Tag Archives: free

12 Mega Web Site – Exploring National and International Wonders Of Free Resources For 21st Century Learning

Here are twelve of the biggest educational sites you will ever find filled with free resources and content to promote 21st century learning. As this Mega Site Series comes to a close, be on the lookout for my upcoming Advanced Google Post, an exciting Evaluation Of Web Sites Series, and a series of posts dedicated to some Awesome Competitions That Promote Real Learning. Please be sure you bookmark, copy, RSS, subscribe by email and visit my 21centuryedtech Wiki! You will want to share this site and its information with others !  I will announce each post on twitter at (mjgormans), so be sure to follow. Now, here are the Big Twelve Mega Sites and please leave comments on Mega Sites you want me to cover in the future!– Mike

Mega Sites are sites that are not only great web catches, they are sites that include vast resources filled with standards and many times crossing curricular areas. Each site in-it-self could be a full day workshop. Most of all they are what I call super stores of learning. Below you will find the sites and their links with a quick description. Descriptions include a link called Check Out Blog Post at 21centuryedtech leading to a complete article elsewhere in my 21centuryedtech Blog.  Enjoy, but don’t get lost in the vastness of resources or in their world of unlimited creativity! – Mike

Why these Mega sites?

Many include national and state standards
Engaging lessons, simulations,videos, and resources
NETS, PBL and 21st Century skills are included
Great professional development
Extend classroom walls into the real world
Connect with community and experts

Links – No particular order since many cross the curricular areas. I post them as I find them!

Jason Science – Wow, not just science but runs the spectrum of STEM education! Curriculum, professional development, games, digital labs, and live events just to name a few. You better set some time aside. I especially like some of the games since I have served on a committee for feedback. Best described The JASON Project connects students with great explorers and great events to inspire and motivate them to learn science. If you are a science or STEM related teacher, this is a must click! Check out this blog post at 21centuryedtech.

Kids.gov – A country of resources stating each state! Explore resources on GovernmentAmerican HistoryEarth Science – EnvironmentGames and Activities ,State WebsitesCareersSocial Studies , and Money . Data? yes, information? yes, lessons and activities? yes, podcasts? yes! Jump in and find great information and ideas to build activities that will connect to your standards! Check out this blog post at 21centuryedtech.

ArtsEdge – Don’t forget to put the A in STEM in order to STEAM it in to full power! An all encompassing resource from the Kennedy Art Center! Check out a powerful data base of lessonsstandardsweblinks , and how-to’s. All searchable by art content, other core curricular content, and grad bands. Connect with articles/reports, contacts, and advocacy essentials. Explore by visiting Explore by visiting Look-Listen-Learn FeatureMeeting Artists , and checking out the Artists of the Week . Speaking of Art, this site is much more then painting, it covers all of the Arts! A true site in appreciation and integration for those things that make all curriculum and life so rich! Check out this blog post at 21centuryedtech.

ReadWriteThink – This langauge arts based web site states its mission “to provide educators, parents, and afterschool professionals with access to the highest quality practices in Reading and Language Arts instruction by offering the very best in free materials.” Its sponsors include the International Reading Association, The National Council of Teachers of English, and Thinkfinity. It is evident that the site is built on professionalism. The site clearly states that every lesson plan has been aligned not only to the IRA/NCTE Standards for the English Language Arts but also to each individual state’s standards. Two main areas of the site include Classroom Resources and Professional Development. With close to 700 searchable lessons it goes beyond traditional language arts providing digital resources such as podcats, web literacy, and multimedia. Check out the blog post at 21centuryedtech

NOAA Educational Ocean Service – NOAA joins hundreds of organizations and agencies in a celebration of science to make science more accessible, personally meaningful, and locally relevant. Be sure to check their lesson plan library. Students will be thrilled to engage in activities and games in the Planet ArcadeCheck out the blog at 21centuryedtech

Smithsonian Education – How about finding yourself in resources as large as the Smithsonian? That is exactly what you will do as you explore data bases of lessons and activities in Art and DesignScience and TechnologyHistory and CultureLanguage Arts, and an amazing collection of Idea Labs. There are unique professional development opportunities even a unit on podcasting. Another great feature is the ability to search resources, lessons, and activities by keyword. Check out blog post at 21centuryedtech

EDSITEment – Is provided by the people at The National Endowment For The Humanities. This site is loaded with cross-curricular information. Areas include lessons in Art and CultureLiterature and Language ArtsForeign Language, and History and Social Studies. In fact, you may wish to see what the ASA said about EDSITEment’s Advanced Placement US History Lessons. They also sponsor in cooperation with NCTE, The National Gallery of Writing. This collection of student interactives is pretty exciting along with these lessons on America through its Art. Last, check out these NEH funded PBS resources for education. Check out blog post at 21centuryedtech.

SAS Curriculum Pathways – Fully funded by SAS and offered at no cost to US educators and students, SAS Curriculum Pathways is designed to enhance student achievement and teacher effectiveness by providing Web-based curriculum resources in all the core disciplines: English, math, science, social studies/history and Spanish, to educators and students in grades 8-14 in virtual schools, home schools, high schools and community colleges. This free resource includes over 200 InterActivities, 200 Web Inquiries, 600 Lessons and 4,000 Web Resources. My favorite is the Writing Reviser , a great tool for students when editing their work. Check out blog post at 21centuryedtech .

USGS Education – The U.S. Geological Survey provides scientific information intended to help educate the public about natural resources, natural hazards, geospatial data, and issues that affect our quality of life. Discover selected online resources, including lessons for K-6 and 7-12 , data, maps , and more, to support teaching, learning, education (K-12), and university-level inquiry and research. Check out this new USGS Updated Brochure for education. Check out blog post at 21stcenturyedtech.

TeacherDomain – from PBS station WGBH in Boston. As described on the website it really is “an online library of more than 1,000 free media resources from the best in public television. These classroom resources, featuring media from NOVA, Frontline, Design Squad, American Experience, and other public broadcasting and content partners are easy to use and correlate to state and national standards.” Resources include video and audio segments, Flash interactives, images, documents, lesson plans for teachers, and student-oriented activities. Teachers can personalize the site using “My Folders” and “My Groups” to save resources into a folder and share them with your other teachers or their students. Some of the resources even allow downloading and remixing for teacher mash up presentations. There is a strong effort at integrating lessons with technology to engage student learning. Check out this video to learn more, then sign up for your free account! Check out blog post at 21centuryedtech.

eGFI – eGFI is proudly brought to you by the the American Society For Engineering Education (ASEE). They are committed to promoting and enhancing efforts to improve K-12 STEM and engineering education. As you can see the sight is student centered and engaging. Not only that, there are a lot of videos, resources, and activities. Be sure to take a look at the magazine . Also, click on the teacher link (not always easy to find). Here you will discover hundreds of lesson plans, class activities that promote PBL, great STEM outreach programsawesome web resources, interesting news features, and some great K12 education news. Check out blog post at 21centuryedtech.

ARKive – ARKive is truly a wonderful place where students can both learn and create. While it may be especially useful to Science Teachers, others have used the ARKive wildlife videos and photos to develop literacy and ICT skills, for creative writing exercises, and to inspire poetry or art assignments. It is time you jumped on the boat, or ark if you prefer, while facilitating real learning through encouraging student creation, remix and reinvention in the 21st century at ARKive! Check out blog post at 21centuryedtech.

Take some time to investigate and possibly implement resources found in these twelve Mega Sites in your classroom this school year,  or tomorrow! Coming soon… my upcoming Advanced Google Post, an exciting Evaluation Of Web Sites Series, and a series of posts dedicated to some Awesome Competitions That Promote Real Learning.  Please share these Mega Sites  with others, visit the 21centuryedtech Wiki,  follow me on twitter (mjgormans), and subscribe to this blog by RSS or email . If you know of a Mega Site I should cover please leave a reply. I want to learn from all of you. Until that next post; enjoy, relax, play, and smile…. also take a moment to transform education toward 21st Century Learning! – Thanks…  Mike

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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: Seeing Reason Tool…High Order Thinking, Mapping, And Collaboration!

Welcome to the second in a series of articles based on Intel Thinking Tools, an amazing set of free tools from Intel. The tool I include today is called the Seeing Reason Tool  , one of Intel’s amazing Online Thinking Tools. The description is perfect for those educators wanting their students engaged in 21st Century learning  activities in the classroom. Before starting, remember to sign up for future posts via email or RSS and also,  follow me on twitter at (mjgormans) to keep learning!  By the time you finish this post you, will dreaming up activities that will allow your students avenues to see reasons, connections, and relevance in all curricular areas.  Have a great week! – Mike

Seeing Reason Tools – Any collection of related facts is difficult to grasp when expressed by figures in tabular form, but the same may be seen at a glance when presented by one of the many graphic representations of those ideas.” – Gardner C. Anthony; from his book; An Introduction to the Graphic Language

There is no better tool that can promote real thinking than one that allows students to brainstorm and web. Intel describes this tool as one that allows students to “investigate relationships in complex systems, and create maps that communicate understanding”. Simply put, the Seeing Reason mapping tool allows a user to create diagrams or “causal maps.”  These maps allow students to understand the information in the investigation of a problem. This is perfect for Problem, Project, and Inquiry Based Learning.  Students learn to organize the factors that influence or affect a problem, and more importantly show how these factors interact with each other in cause-and-effect relationships. This must see tool supports cycles of investigation allowing students to gather what they know, organize that knowledge base into a map, and then investigate whether their initial concepts are really supported by necessary evidence. The benefits include the five key points allowing students to; think about and talk about their learning, negotiate the meaning of their symbols and make their ideas public, translate from one form of knowledge to another, transfer their knowledge to other cause-and-effect situations, and gain experience in using tools for problem solving.

To better understand the Seeing Reason Tool watch this video and also take a look at this provided demo.  Also, be sure to take a moment to explore Intel’s resources of units . Not only will these units and additional project ideas be excellent resources,  they will also provide other ideas for lessons that integrate the use of this tool. Best of all, Intel has included a private project area for teachers to set up lessons, class lists, and collaborative groups. Students then log in to the secure teacher area. Collaboration can occur from any computer at school or at home. Teachers have the ability to monitor and assess student work on line, and even leave important feedback. Take a moment and explore Seeing Reason, a tool that will apply to any curricular area while enhancing 21st Century Skills.

Thanks for joining me once again on the important journey of transforming education to fit the 21st century. Remember to sign up via email or RSS and also,  follow me on twitter at (mjgormans). I also have hundreds of resources available for free at my 21centuryedtech Wiki! Enjoy the week as you introduce new tools that encourage your students to think! – Mike

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Be Part Of ISTE 2010: Check Out Classroom 2.0… And Engage!

In the future I will feature a blog on ISTE2010 (formerly called NECC)! It was after listening  to one of the informative webinars at Classroom 2.0 in an Elluminate Room that I felt compelled to make a contribution by providing readers an awareness of the wonderful services that Classroom 2.o provides at and around the ISTE conference.  As always, please take a moment to follow me on twitter (@mjgormans) and don’t miss the hundreds of free resources that will compliment 21st Century learning at my 21centuryedtech Wiki. Now, let’s take a trip to Classroom 2.0 and learn about their involvement in the ISTE Conference in Denver!  – Mike

I write this especially for you people who may be new to PLN’s, ISTE, and Networking, but want to become more involved and learn more.  A great way to start is to become involved in ISTE and at the same time explore Classroom 2.0, a social network for those interested in Web 2.0 and Social Media in education. Classroom 2.0 is a free, community-supported network. It is the mission of the organization to engage those who are “beginners” and provide a supportive, comfortable place to start being part of the digital dialog.  Exploring Classroom 2.o is something I just recently began and, believe me, it would be a whole other post! Instead, I wish to introduce you to Classroom 2.0 activities at ISTE2010 and please note that you can be involved whether you come early, stay through the entire conference, or never come at all.

The highlights of the webinar I mentioned earlier are archived for listening at your leisure at Elluminate (another service I must write a post about). I have included descriptions as stated by Steve Hargadon, Elluminate’s Social Learning Consultant, and the founder of the Classroom 2.0 social network. I couldn’t resist putting in some of my own editorial thoughts.

EduBloggerCon – EduBloggerCons are about conversations that teach. Questions are asked, problems posed, experiences shared, and everyone learns. It is like a constant series of Socratic Seminars. You don’t have to be a blogger and it is a perfect place for someone new to network and build the foundation of a PLN. No advanced registration is required but you may want to take a moment to sign up. This  all day event on July 26 begins in the  Colorado Convention Center thanks to the generosity of ISTE. There will be access to free wireless, but bring extra computer batteries or make sure you’re fully charged up because this is a BYOP (bring-your-own-power) event.  Sorry no wireless electricity, yet! Check out the website for EduBlogger.

Bloggers’ Cafe – A center of synergy in a comfortable setting where conference attendees meet, network, share, laugh, or just carry on a stimulating conversation. If you’re new be sure to introduce yourself, after all you will be family here!  New this year:  a live webcam and mic so that those not at ISTE can say hi and chat with those who are.

ISTE “Unplugged” – Never presented at ISTE, never presented anywhere? Here is your opportunity! Perhaps your proposal was not accepted, or you learned something new that you just have to share! You may be a perfect candidate for ISTE Unplugged. This is found near the Bloggers’ Cafe, on the same timetable as the conference. There is a small presentation area where you can sign up to present to both a live and a remote audience (those not at ISTE can watch all the presentations via Elluminate).

OpenSourceCon –  First time ever experience for those interested in Open Source in education. That is an idea right down my alley! Check it out at  http://www.opensourcecon.com. It runs at the same time as the EduBlogger on July 26 and you can even go back and forth between the two. Consider it a parallel FREE all-day unconference for those interested in Open Source in education. Steve Hargadon, creator of Classroom 2.o, is looking for volunteers who wish to help. He states that  http://www.opensourcecon.com is where the details will emerge as they become available.

Classroom 2.0 Birds of a Feather Meeting – The date is Tuesday, 6/29/2010, 4:45pm–6:15pm.  This is your opportunity to meet other members of Classroom 2.0 and have some fun as everyone has an opportunity to share with each other.  Be prepared for a BIG crowd for this one, but no hiding allowed!

Classroom 2.0 LIVE Broadcast – Time and date to be determined.  This is  a live show from ISTE that features YOU as the guests. Great opportunity for those at home to connect at ISTE and for attendees to connect with those back at home!

Open Source Pavilion, Speaker Series, and Playground Area – this  is a terrific speaker track, supported generously as a formal part of the ISTE conference now. It is a must attend event for Open Source enthusiasts or wanna-bes.  They need volunteers also, who can help to man some of the playground stations!

Global Education Poster Session – This is part of the amazing 5-day online global education conference in November that Classroom 2.0 is  just starting to announce.  There will be a poster session table on Sunday night to give details and make connections with the larger community. Volunteers also needed for this!

As you can see Classroom 2.0 is not only encouraging you to attend ISTE2010, but allowing for you to be a part of it! As I often tell teachers, students learn more when they are  contributors and part of their own learning. A big thank you to Steve, his volunteers, and staff for making this learning opportunity happen at such a premiere conference as ISTE! Whether you are new, a seasoned veteran, in Denver, or as far away as Denmark, make sure you network with Classroom 2.0 and enjoy all it has to offer and become part of the energy at ISTE2010!

Thanks for joining me on another journey in the satisfying quest for 21st Century education knowledge! I invite you to my session at ISTE on Tuesday, July 29 from 1:00 – 3:00 PM. You may have guessed it, I will have free and inexpensive resources to share! Be sure to stop by, I would love to meet you! In the meantime, please follow me on twitter (@mjormans) and at my 21centuryedtech Wiki packed with free resources! Perhaps I will even see you someplace in Classroom 2.0 as there sure are lots of places to be! Have a great week! – 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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An ISTE Webinar Packed With Free Education Resources… And I’m Your Host!

I would like to invite you to join me as I host an ISTE Technology In Practice Webinar entitled; 21st Century Education and Technology Integration: No Cost and Low Cost Investments with Rich Results for Students on Wednesday, May 12 at 4:00 PM EDT! If the length of the the title is any indication of the resources shared, and it is, you are in for a a landslide of free resources. I am excited about sharing what I believe is over  two hours of resources in the hour time slot! Check out the link to this webinar at ISTE Webinars. By the way, I am available and can provide a staff of educators with their own webinar. I have enjoyed giving live presentations at NMSA, CELL, Alan November BLC09, ICE, and  NICE  to name a few. While I sometimes travel to different schools to provide in-service, I entertain the idea of facilitating a webinar that just might fit your school’s needs and budget. As always please follow me on Twitter@mjgorman) or email me  at (mgorman@sacs.k12.in.us).  Now, please give me the opportunity to present a little more about why I am so excited about my up-coming ISTE Webinar

First, it is an honor and a privilege to be invited by the professionals at ISTE (International Society For Technology In Education) to present one of their Technology In Practice Webinars. In fact, it is an honor I take very serious and have spent months trying to get the presentation just right. I feel whether I present in person, or on-line, it is my duty to deliver a presentation with motivational enthusiasm that is not only engaging and entertaining, but allows people to walk a way with new knowledge they can implement tomorrow! After all, isn’t that what is expected in the 21st Century classroom?  Not only that, participants must be able to access resources presented, along with access to myself, after the webinar is over! I plan on making sure that all is accomplished.

The Webinar entitled, 21st Century Education and Technology Integration: No Cost and Low Cost Investments with Rich Results for Students will cover the following areas. First, a quick philosophy of 21st Century Learning and a practical approach to addressing curricular standards while transforming educational delivery to the digital natives of today. This will transition into four different categories of resources available containing thousands of resources. Last, it concludes by applying this transformational thinking and integrating it with important lessons teachers already do. It is a goal that participants discover new and exciting ways to connect with today’s digital learners using free resources.  It is my intent to provide insight into ways of interconnecting local, state, and national standards while relating them with real world issues that are authentic and relevant.  I realize this is quite a bit for an hour, but I guarantee an hour well spent!

Thanks for joining me for another journey in 21st Century Education! I hope you are able to participate in the webinar, if not please continue to visit this blog for cutting edge ideas and information. Remember, I am always willing to assist with a conference, webinar, or in-service. I am honored to have you as a member of my professional learning community and look forward to future networking! Again, follow me on Twitter at @mjgormans), subscribe to this blog by email or RSSl, email me at mgorman@sacs.k12.in.us, and if possible join me at the webinar! Next posting: I have found a secure teacher facilitated blog spot for kids! … read about it  in the next post! Until then… have a wonderful end to your week! – Mike


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Free Classroom Interactive System From Microsoft… A Little Mouse Mischief!

I just got word from sources at Microsoft that I need to add another free Microsoft application that has just been released. After taking a quick look at it, I knew I had to pass it on to you  as soon as possible! Be sure to read this post and share with other! I am excited to hear what you think of Microsoft’s Mouse Mischief!  I am looking to see what trouble it causes in the field of student interactive systems! As always, please follow me on twitter (@mjgormans). Also, remember to subscribe via email and RSS!  Reminder that I will be presenting a Webinar on May 12 at ISTE’s Technology In Practice Series;  going to see how much free stuff I can tell you about in an hour! Now take a moment and read this bit of mischief! – Have a great weekend! – Mike

How much trouble can a mouse cause! It appears it will cause very little mischief to the school budget!  From what I see the computer mouse may bring a free  student interactive system to the classroom! I guess you will have to pay for the price of each student mouse!  Here’s the deal in the words of Microsoft, “Today, Microsoft is announcing the official release of  Mouse Mischief, a new solution that lets teachers create interactive presentations making classroom learning engaging.  Mouse Mischief integrates with PowerPoint, allowing teachers to create multiple-choice, matching and drawing question slides that students, each with their own computer mouse, can answer on a shared screen.” By now I know you are saying, tell me more!

Taking a few moments to watch this this demonstration video demo!

It will amaze you!  Did you catch the part about keeping track of student responses?  Mouse Mischief can transform teaching and learning in the classroom. It  integrates into Microsoft PowerPoint 2010 and Microsoft Office PowerPoint 2007, allowing teachers to create interactive presentations that engage and excite every student in the classroom. Approximately 5–25 students, each with his or her own mouse, can answer multiple choice questions and draw on a shared screen. You can download Mouse Mischief free of charge. In fact, Microsoft has already featured a collection of  lessons that are sure to grow! I have also included this link so you can view and be amazed by even more videos of Mouse Mischief in action. I am sure you have questions, so be sure to visit this question and answer page answering  fourteen questions you may have. The newsroom at Microsoft has collected even more bits of knowledge you may wish to know about this new interactive product.  You may also wish to check out this  blog by Microsoft’s Ira Snyder giving more great information. You can also follow twits, tweets, and squeaks from  Mouse Mischief on twitter! Check it out and be the first in your school to begin a little Mouse Mischief, after all there is no trouble in making student learning engaging in the 21st Century!

Thanks for allowing me to share what I think is some awesome news!  Please pass this post on to other educators. Sure hope there is enough mice to go around!  As always, please follow me on twitter (@mjgormans). Also, remember to subscribe via email and RSS!  Sure hope you are at my Webinar on May 12 at ISTE’s Technology In Practice Series. You will walk away rich, with free resources! Have a great week, and keep an eye on your mouse! – Mike


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Twelve Free Tools From Microsoft… Many Are New!

I was notified by Microsoft several weeks ago of some free tools that Microsoft wants teachers to be aware of. I took a look and was impressed with what I found. This post covers twelve of these tools, some that may be new to you. Please feel free to reply and leave any comments that may help all of us as we explore these free resources.  In the meantime, please follow me on twitter at (@mjgormans), I will follow you back and we can learn from one another. Thanks for taking the time to read and please subscribe by RSS or email!  Enjoy the read and have a great week! – Mike

Learning Essentials – Learning Essentials adds curriculum-based templates and toolbars to Microsoft Office Word, PowerPoint, and Excel to guide students and teachers through various projects. There is a separate set of tools for teachers and students. Learning Essentials includes templates, tutorials. One tutorial of interest was The Writing Process, which claims to help students successfully complete the four basic stages of writing. Make sure you check out the tools, content, and download area.

Math Add In For Word 2007 – The Microsoft Math Add-in for Microsoft Office Word 2007 makes it easy to create graphs, perform calculations, and solve for variables with equations created in Word.

Pivot – Pivot makes it easier to interact with massive amounts of data in ways that are powerful, informative, and fun. Pivot claims to be an  interaction model that accommodates the complexity and scale of information rather than the traditional structure of the Web. Take a moment to watch this TED Video about Pivot. Also enjoy this informative  article from Technology Review describing this Pivot.

Windows Live Sky Drive – With SkyDrive, it’s easy to store and share your files and photos with almost anyone. Get to your online files from home, work, or on the road. Keep your files to yourself, or share them with anyone you want. Drag files into your online folders.

Microsoft Research Auto Collage – Pick a folder, press a button, and in a few minutes AutoCollage presents you with a unique memento to print or email. Take a moment to watch this video for more information. Read more about Auto Collage and see further demonstrations by exploring this link.

PhotoStory 3 – One of the most powerful programs to create digital stories. PhotoStory 3 has been regarded as an old reliable by many educators for several years. Here are some facts about PhotoStory 3 that will assist both teachers and students.  Be sure to check out Microsoft’s  free 25 page digital story telling book .  Also, take a look at this video that explains making a digital movie ,and  check out still another video that talks about using PhotoStory 3 in the classroom.

Photosynth – This is an  amazing program that you really must see to fully appreciate!  In Microsoft’s own words, “Photosynth takes your photos, mashes them together and recreates a 3D scene out of them that anyone can view and move around in”. You can create your own Photosynths, or visit a vast collection that are already made . Here is the info on creating your own synth!

Songsmith – A  Microsoft Research program that lets users create a  song  just by singing!   Just open up Songsmith, choose from one of  the thirty different musical styles, and press record. It’s now time to start singing  whatever you like, while Songsmith does the rest. Take a moment to read about Songsmith and listen to these samples. There is even an extensive help area available, not for your voice, for your use of the application!

The World Wide Telescope –  This program from Microsoft Research will turn your computer into a virtual telescope.  Use the WorldWide Telescope to see the best images from the world’s finest ground and space-based telescopes. You can discover the cloud remnants of a supernova explosion that occurred years ago, or travel to the future to see what future astronomers might observe. You will have access to  a googles of sky, earth, and planet data. There are ideas for teacher including lesson plans that Compare the topography of Earth and Mars and Explore the stars with WorldWide Telescope. Be sure to visit the site and try it out.

Digital Citizenship and Creative Content – Help students  understand the rules that dictate the ethical use of  digital files, and  facilitate their understanding as to  why these issues are relevant? Take a moment to check out the outline for this free program. You will find some great information that kids need to know.

Microsoft Education Labs – Take a moment a check out some of these cool tools. You will find plug ins for Moodle, a Chemistry add- in for Word, a Math Worksheet Generator, and a Flash Card Generator. Make sure you take a look at the future vision and also read the latest blog posting.

Windows Live Movie Maker –  A fast, easy way to turn photos and videos into great-looking movies. Have fun with transitions and diffrent video affects.  Students and teachers can share with their class, on the Web, or on DVDs. Take a look at this Movie Maker Manual from Microsoft. Also be sure to watch the videos on Creating a Movie,  Adding Transitions,  Using Photo Slide Shows,  and Sharing Movies On The Web.

In conclusion, spend a moment to sign up for the Microsoft Education Newsletter filled with great information. Make sure you  subscribe to both  the Teacher Tech Blog and  the Educational Insights Blog. For a complete listing of service for educators visit the Microsoft Educators’ Page. Take a moment to read the  Seven Page Free Tools Guide from Microsoft.  Also, be sure to enhance your professional development by viewing free web and podcasts!  I am certain you will find that at least one of these free tools will help you facilitate real learning in the 21st Century!

Thanks for joining me on another journey aimed at finding resources that transform learning and prepare students for the 21st Century! I invite your feedback and encourage you to subscribe to this blog by email or RSS. Remember to follow me on Twitter at (@mjgormans) and also visit my 21centuryedtech Wiki!  Have resourceful week! – Mike


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No Such Thing As A Free NING? … Look What I Found!

C Commons http://farm1.static.flickr.com/26/61056391_31343afdc6.jpg

This post is dedicated to all of those NING users, like myself, that are wondering if a paid service from NING is an option to examine, or is there still a free alternative? After all, I have always like the price of free. In this free posting I share my epic  one hour journey as I searched for a free NING. While I relate my travels, I do uncover a possibility by the end of this post!  Join me on twitter (@mjgormans) and please continue to read as we possibly uncover a free like NING entity!  Enjoy… – Mike

Yes, it is true!  By now you are aware that NING will be changing its marketing policy with a new emphasis on a pay service as outlined in this recent article from CNET. Perhaps the new charges will be well worth it and should even include enhanced features! While this is very possible, my first reaction to this news was to search for services that are already a lot like the NING I have always enjoyed. I even wanted to find it  at a price I have become familiar with. For me, that includes a hosted service that  costs less then one cent.  So, like many of you may have already done, I searched and searched!  I read tweet upon tweet! I even looked through Blogs from people much more knowledgeable then myself. I realize that replacing an already existing  NING site may be almost impossible. I was only looking for a site that may help those wanting to set up a small professional development learning community.

I of course found open source  Drupal, and Elgg! There is even Dutch software called Barnraiser.  I am sure these are awesome community building software pieces, but like the people I share with; I am an educator. I integrate technology to engage learners!  I need a service that provides the server, hosting, and ease of use. Of course Facebook could be an option for those clever individuals able to convince the proper individuals in their learning communities to unblock it! But then some school officials are afraid of Wallwisher, a very strange fear for those who enjoy building walls! I did come across a message from Posterous that gave an encouraging message that stated it would be building a NING Blog importer! I felt I was getting closer!

Now I know there are a lot of social networking sites but I was looking for one that reminded me of my free old friend. In my final minutes of this dedicated hour I stumbled upon  Webs.com.  On their site they state, “We provide all the tools you need to create a professional looking website in just minutes. Create a site and community where anyone can connect and collaborate“. There was the C word I had been looking for! There was even a button to learn more. The text kept telling me what I wanted to hear, “At Webs, we provide all the tools you need to create a professional-looking website in just minutes. Add a blog, forum, calendar, photo gallery, video gallery and much more. Want to turn your site into a social network? No problem! You also have the ability to add members and create personal profiles so you can turn your site into a community where friends, colleagues and family can connect and collaborate“. I kept reading the included features; over 300 templates, easy to use page editor, organize and share photos, show and share video, communicate through blogs and forums, set dates and events on calendar, and access and add widgets from around the web. I set up a site and it asked who I would like to invite to my community! There was even the option and the ability to add new communities! You  may wish to look at over thirty video tutorials that are available at the web site.  Best of all the price was free and included up to 40 mb storage.

No, I am not sure if  Webs is the answer to the loss of a free NING, but it does have  some of the same capabilities.  Even if it is not a NING replacement it  appears to be a pretty powerful web site builder. There are even education templates complete with areas for assignments, handouts, and resource.  My hour of searching had ended and I will allow you to  be the judge if I even came close to accomplishing my goal. I am happy to say that the only cost to me was 60 minutes!  By the way if you have any comments, alternatives, or suggestions… please share. It doesn’t cost a thing!

Thanks for joining me for another venture into the world of 21st Century Learning. You can follow me twitter (@mjgormans) and the only cost is my follow back so I can learn from you! Please take a moment to subscribe by RSS or email and you are always welcome to visit me at my 21centuryedtech Wiki!  Have a great week! – Mike


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