Saturday, February 20, 2010

Thing #10...I could do this all day

Trading Card Maker

okay....had a wordle but I hit a tab and it disappeared! Ahh the frustration of technology. I've gone back to the website to remake my wordle but the web page is down...won't make my collage. A good example of how a good activity can go bad. Same thing happened today during class when my Smartboard wouldn't work right before a lesson.

wordle - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

I had a great time exploring all the image generators....I'm glad to have a reason to play around with all of this and learn how to use them. Most of these image generators are very easy to use and require just a few minutes and a little bit of creativity. The trading card generator was easy to use and has 100 applications in the classroom; any unit we study can be made into a trading card. Right now we are reading a story about life in a pond. My students could each choose an animal that lives in the pond and create a trading card. We can use Wordle as a prereading activity as we build our background knowledge. As a small group activity the students can brainstorm words that relate to the new topic and create a word cloud with their words. Image Chef is just plain fun!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Thing #9....this took awhile!

“You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with.” -Jim Rhon

If that's true then building your "circle of the wise" can be an important way to manage the information that comes your way on the web and let's you know what the best in the field are thinking and talking about. I'm finding I like my blog dashboard better for keeping up with the blogs I'm following better than the the Google Reader. My blog dashboard is just simpler and cleaner.
I found a lot of interesting blogs to look atEdublog Awards found lots of blogs to add to my dashboard: Teaching All Students is a blog about the use of assistive technology in the special education classroom Free Technology for Teachers is a blog that reviews free technology and provides suggestion for integrating it into the classroom. John Spencer:Musings from a Not-So-Master Teacher has a funny post about his proposed "TAD Talks". Tad being Ted's (from Ted Talks) younger, underachieving brother. I appreciate his self deprecating sense of humor.

I like to use Technorati to search for new Blogs to read. I'm finding over and over that I prefer blogs, readers and websites that are well organized (no surprise), visually clean with columns clearly well defined and without an overwhelming amount of print or advertisements. The Top 100 list is especially helpful due to the tabs on the side indicating what blog's category (ie "top 100 political blog)

I don't like I'm sure if I were stuck in an airport with nothing but Syndic8 to search I could keep busy for hours (I'm a news junkie) but at first it didn't hold my interest.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

who needs sleep?

Oh no...just got my first Google Alert on "autism" with 15 links to current articles on the topic. I might not ever sleep again. So many interesting things to read and learn.
Just saw the Google ad during the Super creative and incredibly adorable. My older daughter is going to study abroad in Paris next year so it really made me smile. I love smart advertising.
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Thing #8 RSS Feeds

I LOVE . This website has the best short (3 minutes) videos simplifying complicated ideas in the areas of technology, finance, society and going green. The video on RSS feeds explained it beautifully. So simple and entertaining too. Makes me wish I'd thought of it. I set myself up with Google Reader and subscribe to some blogs including some fellow bloggers from class and some professional blogs. I like that I can go to one place to get caught up on the blogs I'm following. Having easy access to these blogs means I can use my time on the computer more efficiently and stay caught up. Google Reader is another tool to use to help organize your access to information on the web. With the overwhelming amount of information on the web students, teachers, librarians and administrators need to know what tools to use to organize access to it and to maximize their time spent.
K a Capital Letter T on Plywood (Takoma Park, MD) scrabble letter I letter E

Thing #7 Gotta Love Google!

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I added iGoogle as my homepage and customized it with news links, recipes, art, daily quotes, weather, a pet hamster :) and top rated YouTube videos. I already can see that having iGoogle as my home page will be both helpful and a distraction. When I sit down to work at my computer I usually check a few web sites and emails before I start working. Now my distractions are well organized. Interesting quote from quote of the day;
"You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with." - Jim Rohn
I signed up for a Google Alert to receive relevant Google results about "autism". This will be helpful in keeping up with current information on topics of interest. I'll add other alerts if I like the results.
I've been using Google's Picasa ever since I've been taking digital pictures and appreciate the simplicity and ease of use. It's very intuitive and is visually well laid out and I'm able to do a lot of editing to my pictures there. I downloaded my first Picasa Web Album without too much difficulty and made a mosaic of some of my pictures.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Thing #6 life is a mashup!

There are limitless possibilities when you start combining all the web has to offer. I enjoyed playing with Flickr Colr Pickr and playing with that mashup led me to discover this really fun creative mashup called Spell with Flickr. You type in any word and Flickr finds photos of the letters to spell your words. After looking at Bookr I can see how I could easily use this in my classroom or in library lessons. Students could use this application to create an end product for a lesson importing Flickr images or their own personal photos or images to create a book.
Recently, I was catching up on the news on the MSNBC website and came across a great interactive map of Haiti (couldn't access it at school) that combined a Google map with video, photos and articles. It really gave you a sense of where the news was coming from and when they were combined with images it provided comprehensive information.