Category Archives: Resources

Not Using QR Codes?…Are You Qrazy?

chartLast week I had the pleasure of presenting a session at the Pennsylvania Educational Technology Expo & Conference (PETE&C) about using QR codes in education. I had a fantastic time in my session…the audience was eager to learn, which lead to some great questions, comments, and ideas about using QR codes. I wanted to make my resources available to others that might read this blog and were unable to attend the conference. The following link contains my slide deck and my LiveBinder of links and resources.

Not Using QR Codes?…Are You Qrazy?

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No Texting While Driving Campaign

photo-4According to a report published by the NHTSA, of the 26 percent of drivers involved in a crash over the last five years, 3.5 percent attribute distraction as the reason for their crash. When converted into numbers, it totals up to 6 – 8 million drivers.  The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety states, “In the United States, the fatal crash rate per mile driven for 16-19 year-olds is nearly 3 times the rate for drivers ages 20 and over. The risk is highest at ages 16-17. In fact, the fatal crash rate per mile driven is nearly twice as high for 16-17 year-olds as it is for 18-19 year-olds.” As per the report published by distracteddriving.gov for the year 2010, 11 percent of drivers under the age of 20 were involved in a fatal crash led by distracted driving.

As an educator and parent in 2013, I believe it is at least partly our responsibility to make an effort to educate and inform students of the dangers of distracted driving, including texting while driving. Our school parking lots are filled with cars of students and teachers alike that need a reminder about texting while driving as they leave our parking lots. With that in mind, I was thrilled when I saw the No Texting While Driving Campaign link posted on twitter. (I wish I could remember who tweeted it…)

Myparkingsign.com provides TWO FREE SIGNS (signs or label packs) for your school. Simply email Daniel Male at daniel@smartsign.com to order your free products with free shipping. You can even get free customized signs!

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Our district’s graphic artist, Rhonda Fourhman, submitted artwork for signs to be created using our logo.

All the information you need to order is at No Texting While Driving Campaign.

We’re realistic that these signs will not stop all students from texting while driving, but every reminder counts. It sounds cliche, but if we can get one student to think twice about texting while driving then all the effort was certainly worthwhile.

Jump Into Spotlight

Spotlight (software)

Image via Wikipedia

Spotlight on your mac is a great feature and one that seems to be underutilized by many! If you’ve ever saved a file but aren’t sure where you saved it, jump into Spotlight. Ever cleaned off your desktop and now two months later you need a file but can’t remember where you put it? Jump into Spotlight. Sometimes when you download something you have no idea where it went; Spotlight can help you find it. Spotlight can help you find files, folders, applications, emails, calendar events, movies, images, and more. You can search by title, keywords, or even specific file type. Find a definition without opening the Dictionary application with Spotlight and even do math computations without the Calculator! This screencast can show you how Spotlight can help you with all of these things and more. Hopefully it will encourage you to take advantage of this great feature on your Mac.

Screencast created with Camtasia for Mac

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Fun With Words

Photo Courtesy of Flickr/Chris Blakeley

Are you looking for a fun, new way for students to interact with words? Need a unique title header for a presentation? Want a way for your own children to spice up practicing for that spelling test? Or just looking to send a friend/loved one a nice message? Look no further than geoGreeting and Spell with Flickr. These two sites have made it fun to spell words and send messages!

geoGreeting is a site that allows you to type a message with a maximum of 40 characters. It then pulls images of buildings from Google Earth in the shape of the letters you’ve typed. It provides a link that you can share which contains your greeting. I like the originality of the message it sends…”The surface of the Earth holds a message for you. You just need to look a little closer…” geoGreeting drops a place marker to show you where the building is located on Earth. Finally, if you click on each letter, it will open a map also showing you where the building is located. On my mac, I chose to take a screen shot using Shift+Option+4 and then used as an image above this explanation.

Spell with Flickr is another site that allows you to type words and it will find matching images on Flickr.com to create your message. Once it produces your message, if you don’t like any of the letters, you can simply click on that letter and will automatically find a new to replace it. Once you are happy with your words, it will provide you with html code for embedding. Or you can choose to use the screen shot method mentioned earlier to create an uploadable image.

These two sites certainly have some possibilities for students. Please check them out and share any ideas you may have for using them here. I would love to add some ideas and examples to my wiki! Thanks.

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Zemanta is for Bloggers

Image representing Zemanta as depicted in Crun...

Image via CrunchBase

Zemanta.com is a blogging tool that assists you while you write your blog post by providing links, pictures, related articles, and tags. Zemanta is easy to use. Simply download the plugin, extension, or bookmarklet that corresponds with the browser you use and you’re ready to go. While you write your post, Zemanta looks over your shoulder and produces resources you can easily incorporate with your topic. You can even personalize Zemanta to access your Flickr photos, RSS feeds, and your social networking sites.

Zemanta allows you to create in-text links, insert images, and add tags with one click of your mouse. Learn more about Zemanta here. It’s a nice tool for bloggers. Please share any feedback if you use Zemanta or if you try it out.

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Voicethread Connections

This is a follow-up post from last week about using VoiceThread. Since that particular post was more about how I was using VoiceThread over the summer with my children, I didn’t really go into any resources for it.

For those teachers not familiar with VoiceThread, there is an educator network available for teachers and students. You can register for an education account or upgrade to a year-long classroom account. Details can be found at ed.voicethread.com.

I also wanted to shed the spotlight on a resource that is outstanding for asking questions or connecting with other VoiceThread users. This resource is the VoiceThread for Educators Ning which is now being hosted on the Classroom 2.0 Ning site. Mark Carls, the organizer of the VoiceThread Ning, has created a place for educators to share ideas and get questions answered. Please take the time to visit the Ning to see how other educators are using VoiceThread in the classroom, connect and collaborate with other classrooms, or get your questions answered.

Thank you to Mark for your time and effort to help so many educators!

Voicethread-It’s Not Just for School

I’m relatively certain that if you’re reading this blog you’ve heard of VoiceThread already. If not, you must check it out at VoiceThread.com. There are tremendous possibilities for use in the classroom. While on the VoiceThread site, be sure to check out the Browse tab and look through the gallery of projects. If you’re looking for some specific classroom ideas check out the “17 Interesting Ways to Use VoiceThread in the Classroom” blog post by Clif Mims.

The true reason for this post is to share that VoiceThread isn’t just for school. I’ve been doing some reading about the summer learning loss that often happens for kids while they’re on summer break. My wife and I have two daughters of elementary age – one going into fourth grad and one going into second grade. We’re making a more concerted effort than ever to help them avoid the “summer slide”. One of our efforts is to require summer reading. Our girls have spent a significant amount of time at the library discovering new books to read, tracking their reading time for rewards, and even using technology to share what they’ve read.

Below is an example of what they’ve been doing this summer. My second grade daughter read a book called High Tide in Hawaii. She reviewed each chapter and created an illustration for each. It has been tremendously rewarding for us to see their enthusiasm to do “school work” over the summer by engaging them with technology. If you have a moment, please feel free to share any thoughts with her here or on her VoiceThread. Thanks for taking the time to let us share.

Unfortunately, I cannot embed her VoiceThread in my blog since WordPress.com doesn’t allow Flash embedding.  Nonetheless, please click on the VoiceThread image below to access her VoiceThread.

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