An (aspiring) Educator’s Blog

An educator blogging….novel idea.

Posts Tagged ‘web 2.0

Teacher Geek Sites of the (Mid) Week (March 31, 2009)

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It takes a good website to get me through the middle of the week. Here are a few I’ve been geeking out to (in a teacher kind of way) this week:

For the budding filmmaker: Xtra Normal

Create animated movies with this awesome tool. There is an easy-to-use interface for typing a script (text to voice!), adding movement and facial expressions, choosing actors, designing the scene and props, and adding the finishing touches to your short movie. You do not have to sign up to try this website (but if you want to save your movies, you might want to – it’s free). I was thinking about classroom uses (Will I ever be able to enjoy a website in a non-teacher geek way again?) – this could be a great way for students to generate their own content. My only concern was the content monitoring of other films (I am not sure if posted films are moderated). I plan on using this to add movies to my blog.


For the geek historian: Playing History (Thanks to @a_armstrong for the tip!) I make daily references to the lessons I learned playing The Oregon Trail (to ford or not to ford?). Use this website to find and play free historical games. I’ve been enjoying The Battle of the Atlantic Game.


For the GTD nerd: chron me

I use this simple stopwatch to keep myself on-task. Chron me shows split times on the screen and these are exportable to .csv files. Ten minutes of twitter/web distractions for every 50 minutes of work? Enforceable with chron me. (If I really need to get work done, I find a friend who uses all of my social networking vices (twitter, facebook, etc) and tell them I will pay $1 for every facebook post, $2 for every twitter post, and $10 for blog posts that they catch in a certain time window…..whatever works…..)


For the thrifty consumer: Woot!

Teachers need things on the cheap. From luxiorious wine packs to golf clubs and iPods, woot! posts one unbeatable deal per day. Many items run out within minutes or hours of posting so I follow their twitter feed (@woot) and put it on mobile alerts. I scored a cheap iPod a few days ago.


Enjoy the rest of your week. Impress your friends with obscure facts about the Battle of the Pacific, make an animated bromance film, or indulge in retail therapy. Maybe I’ll owe you money if you see me on twitter….


Written by TeacherC

31 March 2009 at 7:46 pm

Educating the Blogger-Activist

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Want a classroom full of blogger-activists? On Bloggers Unite!, you search for (or create) an activism cause, advertise your blogging event, and then blog about your event on the specified date. Other members of the Bloggers Unite! community can choose to join you in blogging about your cause. Many of us are already using social justice topics to help our students access content – this site adds a blogging and activism dimension that will excite your students.

There are over 70 events in the database – from Earth Day to International Literacy Day. You can create a cause specific to your school or community and get parents, other classrooms, businesses, and other members of your community to join your students in blogging about the cause. If you have activism or charity related events running in your classroom (walk-a-thons/races, penny drives, food drives, etc), use this tool to build community support.

Maybe you’ll inspire a Marx for the 2.0 generation.

(I found Bloggers Unite! on Nisha Chittal’s post called 25 ways to use your blog and social media to create change)

Written by TeacherC

29 March 2009 at 5:06 pm

Call for Entries: 178th Carnival of Education

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I’m hosting the 178th Carnival of Education. The midway opens on July 2nd. Submissions are due Tuesday, July 1st by 5 pm (PST). You can use this nifty submission form or email me your submission (educatorblog at gmail dot com).

I can’t wait to see you on the midway!

Written by TeacherC

26 June 2008 at 8:44 pm

Daystreaming Allowed.

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On the Moodstream (Getty Images) website, students can create their own visualizations using many different settings (image via the Moodstream website):


After students choose their mood and style (happy or sad, humorous or serious, black and white or color, nostalgic or contemporary, etc.), the website streams continuous video, still images, and sound. If students see or hear something that they like, they can add it to a Moodboard and find out more information from the Getty Images website.

Uses I think of right now involve language arts, social studies, and art inspiration/writing prompts. Students can create a stream and then do projects inspired by the stream (poetry, short stories, reflections, artwork, research, etc).

Can you think of other ways to use this tool in the classroom? Have you streamed today?

Are We There Yet?

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I ran into the City of Memory project via Gothamist:

An organization called City Lore has created an interactive map that fuses NYC cartography with its residents’ oral histories. Whether on the news, the subway, or even online, New Yorkers see mapped representations of their town several times a day. City Lore’s City of Memory map has deepened that visual familiarity by creating an interactive environment where users can hear vignettes from other New Yorkers about their lives. The organization, which is sponsored by the Rockefeller Foundation among other groups, has produced a number of the stories itself, but the general online public is free to submit their own stories for placement on the map.

This amazing project got me thinking about lesson plans involving oral histories and interactive maps. Google has easy to follow video and text tutorials that show users how to personalized Google maps including place-markers, videos, shapes, pictures, and other annotations.

I found examples for how interactive maps and oral histories can be used across the curriculum:

Stay tuned for a more complete lesson plan.

Avoiding Blog Market Failure (Comic)

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Entry summary: “How does the ed commentariat benefit the true proletariat (teachers)?”

“That Works….” – An EducatorBlog Comic


Dangerously Irrelevant‘s Top 50 P-12 EdBlogs list sparked debates on multiple blogs (including mine) about the nature of the edublogopshere. Why do tech blogs dominate the Top 50? Are new bloggers being shut out of the edublog community? What responsibilities do veteran edubloggers have to new edubloggers?

I guess you could call me a ‘free market blogger’. I believe that the laws of supply and demand applies to the blogging market: when a consumer (reader) wants to find information, s/he can do a search on Google or Technorati to find the information they seek. All markets can experience failure. A failure in the blog market is when consumers cannot find the information they seek and producers are shielded from consumers who would like to read their blogs. Are there inefficiencies in the edublog market that are creating entry barriers for new bloggers? Are there blog titans that exert market power (monopolies/oligarchies)? Do these questions matter?

It’s cool that the education blog community is so aware of itself that it can engage in acts of meta-blog-nition, but as Dr. Phil once said (on an episode of Oprah…no, I don’t watch Dr. Phil): “there are topics and there are issues”. Although the inner-workings of the edublogosphere is an interesting topic, I wonder – why does the ed tech debate matter? What are the deeper issues?

This question is important to me. I start co-teaching/grad studies soon and I wonder how my blog will change as I transform from (naive) student to (slightly jaded but still optimistic) teacher in a Title I school. What can my blog do for me? What can it do for others? Does the ‘sphere matter? How does the ed commentariat benefit the true proletariat (teachers) and others with a stake in education (i.e., parents, administrators, community members, and the media)? There are large opportunity costs associated with bloggers’ time. Every minute a teacher or administrator spends writing a blog entry could be spent on professional development, out of class work, acts of advocacy in the community, or other aspects of life that are not related to education. What meaningful contribution can my blog make in solving issues of education and social justice?

What do you think, fellow ed commentariats? What are the real issues of the edublogosphere? Everyone will have different answers to these questions – please share.

Written by TeacherC

9 June 2008 at 12:30 am

Diversity 2.5.1 (BETA)? (Comic)

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Blogush’s post Does School 2.0 Need an Affirmative Action Program? and Educational Insanity’s post about Digital Equity got me thinking (in comic book form – thanks again, ToonDoo):

“That Works…” – An EducatorBlog Comic

Diversity 2.5.1 (BETA)

Diversity 2.0

I think that there is a reasonable amount of diversity in the edublogosphere (see earlier post). There are teachers whose blogs reflect a diverse range of perspectives – different taught subjects, geographic regions, student populations, issues, etc. I don’t think that I’m the only African-American edublogger but I have noticed that racial diversity is lacking in the ‘sphere. Am I wrong? If not, what are the reasons? What are the implications (for the web community, students, and other stakeholders)?

I’m looking for input on the subject.

Written by TeacherC

7 June 2008 at 1:46 am