Google Power Searching

Google is leading search engine on this planet. Almost everyone who uses Google does so by typing in the small box the search topic and then hits enter or return. This is the “I’m Feeling Lucky” approach. While it can be very successful, it can also lead to many pages of potential sites that may or may not provide the user with the needed information. Take a minute and check out how Google for Educators thinks you should use Google.

Google Docs and Collaboration

This is a wonderful example of how the Web 2.0 or The Read/Write web as Will Richardson calls it, can transform education by eliminating boundaries. The latest issue of MacWorld lists the top 10 trends of 2007. Number 4 is “The Net as Computer” by Lisa Schmeiser. She discusses Office 2.0 and by this she means what happened when Yahoo offered free e-mail accounts and how it started to change where and how people worked.
Check out a database of web-based Office 2.0 aps. Three notable ones include gOFFICE and Zoho and Joyent. All of them offer on-line tools that could replace local applications if users have constant on Internet access.
How will this impact our educational program in 2007 and beyond? Some students already use Google Docs so the future is closer then anyone thinks.

Video Games in Schools?

David Warlick is presenting a session on A Beginners Introduction to Games and Learning here at NCETC. Handouts are at his handout wiki. Video Games are an interesting issue for me as I see students coming to the lab at lunch to get on a computer so they can play games. Runescape is huge and I see students working together to get into the same game and then helping each other play. While this game site may be against the Acceptable Use Code of DA, I am fascinated by how students are collaborating and problem-solving for the 15 minutes they have after lunch. It seems to be mostly 5th and 6th grade students. Linerider as of late is very popular as students tend to use it for two purposes. One purpose is to make really complex lines that the rider must ride that incorporate loops and jumps. A different approach is to create lines that end with the line rider crashing. Guess which ones boys do the most and which ones girls do the most. This is not a scientific study but a casual observation as I walk around the labs at lunch time. How can we harness the benefits of games in an educational setting? David said that a study has found that those of us who are over 35 years old are only 10% likely to play games.

This topic is of importance as students are engaged and interested in gaming at school. The Serious Games Initiative is a place to start looking at how we might incorporate games. Peacemakergame is a game created in conjunction with Carnegie Mellon University.

Battery on laptop is low so I must stop. Game Overtongueout


  David Warlick again takes a hard topic and makes it easy to understand. His introduction to wikis was interactive as he had us work on a wiki as we were active learners. Check out my notes.
I am now in Patrick Crispen’s Complete and Total Waste of is a web site where you can do everything you want. is really useful if you like to listen to music. This site will allow you to create a web-based radio station based on artists you like. Check it out. – This site with a sort of bad name that means to Rasterize and images. It allows you to upload images and create multipage blow-up of the image.

Freeplay is a great site to get royalty-free short background pieces of music for movie projects as long as you do not make the finished project public.

Tiny will allow you to take a long URL and make it small.

Concert Ticket Generator will allow you to create realistic concert tickets. Could be useful to make tickets for events in a classroom.

MS Spanish 2 Students Create Multimedia Poems

Students in Ms. Liszka’s Spanish 2 class have been working on creating Identity Poems constrasting their public and private selves. Students wrote poems in Word, took photos in Photo Booth, Edited the photos in eZedia QTI to add illustrations. Finally they used iMovie to narrate and create and movie. Some students even used Garageband to create a soundtrack to accompany the movie.

NCETC Conference Thoughts

I am attending the NCETC conference in Greensboro, NC where I have took a half-day workshop on Lego Mindstorms NXT. Kristie Brown showed us how to use Robo Educator so we could program the robots. I think we need to bring the instruction of Robotics back to DA in the Middle and Upper School. Her web site can be a great help to get started. RoboCup and Lego League are two competitions that students can participate in.

David Wagner gave wonderful presentation on Pixie which is a drawing and writing software that I am looking at to replace AppleWorks in the Lower School. I won a free copy of the software since there were only two of us in attendance.

I am now in a presentation from a Professor from UNC-Charlotte who is talking about how to integrate Course Management Systems into a K-12 setting. He is using Moodle as he finds it much easier to use then the commercial options.

I met Michael Silverstein from CDW-G in the vendor area. What a nice surprise since I have spent much money with CDW-G but never had met him.

There remains much to see today and tomorrow. I will keep you posted on what I learn.

Poet Visit Inspires Rap and an iPod recorder sends the message

Mrs. Birgel had Philip Shabbazz come and talk with her classes on Monday the 20th. 3 students were so moved by the experience that they wrote a rap to thank Mr. Shabbazz. Using an iPod and a Belkin Tune Talk, they recorded their rap during tutorial. I then put it in my iTunes and created an mp3 that I emailed to Mrs. Birgel so she could email it to him.

Awesome example of how students can create new media using the new tools.

Check out the file Poetry Rap on MS Technology.