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

Univ. of South Fla. Page in iTunes U
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 ( Their task in this 3 year project is to build mapping tools that will map the curricula of various EU (why not world) countries among each other. So that in effect you could tag a resource using your local vocabulary, and then anyone from a different locality could find it using their respective tag. If you want to contact the researchers, they can be found here:

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-

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. This is the fork in the road. As a staff, we have two choices. We can segregate people based on ability and stick to the camp we are most comfortable in–at the expense of our students. Or we can start reaching out to each other for the benefit of the staff and, more importantly, the students.
6. The technology integration guide is a scaffolding for the latter option. It provides the steps for improvement in all aspects of teaching, and it does not judge. If you are a beginner, there is something for you to learn. If you are an expert, there are challenges for you, as well. No matter where you are on the spectrum, there are new “wow” moments waiting for you.

So, my goal is to address teacher fears of technology and the sense of embarrassment some teacher feel when they have to admit they know little about the modern computer while building a foundation to foster collaboration in the school.

I plan to start with an informal Quia survey. The survey will ask which of the major advances in theater (TV/Cinema), music, communication, and organization were “wow” moments for them. With the data compiled, I’ll slip it into my powerpoint and walk through the major milestones. We will discuss the emotional impact those items had, then I will walk with them through the rationale above. Finally, I will explain that I will be working with them on individual goals for the year.

Below is a quick list I have patched together with the help of an About article. Am I missing anything important in your life? I’m looking for touchstones for my staff–those items that caused an emotional stir equivalent to the current iPhone phenomenon. I’d love to hear what your big tech WOW items are/were.

UPDATE:  Couldn’t get an expandable-list Javascript to work, so here’s the list long form.  I apologize in advance for the long post…

Theater (TV/Cinema)

  • The Modern TV
  • The Color TV
  • The VCR
  • The Handheld Video Recorder
  • The VideoDisc
  • The DVD
  • The Digital Video Recorder
  • The High Definition TV
  • Web TV


  • The Car Radio
  • FM Radio
  • The Jukebox
  • The Cassette Tape
  • The Walkman
  • The Synthesizer
  • The Compact Disc
  • The mp3
  • The iPod


  • The Modem
  • The World Wide Web
  • The Cell Phone
  • Ethernet
  • Email
  • BlueTooth
  • SMS (Texting)
  • WiFi
  • Web 2.0


  • The Computer (Super-Sized)
  • The Word Processor
  • The Apple Macintosh
  • The Personal Computer
  • The Floppy Disc
  • Windows
  • The Mouse
  • The Barcode Scanner
  • The PDA

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.


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

KML Files

Lesson Plans/Example Files (stuff I showed you)

The Next Level

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 ability to put the maps in different web pages (like Quia).

Google Earth – Proof of Concept Stuff

Google Earth

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 for population in cell L6
Lookup for population
and the lookup for elevation in cell M6
Lookup for elevation

Ok now how do I get that information to merge into the paragraphs in a coherent way? It’s not hard, but it looks fairly ugly.
Paragraph One
This formula says take the text “The population of “ (notice the space there) then add the contents of cell B6, then add the word ” is” (space again) and the contents of L6 (population). That gives us The population of Denver, Colorado is ######.. That’s the basic idea. You just add chunks of data- be they text (in quotes) or cell references- using the & sign.

Hopefully that makes some sort of sense. If not let me know and I’ll clarify.

I also played around a little and put a Swivel graph in one of the windows. I want to take that a little farther before I waste anyone’s time here with it but there’s some real potential there- especially with the ability to combine Google Lookup and exporting to Swivel.