Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Google Grumblings

I have been hearing some grumblings lately with most people's default search engine of choice.  "Did you know you can pay to be the #1 hit?"  "The top hits are all advertisements?" 

Here is sweet infographic that explains how google does it...

How Does Google Work?
Infographic by PPC Blog  Full Version here

Another cool website is which allows you to search Google & Bing at the same time and view the search results side by side.  Quite interesting which ones are the same and which are different.

Google has some kick butt resources for educators.  Google Websearch: Classroom Lessons and Resources

As well, the "In Plain English" Folks explain web searching, well, plainly!

So, just know what you are using and how they gather their information.  The best you can do is go in as a discriminating consumer, this is a service and there are other search engines out there.

Wikipedia's List of Search Engines

Monday, June 28, 2010

Summer Plans: Wallwisher Edition

 Wallwisher's motto is "Words that Stick".  Essentially teachers create a virtual wall (how to instructions here) where students can place sticky notes. The stickies can include text, video, audio or images.  Teachers can set up the wall such that the stickies need to be approved or they can be automatically placed.  The best part is that it can be embeded in Moodle!

So give it a try.  Double click on the wall or click on "post a sticky" and contribute to Summer 2010 wallwisher.  What wacky and wonderful things are you planning for Summer 2010?

Personally I have used a Wallwisher to brainstorm, to find images or web sites, a current event collage and for new years resolutions.  Here are some other fabulous ideas

105 Classroom Ideas for Wallwisher
19 Interesting Ways to use Wallwisher in the Classroom

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Passport to the Internet

Passport to the Internet is a resource developed by The Media Awareness Network & licenced by Alberta Education for use in Alberta schools for free until August 2011. 

The Passport to the Internet is an online interactive tutorial intended for students grade 4-8.  Topics include Online Safety, authenticating online information, protecting privacy, online bullying & managing online relationships.

If you are PWSD teacher you can find links to this resource in our Media Awareness Course. You and your students will need to use your PWSD username & password to login.  Terms of licensing require that these links stay behind a password protected login.

If you are not a PWSD teacher, you need to contact the Learning Resource Center (LRC) to get copies of the links for your use.

Thanks so much to Evelyn Malina at Harry Balfour School for pointing our this resource.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Grade 2 Webpage

Hello! My name is April Brown and I teach grade two at Harry Balfour School. This year I started a class webpage. I wanted to have a space where my kids and parents could visit to see what students are doing in the classroom. It's also an area where I can communicate with parents about hotdog days, pizza day, field trips or special events. I've posted video's of my kids working in class or answering questions or working on a problem. I've got a link to my eCommunity page on the website and a place where my students started to blog. I've got some different ideas for next year and my blog. I think I'll make it more interactive and have my students add more to it then just what we did this year.

All of this was a great opportunity for me to learn and connect with others. I also started a class twitter account in addition to my twitter account. I had the opportunity to connect with other teachers who are involved with technology. Twitter is a fabulous social networking site to converse with others who are interested in technology. My Twitter name is @maxxakahotdog and my school Twitter name is @2Bbrown.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

VC Opportunity for Social 3 & 11

The folks in Grande Yellowhead have been working with a Rabbi in Israel to develop a couple of videoconference series which target the outcomes in the Grade 3 and Grade 11 Social Studies curriculum. The attached outlines are the result of collaborations between focus groups of teachers in Grande Yellowhead and the folks in Israel to produce a series of custom built sessions aimed at our Alberta curriculum.

Due to the time difference between Alberta and Israel, these sessions will need to be delivered in the morning. Each session ranges from 45 min. to an hour. It is strongly recommended that schools interested in these series book the entire series and not pick individual programs from the series.

Each, one hour, program costs $150 US except for the sessions which go on location to a kibbutz or a Bedouin camp - these sessions cost $200 US.

Grade 3 Outline
Grade 11 Outline

Gordon Booth

Videoconference Coordinator
Grande Yellowhead Public School Division

If you are a PWSD teacher, please contact as I would be happy to come out and be technical support on the VC days.

Tel Aviv, Israel courtsey of RonAlmog's Photostream

ELA Year End Review & Prezi

Sandi Busch, Hythe Regional School

Among the many other web tools we used this year, the one my students and I glommed onto most was Prezi. Prezis are like powerpoints on steroids. You can include any information that you would on a powerpoint – word, pictures, videos, etc – but with some cool effects. And it is my belief that if I can use it, anyone can. It is amazingly easy to use and free if you are using for educational purposes, and because it’s a web-based tool, students could work on them from home or wherever they had access to a computer.

View a few of my students’ Prezis:

Student Presentation #3

Student Presentation #4

Last School Visit of 2009/10 & Looking Ahead

My last school visit for 2009/10 was at Peace Wapiti Academy.  I always have a great time working with PWA's teachers and they  always keep me crazy busy and on my toes. 

Most of the day was spent working on getting Foods modules into Moodle, tweaking some Spanish & high school Math pages, starting a Special Ed page & some little details for a Biology class.  A really diverse group!

This past year I have spent the majority of my 0.5 Educational Technology time in schools providing one on one or small group professional development.  You can see all the details here Year End Ed Tech Report

Next year my Ed Tech time has been upped to 0.85 and my plan is to engage in some long term technology projects at various schools. I will still continue to do the one day, one on one school visits but I would like those to be in between school projects that have me at one school for a negotiable amount of time, but likely 3 - 6 weeks.

These projects could included everything from : using SMARTboard more effectively, how to teach in the computer lab, Digital Storytelling projects, blogging (school, student or teacher), setting up and maintaining Moodle courses, creating e-Portfolio’s, podcasting, bringing experts into the classroom via elluminate or VC or working on aspects of your school based technology plan…there is no limit but the imagination of what teachers would like to do. My support could include modeling lessons, finding resources, team teaching or teaching to allow a teachers time to plan.

I am looking for schools & teachers that willing to invite me in to work on technology projects. Ideally there would be 2 to 4 teachers in a school that would be interested in doing something but not necessarily the same thing.  Please drop me an email if you are interested

Bowl of Life courtesy of Lif...'s Photostream

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Moodle Glossary & Language Arts

This year there has been a focus on the use of Moodle and getting all of our PAVE courses transferred over to the wonderful Moodle platform. I have recently been working on the Language Arts 8 site and found a very interesting way to use the glossary on Moodle. I will have the students put in their own entries as they read this particular novel study and I have put in some basic Language Arts words to start out. What I have discovered (or realized) is that you can go to Wordia and find an video (that you can embed) of a definition of particular word (s) and put it in the glossary along with the text definition.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Big Huge Labs & Vocabulary

Jen Clevette, Hythe Regional School

I love Big Huge Labs for a number of reasons
  • Super simple for students to use
  • No sign up
  • With Moodle (and a roles override on a Lightbox Gallery) it is a cinch to have students share what they have created.
  • They have lots of cool stuff, such as movie poster, trading card, and mosaic maker.
The one I used the most this year in my Social Studies classroom was the motivational poster. Student were asked to make posters of keywords that we used in our classroom. For each poster they had to include an image that best represented the word, the word and a definition in their own words.

The reason I like this one so much was that I got a good quick check for understanding, a great reference for students for the remainder of the year and a fancy bulletin board for me.

The only thing missing is a spellchecker!

Biology Key Concept Presentations

Guest Blogger: Tina Sauder, Savanna School

At the beginning of the semester, I assigned each of my Biology 20 students two of the key concepts from the program of studies with the idea that they would create a poster-like PowerPoint slide that could be combined with all of the other slides as a review slide show. It turned out that the process wasn’t as easy as I had imagined and the project was put on the back burner after the first unit.

By the last unit, it was looking like we could finish the course with plenty of time for review and I knew I wanted to do something with the whole key concept idea. What we ended up with was each student preparing a 10 minute mini-lesson, using something other than PowerPoint, in which they could embed video, diagrams and short notes. Some chose to use Prezi or Glogster, while others used the SMART Notebook game-like activities.

The results were really very good and each student became an expert in at least two areas of the course. Together, the class decided what would be important to be marked on and, after content, they felt creativity was essential.

Sample 1
Sample 2

Friday, June 18, 2010

Summer's short to-do list

1) Back Up & Prune your data
With a very soft 2 GB limit, now is the time to delete files you no longer need. Once you have pruned, now is a good time to back up your data. There are a number of different options. USB jump drive or hard drive which come in a variety of sizes. Microsoft's skydrive will give you 25 GB of space that you can access from anywhere. Google docs will give you 1 GB of space, also availible anywhere there is Internet. Finally there is dropbox which starts at 2 GB of space and has a nifty iPod/iPhone app.

2) Change your passwords
With passwords set to expire every 30-60 days, change your password now to ensure you won't be stuck over the summer holidays. Once you have logged onto your maching, hit ctrl-alt-del and select change password.

Blue Sky on the Rails courtesy of ecstaticist's photostream