Online Media God–400+ tools for creating content

When I was issued my Dell laptop for my new high school tech teacher position, the first thing I noticed (moving from a Mac) was the lack of media content creating/editing software. “Well, I’ll just have to work this year to collect a group of web-based programs that will do the job,” I resolved. Luckily, the folks at Mashable have done it for me. In fact, they have put together the most comprehensive annotated list of sites I have seen to date.  Take a second and check it out.  I’m convinced even the most knowledgeable media editor would find something new on this list. via Neatorama


Famous Poems Rewritten as Limericks

Bad Gods | Famous Poems Rewritten as Limericks The Raven There once was a girl named Lenore And a bird and a bust and a door And a guy with depression And a whole lot of questions And the bird always says “Nevermore.” What a great project for all sorts of reasons and it doesn’t have to be just poems you could do novel or short stories or even speeches (I Have a Dream as a limerick?) You’d get students learning limericks and other poetry skils really analyzing the work they’re limericking (I know that’s not a word- humor me) getting to the essence of the work they’re analyzing having fun creating a shareable product something that’s easy and quick to grade but deep in terms of processing and creativity It could also work for explaining scientific principals, historical events/people etc. Lots of options. via BoingBoing

Awesome – Univ. of South Florida on iTunesU

If you haven’t checked out iTunes U, I strongly recommend you go there immediately and look at the University of South Florida’s College of Education content. I’m amazed at what they’ve been up to. It’s lots of high quality video content covering tech integration lesson plans, student centered audio books in English and Spanish and a variety of tech tips covering social bookmarking, flickr and a lot more. This is a huge amount of content and virtually all of would be incredibly useful for staff development in school systems anywhere. It makes me wonder how much awesome work is going on between colleges and school systems that could be applied nationally but isn’t for lack of a publicized and easily searchable distribution network. That brings us back to the whole idea of universal tagging . . . and this comment by Tarmo Toikkanen (my new hero- really go look at the concept map). I didn’t see it for a while because it was caught in the spam net but it means that far smarter people have been working on this for a while and re-inventing the wheel might not be necessary. Worth thinking about anyway. Regarding this tagging issue, I’d like to point you to the CALIBRATE project ( and specifically the work carried out in work package 1 ( […]


Chore Wars

I saw this Wednesday on Wonderland, Thursday on MetaFilter, and was reminded of it again on BoingBoing late Friday night.  You get others to sign up and assign experience points (XP) for completing chores.  I finally asked the “How would this fit in a classroom?” question the third time I saw it, and I came up with two ideas. 1.  Use it as a creative homework incentive program.  Students get XP for completion of work.  “Prizes” are awarded for the best  performance.  You know, the usual, but within a “gaming” framework. 2.  Use it to map out a group project.  Teams get to map out the tasks necessary for completing the assignment.  Tasks are giving point values based on difficulty or time commitment.  Once a student completes a task, they give themselves credit.  The XP becomes a gauge for individual participation levels. Clearly, there would be issues with this site, as there are fight scenes that you would find in any role playing game which might not appeal to all students/parents.  But the idea of integrating gaming, organization, and accountability in a classroom has appeal. Chore Wars


New Internet Safety Video

This is part of a class I’m working on for our students. The idea is to start each lesson with a “hook” video that will capture their attention and introduce the concept we’ll be covering. This one uses a bunch of short clips from popular (and not so popular) videos to show the power and influence that Internet video can have. The emphasis at the end is that you can either use this power wisely and possibly become a hero or screw things up and become mocked for “generations to come.” For the teachertube version the direct link is here. >>>>Edited to remove ebaumsworld reference on one of the videos- Thanks Chris and I’m working on a possible Ninja intro (time allowing) The sources for the video are listed below- “Dr.” Wix Dramatic Prarie Dog Lonely Girl 15 Numa Numa David Elsewhere – Kollaboration 2001 OK Go- Here it Goes Again Mentos Guys Star Wars Kid Spider Man This Land is Our Land – Jib Jab Hillary Clinton Impersonator


Open Library Wiki Project

A group in conjunction with The Internet Archive have started work on a grand project: Every book, every language, cataloged and, when available, reproduced for the public. I played with it a bit and found the wiki very useful. Anything that is legally publishable about a book is being recorded. I read an excerpt from Toni Morrison’s Beloved and flipped through scanned pages of an out-of-print edition of Tom Sawyer (seen above). If the complete text is not available, a variety of links are given to buy and borrow the book. Oh, and they are looking for some help. Open Library via BoingBoing


WOW Moments in Technology

What was the first piece of technology that made your eyes light up in wonder? As I shared on my about page, my WOW moment happened in front of my friend’s 386dx. I asked my mom the same question and she replied, “Our first TV. It was black and white. We were the last to get one on our block, but I was amazed by it.” We have all been surprised by a piece of modern technology. Whether a color TV that brings the world into Technicolor focus or a 2400 baud modem that lets you connect with local bulletin board systems (BBS), these seemingly simple items remind us of the power of human ingenuity. I’m going to try to use the universal “wow moment” to introduce a discussion about our county’s technology integration guide. Here’s my attempt to connect the dots: 1. Everyone has been inspired by technology. 2. Our students have the same experiences. 3. This common experience should remind us we all understand the power of technology to transform our lives. 4. The rub comes when we look at the individual experiences. This is when value judgments start. Am I less of a man because I last rocked the video game world on a Nintendo Entertainment System (NES) and am confounded by the Playstation3 and Xbox360? 5. […]


Movie Titles to Teach Presentation Aesthetics

The movie title sequence holds the unique responsibility of setting a tone for the movie to come. In their worst moments, the title is an annoying distraction keeping you from the movie you are excited to see. But in their best moments, a title sequence helps to build anticipation and excitement. Powerpoint or Keynote serve the same function in a presentation. When you sit down for a presentation and see the first slide, you are either captivated or irritated. This is multiplied when you know you have 30+ student presentations to sit through. In a world where how content is presented is just as important as the content itself, we need to help our students understand the importance of aesthetics. Enter Submarine Channel’s growing collection of movie titles. The site serves up a diverse collection of opening titles that could easily be used to start a discussion on powerful presentations. Students could view a series of sequences, analyze them, and regroup for a conversation. Link


ITRT Summer Camp – VSTE

Hey there VSTE ITRTs! Here are links to the resources used in today’s Google Earth/Maps, GPS session. I tried to cull things down a little bit to keep it from being overwhelming. If you want to check out all the links for Google Earth feel free to browse my account. There’s lot more stuff there. Google Earth First, you can get Google Earth for free here so go get it if you haven’t yet. Basic Google Earth Tutorials Google’s Own Basics Juicy Geography’s PDFs Adding Time– make your KML files change using the time line feature KML Files The Google Earth Blog– all Google Earth, all the time Google Lit Trips– Books with a geographic twist The BIG Keyhole Site– lots of everything including help Google’s Outreach Showcase– where Google shows off good examples Keep in mind you can search in Google Earth for KML files. Lesson Plans/Example Files (stuff I showed you) English Examples History Examples Math Examples Science Examples (kind of big 3MB) Neat Stuff Possibilities The Next Level Make Better Balloons Make Your File From a Spreadsheet– you can make KML files from a spreadsheet and they’re pretty! Google Maps A lot of features similar to Google Earth. It will allow you to embed video in the information bubbles which is nice and I like the […]

Google Earth – Proof of Concept Stuff

A while back I posted about using GoogleLookup to get data quickly and easily to make and put into Google Earth via Google Spreadsheets. The example file is at It’s a network link. In Google Earth- click Add– Network Link and paste the URL into the Link box. Here’s some information on how to do this if you’re interested. Put Info into Google Earth from a Google Spreadsheet Things ended up being far easier than I anticipated. The last time I did a networked KML link from a spreadsheet (sounds way fancier than it is) I had to make it myself and go through a different service. Now Google has a nice template all set up to make things work well and it makes things pretty as well. Adding GoogleLookup to the Template So the next thing I did was play around a little with the lookup function. I didn’t do too much. I was just playing around to make sure it would work. This wouldn’t save you much time as it’s only five cities but it you wanted to plot all this information for 50 cities things would start to get a lot more interesting. I just added a few columns at the end of the spreadsheet and then set up the following formulas. I put the lookup […]