Tag Archives: k12

Free STEM & PBL Resources… eGFI Is Dreaming Up The Future!

Welcome the third 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

If you have been trying to dream up some great STEM and PBL related material then eGFI, brought to you by the the American Society For Engineering Education (ASEE), is a great place for you to visit! This first class organization who’s mission is to dream up the future, is committed to promoting and enhancing efforts to improve K-12 STEM and engineering education. At first glance it is apparent that this web site is a dream of student centered and actively engaging resources. It now time to go beyond that first glance. You will be amazed at the number of videos, resources, lessons, and activities that are ready for you to integrate.

Once you are done moving  the different pictures of resources around on the entry site, a great place to start is at What’s New.  In What’s New, you will beintroduced to some of the most amazing cutting edge inventions, or perhaps you will want to visit E-Tube filled with video titles like Engineers Are Cool, Stanford Researchers Make Paper Battery,  The Great Space Elevator, and Robot Football! In fact E-Tube contains over one hundred engaging videos covering the major topics of competitions, cool stuff, TV shows, in the field, and in the classroom. Perhaps you want to connect instruction with careers. Then dream on with Trailblazers, a place to connect studies with people in the field. Here you will find interesting people and the interesting things they do related to STEM careers.  If that doesn’t get you dreaming then be sure to check out the lower right hand corner of the page that will take you to 15 different STEM related industries through a funky, yet fun interface. Dream on with eGFI’s amazing Student Blog! This highly engaging blog assists upper elementary, middle and high school students as they explore the various fields of engineering and STEM related fields, plan their own projects, and get the information they need to decide whether an engineering or STEM related career is right for them.

Engineer Your Path provides a great place for students to dream about a possible STEM related future. Here you can meet a student, discover 10 essential steps toward getting in a STEM field, discover what it is like to be on the job, and just get great advice. Great information for schools interested in exploring career pathways! Be sure to read the magazine, filled with cool topics and linked to great videos. You may wish to join the thousands of teachers receiving fresh lesson plans and activities, news, feature articles and web resources every week by email. Check out this archive of teacher newsletters and then sign up here. Do your students want to learn more about The Making of Avatar, 3D Printing, and the The Kepler telescope. Each week, the eGFI student newsletter presents fun and interesting engineering innovations, STEM related topics, and great discussion topics for class. Sign up for the student newsletter and encourage your students to do so, as well. You can check out past newsletters here.

If I have you are dreaming of future possibilities for your classroom then be sure to check out the for teachers link!  This will turn your dreams into a reality! This hard to spot link in the upper right corner of the What’s New Page is one you do not want to miss. You will find close to 100 amazing lesson plans for K12, another large selection of activities that will put your students at the center of project based learning,  over 300 outreach organizations and events, close to 300 web resources devoted to STEM,  special feature articles that feature STEM related education, and some great K12 education news. eGFI is an amazing teacher resource area that could keep you dreaming all season long! If you or teachers you facilitate have an interest in STEM and PBL, then eGFI is a great place to get both you and your students dreaming up the future!

Thus, my focus, to share with you vast resources such as eGI 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 EDSITEment : Core Curricula, 21 Century Ed, And The Arts

Welcome to another of 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

If there is such thing as a free goldmine of resources, then EDSITEment qualifies for hitting the mother lode.  Looking for Art and Culture? How about Literature and Language Arts? Perhaps you need some Foreign Language! Let’s not forget Social Studies and History! Click on EDSITEment and you will enter a site that indexes nearly three hundred other websites at the current time!  Every one of these websites covers at least one, if not all four, of the curriculum areas stated above.  This wealth of material is provided by a partnership consisting of the National Endowment for the Humanities,Verizon Foundation, and the National Trust for the Humanities.

EDSITEment offers a treasure trove for teachers, students, and parents searching for high-quality material on the Internet. This site is loaded with cross-curricular information, 21st century skills, and project, problem, and inquiry based learning activities. Check out these main headings including  Art and CultureLiterature and Language ArtsForeign Language, and History and Social Studies. In each one of these categories you can search by subcategories and grade levels. Perhaps your students want to take a virtual excursion “On The Road To Santa Fe“. Possibly they want to to learn that the Alphabet Is Historic. How about an activity in Mythology involving a  Podcast with Rick Riordan, author of the best-selling series Percy Jackson & the Olympians series ? You could get  involved with a Picturing Americas Conference. These conferences provide opportunities to teach history, and culture through American Art. Explore these lessons from Picturing America and see how they emphasize the value of visual literacy for subjects in the core curricula.

But wait, there is so much more! Take a moment to see what the ASA said about EDSITEment’s Advanced Placement US History Lessons. Explore EDSITEment’s cooperative effort with NCTE involving The National Gallery of Writing. This collection of student interactives and contributions are short essays that are thoughtful, analytical, and well-researched  based on history as seen through art. Be sure to also explore these NEH funded PBS resources for education. One example is the  NEH-funded five-part television series on PBS entitled American Experience: We Shall Remain.This is a provocative multimedia project which spans four centuries and gives Native American voice to the national experience from the Mayflower to the Wounded Knee occupation of 1973. There are some great lessons based on 19th century American Literature you may wish to explore and incorporate.  Not to be forgotten is this outstanding literary glossary.  You will also be rewarded as you browse the engaging monthly features that are provided.  The monthly calendar and calendar archive help integrate important events in history with lessons that can be found in the archive. There is also a great NEH Magazine that will fascinate you and your students, and a wonderful newsletter to keep you up-to-date in all the new resources and programs at EDSITEment.  I really could go on and on… but it is time for you to discover the goldmine of free resources found in EDSITEment!  Explore and be amazed as you search through the entire database by subject, subcategory, and grade level. I am sure you will create EDSITEment in your classroom.

Thus, my focus, to share with you vast resources such as EDSITEMENT 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: Showing Evidence Tool… Collaboratively Construct, Evaluate, And Defend!

Welcome to the third in a series of articles based on Intel Thinking Tools, an amazing set of free tools from Intel. The resource I include today is called the Showing Evidence Tool , another of Intel’s amazing Online Thinking Tools. This tool is perfect for those teachers who wish to engage students to collaboratively and critically provide evidence to support an idea. Before exploring please take a moment to sign up for future posts via email or RSS and also,  follow me on twitter at (mjgormans).  Now, discover another new and amazing  free 21st century tool! Have a great week! – Mike

Showing Evidence Tools –  “People generally quarrel because they cannot argue.”  A statement by Gilbert Chesterton (1874-1936) an English writer.

How many of your students have a great opinion or found some information on the web, but lack the ability to back it up with well articulated thinking and research? Real learning requires students to come up with opinions, hypotheses, and thesis arguments. More importantly, they must learn to support their ideas with factual details. This is true whether students are exploring science, discussing social studies, explaining a math problem, or writing a language arts paper. This skill is the foundation of Intel’s free Showing Evidence Tool. This resource facilitates student learning by providing a tool that helps construct well-reasoned arguments that can  prove a case, theory or hypothesis  with credible evidence. It does this by providing a visual framework to make claims, identify evidence, evaluate the quality of the evidence, explain how the evidence supports or weakens a claim, and allows students to reach conclusions based on the evidence. Research shows that an argumentation tool such as Showing Evidence extends learning regardless of subject or grade level. This is accomplished by preparing students for real world problems, helping students develop higher-order thinking skills, increasing content knowledge, and encouraging thoughtful students discussion.

Intel states, “The Showing Evidence Tool provides a scaffold to support students as they create a claim and then support or refute it with appropriate evidence. When an argument is complicated, the components of the tool help students think through justifying a claim. The Showing Evidence Tool prompts students to consider the quality of the evidence (Do they trust the source?), and the strength of the evidence to support their claim (Is the evidence central to their argument?). Students use the tool to explicitly link evidence to their claim and provide their reasoning as to why the evidence supports their claim (What general principle or idea allows them to make that connection?).

Take a moment and watch this video to get a better understanding. Be sure to explore Intel’s resources of units and plans for this tool. Perusing these lessons will provide you with ideas to integrate this tool into your past, current, and future lessons. There is even a tutorial that will guide you through building an activity. You may also wish to look at both this elementary demo or secondary demo.  Intel also includes an  excellent set of instructional strategies.  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 the Showing Evidence Tool. It really is a first class resource that will apply to any curricular area and grade level while enhancing 21st Century Skills. Best of all, it’s free!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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