Tag Archives: wiki

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: Visual Ranking Thinking Tool… Powerful Student Collaboration!

Welcome to a series of articles based on Intel Thinking Tools, an amazing set of free tools from Intel. The three tools I will be  highlighting in this and future posts are are just a small set of what Intel offers for free. The tool I include today is called the Visual Ranking Tool , one of Intel’s Online Thinking Tools. The description matches nicely and there are endless possibilities for the classroom. Before starting, remember to sign up via email or RSS and also,  follow me on twitter (mjgormans) to keep learning! I know after this read you will be creating visual ranking lessons that connect to your curriculum in no time! Have a great week! – Mike

Visual Ranking Tool -“The exercise of ordering your favorites…ranking one a level higher than another, and then articulating why you chose the way you did-requires a depth and clarity of consideration and comparison that inspires richer appreciation and enjoyment.” – Michael J. Gelb, from his book; How to Think Like Leonardo da Vinci

Let me first introduce you to Visual Ranking, my personal favorite of this three tool set. Intel describes using this tool by stating, “Making a list is usually straightforward and requires little thought. But when it comes to ordering and prioritizing items in that list, higher-level skills of analysis and evaluation are put to use”. The Visual Ranking Tool allows students to focus their thinking behind creating ordered lists. Students practice identifying and refining criteria as they assign order or rank to a list. Collaboration is emphasized as students are given the opportunity to explain their reasoning and can compare their work with each other in a visual diagram. They can even compare their results with the reasoning of other groups, and even a class average. Imagine activities where students practice organizing their ideas, debate individual differences, and reach group consensus. Check out this overview of the tool and the research describing the benefits of this type of high order thinking activity for students.

Watch this video to get a better idea. After watching the video, try this quick demo to give you a better understanding.  Take a moment and explore Intel’s resources of units and plans for this tool. While Intel provides awesome ideas, you are also able to come up with your own ideas for rankings that may just fit into your curricular standards.  There are many lessons on the web that could incorporate this tool. One example is Shackleton’s Antarctic Adventure. Note the list that is part of  the lesson. Astrosociety.org has this great lunar activity that could be adapted for use with Visual Ranking. I have used Visual Ranking in teacher professional development, asking educators to rank 21st Century Skills. It has been a great way to enhance the idea of 21st Century Skills while giving teachers an opportunity to learn a new tool. Intel also includes these instructional strategies which covers planning a lesson, implementing a project, and assessing student work.

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 asses student work on line, and even leave important feedback. It really is the type of program that many teachers are using the day after a short in-service. Take a moment and explore Visual Ranking, 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 (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 think! – Mike

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Free Webinar : 21 Century Skills Author – Charles Fadel

When researching for the prior  post I came across  a opportunity  that I was sure any reader of this blog would be interested in. It is about a unique webinar  focusing on 21st century skills and scheduled for Tuesday, May 18 at  5pm Pacific and  8pm Eastern. The webinar, hosted by Steve Hargadon, features Charles Fadel who is co-author an of 21st Century Skills: Learning For Life In Our Time. This is a book that I have read and continue to review and learn from. If you have the opportunity on May 18 be sure to attend, if you can’t check the archive as stated later in the post. As always, you can follow me on Twitter (@mjgormans) and visit my 21centuryedtech Wiki loaded with resources, reflections, and ideas for your journey in 21st Century Education.  Now some more detail! – Mike

I have been a long time fan of the 21st Century Skill integration, especially since my first visit to the original  New Tech High School in Napa Valley, California. I visited this wonderful school with the thought of seeing awesome technology and walked away with an revelation of an even more amazing school culture dedicated to real learning. I was beginning to understand that educational transformation is not about the technology, it is the process which is made possible due to  technology and learning culture.  It was after this, and my last round of degree work at Johns Hopkins, that compelled me to begin writing this Blog and Wiki. Charles Fadel, the featured guest on this  Elluminate webinar, presented by Steve Hargadon, is a global leader for education at Cisco Systems. He is also  the Cisco board member at the Partnership for 21st Century Skills and Innovate/Educate (an organization dedicated to advocacy of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM)).  His book 21st Century Skills: Learning For Life In Our Times and accompanying DVD co-authored with Bernie Trilling, Global Director For Oracle Education Foundation, is a must for anyone dedicated to 21st Century Learning.  A favorite phrase I carry with me from this book is the notion of “Teach Less… Learn More“, a mission developed by the Singapore Ministry of Education. I am certain that Charles Fadel will  provide attendees at this webinar plenty to reflect on. If you have an interest in 21st Century Skills, STEM education, and Project Based Learning then be sure you attend the live webinar, or listen to the archive. Be sure to also get a copy of the book and its included DVD! I am sure you will walk away with a better understanding of 21st century learning and a confidence to lay the needed foundation in your school. Please note webinar  information below as listed at Steve Hargadon’s Website.

Date: Tuesday, May 18

Time: 5pm Pacific / 8pm Eastern / 12am (next day) GMT (international times here)

Duration: 60 minutes

Location: In Elluminate. Log in at http://tr.im/futureofed. The Elluminate room will be open up to 30 minutes before the event if you want to come in early. To make sure that your computer is configured for Elluminate, please visit http://www.elluminate.com/support. Recordings of the session will be posted within a day of the event at the event page.

A big thank you to Steve Hargadon and the people at Elluminate and Learn Central for sponsoring such a wonderful opportunity.Thank you for joining me on another journey in the quest of 21st Century Educational transformation! As always you can follow me on Twitter (@mjgormans) and visit my 21centuryedtech Wiki loaded with resources, reflections, and ideas for your journey in 21st Century Education. See you on the road to 21st Century Learning! – 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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Tweet For Ed Funding: Not Everything Is Free!

Yours Truly Facilitating The Indiana Team’s March To Capitol Hill

Welcome to a short midweek post dedicated to political action in education. I firmly believe that educators must proactively support technology in education. It is my hope that when students enter a school they walk into an environment that is engaging and promotes 21st Century standards along with the important core curriculum. Please read on and I invite you to help the people at ISTE as they support technology in the classroom. As always you can follow me on Twitter at (@mjgormans) and also read about free resources at my 21centuryedtech Wiki. Please read and consider… Thanks – Mike

I have been a long time advocate for students and the educational needs of the classroom. At the same time I understand that budgets are limited, in fact, that is the reason for both my Blog and Wiki! Both of these publications are my attempt at making teachers aware of free and inexpensive resources. While these are important, it is a reality that hardware, infrastructure, professional development, internet access, and their maintenance to support student learning is not free. For this reason I have met with legislators in my state capitol in Indiana and I also had the opportunity to lead a state delegation to Washington, DC’s Capitol Hill last year at NECC09.  (See picture above.)

Being a member of the ISTE ESEA Reauthorization Advisory Group, I recently recieved an email from Hilary Goldmann, who is the hard working Director of Government Affairs for ISTE (International Society for Technology in Education). She reports that ISTE is asking educators to contemplate taking some necessary action in order for all schools to at least maintain the current technology programs they have in place. At the present time the 2011 federal budget eliminates funding for Enhancing Education Through Technology, or EETT, which is the only dedicated funding stream for educational technology. On Wednesday, May 12, educators, parents, administrators and students from around the country and across the world are asked to speak out to support funding for ed tech. ISTE is suggesting that you take a moment to send a tweet, write a blog, update your Facebook status, start a Ning thread, or communicate by whatever means you have access to online to voice your support for dedicated ed tech funding in the 2011 federal budget. Below are some suggestion for ways you can make a difference.

Sample short messages for Tweets and social networking: (Sample of key Legislatures  included)

  • @TomHarkin #EETT Support innovation in learning & teaching. Fund #edtech at $500m
  • @DavidObey #EETT Support innovation in learning & teaching. Fund #edtech at $500m
  • @ThadCochran #EETT Support innovation in learning & teaching. Fund #edtech at $500m
  • @RepToddTiahrt #EETT Support innovation in learning & teaching. Fund #edtech at $500m
  • Our schools need 21st century education, #EETT. Fund #edtech at $500 m
  • No funding for #edtech? No prep for 21st century. Fund #EETT at $500m
  • I support #edtech. I vote. Fund #EETT at $500m in 2011
  • As a principal/teacher/parent I know our kids need #edtech skills. Fund #EETT at $500m

Sample blog topics:

  • How has ed tech improved the way you teach?
  • How has ed tech improved the way students learn?
  • What would you do with additional ed tech funding?
  • What will your students lose if EETT funding goes away?
  • Why is it important to have up-to-date technology in classrooms?

Please take a moment to reflect and consider any action. Perhaps you desire more information. Please click here (good information for you to be aware of) for details on the 2011 ed tech funding plans. You can also read about educational technology advocacy at the ISTE site Thanks for taking the time to read and consider.  Not all of ed tech resources are free and inexpensive, but as I find them I will be sure to let you know. Thanks for your time and please consider subscribing by RSS or email! Have a wonderful week and continue that journey toward 21st century education. – 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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EtherPad… It’s Back As: TitanPad…Collaboration Made Simple!

Welcome to another mid week posting highlighting a Great Web Catch. Collaboration is one of those important 21st Century Skills for students and a needed process for teacher planning. Late last year, EtherPad, a plain and simple collaboration tool, was purchased by Google to be incorporated in the Google Wave and Google Doc product. EtherPad then disappeared! I am happy to proclaim there is a new Etherpad called  TitanPad!  I was so happy to see an old friend back that I wrote two posts in one day!  Read On! – Mike (@mjgormans) on twitter

EtherPad had been known as a valuable tool, allowing instant  and  easy collaboration for students and teachers.  As the site had proclaimed, “Etherpad is simply the most frictionless way to get people on the same page.” The real attraction to EtherPad was the lack of requirement for a user account, sign in, or email. As you are aware, this is a definite plus in the educational setting. When Etherpad turned off the lights and  disappeared I needed to find a product that matched it in simplicity and usability! While Wallwisher and CoSketch are awesome tools, neither quite matched simple, reliable, EtherPad!

Until the introduction of TitanPad!  Its collaboration the easy way, again!  All that is needed is a visit to http://titanpad.com and  a press of a button called Create Public Pad. After this quick process, a new public pad is created for the user in TitanPad. The user then shares the URL  for the pad with others. What ever is typed from where ever, is displayed on the page in real time. There is even a chat window!  This is a great tool for those that need to bring up a quick collaboration tool on the fly. It is useful in the classroom for students to communicate point of need help in Project Based Learning, collaborate as a group, keep teacher aware of group progress, communicate beyond walls, and interview authors and experts. It allows teachers to collaborate on text documents, keep meeting notes, and draft plans. TitanPad allows each line entered by a collaborator  to have a different number for easy reference. Authors are also given color codes and can even be given a label or name. Best of all, work can be saved and exported as an HTML, plain text, bookmarked file, Microsoft Word, PDF, or Open document. Different revisons can be documented and a time slider is provided to show when revisions are made.  Users must be aware that the only way  to keep open pads private is to safeguard the URL. For this reason private information should not be shared. The Austrian based group has even stated that subdomains are coming soon! TitanPad is based on the open-source release of EtherPad.  If you were use to EtherPad  – you’ll feel like at home with TitanPad, it works exactly the same. It is sure nice to have an old friend back!

Hope this post helps you out and as always feel free to follow me on Twitter at (@mjgormans), I will return the favor and we can learn from each other. Also remember,  I will be hosting one of the ISTE: Technology In Practice Webinar Series on May 12, 2010. Please join me there and at my 21centuryedtech Wiki.  I look forward to your future visits and remind you to subscribe to this blog by email or RSS. Make sure you take a look at TitanPad and enjoy easy collaboration!  Have a great week! – Mike

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