Get Onboard the Firefox 2.0 Train

Oct 26, 2006 by

I downloaded Firefox 2.0 earlier in the week, and I couldn’t be happier. While there are some sites on the web that have glossed over some of the new features, and downplayed the latest version of Firefox as playing “catch up” to Internet Explorer 7, I’m totally excited about this new web browser. Why? To answer that I thought I’d break it down for different categories of users. From an Educator’s point of view: Spell check!! I have spell check in a web browser! WOW! No more publishing misspelled blog posts! Students can have their Internet search terms instantly changed to correct spelling, just with a right click on the mouse, like in Word. Anything written into a form, a search box, anywhere on a web page, can be instantly checked for spelling mistakes. Students don’t have to type something up in a word document, and run spell check,...

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Let the Students Type

Oct 24, 2006 by

I’ve been thinking how best to go about sharing a particular thought without overly upsetting other teachers, or “preaching” to the point that other teachers agree, but don’t really want to listen anymore. I suppose it would be best to setup the post by describing the event that led to it. Last week I asked if teachers had any students that would care to have articles about technology published in the MACUL Journal, as the quarterly journal has a “Student Spotlight” section. I got a few responses from teachers that wanted to have their students write about their technology experiences both in school and at home, and I got a few responses from teachers that wanted to share student work (poems, stories, etc.) that had been written on the computers. While inquiring about a few of the projects, I learned that the stories and poems had indeed been written...

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Technology Driven Word Wall Woes

Oct 19, 2006 by

Don’t you just love alliteration? I know that it’s educationally sound, and anecdotally it’s made sense in my classroom before, but I’m having a bit of trouble figuring out how best to implement a word wall using technology. I had originally thought to create a traditional word wall. One that would literally take up space on a portion of my wall, and fill it with high frequency words that students often ask to spell (they don’t necessarily have to be technology related words either). The more I thought about it though, the more I realized that with 35 classrooms coming through my lab each week, it would take a lot of work on my part to put up the amount of words generated from the minds of 850 students. That’s where the technology comes in. I thought about allowing the students themselves to create the words, and then post...

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Google Earth Compendium for Educators

Oct 17, 2006 by

I’ve been following a lot of posts on Google’s latest movement to support educators, especially those involving Google Earth. So I thought perhaps that I’d make a brief compendium of those resources, as I often forget links that I don’t bookmark, and sometimes forget even those I’ve listed on the Fresh Links. Of course, I’m not a terribly complete authority on Google Earth so I’m sure there are many more links and resources out there for using the program, but these should be a good place to start: Google for Educators – Google Earth “Your students can now study geographical topics like Earth’s Holocene volcanoes, including images, links, and descriptions, with information about thousands of volcanoes around the globe, thanks to organizations like the Smithsonian Institution’s Global Volcanism Program. Students can also use Google Earth to explore topics like the progress of human civilization, the growth of cities, the...

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Stop reading PDFs and start listening to them!

Oct 11, 2006 by

I’m always amazed by the amount of features, easter eggs, and other useful tools hidden in programs that I’ve never had a chance to explore. No doubt the ability of Adobe Reader 7 to “Read Out Loud” the contents of a PDF is a feature that many special education and reading teachers have known about for awhile, but this teacher was pleasantly surprised to discover the ability yesterday. While checking my aggregator, I found a recent posting on the Tech Recipes blog about Adobe Reader’s ability to translate text into speech. A short little post, it just explained the simple commands for listening to, pausing, and ending the read out loud feature. I had to test it for myself, so I pulled up this creative lesson plan on copyright infringement and started listening. Yes, it had the same “creepy” computer voice (officially known as Microsoft Sam) that we’ve heard...

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I disagree, Mr. Warlick

Oct 10, 2006 by

I have written what many in the ed tech community might consider to be obscene. In my finite and minuscule wisdom I have openly disagreed with Mr. David Warlick (one of the leading authorities on ed tech) on the issue of using Wikipedia as a legitimate primary or lead source when using the Internet for research. It happened before I even had a chance to really consider whether or not I should make such a hasty statement, but before I could bridle my youthful passion, my fingers has typed up a quick comment praising Wikipedia for it’s open-editing process over at Christopher Craft’s “Open Source” Blog, even going so far as to compare the resources being developed on Wikipedia to Howard Zinn’s “A People’s History of the U.S.” By allowing the consumers of the information to contribute, Wikipedia has quickly become a leading source for information that is highly...

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