Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Graphing Calculator for the iPod

(The link opens your iTunes application, so won't work if you don't have that.)

My buddy/colleague Randy Decker teaches Math 11/12 (British Columbia schools). He says:
"There's a free download of a Graphing Calculator on iTunes Apps Store. I'm quite impressed with it. I would recommend this application for use in Math 11 in British Columbia. It can tackle almost everything in the curriculum. Its display is far better than the Ti-83 or Ti-84. One can easily compare graphs because each is a different colour. It lacks a TVM solver. However, one can use graphs to solve some financial problems such as finding the time required to double an investment. One feature I really like is the ability to take a screenshot of a graph and email it."

Wireless tools for education

The link above is to a new page on my resources site. Please post a comment if you know of any sites about wireless for education so I can add the links to my page.

Here's something my colleague/buddy Randy Decker just told me about.

iTunes is a source of FREE wireless educational applications! Yes, it's true. Here's what to do:
  • Open iTunes and click to the Store.
  • Then select App Store.
  • Then select Education.
  • Then select Top Free Applications.

    There are more than 90 listed today! Here's a screenshot of the top 21 I found, just as a sampler for you. (Sorry, seems to make it rather small; you'll just have to do the search yourself to see things clearly.)
  • Monday, December 29, 2008

    Excellent, online learning -- tons of topics! DISCOUNT code here.

    Where can you take a 6 week course for $25? [AND I have a discount deal to offer you at the end of this!]

    I've been a student at LVS Online for about 20 different courses. They have a wide range of topics to choose from, like a community center kind of thing. The instructors are knowledgeable and really friendly.

    The way it works is:
    - On Saturday (for 6 weeks in a row) a new lesson is posted online, along with homework assignments.
    - The homework is about 2 - 4 hours a week. There's no deadlines, though; if you can't get it done that week, it's OK to relax and enjoy the process.
    - When you're done your homework, you "hand it in" -- various classes have different ways you'd do this. They tell you how, so don't worry about not knowing how to do things online.
    - The "classroom" for each course is its own private discussion forum, where you can ask questions, chat with the instructor and/or fellow students, discuss each others' work, etc. It's fun!
    - You can request to get a certificate at the end if you want, or just do it for fun and learning.

    Warning! Once you start taking classes at LVS Online, you may not want to stop. I haven't stopped yet after nearly 10 years. I'm signed up for the January session to take the "Artist's Workshop" course. Returning students only pay $20 a course.

    Here's the discount code to get a 20% discount if you're a new student. When you register, use this code:


    LVS says: "Registration ends January 7th. However, we have a 2 week late registration period and the coupon code expires January 21st."

    At least check out their huge list of courses.

    Hope you enjoy it! If you want to ask any questions by adding your comment here, I could try to answer.

    Oh ya, it would be great if you give them my name (Kate Britt) when you register. They have a system where you can earn certificates to take courses by referring new students to them. Thanks!

    Sunday, December 28, 2008

    ePortfolios: Engaged Students Create Multimedia-Rich Artifacts

    Electronic Portfolios: Engaged Students Create Multimedia-Rich Artifacts: This paper discusses a required university-wide ePortfolio Program at Clemson University.
    "We believe that by getting students excited about the work they are doing in their classes, and the above examples certainly demonstrate excitement and motivation, and encouraging them to "show off" this work in their ePortfolios they will become engaged in the ePortfolio process. By helping students understand why they should create an ePortfolio, and by scaffolding them through the process of how to create an ePortfolio our chance for a successful implementation is greater."

    Effective Practices with e-Portfolios

    "Our infoKit covers the main drivers, purposes, processes, perspectives and issues around e-portfolios."
    You can select information depending on which "stakeholder" category you belong to:
    "learners, practitioners, employers, professional bodies and insitutions -- we've highlighted particular areas of interest for each to form tailored 'pathways' through the infoKit."
    Of particular interest to me was the PDF (or Word text) download entitled Effective Practice with ePortfolios, which "draws out key points from established and innovative examples."

    txtng is gd 4 lrng

    "Texting does not erode children’s ability to read and write. On the contrary, literacy improves. The latest studies (from a team at Coventry University) have found strong positive links between the use of text language and the skills underlying success in standard English in pre-teenage children. The more abbreviations in their messages, the higher they scored on tests of reading and vocabulary. The children who were better at spelling and writing used the most textisms. And the younger they received their first phone, the higher their scores."

    The Power (and Peril) of Praising Your Kids

    New York Magazine article. A study was done on what kinds of praise to give kids, what works to encourage them, etc. I learned something....I've always thought it was a good idea to tell kids how smart they are. Not so much, apparently! Instead, the study indicates that we should "praise effort rather than intelligence" and that "giving kids the label of 'smart' does not prevent them from underperforming. It might actually be causing it." Go figure!

    I found a link to this article on a webpage about education and "Things that make you go Hmmmm...."

    Gamers do better at math

    An article that describes a study (The Effects of Modern Math Computer Games on Learners' Math Achievement and Math Course Motivation in a Public High School Setting). But math teachers already knew this, right?

    Dictionarist: Online Talking Dictionary

    A free online multilingual and talking dictionary service for translations with audio pronunciation in English, Turkish, Spanish, Portuguese, German, French, Italian, Russian, Dutch, Greek, Chinese, Japanese and Korean languages.

    YouSendIt - file transfer application

    Send, receive and track large files. Unlimited 2GB files and folders. Advanced options like password protection and certified delivery.

    They have many free options as well as their Pro applications.
    - FREE browser interface
    - FREE YouSendIt Express desktop application for Windows or Mac
    - FREE add-on plug-ins for Acrobat, Corel Draw, Photoshop, Outlook, and others

    Thursday, December 25, 2008

    Top Web-Based Online Tools

    A huge selection of in-browser tools. No Download, No Install! A growing list, continually updated by author Deniz Akay.

    For example, the site pointed me to SumoPaint. Check out "the fastest, most creative paint application on the 'net".

    Thursday, December 18, 2008

    Feedback on the FOC08 course

    The Facilitating Online Communities course has wrapped up and Leigh has asked us for some feedback.

    1) What were the most enjoyable aspects of the course?
    • The Elluminate sessions I attended, which is odd for me to say because I don't always enjoy synchronous sessions.
    • The flurry of activity at the beginning. Leigh left a lot of decisions about how to proceed up to the participants. It's interesting to watch people self organize.
    • I've connected with new people through this course. I will continue to follow their blogs and their lives through twitter.
    • The Second Life tour with Jo Kay.
    • The mini-conference, even though I wasn't able to participate in many events except the one our team organized.
    • The wiki -- so easy to keep tabs on what's happening (or supposed to be happening, at least!)
    2) What were the most challenging aspects of this course?
    • Some of the Google Group discussions were a little difficult to follow, but that's to be expected when we come to the course with different learning needs.
    • Keeping up with the course-related blog posts. Actually this was more a challenge with zoning in on course-related blog posts. If I had organized this better from the beginning -- RSS feeds from individual blog searches on FOC08 -- it would have been more efficient.
    • Remaining engaged for so many weeks.
    3) Did the course meet your expectations? How or how not?
    This is a tough question. I think I adjusted my expectations as the course rolled out. From the beginning though I was pretty clear in my head that my interest in this course was as much about the process as it was about the content. I DID expect that there would be more active participation throughout the duration of the course though.

    4) What improvements would you suggest?
    A big part of learning to facilitate is through modelling. Leigh has a real gift with language -- clear, warm, and up beat. I was quick to open Leigh's messages and read blog posts because I was so curious about how he conducted himself as a facilitator. We can learn a lot by watching good facilitation in action. So I think the course could be improved by having more opportunities for facilitators to model their skills.

    I also think the topic of this course lends itself to being more reflexive, if that makes any sense. This recommendation is related to the above comment about modelling. Treat the course like it is an online community, even though this might involve a bit of role play.

    I think the course would have benefited from more of a rhythm -- perhaps a set schedule for synchronous sessions, a group email to launch each module/week and another to bring closure to a topic before moving on. Perhaps participants could sign up to take on that task. 

    It would be useful to have a more efficient way of managing the course communication through blogs. Or perhaps this could be incorporated into the first assignment.

    5) Any other comments?
    I wonder about the title of the course: Facilitating Online Communities. I'm not sure what it should be, but thinking back on the assignments and module topics it seems the course topic is much broader. Maybe it should be broken down into 2 courses?

    Wordle image by Amy Lenzo

    Tuesday, December 16, 2008

    Ten Mistakes Writers Don’t See (But Can Easily Fix When They Do)

    An excellent article containing at least one tip for each of us who do any writing at all. "...most of the time the too close to the manuscript to make corrections. ...the 10 ouchies listed here crop up everywhere. They’re so pernicious that even respected Internet columnists are not immune."

    Monday, December 15, 2008

    Gearing up for Moodle Moot 2009

    The Moodle Moot registration information has been posted. We've tried to keep registration fees as low as possible so your help in spreading the word is appreciated! Please mention Moodle Moot on your blogs and at your institutions. Circulating this flyer (PDF) is a quick and easy way to get the word out.

    The proposals are rolling in. If you're thinking about submitting a proposal for Moodle Moot I recommend doing it early. Unlike most conferences where a committee gets bogged down with reviewing submissions after a deadline, Moodle Moot proposals are dealt with as they are received. To view the proposals accepted so far check the database (You'll need to create an account on the site). This is a handy reference if you want to avoid duplicating session topics.

    Sunday, December 14, 2008

    Wikis all around the world and all the way

    This CPsquare conference announcement from John Smith was sent to CPsquare members today. This is an edited version of what John sent out. There will likely be a registration fee for non-members, which is usually about the cost of a membership. :-)

    Wikis all around the world and all the way

    How does YOUR community use its wiki? Does it have one? Could it use a wiki more effectively? What would be the implications of adding a wiki or stimulating its use in various ways?

    CPsquare's January conference is about wikis and these very questions. In the tradition of all CPsquare activities, there are many ways to get involved. Each session needs a host and a summarizer so consider signing up for a job.

    "Wiki all around the world and all the way" will be a short, intensive internet based conference that's a follow-on to CPsquare's Long Live the Platform conference in January of 2008. We will look at wikis from the perspective of communities of practice and as tools for communities. How do wikis work as the principal platform for a community? as an add-on or auxiliary tool? What is the logic of a wiki as a tool for community use? Where did wikis come from and how are they evolving? What other tools work with wikis? What are some of the commercial and open source offerings? What kind of integration issues do communities experience when other tools are added on to a wiki or when a wiki is added on to another tool? Are there some communities that take more naturally to using wikis than others? Are there strategies for hastening wiki adoption in a wiki?

    Here's a tentative schedule. Only confirmed names are included. All teleconferences will be at 20:00 GMT.

    Jan 7 - conference opening: wiki videos and resources, open wiki sandbox - basic wiki resources
    Jan 9 - Wiki basics: KM4Dev? and Kehilliyot (Naava Frank / Caren Levine)
    Jan 12 - The wiki core and its evolution - Ward Cunningham
    Jan 14 - Wiki as community platform
    Jan 16 - Wiki as platform element: Moodle and Ecco (Sylvia Currie on SCoPE / Moodle & Eric Sauve Ecco's wiki, and how we integrate SharePoint wiki into our system)

    Wednesday, December 10, 2008

    Lesson Corner: content creation tools for the K-12 teacher

    Check out these:

    "We are announcing a new suite of free vocabulary building tools for teachers. LessonCorner's Puzzle Makers allow teachers to find or create their own free custom word search, scramble or crossword puzzles...Teachers and Homeschoolers who want to make engaging handouts for vocabulary building exercises."
    Math Worksheet Maker:"Who are these worksheets for? Math teachers whose students need practice solving math problems. Homeschooling parents also find the worksheets useful."

    The Cheatability Factor

    A PPT presentation on cheating in Blackboard.
    "Could you be making it easy for students to cheat? What is your Cheatability factor?"
    Recommended in Ask Dr.C by Kevin Reeve.

    Monday, December 8, 2008

    100 Best YouTube Videos for Teachers

    A selection made by
    "With the increasing use of technology in classrooms, it’s no wonder that teachers have a growing interest in using YouTube and other online media sharing sites to bring information into their classrooms. Here are 100 YouTube videos that can provide supplementary information for the class, give inspiration, help you keep control of class and even provide a few laughs here and there."

    Wednesday, December 3, 2008

    Web Hosting

    I hardly ever, EVER put advertising of any kind on my blog or website. It's the principle of the thing; there's enough of that out there. So consider this a hot tip instead, because it's not just any web host I'm telling you about, it's the one I've used for years and years.

    Today I can't NOT tell you about the deal they're having at the moment. A 6-for-6 promotion.... for all new one-year term sign-ups, you pay for 6 months and GET 6 MONTHS FREE.(regular $7.77/mo)

    Here's what I like about PowWeb:

  • UNLIMITED Disk Space
  • UNLIMITED Data Transfer
  • FREE Domain
  • Host Unlimited Domains
  • Point & Click Site Builder
  • Tons of website add-on tools, including Blogging, Photo Galleries, etc.
  • E-Commerce Included
  • SSL, FTP, Stats
  • $100 in Yahoo & Google Ads Credits
  • FrontPage/Dreamweaver ready
  • 30-Day Money-Back Guarantee

    They keep adding new features all the time. For example, when I signed up there was already an outrageous amount of file space included, but now it's unlimited. Think about that!

    So if you just happen to be researching web hosts and plan to get one soon, please have a look-see at my host:
  • Monday, December 1, 2008

    Education for a Digital World: Advice, Guidelines, and Effective Practice from Around the Globe

    This FREE (Creative Commons) eBook
    "contains a comprehensive collection of proven strategies and tools for effective online teaching, based on the principles of learning as a social process. It offers practical, contemporary guidance to support e-learning decision-making, instructional choices, as well as program and course planning, and development. Practical advice, real-life examples, case studies, and useful resources supply in-depth perspectives about structuring and fostering socially engaging learning in an online environment. A plethora of e-learning topics provide insights, ideas, and usable tools. Tips and evidence-based theory guide administrators, program and course developers, project teams, and teachers through the development of online learning opportunities."
    The book was developed and written collaboratively in
    "a unique interactive, collaborative research model based on the formation of online relationships among 50 contributors from around the world representing research, administration and business communities."