Saturday, November 26, 2011

Do 2nd Graders Get Twitter?

Yes, they do. I was overwhelmed when I read this post and then heard the students themselves speak about how Twitter has helped them. They really understand Twitter and the value of posting comments. Students also speak about how Twitter is helping them to become a better writer. Listen to their reflections by accessing this post: They Really Get It! These students are convincing, and perhaps listening to them will help convince you to open a Twitter account and begin to use it in the classroom with your students. If you are on Twitter, follow @grade1.

When you go to the post, be sure to click on the play button in the Twitteracy area to hear the students speak. Also, note how the Livescribe pen works.

Image from Aviva's blog 
By the way, the teacher who maintains the blog you will visit is Aviva Dunsiger. As time permits, scroll through and read other posts on her blog: Grades 1 and 2 At Ancaster Meadow School to learn more about exciting tech projects that Aviva does with her students.

Please be sure to leave a comment. What did you learn from hearing the 2nd graders discuss Twitter? If you visited the Grades 1 and 2 At Ancaster Meadow School further, what interesting discoveries did you make about how tech is being used with the 1st and 2nd graders?

Monday, November 21, 2011

Cool Xtranormal Presentation Used to Reflect on Course Learning

This presentation was created by a student and faculty member at the University of Regina in Canada. I hope it motivates you to use digital storytelling tools such as Xtranormal and GoAnimate!

Social Media & Open Education - Interview with L. Bechard
by: bechardl

Saturday, November 19, 2011

One-on-One Computing Classrooms are the Future According to School Administrators


If you are preparing to be a teacher ready for the future, you need to read this article,

Survey of School Administrators Explores Digital Classrooms, Major Challenges

 The article reports on a survey of a large number of school administrations (e.g., principals and superintendents) of whom more than a majority, 63%, asserted that 1:1 computing classrooms with teachers as coaches is the wave of the future. How prepared are teachers for this possible eventuality? What should schools of education be doing to ready teachers for effective technology integration? What should school systems do to prepare teachers through professional development activities? Read the article, and weigh in on the situation. Post a comment. Do you think it is an overstatement to say one-on-one computing, meaning every student to have a device (e.g. tablet, laptop), is an eventuality? If not, then why not?  Do you think school systems can afford to go 1:1? Do you think they should?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Using Technology Successfully in the Classroom is a Mindset

Saw this slide show on Slide Share, and thought it was worth sharing with others. It makes several points about using technology in the classroom. We are reminded that the use of the technology is a mindset and not a technical skill. There are points made about problem-based learning, inquiry learning, and backwards design. The visuals help carry the message, so look through the entire presentation. Leave your comments. Did the presentation inspire you in any way? Did it deepen your appreciation for technology as supplementary to learning? What point was made about the use of technology as a mindset?

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Teacher Tech Vids

Image from Teacher Tech Vid site
Just found this new site, Teacher Tech Vids, with videos for learning how to use a variety of Web 2.0 tools. What I like about the site is that the tutorials are arranged by comfort level: beginners, intermediate, and advanced. Tutorials are included for learning how to use such "beginner" (labeled "Newbies") tools as Animoto, Glogster, TodaysMeet, MS Photo Story, Timeline Creators, Google Earth, Wikis, and Word Clouds. Under the "intermediate" level (labeled "Developing"), there are tutorials for VoiceThread, Google Docs, Google Forms, SlideShare, Website Creators, and Skype. For "advanced" tools, there are tutorials for Twitter, Prezi, and UStream. The site is fairly new. Bookmark or save the site as favorite, or subscribe to it. You will want to check the resources on the site now and into the future. Take a look and let us know what you think of the site, and what tutorials you found useful for not only your own professional development, but also for use with students for them to learn the ins-and-outs of specific Web 2.0 tools. What Web 2.0 tools do you think still need to be included on the site? Suggestion: follow the developer of the site, Steve Johnson, on Twitter at @edtechsteve.

47 Alternatives to Using YouTube in the Classroom

Image from Bryne's blog 

As many of you know, I'm a fan of Richard Byrnes's blog, Free Technology for Teachers. He recently updated his information on alternatives to YouTube. Who can complain with 47 alternatives to YouTube? If your school does not allow YouTube or you are simply looking for a host of video resources for enriching classroom teaching or your own professional development, take some time to explore the wealth of resources offered in the Byrne's blog post 47 Alternatives to Using YouTube in the Classroom. Be sure to post back here what you find most valuable among the 47 resources. Some are probably ones you have already used, but others are likely to be new, especially with 47 choices offered.

By the way, if you have not already bookmarked or saved as a favorite Byrne's blog, now might be the time to do so. He often updates his blog with excellent resources for educators. Explore what he already has on the blog as well as follow the blog as he posts new information. If you are on Twitter, you can follow Byrnes at @rmbyrne.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Still Not Sure about Twitter for Professional Development

Check out this Prezi about Twitter for professional development and about social media in general. Let us know your thoughts after you view the presentation.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Resource for Finding and Creating Web Quests

Image from
The site "Best Webquest. com" offers not only a directory for finding quests by subject area and grade level at its portal page,, but also provides a host of resources for finding out about webquests.  Take some time to explore the table of contents of web quests: The About Web Quest page explains the origin and principles behind webquests.  You'll also find this page helpful: Criteria for Assessing Best Web Quests. The information on it will help you in creating your own webquests. However, also be forewarned that despite the merits of the Best site, there's also some commercialism on the site. For instance, if you want the website's designer, Tom March, and his employers to evaluate your webquest, in general or for possible inclusion on the site, there's a fee. Naturally, avoid that component, but explore around the site to deepen your understanding of what are the principles behind effective webquests. Check back here to let us know what you find and what you think of the site or other sites you explore through the links provided.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

LiveBinders: Resourceful Web 2.0 Tool

LiveBinder is a tool for organizing your favorite websites by categories. You can create a LiveBinder on any area of interest. Once you set up a LiveBinder, you select categories, and within each category, you create links to resources within that category. A LiveBinder can be an excellent teaching tool for directing students to specific websites for a unit of study.

Image: ericnvntr's photostream flickr

An advantage of opening a LiveBinder account is that you can also store other teachers' and professionals' LiveBinders in your account, in what is called your "Shelves."

Here is an example of one LiveBinder I found recently and added to my shelf: Technology in Education.

How can you envision using LiveBinder in your teaching? If you have an opportunity, search for some LiveBinders, and let us know what you find. Have you heard of teachers or library media specialists setting up LiveBinders for classroom or school implementation?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Technology Tools For Teaching & Learning

I am posting a link to a web page with categorized tools to help teachers find the right match of online tools for their students related to curricular and student needs. Surely, in looking through this list, you will find one or more sites of interest. This web page might be one you want to bookmark, save as a favorite, or add to a social bookmarking site you maintain such as Diigo or Delicious.

Technology Tools for Teaching and Learning

Once you skim through the list and check the sites, let us know which sites you use, would like to use, or would like to investigate further, and possibly why you selected these specific sites.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Looking for Teaching Resources on Digital Citizenship

Image from MaryBeth's Twitter page @mbteach
I found these resources in an article that MaryBeth Hertz’s wrote for Eutopia. I follow MaryBeth on Twitter, and she recently posted a link to the article.  Although some of these resources are geared to the elementary grade levels, many have applicability to any grade level.  Check them out. Let us know what you find and think you might use in your teaching.

Lesson Resources
Online Learning Tools
   Digital learning tools that incorporate social networking
                     Today's Meet
   Online Communities for Kids
                     Club Penguin
                     Pixie Hollow
   If you like this, you might also like
                     The Importance of Digital Citizenship in Social Media by Andrew Marcinek
                     Digital Citizenship: Resource Roundup by Edutopia Staff
                     Does the Internet exacerbate bullying? Edutopia poll
If you are on Twitter follow MaryBeth @mbteach
Reference for list is at:

Teaching Digital Citizenship in the Elementary Classroom, Edutopia

In addition, Jerry Blumgarten, maintains on his website a page fully devoted to resources on Digital Citizenship. No matter what grade level or subject area you teach or are certified to teach, you will likely find resources on his Cybrarylibrary Digital Citizenship web page.  Jerry posts almost daily to Twitter. If you are on Twitter and not following him, you should at @cybraryman1

Overall, do you believe it is the teacher's responsibility to teach digital citizenship? What do you think of the resources found on Marybeth's and Jerry's lists? Which resources seem most useful to you or of the most interest?

Slide Sharing Sites

Spend some time exploring slide sharing sites, where you will find shows you can use in your teaching. Open an account on any of these sites, and you can save the shows you like as  your "favorites" for easy access later on. I highly recommend Slide Share, one of the original sites for slide sharing, which keeps getting better, offering newer and newer features.  I also like AuthorSteam, where if you add your own slide shows, you can later use the editing features on the site to enhance your show. VoiceThread is my favorite for interactivity because viewers can add written and audio comments, making the show engaging and evolving.

Here are three samples of slide shows that I found on SlideShare. I am offering the examples here to demonstrate that by grabbing the "embed" code at the site, you can easily place slide shows into a blog, website, or another similar form of media. The first SlideShare covers copyright and fair use in the educational setting; it provides excellent coverage of the topic, and also has embedded in the PowerPoint a YouTube video. The second SlideShare PowerPoint is one on creativity and visualization. The third one is an excellent use of PowerPoint to create a full film analysis of the Hitchcock's movie Vertigo. This last one demonstrates how a slide show allows us to create instructional materials that would be difficult to achieve in other ways, thereby illustrating the power of the medium and its ability to allow us to create teaching moments that otherwise might not be possible.  The fact that the slide presentation is archived in SlideShare also speaks to the beauty of this site for enabling us to find powerful instructional materials at our fingertips.

I have posted other blogs on SlideShare, AuthorStream, and VoiceThread. Check these postings. Also, let's spend some time exploring the sites, and please let others know about slide shows you find on any of the sites that you can use in your teaching. Also, once you open an account with any of these sites, you can place your own slide shows there for convenience, for instance, for you to easily access and for your students to access at home or at any time.

I encourage you to open a SlideShare and AuthorStream free account today; and if possible, if you can get a free 30-day demo of VoiceThread as an educator, take advantage of the opportunity. VoiceThread also has a VoiceThread K-12 section: Even if you never post your own creations on these sites--which you really should do, though--you will be impressed with what you can find, watch, download, download and edit, mark as a "favorite, etc. There is a wealth of resources awaiting you on Web 2.0 sharing sites such as these three slide sharing sites. AuthorStream will even enable you to turn your slide show into a video, which can then be further edited, or just simply saved as a video for watching.

Okay, plunge in, and be sure to post comments. Also, let us know what you think of the SlideShare video on copyright and fair use. Note you can watch the three embedded videos right from this blog, and you can also watch them full screen. You can also click to watch them within SlideShare.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

It's Time to Rethink Education

You might disagree with the message of this video, but at least watch it and comment regarding the needs of digital natives for learning.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Members of NCTE, CCCC, NWP, and CWPA Visit the White House

Members of NCTE, CCCC, NWP, and CWPA Visit the White House

Phenomenal Site with Multitude of Resources

Check out the Discovery Education site for a wealth of teaching resources and access to a variety of Web 2.0 tools. Here is a link to the site: Discovery Education. While on the site, also be sure to check the Lesson Plan area for ideas by grade level and subject area. Be sure to return to this blog post to let us know what you uncover at Discovery Education.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Looking for Ways to Show YouTube Videos in the Classroom

So, you say the new YouTube/Teacher option is limited and does not have all the YouTube videos you want to show in class. Try
downloading the videos at home using a site like keepvid and savevid and then saving them on a flash drive. Also, try the popular Zamzar site. You enter the URL for the video, and Zamzar will email you a converted file copy of the video that you should be able to play in school. Be sure to save the converted copy to a flash drive. Here are the direct URLs to access these sites; simply copy the URLs for the sites into your browser, and start exploring your options. Let us know if one option works better for you than another.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Google Saves a School

Frontline, PBS, released this video of a failing school turned around. Two years ago, the middle school in the Bronx, Intermediate School 339, was about to close down. Watch this video and leave a comment.

Monday, October 3, 2011


Interested in learning about screen casting, which allows you to capture what's on the screen and narrate it. You can end up with a slide show or even a video. Check this slideshow to learn more about screencasting tools like Screenr,Screencast-o-matic, and Jing.

You might consider creating a screencast, if applicability to your teaching, and showing it to others. You can easily share a screencast on the Internet with those beyond your classroom.

After viewing the slide presentation, post your comments on how you believe screencasting might be used.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

10 Weeks and No Tests

10 Weeks and No Test” is a section of Nicholas Provenzano‘s blog. Check out this section to see how Nick has been using tools such as Prezi, Glogs, YouTube, and e-magazines for students to showcase their learning instead of using standard assessments (i.e., tests). Included in the “10 Weeks and No Tests” are samples of student responses to show their learning outcomes. Please take some time to look at the students’ work, and then let us know how you feel about using online multi-media as a way for students to demonstrate learning outcomes. In addition to the four media from which students chose to demonstrate their learning, as seen on the blog, what other media or tools do you think students could use to demonstrate obtainment of learning outcomes? Nick is also known as The Nerdy Teacher, but most of all, you should know he is an English teacher, and he is a fan of integrating technology into his teaching to advance his students' learning through hands-on, interactive techniques. I have included his logo from his About Me page on his blog.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Teachers Teaching Teachers via Twitter

Today, The New York Times, in its "Learning Network" section, posted a pieces about how Twitter is a medium for teachers to teach teachers. Take a look at this article, "Teachers Teaching Teachers, on Twitter, Q. and A. on 'Edchats.'" After reading the article, be sure to post a comment. How curious or convinced are you of the capabilities of Twitter as a platform for teachers teaching teachers? Do you have a Twitter account? If so, how have you used it? Are you interested in learning more about Twitter and how teachers teach teachers using it? By the way, if you want to check me out on Twitter, here's my Twitter address:!/JudyArzt

Image on top from, Sept. 30, 2011

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Digital Natives, Turn Digital Citizens

In an age where students regularly download or copy information off the Internet, as teachers, it is helpful for us to review with students the Creative Commons licensing site. Here is an article to read more about what Creative Commons entails and how we might integrate it into our teaching: Digital Natives, Turn Digital Citizens. After perusing the article, leave a comment. How might you use information at the Creative Commons site in your own teaching?

More Info on PowerPoint and SlideShare

Yes, you have heard me say on numerous occasions PowerPoint is much more than a bullet list. As long as people continue to use it that way, the tool will be considered limited, when in fact it is users' unfamiliarity with the tool's many multimedia options that limits the outcomes. In addition, I will continue to push for use of SlideShare, AuthorStream, and VoiceThread as ways to find well-done PowerPoint slide presentations. Of course, there are some poor examples as well on these sites, but you should be familiar with a few of the slide sharing sites now available on the web, and these three are among the most popular.

Today, in reading a colleague's blog, I came across a link to her presentations on SlideShare and reviewed one that I found as an example of illustrating how PowerPoint can be use to create an historical photo story or documentary. This slide show depicts in rich detail the history of Commerce, Texas. Please take a look, and leave a comment. I don't expect you to go through the whole presentation; there are over 100 slides. However, take a look at enough of the show to get a feel of the possibilities of using PowerPoint in powerful ways. I believe that this presentation was created as a collaborative effort; see the credits. It is quite impressive, but what do you think? Without slide sharing sites like SlideShare, it would be difficult to come across and then share with others exemplary work created with such tools as PowerPoint.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

YouTube Breakthrough for Teachers

YouTube has just released a new site for teachers, making YouTube for the classroom readily available. Information and tips for using YouTube videos are provided at the site: YouTubeTeachers. Included is a slide showing 10 Ways to Use YouTube in the classroom and a tutorial explaining how to set up your own YouTube channel for quick access for teaching.  Check the slide show and the tutorial. Get back to the blog to let us know what you think of using the new YouTubeTeachers site.

Here is an example of one of the videos you will find on the site, this one: Making Science Fun, created by a science teacher, Steve Spangler.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Interested in Learning How to Use Prezi

The video below will present you with a
How to use Prezi, an exciting presentation tool! from Scottish Book Trust on Vimeo.
thorough overview of how to set up your account and how to use Prezi. The presentation is long, but it is worth watching for a solid overview. As you explore with Prezi, you can return to the video for more information. After watching the video, let us know how helpful it was and what your opinion of Prezi as a authoring tool is. How do you envision using it in the classroom? If you have created a Prezi, please feel free to share the URL link to it.

I just found this short Prezi online, and thought I would share it in light of the fact that The National Day of Punctuation is approaching. Who would have known there is such a day? This Prezi includes links to access additional information on punctuation. Although the Prezi is short and does not contain much information, it does demonstrate that a colorful, attractive presentation to give quick information can be accomplished with this Web 2.0 tool.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Check this video production that addresses the skill set for 21st Century learners. Leave your response after viewing the presentation.

14 Free and Simple Digital Media Tools

Creating digital media for teaching or for students to create to display their learning is easy given free tools online for doing so. I am copying and pasting below a post about 14 Free and Simple Digital Media Tools  that I found online. The list includes description of each tool and has the tools organized by headings. Let us know if you have used any of these tools, and if so, what you thought of them. If you want to explore some that you have not used, what would they be? This list was prepared  | By   and appeared on the Mind/Shift: How We Learn, website sponsored by NPR. I have copied the text directly and assume no responsibility for any inaccuracies, but thank Sara Bernard for compiling this descriptive list. 

Audacity: A simple, yet very effective, open-source multi-track audio editing software. You can import audio files, chop them up, fade them in and out, or use more advanced editing features, then export the entire project as an MP3 or WAV file. Audacity can be used with Windows, Mac, and Linux, is compatible with a variety of audio file formats, and can even convert analog audio to digital.
Wavosaur: Although it only works on Windows operating systems and is barely half a megabyte in size, Wavosaur still has some pretty advanced features, like cross-fade loops, vocal removal, batch processing, and more.
Ardour: Only designed for Mac and Linux, but crammed full of advanced features, this one might be a bit more complex to navigate. Called a “digital audio workstation” suitable for professionals, users can record, mix, and edit their audio cost-free – and consult the support feature if they get stuck.
WavePad: Another full-featured audio editor full of effects like echo, amplify, or text-to-speech and voice-changer functions. It’s also compatible with the full range of audio and music file formats. The free version is only available for Macs, however.

Pixlr: Very popular and user-friendly, Pixlr lets you upload photos from your computer and edit them right in your browser. There are no downloads necessary, unless you want to grab and edit screenshots using Pixlr Grabber. For simple, one-click edits, try Pixlr Express; for “retro vintage” effects, visit Pixlr-o-matic.
Picasa: Google’s photo editing tool, Picasa is a free download, runs on every operating system, and allows any number of simple editing and organizing features. Reduce redeye, crop, retouch, make a slideshow, and batch upload, or share photos using Picasa Web Albums.
Picnik: Edit photos online with this browser-based software; no downloads required here, either. Picnik, like Pixlr, has a lively, upbeat interface and offers access to special effects as well as simple edits like cropping and color retouching. For more advanced features, users can upgrade to the Premium version for a small fee per month.
MovieMaker: The Microsoft version of Apple’s iMovie, MovieMaker is a simple video editing software for Windows that turns photos and video clips into polished digital movies, using special effects, transitions, captions, sharing features, and more.
Cinefx: An open-source digital media player and editor, Cinefx is compatible on both Windows and Mac operating systems and lets users navigate simple, yet professional, video editing features and add a bunch of special effects.
MovieStorm: If you want to create 3D animated movies, this is the free download for you. MovieStorm’s goal is to make 3D animation accessible to teachers and students, businesses, and amateur filmmakers, so it’s easy to use, but full of high-quality, industry-standard features.
StoryBoard Pro: Designed specifically for students and teachers by Bill Bierden, an Apple Distinguished Educator, StoryBoard Pro allows users to plan ahead for their video projects. Although it’s not exactly about importing video footage and editing (it’s more of a precursor to that), students can enter shot descriptions, planned lengths, and editing order, create and print storyboards, and upload a variety of media to illustrate each shot.
PhotoStory:  A free, Windows-only audio slide show software that allows users to upload photos and audio and add captions, narration, and transitions to make a smooth multimedia piece. When it’s done, it’s exportable as a Windows Media Video (WMV) file.
Animoto: A very simple video or photo slide show software that’s excellent for beginners. It can automatically sync up with Facebook, Flickr, Photobucket, SmugMug, and Picasa albums and allows users to upload music or select from Animoto’s audio archive. Only the Lite version is free, however, which means that users can only create 30-second slide shows. Still, upgrading to Plusis only $5 a month or $30 a year.
PhotoPeach: Also very simple – perhaps even simpler – PhotoPeach offers users the ability to upload and arrange photos, add music and captions, and share on Facebook, Twitter, or a blog.

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