Friday, April 27, 2007
But man! Last night I recorded CSI since I had to go to Tampa. So I'm fast forwarding through the commercials and stop because something caught my eye. They are giving the viewers a chance to be a dead body on CSI! This is absolutely cooler than winning $10,000 for watching CSI: NY and Deal or No Deal. I would pay the text messaging fee for this! For a chance to meet the boys of CSI, an okay - the girls too, well I'd do it! Ask Kelly, a lady I use to babysit for. She needed me the night they launched Bon Jovi's house contest and said that she'd pay me plus all the phone calls I could make in the two hours she would be gone if I babysat on this one crucial night. So I paid her kids and ran up a phone bill of over $100. I didn't win the house, but Kelly sure did learn her lesson.
But back to CSI - to be a dead body on CSI would be totally cool. I once played a dead body for the Firefighters of the Columbia Airport. That was gross. I couldn't eat chicken wings or donuts for a long time. But it was exciting to see how they trained for rescues and learn some of the techniques.
Do you enjoy forensic science? Can you teach it in your classroom? Forensic Science actually fits in the Century 21 Skills. It's not really civics or global literacy, but it is dealing with health and well being and the technology skills. Did you see the technology used on the show? WOW!
To help you get started with forensic science in your classroom, here are a few fun links:
(You'll just get disqualified for more than 1 entry or for trying to use different phone lines. Which increases my chances of winning!)
I'll bet this would be a fun way to end the school year!
Thursday, April 26, 2007
There are other tools out there that are similar to Inspiration. I have tried them, but I found most of them to be lacking or just so un-inspiring. It was not as easy to use as Inspiration and I found it lacking in many ways.
Today while reading various blogs I came across a new tool (Kathy Shrock's blog). The tool is called Bubbl.us and it's basically for those who need to brainstorm or develop a mindmap. It's not bad and I probably have a lot to learn, but I don't think it's a replacement for Inspiration - although I do like the online capability. That's the plus - that people can log in and add their own thoughts to the shared concept map. As a matter of fact, if any of you want to toy with a map, join Bubbl.us for free and then add me as a friend. My username is dabernethy.
I think this quote from their blog sums it up:
Frankly I loved Bubbl.us. It’s simple, it’s quick, it’s helpful. It’s not meant to be a complex, and it’s not looking to win the most thorough mind-mapping application of the year. It’s meant for prompt, on-the-spot organization, and in this respect it passes with flying colors.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
But what about favorite past times or hobbies? Do you belong to a community for your personal side? I belong to the CSI community by simply actively participating on the wiki and the discussion boards. I use to belong to the Wiggles Community, but well, umm - Joey's growing up a bit and I felt funny still going there.
Today I joined a new community. I've become a tea lover and have even bought the Perfect Tea Cups, the German Rock Sugar, the special tins, bamboo spoon and perfect tea spoon and try various teas each time I go to Teavanna. I now even stick my nose up at non-special teas. Brewing a great cup of tea right now in fact - a MateVana with Roobis Chai. The MateVana has even been said to be a great appetite deppressant. I do drink my teas cold still by the way.
Anyway, so I'm looking for different teas to try, suggestions on the web, and any blogs about tea news. Yes, I'm really that interested. What did I find? TeaChef! It's so cool. Suggestions on the thread, a tea newsletter, tea art, tea musings, and so much more! I found a great recipe for Golden Monkey Bread using Monkey tea! YEAH!!! I'm hoping I will be accepted to receive a free sample. I can there share with you more about my favorite teas and technology!
Do you have time to indulge in your personal passions and not just professionals? Go enjoy a cup of tea as you take a moment to pause and reflect. What type of community would you like to join for personal interests? Check out either Ning or do a search and see what you can find.
Tea timer went off. Time to enjoy!
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
I may not be the top user of web 2.0 tools, but I do enjoy them. I love learning about them and I can see so many ways they can be used in the classroom. But I as an adult am put off by some of the things I find that are inappropriate even for my 32 year old eyes to see. I want to find an EduSafe package of these great tools for students. Gaggle's close to creating just that and I'm really excited about the possibilities. I want these EduSafe tools because I want teachers to be able to teach 21st Century Skills without having to worry about protecting the identity of their students or protecting them from the inappropriateness found on the web.
Miguel made a comment "I do not think this is naive, but rather, a teachable moment that must be seized. I'd hate for my children to arrive at age 21 only to find that they had not yet 'grown up.'" Yes, seize those teachable moments, but with the read/write capability of the Web2.0 do you really want to be thrown off guard every time you turn around? Or do you want to be able to teach, use the tools available, and not worry about so many possible teachable moments popping up?
Steve Dembo has been making some great presentations across the nation about how the web 2.0 has been giving us all a more permanent record. Teach what he's been teaching. Yet, at the same time, don't you want to teach the subject that you went to school and signed a contract to teach without having to worry about the other deals?
Part of what got Miguel's attention I think was that I said there might be a subscription fee for such thing. Yeah, paying for things always leaves a bad taste in the mouth, especially when our education budget is already strapped. I've been there. I was always the one who'd find free and SAFE tools for my teachers to use. Gaggle does offer some free tools, so does Wikispaces and a few others. I like what Moodle and Ning has given us in ability to learn and network for free. I would much rather find the free tools. I absolutely LOVE free so we can save our money to use for real-life experiences or other necessities. At the same time, I also understand that not all the tools are available for free. I'd like to see Flickr, YouTube, MySpace and others to create a set of tools just for the kids and available for free. Then we could teach without as many "teachable" moments popping up.
Miguel, I hope you don't think of me as someone who has lost touch with education and what matters. I'm not really into charging teachers for anything unless it is to help teach our students and keep them safe from predators and other nasties.
Monday, April 23, 2007
I'm at that point right now with a few videos I was watching (Yahoo News Videos). The first was about the use of plastic handcuffs in a school setting in order to detain students who are in need of detaining. The board made perfect sense in saying that it is less harmful to put these plastic cuffs on the students than having to wrestle them down as they fight. That one, I am definitely on the board's side. I understand that parents may be concerned that the cuffs might be put on too tight or that the administration might abuse and overuse this approach, but it's for the safety of not only the students involved but the teachers and administration that have to break up such incidents. They don't want their child handcuffed? No problem. Make sure the students understand what earns this technique for detaining undisciplined students and make sure that they know how to avoid falling into that behavior pattern.
It's the second one that I'm struggling with. I watched a video tonight about the Dunblane massacre that took place in Scotland in 1996. It was Great Britain's largest school shooting, and to this date, their only. Why? Because since then, politicians in Great Britain (like Tony Blair) have helped create laws that ban the sale of handguns. The gun used in Dunblane was obtained legally, just as it had in the Virginia Tech Massacre.
Part of me, the part that is terrified of guns, agrees with this. Get the guns off the street. Get them out of the hands of killers. Make them harder to get.
And that's where I get stuck. Make them harder to get. There's an old saying, locks are for honest people. So are laws. If someone wants a gun bad enough, they can get their hands on one no matter if it's legal or not legal. Yes, make it harder. That young man, Cho, purchased his guns easily enough the legal way. The news has reported him as being mentally disturbed and had even been in the hospital for mental treatment. I know he has rights, but so do we. His name should have been put into some sort of database in order to make it harder for him to purchase a gun. At the same time, enforce that any person buying a gun for the first time must take an approved gun safety course. Not just to carry, but to actually PURCHASE AND OWN the gun. Then again, I am naive about the gun law - is this already on the books? I doubt the deal with the mental illness is not. Too many people worried about offending one person instead of protecting the many. The second one, I have heard you have to take a class in order to have a permit to carry. Is it the same to buy?
Why is this part of an education blog, other than the school shootings? Well, the right to bear arms is one of the treasured Bill of Rights we have as Americans. I have no problems with the hunters who use the guns with respect to their sport. I have no problem with those who carry one for protection and have been trained to use it. I have no problem with the homeowner who has one in a lock box or other safe space in their home and has been trained how to use it for that chance of a criminal break-in with harmful intentions. But we as educators need to make sure that when we teach the Bill of Rights we explain that the right to bear arms does not give us the right to threaten or kill someone without due cause. We need to teach the Civic Responsibilities that go along with that right to bear arms. No, I'm not suggesting you have each student go through a gun safety class, but I am saying that it needs to be looked at more closely instead of brushed over so casually.
I applaud Great Britain for their ability to dissolve the right to purchase a gun legally. I don't know if it's totally the right choice for America, but I do know that we have lessons to learn and many lessons to teach.
To help you get started, here's a lesson from (hard swallow) Discovery.
Sunday, April 22, 2007
Today (Sunday) was different. I had to get up early, go with my family to Clearwater Beach to meet my 75 year old cousin and her husband (who has a great life story to tell). We then split up, I took Cousin Alice, my mom and Joey in my car and my dad took Cousin Joe in their car. Our destination? Sanford AutoTrain so they could go home. Yes, they are some of Florida's finest Snowbirds.
Once we dropped them off, we decided to go to the mall. That was easy to find. So were the great sales. However, leaving that mall and trying to get back on to I4 is not very easy. So we decided to let "G" get us home. HA! We ended up going the back road. Mom got ancy so we hooked up dad's Palm with GPS and had it find an alternate route. That one was also going to take us backroads, but take us 30 minutes at least longer. We'll stick with "G".
I now wish we had stuck with the original plan. Get onto I4, get on the turnpike, and then onto 50. I don't think I'd be carsick right now.
Moral of the story - get the phsyical address and look at a map before you actually go. GPS units are great tools - but only if they are up to date and if you put information in it right.
Friday, April 20, 2007
Today, when you have a chance, go on over to The Blogger's Choice Awards and vote for your favorite blogs, including your favorite Educational Blog. I was torn. I did nominate SegaTech, plan to nominate Teach42 and Karen Seddon, and did vote for Tom.
Okay, so it's hard for me to choose just one and voted/nomatinated many. Am I allowed to do that?
So this morning I went to Yahooligans to see what was new. I was actually led there because a friend and I were chatting last night about search engines for children. Now I'm blessed, I have access to netTrekker. I'm hoping that the new superintendent will look at netTrekker for the schools here in Hernando County. But in the meantime, I decided to check out Yahooligans since that's the search engine that was brought up.
Boy has it changed. I'm a fan of Yahoo, so I was surprised to see the very busy site that really is distracting. I didn't even see the search box in the upper right hand corner. I did find the Homework Help site, but even that has distractions. They have this beautiful "In the News" section and the first thing that's there is a picture of Miley Cyrus and a link to entertainment news. Further down is a link for arts and entertainment and they also have a joke of the day area. Even more distractions for the kid who is suppose to be studying. I did like the box on the side that looks like tags of popular searches on the web now. But the rest was distracting.
It's not a bad site or search engine for students when they have down time and are looking for fun things, but I would not suggest it to a student who is easily distracted - which means most students. I also would not want my homepage for my school set to that anymore.
TekMom has a search engine tool page for students, but it's not a comprehensive search. She basically gives you the search boxes to popular search engines and even admits in her "About page" that "While students will be statistically more likely to find only relevant sites, they unfortunately may not find some of the best information that is available on the Internet, so adults may be needed to find additional information." She also suggests having a dictionary available. All in all, it's not a bad tool and she's put in a lot of work.
netTrekker does have a home license, in case your school does not have a license. It also has a built in dictionary, a read aloud feature, and some other great tools.
Thursday, April 19, 2007
How does this relate to school? This is a chance for teachers to reach students. They (students) have loved pets at home. They can now understand how an education and active participation in our government, understanding how global issues impact us here in the US, is beneficial for them. This might be the link they needed for relevance. Gas, war, even calls to help desks mean nothing to them.
A boy and his dog (or cat) - well now you have relevance.
When I worked with the DEN I had a PC and they also gave us PhotoShop Elements. It was nice. However, there were so many tools in there that I could not figure out and therefore was a wasted program for me. Honestly, my brother used it more and often did the work that I could not do. Well last night I was editing a photo of my son and I wanted to do some "photoshopping". First, I don't have Adobe for Mac and two, I don't think I could have done what I wanted anyway. So I rack my brain thinking how can I get this job done. I have iphoto, but that's not really a photoshop type program. Then I look over and see my Tech4Learning Creative Educator Magazine and BAM it smacks me upside the head.
Use ImageBlender!! I was able to cut away the background and keep Joey in his batman costume and then add a layer with a really cool scene behind him. It was so easy, and I wasn't up until all hours of the night. The program has some other benefits, like the slide show feature. I have used it in the past to create my own stationary designs or logos. It's really a fun, simple program.
I guess I could use Photo Shop, learn all the tools and become a "pro", but I like simplicity when integrating, or in this case just using, technology. If I had to spend HOURS teaching the littlest tool to get a certain effect, I've lost too much time from standards.
Tech4Learning has another cool tool called Blue Armadillo. It's a batch conversion utility tool and it's free. They have some other great things that I have mentioned here before, such as Pics4Learning and MyT4L. Check those great tools out.
So do we need to teach Adobe products? Sure - in high school or even some middle school classes. However, if you want an easy to use program that will not cut into your time on task and still get great results, check out the programs from Tech4Learning.
The real unfortunate part is that Joey came downstairs (he couldn't sleep - it's was almost midnight!!) and didn't like the photo. He didn't want me to put it in a frame and cried. Therefore, I can't share with you the results of my fun with ImageBlender. I just can't do that to him. But I'll do another one later and share it!
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
If you are a teacher, did you know that you are in one of the top satisfying careers right now in the United States? According to a recent poll special education teachers, teachers, and education administrators are among the top ten satisfied employees. Special Education teachers top the happiness list too.
So here's a shout out to all the teachers and education administrators that are satisfied with their role in our youth's education! And to you special education teachers, such as Michele and Cheryl, here's an extra loud shout out to you! (I sure do hope this animations work!)
Monday, April 16, 2007
I can't dance, and I don't know why I'm hooked on this show. However, the show is a refreshing reminder of how we should be conducting ourselves in the classroom. Those who REALLY WANT to win, but don't have the natural talent, really put forth the effort. They really try. They make their rehearsals fun and they work extra hard. Now take Billy Ray tonight. He's not comfortable with the public show of affection required for the rumba. (I agree with Billy Ray that passion like that should be left for behind closed doors, no viewers watching and the lights out.) But since Billy Ray's not comfortable, and was a bit overstressed this week, he was not as good as he could have been. I voted for him, but he was just a bit lackluster tonight. (Tired from hosting a show, getting back in sync with his tv series and learning to let loose in the rumba? Not to mention raising his kids and everything else that's going on in his life.)
What does Dancing with the Stars have to do with education? Have you ever noticed that when your students are having fun with the learning passion, when it's something that has meaning to them and that they want, they put in more practice and energy into their homework and they become more than competent? Have you ever noticed that when a student is not comfortable with what they are learning, they are not as open and they don't perform as well as they can. Help your students find a way to connect with what they are learning, find a way to make it fun and for them to enjoy it, and you'll start seeing results. Proof needed? Look at John and Apollo. My goodness, they had fun, and Apollo was on fire tonight!
How? Easy, add some technology - whether it's in digital movies, podcasting, blogging, Inspiration and visual learning, or anything else that you can come up with that will help you reach them. Find a way to help them make the connections to their world.
So shake off your dancing shoes, find your passion and help your students have fun with learning. Integrating Technology's probably had a lot easier than the rumba.
Friday, April 13, 2007
Check it out! And submit your three samples soon so you can get your 25th Anniversary Mug. I have their 20th Anniversary one, need the 25th for my collection!
Can't wait to see what comes out of this "Inspiring" Community!
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
But another article caught my eye this morning and it's one that really has me excited. We have these wonderful (insert laugh if you want) national standards. We have these pretty state standards (insert another chuckle). A lot of times these two do not match and it's a pain for the military BRAT or the child who's parent has decided to move for one reason or another. We live in a very transient time. So why don't all the standards match?
Well NINE states have finally decided to develop a math test that will share standards! My hat goes off to you - Arkansas, Kentucky, Indiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Rhode Island. Thank you for finally getting it right! These nine states will be sharing a an Algebra II test.
Even if it's not in my favorite subject, at least it's a start.
My favorite thing is how they said it's a grass roots effort and would not be happening if the Federal Government had initiated it. There ya go politicians. Give us the money for education, but let us decide how to best educate our children. You do your job, we'll do ours. And we can get the job done without your interference.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
My compliments go out to David Warlick, who in a session at GAETC had me interested in blogs and podcasting where other presentations left me yawning and un-inspired. Next to Steve Dembo who was basically a mentor for my first blog over at Discovery Educator Network with North Florida. I really was scared about blogging with Discovery. I loved to read them, wanted my students to do it, but I didn't think I was ready. When I read Daniel and Jeff's blog - well, who could compete with the masterminds of SegaTech!?!
After I left Discovery (or should I say Discovery left me?), I was lost. I still feel that way sometimes in all honesty. But thanks to my few faithful readers, such as Tom, Cheryl, Michele and Karen - well- they at least let me babble away here. So I need to send a special HUGE CYBER Compliment to Tom being such a wonderful edublogger and to Karen for always sharing the creative side to the wonderful things your computer can do for you. Cheryl and Michele, thanks for reading too.
Tom- I tried to leave a comment, but that comment issue came back up!
Thursday, April 5, 2007
I agree to an extent. First, the Freedom of Speech that we are granted as Americans is not intended to the freedom to harm others. It's the freedom to respond to situations and share your thoughts/views and opinions. If your thoughts/views/opinions are to harm someone emotionally or physically, well then that is not a respected use of your freedom. No, I'm not talking about the emotional harm of critiquing a play, a new product or thought. I'm talking about when you scare someone or slander someone to the point that you take away their sense of personal safety.
But I also believe in censorship. Don't scream yet - listen to me. No, I don't think books should be banned or certain blogs. However, I do believe that if comments are made to your blog that are inappropriate, then delete them. Not inappropriate such as they disagree with you, but inappropriate to where they are off topic/relevancy. If someone comments on here and totally disagrees with me, well I should not have opened myself up to that. However, if someone leaves a comment that is rude and cruel that is totally off based and uses profane language and that I find threatening, well then I have the right to delete it and keep my blog clean. That's what I mean by censorship.
At the same time, Steve Dembo made a comment that there needs to be an EDUSAFE tools out there. I totally agree. The EDUSAFE tools would allow teachers to teach using these skills completely integrated, teaching the ethics of such tools by modeling proper use, and keep students safe from the inappropriate content or people of the world. Hmmm, I wonder - is there a complete package of EDUSAFE tools or do we have to piece them together?
As a libra, I see the flip side of both coins. I love my freedoms, but at the same time, I don't want to worry about the lack of morals and ethics being shared with my son or other students just because we are trying to teach them the 21st Century skills needed for the future.
Wednesday, April 4, 2007
I spent last night and this morning checking out the resources found there and was simply amazed even more. I wanted to be able to create those quicktime videos. I always have. You name the product and I want to record it for training purposes. This morning I commented on Karen's blog and asked her if she knew the program they used. Never one with patience, I checked out the software available for a MAC, and this is what I found:
- AlphaOmega Software: This is shareware and I actually found it on Apple's site
- vnc2swf - Screen Recorder: This has no warranty and is for General Public Use. It records your screen movements in Shockwave. Unless I get strong comments encouraging me on this one though, I doubt I'll try it out.
- Snap Z Pro X: This one is not shareware or general use. It costs $69 and looks pretty impressive. Make sure that you order the right one for your platform.
- Video Codecs: Free to use and you can also freely distribute the videos you create using their software.
- iShowU: This program is relatively inexpensive ($20) and is for Mac.
If you have tried any of these or another program I failed to mention, leave a comment and tell me what your thoughts are.
Tuesday, April 3, 2007
So what show would you suggest to the students of today to watch? Which show deals with the issues of today for students?
Since I don't watch much TV, I can't comment. There's a lot of violence and foul language (even so on Everybody Loves Raymond, a show my son should have been able to watch without such incidents). However, there is one show that I have recently become addicted to and even check out their website. Today I brought it up in a discussion on 21 Century because I felt like this show is doing more with 21 Century than anything I've seen lately.
I'm talking about CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. First, I subscribe to their podcast via iTunes. Second, I participate on their wiki in trying to figure out who is the "Mini" Killer. Third, I have yet to create a video, but I do watch the video mashups. Fourth, they have a blog! They have a sense of community.
Do I recommend the site or the show to students? No, but I just wanted to point out that in entertainment there is a show that uses a lot of science and has encouraged students to study forensic science (not me- I still cover my eyes in the autopsies and the really bloody scenes), also uses technology to it's full advantage.
Monday, April 2, 2007
Congratulations to Diana, and all other teachers who are taking a step forward in teaching in the 21 Century!
Those who know me know that my passion is with educational communities. Teachers who are connected to other teachers and do not shut the door to isolate themselves learn so much more and become better educators. In South Carolina I participated in a graduate program and we became a mini-community - which was really neat since we all were from around 6 different districts and 7 different cities in South Carolina. We shared a lot of experiences and professional knowledge and I will admit that I was sad when the program ended. Some of us have stayed in touch via a Yahoo Group, but it's not the same.
Then I worked for another popular teacher community and I was in love. Working with teachers to connect them, trainings on current trends in the classroom to prepare their students for the 21st Century, and so much more was right up my ally. I made a lot of great friends. I don't regret moving from South Carolina to Florida for the one year position, only am sad that my role is no longer part of the behind the scenes side of the community. I won't lie. I miss it.
Today, in several emails I was shared this new community and I became excited. You don't have to own a particular product in order to join, and no -I don't work for them. This is just free advertising to the few that read my blog. Yahoo! is launching a new community for teachers called Yahoo!Teachers. I use to use their groups as a teacher and a coach, so I know this is going to be exciting.
If you're looking for a new community to join - check them out. And look at the workshop themes they plan to offer! 21 Century, here we come!