Saturday, January 7, 2012

Facebook in the Classroom: 21 Web Resources (If you're not blocked)

20 Reasons You Should Be Using Facebook in Your Classroom
Creating a Facebook Page for Your School- written by Brad Flickinger

Facebook Guidelines- Papillion-La Vista School District

Facebook4Education Wiki- started by Michael Zimmer

Facebook in Education- Facebook's official page

Facebook Profile Template- created by Suzanne Witlow, this is a Word document

Facebook Strategies For the Classroom

Facebook Templates- choose from a list of six, including a page for JFK

Historical Figure Facebook Project- students will create a Facebook page for a historical figure; lesson plan and instructions are here.

How to Use Facebook: Video Series- eHow;  video tutorials

Tips for Teachers on Facebook- keep students from seeing things your friend are allowed to see

Using Facebook to Teach- history teacher Sara Romeyn talks about using Facebook in her classroom:

Friday, January 6, 2012

Bookshare Offers Assistance to Students with Disabilities

I am fortunate to have a blind young man working for me in the media center. His positive attitude and spirit lift me daily, and he never ceases to amaze me with his ability to navigate the computer lab and library. There are so many things that the sighted world takes for granted, and Matt reminds me of these things every day. Today I learned about Bookshare®, (2012 Reader's Choice Award winner from eSchool Media) a site which is an online library of digital books for people with print disabilities. It operates under an exception to U.S. copyright law which allows copyrighted digital books to be made available to people with qualifying disabilities. I can't wait to share the site with Matt, as well as our special education teachers, as I know our students will find it invaluable. As described on their site, "members with visual impairments can listen to books with using a text-to-speech synthesized voice, read books in Braille, or access the material in large print. Members can read books on a computer or a variety of portable devices, either visually and with text-to-speech as desired. Members with severe dyslexia typically benefit from access to the full text of books in digital format, for multi-modal reading with both visual and audio.(through synthetic text to speech)."  Here's a video of blind student Steffon Middleton using a portable Braille device to read digital books on Bookshare® :

Currently there are about 127,000 digital books, textbooks, teacher-recommended reading, periodicals and assistive technology tools.

Bookshare® has a long list of major donors, including Adobe Corporation, Mozilla Foundation, (their browser is FireFox) Microsoft Corporation and the U.S. Department of Education - Office of Special Education Programs.

Like what you see? 
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Thursday, January 5, 2012

14 Things You Might Have Missed: Why Not Try Them in 2012?

 Happy New Year, everyone!  I am back from an extended vacation and ready to get back to work. (Thank you for being patient!) I would love to hear what you would like to see on the blog in 2012. Please leave your comments and suggestions at the end of the post. Here are are few things you might have missed in the past and are worth mentioning again.

12,000 Newspapers From Around the World
The world's 400 largest cities are represented on,with just about every language covered. This is a great resource for any world language teacher.  

Capture, Annotate and Share
I've been using SnagIt screen capture at work. Although it's not a free program, it has so many great features. At home, I've tried several trials of programs and just never found anything I liked as much as SnagIt. This FREE program has just about everything I need! Some features include capturing a selected area of a page, the entire page and annotation with rectangles, arrows, lines and text. You can also blur out information you don't want your students to see. Here's a great way to do a handout for your class or a tutorial. Although sizing your image capture is not an option, I'm okay with that; Photoshop is always waiting in the wings. Just install the browser plug-in (Chrome and Safari only right now) and you are ready to go! I'm excited to get started with Awesome Screenshot.

Bookins: Swap Books With Other Readers
Recommended by USA Today, Bookins provides free shipping to send any books and a flat rate of $4.99 when you receive an order of books. The trades are arranged by Bookins, so you don't have to contact anyone. The site claims the only 100% "trade risk-free" guarantee, which assures you will receive payment and/or "quality items".

Edudemic: What's Happening in Education and Technology
Edudemic is a "7,000+ person global community designed to keep educators, administrators, and everyone up-to-date on what’s happening in the world of education and technology." There is a section of "How To", ideas for "In the Classroom", current items "In the News", "Tips & Tricks", "Top 10 Lists", guides and a job board. There are RSS feeds for daily access through your reader. 

Google Body Browser

Anatomy classes will find this amazing: 3D rendering of the human body.
Zoom in and out; explore all systems of the body. HTML5 allows you to view the rendering without needing Flash or Shockwave. Viewing must be made in Google Chrome.

The Library of Congress' Digital Collection is One of the Largest
This video explains how items are scanned at the Library of Congress and what's available in their online collection. There are thousands of incredible primary source documents on their site. To visit the Library of Congress site, click here.

Newsmap Is a Visual Palette of Current Events Stories
You can choose from 15 countries as well as how recent the news was posted on the site. Simply roll over a story and you will see a sample of the news article. Click and you are directed to the original page of that article.

The Open Library Offers 1 Million Books For Free
Created by the Internet Archive, this site currently has 612,643 works and 959,053 eBooks published between 1099 and the present. With 20 scanning centers in five countries, they are constantly adding to their collection. Read a book online, download a pdf of the book, or read on your Kindle or eReader device.

"Outside My Window" Connects People Through Photos

Students at Evergreen Valley High School in San Jose, California started Outside My Window in 2003, hoping to make new friends from around the world through photos. "This network helps people see the worlds as other people see it- the first step toward understanding and friendship." I took a look at the gallery of photos and was very impressed. Perhaps your students would be interested in contributing to this wonderful project.

PosteRazor Makes Posters From Smaller Pictures

Take one letter size picture (8.5 x 11) and make it as large as you want, just by using this free program. PosteRazor saved me $$ when I needed to print a fund raising poster.

Squrl:Organize Your Videos
Manage your videos in one spot and then watch it on the iPad, PC. iPhone, or TV. The Squrl App will search for videos, allow you to bookmark videos and make collections of your videos.

Ten Excellent Research Resources to Use Instead of Google
researchYour students love Google. But if they have to locate trustworthy, educational sites for their research, they need to understand that Google merely finds the sites; it doesn't review them, make sure they will offer reliable information and give them resources which will accurately cover their topic. Here are ten great resources  your kids never knew existed:

Academic Info-subject guide descriptions provide relevant sites.
Bubl- selected Internet resources covering all academic areas.
Infomine- annotated academic sites and subject databases
Infotopia- educator selected sites
Intute- annotated academic sites
IPL- information you can trust
iSeek Education- search a topic or ask a question
LibGuides Community- over 100,000 pathfinders from thousands of libraries
SurfWax- search your topic and find similar, broader or narrower ones
Sweet Search- selective searches for students

Use SpeedyMarks to Create Visual Bookmarks
speedymarks The 'ABOUT' page on the SpeedyMarks website says that you can "quickly open your favorite websites." Students who are doing research can easily gather their information by just clicking "Add" at the top left part of the screen. This will store the sites on the computer the student is working on. Storing the sites on the SpeedyMarks server requires registering, (FREE) but it will allow students collaborating on a project to access their 'marks' wherever they have Internet access. You can choose a background color from many choices. I left mine with the default black since it looked the best to me.

Why Most PowerPoint Presentations are Bad
This is a wonderful presentation which gets right to the point with easy to follow slides. Everyone should be required to view this presentation.


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