Monday, November 30, 2009

Edublog Awards Now Open!

Nominations for the 2009 Edublog Awards are open. To learn more, visit The Edublog Awards Homepage. This year, I would like to nominate:

Best individual blog:-Kelly Tenkely,
Best individual tweeter:-Kelly Walsh,
Best resource sharing blog:-Kelly Walsh,
Best teacher blog:-Kelly Tenkely,
Best educational tech support blog:-Chris Dawson,
Best elearning / corporate education blog:-Ed Tech Magazine,
Best educational use of audio:-Dan Schmidt,
Best educational use of video / visual:-Tony Vincent,
Thank you to my fellow educator/bloggers! I appreciate all the hard work and dedication you put into sharing your ideas through your edublogs. You are all a valuable part of my learning community and continue to be instrumental in shaping the way I approach instruction. I'm grateful to you all.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Maps Go Techy

With over 2,000 interactive maps, games, and activities, Geography takes a giant leap beyond crayons and colored pencils. Rand McNally and mimio have partnered to give teachers more interavtive teaching tools for their classrooms and to help make learning Geography fun!

Rand McNally Classroom
More than 2,000 online maps - including reference, thematic, history, earth science and outline maps - with a search tool allowing users to find content; Interactive history maps, Reference articles and statistics for every continent, country and U.S. state; dozens of lesson plans that can be edited and printed, along with interactive games and activities that make learning fun; Weekly current-events articles, "Traveling Teddies" online postcards and geography Q&A; User's guide and tutorial with information on how to integrate the site into social studies, reading, math and science; and State-by-state correlations.

Price is based on an individual school purchase of a 12-month subscription service of $0.99 per student, with a $299.00 minimum and $749.00 maximum price. Individual teacher plans, called "Basic Plans" start at $49.99/year and increase based on additional features, such as access to lesson plans and state correlations. They also offer a reduced price for two or three year paid plans.

Follow this link for a 14-day free trial.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Is "They Might Be Giants" The Next "School House Rock?"

When I was a kid, songs from the School House Rock collection: "Conjunction Junction" and "I'm Just a Bill" reenforced good sentence structure and taught me how a bill becomes a law. Those songs also taught me that music can make learning a lot more fun. It's been several decades since School House Rock produced hits like, "Lolly, Lolly, Lolly, Get Your Adverbs Here!" but recently, the music group "They Might Be Giants" released a song aimed at teaching kids a little science.

Their new song, "Meet the Elements" is a great way to kick off a science unit on the Periodic Table of the Elements. Thanks to the creative minds of this talented, albeit quirky, music group, even the most intimidated and apprehensive learners can learn a little something new in this upbeat, fun, and unique introduction to the elements. Music can be such a great tool for student engagement. Show this video to your students. Challenge your students to make their own song about an academic topic and maybe they'll be the next School House Rock, or They Might Be Giants.

iPod touch in the Classroom

I came across this informative video of how a school in the U.K. is using the iPod touch in the classroom. It's exciting to see students' faces light up when they are engaged and this video is testimony to the notion that technology is clearly the hook, and kids are definitely nibbling!
The above video by Leon Cych is titled "What Happens When You Give 32 Children in a Class an iPod touch Each?" The 7 minute movie was filmed at Burnt Oak Junior School in the U.K. Eight-year olds there have been using a class set of iPod touches for a couple weeks. The video interviews the class teacher, headteacher, and students about the experience.

The students have used about a dozen apps, including, WorldView webcam viewer, and the Safari browser. Peter Barrett, the class teacher, mentions that the Internet students see in Safari is filtered by the school's system.

Watch for a student to demonstrate how to copy and paste. When asked how he knew about copying and pasting, he said that he just discovered how to do it by tapping on the screen. This goes to show that youngsters learn to use iPod touch quickly, allowing them to focus on learning tasks, not the technology. The teacher says, "The speed at which they are learning is amazing."

Carol Richardson, the headteacher, observes, "It's quite clear that children are highly motivated when using the iPod touches."

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Apple Introduces New Licensing Program

Under Apple’s old licensing program, schools had a difficult time keeping their Apple software current and compliant, largely due to unpredictable upgrade cycles on the part of software developers. Schools usually make a big software purchase up front and then forget about it – that is, until something doesn’t work like it used to, and they’re forced to upgrade. And this is typically several revisions down the line. The new Apple Education Licensing Program makes it easier for schools to keep their Apple software up to date by offering a new annual coverage plan, giving schools a consistent set price and date that won’t fluctuate from year to year.

Most importantly, the new bundle structure allows schools to receive new releases that become available during the year. In addition, the Mac Software Collection and professional applications can be licensed for students to use. Under the new program, they can even take their applications with them after they graduate (legally)!

Schools can also choose the way they wish to distribute Apple software: such as their institution’s secured network or physical media kits. Apple charges a one-time, 10% enrollment fee when they sign up for a license, but Apple will waive the fee if schools enroll before December 13, 2009.

Included in the Mac Software Collection bundle is the latest Mac operating system, iLife, and iWork. Schools are required to cover 100% of the institutionally-owned or leased Mac computers, and at-home licenses for faculty and staff can be included in the total count. The Mac Software Collection bundles range in price, from $899 for up to 25 seats; to $199,999 for up to 10,000 seats. Other titles available for license include: Aperture 2, Final Cut Studio, Final Cut Express, Logic Studio, and Logic Express. Licenses for Apple’s IT applications are also available.