The Jet Set Show recently posted a project entitled “Brandon’s Pitch”. Brandon has developed a basic set of characters and some conflicts between them, and he would like the general public to suggest possible story lines. He will take the suggestions into consideration when writing the script. This might be interesting to follow as well as a possible model for collaboration in a number of your classes.
I’m teaching my students how to post to a blog this week (so far they have only commented). Tom showed me OmniDazzle last spring, which makes guiding my students to specific links or pages unbelievably easy. OmniDazzle has plenty of plug-ins that create highlighted windows, flashlight focal points, and other fun attention-getters at the tip of your pointer. As I was thinking of my first day of working with The Outsiders Blog, I realized I would need to walk them through step by step. “But how will I make sure the kid who doesn’t know how copy and paste keeps up with the class?” I asked myself last night, and followed up with this thought: “If only I could display keystrokes on my screen.” Enter KeyCastr. A simple program that places a small translucent screen on your desktop that displays every key you hit. So, you want to teach someone how to take a screen shot? Start up KeyCastr, take a screenshot, and the keystroke combo is displayed for all to see. I used the OmniDazzle/KeyCastr combo today with amazing success. Both programs are for Mac. Sorry PCers, but if you use something comperable, please share!
I remember the expectation in my high school pre-calculus class was a graphing calculator–which cost more than I was willing (or able) to spend. Enter calc5: a free and online graphing calculator. Simply punch in your equation and hit “OK”. calc5 delivers a graphic representation of that equation. Have your students take a screen shot of it as part of a set of notes, or encourage them to tape it to their lockers (Hey, I’m a geek and proud of it). Honestly, I can’t remember what I would use this for, but I do remember feeling second class for not having a “state of the art” calculator in class. This is yet another example of using technology to level the playing field. Gives me warm fuzzies! via Lifehacker iJot lets you enter notes and then organize them into an outline. These notes can then be saved and/or shared with others. Might be a useful tool for the organization-challenged student, or could be used in a groupwork/collaborative setting. via Lifehacker
I’ve been on the job for about two months with the staff and have realized one thing: email is dead. I get little to no response when I send a text email to my staff, so I’ve started to play with important messages for my teachers. For instance, I needed them to complete a survey and reminded them with this Bollywood themed message from Bombay TV. It hooked half of the MIA teachers with a good laugh. The staff stopped me for days to talk about it. When I received a run of emails concerning computers were not working, I created a reminder featuring a very young Bob Dylan (previous). The emails subsided, and now many of my teachers are quick to tell me that they have restarted a couple times when their computers are acting up. They just seem to listen better when I can get it across in an entertaining way. I guess some things never change. I know your students tune out the same way we do when something is visually monotonous. We are children of an instant, entertaining culture. So, here’s a suggestion: Think of that one rule in your classroom your kids are still having trouble with the second month of school. Are they standing up to sharpen their pencil while you are leading the […]