Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Save the Internet

I was browsing through YouTube when I came across this activist video. I read about this issue in newspapers but didn't hear much more about it. The issue is about Internet providers wanting to set up a two-tier system: pay more for high-speed special treatment, or less and get lesser service. The video asks us to help support "Internet Neutrality." I hope the activists accomplish their mission. I want the Internet to remain accessible to everyone all over the globe. Some individuals in the U.S. may be able to afford extra fees but what about the student in a developing country whose only access to global information may be the Internet or the disadvantaged child here in the U.S.? What would that do to school and library budgets that offer free access to their students or constituents? If you feel the video message is misguided or off the mark, let me know.

Blogging Books

With this fifth post, I am completing all the technical blog tasks of my UFL online course. I'd like to recommend some books that teach basics about blogging and how to use a blog in an educationional setting (we used the first book in the list below for our UFL online course):

  • Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms by Will Richardson (Corwin Press, 2006)
  • Classroom Blogging: A Teacher's Guide to the Blogosphere by David Warlick (Lulu.com, 2005)
  • Blogging For Dummies by Brad Hill (For Dummies, 2006)
  • No One Cares What You Had for Lunch: 100 Ideas for Your Blog by Margaret Mason (Peachpit Press; 1st edition, 2006)
All are available on Amazon.com but I haven't hyperlinked the book titles to the commercial site since they're not paying me for clicks. Better still, support your local bookstore or library and find the books there. Anyone have other suggestions for good books about basic blogging or educational blogging?

Thanks to the visitor who provided a link to an article about adding bullets to my book list (see comments to this post).

Monday, January 29, 2007

Sharing Multimedia

One of my assignments in an educational technolog course was to embed multimedia I created (as opposed to pre-existing multimedia, which I have embedded in the previous post "Enjoy the Video"). This worksheet was designed using the free diagram drawing tools on Gliffy.com (click worksheet to view larger image). I have created a website/blog evaluation worksheet for students based on Kathy Schrock's criteria. Gliffy keeps a copy of my graph on file. This means I can share the diagram with others; particularly useful when members of a team are working together to develop a concept. I can also provide a link to or upload the completed diagram (in my case, a worksheet) to a class web site. Gliffy gives you options to allow students (or anyone else) to write on the worksheet online. I'd love to share the worksheet with you but Blogger won't let me hyperlink to it. Try pasting http://www.gliffy.com/publish/1148218/ in your web browser. Let me know if it works. I can't verify because I am a Gliffy member and the URL may work only for members.

I'm sure there are more sophisticated tools on other websites, but they may not be free. I would have liked a diagram that has a built-in calculator, so the total score on the worksheet would be automatically generated after students completed typing the scores for each evaluation row. Please let me know if you have suggestions for free worksheet templates, with computational features, available on the Internet.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Enjoy the Video

Today I spent several hours trying to include a video or interactive game in my post. I discovered that Blogger won't accept certain html code from other sites. The video above was easy to insert because it came from YouTube, a web site that has figured out how to avoid code glitches for the not-so-tech-savvy user. Does anyone have any hints about which code works and which doesn't?

I hope you enjoy the whimsical video above. It has nothing to do with the theme of my blog other than it's an example of multimedia embedded in a post from another source. I chose it because I needed something cheerful after hours of trying to search for video sources. Whenever you need a happy moment, come back here and replay the video.

There are thousands of videos to choose from at YouTube. So it's not an easy task to find what you need for teaching. Searching using the main categories is cumbersome. I had better luck using the search option. Words like "geology" and "microbes" yielded some interesting possibilities, like the clip about how and why penicillin was discovered. None of the videos are reviewed for accuracy and that may also be a problem for teachers. Has anyone used YouTube in class? Did the clips help student learning?

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Visual Media

In order to add graphics to this blog, I have signed up for so many accounts that there is no way I will remember them. Does anyone have suggestions for managing graphic online sources to use in blogs?

My daughter took this great photo. View more Oh Lenna photos at flickr.
Flickr is an excellent source for photography. You have to sign up for an account, but it's free. Once you're in the site, look for photos that have a "blog it" option above the photo. Clicking on that will generate a code that you can embed into your post. The photo will appear magically, sized to fit your blog space.

In my Internet searches for how students learn through technology, I came across this student web site. A team of eleven Forest Park High School, VA iT program media students, calling themselves The Millennials, created videos and web pages that were featured in a 2005 U.S. Department of Education presentation to Congress on the importance of using technology in the classroom. Their videos describe the digital generation, how they learn, and why schools should adapt to the way they learn.


Hello, visitors. This blog started out in 2007 as an assignment for an online course about technology in education. In July 2008 it became the official blog of the web site, ActionBioscience.org. Now, it's my personal blog again.

Like many adults, I struggle to understand new technology. Teachers don't have the luxury of resolving this issue at their own leisure. They have to know about technology now and they have to be creative about how to use it in the classroom. Some teachers resist but they should listen to student voices: "I think that teachers should be required to go to a technology course and extra classes should be available to kids who need help working with computers, want to learn more about technology, or who just want to have fun."

For more student quotes on transforming education through technology, read Visions 2020.2: Student Views on Transforming Education and Training Through Advanced Technologies. The views of our students provide valuable insights for our teaching.