Monthly Archives: May 2007

Yet Another Reason Your Filter is Useless (or neat trick to post to jaiku, wordpress or twitter)


The first part of this post is actually useful. The second part is just me venting about the wrong application of time and energy that is, all too often, school filtering.

So I started using Jaiku (like Twitter but with the ability to aggregate all your feeds and a few other neat tricks).

Jaiku was blocked pretty quickly at school as a personal/dating site for some reason. I’ve stopped trying to guess the rationale behind certain things.

I’ve been using Jott. This free service that allows me to call a number, say who I want to send the message to, dictate and that person (mostly myself) gets a text email of what I said and a link to the audio file as well. I highly recommend it.)

Driving to work listening to net@night about egorcast which allows me to use Jott to post text to jaiku, twitter and wordpress- all with a simple phone call.

So now I can post to a blocked site without even typing. Now if I could touch text with my phone imagine the fun I could have.

<----philosophical/venting below---->

This is the kind of flexible communication that schools are trying to stop. It has always been a losing battle but more so as phones and free services take it to the next level.

I’ve heard way too many conversations lately that say something like “It allows unmoderated student communication and we’ve got to block it.” This thought process really scares and depresses me. It is both a waste of time and a great way to garner student contempt both for the rules and for those flailing around trying vainly to enforce them. This makes students far more likely to disregard relevant Internet safety advice and it pushes them towards using phones, home computers etc. where there is no filtering. On the teacher/parent side, heavy filtering tends to lead to a false sense of security, less training for students, less discussion and responsibility being shifted from students to software.

You can’t wall of the Internet, no matter the filter. You can’t stop kids from bringing and using cell phones in school. At some point it really has to be up to them. Have we prepared them to make those choices?

Photo credit – Peter Gasston

Seal Generator

Click and create official looking seals (no bad puns please) of various sorts. It’s easy, quick and fun. You can also order them on magnets which could make for some fun games and ways to decorate your classroom (or house).

You can have a lot of fun with this in History and English for sure. I made up one for edubloggercon 2007 just for kicks.

I’d like to see emblems for Greek gods, different literary characters, accurate presidential buttons, commemorative badges for battles etc.


Moving On…


I have some good news. I have accepted a job as a technology resource teacher in a local high school. I start in August, and I am so happy I’m bordering on giddy. The school is in the same county as Byrd (where Tom and I currently work), and Tom and I expect to collaborate on some new projects.

As you know from previous posts, our middle schools students work on iBooks. Our high schoolers, on the other hand, work on Dells. This will be a challenge for me. I haven’t work on a Windows machine in quite a while, so this is a call for help. I need to know the places to go to find interesting 3rd party software and freeware. How have you modified your machine to maximize your time and productivity? If you are working on two different platforms (Mac/PC), how do you live in these two different worlds with some sense of harmony? Any advise would be relished!

Google Maps Street View

Street View

Another pretty amazing option in Google Maps. You now have the “street view” option in addition to map, satellite and hybrid views.

This view appears to be a real street level view of the city’s streets that you can advance incrementally (using the arrows you see). Talk about a great way to give your students a view of a particular novel or historical location. It appears to be just major cities right now but it’s pretty impressive.

via Digg

Flags and Pie Charts

Flag pie charts
This might be the visual link some students need to start seeing how pie charts reflect real data and it’s not a bad way to get some exposure to the flags of other nations.

Basically, the pie chart is shown with the proportional slices for the colors of the flag. You click on the pie chart and it shows you the actual flag. It’s an instant way to make pie charts concrete.

A neat idea and something you might have the kids create for other things. You could have them do something similar for paintings, clothing (high fashion or sports uniforms), certain album covers etc. It wouldn’t be great if you were stressing exactness but for getting the general concept down in a fun way it’d work well.

Found via Digg