Archive for the ‘education’ Category

ISTE Review

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

We sent our young man off to school this morning. For the first time, he was quite excited to get back into the routine. I think the summer was a little too long, if that is possible. He was ready to see his friends. Hope all of you had a fun and productive summer. We had a lot going on the past three months, so there wasn’t much down time.

One highlight of the summer (besides the gardening project, MultiMedia PD event, and all the fun workshops in schools) for me was that I finally made it to ISTE! San Diego was lovely, too. While the temps were in the 100′s here in Kentucky, it was a pleasant 65-75 degrees there. I came home to the shocking, oppressive heat.

It was the largest and most fantastic conference I have ever experienced – a little overwhelming at times, but I sure learned a lot. Here are some of the tricks and tools I learned about (many of you may already know about these, but they were new to me).

Want a more secure passcode setting on your iPad? You can create an extended passcode. The default simple passcode has four digits, but you can choose many more digits and they don’t have to be just numeric. Here’s how:

SETTINGS>GENERAL>PASSCODE LOCK>SIMPLE PASSCODE (turn off – if you already have a passcode, you will need to enter it in order to get in to change it). Then you will be able to enter your new passcode and have access to all keyboard characters.

Also, the volume switch can take a picture so that you can have more stability. Don’t forget the grid option as you compose your shot.

Cool Free/Affordable Apps/Sites:

  • zite: customizable content by topic. It creates your own personal “magazine.” One stop for all the articles you like and suggestions based on your interests. Kinda like Netflix is with recommending videos based on what you watch. FREE
  • flipboard: a personalized magazine of all things shared with you (facebook, twitter, instagram, pinterest, youtube, etc.) FREE
  • notability: great for storyboarding, has audio capability – said to be the best notebook app out there. You can handwrite notes, annotate pdf’s, sync with your dropbox, advanced word processing, audio recording, media insertion, library organization.
  • paperport: a lot like notability, but limited in options. Still very good, audio, shareable files, freehand note-taking, etc. FREE
  • FotoPlanet: tons of creative commons photos
  • iAmJazz for iPad: direct a jazz band. FREE
  • and the App Shopper app: see a list of freebies, organize your apps wish list, get updates when they go on sale, keep track of apps you own with push notification to automatically sends updates to your device. Track price drops. Display the current top 200 apps. Sync app with website. FREE
  • Team Shake: puts a group of people into teams for sports or any other reason. It’s random, so there are no questions of favoritism.
  • Group Games: provides team building, ice breakers, and other game ideas. There is also a Group Games Guide for Facilitators and Teachers that’s more directed toward P.E., drama, outdoor games.
  • Formative Feedback for Learning: allows for collaboration between teachers and students (or other groups) in conference setting. Uses camera to play back video that can be marked up by students for feedback.
  • Apps Gone Free: a website that lists the best free apps of the day. It’s based on Pacific time, so one has to be aware of that. It’s recommended that you check the price in the app store before installing the free app because vendors’ prices can change at any time.
  • Garage Band: a portable podcast studio and don’t forget about the different amps you have to choose from.
  • TodaysMeet: allows for comments and follow up information after a workshop is conducted. There is an option as to how long (up to one year) you want to keep the “room” active. FREE
  • Idea Sketch: mind map, diagram, flow chart, etc. for storyboarding. FREE
  • Yogile:   free acct for sharing photo albums via email – keeps up to 30 days and is password protected
  • Comic Life: sketch storyboard with images  to make a comic strip
  • Fotobabble: iPod touch or iPhone only – instantly share narrated slideshow with others, includes photo editing capabilities and filters.
  • SonicPics: for Narrated Slideshow – snap photos, narrate, and share


Other Awesome Organizations and Resources:

Taking It Global is a non-profit organization cased in Toronto and Ontario that provides an online social networking community that deals with global environmental issues and gives youth a voice in how to make a change for their futures. They claim that this social network came out prior to myspace and facebook. It’s really a very cool organization and the resources are free for all.

  • The education component supplies  a virtual learning platform, PD, global learning programs, and database of curriculum-linked resources for all content areas and levels to teachers.
  • More components include live international events where students are taking action to save the forests in various locations around the world. The current focus is Borneo. and
  • They also have an app: activation code: INSPIRE

Special Event on Sept. 22, 2012:  International observance of the moon. Sounds pretty cool.

“Look! I’m Learning!” A Story of Digital Learning Success is a full length film about a new revolution led by kids that tells a much larger story inside the experiences of early elementary teachers that go ‘one-to-one’ using mobile learning devices with their students, forever transforming teaching and learning in their hometowns.” Screenings are available in Oct. The film will be available on youtube in November. Saw the trailer at the conference but you can take a look at the site, too.

If any of schools are looking for ways to get extra funding, FundingFactory seems to be a good place look. It’s green fundraising. No one has to sell anything, schools just collect and ship unwanted inkjet/laser cartridges, small electronics, and cell phones to FundingFactory to earn points that can be redeemed for technology, equipment, or cash.

TeachersFirst is a free repository of resources.

The Science Bank is a free library of humane science products (realistic modules, DVD’s, CD-ROMS, mannikans in multiple quantities) that are available for loan in the science classroom.

This was the line for the PBS booth, which is in the left of the photo.

Also, wanted to give you some PBS updates:

  • NewsHour: Student Reporting Labs connect “6-12 after school programs to local PBS stations/journalists to produce unique, youth-perspective news reports on national issues.”
  • Women and Girls Lead is an interesting resource about issues women and girls face.
  • Recommended films for the classroom (part of Community Classroom): Wham! Bam! Islam! and FUTURESTATES (short films and gr. 9-12 lesson plans)

Again, check out this crazy line of people waiting to get in on the PBS goods. I believe there were well over 100 people in line. The booth was basically a block and folks were lined up two aisles away! Go PBS! It was great to see and talk with these folks that I have emailed or spoken with in teleconferences.

KET Updates:

We have quite a few new resources and announcements coming soon. There have been a lot of interesting and fabulous developments over the summer. You will be hearing more about:

  • Formative Assessment PD
  • Think Garden
  • The Social Studies Arts Toolkit
  • PBS LearningMedia
  • New KET Virtual Physics Labs
  • New Distance Learning Courses
  • and much more!

Have a terrific start to the new school year, and, as always, we look forward to working with you.

Icing on the Holiday Cake

Friday, December 17th, 2010

Happy cold, icy, snowy, sleepy Friday afternoon. It’s been an interesting December, as the weather has been surprisingly generous in precipitation. After the dry summer and fall conditions, it’s nearly shocking to feel such moisture in the air. Many of you have had several days away from school due to all of this winter weather. Our son is thrilled about this. I am certain that this break has allowed you some extra time to get ready for the holidays. It’s nice to have a jump start on relaxation, and I hope you have taken full advantage.

Since my last post, I have almost caught up with the rest of you. I only have two gifts to buy. The snow doused me into the spirit of the season. There is one thing, however, that I haven’t yet accomplished. I still have to decide on my New Year’s resolution. There are many things I want to change, so pinpointing which aspect I want to focus on for 2011 is proving to be difficult. It has to be a realistic goal. I have actually been surprisingly successful in sticking to my past three resolutions. I am a slow learner. I really don’t want break this cycle, so this decision is very tricky.

The Winter Solstice will take place this Tuesday, December 21st, at 6:38 p.m. EST. I plan to have my resolution in place by then. It will be interesting because this year’s Solstice will be accompanied by a lunar eclipse. If you would like more information, see NASA’s article, Solstice Lunar Eclipse. For the east coast, the lunar eclipse will begin Tuesday at 1:33 a.m. EST, reaching totality at 2:41 a.m. EST. I hope to be able to stay awake long enough to experience it. It’s times like these that make me wish I was still teaching. I would love to have the opportunity to study the Solstice and lunar eclipse with students. I didn’t teach science, but there is always a way to incorporate topics into drama and creative writing assignments (which I did teach). Ah, but being a parent fills that void. Our son is knowledgeable of the astronomical phenomena that drive our seasons, but there is always something new to discover with him.

I also wanted to remind you of some energy saving/green holiday practices. In the rush of the events, we sometimes forget.

1. When you are away from your home, lower the temperature in your house by a couple of degrees. Your energy bill will be a bit less.

2. Shut off your holiday lights. This prevents fire and saves money. Also, if you are thinking of replacing your holiday lights next year, consider buying LED sets. They usually go on sale after Christmas.

3. Recycle your gift wrappings and boxes. Leaving them by the curb allows opportunists to easily see what you received that they would like to have. It’s very good for our trees, too.

As we wrap up 2010, I want to wish each of you the most precious, memorable, peaceful, and bountiful Christmas. May the New Year bring reality to all of your dreams.

Cruisin’ Through Summer

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010

Cumberland Island

It’s hot. Very hot.

I see many teens out there loving their summer and cruising through town in their shiny cars. I see them flocking to the pool. I see their tan, bright, and hopeful faces smiling. I also see them texting while driving. Since the texting ban is now in place, high school teachers (especially health and driver’s education teachers) may want to check out our updated Street Skills. The series discusses how dangerous distracted drivers really are, with an emphasis on the dangers of texting while driving. There are even interactive quizzes and a teacher’s guide to enhance discussion and activities. Doesn’t KET have perfect timing?

It is also the perfect time for all us us to start looking toward the new school year. Once again, KET has released many, many new and updated resources that you will definitely want to take advantage of while you plan your lessons for the not-so-far-away new year. You will be hearing more about KET Teacher’s Domain; a new season of Education Matters; expansions to our KET Media Lab Workshop offerings; a new History and Appreciation of the Visual and Performing Arts Distance Learning Course; new STEM resources; and resources aligned to the new Kentucky Education Standards. We have also picked up a few new series for the upcoming year, so be watching for more information. Oh, and there is a cool new Physics Virtual Workbook coming your way. Chuck Duncan never ceases to amaze. I am blown away by this new resource, and can’t wait to show it to you.

Dungeness Ruins

I am ready to start the new school year with a fresh energy after having returned from a family retreat to Jekyll and Cumberland Islands off the coast of Georgia. It was refreshing to breathe in the salty sea breeze, capture some vitamin D, and dip into the exfoliating waves. We obviously had a great time.

We only spent one day at Cumberland Island, so we covered a mere fraction of the beauty it has to offer. We wandered through the spirit-like Spanish moss that haunted us from the Live Oaks; marveled at the Dungenuss Ruins; wanted to pet the wild horses (but didn’t); traversed through sand dunes; and ended up on Dungenuss Beach.

Jekyll was where we lived for the week. It, too, is enchanting. The whole area is rich in history and culture. We spent the time on this island exploring the beaches, hiking, visiting the historic district, eating seafood, listening to the Spanish moss whisper the secrets of the Live Oaks, and relaxing. Each night, a bird called to us with a lonely, eerie, beautiful song. It sounded like a whippoorwill, but I haven’t yet taken the time to research it.

Jekyll Island

It truly was a fairytale vacation. To watch our son dive into the waves, collect starfish and sand dollars, and sculpt landscapes in the sand (this is also one of my husband’s favorite beach activities) was refreshing. We all rode the waves. It’s hard to get our son out of the water, which makes me think he must have been a fish in a previous life. Thank goodness we didn’t see any oil.

We came home to gardens full of very tall weeds. It looked like we were gone a month. We spent much of the rest of our vacation getting our lawn in order. It’s okay. It’s one of our favorite things to do.

I hope that as I write this, you are surrounded in serenity. Stay cool and be safe, wherever you are.

See you at KET’s Multimedia PD Days.

600 Cooper Drive, Lexington, KY 40502 (859) 258-7000 (800) 432-0951