Friday, June 17, 2011

The ABCs of Web Literacy

The University of Pennsylvania's Penn Libraries have designed a super interactive tutorial on web literacy. The step-by-step tutorial covers five areas: authority, accuracy, bias, currency and coverage. Students using this guide will be able to properly evaluate a website and decide whether or not to trust the information on it.

Here are some other resources to help evaluate a website:
Evaluating Web Pages Pathfinder
Evaluating Websites: Criteria and Tools
Kathy Schrock's ABCs of Website Evaluation

Cloud Computing and Syncing For Free?

Glide OS 4.0 claims to be the "first complete online operating system" which is made up of collaboration  and productivity apps. With 30GB of free storage, (250GB is $50/year) Glide allows up to six family member accounts and will sync from the cloud with your desktop computer or mobile phone. Click here to watch a quick video on the product.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Animated Maps Teach History

The Map as History is a wonderful site which claims to be the "largest online collection of animated maps." There are subscription offers for libraries, schools and universities, as well as free access to 14 maps. 

Why I Order Graphic Novels for the Library

I know that there are many teacher-librarians and media specialists who do not feel that graphic novels have a place in the school library. I've heard comments such as "They're the same as comic books!" and "High school students shouldn't be reading picture books". Today's digital learners are constantly preoccupied with visual stimuli, including video games, computers, TV, movies and cell phones that it's no wonder that our book circulation statistics have shown a decline in the last few years.

Problem #1- Dealing with kids who say they hate reading
That always hurts to hear, but I'd rather they were reading a magazine or a graphic novel, because then they would at least be reading, right?

Problem #2- Special education students who have various problems
I have students who not only have ADD, they dislike reading. (see problem #1) Cool pictures in a graphic novel can possibly keep their interest, especially if the artwork is awesome. The books I have purchased include a few Twilight Zone stories, classic novels (Beowolf, Frankenstein) and Anime.

Here are a few articles about graphic novels in the school library:
How Graphic Novels Thrive in High School Libraries: A Discussion 
2011 Great Graphic Novels for Kids- from ALA
Graphic Novels, Seriously- from SLJ
Must Have Graphic Novels Secondary

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Explaining QR Codes

I'm sure you've noticed these boxes and wondered what they were. I'm quite confident that most of the teachers in my school do not know about them. QR stands for Quick Response, and is made up of black modules in a square shape on a white background.Actually, you could call it a 3D bar code.  The encoded text in the square can represent a web address or text. Camera phones (with a QR app) or QR readers can read the encoded message. If you can scan the QR code I have on this page, it will lead you to my website, A Media Specialist's Guide to the Internet, where you will find teacher resources by grade level. QR codes are used for many applications, whether it's in an advertisement in the newspaper or on someone's business card. Believe it or not, there are many ways to use QR codes in education. Here's a great presentation put together by Steven Anderson which offers many suggestions by other teachers how they use QR codes in the classroom. I'm sure your students will love the idea of using their smartphone in the classroom; that is, of course, if cell phones are allowed in the classroom.

Related: Here's a great site to create a QR code (for free) and put it on a tee shirt , hat, mug and more.
QR Code Generator

150th Anniversary of the Civil War

The History Channel has produced a wonderful interactive on the Civil War, which is presented in the form of infographics. Roll over an image of the human body and see how many soldiers died from amputation. Roll over each image on a map and highlight the 5 deadliest battles. Each page has related articles and videos on the Civil War and the ability to share the infographic. I highly recommend Civil War 150 for all history classes. Thanks to the Pursuit of Technology Integration Happiness for sharing.

Animated Engines Shows How Engines Work

Matt Keveney has created a site which explains how a variety of engines work. Animations cover internal combustion, steam and stirling engines and offer the user control over the speed of the engine. Animated Engines a  great resource for science classes or anyone thinking of a career in engineering. Thanks to Dave Andrade for posting!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Penzu: A Free Online Journal

A colleague approached me today to ask for suggestions for a new class she is teaching in the fall. One of the things she wants her students to do is keep an online journal (private, not shared with the world) and allow the teacher to view excerpts during the semester. I came across a free app called Penzu, which looks liked a sheet of lined paper when you view it online. Students can email parts of their journal to the teacher and don't have to worry about saving their entries, because Penzu has an autosave feature. Here's a video which gives an overview of Penzu:

Locate 10,000 Online Newspapers With a Click

Here's a free super resource that offers 10,000 plus newspapers from A to Z. View a Google map of the world and locate a newspaper with one click! You can also translate the newspaper into over 60 different languages. Click here for Newspaper Map. Thanks to Dianne Krause for posting.

eduTecher Has a Load of Free Resources

If you're looking for a site which is visually appealing and easy to navigate, eduTecher is the site for you. Here you will be able to find free web resources you can use or share with other teachers around the world. With a section called eduTecherTV, you can watch videos on different web tools. Searching for classroom resources couldn't be easier. Choose your grade level and subject area and you are given a long list of resources to choose from. Each tool is given a description, and you can add your own comment or tag, share with a colleague or just go to the site for that tool. eduTecher is an excellent site!

Free Art Curriculum from the J. Paul Getty Museum

With lesson plans, images and multimedia, this new K-12  Performing Arts in Arts curriculum has been introduced at the J. Paul Getty Museum. Covering visual arts, dance, music, history and language arts, the site is designed for all student levels and meets state and national standards.

Robotics and Cars For Blind People

Dennis Hong, founder and director of RoMeLa -- a Virginia Tech robotics lab, has created a prototype car which allows a blind person to drive. Now I know this doesn't directly have anything to do with technology in most classrooms, but it is so incredible and does actually relate directly to robotics, laser rangefinders, GPS and smart feedback tools.Watch this video and see how amazing this is!

EBSCO Mobile for Research On-The-Go

Our school media center is very fortunate to have such incredible support from the NJ State Library. We currently receive a large collection of databases which cover all grades K-12 and which are extremely helpful to our students. Most recently, EBSCO created a mobile app for the iPhone, and is expanding their mobile app to include Blackberrys and Android smartphones. If your school has EBSCOHost, you should introduce your students to mobile access. See how they react when you tell them that even if the Internet is down at school, they can use their smartphone to complete their research! Here's a link to the information about EBSCOHost Mobile.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Teaching With Infographics Section Updated

I have completely updated the section on infographics on my website. You will find information on creating an infographic, free tools for your creation and sites for infographics listed by these subject areas: education, health, history, miscellaneous, science and technology. I believe that using infographics in the classroom can really assist students who normally have a tough time visualizing what a teacher is trying to explain in a lesson.
The section can be found here.

The Best and Worst Jobs in 2011

I don't remember when the job outlook was as bad for graduates as it is today. Career Cast has posted their annual listing of 200 of the best and worst jobs in 2011. Software Engineer was named the top job with an annual income of $87,000. Teachers were #100 on the list, and the worst job was Roustabout, a person who labors on an oil rig or pipeline.

If you know a teacher who is looking for a job, tell them about this super section on Jobs for Teachers. Resources include resume templates, interview tips and much more!

Another Guide from Richard Byrne

77 Web Resources for Teachers is another great handbook from Free Technology for Teachers' Richard Byrne. What else do you have to do this summer?

Connect-Collaborate-Create This Summer

With technology integration becoming more important every day, teachers need to explore all the new tools which are available. What better time to do that than during the summer. Web 2 is a site which is divided into three areas: connect, collaborate and create. You can log in as a guest and browse through the different areas. The large icons guide you with extra information i.e. video or activities you can do with the particular tool. Well worth the visit if you'd like to learn more about Web 2.0. Thanks to iLearn Technology for posting.

Here's another super-sized listing of Web 2.0 tools: Web 2.0

DailyLit Provides Books Via Email or RSS

A great way to motivate your students to read this summer is to introduce them to DailyLit. Once they sign up on the site, students will receive their book installments via email or RSS feed. Reading can be done on a computer or any mobile device, including Blackberry, iPhone or iPad. Thanks to Kristen Swanson for posting on her site.

Easy Way to Create a How-to-Do Page

Set up your lesson, email your link and your page is ready to go! Here's a sample tutorial on creating a Google Form.

FlipSnack: Make a Beautiful Flipping Book

I'm sure you've seen online digital presentations. FlipSnack goes one step further and coverts your PDF file into a FLASH presentation.....a flipping book which can be wire-bound, hardcover or softcover. Not convinced yet that this is really cool? Here is an example of a wire-bound book.

Other online programs which can convert your PDF include:

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Edutopia's Summer Rejuvenation Guide

With summer just around the corner, here's a helpful guide from Edutopia to help you "recharge the batteries" for the fall. There are many other wonderful guides on their site for you to download.

Autotopsy: You Are the Forensic Investigator

Students who are interested in forensic science will be interested in this interactive experience. An investigation follows an automobile crash, with you as the one looking for clues. I've also compiled a list of forensic sites for science teachers here.

Free Anonymous Web Hosting

Here's a really easy way to publish a webpage without having to register: PasteHtml. Simply paste you HTML code, formatted text, plain text in their box and click "publish page". You can also take a snapshot of a page webpage and stor it online. Here is a sample I made to show you what it looks like.


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