Tag Archives: michael

It’s Free, Engaging, Creative, and Project Based : Make or Take A Virtual Fieldtrip or Book Review and “Meet Me At The Corner”

Wow, what a response I recieved on both the Blog and Wiki on the Intel free resources for assessing 21st Century skills. If you liked that, I promise you will enjoy some upcoming postings on simular materials. This new posting has been designed to get the right side of your brain flowing by introducing you to a creative site designed to engage students. It also addresses standards, promotes Project Based Learning, and enhances 21st Century Skills. I reccomend you take a look at the my review, and the site. I am certain it will bring you to an amazing corner that has been produced especially for students. As always feel free to respond, email ,and visit my 21centyredtech Wiki. In fact, take a moment and join! – Mike (mgorman@sacs.k12.in.us)

Every once and a while I am introduced to a truely unique and innovative site that has great implications for 21st century learning. The most recent site that fits this bill is one called Meet Me At The Corner. The site is dynamic and interactive, encouraging  individual expression and participation through video submissions from children worldwide. Donna Guthrie, the website producer, is committed to creating a community of children, who learn the art of self-expression and storytelling through video. Guthrie is not new to education. She is the author of more than twenty award-winning books for children. Donna has also taught kindergarten through fifth grade in both public and private schools in Pennsylvania and Colorado and is a visiting professor at Colorado College where she teaches children’s writing.

The website focus is geared toward  students and standards  in elementary and middle school. At present time, Meet Me At The Corner has a collection of close to one hundred  short virtual fieldtrip episodes  hosted by students and filmed on location.  The episodes are written and video is filmed by students. The footage is then sent to Meet Me At The Corner, and Donns’s crew edits and posts a final production that is truely professional and engaging for students. In keeping with educational standards, each episode has a related material that has questions to answer from the video, creative activities,  weblinks that focus on the topic, and possible books for reading. Topics are fund and of high interest. One interesting example includes  juggling from an expert in Brooklyn, be sure to scroll down below the video to see resources to integrate. How about this interview with an astronomer in San Diego? The episode and related resources could most certainly take care of some science standards. Write and submit a fieldtrip, and some of the language arts standards are covered. If students collaborate as a group on a project, then those all important 21st Century Skills can also be addressed. Take a moment and have students explore and uncover their community resources. Perhaps your students will find an author such as Robert Sabuda, a famous pop-up book engineer and artist, and create an episode like this  for an authentic audience to watch. Even more resources and information is found at the Learning Corner.

Don’ pass by the Contest Area of the website. Here you will find contests related to current events such as Arbor Day, the holidays, and an on-going writing and poetry contest. This inspiring episode  entitled Paws For Poetry sponsored by the New York Humane Society and Meet Me At The Corner should spark some great ideas. It may even get your school community thinking about possible partners. When visiting the Episode Page you can serach for videos by topic. My favorite topic is the  Big Apple Book Review. This area contains a small collection of books of elementary and middle school books reviewed by students and then produced by Meet Me At The Corner staff. While the collection is small, it provides a great opportunity for students to submit a favorite book and build the collection. Students get a chance to learn the difference between a report and a review. They can work in groups enhancing Project Based Learning as they aquire a wide range of 21st century skills. You will note that only first names are used in the productions. Take a look at this Video Episode that shows how to submit a video podcast for final editing and posting by Meet Me At The Corner staff.

In conclusion, be sure to read the User Agreement on the website  and also check you school district policy on submitting student work. It is important to be aware and abide by policies and procedures both at the site and in your school district. The site has a designated area to sign up and read more about submitting student work. Meet Me At The Corner really does  provide students with some amazing, engaging, and relevant resources. It also invites teachers and  students to become contributing members.  I know the teachers I have already presented the site to have walked away with enthusiasm and excitement. Perhaps you will, Meet Us At The Corner!

Have a wonderful week and continue to visit my partner 21centuryedtech Wiki! I am constantly adding resources that I feel are the best for 21st Century educators as they transform instruction in their classroom! While you are at the sight, take a moment to join and become part of a new community of educators! – Mike (mgorman@sacs.k12.in.us)

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The Googal in Google : I Didn’t Know Google Could Do That!

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It was many years ago that I was introduced to the internet search engine. It amazed me that a website could search through the entire web and pull up web pages from my keywords. While I got my start with Altavista, I soon found myself excited by both the simplicity and complexity provided by Google. Wikipedia defines Googal as “the large number 10100, that is, the digit 1 followed by one hundred zeros in decimal representation. The term was coined in 1938 by Milton Sirotta (1929–1980), nephew of American mathematician Edward Kasner, when he was nine years old”. The people at Google understood the meaning Googal would bring. In fact new words have appeared in the English language such as googled, googling, googler, and possibly even googlist.

In this Blog Posting I would like to investigate a small portion of the new  Googal that is found in Google. Most people are aware of Google Docs, Google Earth, Google Maps, Google Flickr, Google You Tube and the Google Search Engine. It is amazing to explore some of the lesser known areas, beta projects, experiments in the making, and those too new for the (googal) of people to have found yet. Let’s explore!

Google Options – Wonder Wheel and Timeline

First, let’s look at the Google Search Engine itself. Have you ever clicked on that Show Options Button?  If you have not done it lately, now is the time.  Click on the Show Options Button under the search and you will see a bunch of options. One of the neatest options introduced in May of 2009  is the Wonder Wheel. When it is clicked, users get a graphical display of their search. A great way for students to expand search terms!  Directly to the right on the results page  are websites related to the wheel. Click on a spoke of the wheel and you get a new wheel and new links related to that spoke.

wheel2

While in the options menu check out the  Timeline Option. This can can be a neat educational tool. Type in iPod and you will get a timeline of significant events in the iPod’s history. Feel free to explore the option window and also notice you can  Hide Options at anytime.

Google Squared

Another new tool released in the Spring of 2009 is Google Squared (just type in http://www.google.com/squared in your browser). Google describes this tool as a way to collect multiple  facts on a subject from the web. Google Squared then  presents them in an organized collection, similar to a spreadsheet. You can even customize and export results to Excel. Best of all, for students,  it  even includes pictures. Read more about it at  Google’s Blog.

elements

Google News Timeline

Are your students following a news event? How about looking at an event in history? Then a new service from Google called Google News Timeline is a great resource. Google describes this service as  a web application that easily organizes search results by date. Google puts the news events in a  graphical timeline filled with links and pictures.  Data sources include recent and historical news, scanned newspapers and magazines, blog posts, sports scores, and even information relating to current  media, such as music, albums, and movies. Check out the capabilities as described in the Google Information Site.  Take a moment to view the example below that displays  how students can even find primary sources in news history using Google News Timeline.

hawaii

Google Images – More Options with Similar Images and Creative Commons

While students have access to images under “fair use guidelines ” there are still limits to usage. This is especially true  if projects are to be shared online.  Also, educators may have the need to share an image on the web via school web page, blog, or wiki. This is where the ability to use pictures created under “creative commons” comes in handy. Check out this Google July 2009 Blog that explains new features in the advanced settings for image filters. It is a great way to use images others have created, and still stay within copyright. Google has also introduced Similar Images  Search. First, search for a picture , next use Similar Images  Search to find more pictures  that compliment the original search. Also be  sure to note that there is a safe search option in Google.  It  should be set on the strict filtering option when using Google Images and even for a regular Google Web Search in the classroom.

Google Listen

Want to get more use out of your portable devices ? In August of 2009 Google released Google Listen. Google describes it as ” getting more power from your Android-powered device”.  Google Listen allows you to search, subscribe, download and stream. The user can determine what to listen to by  subscribing to programs and  using search words.  Google Listen will take this user information and create a personalized audio-magazine.  At this time, Google Listen is indexing thousands of popular English-only audio sources. Check out the fact sheet and try a download.

Google Sets

Although Google Sets has been around a few years it is a little known product that can be fun to use. Google Sets was  one of the very first applications produced by Google Labs. This awesome little search tool allows the user  to automatically create sets of items from just a few examples. These  user made sets identify  related items on the web.  Predict relationships between words and construct either large  sets or small sets. It is a great tool for brainstorming, seeing relationships, or just figuring out what is missing. It is a surprisingly  intuitive interface, one that will have you attempting to see if it knows what you are thinking. On a recent exploration I entered lions, panthers, bears and was given a set of mammals. However, when I entered Detroit Lions, Chicago Bears,  Carolina Panthers  I was shown a set of NFL Teams. It even knows the Seven Dwarfs from motion picture,  Snow White!

While I did not supply a googal of information, I do hope you are now more familiar with  a little bit more of the googal of resources found in Google. As you explore the website I am sure you will continue to find even more ways to connect Google with today’s digital learner.  Please visit me on my wiki as I continue to  promote the use of free and inexpensive resources at http://21centuryedtech.wikispaces.com/, and enjoy googling!

- Mike

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Educators : Welcome To The Future

Image from above - NASA

Image from Above - NASA

Do not miss the opportunity to view the video from the link posted at the bottom of this article post. This is a shortened post so that you may take the time to view what  is a truly inspirational message.


It is the mission of this Blog to bring you content, ideas, and practical ideas to enhance 21st Century Skills and educational transformation using technology. It is equally important to provide readers with content for reflection, motivation, and encouragement.  As we encounter a new school year I want to dedicate this posting to educational possibilities. Our educational future involves everyone including community stakeholders, educators, and students.  Recently I came a across a video produced by country music singer and songwriter Brad Paisley entitled Welcome to the Future. When I first heard the lyrics I felt they provided a thought provoking opportunity for  educators . Upon viewing the video it came apparent to me that the message is an inspiration to 21st Century Education. It reflects transformation, progress,  diversity, technology, universal accomplishment, and hope.  I know there have been a wide range of videos that can be found emphasizing the need to think different, engage the digital native, transform education, think outside the box, be prepared for the stopped escalator, and question what we know about global education.  This video however is the most powerful video I have come across in recent years.  I know you will feel the same way and I applaud singer and song writer Brad Paisley for a positive message that resonates  an enthusiasm for the future, and the promise that education can bring.  Be sure to reflect on the  well written lyrics as you encounter this awesome and powerful digital story. Please check out the link below! Let me know what you think!

Once again, welcome to the new school year and our  future!

Link – Welcome To The Future by  – Brad Paisley

Update – I have created a student activity sheet that goes with this video. It is a great activity that allows students to investigate a video for meaning. I have tried to include a process that facilitates a collaborative effort at investigating lyrics, video, and plot. It also asks students to write an individual paragraph stating the meaning. A final suggestion entails having the students feed their paragraph into Wordle. If you try it please let me know how it goes. It can be found at my 21centuryedtech wiki at the bottom of the Welcome To The Future Post as a Word Document.

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I Can Back Off My Blogging, Turn Down My Tweeting, And Even Wrap Up My Wiki, But I Can’t Wane My Wordling

wordle

I have long heard of Word Webbing, Words Diagrams, Word Art, but how about a Word Cloud? By now you may be either familiar with a Word Cloud, have googled the Weather Channel to get a better idea, or maybe have taken a look out your window to see if there really is such a thing. The concept of a Word Cloud maintains that  “If a picture paints a thousand words, then what can a thousand words paint?”  The answer of course is a Wordle. Yes, Wordles are amazing Word Clouds that can be created by all.  On a recent  internet surf I found that this Word Cloud holds the sky as the limit while providing an abundance of  sunshine for the educational setting.

So, Wordle is an application that creates Word Clouds (pictures made of words) based on the frequency of the words that are entered in the Wordle Site. A great explanation can be found at Wikipedia and Many Eyes. The University of Oxford even defines a word cloud as “Graphical representation or word frequency that presents a picture of the most common words used with those used more often displayed larger”. As I reflected on Wordle Word Clouds it occurred to me that they were a reflection in themselves. They display our very words and in a sense give an analytical look at who we are, and what we write. This is where my Wordle Addiction first began. I immediately needed to find my biography on a website and “Wordle It”. Wow, what an awesome idea, kids write a biography and Wordle their biography! My addiction did not end there. How about writing a paragraph about my favorite college football team and another on  one I despise the most. Wordle them both separately and compare, then contrast! Michigan and Ohio State provided a great lesson and it is hard to walk away without understanding the standard of compare and contrast. Imagine the possible contrasts between the Red Sox and the Yankees! My need to Wordle grew as I discovered summaries of author’s books, main ideas of textbook paragraphs, collaborative thinking of groups of people, menus from restaurants,  favorite lyrics from songs, an entire poem or ballad, descriptions of characters from books, movie summaries, and  weather reports from across the nation. I found that editorials that I agreed with made great Wordles!

While I never ran out of my own ideas I had the need to surf the internet to find how others were creating their own Wordles. I found a collection of famous and current presidential speeches . In fact, the Boston Globe published an analysis of McCain’s and Obama’s  presidential speeches.  How about a website that  provides a Wordle Quiz to guess song titles.  Take a look at these famous speeches through history as viewed through a Wordle.  You can even Wordle your Twitter as displayed at this site.  A country’s constitution may be an insightful Wordle, perhaps even two contrasting constitutions as displayed in the USA/India Wordle.  I looked hard and could not find Wordles to match ingredients found in food. Being a past science teacher I desired a Wordle  displaying the make up of a compound using the chemical equation and element word frequency. Unfortunately no such Wordle!

Which leads to using Wordle in the classroom, if you hadn’t already noticed I had started this topic. Your  imagination and creativity is the best approach, but if you need a jump start some of these websites may help. You may want to check out 20 ideas at the Clever Sheep. How about this slide presentation created by Todd Barret that discusses Thirty-eight Ways To Use Wordle.  The Wordle Users Group also has a wealth of ideas and information if you are willing to dig through the forum. These Ten Insights come from the U.K give an abundance of ideas to build on. I am excited about extending my new addiction with other past addictions. By multitasking these addictions I could super impose a Wordle over an existing graphic or picture. Think of the implications in animating your Wordle. Both of these are ideas that I will be exploring in the future on my 21centuryedtech wiki that is hosted separate from this blog. Check it out!

In the mean time start Wordling! Be sure to learn more about Wordle and how to use it at at  Many Eyes. Take a look at the video at the bottom of this posting from Teacher Tube. It is truly amazing and rewarding to come up with ideas for your own personal Wordles while you explore the many classroom applications. I have yet to see a Wordle of curriculum standards but I am sure it exists! Of course, I couldn’t resist doing a Wordle of this Blog which I shared at the top of this post. I hope you enjoyed it, and yes I will be sure to report my newly made  Wordle of this blog post to my wiki and even send out a short tweet! But first I have a new Wordle to make.

Happy Wordling!

Michael Gorman

Wordle Tutorial

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