Let me say that as I write this, my wife is gleefully entering her first week into Planbook. Periodically, I hear an “oo” and am informed of another feature that simply makes sense for the modern teacher. Planbook is a digital lesson book. Actually, it is a digital organizer for teachers. Jeff Hellman was frustrated with the limitations of a paper planbook, so he created a program that includes document and link integration, lets you publish to the web with customizable themes, and will print your plans in a traditional format. I was using a blog as the information center for my English classes the last couple of years. It made managing my disorganized students a reasonable task. If they lost something, I told them to go to my blog and click on the link. If they missed a day, I sent them to the blog before arranging their makeup work. Planbook gives you the same opportunities but integrates it into your organizational system. That’s one less step each day in your routine. When it comes time to share your plans, you can publish them or print them. You choose the information you want published and tell Planbook to send it to your website, iWeb, or a folder. The publishable plans can be accessed through a master list or a […]
I’m back working on Internet safety stuff. Here are some ideas I’m playing with on searching and source validity. If you see anything I’m missing etc. let me hear it. This is kind of a PR poster for classroom/hallway display. I’m aiming to get students creating them as part of art class or a contest of some sort. Click for a full size PDF This is more for teacher use (and a little less fun). We’re trying to create simple reference sheets for key computer activities so that Internet safety is covered throughout the year. Click for a full size PDF
iTunes has released a new game for iPods called iQuiz (available through the iTunes store). Aspyr is now offering a new free quiz maker for Macs (PC to come). Could be an interesting review tool. You could have students produce questions and answers and create a review quiz from the best submissions. via TUAW UPDATE: Aspyr has now made iQuiz Maker available for PCs. (Thanks, Mike)
So The Director’s Bureau Special Projects Idea Generator generates fairly random three word idea strings like the one above – Do-it-yourself levitating animal. This is one of those things that I’d love to use in the classroom because it’s so simple and fun. It’s also flexible in terms of how big or small you’d like it to be. It could kill 10 minutes or be part of a whole unit. This particular generator isn’t really fit for student use because it’ll throw in “erotic” and some other iffy stuff but the teacher could spin the wheel a few times and come up with a great phrase for each week. I’d probably screen grab it or make something visual for the word results- as the packaging does matter. It can then be use for a variety of things. It’d be pretty cool right off as a creative writing or journal prompt but where things would be neat would be in tweaking it to focus on what you’re covering at the time. For instance- Describe the do-it-yourself levitating animal kit using every word from this week’s vocabulary list Write an ad for the do-it-yourself levitating animal creation kit using the bandwagon technique Write two responses to seeing an ad for the do-it-yourself levitating animal kit. In the first one respond in the […]
As part of our parent training we’re having teachers and ITRTs speak about powerful ways they’ve been able to use technology in support of 21st century skills. This is Ken Kellner’s comments on how using a wiki changed his classroom (6th grade history). He does a good job and conveys a lot of excitement. If you see him jumping and twitching it’s because I edited like crazy to get the movie down to about a minute and a half. Deep breaths and dramatic pauses were not allowed. It’s in TeacherTube as well. Download Video: Posted by bionicteaching at TeacherTube.com.
Ian Bogost was on The Colbert Report last night. Bogost has a new book, Persuasive Games: The Expressive Power of Videogames, about rethinking the value of video games. From the book description: Videogames are both an expressive medium and a persuasive medium; they represent how real and imagined systems work, and they invite players to interact with those systems and form judgments about them. He mentioned a series of persuasive games he had produced to illustrate his theory, and as he described one of the games, I suddenly recognized it. Dissaffected, a game that places your on the service side of a Kinkos, must have popped on my radar last year. I played it for awhile, then became frustrated with the way I was being treated by the customers and never went back to it. I never realized the significance of my reaction. It is an interesting simulation of the service industry. Bogost has added a number of games to his catalogue, and I recommend exploring the games with your classrooms in mind. This could be a wonderful way to stimulate conversation and reflection. Ian Bogost’s Blog
William Kamkwamba had to drop out of high school because his family didn’t have enough money to cover the fees. Comitted to continuing his education, Kamkwamba found a local primary school with a large donated library. He read everything he could get his hands on, but was taken by a book on energy production that included plans for creating a windmill generator. His blog is a wonderful account of his successful attempt at providing power to his home and the homes of his neighbors. I was inspired by this story. The “internets” have been a key component to connecting Kamkwamba with other solar engineers and the larger world–helping him improve on his original generator. His windmill is the perfect example of 21st Century skills in practice. via BoingBoing
Here’s a cool mash-up of Tetris and U.S. Geography. You can choose from three levels of play (the most difficult drops the state names). Could be a great review game. Via Neatorama UPDATE: They’ve added Europe.
David Harrison at The University of Toronto’s School of Physics has a wonderful collection of physics animations. Many of them are interactive, and some allow the viewer to make predictions before the animation plays. Now, I have to be honest. I made it through physics because the top three students in my graduating class (wonderfully kind ladies) befriended me my senior year of high school. I remember little about the class except my teacher insisting that “1 and 1 makes three.” Needless to say, physics is not my strong suit, but I enjoyed playing with these animations. I found myself testing what would happen with this change or that one. Let me know if you can use these in your classroom. I’m trying to dig up more science and math resources, but these subjects are not my ex-per-tise. Link