best result.

Flash Banner Now
This service will help you to build a free Flash banner for your personal web page, such as MySpace profile or blog.

180 Technology Tips
Tips based on Windows, Internet, Outlook, PowerPoint, Excel and Word. Also has links to other sites that offer technology tips.

Comic Creator
Easy to use online comic creator

National Gallery of Art NGAkids Art Zone
Interactive art that you can make online

Apture
With just one line of code, publishers and bloggers can quickly and easily turn flat pages of text into a compelling multimedia experience. Apture gives content creators the power to find and incorporate relevant multimedia items directly into their pages.

You Tube Downloader
It’s software that allows you to download videos from YouTube and many others and convert them to other video formats. The program is easy to use, just specify the URL for the video you want to download and click the Ok button!

Adobe Air

Showcase, tutorials and resources for Adobe Air.

Real World Math
Using Google Earth in the Math Curriculum

Using Google Docs in the Classroom

Teaching Ideas for Primary Teachers A UK website

Slideboom

Share Live PowerPoint Presentations Online

SlideRocket

SlideRocket is a new application that will transform the way people create, manage, and share presentations on the web and we’d love your help in getting it ready for launch.