29 May 2008

Digital History: Remembering World War II

Medals, newspaper clippings, video, letters, and the story of an American flag created by Clarance Bramley, a survivor of the Bataan Death March—all this and more can be found in an online exhibit, “Remembering World War II: Pearl Harbor and Beyond.

The online collection features items and stories selected from a collection of World War II materials housed at the Lee Library at Brigham Young University.

Related Resources

04 March 2008

Encyclopedia of Life

Released last week to much fanfare, the Encyclopedia of Life (EOL) is a "comprehensive, collaborative, ever-growing...ecosystem of websites that makes all key information about all life on Earth accessible to anyone, anywhere in the world."

While anyone will be able to contribute and share their knowledge with the EOL community, each species has it's own "curator" (knowledge expert or authenticator) who will validate the information contained on that species page. Most of the content in the EOL is available for re-use under a Creative Commons license.

The EOL is an incredible resource for students, teachers and educators. You can join the EOL project by volunteering to be a species curator, contributing species-related content (photos, drawings, text, video, etc.), or supporting the EOL as a financial contributor.

Related Resources

03 March 2008

Beyond Polar Bears & Penguins

Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears is a new online professional development resource for elementary teachers which focuses on preparing teachers to teach polar science concepts by integrating inquiry-based science with literacy teaching.

Research has shown that this integrated approach can increase students' science knowledge,academic language, reading comprehension, and written and oral discourse abilities.

This program is funded by the National Science Foundation Research on Learning in Formal and Informal Settings (DRL). Kimberly Lightle, Principal Investigator for the NSDL Middle School Portal, is the lead specialist on the project and is adapting and contextualizing existing content from the NSDL repository.

Related Links

18 December 2007

Atomic Learning Tutorial: Video Storytelling Guide

Atomic Learning has a new tutorial, Video Storytelling Guide, that is a really fantastic resource for anyone just beginning to shoot video or even regular movie-makers who want to brush up on skills.

The free guide offers tips and tutorials on camera shots, composition, editing, types of cameras and more. This resource will be free for everyone from December 17 to January 15, so feel free to spread the word!

And don't forget that you can find free video editing, remixing and video upload tools over on Jumpcut.  Don't forget to share your video stories with other educators in the Yahoo! For Teachers group on Jumpcut!

Related Resources

07 December 2007

Free Software: SnagIt & Camtasia Studio

TechSmith is giving away free copies of two of its most popular products: SnagIt and Camtasia Studio. These are really great, and in my opinion, indispensable "must have" tools for educators.

I use SnagIt on almost a daily basis. It's the easiest tool I've found to grab screen shots and easily insert them into my Word and Powerpoint documents. SnagIt also has a handy plugin which makes it fast and easy to upload your screen shot into Flickr or blog.


Click here to download SnagIt 7.2.5 (English)
Click here to download SnagIt 7.2.5 (German)
Click here to download SnagIt 7.2.5 (French)

Click here for a key to register SnagIt 7.2.5 demo as a fully licensed version.

Camtasia Studio 3.1

Click here for a key to register SnagIt 7.2.5 demo as a fully licensed version.

Click here to download Camtasia Studio 3.1.3.

Click here to request a software key to register Camtasia Studio 3.1.3 as a fully licensed version.

Related Resources

05 December 2007

Best of Show: NCSS 2008

Last week I attended the National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS) conference in San Diego. The theme of the conference was "Crossing Borders, Building Bridges." Given the current state of the world, I think this shift towards a more world view is particularly important and relevant.

Even the unusually rainy weather outside wasn't able to quell the excitement of the enthusiastic bunch of social studies teachers from around the country who gathered in the convention center. As a self-professed C-SPAN geek, I was particularly happy to see the big C-SPAN bus in the convention center.

While there were tons of great resources and tools being shared at the conference, here's my list of my favorite resources for the social studies classroom.

So, in no particular order, here they are:

C-SPAN Classroom: Okay. I know I'm biased (see above!), but C-SPAN Classroom is chock full of fantastic resources for students and teachers. They have Campaign 2008 video clips, a fantastic site on Alexis deTocqueville, and other curriculum resources to support U.S. Government and Civics education.

Country Reports: This site is an incredible treasure trove of historical, statistical and cultural information on every country in the world. While this is a subscription-based site, there is still a great deal of free content available for students and teachers. Take a look at this country report for Iran.

The Choices Program
: This was, hands down, my most favorite discovery at NCSS 2008. The Choices Program is a national education initiative based at Brown University's Watson Institute for International Studies. The goal of the program is to "empower young people with the skills, knowledge, and participatory habits to be engaged citizens who are capable of addressing international issues through thoughtful public discourse and informed decision making."

The resources are a mix of fee-based and free lesson plans, resources and video clips. Another really useful program is the Teaching with the News, which provides educators with a vast array of resources based around current events. A great example is "U.S. and Iran: Confronting Policy Alternatives" module which provides resources, links and related curriculum units.

Flocabulary: Shakespeare is Hip-Hop! Yep. You heard that correctly. And the folks over at Flocabulary have figured out a way to blend hip-hop, multimedia and school together into an award winning program designed to engage students, foster literacy and boost their academic experience. Flocabulary has tons of great audio and other resources available including standards-based lesson plans. So go check em out, yo! (groan)

Saudi Aramco World: A free publication focused on Middle East issues, politics and culture. Each issue has a free lesson plans for educators. An all around beautiful publication. The images are stunning.

Outreach World:
A comprehensive one-stop resource for teaching international and area studies and foreign languages in the classroom. This is an incredible repository of resources, lesson plans and other teaching materials. Think of this as a clearinghouse of the best of the best area studies content on the web. Here's a recent curriculum unit that focuses on Muslim culture that includes an instructors guide (pdf).

20 November 2007

It's Rubbish: National Anti-Bullying Week

Originally uploaded by jimmy0010 on YouTube.

Related Resources

14 November 2007

European Open Library

The European Library is non-commercial portal site. This free service of Conference of European National Librarians (CENL) gives access to the resources of Europe's national libraries.

Resources can be both digital or bibliographical (books, posters, maps, sound recordings, videos, etc.).

Currently The European Library gives access to 150 million entries across Europe. The amount of referenced digital collections is constantly increasing. Quality and reliability are guaranteed by the 47 collaborating national libraries of Europe.

The European Digital Library - encompassing not only libraries, but also museums, archives and other cultural institutions - will be built upon The European Library.

Related Resources

17 September 2007

Digital Learning Styles, Gen Y & Yahoo!

Related Resources

21 August 2007

PB Wiki Tutorials on Atomic Learning

You already know that PBwiki is the easiest and best wiki platform out there. But did you know that Atomic Learning has FREE tutorials on PBwiki?

These tutorials will help you learn step-by-step how to create a PBwiki. Hurry, the tutorials are only available for a short time!

Related Resources

20 August 2007

Technology & Learning's Digital Photo Contest for Kids

"Technology & Learning invites K-12 students to participate in the sixth annual digital photography contest.

The competition, open to all K-12 students, challenges you to capture - and share - your unique vision of the world in a "Digital Diary -Through My Lens."

If you have an artistic side, you also have the option to digitally enhance your photos with your favorite imaging software.

The best digitally enhanced photo wins a special prize from Adobe. Other prizes include a digital camera, Adobe Photoshop Elements, and more!"

More Info

24 July 2007

Tech Toolbox: Getting Started with del.icio.us


21 July 2007

AFT Resources for Teaching Darfur

I recently had the privilege of attending the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) conference in Washington D.C. where my colleague Karon Weber and I had the opportunity to present Yahoo! for Teachers at a workshop being held at the 2007 AFT QuEST Conference.

One thing that really struck me was how progressive the AFT is in their approach to teaching as well as their positions on social issues. There were several booths that centered around what the AFT membership could do to support AIDS Advocacy, Genocide Awareness in Darfur, and Democracy in Africa.

"As men and women of conscience and as educators committed to the dignity and worth of all humanity, we have a responsibility to speak out against injustice on behalf of vulnerable and disenfranchised peoples across the globe." ~ 2006 AFT resolution on Opposition to the Genocide in Darfur

The AFT-Africa AIDS Campaign is a multi-country campaign in partnership with African teacher unions to provide resources to fight the spread of this disease. The impact of AIDS in the teaching community is staggering.

"This year in South Africa, more than 1,000 teachers will die of AIDS. In Zimbabwe more than 30 percent of the country's teachers carry the HIV virus. Many school age children have lost a parent to the epidemic. Throughout Africa, the statisics tell a similar story--teachers' lives lost and whole education systems endangered (Source: AFT-Africa AIDS Campaign)."

Here are some of the excellent resources complied by the AFT to help teachers educate their students on issues related to Africa, HIV and AIDS.

Related Resources

15 July 2007

Creative Commons: Wanna Work Together?

This is a great introduction to Creative Commons. I learned about this video from one of the amazing teachers attending the Yahoo! Teachers workshop in New York City a few weeks ago. Thanks Mr. Circe!


14 April 2007

Yahoo! Safely: A Guide to Internet Safety

How does Yahoo! help keep kids safe online? Find out on the recently launched Yahoo! Safely site!

As the most trafficked internet destination in the world, Yahoo! is committed to ensuring that the 30 million children on the internet in the US are exploring it safely.

The new Yahoo! Safely site aggregates resources, knowledge and expertise from across the Web for children, parents, and educators to raise awareness about the importance of safety, ethics and piracy.

Check out some of the interactive features on Yahoo! Safely that help kids form safe and smart Internet habits early in life:
  • Games and Activities – Play cyber-safety games online
  • Clips and Videos – Watch educational videos that help kids become good cyber-citizens
  • Weekly Poll – Vote on opinions about safe practices
  • Avatar ID Card – Submit Avatars to be featured in the gallery
  • Online Safety Forum for Parents – Join in the discussion about online child safety
  • Tech Advisor Articles – Get expert advice from Yahoo! Tech bloggers

Related Resources

12 April 2007

Pop! Tech: Create Positive Change

Thanks to edublogger Ken Pruitt, I discovered the PopCast series from the PopTech Conference. This is a fantastic resource for high school and college civics/economics/ classes.

Here's the scoop on PopCast:

"Pop!Casts are available free of charge. And they’re published under a Creative Commons license—meaning you can distribute, translate and edit them as you wish for noncommercial use.

Sharing Pop!Casts with peers is one of the ways you can inspire collective thinking and action around the topics you’re most interested in.

New segments will be posted every few weeks courtesy of Yahoo!, so check back often or subscribe to our RSS feed. Download. Discover. Do your part to create positive change in the world!"

And be sure to listen to the vodcast featuring Tom "The Flat World" Friedman. His message? Think Green.

Thanks Ken!

16 February 2007

Edutopia: My Friend Flickr

The George Lucas Educational Foundation (GLEF) has long been an advocate of helping teachers use technology to support instruction and student learning in the classroom. This month's edition of Edutopia, their online community and print magazine, has a feature article on using Flickr in the classroom.

The article, written by Amy Standen, features interviews with Tim Lauer, Flickr Community Manager Heather Champ and several other educators on how they use Flickr in their classroom.

At the end of the article, Amy lists several education oriented groups created in Flickr. These groups (and there are quite a few!) are an excellent way to find out how your colleagues are using Flickr in their classrooms. So read the article, check out and join a Flickr education group today!

Also worth noting:

  • Flickr has over a million photos with a Creative Commons license that you are free to use in classroom projects.
  • You can create a private Flickr group where you control both membership as well as the content in the group. This is a great way to create a "micro-Flickr" for your school and/or classroom.
  • There are a TON of Flickr hacks (like Spell with Flickr) created by and for members of the Flickr community that you can use to make some fun and creative art projects. Huge Big Labs (aka FD's Flickr Toys) has an excellent (and free!) collection of Flickr projects. Thanks FD!
  • One of my favorite Flickr projects ever is the Flat Bobby Project. You can read more about her project by clicking here. This was a great example of what Flickr co-founder Caterina Fake calls the "culture of generosity" that flows freely through the Flickr community.

Related Links

07 February 2007

Maps + Wiki: Wikimapedia

Wikimapedia is a Google Maps/wiki mash-up that your students can use to explore geographic features like the Great Salt Lake, illustrate where the Battle of Gettysburg was fought, get a birds eye view of the Great Pyramids in Giza, look down into an active shield volcano in Hawaii, or give students learning French a virtual tour of the City of Lights!

You can even embed a Wikimapedia snapshot into your own class blog or website. It's easy peasy! Thanks to Noel Jenkins for the heads up on this fantastic resource!

29 December 2006

Teaching Toolbox: del.icio.us

This is a fantastic tutorial on using del.icio.us in the classroom! Social bookmarking tools like del.icio.us or MyWeb 2 are a great and easy way to find those hidden threads of community knowledge. Give it a try--soon you'll wonder how you lived on the web with out it!

Video originally uploaded on YouTube by jutecht on March 8, 2006.

27 December 2006

UCLA Center for World Languages: Russian Podcasts

via UCLA: "The Center for World Languages (CWL) was created within UCLA's International Institute. Its primary goals are to bring more coherence to existing language-related activities and to extend UCLA's presence, visibility, and capacity for innovation and instructional delivery.

Business Russian Podcasts

These podcasts are for those who want to learn business Russian Business vocabulary communication. They model the use of essential vocabulary and phrases.

Podcasts are created by Ganna Kudyma, Lecturer in Russian, UCLA Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures. Each podcast has an accompanying text that can be downloaded. Level: intermediate and advanced.

Russian Literature Podcasts

These podcasts are readings in Russian from classic Russian literary texts. They are read by Alexandra Paperny. The text of each podcast can be downloaded via iTunes or Yahoo! Podcasts. Level: intermediate and advanced."

Web Resources

Simple English Wikipedia

The Simple English Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia for students in grade school, EFL/ESL classes, or anyone else learning to read and comprehend the English language.

Simple English? Sounds like an oxymoron to me!

Web Resources

13 December 2006

Give Yourself a Chance!

Here's a short article I ran across in a past issue of Fast Company titled Give Yourself A Chance. It made some excellent points and I thought it was worth passing on...

As I read it it had me thinking about why we become afraid or hesitant to "bricolage" with anything new: technology, learning, or teaching styles. Perhaps it has something to do with comfort zones.....

I also thought this was a good example of leadership on the part of the professor and how he was was able to help the author step back and recognize the self-limiting comments and assumptions he was making about himself.

Anyhow, when working with new technologies be sure to remember two things:

  • don't forget to breathe!
  • give yourself a chance!

Harvard Open Collections Program

ImageHarvard University's Open Collections Program has launched " Immigration to the United States, 1789-1930," a web-based collection of approximately 1,800 books and pamphlets, 6,000 photographs, 200 maps, and 13,000 pages from manuscript and archival collections selected from Harvard's library, archives and museums.
The collection is available to Internet users everywhere. By incorporating diaries, biographies and other writings capturing diverse experiences, the collected material provides a window into the lives of ordinary immigrants. In addition to thousands of items now accessible, the collection includes contextual information on immigration and quantitative data. (via)

17 October 2006

Ed Tech Toolbox: Group Scribbles

The Center for Technology in Learning at SRI International is pleased to announce the beta release of Group Scribbles, a new cross-platform collaborative tool that enables educators to rapidly design new group learning activities without the need for programming.

Group Scribbles introduces a networked representational paradigm that enables collaborative improvement of ideas based upon individual efforts and social sharing of notes in graphical and textual form ("scribbles").

With Group Scribbles, users mark up "scribble sheets" in their personal work area, or "private board", and share their ideas by dragging their sheets to a "public board" that is synchronized to all devices. Users can arbitrarily rearrange sheets and stick them strategically to a background image or to other sheets.

Such simple actions support emergent collaborative activity across multiple connected machines in a lightweight, flexible manner. The Group Scribbles application runs on Windows, Mac OS X, and mobile devices.

Web Links

30 September 2006

Yahoo! + JumpCut

Big news! JumpCut is joining Flickr and del.icio.us as the newest member of the Yahoo! family of social media and community tools! Yay!

If you aren't familiar with JumpCut, it's like a web based version of iMovie, with easy (and free) video editing tools and a healthy dose of sharing, tags, and community thrown in to make it extra fun.

This is a great tool for teachers and students alike. And since it's web-based, students can work on their projects at school or home. Pretty cool, eh?

You can create movies from pictures (using the Flickr uploader tool), audio, or video. You can even grab video from other members of the JumpCut community and remix it into your own original production.

But don't worry, just like Flickr and MyWeb, you set the privacy level of who can see or use your creation. So go ahead and try JumpCut in your classroom!

Web Resources

31 August 2006

Pics4Learning, Copyright, and Community

Pics4Learning is a copyright-friendly image library for teachers and students. The library consists of thousands of images that have been donated by students, teachers, and amateur photographers.

Unlike other sites, permission has been granted for teachers and students to use all of the images donated to the Pics4Learning collection.

Need a photo for that lesson on California Mission, sloth, or dinosaur fossils? Then Pics4Learning is the place for you! Members of the education community can upload and share their photos in the Pics4Learning photo archive for other educators to use. In addition to photographs, Pics4Learning has lesson plans created by and for the teaching community.

Pics4Learning is a partnership between Orange County Public Schools Technology Development Unit of Orlando, Florida, and Tech4Learning, Inc.

Web Resources

23 August 2006

Open Source Toolbox: FireFox Scholar

The Center for History and New Media (CHNM) at George Mason University is developing an open-source package of tools under the name Project SmartFox.

"Due for beta release in Summer 2006, Firefox Scholar will help teachers, students, and scholars organize and cite materials they have found online.

Comprised of a set of browser extensions, Firefox Scholar will allow researchers...collect documents, images, and citations from the web; and allow those materials to be sorted, annotated, and searched--all directly within their web browser window.

Like the Firefox browser itself, Firefox Scholar will be open and extensible, allowing others who are building digital tools for researchers to expand on the platform."

Web Resources

21 August 2006

Online Exhibit: Slave Narratives

Museum of the African Diaspora: "Slave Narratives contains dramatic and powerful first-person stories from those who have suffered under slavery.

Narrated by Maya Angelou and other acclaimed actors, the narratives originated from people across the globe, from the 1700s to the modern day.

Slave Narratives will be live on the MoAD website at www.moadsf.org on August 23."

Web Resources

20 August 2006

Get Organized with iProcrastinate

iProcrastinate is a nifty calendaring app designed to help "lazy students keep track of their homework, big projects, etc." Right now iProcrastinate is only available to Mac users and requires Mac OS 10.4 or greater.

The first day of school is just around the corner, so this might be the perfect time to start using iProcrastinate--you know--while you're still ahead of the assignment curve!

Oh yeah....it's free

17 August 2006

mLearning Toolbox: Leonard Low + Mobile Learning

Mobile Learning is a fantastic new blog focused on mobile learning strategies authored by Leonard Low, Online Campus Manager and Educational Technology Strategist at the Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT).

In addition to an impressive corpus of resources, Leonard offers his keen insight on the design, development, delivery, and management of flexible, interactive learning, mobile, and Web 2.0 learning applications.

This is a must read for anyone interested in the burgeoning wave of mobile media and technologies being introduced to the education ecosystem. Brilliant work Leonard!

15 August 2006

FlickrEdu: Flickr Hacks for the Classroom

Here are some of the latest and greatest Flickr hacks created by members of the Flickr community for you to try in your classroom!
If you find one that's not on the list.....share it with the rest of us!

Delivr: "Digital postcards for the people by the people...just select an image from the most recent displayed on the home page, search all 600,000+ images, or lookup your own pix to create a unique custom postcard."

Slide+Flickr: Create a slideshow for your classroom, website or desktop using your Flickr tags and Slide.

FD's Toys Slideshow: "Create a slideshow from images anywhere on the internet. Then share it with your friends. Works with your photos hosted on Flickr or anywhere else."

Tag Man: "TagMan is a game that combines the classic hangman game with tags."

Flickr Firefox Search: " This is a simple search plugin for your Firefox browser, that allows you to quickly search the public available Flickr tags."

Bubblr: "Add comic strip bubbles to Flickr photos of your choice."

Findr: "Find photos on flickr by browsing and refining related tags."

Flickr Kaleidoscope: "A Flash-based Kaleidoscope using recent thumbnails from the Squared Circle group."

and another kaleidoscope hack:

Flickr Wildflower Guide: "Wildflower Field Guide, North America. Use it to identify a flower by searching the group pool for other flowers of the same color and shape."

And just for fun...

Tag Fight

25 June 2006

Open Content, eBooks & the Digital Library

A couple months ago, I blogged about the recent Google Book Search release of the complete works of William Shakespeare. After reading her post, a member of the debaird.net community, directed my attention to an alternative to Google Books.

Bookyards is an open content eBook and Digital Library portal with "10,101 books, 22,141 web links, 3,941 news & blogs links and access to hundreds of online libraries (200,000 eBooks) for your reading pleasure."

In his comment on my blog, Victor points out that Bookyards also has a digital collection of Shakespeare's writings. It's great to see that there is such a growing interest in digital libraries.

And I for one am very supportive of any movement that opens content, knowledge and education to as many people as possible. I also acknowledge and appreciate people like Victor (and the Google Books team) who put in the hard work of creating digital library portals and digitize books.

I'd also encourage Google to work through some of their issues and find a way to work in a collaborative matter with organizations like Microsoft, Yahoo!, The Open Content Alliance (OCA), The Center for Open and Sustainable Learning (COSL), and Bookyards in creating a truly open and equitable solution for creating a Digital Library on the web.

Web Resources

23 June 2006

Yahoo! Widgets: Spelling, Math, and History, Oh My!

via Yahoo! Widgets: "Spelling Bee is a nifty stand alone tool for people who like to use big words. Just type in a word, and if it's not a word in the dictionary, the Spelling Bee widget will make some suggestions.

It also features auto-copy, auto-checking, and a couple different visual styles. You can use Spelling Bee with many different languages."

What a fantastic, fun, and engaging way to help students expand their vocabulary! Spelling Bee is a great widget for students and teachers alike!

When I'm working on my research articles, I've been known to give Spelling Bee a whirl! And you know what? It's really handy!

But don't stop with just spelling. The Yahoo! Widgets community have created handy tools to help kids with math, music, and history. And more and more widgets are being added every day.

So, take a walk on the wild side: try, or create and share your own, educational Yahoo! Widget today!

21 June 2006

mLearning Toolbox: BuddyBuzz Update!

via the Hive: "We have been hard at work on a version of BuddyBuzz that has dynamic menus that will eventually allow you to completely customize the content that you read with BuddyBuzz.

We're happy to announce that this version is ready to be downloaded! We have some more great ideas in the works, and need your help to continue to improve BuddyBuzz."

BuddyBuzz has several mLearning applications, including the ability to serve as a content delivery system. Instructors can upload articles directly to their BuzzBox and then share them with students in their BuddyBuzz community.

Best of all, since BuddyBuzz is a mobile based technology, it allows students to have anytime, anywhere, customized, on-demand learning opportunities.

As mobile technologies and mLearning become more ubiquitous, applications like BuddyBuzz may be the catalyst needed to expand learning opportunities for tech savvy students via mobile phones, or other web-enabled handheld devices.

Web Resources

15 June 2006

Mobile Social Software, Gen Y & Digital Learning Styles

As the first generation to be raised with the Internet, Gen Y has an intuitive ability to use ICT as a means to foster, support, discuss and explore new ideas. As a result, a multi-faceted approach that blends current learning theory, social technologies, and web-enabled mobile devices are the most effective in designing online learning environments.

For example, students can utilize mobile and/or social networking technologies to contribute using related stories, personal experiences, anecdotes and questions to reflect and actively encourage others to contribute as well.

The interactive, collaborative, engaging social activities, combined with the ability to self-publish and remix content on the web, enable students to use technology as a vehicle for presenting and sharing their own work as well as provide feedback on contributions made by other students.

Moreover, due to the wide variety and availability of social software, students are able to choose from multiple formats including text, video, audio, or photos to find the tools that best support their own learning style, interests, and goals.

A recent study by the Irish National Teachers Organization (INTO) found that students are using their mobile phones for just about everything--except making phone calls. According to INTO, only 20% of the 671 students surveyed report using their mobiles to make phone calls, whereas 81% report using their mobile to communicate via text or IM messages.

The INTO survey seems to dovetail with the results of a 2005 Pew Internet and American Life study on teens and technology. Like their peers in Ireland, American youth preferring using IM or TM for everyday conversations with friends.

Other key findings from the Irish National Teachers Organization survey:

  • 96% of 11 & 12 year old students have a mobile phone
  • 60% have a camera on it
  • 72 % say they use it to access the Internet
  • 20% use it to make calls
  • 81% use it to send texts

Recognizing the growing connection between mobile media and youth, the popular social networking community MySpace has teamed with Helio to provide a mobile version that includes access to Yahoo! Mail, Yahoo! Messenger, and various Yahoo! services.

The combination of social interaction with opportunities for peer support and collaboration creates an interesting, engaging, stimulating, and intuitive learning environment for students. Effective course design will need to blend traditional pedagogy with the reality of the media multitasking Gen Y learner.

Clearly, the nearly ubiquitous use of portable media devices on the college campus has provided instructors with a unique opportunity to design mobile learning environments and new innovative pedagogical approaches built around the increasingly mobile landscape.

Web Resources

05 June 2006

Online Community and Identity in Virtual Learning Environments

To those unfamiliar with the social dynamics of virtual learning environments (vle), the online classroom may seem like a neutral environment devoid of human interaction, structure, or emotion.

Despite these assumptions, online instructors and course designers should be aware that students will develop an identity within an online learning community that is both individual and collective.

As students collaborate they form social ties, which in turn, motivates them to establish an identity within the group via active participation and contributions to the collective knowledge pool.

While it may run counter to traditional learning enivronments, teachers in the online space must learn to "step back" and provide students with the "breathing room" required for them to create and form bonds within the online learning community.

In doing so, it allows students to learn in social setting with peers, remain engaged in the topic, receive interaction feedback from peers, and also meets their need for feedback.

In addition, collaborative and interactive projects undertaken in a community structure allow students to interact with other members of the class, identify who has a particular skill or expertise they want to acquire, and provides opportunities for them to model and scaffold this knowledge with their peers.

According to Papert, these types of virtual learning environments allow students to explore and negotiate their understanding of the course content and find ways for the learning to develop a sense of intellectual identity. Through this process learners become motivated on an individual level, as well as fostering a sense of accountability to the group to continue to participate.

The learner in an online community is constructing a base of knowledge on both and individual and group level. As their personal understanding of the subject deepens learners are motivated to contribute to the collective understanding and receive positive feedback from the group.

Anthropologist Lori Kendall, who spent almost two years researching the dynamics of online social identity and community, concluded that members of virtual environments have "intact social systems, and highly charged social relations."

However, unlike the electronic window of television, Kendall found that members of an online community feel that when they connect to an online forum, they enter a social, if not physical space (Kendall, 1999).

In this new digital age, we need to redefine our concept of what constitutes a legitimate “social system” or “social interaction.” In many ways, the effective use of social media to support instruction provides the same or better quality of socialization than a traditional classroom.

If we are truly to expand educational opportunities via online or distance learning programs, we will need to recognize and validate the existence of online communities, relationships, and interaction.

22 May 2006

BBC Skillswise: Reading, Writing, Arithmetic & Community

Skillswise is an online literacy program developed by the BBC to help adult learners improve their reading, math and writing skills.

The Skillwise program features Factsheets, worksheets, interactive quizzes and games to help improve their English and communication skills. Adult learners can use the online community forum to find additional peer support.

But what about the teachers? Never fear! Skillwise has lots of professional development and resources available for teacher too!

The Skillswise Tutors Page provides instructors with their own community board, ICT resources, and newsletter.

The online community is an excellent place to meet and collaborate with other teachers and discover new and innovative ways of teaching and helping adult learners. The reading and writing lessons would also be an excellent resource for teaching ESL/EFL.

This is an excellent resource and one that many adult learners around the globe will find very useful! Kudos to the BBC on another fantastic learning and teaching tool!

Web Resources

09 May 2006

Social Networking, Digital Discourse & Think.com

Kids and teachers can create "debates" on Think.com and invite others to take a position and defend it. Think.com was created by the Oracle Education Foundation, and is available in eight languages.

More from the Think.com web site:

"Only students and teachers from member schools can enter this password-protected learning community. Once inside, members use websites and interactive tools to publish their ideas, collaborate on projects, and build knowledge together."

Thanks to Wesley Fryer for the tip! He has a terrific podcast featuring Cheryl Oaks on "using the Think.com environment to help students learn about Internet safety and appropriate digital discourse."

05 May 2006

eLearning Toolbox: Nuvvo Tutorial

Did you know that you can integrate social bookmarking services like MyWeb2, Blinklist, or del.ic.ious into your Nuvvo course pages?

Yep, it's true!

Most "Web 2.0" services provide users with the HTML snippet (sometimes called a badge) to embed content on another web site or blog. This means there are endless possibilities for you to weave interaction and on-demand resources into your course.

How about using Slide to insert a slideshow in your course? Or embed a Google, YouTube, or SelfCast video into your curriculum. The human voice is a powerful teaching tool, so why not try using a YackPack audio group into your course?

Enough talk. Time to get down to business. Here's how you can add a HTML snippet into your Nuvvo course:

All you have to do is create a LearnPage (or EvalPage) and insert a Rich Text area. that will bring up a mini word processor into which you can directly insert HTML code. Look for the HTML button in the top right corner. 

Easy peasy! So give it a try!

Thanks to John Green over at Nuvvo for the directions on how to integrate the HTML badges into course pages!

03 May 2006

Geographic Literacy

Houston (that's in Texas) we have a problem.

According to the 2006 Geographic Literacy Study, most American young adults between the ages of 18 to 24 have a limited understanding of basic geographic skills.

In fact, of those surveyed, only 54% answered all of the questions correctly. Among the findings:

  • 37% could identify Iraq on a map.
  • 88% can't find Afghanistan on a map.
  • 20% think Sudan is in Asia.
  • 48% believe the majority population in India is Muslim.
  • 43% can't find Ohio on a map.

To combat this trend, the National Geographic Education Foundation has launched, My Wonderful World, a new literacy campaign designed to give kids the global knowledge they will need to survive in this increasingly "Flat World."

The My Wonderful World web site contains lesson plans, and other activities and resources for teachers, parents, and kids!

The Association of American Geographers (ARGUS) has compiled a myriad of geography teaching materials along with a text which contains 26 case studies that illustrate major geographic concepts, transparency masters, a teacher's guide, and an interactive CD.

Digital Geography is an UK-based website for teachers focused on using ICT and social software resources in the geography curriculum.

Noel Jenkins, the brains behind Digital Geography, uses Google Earth and Flickr, along with his own model curriculum (including animation), to make geography a fun and active learning experience for students.

These are just a few of the many digital resources available on the web that can provide teachers with the building blocks and ideas to integrate geographic knowledge and skills into their curriculum.

Web Resources

02 May 2006

Nuvvo: Put the Learning Back in eLearning

O Canada 2.0! The country that brought us Flickr, the Yahoo! Translating Proxy and Gretzky has once again dipped into its talent pool and produced the innovative Nuvvo Learning Management System (LMS).

Nuvvo & Digital Learning Styles

Nuvvo provides a bevy of easy-to-use tools to help instructors weave interactive and social activities into their own online learning portal. Oh, yeah--it's free!

Here are just a few of the features built into Nuvvo to help instructors create an eLearning course that will appeal to today's digital learning styles:

  • Each Nuvvo course is assigned its own unique URL, providing instructors with their own eLearning portal.
  • Instructors can create learn pages, as well as insert files, images, video, & multimedia.
  • Uploaded video is integrated into the page & played in the browser. No file download required!
  • Assessment tools: Nuvvo has templates for quizzes, tests, assignment sheets!
  • Customize your course with your own color scheme, or use Nuvvo templates.
  • Nuvvo provides support for iCal integration and course management.
  • Asynchronous interaction is supported via Nuvvo blogs.

eLearning with a Twist

In addition to a host of really slick course development tools, Nuvvo also provides instructors with the resources to market, advertise, and get paid for thier course via the eLearning Market.

Nuvvo is a LMS with a twist--a twist of cold hard cash! Think of the Nuvvo eLearning Market as an eBay + eLearning mash-up!

Nuvvo and the Web 2.o Sandbox

And because Nuvvo knows how to "play nice," you can integrate some of your other favorite Web 2.o toys into your Nuvvo course.

This means you can insert a HTML snippet for your Flickr photo badge, social bookmarking badge (e.g. MyWeb 2.0/del.ic.ious/BlinkList), or audio messaging group like YackPack into your eLearning portal.

Learning 2.0 for Teachers

"Sharing knowledge is a lovely thing." -Jamie Oliver

Nuvvo is a breakthrough in LMS platforms. It's simple, yet powerful. And it's web-based architecture means that instructors can focus on what they love to do, instead of struggling with the technology.

In short, Nuvvo let's teachers be teachers. Because after all, learning isn't about technology, it's about relationships!

Web Resources

30 April 2006

Steve Westly: OpenCourseWare & Textbooks for California Schools

Here in California, 2006 is an election year. Like the other candidates running for governor, Steve Westly is promising to improve our public school system.

But moving past the expected campaign rhetoric, Westly has taken the bold stand of openly endorsing the use and integration of OpenCourseWare resources and open content textbooks for California schools.

There's a saying in American politics: "As goes California, so goes the nation." Win or lose, Westly's endorsement is important because it will provide a national spotlight for the open education movement.

Very exciting news don't you think?

Web Resources

26 April 2006

Download History: BBC Open News Video Archive

via BBC News: "For the first time in its history BBC News is opening its archives to the UK public for a trial period.

You can download nearly 80 news reports covering iconic events of the past 50 years including the fall of the Berlin Wall, crowds ejecting soldiers from Beijing's Tiananmen Square and behind-the-scenes footage of the England team prior to their victory over West Germany in 1966.

You are welcome to download the clips, watch them, and use them to create something unique. This is a pilot and we want to understand your creative needs. We'd like to see your productions and showcase some of the most interesting ones we receive.

Before you start downloading, there are certain terms and conditions you must read and agree to, about how the clips can be used. Find out more about the rules in brief and all you need to know about this trial."

Web Resources

25 April 2006

Moodle + YackPack = MoodlePack

Today I received fantastic news from Timothy Takemoto about a new YackPack group he started especially for the Moodle community:

"Thank you very much indeed Derek for bringing our attention to this tool. I have created a Moodlers yackpack so that Moodlers can test YackPack more easily. All you have to do is click on the link... Please click on the link to join: Launch and join Moodlers YackPack."

Come join us and learn all the ways you can use YackPack in Moodle...And thanks to Tim for starting the MoodlePack!

Web Resources

23 April 2006

EnglishPod: Learn English on Your Terms

via Humanaught: "Learn English with free daily podcasts and a personal learning center.

There is no need for inconveniently scheduled classroom lessons. Use EnglishPod to learn English when, or wherever it's most convenient."

This EFL/ESL English language course is taught by the same team that produces the highly popular ChinesePod series.

Web Resources

22 April 2006

Building Communities and Sharing Knowledge

ABSTRACT: A grassroots movement is on the verge of sweeping through the academic world. The "open access movement" is based on a set of intuitions that are shared by a remarkably wide range of academics: that knowledge should be free and open to use and re-use; that collaboration should be easier, not harder; that people should receive credit and kudos for contributing to education and research; and that concepts and ideas are linked in unusual and surprising ways and not the simple linear forms that textbooks present.

Connexions, a non-profit start-up launched at Rice University in 1999, aims to reinvent how we write, edit, publish, and use textbooks (via Google Video).

Web Resources

20 April 2006

It's About the Process: Social Studies Film Festival '06

On Monday I spent an interesting afternoon at Newhart Middle School in Mission Viejo as a judge for the Social Studies Film Festival. The students in Ms. Oliver's class made iMovies for their social studies projects.

The students found images and video clips on the web, conducted research, wrote a screenplay, and then assembled their project using Apple iMovie and green screen software.

The films were on ancient China and India and boy did I learn a lot!

Did you know that India was the first country to raise chickens as a domestic animal? I also learned that Confucius was very much a believer in community and constructivist leadership. Who knew?

Most importantly, it's clear that Ms. Oliver understands that it's not just about using technology in the classroom!

Her techno-constructivist, project-based approach is about creating a collaborative environment for students and allowing them the freedom to use technology as a means to explore, build relationships, and in the process, actively engage in the subject matter.

The films were really, really impressive. And I'm sure a couple of these kids are bound for fame at Sundance... so watch out Speilberg, Lucas, and Lee...here comes the net generation!

Web Resources


My friend Gayle teaches writing, speech, and EFL/ESL classes at Kanto Gakuen University and Toyo University in Japan. Like other members of the Net Generation, her students love their mobile phones, blogging, and other types of social media.

I sent Gayle a link to YackLearning.net and she thought YackPack was a fantastic learning tool to weave into her curriculum. However, after viewing the YackLearning movie, Gayle still had one burning question:

"Sent ya a recording/mssg. What do you call that? We said "ping" for AIMing...dish me the jargon. ;-)"

Good question Gayle. I wondered the same thing when I started Yacking. Thankfully, the uber cool team at YackPack took a break from the YackLab and put together a Yack-ictionary.

So, from the YackPack home office in Santa Rosa, here's the dish:

YackLingo Yack: An audio message
YackPack: The group with whom you Yack
Yacker: The voice behind the Yack
YackTrack: A series of yacks that play in sequence
PackHost: The Yacker hosting a pack
YackCast: The yacks you send out for all the world to hear
YackStack: A stack of messages
YackFAQ: Come on, you know what this is
YackCircle: A visual element, the circle you see on the screen

Hope that clears it up for you Gayle. Hopefully, the YackLingo terms won't get "lost in translation." Or is that yacklation?

16 April 2006

Sprechen Sie Deutsch in YackPack!

Last week I introduced Martina Schubert, creator of the Let's Speak German podcast, to YackLearning.

In case you missed it, YackLearning.net is a new site developed by YackPack to highlight the use of audio messaging in education and training.

Well, Martina immediately saw the possibilities for using audio messaging to teach languages and implemented YackPack into Let's Speak German. That's fantastic!

When I took a look at her YackPack classroom, I was amazed to see how many of her students had signed up to lernen Sie Deutsch (how am I doing Maxie?) in YackPack!

Gute Arbeit Maxie!

Web Resources

13 April 2006

YackPack: Grading & Narrative Feedback

I've already showed you how YackPack can be used to foster a collaborative, inclusive, and interactive learning environment. But did you know you can also use YackPack as a grading, narrative feedback, and assessment tool?

Yep. It's true.

And YackPack founder BJ Fogg has created a short movie to show you how he uses it for grading at Stanford University. So grab the popcorn and click here to find out how you too can grade with YackPack.

Web Resources

10 April 2006

mLearning Toolbox: Adam Burt Guide

A few weeks ago, Sean O'Sullivan sent me a really terrific mLearning resource put together by Adam Burt. I thought I'd pass his excellent guide to creating mobile on-demand live/non-live video and audio content along to debaird.net readers.

Thanks Sean!


09 April 2006

Digital History: The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake

Like every garden, San Francisco is not without a curse.
While the curse may differ in each garden--Eden had the serpent, Los Angeles has drought, the Midwest has tornadoes, the Gulf Coast has hurricanes, and San Francisco has earthquakes--the results can be catastrophic.

Why are these garden infested with such crushing destruction?

Perhaps Wallace Stegner explains it best: "Where you find the greatest Good, there you will also find the greatest Evil, for Evil likes Paradise every bit as much as Good does." Nobody understands the severe consequences of Evil in Paradise more than San Franciscans--especially those living in the garden on April 18, 1906.

The residents of San Francisco--the Italians of North Beach, the millionaires on Nob Hill, and the Chinese in their underground caverns--all lay in peaceful slumber, unaware of the impending affliction to befall their beloved city. The sun was just beginning to rise when "that crack under the smiling hills" began to tremble and quake at twelve minutes and six seconds after five, April 18, 1906.

2006 marks the 100th Anniversary of the San Francisco earthquake.

Not only was this one of the great natural disasters to hit the United States, it was also one of the first to be documented in the mass media through film and photography.

There are a plethora of history, language arts, or geography resources available on the web to help students learn more about the San Francisco earthquake. These resources can be used to jump start a discussion on how people, cities, and governments respond to natural disasters.

1906 San Francisco Earthquake Resources

08 April 2006

eLearning Toolbox: YackPack Tutorial

Barry Jahn has prepared an excellent and easy-to-follow tutorial on how to use YackPack in the classroom. Yackpack is an amazing interpersonal podcasting tool designed by a team of programmers at Stanford University that takes no special software or expertise to use.


06 April 2006

eLearning Toolbox: The Learned Man

I recently received an email from a BlendedEdu reader in Mumbai (Bombay) telling me about his eLearning blog, The Learned Man. This blog provides a fancinating look at how the eLearning space is growing in India, China, and the rest of the world.

The Learned Man is an online resource that seeks to highlight the latest and greatest in the eLearning and training industry, as well as a unique look into this growing industry.

Great work Ankush!


01 April 2006

Spell it with Orangoo!

Orangoo: The simple* spell checker.

Here are five excellent reasons to use Orangoo:

  • This little application lets you spell correct from any system or computer that has Internet access.
  • There is support for 11 languages.
  • The code is free, you can use it in your own web applications.
  • Your privacy is important, no text is logged.
  • In the future you may need to spell check some text, why not bookmark this service? (list via Orangoo)

*Simple is good!

30 March 2006

Virtual Fieldtrip Resources

The Getty Museum

  • Lesson Plans: All lessons meet California state visual arts content standards. Includes lessons and curricula for K-12 and ESL teachers.
  • Whyville: An online world where kids can chat with other kids from all over the globe.
  • TeacherArtExchange: Online listserv for teachers and educators.

Virtual Sweden

  • Louvre, 360: Panoramic view of the Louvre Museum in Paris, France.
  • Cathedral of Uppsala: A virtual visit to a cathedral in Stockholm, Sweden which was inaugurated in 1435 after nearly 200 years of construction.

WebMuseum Network

Digital Historian


Tech Museum of Innovation

British Library

  • Online resources, collections, virtual exhibits, images, and sound collection too!

The Science Museum

  • The Science Museum in London has teaching resources and online exhibitions! Cool stuff for students & teachers alike!

If you know of any other great online exhibits, museum, or virtual field trip resources, please feel free to post them in the comments section!

28 March 2006

TurnHere: Short Films for Learning

Need some video microcontent for your social studies or history class? Then you need to check out TurnHere!

TurnHere is "an Internet video destination which chronicles different neighborhoods and places across the country with short (2-4 min) video tours of historical sites, cultural neighborhoods, history, and people." These films can be viewed on your computer, or even downloaded onto your iPod (video podcast!).

There are a wide variety of TurnHere films that can be used in an educational context in the classroom:

  • You can even travel to NY, NY and learn all about peanut butter (and even catch a glimpse of Elvis)!

Turn Here Video Links

26 March 2006


The objective of the LibriVox project is to make all books in the public domain available, for free, in audio format on the internet. LibriVox is a totally open source, free content, public domain project.

Volunteers record chapters of books, and then release the audio files back onto the net (podcast and catalog). These stories can be downloaded on to an iPod or other mp3 player, burned on to a CD, and easily integrated into the curriculum.

The catalog of books is constantly growing and includes audio books for both adults and children. The LibriVox catalog contains many classic children's stories, including: Alice in Wonderland, Great Big Treasury of Beatrix Potter, and Jack London's Call of the Wild.

LibriVox is a great way to combine kid's love of mobile technology with classic literature. But more importantly the LibriVox project provides teachers and students with a virtual library of literature they may not otherwise have access to at their own schools or communities.


24 March 2006

SpeEdChange: Assistive Technology & Learning

Ira Socol maintains an informative weblog, SpeEdChange, where he discusses how assistive technology can impact literacy throughout the school experience.


13 March 2006

Math Moves U

Math Moves U: "Math is at work in more places than you think: Calculating the angle for a successful skateboard jump.

Striking the ball at the right speed to score. Deciding how far your band has to travel to make it to tomorrow's gig. Ordering fabric for the hottest designer's new line."

Math Moves U shows student's how they can follow in the footsteps of famous athletes and X Games Superstars with a little help from some math technology."

06 March 2006

mLearning Toolbox: TivoToGo

Tivo recently announced that it will be rolling out a new program that allows customers to synchronize and download programs to some of the most popular portable devices on the market: the PlayStation Portable (PSP) and the video iPod.

The introduction of the TivoToGo mobile service will provide online and front line instructors with another platform on which they can distribute content and accommodate the increasingly mobile learning styles of today's students.


05 March 2006

YackPack en Français!

eMob YackPack Screencast: Nos amis plus d'à l'eMob ont juste signalé un examen merveilleux de YackPack. Le NIC a également créé un cours d'instruction français de langue pour illustrer à quel point il facile est d'employer YackPack pour e-learning.

Allez vont voir ! Il est magnifique !

Our friends over at the French language e-learning blog eMob have just posted a wonderful review of YackPack. Nic has also created a French language tutorial screencast to illustrate how easy it is to use YackPack.

Great work eMob!


02 March 2006

FlickrEdu: Flat Bobby

via Amber: "These are the adventures of Flat Bobby. Flat Bobby is a close cousin of Flat Stanley. Flat Bobby has been sent out to several people all around the world.

If you would like to invite Flat Bobby into your home, please read the Bobby's letter and let me know. This is my school project.

If you would like to participate by downloading a Flat Bobby clone and taking him on a journey, please feel free to do so. I got the official rule that Flat Bobby is allowed to travel through the internet. Thank you! "

No Amber, thank you! This is a fantastic idea!

There are so many skills being utilized in this type of project. First and foremost, kids are able to utilize several types of social media to learn about world geography and different cultures.

In addition, children are getting the opportunity to develop writing, vocabulary, problem-solving, and technology skills all while engaged in a situated and active learning environment.

What other types of social media tools can students use to document Bobby's travels? There are so many possibilities!

Students can use Yahoo! Trip Planner to plot out Bobby's next adventure and learn more about the museums, parks, and other cultural sites in the countries Bobby is visiting. Once Bobby sends his pictures to the classroom, students can create a Flickr photo album in the Trip Planner!

As Bobby meets kids in other countries, teachers can use collaborative web tools like YackPack to provide students with opportunities for cross-cultural exchange and friendship. Students can use PowerPoint and ProfCast to create and publish a podcast of Bobby's adventures!

Thanks again Amber. Best wishes to Flat Bobby for continued safe travels!


01 March 2006

Digital History: Google Video & The National Archives

History Deserves The Best
by Jon Steinback
Product Marketing Manager, Google Video

"In junior high, I learned about most of history's greatest moments through the least engaging media possible: the yellowed pages of outdated textbooks or the unfocused projections of film strips on my classroom walls.

For many momentous events, words and pictures don't transmit the full sense of what has transpired. To see for one's self, through video and audio, brings an event to life. Over 70 years ago, the National Archives was founded with the express purpose of preserving these moments in their full glory, serving America by documenting our government and our nation.

This includes truly momentous events like the moon landing, as well as rare historical footage like government documentaries from the 1930s and battlefield stories from World War II. Today we're very pleased to tell you that we're helping the National Archives take one step closer to realizing its vision.

Together, we're launching a pilot program to digitize their video content and offer it to everyone in the world for free. I think both students and teachers can agree that any of these would make for an exciting day in the classroom:

It's so refreshing to see history conveyed with more clarity than a filmstrip can offer." (via Google Blog)

Encyclopodia: Wikipedia Mobile

What is Encyclopodia? (en)

Encyclopodia is a free software project that brings the Wikipedia, which is one of the largest encyclopedias on the world, on the Apple iPod MP3-Player. It has been successfully tested on a third-generation iPod and on an iPod mini, but it should also work on other iPod generations.

Was ist Encyclopodia? (de)

Encyclopodia is ein freies Softwareprojekt, das die große Enzyklopädie Wikipedia auf Ihren iPod bringt. Encyclopodia wurde erfolgreich mit einem iPod der dritten Generation und einem iPod Mini getestet, sollte aber auch mit anderen iPod-Modellen Funktionieren.

This mobile version of Wikipedia holds real potential as a means to distribute educational content to students. Encyclopodia is yet another example of an innovative use of the iPod in a mlearning context.


25 February 2006

Digital Geography

Digital Geography is an UK-based website for teachers focused on using ICT and social software resources in the geography curriculum.

Noel Jenkins, the brains behind Digital Geography, uses Google Earth and Flickr, along with his own model curriculum (including animation), to make geography a fun, interactive, and active learning experience for students.

This is a perfect example of a teacher using ICT to support instruction and student-centered learning environments. With so many resources, Digital Geography (and its former incarnation Juicy Geography), it's no wonder that teachers from every corner of the world are flocking to this treasure trove of resources.

Brilliant! Just brilliant!


Media Awareness Network

The Media Awareness Network (MNet) is home to one of the world’s most comprehensive collections of media education and Internet literacy resources. The website has a wide variety of free resources for teachers (en)(fr), parents (en)(fr), and students (en)(fr).

One of their special initiatives is the Be Web Aware (en)(fr) program, which includes many helpful tips for teens using social software, instant messaging, blogs, and web search. The resources are available in both French and English.


23 February 2006

MemoryWiki: Curriculum Idea

MemoryWiki is interested in developing features specifically designed for use in educational settings.

This page has some ideas for how MemoryWiki can be used in Elementary, Junior High and High School classrooms as a part of History, Social Studies or Creative Writing classes.

Because MemoryWiki is always changing and its collection of memoirs is expanding, check the site often for new ideas and uses.

22 February 2006

What is a Blog?

TheWeblogProject is the first open source, FREE, grassroots movie to promote and evangelize bloggers, the blogosphere, and their potential.

While most of the interviews are conducted in English, a few of the interviews, like the one with Eugenio La Teana, Director of Research and Development for RTL 102.5 are in Italian.

After watching several interviews, I found myself reflecting on Eugenio La Teana's observation on how blogs can be used as a way to communicate and share our emotions:

"It's a tool for communicating, it's a virtual 'square of emotions.' It's an instrument that changes while using it, for sure the essence of it is to be able to share what our emotions are which can be in text, video, audio or images.

But this way of sharing emotions can be described as 'falls'; you don't have to stop to think but add the most of contents you can, waiting for comments, in order to create a virtual forum where it's more personal, thus creating a flowing debate."

Eugenio detto buono, detto bene! Brillante!


21 February 2006

iPod and Language Learning

iPods Helping Languages Click: "Moorestown Friends High School is using one of today's hottest media devices to help students acquire foreign language skills, providing students in 12 French and Spanish classes with iPods to use to practice speaking and improve pronunciation."

20 February 2006

mLearning Toolbox: Video, PSP, & iPod

Google Video

Video content from Google Video Search can be downloaded in either an iPod or Sony PSP compatible file, making it even easier for instructors to aggregate video-based content for use on mobile devices.

In addition, Google Video provides users with the HTML code required to easily embed video into a course blog or website, which in turn may be viewed by students on a web-enabled mobile device.

CNET Insider Secrets

CNET Insider Secrets has put together an informative and easy-to-follow tutorial which will show you how to put video on your PSP. Actually, it's more of a hack tip using Videora Labs' PSP Video 9.0, available for download here.

Lifehacker: YouTube videos to iPod or PSP?

Lifehacker explains how to use a Greasemonkey script to save video from YouTube onto a portable device like the PSP or video iPod.

Apple Video iPod

Apple has put together a tutorial on creating video for iPod using QuickTime, easily converting video into a format that iPod understands.


19 February 2006

Ready! Set! Read!


Read Across America is a literacy program sponsored by the National Teachers Association (NEA). The annual program coincides with the birthday of Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known to children around the world as Dr. Seuss!

Motivating children to read is an important factor in student achievement and creating lifelong successful learners. Research has shown that children who are motivated and spend more time reading do better in school.

Target is supporting the Read Across America program by sponsoring a Happy Bookday celebration in their stores on February 26th. In addition, they have put together a very fun, colorful, and interactive companion website called Ready. Sit. Read.

Kids (young or old) can use the Ready. Sit. Read community to pick a book, form an online book group, design and send ClubVites to friends, and create their own My Club online meeting space.

And if they get stuck on deciding on a name for their club, there is even a quirky Club Name and Logo Generator, complete with a whimsical flying monkey friend to help out!

There's even a coupon for $2.00 off any book at Target. This is a fun and interactive way to combine kids love of technology with reading.

And for the record, my favorite Dr. Seuss book is The Sneeches. Why? Well, it's all about one of my favorite topics: community!


18 February 2006

ProfCast: Publish Keynote or Powerpoint

ProfCast: "An ideal tool for recording and publishing your live Keynote or PowerPoint presentation.

All elements of your presentation, including slide timing and voice narration, are recorded. You can then publish your complete presentation on the web as a podcast, complete with RSS support."


08 February 2006

Torino 2006: Higher! Faster! Stronger!

"The U.S. Olympic Base Camp originally launched with the 2002 Olympic Winter Games as the official source for "kid friendly" information about U.S. Olympic Team, focusing on enhancing kids reading skills while providing them with interactive lessons in teamwork, discipline, vision, and goal setting.

New for 2006, an interactive game called, "Play Sissy's Hockey Havoc," features on 2006 Olympians and a Q&A where some of the greatest Summer Olympians talk about their favorite Winter Olympic moments.

Features include interactive Olympic value-oriented cartoons: "What about Bobsled," "If First You Don't Succeed," and "You Snooze You Loose," communicating key Olympic Ideals of teamwork, discipline and persistence.

Plus, interactive Olympic-themed games and trivia, word searches, as well as printable drawings, coloring and assignment sheet pages for kids to share with friends and parents are also included." (via USOC)


07 February 2006

MemoryWiki: Everyone Has A Story

MemoryWiki, launched by Marshall Poe of The Atlantic Monthly, is a collaborative storytelling project which aims to provide a forum for people to share their common stories and preserve them for future generations.

Students can use MemoryWiki to read first person accounts of the American Civil Rights Movement, like LaVon W. Bracy's memories of the desegregation of Florida schools. Or Dai Wang's story about her brother, Hu Wang, who died in the Tiananmen Square Massacre.

Why not have your students contribute to MemoryWiki as part of the curriculum? Let them share their memories of the 9/11 Attack, Hurricane Katrina, or the Iraq War as a way to practice their writing skills. Or have them interview their grandparents about life in the turbulent 1960s as part of a history project.

In his book, The Art of Possibility, Benjamin Zander defines the invisible threads that hold us together as "the we story."

As Zander explains:

"The we story defines a human being in a specific way: It says we are central selves seeking to contribute, naturally engaged, forever in a dance with each other. It points to relationship rather than to individuals, to communication patterns, gestures, and movement...By telling the WE story, an individual becomes a conduit for this new inclusive entity, wearing its eyes and ears, feeling its heart, thinking its thoughts..."

MemoryWiki provides a platform for students to participate and contribute to the telling of the "we story." Storytelling is an important social learning practice that strengthens cultural ties while also providing a context for shared memories to be carried forward to future generations.


01 February 2006

YackPack:"Emotionally Satisfying"

Brian Bergstein, Technology Writer for the Associated Press, has just written a review of YackPack. His verdict: YackPack Is More Emotionally Satisfying Than E-Mail, Voice Mail.

Smart man that Brian Bergstein, but then I've been bullish about YackPack from the get go!

Why does Brian love YackPack?: "Not only do tone and emotion come across, but I also felt freer to ramble in a natural, conversational way when I didn't have to type out my thoughts."

Spot on!

YackPack provides students with a platform to engage in social, collaborative, and active dialogue with their peers and instructor, without having to spend time trying to figure out how to make the technology work.

Moreover, because YackPack is so easy to use, it gives everyone in the learning community a chance to participate. No struggling to type quickly in a synchronous environment, or worrying about composing a post in an asynchronous forum.

The ability of students to exchange information and build relationships with each other in a "natural, conversational way" is what makes YackPack such an invaluable online educational tool.

And now it's even easier for you to use YackPack on your site--just pop the handy HTML snippet into your blog, web page, MSN or Yahoo! Group and presto: You're ready to start Yacking!

B.J. Fogg has designed a product that anyone--from the Net Generation to the Greatest Generation can use. But ultimately, YackPack isn't about technology, it's about relationships.


27 January 2006

Buzzing about BuddyBuzz

BuddyBuzz is an application that allows users to quickly read text on a mobile phone using a variation of the rapid serial visual presentation (RSVP) interface.

Instead of presenting large chunks of content on a mobile phone screen, BuddyBuzz shows one word at a time, creating an interface which allows users to read and comprehend text on mobiles. Users are able to control delivery via the arrow keys on the mobile phone to speed up, slow down, or repeat text.

Developed in the Persuasive Technology Labs at Stanford University, BuddyBuzz delivers customized content directly to a mobile phone. Currently BuddyBuzz delivers mostly news (Reuters, CNET) and content from several leading weblogs.

But what makes BuddyBuzz unique, is its ability to predict and deliver content users will find relevant and/or interesting based on their previous ratings. Because BuddyBuzz is a mobile based technology, it allows students to have anytime, anywhere, customized, on-demand learning opportunities.

BuddyBuzz has several mLearning applications, including the ability to serve as a content delivery system. Instructors can upload articles directly to their BuzzBox and then share them with students in their BuddyBuzz community.

Students can rate the articles from the instructor, and have BuddyBuzz fine tune future content to meet their needs. In this manner, BuddyBuzz is utilized as a constructivist learning tool to support student’s intrinsic interests, motivations, and learning goals.

As mobile technologies and mLearning become more ubiquitous, applications like BuddyBuzz may be the catalyst needed to expand learning opportunities for tech savvy students via mobile phones, PSP, or other web-enabled handheld devices.


26 January 2006

Social Media Safety

Recently it seems like I'm Bill Murray in Groundhog Day. Just about every day I find myself having the same discussion about the potential dangers of social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook.

And the media--from Dr. Phil to Dateline NBC--have been full of stories urging parents to log on and see what their children are sharing on their blogs and social networking profiles.

According to a 2005 study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, 96% of 8 to 18 year olds are online. Even more shocking, although not surprising, the Kaiser study reported that 31% of respondents admit lying about their age in order to visit, register, or participate in a social networking community. And a 2005 Pew Internet study found that 57% of teens use social software to create and publish their own content.

Now even though they are the most web savvy generation ever, they are still teenagers who haven't learned how to negotiate relationships with people they know, let alone people in cyberspace.

I don’t have the solution, but I do know that all of us--parents, teachers, and educators--need to take a rational, measured approach on the issue.

At the same time, we need work on educating students to be more aware of the potential hazards and implications of disclosing too much personal information on social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook.

Social Media Safety Resources

24 January 2006

Utah State University Open Courseware

Utah State University (USU) is one of several universities providing free and open content course materials for educators, students, and self-learners around the world through the Open CourseWare (OCW) initiative.

One of the leading advocates of open education, USU/OCW offers a wide variety of courses including: Intro to Instructional Design, Cultural Anthropology, and Understanding Online Interaction.

In September 2006 The Center for Open and Sustainable Learning (COSL), part of the Instructional Technology Department at Utah State University, will host the 2nd Annual Open Education Conference.


23 January 2006

Film Education Resources

This year the Sundance Film Festival is celebrating its 25th Anniversary as the premier film festival in the United States. As part of the Sundance Film Festival's educational outreach program, the Sundance Institute is sponsoring Sundance Shorts, an online showcase of short films.

The Young Filmmaker Program, held each summer at the Sundance Institute, provides a unique opportunity for students interested in pursuing a career in independent film to meet other young filmmakers and explore their talent and creativity.

The UK-based Film Education also provides teachers with several study resources including, film specific CD-ROMs and educational online resources, study guides, generic study guides and videos, plus education materials in digital video editing.

What I admire most about the independent film community, in addition to their creative and collaborative culture, is their willingness to explore new ideas, concepts, and possibilities with passion!

Perhaps we could import a bit of that indie film passion into the education community by actively seeking out new and innovative approaches to learning, teaching, and education technology.


Creative Archive License Group

The Creative Archive License Group invites you to "come and get" content from their archives and "Find it, Rip it, Use it, Share it." This is the latest consortium of media giants to provide content for creative re-use for non-commercial purposes.

via CALG: "The BBC, the bfi, Channel 4 and the Open University set up the Creative Archive License Group in April 2005 to make their content available for download under the terms of the Creative Archive License, a single, shared user license scheme for the downloading of moving images, audio and stills."

One note: Content made available under the Creative Archive License copyright "is made available for users within the UK for use primarily within the UK."

Those of you outside the UK can search for Creative Commons licensed content through the Yahoo!+Creative Commons search engine, which also includes photographs from the Flickr community pool.

And soon, you'll have access to millions of pages of open content from the Open Content Alliance.


20 January 2006

Youth Radio: Learning by Doing

Youth Radio: "Youth Radio's mission is to promote young people's intellectual, creative and professional growth through training and access to media and to produce the highest quality original media for local and national outlets.

Through hands-on practice, working relationships with industry professionals, and production of award-winning programming, Youth Radio students learn the basics of broadcasting. In the process, they're exposed to a broad spectrum of media-related careers.

But technical training is only part of the picture. Through their journalism education, Youth Radio students also strengthen their foundation in basic "life-skills": verbal expression, writing, computer technology, critical thinking, conflict resolution, and more."

Youth Radio, based in the San Francisco Bay Area, is now accepting applications for their next session. Students between the ages of 14 and 17 can download the application or learn more about Youth Radio classes on their website.

19 January 2006

Sony PSP as a mLearning Tool

A recent study by the Kaiser Family Foundation, Generation M: Media in the Lives of 8-18 Year-olds, noted that 55% of teenagers had access to a portable gaming device. In fact, other studies from the UK indicate that more young people have a Sony PSP than a handheld computer.

There has been a lot of discussion about how educators have been using the iPod to deliver content via podcasts. But what about the PSP?

Among its many features, the PSP has an integrated multimedia player, video and audio capabilities, an e-book reading application, and HTML compatible browser capability with Wi-Fi.

In light of the Kaiser Family Foundation report, perhaps it's time to start thinking about how to use the PSP, and other portable gaming devices, as a way to aggregate educational content and provide active learning opportunities for the gamer generation?


17 January 2006

Looking Forward: Thinking about mLearning

"The fates guide those who go willingly; those who do not, they drag" ~ Seneca

In late 2005, Dr. Mercedes Fisher and I began a new case study looking at the ways in which mobile technology, coupled with (mobile-based) content, can provide students with a platform for active learning, collaboration, and reflection in higher education.

The future of education, beyond the integration of Web 2.0 technologies into the classroom, is the migration of social media and learning from the PC onto mobile and handheld devices.

The European Union, in addition to their ongoing mobile education research, is also actively working on implementing several mLearning initiatives.

Moreover, mobile-based learning may (finally!) provide a way to close the digital divide and provide educational access and equality for children in developing nations.

In a recent speech, Yahoo! CEO Terry Semel pointed to some trends in terms of Internet access and mobile devices:

  • 900 million people connect to the Internet via a PC
  • 2 billion cell phones, many of these are web-enabled
  • 50% of those outside the US will connect to the web via a mobile or handheld device, NOT a PC

One thing is clear: The convergence of mobile technologies and student-centered learning environments will require academic institutions to design and implement new and more effective user experience strategies for use in mobile learning environments (MLE).

I'm looking forward to sharing more of our research on mLearning, including our final case study, with BlendedEdu readers soon!

Additional Readings

15 January 2006

Martin Luther King Day

This week America will observe Martin Luther King Day, a holiday which celebrates and honors the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the American Civil Rights Movement.

There are many teaching resources on the web for you to help your students gain a deeper understanding of the Civil Rights Movement and contributions of Dr. King:

  • Get your students inspired by having them watch the footage from the 1963 March on Washington where Dr. King delivered his "I Have a Dream" speech.


14 January 2006

Open Content, KitZu, and Creativity

Over on Moving at the Speed of Creativity, Wesley Fryer recently posted about the open content multimedia resources for teachers and students available via KitZu.

KitZu, a project of education publisher Hall Davidson, encourages students to use their vast resources to Find, Learn, and Create multimedia projects.


13 January 2006

RECAP Educational Podcast Directory

via RECAP: "Welcome to the first UK directory and the best website to find podcasts for educational use - all the listed podcasts are suitable for use with children and young people at school, college and elsewhere.

With more and more audio, enhanced and video podcasts on the Internet, we only select and list the quality podcasts using our published criteria. All of 2000+ podcasts in our directory are "family friendly" and are good examples of educational podcasting."

There are some really interesting podcasts, like Inside Africa TV, in the RECAP podcast directory. And don't forget to check out their new video podcasts.


11 January 2006


PictureAustralia, in conjunction with The National Library of Australia (NLA), has invited members of the community to "...contribute to the contemporary archive of photographic images depicting the people, places, and events, which make Australia unique by photographing Australia as they see it and then uploading the images into Flickr..."

The images collected in the PictureAustralia Flickr groups will be added to the NLA photo archives which contain 1 million historical images documenting life in Australia and Australiana.

PictureAustralia has created two public groups in Flickr where "citizen photo journalists" can upload their photographs and show the rest of the world what it means to be Australian in the 21st Century: Australia Day and People, Places and Events.

The PictureAustralia project has lots of potential as a techno-constructivist learning activity in the classroom. A teacher could develop a project-based lesson plan around history, photography, computer skills and software, or social history. Who knows, you might discover the next Kevin Sites or Dorothea Lange in your classroom!

The PictureAustralia Project is an excellent example of an organization using social media to provide opportunities for collective reflection of shared reference points, goals, experiences, and civic engagement.


09 January 2006

Slickr: Create a Flickr Screen Saver

Have you tried Slickr? You can use Slickr to create a Flickr screen saver that shows images by:

  • User >Favorites, Set, Tags, Contacts
  • Group
  • Everyone> Tags, Recent

(via Cell Door Software)

06 January 2006

LearnOutLoud: Audio Based Learning Resources

LearnOutLoud: "LearnOutLoud.com is your one-stop destination for audio and video learning. Browse over 9,000 educational audio books, MP3 downloads, podcasts, and DVD videos."


05 January 2006

FutureLab: Mobile Technologies and Learning

The UK-based NESTA FutureLab recently released an informative literature review of how mobile technologies can be effectively used to support student learning.

The report, compiled by researchers at the University of Birmingham, includes a discussion of key learning theories along with "real life" examples of web-based applications and mLearning related case studies.

Overall a very good report, and well worth taking the time to read. Moving forward, more and more learning, testing, and content will be delivered to meet the digital learning styles via the almost now ubiquitous mobile phone and other handheld devices.


04 January 2006

Flickr Diorama

Tim Lauer recently shared an example of a student who used Flickr to create a diorama for a science project on Jane Goodall.

This is a pretty brilliant idea and kudos to Sophie for thinking of such a creative use for Flickr!


03 January 2006

mTesting: GoTestGo

Go Test Go: "An exiting new, low-cost method of effectively delivering quality exams, tests, or quizzes through the convenience of a device that the majority of people already carry - the mobile phone.

Test subjects range from those covering the serious pursuit of professional and educational degrees, designations, certifications and licenses; to self-awareness and self-assessment tests, as well as tests developed purely for entertainment. Learn more about different Test Types, Test Features and Test Requirements."

01 January 2006

Nature Podcast

via Yahoo! Podcasts: "Nature is a weekly international journal publishing the finest peer-reviewed research in all fields of science. The Nature Podcast is a free weekly audio show highlighting content from each issue, and interviews with the scientists creating the data.

The Nature Podcast provides insight and context to groundbreaking research, and allows the scientists to explain the significance of their work in their own words."

The weekly Nature podcast is presented and produced by Chris Smith, a doctor, virology researcher and radio presenter from the University of Cambridge, UK. The podcast series covers a wide variety of science related topics including Hobbits, sharks, komodo dragons, and even Pokeman. Yes, that Pokeman.

So have a listen to Dr. Smith and the team from Nature as they explore the mysteries of science through this educational, interesting, and entertaining podcast series!


29 December 2005

BBC Radio

BBC School Radio: "Provides programmes to support teaching across a wide range of primary curriculum areas. The programmes offer a flexible, convenient resource with learning outcomes which carefully target curriculum objectives. They offer complete, interactive, ready-to-use sessions intended to inspire and motivate pupils."

27 December 2005


Blip is trying to simplify the vlogging (video+blog) experience with an easy, one click process to upload video to your blog. In addition to being able to movlog (mobile+video+blog) your video, Blip allows you to add tags and even add your video to the Internet Archive for safe keeping.

To recap: Click, Upload, and consider it Blip'd! Yes, it's that easy...

On an educational related note, Blip co-founders Jared and Diana recently taught a course on vlogging and posted some interesting observations about who is vlogging and using social media in the BlipBlog.

Blip is a video sharing site worth keeping your eye on....


16 December 2005

SFMOMA Artcast Podcast

I recently received an email from Andrew Goodrich (SFMOMA visitor services) regarding a new podcast series being launched by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA). Here are the details:

"SFMOMA has released its new podcast series, called SFMOMA Artcasts. Each monthly installment has two parts: an audiozine filled with a variety of short features related to works on view and a tour for a current exhibition meant to be used in the galleries.

You don't need to come to the Museum to enjoy the podcast, but if you do bring your downloaded Artcast, we're offering $2 off museum admission through the end of January (with a student I.D. that's only $5!).

To further encourage our visitors to respond to the collection, this podcast announces an invitational that provokes visitors to produce short entries inspired by the Museum.

Our goals in promoting the podcasts are two fold:

  • Encourage you and your readers to download the latest SFMOMA Artcast and send us feedback on how this series can be improved and expanded.
  • Generate additional idea's that we can pass along to the staff - how can we expand our online content to supplement the museum's collection to meet the expectations of internet savvy visitors?"

Questions? Comments? You can send questions or suggestions to: asksfmoma@sfmoma.org

Thanks for the update Andrew!


15 December 2005

Architeacher: Historic Preservation Education

Architeacher: "A major thrust of the program is training teachers to help their students value beauty and function in architectural design.

Since Architeacher values the elegance and craftsmanship of buildings from the past, strong focus is given to building student attitudes toward preserving the architectural heritage."


12 December 2005

Education Podcast Network (EPN)

Education Podcast Network: "The Education Podcast Network is an effort to bring together into one place, the wide range of podcast programming that may be helpful to teachers looking for content to teach with and about, and to explore issues of teaching and learning in the 21st century."

05 December 2005

Storytelling U, YackPack & You

"The experience of participating in a story, as teller or audience, is typically that of being caught up in it while it is being told...
Stories convey meaning about the social context and identity of the teller and audience. However, stories also have an effect on that identity and context." - John McLeod

Since the dawn of time, storytelling has been a part of the human experience. From early man's cave drawings to the tall tales of the American South, stories are a mirror which show us where we've been, and shape where we are going as a society.

Sharing our experiences has the power to build bridges of understanding between cultures, and provide generational continuity in the circle of life.

Storytelling is also a powerful learning and teaching tool. The story form model provides a context in which teachers can bridge cognitive roadblocks, scaffold knowledge, and actively engage students in social learning activity.

But storytelling, in many communities, is becoming a "lost art."

In partnership with professional storytelling coaches around the country, YackPack has launched Storytelling U to teach and promote the art of storytelling.
This is a wonderful (and free!) techno-constructivist opportunity for your students to learn the art of storytelling, engage in social activity, and learn how to use new technology.

01 December 2005

December 1st: Africa, AIDS, and Children


Today, December 1st, is World AIDS Day.

In many parts of the world, Africa in particular, the spread of AIDS/HIV infection among children is rampant. Consider the following:

  • The LA Times reports that there are one million African children who have been orphaned by AIDS. Even more shocking is that 40% of childhood deaths in Africa are related to HIV infection. (1)
  • PlanUSA, an organization dedicated to children's issues, estimates that "unless relief measures are improved immediately, an estimated 40 million African children will be orphaned by HIV/AIDS by 2010." (2)
  • The ONE Campaign reports that every day 1,400 babies are infected with HIV. Some 15 million children under 17 have lost one or both parents to the disease, the vast majority in sub-Saharan Africa. (3)

I look forward to the time when December 1st becomes a day that we honor the memory of those that died, secure in the knowledge that the ravages of AIDS/HIV are in the past.

Let's make December 1st a day with art, music, love, joy, and most importantly--the sound of children filling the playgrounds and wide open spaces of Africa with laughter.

Until that day, please do what you can.

Educate your friends, family and community regarding the plight of these children. Donate your time, money, and political voice to organizations and causes that are working to provide medical care, education, and other resources for children who have had their lives ravaged by this disease.


Get Involved!

28 November 2005

Open Content Texbooks and Libraries

Textbook Revolution: "In response to the textbook industry’s constant drive to maximize profits instead of educational value, I have started this collection of the existing free textbooks and educational tools available online.

This website has several reasons for being:

  • To serve as a catalog of resources for students and teachers looking for free textbooks (one-stop shopping)
  • To act as a mirror for files. Mirrors help reduce bandwidth costs and prevent files from disappearing if a website goes out of business.
  • To promote the need for and availability of free textbooks.

I’ll be adding books and links as fast as I can. If you have something you’d like to contribute, please email submissions at {textbookrevolution dot org}"


Digital Library Foundation: "The DLF documents and promotes strategies for developing sustainable, scaleable, digital collections, and encourages the development of new collections and collection services. These pages provide information about DLF's work in this area under two heads: new online collections and services, and collection strategies and practices."


International Children's Digital Library: "A public library for the world's children. Read 829 free children's books written in 32 different languages!" The ICDL is a project of the Human- Computer Interaction Laboratory at University of Maryland and was founded with the Internet Archive.

Textbooks give way to digital curriculum: "The march from textbooks to computerized content began to look a little more inevitable this week as educators in Arizona and Tennessee edged closer to the all-digital curriculum." via eSchool News Wire

Page by Page Books: "We have hundreds of classic books you can read right now, all absolutely free! It is an ideal way to expand your horizons, catch up on your reading list, or read books that it seems like everyone else has already read."

27 November 2005

KidCast Podcasting Contest

A few weeks ago I posted about a new book KidCast:Podcasting in the Classroom, by Dan Schmit. On his latest podcast (episode 6) Dan announced the launch of the "Podcasting in the Classroom Give-A-Way."

This is a contest designed for educators to share their ideas for using podcasts in the curriculum, student projects, or classroom activities. Here are a few of the contest details:

"Tune in this week for details about our Podcasting in the Classroom Contest! That's right FTC Publishing is sponsoring a contest in conjunction with the KidCast PodCast to pull together some great ideas about podcasting in the classroom. We'll be giving away an iPod Shuffle™, 5 KidCast Books, and a $100 gift certificate to FTC Publishing every month for the next 6 months!"

And if you haven't already, be sure to check out Dan's book, KidCast:Podcasting in the Classroom!


21 November 2005

KidCast: Podcasting in the Classroom

Dan Schmit, an instructional technologist in the College of Education and Human Sciences at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, has just completed a resource book for educators on podcasting called "KidCast: Podcasting in the Classroom."

Whether you are a podcast producer or just a listener, KidCast will get you and your students started with easy-to-follow directions to help you:

  • Learn the basics of finding and listening to podcasts on the Internet
  • Organize your own podcast show
  • Find low-cost easy to use audio recording and mixing software
  • Create RSS feeds to allow others to subscribe to your show
  • Promote your podcast to build your listener base

So if you've been thinking about integrating podcasts into your curriculum or just interested in learning more about the "how to" of this new technology, Dan's book is an excellent (and timely) place to start. Be sure to check out the companion web site and podcast.

Good work Dan!


16 November 2005

Digital Language Tools

Learn Deutsch: The award-winning site GermanForBeginners began as a simple instructional web page but soon expanded into an award winning German language teaching and resource center.

GFT offers their language tools in a variety of formats including: audio, video, games, Flash-based activities, and even provides social networking via its pen pal program.

Word2Word provides free online resources and tutorials for over 112 different languages. So if you ever wanted to learn Gaelic, Swedish, Swahili, or Armenian, this web site is for you!

The BBC web site, Languages, has a wide variety of tools and resources for students and teachers alike. The web site also provides teachers with Internet, multimedia, and printable curriculum materials.

In addition, they have launched a newly redesigned Spanish language web site complete with video and other activities.

Other useful web-based tools for use in online or distance education language learning curriculum are Skype, (synchronous), YackPack (asynchronous), and Flickr.

15 November 2005

Digital American History

The Digital History web site is a collaborative effort of the University of Houston, Chicago Historical Society, National Park Service, and others interested in using technology as a tool to "enhance teaching and research" in the field of American Studies.

In addition to online exhibits, multimedia, and teacher resources, teachers will find a wide variety of active learning and project-based activities. For example, students can use the vast History Reference Room to create multimedia projects that can be e-mailed, downloaded, or saved on the Digital History servers.

Students can pose questions about American history or the Digital History web site via an interactive feature called Ask the HyperHistorian. The current HyperHistorian is University of Houston professor Steven Mintz.

Another unique feature of the Digital History web site is an online American history textbook. This open content text covers the American experience from Colonization to the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City.

Even students who claim history is boring will find themselves quickly drawn into the rich, interactive world of Digital History.

This is a "must see" for any teacher or student of American history!

Favorite Digital History Links

14 November 2005

Anne Frank Project Site

The Anne Frank Trust UK has put together an interactive website which chronicles the life of Anne Frank as well as curriculum resources and information about World War II.

The goal of the Anne Frank Trust is to "educate and motivate people--particularly young people--to reject prejudice and injustice, and to build a society based on mutual respect, human rights, and courage."

The educational website, Anne Frank Guide, contains a myriad of digital resources for students including, 3D virtual tours, pictures, and audio clips. The website provides several interactive elements which encourage students to take a more active role in their own learning.

Here are just a few features:

  • Students can create an account, browse the different subjects and then choose a topic based on their own interests. Students can also review timelines of major World War II events, and refer to the online dictionary for terms or words they don't understand.
  • The Anne Frank Guide provides students with several types of resources (video, pictures, historical content) tied to their chosen topic. Students can then review the resources, keep the ones they want, and then proceed to the list of questions related to their topic.
  • As they delve deeper into the topic, they can also add their own questions to the list. Once they have compiled their resources, students can save their project and print out a copy. They can go back to their web-based Anne Frank eportfolio as needed.
  • There is also a social networking feature, The Meeting Point, which provides avenues for students to share their work with other students, ask questions from "experts", and share their opinions about human rights, war, and Anne Frank.
  • Once students complete their projects, they are invited to submit and display their final projects to the Anne Frank House in the Netherlands.

The Anne Frank Trust UK notes that they are redesigning their website, so it may be a bit spotty at times, or not all the features will be available. In any event, this is a great resource for project based learning activities and one that will be of interest to students and teachers alike.


Anne Frank Project Sites

09 November 2005

WebWise: BBC Guide to the Internet

The BBC has launched, WebWise, a set of online tutorials and resources for anyone who wants to learn how to use a computer or the internet. Best of all? It's free!



07 November 2005

BBC Annotatable Audio Project

via Tom Coates: "This post concerns an experimental internal-BBC-only project designed to allow users to collectively describe, segment and annotate audio in a Wikipedia-style fashion...

Although the project is a BBC project, all the speculation and theorizing around the edges is my own and does not necessarily represent the opinion of my department or the BBC in general."

Tom has a pretty extensive overview of the project, complete with screen shots and video, over on his blog.

04 November 2005

BBC School Radio

The British Broadcasting Company (BBC) is producing audio-based curriculum resources for a myriad of school subjects via BBC School Radio.

Many of the audio resources are available for download (free!) "on demand" via the BBC School Radio website. Teachers in the UK can also order copies of the audio programs on CD or cassette for a fee.

In addition to the audio programs, the accompanying Teacher Notes provide teachers with talking points and other resources which can be used in conjunction with the BBC School Radio programs.

One of the most interesting series in the collection is the WWII Audio Clip Library. These audio resources provide students with eyewitness accounts, speeches, sounds of war, and popular culture. Many of the programs focus on the lives and perspective of British children during the war.

Included along with the audio clips are historical photographs and additional information to help children place the information in a historical context, and provide students with a unique opportunity to develop a deeper understanding of World War 2 and its impact on the world.

Here is just a small sample of the vast resources in the WW2 Audio Clip Library:

Kudos to the BBC for utilizing their vast archive of resources and producing yet another amazing educational website! So many amazing resources are now just a click away!


02 November 2005

World War I Photo Archive

Flickr community member Jens-Olaf has posted a remarkable archive of black and white WWI photographs in his photostream. Jens-Olaf also provides some historical context for his stunning photographs:

"It presents an ‘anatomy of an occupation’, charting the ambitions and realities of the new German military state there. Using hitherto neglected sources from both occupiers and occupied, official documents, propaganda, memoirs, and novels, it reveals how German views of the East changed during total war..."

These 132+ photographs would be a great addition to any history or political science curriculum. You can view the photos by clicking here.

They are truly amazing!

30 October 2005

mLearning Resources, Tools, and Research

NESTA Futurelab
  • Mobile technologies are a familiar part of the lives of most teachers and students in the UK today. The challenge for educators and designers, however, is one of understanding and exploring how best we might use these resources to support learning.

SMS communication for education

  • How can SMS/text messaging be used to possibly support a VLE use

Remote Authoring of Mobile Blogs for Learning Environments

  • RAMBLE is investigating how students use handheld devices to reflect on their learning experiences, provide feedback on lectures, tutorials, practicals and student life.

29 October 2005

Frappr + EduBlogging

Frappr (Friend Mapper) is a social networking and photo sharing community that has been integrated with Google Maps.

You can use Frapper to create a map for your group, exchange photographs, and stay in touch with peers, friends, or students. Josie Fraiser, author of EdTechUK, has created a group Frapper map for EduBloggers.

So if you are writing about educational blogging, point your mouse over to the FrapperEduBlogger page and add yourself to the growing map of blog savvy educators!

Thanks Josie!

26 October 2005

Television Archives

The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences recently announced that they have partnered with Google Video to make their archive of videotaped interviews more accessible to the general public.

From popular culture, women's studies, and social history, these interviews provide students with an unique opportunity to hear first hand the stories and events that shaped the brave new world of television.

via the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences: "The Archive of American Television strives to preserve the rich history of television by videotaping interviews with the individuals who pioneered the medium.

We have rare, in-depth interviews with those behind the scenes as well as television's biggest stars including: news legends Walter Cronkite, Don Hewitt, and David Brinkley, actors Alan Alda, Ossie Davis, and Mary Tyler Moore, writer/producers Norman Lear, Carl Reiner, and Aaron Spelling, and executives Fred Silverman, Sumner Redstone, and Ted Turner.

By utilizing cutting-edge technology, this Archive will be a digital encyclopedia of television, accessible worldwide by students, historians, and the public.

In fact, the Archive has covered virtually every social, economic and cultural events of the 20th Century, which will be used to educate and inspire future generations.

The Academy Foundation offers various programs for college students and professors, as well as informational opportunities for the telecommunications and general community."


24 October 2005

YackPack: The Social Life of Speech

YackPack is a new social software product that allows users to record and send audio messages to friends inside privately formed groups.

While there are other products that provide avenues for collaboration over the web—most notably message boards, email, and instant messaging—YackPack is among the first products to allow users to post asynchronous voice messages.

YackPack was developed by B.J. Fogg, a psychologist well known for his study of computers as persuasive technology, and Director of the Stanford Persuasive Technology Lab.

Social Voice Messaging

The ability to interject voice into an online space is important because it provides opportunities for members of a community to convey the expression, emotion, and intimacy embedded in human speech.

These audio emails or voice messages also provide a way for members of a community to develop social bonds, place information in a situated context, and support constructivist learning environments.

And as we have discussed before, the exchange of information, learning, and development of a community of practice is largely the product of social exchange.

YackPack U

So what are the educational applications?

  • Many of the audio-based educational applications we have discussed for the iPod can easily translate to a YackPack group.
  • The ability to integrate human speech into the curriculum becomes even more important in pure eLearning context where students and teachers don’t meet in a face-to-face setting.
  • A language teacher can YackCast (verb conjugation, dialogue, etc) to an entire class. In turn, the students can respond to the teacher via a YackPack audio message.
  • Teachers can use YackPack to provide feedback on the proper use of accents, pronunciation, or other nuances the student would be hard pressed to learn from a textbook.
  • Students can form a YackPack to work on group or collaborative projects. Since each member of the group has their picture and profile in the group “people cloud,” it helps students build a unified team, even though they may be separated by geography.
  • Teachers can use YackPack to provide encouragement and/or narrative feedback to online learning students. Whether it’s providing feedback on curriculum, or technical support, hearing the voice of the instructor may contribute to student support, self-regulation, and retention.
  • The YackPack website has an example of a teacher who uses YackPack to teach his online students how read poetry. And in turn, the students read their poem and YackCast it back to their teacher and peers.
  • YackPack can provide audio-based learning and collaboration opportunities for students with multiple intelligences, physical, cognitive, or other issues which might preclude them from participation in a traditional learning community.

YackPack: A Sure Winner

Dr. Fogg and the rest of the YackPack team have developed an impressive product, one that users will find many applications for both in and out of the online classroom.

The clean, easy-to-use interface will allow users to jump in and begin sending audio messages, without struggling to figure out how to use the technology. The combination of textual, visual, and auditory elements makes YackPack a powerful learning tool in online education.

As more people begin using YackPack, it will be interesting to see the ways in which people utilize the technology to meet their needs. Will people use YackPack on web-enabled mobile devices? Will a global community or network of YackCasters exchange ideas, hacks, and information?

Indeed, the future looks bright for YackPack. And who knows, in a few months we might be buzzing about the Yackosphere


20 October 2005

Museer i Sverige

Prova att söka efter museisidor inom Virtual Library.

Efter listan med enskilda museer följer referenser till regionala resurser som kan innehålla information om fler museer än de i huvudlistan, visningsslott/ gårdar, ämnesvisa sammanställningar och andra källor med information om svenska museer. (via)


10 October 2005

Yahoo! Podcasts

Yahoo! Podcasts is a new (beta) service from Yahoo! Search that allows you to search, find, and listen to podcasts on your PC, MP3 player, or web browser.

This is the latest in a recent flurry of new product launches (and acquisitions) that dovetail with the Yahoo! mission to help users Find Use Share Expand (FUSE) knowledge and content on the web. Yahoo’s FUSE concept sounds remarkably similar to constructivist learning theory.

Yahoo! Podcasts allows you to subscribe to your favorite podcasts using either the Yahoo! Music Engine or Apple iTunes software. You can also contribute to the Yahoo! community by adding your own podcast RSS feed, writing podcast reviews, and rating podcasts in the Yahoo! Podcast catalog.

You can search for podcasts by author, subject, topic, or via keyword (tags). A quick search of the “education” tag yielded some interesting new podcasts:

  • ChinesePod.com: “Learn Chinese with free daily podcasts and a personal learning center direct from Shanghai, China. There is no need for inconveniently scheduled and inconveniently located classroom lessons.” (Rated 4 ½ out of 5 stars by the Yahoo! Podcasts community)
  • UNICEF Podcast: “A new global radio service from UNICEF focusing on the health, education, equality and protection of children. Hosted by Blue Chevigny with UNICEF correspondents from around the globe.” (Rated 4 ½ out of 5 stars by the Yahoo! Podcasts community)
  • Wisconsin Center for Education Research News: “In the areas of mathematics, science, special education, and teacher education, WCER researchers use digital technologies to analyze and disseminate research data and to develop training tools.” (Rated 5 stars out of 5 by the Yahoo! Podcasts community)

As I’ve discussed before, educational podcasting and audio search hold great promise for education, mlearning, and techno-constructivist based learning environments.

The clean interface, ease of use, and interactive community features of Yahoo! Podcasts is bound to make this latest offering from Yahoo! Search a popular choice for students and teachers alike!


05 October 2005

The Net Generation Goes to College

The Chronicle of Higher Education >> The Net Generation Goes to College

Tech-savvy 'Millennials' have lots of gadgets, like to multitask, and expect to control what, when, and how they learn. Should colleges cater to them?


Change your teaching style. Make blogs, iPods, and video games part of your pedagogy. And learn to accept divided attention spans. A new generation of students has arrived -- and sorry, but they might not want to hear you lecture for an hour.

That is the message of Richard T. Sweeney, university librarian at the New Jersey Institute of Technology, who has been hitting the lecture circuit lately with his vision of how today's college students, sometimes called the "Net Generation" or "the Millennials," will soon alter the way professors teach, the way classrooms are constructed, and the way colleges deliver degrees.

04 October 2005


Writeboard: "Shareable, web-based text documents that let you save every edit, roll back to any version, and easily compare changes. Use Writeboard to write solo or collaborate.

Unlike a Word document that's stored at your office on one computer, you can get to your writeboards from any computer in the world with an internet connection and a modern web browser."

This is another terrific product from the geniuses over at 37 Signals!! This is a great tool for just about anybody, but has this has really good possibilities for collaboration in online and distance education programs.

And if you haven't already checked out Ta-Da List, 37 Signals web-based "to-do list" manager, be sure to do that too! Good stuff!


03 October 2005

PBWiki Update!

Today I received an e-mail from Ramit Sethi of PBWiki fame, who wanted to let BlendedEDU readers know about some exciting new developments over at PBWiki.

In honor of their re-launch, I've compiled a list of the top four reasons to try the "new and improved" PBWiki:

  1. It's simpler and faster to use!
  2. It's still free! Yes, f-r-e-e! Woot!
  3. A nicely done overhaul of the interface!
  4. Password protected pages (perfect for students)!

The PBWiki team has made the process of creating a wiki even easier than making a peanut butter sandwich-- which makes it perfect for the classroom!

So don't wait another second--grab a glass of milk and make yourself a PB & W (that's PB & wiki)!!!

Thanks for the update Ramit!


01 October 2005

Museum Podcasts as mLearning

The education department at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) have several interactive programs and curriculum materials available on their website.

In addition, SFMOMA, has started producing a series of podcasts that you can download and listen to while visiting exhibits at the museum, or use in your classroom.

SFMOMA produces two RSS feeds, one with audio and pictures for photo-capable iPods, and one audio only feed. Blending photographs and audio is an interesting educational use of iPods. Could this be a glimpse into the future of mLearning?

Of particular note:

Ansel Adams at 100: "Explore the world of ideas behind Ansel Adam's photography through archival footage of the artist at work, audio commentaries by art historians, and words from Adams himself."

Making Sense of Modern Art: "This program, recently brought to the Web in high bandwidth format, offers an extensive and engaging guide to modern and contemporary works in the Museum's permanent collection.

Its rich-media format enables you to "zoom in" on full-screen details of individual artworks, explore excerpts from archival videos and films, and listen to commentary by artists, art historians, critics, and collectors."
(both via SFMOMA)

30 September 2005

Somalia, Yahoo! News, and Kevin Sites

A few weeks ago I mentioned that blogger-journalist Kevin Sites had joined Yahoo! News to provide a unique, multimedia perspective on current events, and in-depth reporting on some of the world's most troubled places. The Kevin Sites in the Hot Zone website had its official launch earlier this week with a feature story on Somalia.

One of the most compelling stories in this inaugural series on is Kevin's story, Somalia's Garbage Scavengers. In this story he chronicles the plight and struggle of two homeless men who live in the trash dumps of Mogadishu.

The combination of multimedia and the "real world" reporting of Kevin Sites provides teachers with a powerful platform for meaningful discussions with students on current events. In this story, Kevin utilizes both digital photography and video to document the plight of the homeless men and women who call the Mogadishu trash dump "home."

Educators can use Kevin Sites in the Hot Zone as a curriculum platform to bring new relevance to social studies, political science, history, or area studies curriculum. Moreover, by utilizing Yahoo! Groups or My Web 2.0 teachers can extend the discussion outside the classroom.

Students can also utilize the myriad of web links and resources which accompany each story to find ways to be a part of the discussion. For example, they can interact directly with the larger Yahoo! community by posting comments on the Kevin Sites blog.

This is a prime example of how social media can provide students with constructivist-based tools which provide them with the opportunity to deepen their understanding of the world, its people, and begin to scaffold the larger issues of social equity, poverty, and violence.

25 September 2005

Kids With Cameras Photo Contest

Kids with Cameras, a non-profit organization who's goal is to empower marginalized children through learning the art of photography is co-sponsoring (along with ThinkFilm and Ritz Camera) the 2005 Kids with Cameras Photo Contest.

About Kids With Cameras

"Photographic art has the power to do many things: express, captivate, empower and even inspire. With this in mind, Kids With Cameras was founded to teach the art of photography to marginalized children in communities around the world. Photography is used to capture the imaginations of the children, empower them, and to build their confidence, self-esteem and hope.

We share their vision and voices with the world through exhibitions, books, websites and film. We are committed to furthering their general education beyond photography either by linking with local organizations to provide scholarships or by developing our own schools with a focus on leadership and the arts." (via)

22 September 2005

Digital Photo Contest for Kids

Students, Get Published! Teachers, Showcase Your Lesson Plans!

Technology & Learning's Digital Photo Contest for Kids
Sponsored by Adobe Digital Kids Club

What: Technology & Learning invites K-12 students to participate in the fifth annual digital photography contest. This year's theme, "Express Yourself," encourages you to capture and share your own unique vision with our editors and readers. The subject of your photo is entirely up to you.

How: Enter the best possible photo. Your photo may be submitted "as is" or you can manipulate it using photo editing software. If you do choose to manipulate your photo digitally, submit both the original and the manipulated photo so we can compare.

Write: A short description of no more than fifty words about how your photograph reflects your personal universe. (For manipulated photos only: A description of what kind of software you used and how you manipulated your photo).

For tips and help on photo manipulation - see "Photo Tips and Guidelines". To see last year's winners, visit our online gallery. To learn more the contest, including rules, ownership rights, and to obtain student conset forms, please click here.

20 September 2005

Learn Spanish via Podcast

Trying To Learn Spanish: "A podcast for adult learners of Spanish. Reviews and commentaries on available resources, including CDs, tapes, books, Internet radio, immersion language schools, and more."

18 September 2005

Science eMuseum

Did you know that the brick-and-mortar Science Museum (based in London, UK), also has an extensive array of web-based science education resources for both teachers and students?

Online Science Museum resources include: interactive exhibits, teaching materials, and science homework resources. In addition, the Science Museum Library features "collections form an enduring record of scientific, technological and medical change since the eighteenth century."

Also available on the website are Exhiblets, mini digital exhibitions which "use the Museum's collections to describe important events, discoveries and personalities in science and technology."

Students can use Exhiblets to learn about Amy Johnson--the first female pilot to fly from England to Australia. Or Garrett Morgan, the African-American inventor of both the gas mask and the first electric traffic signal.

This is an all-around great learning resource for teachers, students, or anyone interested in a wide variety science.


13 September 2005

Open Source Textbook Project

"The California Open Source Textbook Project (COSTP) is a collaborative, public/private undertaking. It has been created to address the high cost, content range, and consistent shortages of K-12 textbooks in California.

In cooperation with Wiikpedia a World History pilot for 9th grade World History-Social Studies based on California State Curriculum Standards. Go here for more details." (via)


12 September 2005

Yahoo! & Kevin Sites: In The Hot Zone

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, Yahoo! has been putting together a wide breadth of resources that are of particular interest to the education community. Today it was announced that journalist-blogger Kevin Sites will "join Yahoo! News to provide a unique, multimedia perspective on some of the world's most troubled and dangerous places."

via Kevin Sites in the Hot Zone: "One of the world's most respected war correspondents, Kevin Sites has spent the past five years covering global war and disaster for several national TV networks....

A solo journalist ("SoJo"), Sites will carry a backpack of portable digital technology to shoot, write, edit, and transmit daily reports from nearly every region of the world. You'll be able to follow his endeavor through stories, photos, video and audio, and you'll be able to interact with him."

This new venture between Kevin Sites and Yahoo! may yield some very interesting education related opportunities for students and teachers alike.

Students, for example, can view Kevin's photos, blog, audio, video and other multimedia reports and use it to construct a deeper understanding of world events and "the scope of world conflict." In addition, the Hot Zone will provide students with active "ways to be part of the solutions- through dialogue, debate, and avenues for action."

Conversely, teachers can use the Kevin Sites in the Hot Zone website as a platform to bring new relevance to social studies, political science, history, or area studies curriculum. The combination of multimedia and the "real world" reporting of Kevin Sites will provide teachers with a powerful platform for meaningful discussions with students on current events. Moreover, by utilizing Yahoo! Groups or MyWeb 2.0 teachers can extend the discussion outside the classroom.

As neo-millennial, and Generation C students begin to flood classrooms, they will expect activities that allow them to pick and choose multiple types of social media to support their digital learning styles. In the end this is the type of innovative blend of education and new media that will appeal to neo-millenial learners and make the curriculum more interesting and relevant....

Additional Kevin Sites Links

09 September 2005


edublogs: "edublogs.org is a non-profit adventure into providing free WordPress blogs and hosting for teachers, students, researchers, librarians, writers and anyone who is interested in or working in education."

roxomatic@edublog: A German language education weblog hosted at edublogs, that features resources (technology, foriegn language, media) for teachers. (en version) (de version)

Vamos Blogar?

Vamos Blogar?: Conhecimento compartilhado sobre tecnologias educacionais informatizadas.

Vamos Blogar? is a Portuguese language weblog for teachers talking about the use of educational technology in Brazillian schools. Other topics include learning, teaching, weblogs, wiki's and educational games.
(en version)

06 September 2005

Xplora Science Education Resources & Community

Xplora , run by European Schoolnet, is aimed at teachers, pupils, scientists, science communicators and science educators. The website offers news, information, tools, projects, and other resources for science education.

Pedagogical ideas, activities and resources

Teachers and other science educators share their knowledge about science pedagogy in this section. There you can also find details on current prizes and awards for excellence in science education.

Activities and resources

Xplora offers online activities plus a searchable database of teaching and learning websites and other resources. Teachers also share their favourite websites with others.

Online Community Tools

  • Tools for creating online communities and online discussions
  • Download free Open Source tools for science education, and get guidance from your peers on how to integrate Xplora into your curriculum
  • Xplora is open to contributions from teachers, museums, EU projects and others working in the field of science education

30 August 2005

Education, Web 2.0, & Yahoo!

The recent announcement that Yahoo! and the University of California, Berkeley will open a joint research facility-Y! Research Labs Berkeley--is one of many signs that Yahoo! is rapidly building "the place" on the web for the education community.

As Yahoo! points out, the agreement with UC Berkeley, “expands scope of research in Search Technology and Social and Mobile Media; [and is a] first step in establishing closer ties with university campuses.”

Yahoo! + Social Media

  • Yahoo! has donated hardware, hosting, bandwidth, as well as financial resources to support the expansion and ongoing development for the online encyclopedia Wikipedia.
  • FlickrEDU: While not originally developed as an education tool, Flickr, and other social networking technologies have the ability to play an important part in student motivation, retention and learning—especially in distributed learning environments.

Social software technologies and other Web 2.0 media are important tools because of their ability to foster interaction and communication between students.

  • My Web 2.0 is a new Yahoo! Search product based on social networking, tags, folksonomies, and group collaboration. This new "social search" engine allows users to save their links and then share them with people they know and trust by placing them in a community knowledge pool dubbed, My Community.
  • Y! Search provides a stripped down version of the Yahoo portal, providing students with a “distraction free” zone to conduct research, WebQuests, or other collaborative web-based projects.
  • Yahoo! 360: One of the key benefits of Yahoo! 360, in terms of educational blogging, is that it provides the user with the ability to manage who can view their personal information based, in part, on user-defined criteria. I

In other words, the user controls who has access to any and all parts of the content on their blog. Now open for public beta, Yahoo! 360, features integration with several Yahoo! products including: FlickrMy Web 2.0 (via RSS Feeds).

  • The Open Content Alliance is a collaborative effort of several organizations to build a permanent archive of text and multimedia content. The content archive will be available exclusively via Yahoo! Search.


  • 9/06 Update: Yahoo! buys JumpCut.

23 August 2005

FlickrEDU | Art History 101

I recently ran across this example of an art history teacher who used the social networking features in Flickr---groups, comments, and notes--to discuss the Merode Altarpiece by Robert Campin.

Great idea!

22 August 2005

Viva Papert! And Kyle too...

I’m fascinated by the different and innovative ways people tweak and tinker with technology to meet their needs. Recently I posted an idea to blend Flickr + BlinkList to create an online tutorial.

Then just last week the My Web 2 blog posted an excellent “real life” example of a student utilizing his blog and online photo software to create an on-demand presentation about social bookmarking for his classmates. Great job Kyle!

Dr. Seymour Papert, co-founder of the Artificial Intelligence Lab at MIT, stresses the importance of bricolage (tinkering) as a pathway to creating concrete knowledge. Bricolage is a French word which (loosely translated) can be taken to mean "trial-and-error," learning by poking around, trying this or that until you eventually figure it out.

According to Dr. Papert this is one of the best ways to approach learning on the computer and very significantly, widens the range of opportunities to engage as a bricoleur. “If you do something wrong," he states, " the sky won't fall, you won't get shot. Just try again...Soon you will come to enjoy this process, becoming a true bricoleur.

So (and here's the big tie in) when thinking about integrating technology into your curriculum, you must allow yourselves (and your students) space and time to experiment with new technologies, and web tools in an authentic context. It's during this process of 'tinkering' that learners will be able to 'construct' new knowledge.

Moreover, utilizing web-based tools not only provides students with an opportunity to design their own learning experience through self-directed projects, but also allows them to work in a collaborative matter in an authentic context, using the technology as a tool to facilitate and support their own learning!

Tres cool, no?

21 August 2005

Digital Culture & Learning in a Digital Age

"Rethinking how today's kids that grow up digital learn, think, work, communicate and socialize. Understanding today's digital kids is of growing importance, not only to educators, but also to human resource departments, strategists, and marketing folks.

Understanding the social practices and constructivist ecologies being created around open source and massively multiplayer games will provide a glimpse into new kinds of innovation ecologies and some of the ways that meaning is created for these kids -- ages 10 to 40.

Perhaps our generation focused on information, but these kids focus on meaning -- how does information take on meaning?" - John Seely Brown

Read more of John Seeley Brown's thoughts on learning in the digital age on his website. You can also view his presentation: The Social Life of Information in the Digital Age and Kids that Grow Up Digital ; view paper or video (Quicktime).

18 August 2005

Blog to School

mgsOnline: The website of Musselburgh Grammar School, was the first British school to use public weblogs, where pupils could write posts and expect comments from their friends, teachers or anyone on the planet who wanted to have their say. They were used principally for international exchanges of work and ideas between pupils.

edublogs: Ewan McIntosh shows how blogs and podcasts aren't just a gimmick: they can be used to provide powerful learning in Scottish schools.

Blogbinders: A self-publishing tool that allows students to transform their weblogs into book format on demand.

RAMBLE (Remote Authoring of Mobile Blogs for Learning Environments) has been investigating the use of weblogs as a reflective authoring activity in an educational context.

Yahoo! 360: One of the key benefits of Yahoo! 360, in terms of educational blogging, is that it provides the user with the ability to manage who can view their personal information based, in part, on user-defined criteria. In other words, the user controls who has access to any and all parts of the content on their blog.

Now open for public beta, Yahoo! 360, features integration with several Yahoo! products including: Flickr, My Web 2.0 (via RSS Feeds), and a recently added feature allows users to blog via Yahoo! Messenger.

06 August 2005

iPod Goes Back to School

The 2004 Duke iPod experiment has been closely watched by many in the higher education community and this fall several colleges and universities will also begin testing the use of iPod technology in an educational context.

Drexel University, for example, is providing iPods for students in the school of education. In addition to the iPod, Drexel is distributing the Pod2Go software, which allows students to turn their iPod into a PDA, receive over 1,000 news or other RSS content feeds (including social bookmarking RSS feeds), as well as the ability to read or write Word, RTF, or text files.

iPodSoft also makes several applications which can be used to support student learning, including iStory and MarkAble. Teachers are also rapidly adopting podcasting as a means to distribute original curriculum materials and provide 'on demand' learning opportunities for their students.

05 August 2005

Yahoo! Audio Search

Audio Search in the Online and Blended Classroom

Yahoo! Audio Search (YAS) is a new Yahoo! product that allows users to scour the web for a myriad of audio files including: music, podcasts, speeches, e-books, and interviews. Y! Audio Search also displays related content such as video, websites, Wikipedia pages, and images.

These constructivist-based design elements allow users to both discover new content as well as self-regulate their experience based on their own
intrinsic needs and interests.

For example, a student who enters a query for “
Neil Armstrong” will also have the video version of the Moon Landing listed in their search results. This way, if a student is a visual learner they can utilize the media that best suits their learning style.

This is a nice integration of Yahoo services and one that makes the student user experience, not only easier, but also more productive.

In addition, web-based audio content can be easily saved to
My Web 2.0 with a just click of a link on the results page.

Once audio files have been saved to My Web 2, you can add tags, share your audio files, and organize your content. Members in a “My Community” group can then search their
community knowledge pool adding yet another layer of relevance to the social bookmarking space.

Y! Audio Search Curriculum Ideas

  • Teachers can create original audio content (such as lectures) and then upload them to Y! Audio Search for download by students onto their computer or mp3 player. In addition, teachers can link to the audio content (or “podcast”) from their web-based course syllabus, web-based group, weblog, Flickr group, or wiki.
  • Learning communities that have formed a Flickr group can link relevant audio files to the pictures in their group photo pool. For example, an American Studies teacher with a series of Mississippi River photos can post an audio link in a Flickr discussion thread to a dramatic reading from Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn.

    Or a history teacher can start a discussion thread in a Flickr group about the Civil War, providing a link to Abraham Lincoln’s
    Gettysburg Address in her pool of Gettysburg photographs. This application provides both audio and visual elements, thereby appealing to the differing and multiple learning styles of students.

    In all of the aforementioned examples, teachers are doing more than combining different types of media to
    support student learning. They are also providing “on demand” learning opportunities designed to meet the “always on” learning styles of today’s students.

  • Listening to content in its original context is also an effective situated learning tool that provides an avenue for students to actively participate in their learning. Instead of reading about Albert Einstein’s scientific contributions in a textbook, students can use Y! Audio Search to actually hear Einstein himself explain his Theory of Relativity.

    Moreover, having students listen to period news reports about the
    fiery crash of the Hindenburg, the bombing of Pearl Harbor, Robert F. Kennedy’s news conference announcing the assassination of Martin Luther King, or Eleanor Roosevelt’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights speech helps them make emotional connections to shared cultural experiences.

  • Audio Search also has the potential to provide educational resources for teachers in underserved areas by providing them access to low (or no) cost audio content they can integrate into their curriculum. For example, teachers could burn multiple audio (mp3) files onto a CD-ROM and then distribute audio ‘resource discs’ to students.

Y! Audio Search provides students with an opportunity to research, replay, and reflect on their own learning experience.

More importantly, as students incorporate different types of social media into their collaborative project-based learning activities, they develop the critical
problem solving, web, knowledge management, and technology skills they will need to succeed in the 21st Century.

And in that regard, Y! Audio Search is an important milestone in the evolution of online learning, social software, and self-publishing on the web.

23 July 2005

Flickr + BlinkList | Dynamic Duo

Do you need to create a technical help sheet or “how to” guide? Here’s an idea that provides an avenue for users with multiple learning styles to utilize two social software programs-- Flickr and BlinkList--to meet their learning or training needs.

The Flickr Part: Use Flickr to create a (private) group, and then place a series of instructional screenshots in your group pool to assist users learn a new software program (for example Dreamweaver MX). Members of your group can use the Flickr group threads to discuss the configuration process, troubleshoot, and leave tips for others.

The BlinkList Part: Tag Dreamweaver MX articles and/or other web-based resources with a specific BlinkList tag, which now becomes an URL of resources related to that software (in this case Dreamweaver MX).

The Social Part: Now post the tag link in your Flickr group and the BlinkList tag list becomes a specialized, organic, shared knowledge pool--a vital component for any online community of practice. Members of the learning community can also search the global BlinkList community tags for additional resources.

The Learning Part: What you have created is an (online) community that is able to draw from multiple social web resources to meet a learner’s intrinsic needs, while still providing opportunities to participate with their peers in a collaborative, social exchange of information. In a variation, you could use both ideas and link to Flickr and BlinkList from a course webpage, weblog, or learning management system (LMS).

22 July 2005

m-Learning | Literature Review & Case Study

Literature Review in Mobile Technologies and Learning: “Mobile technologies are a familiar part of the lives of most teachers and students in the UK today. The challenge for educators and designers, however, is one of understanding and exploring how best we might use these resources to support learning.

That we need to do this is clear – how much sense does it make to continue to exclude from schools, powerful technologies that are seen as a normal part of everyday life? This review provides a rich vision of the current and potential future developments in this area.” (via )

21 July 2005

Blinklist | Learning in the Blink of an Eye

The passionate crew over at MindValley have joined the social software party with a new web-based rapid bookmarking and knowledge-sharing tool named BlinkList. A curious name that accurately describes how quickly and easily you can manage, add, share, tag, or syndicate your links in—well…in the blink of an eye!

BlinkList, like other social bookmarking applications, is based on
social networking, tags, folksonomies, and collaborative knowledge sharing. As BlinkList users search the web they can easily save their web searches, tag them with keywords and/or descriptions, and then depending on whether they have marked the links private or public, share their cache of knowledge with the BlinkList community.

Simply stated, MindValley recognizes that online community hinges on the users ability to easily access their information without frustrating them to the point they won’t use the software (a point which is—surprisingly--often overlooked).

Rooted in
constructivist theory, BlinkList is designed to act as a facilitator, providing users with the tools to chunk, scaffold, and organize knowledge in a format that best suits them. In a nutshell, BlinkList opens the path to knowledge instead of being a digital pothole on the e-learning super information highway.

Here are just a few of the unique features in BlinkList (with just a twist of learning theory thrown in for good measure!):

Knowledge Tags

As you store and tag more content, it becomes more and more difficult to remember what tag you used for similar content. But don’t fret! MindValley Labs has come up with a slick way to help you to maintain tagging consistency.

Here’s how it works: as you add links and other content to your cache BlinkList auto-magically suggests tags you have already used. This simple step makes it easier to find content at a later date, prevents user frustration with the technology, and allows students to focus on their learning.

Ready for another neat
techno-constructivist BlinkList feature? When you click on a tag, BlinkList shows related tags, thereby allowing users to easily find topics and resources related to their search. But wait. There’s more! By using the tag filter you can drill down even deeper into the BlinkList community knowledge reserves to locate the resources most relevant to your particular needs.

Think of it as the MindValley version of
Legitimate Peripheral Participation.

Social Learning Tool

BlinkList allows users to make notes before they save their links to a list. This feature could be especially useful for a collaborative project wherein groups conduct research on the web, saving, tagging, and organizing their content in a BlinkList, and then adding annotations in the link description field.

In this example, BlinkList not only works as a tool to support project-based learning activities, but simultaneously assists students develop crucial information and technology skills--all in a ‘real world’ context.

The process of collecting research and creating the annotation not only develops writing skills, but also provides the teacher with an opportunity to assess the learner’s level of understanding, and review content with their students.

neo-millennial, and Generation C students begin to flood classrooms, they will expect activities that allow them to pick and choose multiple types of social media (blogs, wiki, gaming, social bookmarking) to support their digital learning styles. Recent studies in online course design have shown that the integration of web-based communities and collaborative assignments into the course design has a positive influence on learning and student retention.

Save Research in a Blink

Have you ever done research on the web, saved a bunch of links in IE Explorer “Favorites” folders, and then had a heck of a time finding them again? Well, BlinkList simplifies the whole process and lets you focus on your needs instead of spending time scanning those IE folders looking for your content.

By simply (there’s that word again!) adding a tag or two, you have created a list that can be accessed at a later date. Since each tag has its own URL, you can link from your blog, course syllabus, research paper, or even
Flickr account to that specific tag list. Now you have a powerful cache of resources that work in tandem with your other social media tools.

What? Not easy enough? After you save a site, just click the star icon and the link will be added to your Favorites list in the tag manager (hold on, that’s up next!), and highlighted with a bright yellow star!

As the
Naked Chef would say, “Easy Peasy!”

Tag Manager

The MindValley crew has taken in consideration that end users have differing ways of understanding (
multiple intelligences) and organizing information. The ingenious Tag Manager provides users with multiple ways to organize and view their BlinkList.

But who decides which tags to use? BlinkList? No. You!

The BlinkList folks describe tags as “multiple mental notes that might make sense, depending on what it is that you are saving.” Since only you know what tags will help you find your data, you get to decide how to label and organize your content. BlinkList will auto-suggest tags, but ultimately the user (that’s you!) has the final word. In effect, BlinkList starts thinking like you do, making it easier for you to locate your links when you need them!

The BlinkList Tag Manager sorts your links in three categories: Favorites, Most Popular, and Most recent. As you build up a cache of links, Blink List puts your most used tags in a little pile—they call this a tag cloud. As you begin to use your tags, the tag cloud begins to change. Larger font, gradient bolding, and different colors--all to help you quickly scan the tag cloud for your most used tags.

The Social Web

A click on a tag from the community tag cloud or a quick tag search allows you to find others who share common interests. You can then see what resources they are sharing with the BlinkList community and add the ones you find most relevant to your BlinkList. And vice-versa. Because BlinkList is a web-based tool, you can access your links and those of others in the BlinkList community from any web-enabled computer or mobile device.

Just a simple click of the "BlinkRSS" button allows users syndicate tag content to a classroom blog, student portfolio, school website,
aggregator--or any other site for that matter! BlinkList even provides the HTML snippet for you to pop into your website.

MindValley vs. The Giants

The MindValley folks are clearly on the verge of something big with BlinkList. To be fair, it’s still in an early beta stage and will require some tweaks. Moreover, at this point, all of the social interchange is asynchronous. It would be nice to see BlinkList integrated with some “real time” synchronous capabilities.

And while they are more than aware of the fight ahead of them, their infectious enthusiasm (in conjunction with their terrific product) is sure to propel them to the front of the pack. By now it should be clear that BlinkList is so feature rich (the “scary” part is that they’re just getting warmed up!), and full of possibilities they can’t all be discussed in one post.

Tag! You’re It!

MindValley has created an impressive product with so many applications that
learning communities--from grade school to corporate training—will be looking for ways to integrate BlinkList into their curriculum.

For the last several months there’s been a lot of buzz about a
renaissance on the web. And with the arrival of BlinkList, the optimistic, passionate team over at MindValley seems to be shouting, “Enough talk, let’s get this party started!

Game on.

15 July 2005

FlickrEDU | Social Software Goes to School

Flickr, the popular online photo sharing and social networking community, is popping up in lots of classrooms as teachers find interesting and creative ways to integrate its many features into their curriculum.

Why is Flickr so popular in the classroom?

Perhaps the June 2005 Adaptive Path newsletter said it best:

“Flickr recognized that people wanted a better way to share their photos. They also recognized that people might have myriad ways of doing that. Flickr lets people derive their own value from sharing photos…Instead of attempting to define your experience, they simply provide a sandbox, and give you the means to create a meaningful experience within that.”

Sounds like social constructivism to me.

So how do you use Flickr in your classroom? I've started a Flickr community group where educators can share curriculum ideas, make suggestions, share student Flickr projects, or learn more about using social software in the classroom. So please join the discussion!

And for a more ideas how to use Flickr in your classroom, be sure to look for my article, FlickrEDU in the Nov 2005 issue of TechLearning.

Nov 11 Update: The article has been published.

14 July 2005

My Web 2.0 Does Tricks!

As I mentioned last week, Yahoo! Search has released a new “social search” product, dubbed My Web 2.0 (MW2).

Some of the nifty features of MW2 include being able to: save and share links with your community, control access to your stored links by assigning one of three access levels (
My Web, My Community, Everyone), use tags to organize your data (links), along with the ability to use both synchronous and asynchronous web tools to exchange or discuss any of the content from your MyWeb2 knowledge pool with anyone!

Now the My Web2.0 blog offers the following helpful tips and tricks to make your social search experience even more useful:

  • contact: search for content saved by that special somebody in your community (e.g. contact:"john doe")

  • tag: search for all content saved with a given tag (e.g. tag:"blogs i read")

  • title: search for all content with a given title (e.g. title:ebay)

  • note: search for a note you wrote yourself, or remember previously viewing (e.g. note:great)

  • url: search for content specific to a given url (e.g. url:ebay.com)

  • content: search across the text of all the saved content in your community.

  • abstract: search across the abstract (the summary you see in your Web search results) of the saved content in your community

Just remember that there's no space between the colon and the search term. Also, if there are multiple words in the query, you need to put quotes around it. e.g. contact:"john doe.”

Be sure to check in with the My Web 2.0 team blog for more details, tips & tricks!

07 July 2005

My Web 2.0 | The Social Life of Search Engines

In their book, The Social Life of Information, John Seeley Brown and Paul Duguid discuss how human social systems shape the way we use technology. To date, it has proven difficult for web-based communities to capture the social exchange of information that occurs in human social systems, while simultaneously providing a way for members to retain a degree of privacy and control within the group.

Released in a limited beta last week, My Web 2.0 is a new Yahoo! Search product based on social networking, tags, folksonomies, and group collaboration. This new "social search" engine allows users to save their links and then share (or not!) them with people they know and trust by placing them in a community knowledge pool dubbed, My Community.

Like its sister product, Yahoo! 360, MW2 allows users to determine who is in their social network, as well as control access to their saved links. A user can save links in one of three formats: Just Me (only you see the links), My Community (you get to share your links with your contacts. And vice versa), and Everyone's Web (wherein your saved links are visible to the entire MW2 community).

Members of a community can search, structure, and self-organize the group pool via tags (keywords). MW2 also provides avenues for members to share resources via synchronous tools, like Yahoo Messenger (IM).

In a nutshell, MW2 is based on three very simple, yet overlooked principles: 1) humans are inherently social creatures; 2) the continued viability of any social system is rooted in an individual's ability to trust the members of the group and control their level of interaction; and 3) social networking should be placed in a situated context or community of practice.

Possible education applications of My Web 2.0:

Constructivist Learning Tool: A teacher can place links in a My Community pool as a jumping off point for students. As students begin to research a topic, they can add content to and search the community pool. In this manner, students are scaffolding their own knowledge and the teacher is working as a facilitator, instead of a sage on the stage. In this way, MW2 also becomes an organic learning tool, evolving with the interests and needs of the community.

Asynchronous Message Board: The discussions/comments feature readily allows members of the group to discuss the article link that has been submitted to the group pool. This is a quick way to set up a newsgroup type experience to foster student collaboration.

Finding the Invisible Threads: Social search and RSS feeds allow users to focus on their specific interest/intrinsic learning goals & may play an important part in online student support, self-regulation, and retention.

Discussion amongst peers can make the often invisible community threads more visible and accessible, and may lead students to find others in the group who share the same interests. As students move towards intrinsic learning goals, they can still contribute to the group knowledge pool.

FlickrEDU: A teacher can also include links from a Flickr group or Yahoo! Audio link to supplement content in a MW2 My Community knowledge pool. For example, this could be particularly useful in a MW2 group for historic preservation, media studies, or botany. And vice versa, wherein a Flickr group could use the MW2 knowledge cache to supplement their group photo pool.

Training Tool: As part of a teacher development tool a trainer could create a cache of articles, or technology "how-to" resources, creating tags to categorize training topics to make them easier for the user to locate information.

Final Thoughts

MW2 is a work in progress with the usual bugs, tweaks and features to be worked out. Moreover, it's clear that Yahoo! is utilizing the recently acquired LudiCorp brain trust to spearhead the development of their new "social search" product.

In many ways, MW2 is leading the way for a new generation of social technology tools wherein the community (online or off) decides how technology will support the social life of their digital information.

MW2 provides users with new tools to effectively organize and retain knowledge in the otherwise leaky ecologies of shared information. In the end, My Web 2.0 will prove to be an important step in the convergence of human social systems, knowledge management, and web-based technology.

05 July 2005

Generation Y, Learning & Curriculum

The American School Board Journal (ASBJ) has a special two part report in the July 2005 edition titled, Going Virtual. The first article, High School on the Web, features a story on generation y centric curriculum and user experience design considerations for online courses.

The second article in this series, What's in a Blog?, focuses on how weblog technology has provided parents, students, and school administrators with the ability to collaborate, solve problems, and communicate with each other via blogs.

24 June 2005

Teaching for Understanding

The Understanding by Design Exchange is a cooperative website devoted to the development and peer review of curriculum units.

Jay McTighe and Eliot Seif have included an article titled, Indicators of Teaching for Understanding, which includes a list to guide classroom observation, coaching or mentoring, peer visitation, self-assessment, and professional development.

21 June 2005

iPod and Podcasting in Education

George Lucas Education Foundation >> Edutopia

Pod People: "It's a sleek, sexy must-have for the MP3 set, but Apple's iPod--a digital music player in fancy dress--is more than just a gadget for tuning out nagging adults. With the help of some clever software and creative teachers, the device can get kids engaged in their schoolwork--and help them express themselves..."

This article also includes a link to a student website in Virginia where students create podcasts as part of their class blog.

17 June 2005

Using Podcasts to Teach Language

This story in the BBC World Edition is a good example of how podcasts can be used to teach foreign language skills. In this case Zimbabwe's main language, Shona.

This particular podcast was started by a British man who wanted to learn more about his Zimbabwean wife's native language and culture.

This is a good case study for any teacher interested in integrating podcasts into their foreign language curriculum.

01 June 2005

Digital Messaging Resources

MULTIMEDIA EDUCATIONAL RESOURCE FOR LEARNING & TEACHING ONLINE (MERLOT): An online collection of multimedia resources for students and teachers in the higher education setting. Links to online learning materials are collected here along with annotations such as peer reviews and assignments.

PARACHAT: "ParaChat to enables real-time communication on your web site for a host of applications, including corporate interaction, moderated events, distance education, visitor retention, customer service, dating and romance, entertainment, and family fun. ParaChat easily embeds into a page on your own web site, and requires no additional software, downloads or plug-ins to use."

A REALLY SIMPLE CHAT (ARSC): A free and easy to handle web based online chat.

20 March 2005

Virtual Teaching Resources

Virtual Teacher Centre : "Offers you all the free education information you could ever need. News and events are regularly updated and there is a selection of web-based subject resources.

There are numerous ways you can have your say on the site, so please take a bit of time to either add a comment to a news story, rate a resource or post to a forum."

14 March 2005

Online Teaching Course

Online Teaching Course: "LeTTOL stands for Learning To Teach Online. It is a FENTO-verified award winning course that helps participants gain the skills needed to develop and deliver online courses of all kinds. It can help you make the Internet a powerful, flexible and accessible way to learn."

22 February 2005

Australian e-learning Resources

oz-TeacherNet :: The oz-TeacherNet was established in 1995 to provide teachers with an infrastructure for using the Internet to support professional development and curriculum design. The oz-TeacherNet projects and communities are managed and developed by the RITE (Research in Information Technology Education) Group based at QUT, Brisbane, Australia.

The OzProjects: This website assists you to find suitable online curriculum projects and provides access to a host of resources to support your involvement. If you are new to online projects, you may like to start in the Support section.

Global SchoolNet Foundation: Linking Kids Around the World! The earliest source for global education and online project-based learning activities.

15 February 2005

European Schoolnet


      European Schoolnet: "The European Schoolnet's site is for all people working in education.

eLearning news is the key topic - we'll keep you up to date on events, practice, and more. If you have a newsworthy tip about eLearning, don't hesitate to contribute. Find educational resources, news, class activities, collaboration opportunities, policy documents, research, online communities and much more."

Pepperdine University Guest Lecture e-handout

Hello to the Pepperdine MA Education Technology Cadre 7: The Magnificent 007s!

I’m looking forward to meeting with you all in EDC 665:Curriculum and Technology to discuss adult learning theory and strategies for using social network media in online training/education.

Here is an outline of our discussion for tonight. I’ve also included a quick overview of Andragogy vs. Pedagogy to get our discussion off to a flying start and for you to use as a reference as we dig deeper into the topic!

Thanks again for inviting me!

Derek E. Baird

Pepperdine Graduate School of Education & Psychology
M.A. Education Technology

Lecture e-Handout

1.What is Andragogy? (15 min)

Foundations & Theory
Teen vs. Adult Learning
Pedagogy vs. Andragogy

2. Practical Applications (15 min)
Andragogy in web-based VLEs
Role of Knowledge Managers/Trainers/Educators
How to Write Great Learning Objectives

3. Instructional Tools on the Horizon (5 min)
Blogs & RSS

4. Q & A (10 min)

09 January 2005

The Holocaust: Educational Resource Kit

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is an international center for Holocaust remembrance and the defense of human rights. They have developed a curriculum resource kit, The Holocaust, 1933-1945 for educators.

In addition, the Simon Wiesenthal Center's online Ask a Survivor program allows students, teachers, researchers and others to email a survivor a question and receive an answer.

This program is monitored by the Library and Archives and has had resounding success because of the tirelss efforts of a very dedicated volunteer survivor group. (Courtesy of the Simon Wiesenthal Center)

24 October 2004

iPod and Education

Technology circles are buzzing about new ways to use the iPod--beyond music.

For example, Duke University, in conjunction with Apple, gave all incoming freshman Apple iPods for educational use. According to Duke, "the iPods will be preloaded with such Duke-related content as information about orientation and the academic calendar; students also can download faculty-provided course content."

Podcasting will allow teachers to easily publish (or podcast) lectures, photos (perfect for the art history or architecture student), or foreign language drills, along with a myriad of other course content.

Students will be able to subscribe to a course content feed and then automatically receive the content on their iPod. In a distance education context, podcasting could very well serve as a social support tool.


18 October 2004

EIfEL: Building a Learning Europe

EIfEL: "EIfEL (European Institute for E-Learning) is a European professional association dedicated to the support of the continuing professional development of individuals and the transformation of organizations who wish to enter into the knowledge economy and society.

This website is provided by EIfEL to promote research and best practice in the field of knowledge, information and learning technologies."

14 October 2004

iStop Motion

iStopMotion: "Educators around the world are excited about the use of iStopMotion in the classroom. And so are their students! No wonder, because learning with iStopMotion is a lot of fun. Stop Motion animation has many uses and benefits in the curriculum.

It teaches soft skills such as teamwork, structural thinking, planing and provides immediate satisfaction. Stop Motion animation can be used in many different contexts. The time lapse recording feature opens up even more possibilities in the scientific curriculum where it helps to make slow processes more visible to the students. "

  • View student iStopMotion projects

30 September 2004

Blogging in Higher Education

Guardian Unlimited > Inside the Ivory Tower: "Blogging is allowing academics to develop and share their ideas with an audience beyond the universities. But as Jim McClellan reports, not everyone is convinced."

27 September 2004

Dreamweaver MX Tutorial

The University of Wisconsin at Eau Claire has put together a series of web-based tutorials for many popular sofware programs including, Dreamweaver MX, HTML Coding, Basic Scanning, as well as other applications.

Blogging Resources & Tools

Educational Bloggers Network: Learn more about blogging than you could possibly learn in a lifetime. You could get lost in this site for months.

Edublog News: Teachers are using blogs to collaborate with each other, share curriculum and ideas. This weblog, published by an Ohio teacher, is a site devoted to educator weblogs.

Biz Stone, Genius: Keeping a Professional Blog. What is a blog. Why you need one.

26 September 2004

Gateway to the Smithsonian

Smithsonian.TV: " A guide to the latest live and archived streaming media content available for viewing from the comfort of your home. The Smithsonian hosts a wide array of performances, lectures, and other events that bring to life the ever changing exhibits found in our museums and traveling the country."

This Smithsonian portal also offers virtual tours of many of their holdings, as well as places of interest in and around Washington D.C. In addition, they have web cams set up at the National Zoo, and the museum of the American Indian.

25 September 2004

More on EduBlogging

Syllabus:Technology For Higher Education:

Learning & Publishing Digital Photography

I thought these two resources work well together. Fuji provides teachers with the digital photography curriculum and resources, and if you qualify--a product donation. JPG Magazine can provide an opportunity for students to have their work published. A win-win!

Fuji Film: "Our Products for Learning program is Fuji film's way of rewarding the creativity of individual educators who understand the value of integrating imaging and information technology into everyday classroom lessons. Your class may qualify for a Fuji film product donation. Please read the Guidelines to see if your school is eligible to receive a donation."

JPG Magazine: "JPG Magazine is for people who love image making without attitude. It's about the kind of photography you get when you love the moment more than the camera. It's for photographers who, like us, have found themselves online, sharing their work, and would like to see that work in print." (via shellen.com)

24 September 2004

Get (Tech) FIT

Fluency with Information Technology (FIT): "FIT is a no-cost, online, self-study course that provides you with a command of three essential areas of IT knowledge: contemporary skills, foundational concepts, and intellectual capabilities, to more fully exploit IT.

This course is sponsored by the University of Washington, with a grant from the National Science Foundation."

21 September 2004

Justice Learning

Justice Learning: "Justice Learning is an innovative, issue-based approach for engaging high school students in informed political discourse.

The web site uses audio from the Justice Talking radio show and articles from The New York Times Learning Network to teach students about reasoned debate and the often-conflicting values inherent in our democracy.

The web site includes articles, editorials and oral debate from the nation's finest journalists and advocates."

18 September 2004

Acts of Kindess Foundation

Acts of Kindness Foundation: "Want to encourage kindness on campus? See our free Teacher's Guide, lesson plans, activity ideas, and other materials ."

15 September 2004

Teacher's Guide & Political Cartoons

Professional Cartoonists Index: "This is the Teachers' Guide for using the Professional Cartoonists Index web site in your classes.

We have developed lesson plans for using the editorial cartoons as a teaching tool in Social Sciences, Art, Journalism and English at all levels."


Classbrain: "Each of our sections has been tailored to the informational needs and skill levels of the various age groups. These changes include navigation, reading levels, and age appropriate content.

We have a wonderful assortment of tools and information that we will be making available to you over the next few months. Please come back frequently to see what we’ve added, and tell your friends and colleagues to drop by as well.."

12 September 2004

Atomic Learning

"Atomic Learning provides software training using a unique, just-in-time approach. Our library of thousands of short tutorials on dozens of applications are focused on answering the common questions teachers, students and anyone else may have when learning software.

We like to call them "atoms of learning" and they are easy to access whenever and where ever you need them. A subscription to Atomic Learning provides you access to all of the tutorials and other valuable educational resources.

Click here to learn more about Atomic Learning and find out how to get a free trial account." (via)

Atomic also has several free tutorials available on their site, so be sure to click either the Mac or PC tab for more information. You will also need the Quicktime plug in to view the tutorials.

10 September 2004

Access Art

AccessArt: "A valuable resource bank for teachers, gallery educators and artists as well as a fun, creative and dynamic learning tool for pupils across all the key stages, and for home-users of all ages. From this site, you can access:

  • A series of visually exciting and innovative 'online workshops', specially created by AccessArt.
  • The online workshops condense and articulate artist-led teaching which has taken place in schools, museums and galleries.
  • Teachers Notes and Learners Print-Outs.

Each online workshop is accompanied by explanatory notes for the educators and printable resource material which can be used directly by the learner." (via)

03 September 2004

Leadership Toolbox

Education Leadership Toolbox: "A project of the National School Boards Foundation implemented by NSBA's Institute for the Transfer of Technology to Education with a grant from the National Science Foundation."

25 August 2004

Social Media in the Classroom

EDUCASE Review: New Tools for Back-to-School: Blogs, Swarms, Wikis, and Games

A special series of articles focusing on helping teachers integrate new media into the classroom. Some of the topics covered include:

  • Educational Blogging
  • Mobile Learning in Higher Education
  • Game-Based Learning