Tech Salad

With Crunchy Bits and Bytes

Month: September 2011

Be Creative Every Day

Sometimes insomnia is a tool for finding fun things online. Here’s a fun website for everyone.

Screen shot 2011-09-28 at 5.40.19 AM

Microscopic Photography – Cast Your Vote!

Last year around this time I blogged about the top 20 microscopic pictures of the year. The images were lovely. Apparently, many other people loved them, too. Nikon has made available calendars featuring many of the images.

This year, the public can help select the best images. Maybe they did this last year, I don’t know. But, if you want to see the amazing pictures and select your favorites, take a look.

Here is one of my favorites, pollen grains from an acacia tree.


What Is Scratch?

I have been talking about Scratch since John Hendron introduced me to it in 2007 when it was brand new. I have blogged about it, tweeted about it, presented at conferences, co-taught workshops, participated in conferences, and pretty much tried to sell it to everyone for everything. Scratch is an amazingly fun learning tool for all ages.

If you have never heard of Scratch, or used it, you are really missing out. Take a look at the new video the Scratch team at MIT has released.

Intro to Scratch from ScratchEd on Vimeo.

Google and Moodle

Many of our teachers are now using Moodle and Google. Some use both, but many use one or the other. I think using both is the best approach.

I recently saw this cute video showing how the two tools integrate so well with one another. It is an advertisement for a consulting firm that helps schools with technology. We don’t need to hire them. We have two in-house people with lots of experience, right?

If you are interested in using these tools with your students, let us know. John Hendron and I are here to help.

Using Google Apps in Moodle from Webanywhere on Vimeo.

Publishing Very Large Files

Sometimes we create files that are larger than the size limit we have set for our WordPress server. Here is a video showing you how to publish those files.

Please keep these things in mind:

  1. You cannot do this from home. You can only access the web server to move files to your Sites folder when you connect from within our network

  2. Your file name should have no capital letters, no spaces, and no punctuation.

  3. Always test that your file plays properly after you have published your post.

If you need any additional help with this, please let me know. And, for more tips and tutorials on publishing to your blog, visit our complete publishing guide.


Is Google Shrinking My Brain?

This has been an ongoing debate in education. Is Google making us stupid?

The real question should be, is Google making our evolutionary shortcuts obvious. Apparently so. Read this interesting post from Alva Noe at the NPR blogs.

Don’t Mess Up My Document!

We have been using Google Docs with our students for close to two years now, and one of the advantages I love most is the ability to peer edit documents. As valuable as this is, some students resent others mucking about in their work.

This week Google introduced a new feature that is perfect for peer editing. Now users can give others comment-only access to documents. Read more about it on the Google Docs Blog.

Screen shot 2011-09-15 at 10.18.57 AM

What’s Wrong With This Picture?

This morning I was stuck in traffic on my way to work. I tweeted my location hoping others in my area would avoid the jam. A bit later, @sharon_elin tweeted a link to live traffic cameras in Virginia. Thanks, Sharon!

When I looked at the camera closest to the jam, I noticed something weird.


The picture is from 8:38 in the morning today, September 1, only a couple of weeks away from the equinox. What is the REAL direction of the traffic closest to the camera? Have your students figure it out and send a correction request to the Virginia Department of Transportation.

There are lots of ways in which we can use images to teach lessons. Using the shadows from webcams and Google Earth is just one I particularly enjoy.

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