Tag Archives: teacher

Click Your Classroom Into The 21st Century At Kids.gov

Welcome to the fifth in a series of summer posts dedicated to bringing you the biggest collections of national and international resources you will find anywhere. Summer is a  perfect time to examine what you just might want to include in next year’s lesson plans that will engage your students. I plan to share resources that will cover all the curricular areas. Each article will give an in-depth and informative visit to one of these sites. Make sure you bookmark, copy, RSS, subscribe by email and visit my 21centuryedtech Wiki! You will want to share! If it is not summer where you are, then you can jump right in and facilitate learning with some new material  tomorrow. I will announce each post on twitter at (mjgormans) so be sure to follow. – Mike

Kids.gov is the official kids’ portal for the U.S. government. This giant repository links to over 2,000 web pages from various government agencies, schools, and educational organizations, all geared to the learning level and interest of kids. This amazing site is maintained by the Federal Citizen Information Center (FCIC) in Pueblo, Colorado. Learn more about FCIC by visiting www.pueblo.gsa.gov. At first glance you will enjoy a link to the Kids.gov site of the month. In just one click you will enter a high quality site featured each moth of the year. Now this is just one site that Kids.gov points you to! In reality, Kids.gov really is a country of resources and is organized into three audiences: They are Grades K-5, Grades 6-8, and Educators.  High School teachers will still find a large selection of resources in the Educator’s Section. Each of these audience sections is divided into subject area disciplines that include  Art, Careers, Computers and Technology, Government, Health/Fitness/Safety, Math, Science, and Social Studies. This multiple collection of resources across the disciplines really does make Kids.gov a mega site for education. Within each subject, the websites are grouped as either government sites (Federal, state, military) or other resources (commercial, non-profit, educational). The sites listed under the other resources category are maintained by other public and private organizations.

The main point of any post I write is to give you some of the amazing resources that you might not find at first glance. In this case it could be the Free For Teachers Page that is filled with ever changing ideas such as the lesson plan of the month. While you are there you may want to check out all the other free information from the FCIC. This site could provide you with an activity starter or just a great place to garner information for data collection. Explore the Hot Topic Resources that cover  GovernmentAmerican HistoryEarth Science – EnvironmentGames and ActivitiesCareersSocial Studies , and Money . In fact the State Websites is a great place to begin to facilitate student research and creation of projects based on the fifty states found in the USA. You will even find a link to White House 101, complete with info on Presidents, Fun Facts, and even First Pets. There is even a look at all the ins and outs of this historic residence. Don’t miss an important link to FREE (Federal Resources for Educational Excellence).  At FREE there are links to collections of  animations, primary documents, photos, and videos.  This link is worthy of a post in itself.  Looking for research? There is a link that may lead you to some academic research on education with-in ERIC, the Educational Resource Information Center. An amazing  link to Teacher’s First could find you exploring for resources the rest of the day.  How about data for students  to organize and portray in a graph,, information for a report, exciting lessons and activities, and even podcasts? You will definitely find it, since I have really only covered less then a dozen of the over 1200 links provided. Kids.gov gives you and your students the opportunity to jump in and find great information and ideas to build activities that will connect to almost any content standard!

Kids.gov truly is a gateway that takes your students to a mountain of sites. While the  majority of the links are from government sites, there are some links to commercial and other non-government sites. It may be time for you to take that mouse in hand and click you way through Kids.gov and its many links to classroom adventure. I guarantee that you will find yourself  linking your students to a world of 21st century activities and resources.

Thus, my focus, to share with you vast resources such as Kids.gov this summer! Take some time to investigate and possibly implement in the school year,  or tomorrow! I will continue to bring thought, reflection, and amazing web apps along with this summer series. Please share with others, visit the 21centuryedtech Wiki, follow on me twitter (mjgormans), and subscribe to this blog by RSS or email . If you have resources that you feel need to be included please leave a reply!  Enjoy, relax, play, and smile…. also take a moment to transform education toward 21st Century Learning! – Mike

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Does Free Get Better Than This?… Award Winning Resources From The JASON Project

Welcome to one of the first in a series of summer posts. My plan is to bring to you some of the biggest collections of national and international resources you will find anywhere. Summer is a  perfect time to examine what you just might want to include in next year’s lesson plans that will engage your students. I plan on sharing resources that will cover all the curricular areas. Each article will give an in-depth and informative visit to these sights. Make sure you bookmark, copy, RSS, subscribe by email and to my 21centuryedtech Wiki! You will want to share! If it is not summer where you are, then you can jump right in and facilitate learning with some new material  tomorrow. I will announce each post on twitter at (mjgormans) so be sure to follow. – Mike

JASON Project – Wow.. I am not sure if free gets any better then this!

I remember the JASON Project from close to 20 years ago being a source of some video field trips which were pretty cool for the era!  If you have not visited it lately, you are in store for one of the most amazing sources found on the internet! If you advocate for STEM, Project Based Learning, and Science then get your clicker ready. I am not sure if free gets any better than this!

The JASON Project connects students with great explorers and great events to inspire students in their learning. It truly is an award winning curricula. It includes embed cutting-edge research from NASA, NOAA, the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Geographic Society and other leading organizations. JASON allow leading scientists to work side by side with JASON students. Best of all, it promotes 21st century skills by challenging students to apply their knowledge to the real-world scenarios.

The JASON curriculum is just one part of this massive web site.  It is designed to light the spark of inspiration in students, fit within school districts’ core 5th-8th grade curriculm,  adapt to higher and lower levels, align to state and national standards, cover at least five to nine weeks of material and include numerous research articles, hands-on lab activities, videos, games, and multimedia resources. It also includes suggested lesson plans, extensions, interdisciplinary connections, and teacher resources for alignment, assessment, and classroom management. It emphasizes the studies of  Energy: Operation Infinite Potential, Ecology: Operation Resilient Planet, and Weather: Operation Monster Storms. A new unit, one that I had the opportunity assist in some game development on will be available in 2010 and is called Geology: Operation Tectonic Fury. Note that the curriculum is supplied for free by PDF downloads or on-line web access. It can be purchased is a published book style format. (there is a 50% NEA discount).

Once you become a free member be sure to check out extended curriculum including Expeditions: Mysteries of Earth and Mars and Expedition: Disappearing Wetlands. All curriculum can be used, customized, lengthened, shortened, or even used in small sections as needed, to supplement current curriculum. You will be amazed at the multi media and interactive resources available. Be sure to check out these online demos. (must register for free)

Be sure to visit the JASON Mission Center. The (JMC) Web site is filled with curriculum, videos, games, tools and community possibilities. Simular to NASA’s Mission Control Center, the JMC is a hub for exploration. Learn about powerful storms, watch a video about sharks, see if you can design a thrilling roller coaster and tell others about it in the message boards. Students will even be able to ask JASON researchers questions. The JMC is like a web version of the curriculum… but contains so much more. The Online Curriculum becomes alive and engaging with videos, animations, vocabulary terms, and games, all embedded right in the text. Exciting  JASON Videos which are available on  curriculum DVD are also available for free viewing online! Immersive Games and Digital Labs allows  students to work with real, cutting-edge scientific research to explore lessons.  The Teacher Tools allow teachers to create a virtual classroom and give your students their own accounts. Design custom assessments online and ssign and review student journals. The Student Tools allow students to explore JASON at their own pace. Discussion boards, online science fairs, and high-score gaming competition; students have the world of JASON at their fingertips. The Live Events allow teachers and students to Interact and ask questions while getting feedback with JASON scientists and Argonauts. Last, Online Communities allow for teacher to teacher collaboration on  JMC Message Boards. Students can also visit the boards to discuss their explorations in a fully-moderated forum. Bes sure to check out this JMC tour video.

Available for free, from JASON , are the online games and digital labs that will capture your students’ attention and sustain their interest. JASON games and digital labs are written and designed with the practical realties of the classroom. Teachers can even  search for games and labs by state standards and  will also find worksheets and handouts. One game is Operation Resilient Planet, be sure to watch this preview. Another, which is one of my favorites, is Coaster Creator. Watch this informative video to learn more. Storm Tracker gives students a front row seat in learning about a hurricane as can be seen in this video preview. Last, you will find some great gaming and lab resources in the Mini Lab portion of the JMC.

Not to be forgotten is JASON Project’s comprehensive professional development program. It has been designed to increase teachers’ expertise in implementing inquiry-based science curricula in the classroom. Download this PDF brochure for more details. (must register for free)

In closing, The JASON Project has long been a winner of multiple awards. The energy curriculum most recently won three coveted CODiE Awards from the Software & Information Industry Association (SIIA). Operation Infinite Potential was named the nation’s best K-12 Instructional Solution, Best Online Instructional Solution and best Education Game or Simulation. The CODiE Awards are the industry’s sole peer-recognition awards program, designed to celebrate excellence and vision in educational technology, digital content, and software. “These awards validate our belief that JASON is an important contributor to 21st century learning and can have a significant impact on raising student achievement,” said Caleb M. Schutz, President of The JASON Project. “Our focus was on creating a multimedia curriculum that allows students and teachers to work and learn in an exciting and engaging online global community.”

Thus, my focus, to share with you vast resources such as the Jason Project this summer! Take some  time to investigate and possibly implement in the school year,  or tomorrow! I will continue to bring thought, reflection, and amazing web apps along with this summer series. Please share with others, visit the 21centuryedtech Wiki, follow on me twitter (mjgormans), and subscribe to this blog by RSS or email . If you have resources that you feel need to be included please leave a reply!  Enjoy, relax, play, and smile…. also take a moment to transform education toward 21st Century Learning! – Mike

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Free STEM Programs For Probe Ware, PBL, And Computer Simulations

Last summer I had the opportunity to attend an awesome workshop presented by the Concord Consortium located in Concord, Massachusetts. Available through its ITSI Portal, you will find a collection of amazing free software that will allow classroom learning to come alive with a wide range of probe ware activities. It doesn’t stop there, because you will discover free ways  to connect probe ware and harness computer simulations  to facilitate content and skill application in science, math, computers, and engineering. There is even a project that allows students to build their own inexpensive probe ware!  Before you get the details, please take a moment to subscribe by email or RSS to this Blog and  follow me on twitter (@mjgormans). Have a wonderful week! – Mike

Time to learn about an outstanding organization serving up first class resources! The people at the Concord Consortium have developed a program that goes beyond the ordinary use of probe ware. It is an adventure that includes a perfect mix of technology and 21st century skills. You will find a true opportunity to engage students, allowing them to cross the disciplines and experience real world applications. These activities also allow students to work in a collaborative effort as they problem solve, analyze, and hypothesize. While the Concord Consortium does not supply the probe ware, they do provide free interface software support for all brands of probe ware. This includes facilitation for both Mac and Windows platform. If you don’t have any probe ware, no problem!  They even have an inexpensive soution on how to make your own. Yes, it’s true, they recommend a process of creating your own probe ware as an engaging student project.

The Concord Consortium has created over 100 activities that incorporate probes and models for middle school physical science, earth science, and life science. Included in these 100 activites are also lessons in High School biology, chemistry, and physics. These are outstanding, well thought out units, that give the teacher all the needed resources to facilitate real student learning. The lessons incorporate both on-line models and the java interface for probe ware. All lessons are made up of models, probe activities, or a combination along with supporting documents and on-line activities. Students will be engaged in designing inquiry based STEM activities that use computational models and real time data. Probes facilitate activities involving voltage, light, relative humidity, motion, pressure, and force.  The do-it-yourself probe ware kits allow students to build simple, inexpensive circuits that measure more than 14 different parameters. Models include activities such as atomic scale, global warming, circuits, and seismic eruptions. The included portal provides an area for teacher account set up, and for class and student log in. The ingenious interface allows for teachers to monitor student progress online as they work individually and in collaborative groups. Best of all, it is free and has been made possible by the people at the Concord Consortium and the National Science Foundation. Take a look at the links below, providing you access to the immense amount of resources available. You will be impressed with this outstanding program that supports probe ware, models, and true 21st century learning through STEM education.

I recommend the following: Watch this introduction video Next, look over this page devoted to the activities preview. Are you ready to sign up for an account? After you do, you will discover even more activities and resources. Visit this link to register. Be sure to check out this getting started page with videos on many topics. Last, here is a link that provides build it yourself information that really won’t bust the budget!

Thanks for joining me on this adventure in 21st Century Education! As always please check out the resources and share this post with others!  I look forward to you subscribing by RSS or email. I am also on twitter at (mjgormans) and I will follow back!  Take a moment to visit my 21centuryedtech Wiki that includes hundreds of free resources to expand your 21st century collection! I have some great info coming your way on 21st Century Learning, Google advanced searching, and cool collaborative applications in the near future! Please enjoy and share! -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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Kidblog: Kids Blogging…Teacher Supervision… And It’s Free!

How do teachers facilitate student collaboration on the web while satisfying concerns for student safety? How do IT Directors support teachers and students while maintaining an online environment that is in accordance with school policy? If I had that answer, and it worked in everyone’s eyes, I would have the most sought after post in the education blogosphere. There are some solutions such as Moodle and a closed Google Apps environment. This post, however, is dedicated to a blogging solution you may not be aware of. Before reading, please take a moment to subscribe by RSS or email. You can also follow me on Twitter (@mjgormans) and discover a world of free/rich resources at my 21centuryedtech Wiki!  Now… about a blogging solution for classroom teachers and their students! – Mike

Imagine a blog hosting service that was built for classroom teachers and their students. Contemplate a service that was designed specifically for teachers who want to provide each student with his or her own unique blog. Think about a blog site that allows teachers to monitor and control all publishing activity within the classroom blogging community and does not require student email accounts. Reflect on a blog development team led by a facilitator who  has 18 years of combined web development and classroom teaching experience.  If this pondering of thoughts appeals to your left brain, while freeing all the possibilities that your right brain generates for classroom engaging activities, then a visit to Kidblog is essential! Kidblog claims that it is kid safe. I have included Kidblog’s own words below!

Kidblog’s advanced privacy features put safety first:

  • Teachers have administrative control over all student blogs and student accounts.
  • Your students’ blogs are private by default – viewable only by classmates and the teacher.
  • For “semi-public” blogs, set up guest (e.g. parent) accounts that require a password to view students’ posts/comments.
  • Comment privacy settings block unsolicited comments from outside sources.
  • Kidblog does not collect any personal information from teachers or students.”

Furthermore, Kidblog promotes the idea of keeping your students’ focus on things that are important in their learning. In order to accomplish this, Kidblog emphasizes no advertising of any kind, a simple login menu, clutter-free design, and central blog directory with simple navigation. These screenshots provide an example of how simple, yet powerful, the  user interface for students, teachers, and administrators is. You may also  wish to check out these news stories that describe how several teachers are using Kidblog. Kidblog, based in Minneapolis, MN, states, “that it is dedicated to providing a powerful, safe, simple service without the configuration headaches and distracting elements of traditional blogging platforms”.  The Kidblog team claims  that; “Kidblog  offers an amazing opportunity for teachers and students around the world to realize the full potential of blogging with their classrooms”. Once you have researched your school’s web use policy you may just want to get started and set up a free account today.

Thanks for joining me on another quest for 21st Century educational resources. If you find  these posts helpful please take a moment to subscribe by RSS or email. You can also follow me on Twitter (@mjgormans) and discover a world of free/rich resources at my  21centuryedtech Wiki!.  As always any comments you supply are appreciated! Coming soon… a new post about a service that promotes some great uses for cell phones both in and outside of the classroom! Have a great week and hope to see both you and your students somewhere in the blogosphere! – Mike

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Free Project Based Learning Resources That Will Place Students At The Center Of Learning

I am an advocate for Project Based Learning in the classroom. True Project Based Learning is a process that puts the student at the center of their learning. In this post I wish to share with you some of the top sites I found on the internet that promote true PBL. Since my research I have bookmarked a few more and will be sharing those in a later post. Please share this post with others and as you find other outstanding sites on the internet that refer to PBL, please share with me. Your comments are always appreciated! You can follow me on Twitter at @mjgormans and as always please feeel free to visit my 21centuryedtech Wiki filled with resources- Mike

Edutopia PBL – Edutopia is a site containing outstanding educational content for teachers. It contains an area devoted to Project Based Learning. Edutopia defines PBL, “as a dynamic approach to teaching in which students explore real-world problems and challenges, simultaneously developing cross-curriculum skills while working in small collaborative groups.” The site contains a brief article, along with videos entitled “Projecty Based Learning Overview” and An Introduction To Project Based Learning. The Edutopia main PBL web page contains real life examples and this Big List containing article and blogs relating to PBL activities, lessons, practices, and research. Upon review you will note that Edutopia does live up to its statement “What works in public Education”.

PBL-Online Is a one stop solution for Project Based Learning! You’ll find all the resources you ne​ed to design and manage high quality projects for middle and high school students. This site includes information on how to Design your Project. It assists teachers in planning rigorous and relevant standards-focused projects that engage students in authentic learning activities, teach 21st century skills, and demand demonstration of mastery. It also provides a search for projects developed by others (small collection) or the ability to contribute projects to the PBL-Online Collaboratory and Project Library. Teachers can Learn what defines Project Based Learning and the PBL-Online approach to successful project design. There is also an area to Review research and find tools to support effective Project Based Learning. There is also an area to purchase the BIE //Project Based Learning Handbook// and Starter Kit which are a foundation for the PBL-Online website. A nice collection of videos is also available on the site. The PBL-Online is maintained by the Buck Institute for Education (BIE) which is a non-profit, research and development organization dedicated to improving the practice of teaching and the process of learning.

BIE Institite For PBL – The main Buck Institute of On-line Resource Site is a must visit for anyone serious about PBL. There is some good information on the professional development . Explore the BIE Project Based learning Handbook, order a copy, or just explore the links on the page. Be sure to check out the downloadable documents and forms found in the book. There is also a web resources link page that will supply abundant information. There is an excellent forum page that and another area with Advice From Teachers. This is truely a great site to become more informed on Project Based Learning and works well with other other BIE site.

PBL: Exemplary Projects – A wonderful site for those wanting practical ideas to infuse PBL into the curriculum. This is the creation of a group of experienced teachers, educators, and researchers whom you may contact as resources. This team includes people who are also actively doing and creating new exemplary PBL projects, pre-service and continuing teacher professional development, and integration of technology into the curriculum. This site has a great listing of national technology and content standards to review. There is also a large selection of rubrics to look over as you investigate assessment. For those interested in research be sure to check out the page reserved for reflective thought and planning. While on the site be sure to take a look at the exemplary projects along with the other great projects listed.

4Teachers.org PBL - This site has a contains some useful information on supplying sound reasoning for PBL in school. Especially interesting are articles on Building Motivation and Using Multiple Intellegences. One very useful resource in this site is the PBL Project Check List Section. Writers of this site maintain that these check lists will help teachers start using PBL, by creating on-line downloadable age-appropriate, customizable project checklists for written reports, multimedia projects, oral presentations, and science projects. The use of checklists assists in keeping students on track and allows them to take responsibility for their own learning through peer- and self-evaluation. Be sure to check the main 4Teachers Web Site for all of their great sets of tools including other resources that can support PBL. This site is published by Altec which also has a host of resources.

Houghton Mifflin Project Based Learning Space – This site from publisher Houghton Mifflin Contains contains some good resources for investigating PBL and was developed by the Wisconson Center For Education Research. Included is a page on Background Knowledge an Theory. There is also a link to a small number of comprehensive projects. Last for those attempting research there is a large numbers of professional articles related to project based learning.

Intel® Teach Elements: Project-Based Approaches – If you are looking for free, just-in-time professional development that you can experience now, anytime, or anywhere, this may be your answer. Intel promises that this new series will provide high interest, visually compelling short courses that facilitate deep exploration of 21st century learning concepts using and PBL. The program consists of animated tutorials and audio dialogs to explain concepts, Interactive knowledge checking exercises , offline activities to apply concepts. You can take the PBL course online, or order the Intel PBL CD, Take a moment and read more about project design. Intel provides an awesome data base of stories that relate to project ideas. Anyone interested in project based learning must explore the Intel site, one of the most up-to-date resources for PBL on the internet.

New Tech Network – I have personally visited the New Tech Schools in both Napa and Sacramento California. I was impresssed with more then the technology. A positive and effective culture for learning is what New Tech does best and it is based around PBL. Take a look at the news releases on the New Tech site. Some that caaught my interest were Wall-to-Wall Project-Based Learning: A Conversation with Biology TeacherKelley Yonce » from Learn NC, The Power of Project Learning » from Scholastic, and Students as Smart Mobs along with It’s All about me both from Phi Delta Kappa. Last check out the New Tech video entitled NTN School Overview and I Am What I Learn for a good informative look at PBL and New Tech.
High Tech High School – These high schools also operate using a project based learning model centered around 21st century skills. I have included projects they came up with from a $250,000 California grant to institue PBL in non-charter public schools. You will find a description of the project along with the seven major projects and various others. The included PBL assessment page is also very interesting along with how PBl supports literacy in the High Tech Model.

GlobalSchoolhouse.net – Great site to begin PBL using the web while cooperating with other schools.   Harness the ability to use the web as a tool for interaction, collaboration, distance education, cultural understanding and cooperative research — with peers around the globe.  Start out with an explanation of what Net PBL really is. Find out how to make partners. Be sure to check out all the videos and tutorials.

Thanks for taking the time to investigate and I hope impliment a PBL unit in the classroom. I am interested and also wish to learn from you. If you are aware of an outstanding PBL site please comment or send me a message. Please follow me on twitter at mjgormans and I will be sure to follow back. I am always ready to network and learn! As always, you are invited to explore the resources on my 21centuryedtech Wiki.  - Mike (mgorman@sacs.k12.in.us)

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EtherPad – A Free And Easy Collaboration Tool : No Sign Up – No Log In

Welcome to another mid week posting highlighting a Great Web Catch. Collaboration is one of those important 21st Century Skills for students and a needed process for teacher planning. Recently EtherPad, a plain and simple collaboration tool, was purchased by Google to be incorporated in the Google Wave product. This review covers the strengths of EtherPad and how it will continue to live in the open sources world and as a foundation for Google Wave. As always visit my 21centuryedtech Wiki for even more resources to transform today’s education for tomorrow’s needs! – Mike (mgorman@sacs.k12.in.us)

EtherPad has been known as a valuable tool, allowing instant  and  easy collaboration for students and teachers.  As the site proclaims, “Etherpad is simply the most frictionless way to get people on the same page.” The real attraction to EtherPad is the lack of requirement for a user account, sign in, or email. As you are aware, this is a definite plus in the educational setting.  The collaboration is easy!  All that is needed is a visit to http://etherpad.com and  a press of a button called Create Public Pad. After this quick process, a new public pad is created for the user in Etherpad . The user then shares the URL  for the pad with up to sixteen others. What ever is typed from where ever, is displayed on the page in real time. There is even a chat window!  This is a great tool for those that need to bring up a quick collaboration tool on the fly. It is useful in the classroom for students to communicate point of need help in Project Based Learning, collaborate as a group, keep teacher aware of group progress, communicate beyond walls, and interview authors and experts. It allows teachers to collaborate on text documents, keep meeting notes, and draft plans. EtherPad allows each line entered by a collaborator  to have a different number for easy reference. Authors are also given color codes and can even be given a label or name. Best of all, work can be saved and exported as an HTML, plain text, bookmarked file, Microsoft Word, PDF, or Open document. Different revisons can be documented and a time slider is provided to show when revisions are made.  Users must be aware that the only way  to keep open pads private is to safeguard the URL. For this reason private information should not be shared. Take a look at this list of frequently asked questions and view a tour of the product. Recently, EtherPad’s creator AppJet was purchased by Google for the new Google Wave product.  It is currently going through a restructuring to an open source format. It is also being used as a foundation for Google’s soon to be publicly released Google Wave  product.  While it is a goal, Google Wave doesn’t yet have all the functionality of Etherpad. The people at both Google and Appjet are confident that in the long term users will be pleased with the transition to Google Wave . In the mean time, Etherpad is a great way to introduce plain and simple collaboration and may allow you to soon catch the Google Wave! – Mike (mgorman@sacs.k12.in.us)

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