Tech Salad

With Crunchy Bits and Bytes

Month: February 2009 (page 1 of 2)

Video Session at VSTE

I enjoyed presenting yesterday’s session on student-produced video as a project-based learning activity. During the closing session, a teacher asked me to help her find the slides on my blog. I posted them several weeks ago after my session at EdTech in Ashland. Here is the link to that post so everyone can find it. The changes are very minor.

You can also find the G21 diagram in the Resources section of our website.

Photo courtesy of John Hendron

Thanks to John Hendron for the picture.

VSTE Focus

VSTE will wrap up in a couple of hours. I was able to attend many good sessions and I’m heading back to Goochland with very good ideas to share with the teachers.

There was a common thread through most of the sessions I attended. Everyone is looking for a way to collaborate online. There are so many tools, and we already use so many of them: wikis, blogs, Google documents, social bookmarks, and social networks. Now I have great examples of what teachers around the state are doing with these tools to engage their students.

Name That Law

Recently, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan suggested that the No Child Left Behind law should be renamed, rebranded to separate the law from the negativity surrounding it. The Eduwonk blog is taking suggestions. If you have any ideas, go comment. Be sure to read the submissions already there. They are funny.

As funny as those are, NCLB is no laughing matter. It hangs over all of us. If Mr. Duncan is considering any changes, he should listen to us. Get involved. Email your elected officials, join professional organizations, and make your voice heard.

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I Am Distinguished

Last Friday I was notified about my acceptance into the Apple Distinguished Educator program. Starting this summer, I will participate in professional development events sponsored by Apple. I am really excited about this opportunity to learn more to share with our teachers in Goochland.

VSTE!

Around lunchtime today I arrived at the Virginia Beach Convention Center to be a part of the VSTE Annual Conference. Last year we were able to attend VSTE with a relatively big crew for such a small county. This year, it is just two of us. I will try to see as much as I can to share with all our teachers. Check back soon to find out what I’ve seen.

Crisis of Credit

I’m sure everyone is sick of hearing about the financial meltdown. Still, how many of us can explain how it all started?

Here is a video that does a really good job of explaining.

I know, it is not ed tech, but it is educational and interesting to watch anyway.


The Crisis of Credit Visualized from Jonathan Jarvis on Vimeo.

Tan-Tastic

At Computertan.com, you can register to get a tan while sitting at your computer. Once you register, you will be sent an application that, when installed, converts the ligth from your computer into rays that will help you look sun-kissed even in the depths of winter.

Isn’t that great? At least 30,000 people thought so. They signed up for the service within 24 hours of the site going live. Many more continued to register even after the Times Online reported the site was a hoax.

The website was created as a humorous way to draw attention to skin cancer by the Karen Clifford Skin Cancer Charity.

I have been working with several teachers at GHS and GMS over the past weeks on what we have been calling Research 2.0, a process that helps students develop infoseeking skills. This is a great example to share with students.

Where can students look for confirmation of the claims made on the website? Are there any clues that let us know the site is a hoax? How many of you read the first few lines of this post and, even for a fraction of a second, thought it might be possible?

Fixing Your Pen

This short video was produced using an AVerMedia document camera and a combination of iMovie HD and iMovie 08. Take a look and learn how to fix the barrel button on a Promethean ActivPen.

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Testing Zemanta

At this week’s EdTech I talked to quite a few people about blogging, why it is important to educators, not just to communicate with parents, but to grow professionally. Blogs help us share and compare. What do you do with your resources? What do the people down the road do with the same resource? What can you learn from them, and they from you?

One teacher, I wish I could remember her name, asked how I found time to blog beyond a few sentences. I was honest and didn’t brush off her concern. Some days it takes me a while to put a blog post together. Yes, some posts just happen. A few sentences, a picture, done. Some posts I have to think through, write, save come back later and edit.

But what about the linking, and the pictures, and the fun stuff that makes people keep coming back? That comes with practice, I believe, and with the comments you get from readers (I don’t get many…), and from the network of bloggers you read, too. Not the answer the teacher wanted, I’m sure.

I thought I’d found a shortcut for that today, this Zemanta thing I’ve just downloaded. It is an add-on to your browser that automatically finds images and links related to whatever it is I am writing about, both in my GMail and my WordPress. So far, I’m not impressed. I’m being offered pictures of anything from Shakira to Secretary Spellings to public domain images of teachers from a century ago. As I am typing this, the list is refreshing itself and getting even better…

Zemanta add-on screen shot

I’ll keep, though. It may get better with time. However, I don’t think there is a substitute for experience.

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Tracking Eyeballs

This week at the EdTech Conference in Ashland, VA, I attended a session on presentation slide design by Gaynelle Lyman and Tom Woodward. The presentation was made up of very eye-catching slides. Of course, that was the point, and I think they did a great job of talking their listeners out of using bullet points and text. They mentioned how people look, first and foremost, at the top left corner of a screen, then scan the upper left half triangle, and mostly ignore the lower right-hand corner.

I had heard a bit about this from Ian Jukes last summer, and had seen the images produced by cameras that track the eyes.

This morning I read about Google’s efforts to design screens that help people find what they are looking for.

Eyeball tracking is not just for slide presentations and web pages. Think of how you present information to your students. Is it all crammed at the top of the page? Do you use different size fonts, color, and bold print to guide their attention?

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