Friday, December 25, 2009

Christmas 2009

Merry Christmas!

It snowed on Christmas eve...I've lived in Texas for 33 years, and I can't remember it ever snowing at Christmas! Kids and granddaughter are home - it's chaos, and noise, toys everywhere - happy sounds. We got out and built a snowman after breakfast! We have lots to be thankful for this year. Everyone's healthy, happy and together. Perfect day!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Are You a "Wired" Teacher?

Was reading "Digital Learning Environment Blog" and came across Jon Orech's Essentials for the "Wired" Teacher. I have been charged with modernizing classrooms in our district. I often review new Web 2.0 tools to see if we can use them, and honestly, I just like technical "toys & tools"! But with this charge in the back of my mind, this article caught my attention. Below are the tools that he says are essential. You can follow the link back to his blog, so I thought I'd share which tools I use in these four areas.

Social networking
Still working on Twitter! The most sensible use I've heard for it is from Miguel Guhlin. When he needs answers to technical questions, he posts the question to the people he follows and gets immediate responses.

Most recently we have setup a social network for the people in our district that are helping implement Fast ForWord on campuses at It's just starting, but what a powerful way to share information, best practices, and ask for help - and get more than one response! I think social networks are a great tool for students and teachers to use to share information with a larger community than their classroom.

This is probably, hands down, my favorite way to get information right now. I use Netvibes to pull information to me daily related to the work I do. Visit

B.G. - what did we do before Google? I've learned many of the search tricks, but the one Jon describes about making a custom RSS feed is cool! We also use Google Docs, Google Earth, Google Sky in classrooms.

Social bookmarking
Really like and have used that, but am working on learning Diigo. I like being able to share bookmarks with others and gain their expertise in finding cool websites!

Personal homepage
I use my Wetpaint wiki as my personal homepage for work. It has become useful for me to post information and blended learning activities when I do staff development. After reading Jon's blog I've signed up for an Issuu account and will begin exploring it!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Round 'em up and move 'em on out!

We are getting ready to implement an iPod touch program with our PreK and 5th & 8th ELL students.It is the brain child of one of our area superitendents and the director of ESL/BIL. We had training on them yesterday, and I am hooked. I am beginning to understand how this type of handheld devices could be utilized by students and teachers for teaching and learning. I'm almost ready to give up my computer...well, not quite, but I can really see how they could be something that helps me do an awful lot of my daily work. The available number of free apps and podcasts is amazing!

Monday, May 11, 2009

May 11, 2009 - Want to transform your classroom?

eSchool News has an interesting article about six technologies that will transform schools within the next 5 years with the focus on elementary and secondary schools.

Within the next year -Collaborative Environments and Online Communication tools which foster teamwork and critical thinking skills. Challenge for teachers - assessing these types of skills in real time.
  • Web-based tools for collaborative work like Voicethread
  • Multiplayer gaming environments - Xbox anyone?
  • Social networking platforms like Ning
  • Virtual worlds like Teen Second Life
  • Online communication tools like Skype, Twitter, and Edmodo

2-3 years - Mobile Devices and Cloud Computing

Mobile Devices
  • Mobile devices like smart phones that can record audio/video, store information and access the web - much like a laptop. We will be using iPod Touch in a pilot program with PreK and 5th and 8th grade next year. $200 is an inexpensive computer...not appropriate in all situations, and not something that we want students to use all the time but...
  • Mobile gaming
  • Simulations
  • Research
  • Field work
Cloud Computing - Networked computers distributing processing power and applications can provide students and teachers with free or low $$ alternatives through a web browser.
  • Flickr
  • Google Docs
  • YouTube

4-5 years - Smart Objects and the Personal Web

Smart Objects

Smart objects are "any physical object that includes a unique identifer than can track information about that object"

  • I didn't know that was what I was using, but my public library has an automated system that allows me to quickly check out books by myself-all I have to do is lay the book down on a square and a device "reads" the title, author, etc. and checks it out to me. Libraries are able to track their collection and check materials in and out.
  • Inexpensive enough for students and teachers to create...check out or to learn more. Kind of interesting...have to think about the applications to my life and job.

The Personal Web - Ability to recognize, configure, and manage online content rather than viewing it

  • I've recently began using Netvibes to do this. It allows me to subscribe to content and supports my academic/professional activities. PageFlakes is another form that this takes.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Which Date Works

Tried something new this morning - think it will work well. We have district mail and calendar, but sometimes, when I'm trying to get a BIG group of people together I need to something else besides a "busy search".

WDW allows a person to select a "window" of dates on a calendar and send out an email asking people to choose the date that works for them. The coolest thing is that it will also show you which dates don't work! I'm very visual, so I can quickly see the two dates that this group of people responded as being the best dates for them. (see next image)
Account is FREE - always a good thing...

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Photo by Heather Katsoulis

cc licensed

January 8, 2009

A new year. The picture on the left reminds me of viewpoints, perspectives and seeing things through new eyes.