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Archive for January, 2010

Right now in our school, we are discussing what an “A” means and how we might change our grading system to support our beliefs. Coach Wooden is dead on in the TED talk.

Coach Wooden defines success

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This week was kind of a crazy week. Several teachers in the school scheduled time on Wednesday to use Cover It Live with students. If you haven’t used it before, it is one of the coolest ways to have a class discussion in a digital format.

Anyway, Wednesday was also the day of the iPad release. Because of this, there were several different news sites and blogs using Cover It Live to discuss the new computer and watch Steve Jobs give his presentation. Subsequently, this totally overloaded the Cover It Live and the site wasn’t working properly. Talk about panicked teachers. There is nothing worse than having a plan, and it tanking at the last minute. This is the cause of many mad dashes, frustration, and even tears.

Luckily, for what the classes were doing, they were able to quickly make do with Etherpad. It is not quite as effective for a class discussion, but the teachers were able to make due.

This has got me to thinking about how unstable the programs we use are, and I don’t think there is anything we can do about it. If a teacher has a plan, it is always a good idea to have a backup, and it might be good to have a backup plan that does not rely on technology. I think one of the biggest keys is to not get too worked up about it. In most cases, the problem is out of the teachers hands.

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In my last post, I wrote about Bumtop and how cool it makes the desktop look. Well, one of my students showed me that it can be a usefull tool in cleaning up a desktop. Here’s of all the files on the desktop after installing the app.

I honestly didn’t know that it was possible to fit this many files on a desktop. Imagine what this students bedroom must look like.

Not to fear. With a quick click of the mouse, presto!

It’s pretty slick. If only cleaning bedrooms were this easy.

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Bumptop is a cool app that I have been messing around with for a few days now. I would have to say that it doesn’t necessarily do a whole lot to make me more efficient. It certainly doesn’t make my computer run faster or help me teach better. Really, it just a cool way to look at the desktop. 

Bumptop turns the desktop into a 3-D room where the user can place icons wherever one wants. Some of the cool features are the picture frames and sticky notes, all of which can be hung or placed anywhere in the room. There are also some organiztional features that allow for quick “stacking” of files, shortcuts and pictures. For fun, a person can just start throwing files around and watch them bounce off the walls.

I put Bumptop on my computer at school and the students loved it. They actually like me to turn on the projector just so they can see what it looks like (no doubt this won’t last long, but it’s good while it does). 

Another great thing is that it is free and they now have versions that work on both PC and Mac. Have fun!

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I wish I had a bunch of free technology to give out in the way of computers and free software, but I don’t. I also wish that I had an immense depth of knowledge to give away, but I am not sure that I am dealing with the depths of seas and oceans, more like puddles. Anyway, here is a site that all teachers should have added to their RSS readers. You can credit me for atleast showing you one good resource for using tech in the classroom.

Free Technology for Teachers is one of the coolest blogs I have ever read. The blog is updated with posts three or four times a day, and every post shows another top-notch site that teachers can use in the classroom. It is one of those sites that will leave a teacher’s head spinning because there are so many good ideas.

Just check out the last few posts:

MOOM-Museum of Online Museums, posted Monday, January 25, 2010

Scribble Maps Adds More Map Editing Features, posted Monday, January 25, 2010

Recent Earthquake Teachable Moments, posted Monday, January 25, 2010

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I just ran across a few videos on Youtube made by a guy named Jim Groom. I don’t know much about the guy, but he has some interesting ideas. Apparantly, he is the man who coined the phrase and movement “Edupunk.”  Wikipedia has an interesting page that gives an idea on what this is all about. I still don’t know what to think, but I think I like it.

Here’s just a little taste of the ideas that Jim Groom is putting out there. This should give you a little something to think about over the weekend.

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I am guessing that if you are reading my blog, you probably already know about Classroom 2.0, but if you don’t, you have to check it out. This site is the one place where I can always go and learn something new. Here are just a few of the reasons that I came up with for being a member of Classroom 2.0.

  1. Friendly community.
  2. Community that is eager to help and share.
  3. Deep knowledge base with experts participating from around the world.
  4. Ask questions and get answers (fast).
  5. Meet others trying figure out how to use tech in the classroom (you are not alone!).
  6. Find new resources to use in the classroom.
  7. Find cool videos.
  8. Participate in webinars.
  9. Connect to classrooms around the world.
  10. It’s not just a place to visit and browse. Become a member and have a voice.

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