Tag Archives: student

Free Webinar On Scratch… A Free Program From MIT… Imagine, Program, Share!

Are you  itching for ways to engage and empower students and their inherent creativity? Scratch will bring instant relief to a classroom of kids  ready to collaborate, innovate, and create! Please join me as I present some Scratch Basics while informing educators how to get students Scratching across the curriculum! This Scratch Webinar sponsored by the awesome people at the  Siemens Stem Academy and the Discovery Education Network is bound to create a rash of enthusiasm. I also wish to thank in advance both Steve Dembo and Hall Davidson, two of the very best, for the moderation they will be providing. The date and time is Tuesday, November 30 at 7:00 PM EST! Please join me, and while you are at it, subscribe to this 21centuryedtech Blog by either RSS or email. You can also check out my 21centuryedtech Wiki or follow me on Twitter. Most of all, please register for this free Scratch Webinar and join me for a journey into 21 Century Learning! Have a great week! – Mike

When was the last time you got a good smell of a Crayola Crayon? It really doesn’t matter the color! Just the scent will turn on the imaginative juices possibly lost since Kindergarten!  Or perhaps you remember the hours you spent with Tinker Toys. An adventure filled with a constant flow of  unchecked time  building, tweaking, and tinkering!  Then there was the Easy Bake Oven. A true childhood dream of combining, remixing, and creating. The brilliant inventors at MIT’s Life long Kindergarten Group have found a way to repackage, reinvent, and integrate these same concepts and come up with an ingenious package called Scratch. It is a mix of on-line experiences,  computer programing, animation, game creation, multi media, fine arts, science, social studies, language arts, math, and collaboration. Join me in this Scratch Webinar to discover why Scratch is a must for every 21st Century classroom!

Do you want to build a game? Scratch can do it. Do you want to create a work of art. Count on Scratch to allow you to fit together the Master Pieces! Do you want to discover mathematic? You can count on Scratch to make sense out of numbers and number theory. Do you want to tell a story? Scratch can do that with pictures, sounds, and movement! Do you wish to experience sound and music? Scratch will carry quite a tune!  There is simplicity for elementary, challenges for middle school, and complexity for the older students. Educators can help students Scratch their way through any level and curriculum.

Perhaps your school is fascinated by STEM, or intent on pulling in the fine arts by creating STEAM! Possibly your classroom is venturing into the world of Project and Problem Based Learning. It may be the 21st Century Skills that you are building with students each day. Scratch can be used as a tool to promote all of these awesome  avenues that promote student centered high level learning!

This really is a must attend webinar where you will learn…

1. Scratch basics

2. Why you must incorporate Scratch

3. How to get the free program and more

4. How to get students started

5. How to get students far ahead of you

6. Opportunities in every curriculum at all levels

7. Ways to promote 21st Century Skills

8. Methods to promote community and on-line collaboration

9. The art of creating, remixing, and innovating

10. Ways to explore resources at MIT and beyond

You will discover how to get students a basic beginning and later get them involved in animation, drawing, interactive art, games, math, music, simulations, and even a possible contest. You will view student creations while listening to their experiences. Most of all this webinar will introduce you to a vast amount of resources and ideas to send you and your students on a quest that will allow them to imagine, program, and share! I will even show you ways to bring Scratch outside of the computer’s environment allowing interaction in awesome, inspiring, and relevant ways!   While this webinar will only “Scratch” the surface, it will provide the foundation to incorporate Scratch into your curriculum and get students excited about STEM education and opportunities.

Please send and retweet  this post to educators across the internet and share with other colleagues in your building! When you sign up for the Scratch Webinar, be sure to also subscribe to this Blog. Be on the look out for my up-coming post  bringing you links to resources uncovered in the Scratch Webinar. In fact, that is just one more reason to turn on the RSS feed or email subscription to my 21centuryedtech Blog. You will also find information and resources at my 21centuryedtech Wiki and I hope you are itching to follow me on Twitter at mjgormans!  Again, please join tthe educators that will participate in this free Scratch Webinar from Siemens, Discovery Education, and yours truly! I look forward to sharing and learning from you! I am also excited to view your comments, replies, and back channel chat on Tuesday, November 30 at 7:00 PM EST! As always, thanks for stopping by and keep progressing, as you continue to transform your classroom for the 21st Century! – Mike

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Part 3 … Amazing And Valuable Techniques Using Google Advanced Search

Welcome to the third post in my  Googal In Google Series giving an in depth view of the Google Advanced Search Engine. In this third of a three part posting, I will cover some great techniques many people do not know or seldom use in the Google Advanced Search As always,  feel free to subscribe to this Blog by RSS or email, follow me on twitter at (@mjgormans), and also discover some great resources at my 21centuryedtech Wiki!  You will also find my other postings at Tech and Learning Magazine. Also please mark November 30, at 7PM on your calendar. I will be presenting a free webinar about MIT’s free program, Scratch, in conjunction with Discovery Education. Please click here to learn even more! Now let’s advance our knowledge and uncover even more great techniques in using the Google Advanced Search!  Have a great week – Mike

I sure hope you enjoyed the other three posts in this Google Search Series. If you missed them then check out the links below.

Ten Items All Should Know When Using Google Basic Search…. Far From Basic!

Part 1… The Google Advanced Search.. Basic Student Skills And Learning


Part 2 … The Google Advanced Search.. Uncover Awesome Searching Secrets For Teaching And Learning

This is the third in a series of articles on the Google Advanced Search. In this post I wish to cover that part of the advanced search you see when clicking on the blue highlighted area called Date, usage rights, numeric range, and more. You will find a host of valuable tools to help make any search, even better.

Date (How Recent The Page Is)

This is very valuable for finding timely information. Students looking up a current event or news breaking story may want to use this feature. Remember, the default is (anytime). It is also a great way to emphasize whether currency of information is relevant to the research topic.

Usage Rights

This is a goal mine for those wishing to use, share, modify, or remix information.  Also, a great way to teach students about copyright and creative commons rights. It is important to observe the rules governing how an item may be shared, and to make students aware of this. This is especially helpful when searching for pictures in the Advanced Image Search. It allows the user to search for pictures that can be used in their own publications. Please note that even with permission the creator of any material should always be credited.

Where Your Keywords Show Up

This is a tool that can be real useful in narrowing down results. First, the default is (Anywhere In Page).  This includes all the possibilities, but may actually be to broad in scope. When getting a large number of returns, one could narrow down returns by requesting that keywords be listed in title. This will narrow the search and possibly lead users to a more specific subject, since keywords in a title tend to emphasize content in an article. In the same way, URL and Links to a page may lead the researcher to a more specific and relevant information.

Region

This is one of my very favorite tools in the Advanced Search. This is a great way to teach students about bias and regional differences. This part of the search engine allows the student to look up web pages published in a specific region or country. This technique is great for current event, allowing the searcher to get information from the country of origin. A teacher should encourage students to compare and contrast the same news story coming from two different areas or regions. Students can study a subject, such as the American Revolution, from a British, French, Russian, or United States perceptive. What is Russia’s take on the Space Race,  Cuba’s thought’s on the Bay of Pigs, or China’s research on Global Warming?  This really is a  tool that a teacher can build a unit around and is very valuable for teaching 21st Century skills.

Numeric Range

Perhaps a researcher wishes to search between a set number of years, such as 1800-1900. Specifying a dollar amount such as $250 – $500 or searching for a distance range 10 miles – 100 miles could be valuable in finding needed information. A student may even wish to look  up a range of page numbers. These are just some of the ways that numeric range can be used in an Advanced Search.

SafeSearch

As the name implies, Google attempts to determine the integrity of a web site. If a website is considered unacceptable Google will not list it. This is a good tool to have turned on for students at both school and home.

Page Specific Tools

These are both very useful tools. A user that really finds a particular site useful may want to enter that pages’s URL into the Find Pages Similar To The Page line. This may lead to other sites that provide needed research information.

Using the Find Pages That Link To The Page may also lead the user to other useful sites. This Link To The Page tool can also be used to evaluate a website by determining the number, and type of pages linking to it. In fact, I teach people to use Find Pages That Link To The Page when evaluating Web Pages using what I call  Good Links.  (Starting with a space before entering the address in the Find Pages That Link To The Page form  will yield different and sometimes better results)  You can also learn more about web evaluation in my upcoming Evaluating a Web Page Series. I am certain it will be a series you will want to share with your students and other teachers.

Thanks for joining me in this third article uncovering the Google Advanced Search. Feel free to print this and use it with your students. Please share this posting URL with other educators and encourage them to subscribe!  Prepare yourself for my Evaluating a Web Page Series which I promise will be a hit. Please take a moment to comment and subscribe to this blog by RSS or email, share with others, and as always follow me on twitter (@mjgormans). Please remember to join me at Discovery Education for my webinar entitled Learn, Create, and Innovate with Scratch. Until next time… transform, educate, and inspire! – Mike

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Part 1… The Google Advanced Search.. Basic Student Skills And Learning

Welcome to another post that is a new entry in my Googal In Google Series. In fact, I was ecstatic about the enthusiastic responses from my  Ten Items All Should Know When Using Google Basic Search… Far From Basic posting. (If you didn’t see it, give it a click.) In this first of a three part posting I will cover some great things to know about Google Advanced Search. I will even try to convince you that perhaps you will increase student understanding by teaching them to search with the Advanced Search Page! As always,  feel free to subscribe to this Blog by RSS or email, follow me on twitter at (@mjgormans), and also discover some great resources at my 21centuryedtech Wiki!  You will also find my other postings at Tech and Learning Magazine. Now let’s take a moment and advance to some of the advanced search strategies using Google Advanced Search! – Have a great week – Mike

Many of us never get beyond the Basic Search Page. In fact, if you use the suggestions from my posting Ten Items All Should Know When Using Google Basic Search… Far From Basic,  the Basic Search Engine should serve you and your students well! However, I invite you to take the plunge and prepare yourself and your students to advance in Google. In fact using the Advanced Search Page can actually provide students with a more concrete learning example even before using the Google Commands in a Basic Search. I highly suggest starting students out with the Advanced Search because it can really help in developing this true understanding. As you begin to use it I am sure you will see the point I am trying to make! Getting to the Advanced Search is easy, just click the Advanced Search Text, and you will magically enter a land of extreme, but highly understandable searching! In this first of three articles I will cover the basics of an advanced search. The next two posts will go beyond the basics by explaining tools, ideas, and techniques to use the Advanced Search to its very fullest. First, let’s sees what you encounter after you push the button!

The Advanced Search Part One – The Basics And Student Learning

So you clicked the button! Good for you! At first you will note some choices that help drive home concepts I detailed in Ten Items All Should Know When Using Google Basic Search… Far From Basic. Under the Find Web Pages That Have and the But Don’t Show Pages That Have sections; some important techniques are used that are helpful in finding good web site (see image below). Not only that, the skills learned here are transferable to the basic search page. Starting students with the Advanced Search may help them better understand how to search and make their search much more productive and reliable! Let’s take a look.

Let’s explore the section entitled: Find Web Pages that have…

In this section you will note that there are three areas to enter text. They include;  All these words, This exact wording or phrase, and One or more of these words.


1. All these words – Google looks up all the the words and finds web pages that have all of the words in them. (Note that small words such as articles are omitted – a, the, of, an, as… etc). Google is not concerned with putting these words in order next to each other. It is only concerned that all major words are somewhere in the article. Note that Google never uses the command AND in either the Basic or Advanced Search.

Example – I enter the blue bird of paradise (I did not capitalize anything because Google does not pay attention to upper or lower case) Since the and of are minor common words I might as well have just entered blue bird paradise.

Google will return pages that have blue, bird, and paradise anywhere in them. The words do not have to be together or even close to each other in the site.

2. This exact wording or phrase – Google will look at websites and will return only pages that have the words next to each other in the order stated. This is called a phrase or string and is used with quotes in a basic search. No quotes are needed in the advanced search.

Example: I enter the the blue bird of paradise (I included the and of because it is part of the phrase I am looking for.

Google will return any page that has the blue bird of paradise as a group (or string) of words all together in the same order.

This is a great method for looking up names, books, movies, famous sayings, places, and anything else that may rely on a phrase.

3. One or more of these words – Google will look for web pages that include one or more of the words, but the page does not have to include all of them. This is the same as using OR in a basic search

Example – I enter blue bird paradise. Since the and  of are minor common words I did not include them.

Google will return pages that contain just blue, just bird, or just paradise, and also pages that contain all three. In this way, you will find a common bluebird, and a Blue Bird of Paradise, a bird that flew through through the blue sky, or just a blue sky with no bird.

Now lets explore the section entitled: But Don’t Show Pages That Have

This portion of Advanced Search will prove to be real useful. It is important for students to learn that “Less is More”. The goal is to have less quality web pages that reveal essential information


This is the section that eliminates web pages that may have a word in them that is returning  unnecessary or undesired results in a web search.. The Basic Search engine does this by putting  a minus (- ) in front of the word. In the Advanced Search Engine the words are typed in the But don’t show pages that have … any of these unwanted words section. This is used  in conjunction with the Find Web Pages that have… section that is found above it and discussed earlier. Words must be put in to one of those three sections first ( Three sections are: All these words, This exact wording or phrase, and One or more of these words.)

Example: The below graphic illustrates how the two sections are used together. When searching for the Blue Bird of Paradise, I only want to find information, but was getting too many pages with pictures of the Blue Bird of Paradise. I would use the two sections together in this way:

Another example – I am looking for the country Turkey but do not want to find articles about the bird. (Note that any article about birds in the country Turkey will be eliminated.)

This concludes the very first posting of the Google Advanced Search. Having students practice in this portion of an Advanced Search will help them understand such statements as OR, NOT, AND, and STRING, build the importance of how to properly use the Basic Search Engine, and give them a better understanding of the importance of constructing a well thought out search.

Thanks for joining me in this first article uncovering the Google Advanced Search. Feel free to print this and share it with your students. Please share this posting URL with other educators and encourage them to subscribe! Be on the lookout for my next Google Advanced  Search Post that will reveal some of the real power in a Google Advanced Search. Also prepare yourself for my Evaluating a Web Page Series. You can also find a variety of my postings under Blogs at Tech & Learning Magazine.  Please take a moment to comment and subscribe to this blog by RSS or email, share with others, and as always follow me on twitter (@mjgormans). Until next time… transform, educate, and inspire! – Mike

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It’s Free… It’s Ipadio… Cell Phones, Phlogs, Speech To Text, Geotagging… Wow!

You have heard about a wiki, glog, blog, and tweet; but how about a phlog?  By the time you are done reading, not only will you know what a phlog is, I am sure many of you and your students will soon be phlogging!  Before joining me for this amazing educational adventure, please take a moment and subscribe to this blog by either email or RSS. You can also follow me on twitter (@mjgormans). Last, be sure to visit my 21centuryedtech Wiki that was recently the subject of an  ISTE May 12 Webinar and is visited by thousands of people each month.

Today’s posting reviews an amazing, yet simple piece of technology that involves the use of cell phones, internet, and computers. It’s true, mobile technology is playing an increasingly large role in the classroom. It is becoming a reality that most students have a phone of their own. Perhaps it’s time to harness the power of the phone  in order to engage students in their own education? Introducing Ipadio, a technology that just might be the right tool for enhancing and improving the learning process in a very unique way.

In brief, Ipadio technology links up the telephone networks with the internet, enabling the live broadcast of audio directly to the internet… all from a standard  phone. There’s never been an easier way to record oral assessments, create revision podcasts, or even collect homework. The process involves a simple registration of your phone and the selection of a password. You are then given a toll free number to call, enter the password, and start recording. Your recording is instantly available as a phlog (phone blog) on your own channel at Ipadio. Don’t have the cell phone you registered with Ipadio.  There is an easy solution, just use any phone and complete the additional step of entering your registered phone number.  After the recording you can visit your own channel and listen to the phlog, email it, embed it in a web page, or even download it as an mp3 to be used in your own multimedia application. You even have the opportunity to edit your phlog and make it public. Ipadio even converts the spoken words to text! Imagine the educational uses of that features. There is even an iPhone and Android app.

Take a moment and explore some educational possibilities. The following is a list of ideas from the people at Ipadio in their very own words.


Making Assessments Easier – Need to grade students on their speaking abilities? Why grade them on one viewing of a performance live when you can record and archive them, for later play back, second marking and contextualising feedback to the student – showing them the exact moments where they need to improve.


Let the students collect the data -Need to collect data for research? Whether you’re a teacher of seven year olds wanting them to ask grandparents about life as they grew up, or a university professor looking to collect research data, ipadio can be used for both! Take recorded data an embed it in a multimedia production, website, or podcast.


Enable remote learning – Ipadio makes creating and sharing audio easy – simply call up and speak! Your words can be listened to online, downloaded as a podcast or even read as text thanks to speech-to-text conversion with Spinvox. Your broadcasts can also be pushed through social media channels – with phonecasts posted to Twitter, Facebook, and all of the major blogging platforms as soon as they have been recorded. This makes sharing a lecture to those who missed it, or creating a revision podcast for students a breeze – and the learning materials that you create will be available to students on platforms they are already familar with, such as Facebook and iTunes.


Promote Your Institution – Ipadio can be used to engage with people on the outside too! From promoting events going on to hosting interviews with academics and staff, Ipadio can be used to highlight the work that goes on in your school or university, to prospective students and other interested parties. Lectures, lessons and other learning materials could be offered too, and even offered as podcasts on iTunes and your website, raising the profile of educators in your institution.


Keep Parents In-The-Loop – Call ipadio after each class and explain a bit about what went on – that way parents can follow what their children are learning, and support them more effectively at home, in a way that is convenient to them, as they can follow your updates on your website, via podcast, Twitter, blogs and many other avenues – and all you as teacher have to do is make a single phone call!


While Ipadio lists the above ideas; I find there could be many more uses. The speech to text capability has great potential! There could also be homework alerts, field trip possibilities, study guides, remote broadcast for school news and info, explanation of a concepts or topics, and general classroom updates. You can even geotag each phonecast you record with the location of where you recorded it. Imagine geotagging conversations and cell phone pictures on a map for later review. This can be done with the iPhone and Android apps, or online at the Ipadio web site using a computer. This opens the door to some very creative classroom facilitation. Be sure to check out this great set of tutorials and as always refer to your schools AUP before using.

Now you know all about phlogging and the awesome potential is has for transforming your lessons and enhancing 21st century learning. If you have ideas for using Ipadio, or are already using it in a creative way, please leave a comment. As always take a moment and subscribe to this blog by either email or RSS. You can also follow me on twitter (@mjgormans). Last, be sure to visit my 21centuryedtech Wiki . Coming soon; Exploring Some Of Google’s Advanced Search Features.  Hope to hear from you somewhere in the phlogosphere!  Have a great week! – Mike

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Sweetsearch: More Than A Free Search Engine For K12 Education!

Imagine a powerful search engine created for students containing sites that have that have been evaluated and approved by a staff of Internet research experts. I am sure you would consider that a sweet search engine, which is what this post is all about. Welcome to another posting guaranteed to facilitate educators committed to transforming education and instilling the twenty-first century skills. Thanks for stopping by and ,as always, please follow me on Twitter at (mjgorman), I will return the favor and we can learn from one another. Also, be sure to visit my 21centuryedtech Wiki filled with great resources. Now enjoy this sweet information!- Mike

Sweetsearch is owned by Dulcinea Media, a company committed to supplying students with a search engine that returns results that are accurate, reliable, safe, and understandable. Instead of having students sift through millions of web sites, the research experts, educators, and librarians at Dulcinea have created a database of 35,000 sites that students have access to in their searches. As a result, SweetSearch excludes results from unreliable sites that rank high in other search engines.  This allows  students to choose the most relevant result from a list of credible returns, rather than having  educational time wasted on unreliable sites. Since Sweetsearch is powered by Google, it does allow the ability to toggle results between Google and Sweetsearch.

While Sweetsearch is valuable for trimming down results, perhaps its greatest strength is  hidden in its other valuable resources. It is the addition of these extra ingredients that makes Sweetsearch a rich tool for the 21st Century classroom. One such valuable resource is  Sweetsearch Biographies. This portion of the site allows users to filter profiles of more than 1,000 inspiring people by profession, gender, and race/national origin. They can be  viewed in a profile created by Dulcinea Media (for those individuals in their database) followed by a search results page for the person. Another must visit area in Sweetsearch is the outstanding collection of web-links referred to as Sweetsites.  This is a selection of great web resources for classroom use that are free, intuitively organized, and accessible. There is a section for teachers with resources for elementary, middle, and high school. There is also a similar section for students also arranged by elementary, middle, and high school.  Sweetsites will help satisfy the rich appetite necessary for supplying students with engaging resources intent on facilitating 21st Century learning.

The related site, Finding Dulcinea, is just as sweet! At this site, the first area to explore is Web Guides . This section provides a road map for exploring hundreds of topics online. It includes links to some of the best resources, ordered logically, and woven with narrative, insights, and research strategies. The Web Guide categories include a good selection of  academic subjects, as well as health, technology, careers, and other topics. Another section, titled On This Day, covers a broad array of intriguing historical events. Once again it  links to some outstanding online resources that give a full description of the event – what led up to it, what happened that day, and most importantly, what has happened since. These articles contain citations to the on-line resources where the information was found.  The Happy Birthday section of the site celebrates inspiring people, both historic and contemporary. These people are from all cultures and walks of life. The articles contain a biographical profile that links to accurate and reliable online information about the person. The last major section, Beyond the Headlines, provides a total view of topics in the news by cohesively weaving together information from multiple sources. It attempts to give students a  total picture by offering opposing viewpoints on controversial topics.  Be sure to read the  Finding Dulcinea Blog, explore the Finding Education Website, sign up for the newsletter, and watch a video that outlines all of the web site’s features. Finding Dulcinea is also available in Spanish, a great resource for foreign language and ESL classrooms.

I am sure you will find in both Sweetsearch and Finding Dulcinea sites that are rich in content, high in 21 Century calories, and diverse enough to please all appetites for learning. Please feel free to share your findings as you continue to explore the exciting 21st Century Education menu of items. As always, please follow me on Twitter at (mjgorman). I will return the favor and we can learn from one another. Also be sure to visit my 21centuryedtech Wiki filled with great resources. Have a sweet week! – Mike

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A Free Paperless Tool That Can Aid Student Research As It Saves Trees

Welcome to another mid week posting where I try to introduce a  free resource that will assist you in the 21st Century classroom. This week I will highlight a tool that I believe will assist students in online research, save money in the paper budget, and contribute to the needed green movement. It is a valuable resource that every school classroom and library should be aware of and take advantage of. Enjoy the post and you are invited to follow me on twitter at (@mjgormans), I will return the favor and we can learn from each other. As always, please feel free to visit my 21centuryedtech Wiki filled with the latest free resources geared toward 21st Century education! Have a great week – Mike

Update from author – Please note that I tested with with Chrome and Firefox. It has been reported by some that this web site is not totally compatible with Internet Explorer. Any feedback would be appreciated.

If you are like me you have visited a printer spewing out countless papers from a student requested internet page filled with pictures, ads, and text that was not needed for the required research topic. The result ends up being an inflated paper budget, unnecessary information that students must later sift through, and a few less trees in all of our futures. Introducing  The Awesome Highlighter, a free web resource that allows students to save only the text needed, keep it in a digital format, archive the resource it came from, and print only the information necessary!

The site is valuable because it allows use by both registered and unregistered users. An unregistered user is able to perform most tasks with the exception of saving in the Awesome Highlighter Archive. Upon entering the site, the user is asked to enter the desired web address to be highlighted. Once entered, the user is able to highlight up to 2000 characters at once. The highlighted text is then saved to a new web link and an option is given to highlight more text, copy unique URL for an online archive, post in a social network or blog, copy to clipboard, or email for later reading. Options also exist to post notes on the highlighted web page, and share the highlighted page and notes with others using its unique URL. Since it also saves the highlighted text  in an area that can be emailed, copied and pasted to a document or web page, shared via a blog or social network site, or accessed later (for registered users), the need for paper is immaterial. Best of all, students have started the process of filtering through necessary information rather than trying to sift through stacks of printed web pages and resources later. The archive also allows users to save web pics, and videos along with the desired texts. All archived items can be searched by date saved, media type, web domain accessed from, and tags that can be attached to media. The short link web pages with all highlights and notes can be revisited and shared at any time along with the original web link. This comes in handy for creating necessary reference citations.

Users of Firefox can add a bookmarklet to their browser. “A bookmarklet is an applet, a small computer application, stored as the URL of a bookmark in a  browser.” It looks like a normal bookmark. In the case  of Highlighter the bookmarklet allows the user to highlight any page on-the-fly without having to copy & paste the page URL to www.awesomehighlighter.com. The user simply clicks on the bookmark  and the highlighter toolbar appears. Whether is is used from the web site or the browser, Awesome Highlighter is a great tool facilitating student research while keeping down paper and printing costs, and even saving a few trees here and there! It is definitely a highlight you do not want to miss!

Thanks for joining me in the middle of the week! Be sure to return and even subscribe to the feed via RSS or email. you are invited to follow me on twitter at (@mjgormans), I will return the favor and we can learn from each other. As always, please feel free to visit my 21centuryedtech Wiki filled with the latest free resources geared toward 21st Century education! Have a great week – Mike

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A Search Engine With A Readability Index In The Results… Check Out Twurdy!

Let me introduce you to a search engine that give a readability index to the sites it finds. Welcome to this midweek blog from TCEA in Austin, Texas. So far a great conference including the edubloggers unconference today! This Indiana Hoosier has been impressed with all of the awesome people in Texas. Now lets get to that search engine that is a must use tool for students. As always please follow me on Twitter at @mjgormans… I will return the favor and we will learn from one another!  Take a minute to check out the resources at my 21centuryedtech Wiki! Have a great week! – Mike (A 21st Century Hoosier at TCEA in Austin, Texas)

What if a search engine could give you and your students a readability index before going to the site? In fact, what if the report entries were color coded by the readibility factors? It’s time you get introduced to Twurdy! This unique search engine uses custom designed readability software that includes information about the number of words on the page, the average number of syllables in each word, the average sentence length and more to determine a pages readability level. Best of all, it is powered by our friends at Google. With search engines giving millions of results, Twurdy gives that option of sifting through information and finding resources that may match students by reading abilities.

Twurdy supplies the user with three different options. The first option is  Just Twurdy which searches using Twurdy’s basic algorithm with medium speed and medium results.  Next comes Simple Twurdy which  searches the web using Twurdy’s simple algorithm for fast speed but less accurate results. Last is Twurdy with Pop which searches using Twurdy’s most complex algorithm. This formula  includes looking up the popularity of words within the text. It has a slower speed with more accurate results. You will find that Twurdy offers the same search results as other search engines but the color coding and readability index are definetly an added bonus.  Being able to tell whether or not users may be able to understand the content on the page before it is clicked is a unique bonus.  Next time you feel that a search just may bring up words your students might not understand, give Twurdy a Try!

Again, thanks for visiting this midweek post! I hope Twurdy is a resource you find useful! I will do my best to keep networking at TCEA and share what I learn from this collection of outstanding educators in Texas. As always please follow me on Twitter at @mjgormans… I will return the favor and we will learn from one another! Please take a moment to check out the resources at my 21centuryedtech Wiki!  Have a great week! – Mike (A 21st Century Hoosier at TCEA in Austin, Texas)

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