Tech Salad

With Crunchy Bits and Bytes

Month: April 2009

Save Your Space

We’ve been blogging with WordPress for almost an entire school year now, and we have hundreds of pictures uploaded by teachers on our server. Some teachers have run out of their allotted space, and while we can give them more for now, the space on our servers is finite.

John Hendron had blogged about this back in January, and it is worth repeating. Reduce the size of your images prior to uploading to make your allotted space last longer. This will also help readers accessing blogs on slower connections who have to wait for images to load slowly when they are too big.

This image, for example, looks just fine on the screen. It is only 76kb. At this rate, you could store close to 2,000 images and not run out of space.

Watch this video to find out how much space you have and how to resize your images.

NARA on Footnote

Thanks to the History Tech blog for sharing this neat resource.

The National Archives and Footnote.com have teamed up to make thousands of historic documents available to the public. Footnote requires a registration, and charges a fee for access to much of their stuff. However, this is a special, free section.

While some of the documents may be tough to incorporate into your teaching (try reading the secret journals of the Continental Congress), there are some fascinating resources there.

This is an image of the headquarters of the Hay Department of the Army of the Potomac taken by photographer Mathew B. Brady.

Hay Department, indeed. What a great image to bring home the difficulties of maintaining a large army prior to the use of the internal combustion engine. I’m not saying it is easier now, but what a difference!

Minty Fresh

Yesterday afternoon my daughter made an unusual statement for an eight-year-old. When my son asked when he’d get a higher allowance, she said, “Money is short!”

Of course, I wanted to know where that came from. “My teacher said money is short, so people can’t shop, and that is why Circuit City went out of business. They couldn’t pay their bills when people stopped shopping.” Perfect explanation for second grade. Middle and high school kids, however, would benefit from a more complete explanation.

The WallStats section of Mint.com has excellent explanations of inflation, deflation, and other economic concepts. The Visual Guide to Deflation gives the reader definitions, causes, effects, and options for govenrments and consumers in a simple, but very effective display. The presentation is fun, and probably more visually appealing to students than any textbook I’ve ever seen.

Even if your curriculum does not include economics, if you discuss current events in your classroom, this might be worth sharing with your students.

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International iPod

The World Languages department has been considering the purchase of a few iPod Touch for their classrooms. Here is a something to help them decide in favor of the purchase.

Sans Comic Sans

Even when so many people claim to hate it, Comic Sans shows up everywhere. LifeHacker says,

…most of us have come to groan at its frequent and overbearing use by HR managers, on community flyers tacked to bulletin boards, or anywhere someone wanted to inject a little artificial jokey atmosphere.

Here is what the Wall Street Journal has to say about its history, fans, and detractors.

So, is Comic Sans ever better than Times New Roman? What makes this “kid friendly” font a good or bad font choice?

Comic Sans from Sam and Anita on Vimeo.

Turn It In Legally

I have never heard complaints from our students, but just in case it happens, Turn It In is perfectly legal to use. According to the Fourth U.S Circuit Court of Appeals, Turn It In’s use of student papers for the purpose of detecting plagiarism is covered under Fair Use. You can read the Court’s opinion available as a PDF.

iPod Instruction

A few of our teachers in Goochland are currently piloting the use of iPod Touch in the classroom. It is a hectic time of the year, this final stretch to SOL week, and teachers don’t have time to sit for a few minutes of training during the school, and much less figure things out on their own.

Here are a few brief videos with some helpful tips for them, and anyone else, to watch when they can steal a few minutes for themselves.

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