Information for New ITS

Archive for March, 2011

One Step at a Time

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Stepping forward and piloting new initiatives such as iPod Touches in the Classroom can be scary. This week as a small group of educators worked together exploring these new devices, it was evident that time to experience and share ideas was so beneficial.  After touring the device, focus turned toward good instructional practices. With these new devices plus the availability of laptops and desktops, learners will have so much at their fingertips. Most importantly they will have the ability to search for answers to driving questions. Guiding learners on searches should be one of the beginning steps on the journey of this pilot. Can you take one step forward and practice?

Four For Friday – Kid Friendly Search Engines

netTrekker -This search engine is  standard in many districts. You can download a free trial to experience a very robust engine for all learners.

KidsClick – A kid friendly search engine owned and maintained by Kent State’s School of Library and Information Science.

Fact Monster – Great resource to gather quick facts. Can you make a scavenger hunt using Fact Monster that could hook and immerse learners in a new unit of study?

Sweet Search 4me – This search engine offers the 4me site for the emerging learner. For older learners use the main engine.

App Resources

Quinturakids is online engine as well as an app to download. It currently is 99¢but has been free.

Sortfix is another online search engine with a kid app. It allows you to narrow searches by sorting. You can drag power words to include or exclude in the search. Sortfix Kids is an app available for free. (iPad only at this time)

Touch Icon Creator is a 99¢ app that creates custom icons for your home screen using saved photos or drawings. Can you make one for quick touch to a search engine?

App Tip – Create your own web clip to a favorite search engine by adding site from Safari on the home page of iPod or iPad. Here are directions on how to create a Better Web Clip.

Photo Courtesy of Photo taken on  a hike in Alyeska, Alaska

Presentationzen – Remember

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Images from Japan have conveyed stories of sadness, suffering, resilience and bits of hope.  We are emotional beings and these images evoke the mind and make us feel something as well as remember. Garr Reynolds states in his book, Presentation Zen, “Explaining the devastation of the Katrina  hurricane and floods in the US for example, could be done with bullet points, data and talking points but images of the aftermath and the images of human suffering tell the story no words, text or data alone never could.” This week Garr Reynolds experienced suffering in his home of 20 years, Japan. We are thankful his family is safe but can feel their sadness. Read more current information through his blog, Presentation Zen and personal blog, Garr’s Posterous. Thank you Garr Reynolds for teaching us how to design to remember the stories.

Four for Friday – Photo Sites Shared by Garr Reynolds

Flickr Creative Commons Pool – Flickr users offer their photos under a creative commons license.  Read more about Creative Commons, the non profit that offers an alternative to full copyright.

Image After offers free images as well as the ability to search texture, color and other categories.

Everystockphoto is a large search engine for photos. Select advanced search to narrow the search by attributes such as license and size.

Image Sources contains six favorite Flickr search engines and six free image collections to make your audience remember.

App Resources – Photo of the Day

NGPhoto – National Geographic shares a photo of the day with more information. You can browse previous photos.

Astronomy Picture of the Day – This app partners with NASA to share photos of the skies.

Photo Courtesy: Sota-ya

BYOT Tourist – BYOT Guide

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This week over sixty educators became BYOT tourists and traveled in two yellow twinkies to visit an elementary, middle and high school in the district to observe how BYOT (Bringing Your Own Technology) is elevating learning. Guided by enthusiastic learners at each school, the tourists were inspired by all the learners, teachers and students. With an array of devices in the piloting classrooms, students were reviewing vocabulary and math facts, video capturing steps to solve lengthy math equations and sharing collaborative discussions with TitanPad and Board800. The engagement level was at a peak in the 12th grade English class where students were studying Shakespeare’s Othello. Learners were using Skype to conduct a back-channel discussion about relevant points of Othello while watching the the 1995 film version. Witnessing the level of engagement was exciting for all the tourists. There is still so much to learn and share how to guide new educators in this process. You can read more about BYOT or BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) in this month’s issue of Tech and Learning. You can also view and sign-up here to receive Tech and Learning. We can only be tourists for so long. When will you become a BYOT Guide?

A Few For Friday – Skype in the Classroom

Skype in the Classroom is now available for educators. Skype for education offers a free directory for educators to share resources and connect with other classrooms. Set up your free account at Skype and then join Skype in the Classroom.

Making Connections with Skype is a Livebinder with tons of resources. Select the tabs and see what is featured. From 50 Awesome Ways to Use Skype to connecting with an expert, this site offers many resources to get learners connected.

Related Apps – Compass (What direction are you going?)

Compass Free

The Compass for iPad

Photo Courtesy of Chapandra

Emerging From the Cave

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In the past it was common for an educator to say, “We work in caves.” That no longer applies to what is happening in school communities across the globe. We are no longer cave dwellers, we are explorers, designers, innovators and ones that open doors for engaged learning. Learning today is constant and there are no walls or boundaries. As educators we can be tour guides and take learners on new adventures. As an example take this tour of LasCaux,  a complex of caves in southwestern France famous for its Paleolithic cave paintings. We no longer work in caves but we can inspire future explorers. Where do you want to travel today or better yet, where do your learners want to travel today?

“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.” Greg Anderson

Few for Friday – Touring and Exploring

Qwiki is a great way to experience information. Natural Wonders, historical figures and animals are great categories to explore for the classroom experience. Type in the word cave and see what the experience is all about. Type in your favorite place and enjoy the experience.

Tour the Tenement Museum and take your students back to the turn of the century to immerse them learning about immigration through primary resources and virtual tour.

We are multicolored is a feature of the above Tenement Museum site that guides learners on creating their own flags and teaches symbolism. Using their home country flag, the flag of a country that has influenced them as well as a flag of a country they would like to visit; learners can create. Let the students decide where they want to travel.

Virtual Field Trips from Internet4Classrooms is one of the most complete lists of virtual tours for educators.

Related Free Apps

Tour Wrist is available online as well as for mobile devices. How could this be used for instruction?

Flags and Capitals shares 322 Flags and Capitals of the World. There is a map feature and link to Wikipedia.

Photo Courtesy – Maze Walker – (