Tech Salad

With Crunchy Bits and Bytes

Month: December 2009

Give It a Ponder

LG Mobile Phones has launched a very funny campaign encouraging teenagers to use technology responsively. James Lipton and his beard ask us to think before sending a potentially-damaging text message.

There are currently four videos, which can be found on the Give It a Ponder YouTube page.

You can also become a fan on Facebook and keep up with Ponder Beard’s comments.

Screen shot 2009-12-14 at 9.36.49 PM

It can’t hurt to use humor to get a serious message across to students. I wonder if I can get the video production kids to make a few of their own…

Sharing Scratch

Over the past month or so many students here in Goochland have been working on Scratch projects. Some teachers have opted to collect all projects in their digital drop box, and others are letting students share directly to the Scratch website. Either way, here is a very brief screencast showing you how to do it in case you are not sure.

Go With the Flow

I am in Mrs. Howell’s classroom taking care of a couple of Promethean issues. Meanwhile, Mrs. Howell is improvising a bit.

The students are reading an article from NPR’s Morning Edition about excessive cow manure in New Mexico and focusing on transitions. The news item discusses the positive and negative aspects of  dairy farms and their byproducts. It seems the NPR people went back and forth between mentioning positive and negative, and the class is adding or changing transitions to make the paragraphs flow smoother.

This lesson uses a real world example discussing an unusual topic (manure is fascinating to 8th graders, haha). The students are selecting the BEST answer from many possible correct answers. They are ALL engaged. While it would have been great to have the Promethean board available, the lesson was about the learning, not the technology.

Endorsing Education

On December 6th, Shakira addressed members of the Oxford Union. She spoke about Fundación Pies Descalzos (Barefoot Foundation), her own charitable organization, which builds and operates schools in Colombia. She gave her reasons for focusing on education, starting with early childhood, and involving parents. Her schools are community centers, always open and available for learning.

Yes, I know celebrities often deal with pie-in-the-sky ideas, but Shakira is actually making it happen, and she makes a good case for creating programs like hers around the world.

Student Projects

This morning I got my list of links from Diigo and I scrolled down quickly scanning the entire email in just a few seconds, picking a few to click on.

The first link that caught my eye was TeacherLED. This is a blog full of interactive activities that can be shared on an interactive whiteboard. Pretty cool, right?

Then I saw a link to EasyDefine and thought, “Why do people bother doing this if Google will do this for you?” I clicked anyway. The site allows the user to type a long list of terms to define, then returns definitions for all words. The list with the definitions can then be downloaded as a .doc, or emailed. The words can also be paired up with synonyms or antonyms. Nice. And?

Well, I usually don’t do this, but I clicked on the ABOUT tab. Here’s what I found.

EasyDefine was the brainchild of Prabhav Jain. He got so tired of spending excessive time looking up the definitions of many words that he developed the idea and code for an automatic and quick dictionary. He launched EasyDefine in 2009, in association with Chris Choi, while the two were in Torrey Pines High School.

Isn’t that great? High school kids put this together for themselves, and now it is being bookmarked on Diigo by teachers.

NOTE: I added the link to Torrey Pines High School on my own.

G21 Claymation

Ms. Tolson’s students recently created claymation movies. They used used FrameByFrame to create the animations, then they added titles and sound effects with iMovie. I love the little movies. You can find all of them on YouTube. You can read more about the process and about other awesome projects from the Interdisciplinary Art Class over at Ms. Tolson’s blog.

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