Monday, November 24, 2008

Sunday, November 23, 2008


Tools, tools, and more tools.

This is the week that I'm collecting new tools to play with. Here's another for my toy-box.

Cover it live!

another new option for live blogging - what will they think of next?????

Thursday, November 20, 2008

OMG -Brightstorm

I just found out about this new amazing online learning network where students can get extra help with classes or prepare for the SAT.  It's all online and it's done through a series of video tutorials.  It looks way cool!  Check them out at: 

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Blogging Course

"Using Blogs in Education" (November 9-14) was a big hit!
Our blurb:

Educational Technology is now a must in the classroom. The Internet and the www is a world known to all our students. They have grown up with technology and it is pervasive in their lives. They are the web generation! They associate computers with entertainment and fun. If the classroom can be converted into a forum of “edutainment” - everyone wins.

Although educators are not expected to be ICT experts, we cannot be indifferent to using technology in the classroom. Integrating technology may seem difficult, but it is easier than people think. In this Knowweek you will be introduced to various "freeware" blogging tools and the knowhow that will give you the confidence to use them in your classroom. Together we will explore many possibilities and reflect on their potential in an educational context.

and off we went from there. There were more than 25 participants and the forums were full of interesting and relevant discussions.

I learned a lot and came away with a Term 2 Year 8 (PhotoStory3) project.

Can't wait!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

a girl's world . . .

I love the net - you just never know what gems you are going to come across.

Today I watched a news spot about a couple of teenagers (Sara and Lauren) who started their own web site. And guess what - it's all about girls:-) It was created by girls, all the contributors are girls and the target audience is: GIRLS.

It's interesting to note that girls have a stronger web presence than boys do. More girls are blogging and posting pictures than boys. Experts say that girls out-perform boys in English and writing and blogs offer another venue where girls can communicate.

A Girls's World is looking for contributors so I will be passing their url along to "my girls" beginning next week.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Computers - just another tool

"....Computers are not rescuing the school from a weak curriculum, any more than putting pianos in every classroom would rescue a flawed music program. Wonderful learning can occur without computers or even paper. But once the teachers and children are enfranchised as explorers, computers, like pianos, can serve as powerful amplifiers, extending the reach and depth of the learners." Alan Kay

Computers are tools that kids must learn how to manipulate to be successful in their work-lives. I see my job as helping students make the most of each of these tools.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Balance is important . . .

Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance
you must keep moving.
Albert Einstein (quoted from a 1930 letter to his son)

I saw this on another blog and thought it was important to take a few minutes at the beginning of the semester to remember the importance of maintaining a balanced existence. We are "at our best" when we strike a healthy balance between work and play. There really is time for both!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Here we go again . . .

It's time for classes to begin and I've come across some (game) sites that are valuable in more ways than one. First of all they contribute to student learning while being fun at the same time and they help others:

Free Rice - a vocabulary game that donates rice through the UN World Food Program to help end hunger
Aid to Children - another vocab game
Free Poverty - geography game. See how many cups of water you can donate by testing your knowledge about the world. Each correct answer means they will be donating 10 cups on your behalf.
Free Corn - the more you visit, the more you give . . .
Free Kibble - helps to support animal shelters
Free Kibble Kat - helps feed hungry cats

Kelly Tenkely from The Apple offers some suggestions:

How to integrate these websites into the classroom
Each of the above websites offers a wonderful opportunity to teach students to look outside their own needs to the needs of others. Use these websites to teach your students compassion, about other cultures, and about helping those less fortunate. The websites will also be a great way for your students to practice vocabulary or geography. Encourage your students to play these games from home when they are “bored” or just for fun. See how much rice, money, corn, water, or kibble you can raise as a class. Use these figures to teach graphing and charting. You create a “commercial” for the site, a poster advertising the site, etc. (I found a commercial that I made as an example for my students on Free Corn…small world!)

Wednesday, July 2, 2008 - another ppt host

Ok - this is a test. Just wanted to try out this ppt host and saw that they offer some fun options. My Earth Day photos look pretty cool posing as a drive-in movie (hahahaha)

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Blogs for Moms (and Dads too)

Well, I finally did it. I was able to offer a blogging class for parents. Since all of the kids had a blog this year (which served as their process journal for their IT classes)I thought it would be fun to get some of the parents involved too. This introduction to blogs would also serve as a tool to help them understand the role of the blog in the classroom. Five moms and the secretary from the Senior School attended the class and we had a lot of fun setting up 1st blogs!

Sunday, June 1, 2008


Another KnowSchools week starts today and runs until Friday (June 1-6). Cristina and I are providing a course entitled: Digital Photo-Stories: Enhancing Creativity. It should be lots of FUN!

Another video

Future of Education - The top video clips of the week are here

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Friday, May 2, 2008

Knowschools - Everything Google

Wow! What a week! Cristina and I were once again involved in providing an online course at Knowschools. This time the title was "Everything Google" (April 27 - May 02). Google is much more than a serarch engine! We covered an array of Google apps: (Google Docs, Blogger, Google Calendar, Google Video, Google Doodle, Google Sketch up, You Tube, Google Desktop, Google Gadgets, Google Pages, Google Reader, Google Earth, Google Maps, Google Groups, Picassa, Gmail and Gtalk)!

The course was held at Knowschools which offers classes in a virtual environment. It is intended for educators and one of their aims is to promote excellence in online education. We met a lot of really great teachers and we are now all Google experts (hahaha)!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Earth Day 2008

Another day, another Voicethread!

Earth Day 2008 (April 22) is just upon us. To participate in creating a better world my I have set-up a Voicethread so students at SDIS can offer suggestions.

Are these great kids or what???

Friday, April 4, 2008


Today my students got what they asked for! I have been wanting to incorporate the use of into my teaching practice and wasn't exactly sure how I was going to fit it in. Then out of the blue an opportunity presented itself;-D Yesterday one of my students was complaining about the research that they were doing about our upcoming project - creating a newsletter. I told him that I needed to know that each of the students actually knew what a newsletter was before we began to create one. He then replied that it would be a lot easier if they just took an oral quiz. It was another aha! moment. All the lights went on at one time! I knew that I now had a real purpose for my voicethread and would immediately introduce it into the curriculum.

Here it is:

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Even MORE links

The Center has been active in publishing a number of articles about Digital Storytelling, in print and on the web, as well as a workbook and textbook about our process. We have also contributed to other publications and websites and numerous articles have been written about our work.
On Our Website
Digital Storytelling: Capturing Lives, Creating CommunityTextbook by Joe Lambert. Available for purchase on-line.Digital Storytelling CookbookThe manual used for our workshops.
A Digital Story: MomnotmomThe digital story used in our workshop tutorials and Cookbook. Created by our former Community Programs Director Thenmozhi Soundarajan about her mother.The Digital DinerA series of interviews with practioners in the field.These Images from These PicturesA guide to writing into images prepared for the Canadian Film Centre's Great Canadian Storytelling Engine.Relationship MediaNotes and examples from a lecture at Stanford University, 2000.
Articles on Digital Storytelling
Is Digital Storytelling a Movement?By Joe Lambert. Reflections on the Digital Storytelling Community.
Storytelling for the New MillenniumBy Corey Hitchcock, SF Gate
Tell Me a (Digital) StoryBy Marcia Stepanek, Business Week
Digital Storytelling Finds Its Place in the Classroomby Tom Banaszewski, Infoday
What's Your StoryBy Daniel Pink, Fast Company
Digital Tools Easier to GraspBy J.D. Lasica, OJR Senior Editor
Resource Sites
Hilary McLellan's Story LinkHillary has posted one of the most extensive and up-to-date collections of links on Digital Storytelling available online.Digital Storytelling AssociationAn international association of Digital Storytellers, which CDS launched in November 2002.

More Digital Storytelling Links

Another student project with an interesting link to explore:-)

StorytellingCapture Wales A BBC sponsored this digital story telling site, which has individuals create and edit their own personal stories. A great example of the power multimedia presentation can have in capturing human experience. DigiTales: The Art of Telling Digital Stories A site by author Bernajean Porter dedicated to instruction, resources, examples and training opportunities all related to digital story telling. Putting the Story into Digital Storytelling A presentation style .pdf file that stresses the student components of creating a digital story including the mechanics of story writing and the instructor side such as the elements of performance literacy - before committing it to a digital format. for Digital Storytelling Originating at U.C.Berkley, the Center espouses the principle that every individual has a story to tell. This site contains examples, resources, instructional materials, learning opportunities and a cookbook. David Jakes On-line A site by renowned digital story telling workshop presenter dedicated to using the tools of the digital age to advance pedagogical practice and student learning.
Video Tools Digital Video for the Web: Assembling the Pieces This site addresses a wide array of issues related to the successful creation of digital video content for the internet. From an initial needs assessment to the finished product, this site offers a vast amount of easily digestible resources. The Multimedia Project’s The Video Guide is a resource for both students and teachers to use as they explore the world of video. Containing four categories, the materials include such assets as advice sheets, activities and glossaries. Apple’s I-Movie site iMovie specific art, sounds, downloadable plug ins and assorted other resources are available here. Microsoft’s Movie Maker site Movie Maker tutorials, tips and tricks and downloads available from Microsoft.
Photo Tools Creating Online Image editing section containing several free online image tools and generators. FxFoto Free software for editing digital images The GIMP is the GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a freely distributed piece of software suitable for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition and image authoring. Graphics Primer Oregon State University College of Forestry’s site covers resolution, file types, file size and tools. Pics 4 Learning Copy-rite friendly images for education
Audio Tools Public Domain Music A reference site to help identify public domain songs and public domain, royalty free music. Partners in Rhyme Royalty free music and sound effects. This site discusses and compares various Digital Audio Formats and the pros and cons of using each one. Great comparison tables for file size, encoding time and quality. Audacity A free sound editor for all platforms. Free Play Music A royalty free music site
Other Digital Storytellers-From NECC 2006AFI Screen Education Center: Digital Filmmaking in the Core Curriculum AFI Screen Education—empowering educators with the tools of digital filmmaking to engage students in mastering core curriculum and key 21st century skills. http://www.afi.eduDigital Storytelling: Be the Next Ken Burns! Digital storytelling offers educators and students a platform to present information in new and dynamic ways. Examine K-12 uses and free online resources. Tech Savvy English Classroom Revisited From wikis to digital storytelling, this interactive session explores emerging tools and how they can help “move” the literacy skills of all students.

Digital Storytelling Links

More links that may (or may not - hahaha) be useful when teaching digital story-telling.

I happened upon the site:
when correcting student projects (thanks kids!) and thought they might be worth a glance.

Center for Digital Storytelling
is a non-profit project development, training, and research organization dedicated to assisting people in using digital media to tell meaningful stories from their lives.

Digital Storytelling Cookbook
The Center for Digital Storytelling provides this online tutorial that provides an overview of the process of conceptualizing a digital story, including sections on "Recipe," "7 Elements," "Getting Started," "Storyboarding," "Digitizing Memories," and "Premiere."

Dana Atchley / Next Exit
Atchley, who passed away in 2000, was one of the pioneers in digital storytelling vis a vis Next Exit productions, complete with performances in front of a digital camp fire.

Digital Storytelling Festival
is an annual gathering of both experts and people interested in learning more about digital storytelling. This year, the festival is June 7-12, 2004 in Sedona.

The Elements of Digital Storytelling
An excellent resource site from the University of Minnesota.

Digital Storytelling Association

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Term 2 Ends

Term 2 ended on March 12 at 12:30 pm (GMT) and co-incided with the beginning of Spring Break.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Can every kid be a 7?

A problem arose in my school at the end of last term when I had a group of Year 7's and a group of Year 8's that did outstanding work. The Year 7's (basically 11 year olds) learned to use Microsoft 2007 and my Year 8's (12 year olds) were introduced to PhotoStory 3 and had amazing results. The curriculum was written by me, checked by the MYP Co-ordinator and approved by the Head of the Technology Department who also happens to be the principal.

These kids did great work and had fantastic results. A problem arose when I gave them all 7's (the highest grade) - which they all deserved. This was met with a lot of resistance by the Dept Head/Principal and, although not directely asked to do so I am smart enough to know that I was expected to change the grades and I did so (unhappily/begrudingly).

I was informed that all kids can't be 7's and if they are then there is something wrong. And I quote,

"They cannot all be achieving level 7 by the end of the course. If they are, it suggests that the demands of the course are not significant enough."

I don't get it - I'm teaching Word 2007 and PhotoStory 3 not Brain Surgery 101 to middle school aged children. What I saw in those 2 classes was a bunch of little kids following directions, working hard, and having a bit of fun. Sounds like a winning combo to me. In my book, that in and of itself is deserving of a 7.

Somebody has a lot to learn, and I'm not exactly sure who that is . . .

Another possibility/example

My newly formed group of kids at school (Tech Teen Productions) have decided to make another film:-D I came across this video and although it is way too long, thought that it would serve as an example for the kids. Can't wait!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

My First Assembly

Our school holds assemblies just about every week. One of the primary reasons is to showcase student work and to show the rest of the school what we are doing in class. Well tomorrow I will be involved in my first ever (hahahaha) assembly. The above video is what my Year 9 IT classes are all about.

Grab your popcorn. Hope you enjoy the show!

Tuesday, February 12, 2008


What can you do with QlipBoardTM? Make narrated slide shows of your vacation. Show off your home for sale. Get help with your homework. Invite someone to a party. Talk to your friends in other countries without having to wake up at odd hours. The possibilities are endless! To learn how, click here

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Term 2 is in Full Swing

Well Term 2 is in Full Swing. In fact we are half-way through the term and are enjoying a week off due to Carnival Break :-) I'm setting more limits and learning to say "NO". I can't do it all and be it all - it just isn't possible. BUT I can be the best Tech Teacher that I can be (if that makes any sense at all - lol). So that's what I'm doing - or trying to do. I'm trying to help these kids, that the universe sent my way, become more computer literate and introduce them to technologies that they can actually use in their scholastic and personal lives. After all they will be spending a lot of their waking moments online. Most days I feel like I'm making progress - and that's what really counts!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Avatars that talk . . .

I have a class blog for each of the grades that I teach (7, 8, 9, 10, 11). The main purpose of the blog is to post assignments and students can find the information they need to be successful there. I've been having a bit of fun by putting a Voki (talking picture) ( on the blogs (my favorite is a cat) and the students have gotten a big kick of it. One student has found another site called Blabberize ( and it takes this speaking avatar idea one step further. You can send an animated message. (Thank you Guga). Check it out!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Google Calendar

Today at the staff meeting someone gave a presentation to introduce the staff to Google Calendar. Where have I been? This is a tool which can help organize your life - both professionally and personally. It was suggested that the school begin using Google calendar and insert all of the dates that the staff needs to keep track of. Then, each department in turn could do the same. Finally, each teacher can also open an account. All of our important dates would be collected in one place assessible from any internet connection. What a great idea!

Here's mine . . .

Monday, January 7, 2008

Becoming a Webhead 2008

Well it's that time again. . .

Time for the annual Becoming a Webhead Course. It begins January 14 and runs for 6 weeks. It is a special no-cost, online course taught by volunteers which introduces the participants to educational technologies and web 2.0 applications. Blogs, wikis, and other online communication tools will be examined and participants will learn first hand how to utilize these tools. Each week another topic/tool will be explored. Week 5 (the week I co-moderate;-) interactive exercises (using free online sites like ProProfs and ClassMarker) will be the focus.

The intended audience for this group is EFL teachers but all interested parties are encouraged to join. This Community of Practice offers a warm and welcoming online atmosphere and group members have a unique bond which allows this group to continue long after the course has finished.

If you want to learn more about educational technologies and expand your teaching repertoire, do yourself a favor and enroll today!

Click here to join baw08
Click to join baw08

Friday, January 4, 2008

Blogs in Plain English

Check this out!

Holistic Education

In an effort to better understand "Holistic Education" I decided to take a little trip into cyberspace (my favorite travel mode) and came up with a few links worth mentioning. - Holistic and Integral Education (Roger Stack) - Holistic Education

Also came across this link for a very forward school:

Tuesday, January 1, 2008