Archive for April, 2008

Web Wandering Wednesdays – April 30

Inspiration is a wonderful tool to have students map out ideas, stories, events, etc.  The downside is that Inspiration software is tied to a computer that it is loaded on and students cannot continue their work at home, and it is nearly impossible to work on it as a team.  This week’s WWW are online mapping sites that are free and easy to use:

Bubbl.us – online webbing tool – Create an account and the program will save your webs and allow you to go between your saved files.  You can also share out your online webs so other can just view them, or so everyone has a right to edit them.  Can you see the possibilities of a class web on something that students could add to or learn from at any time and anywhere?

MindMeister – another online mapping tool – From their web site: “Users can create, manage and share mind maps online and access them anytime, from anywhere. In brainstorming mode, fellow MindMeisters from around the world (or just in different rooms) can simultaneously work on the same mind map – and see each other’s changes as they happen.”


Tags: ,

It’s a Wiki Wiki World – Update

I was reading a colleagues blog recently and her post was about focusing on just one thing and learning it.  This made me reflect on my “one thing” this year – the incorporation of wikis into the school.  During the October 8th Staff Development day I introduced wikis to campus.  The basic idea was to have an easy way to create web pages whether it be webquests, teacher collaboration pages, trainings, etc.  So did wikisbecome part of the way we do things?  Withthe year coming to a close I decided to share what some people on campus have done with their new found wiki knowledge.

TeachWikiThe Beginning: – I started using wikis in order to keep track of the info I was learning about web 2.0.  I needed a way to keep track of my notes and be able to access them wherever I was.  A nice bonus of using a wiki for this is that others are able to add their own knowledge about topics.  The site has grown to be my home page of staff development notes and a place to collaborate with others to plan trainings and set campus goals. 


Why use wikis for webquests?  These webquests were designed by a team of teachers who needed to be able to add in resources and details from various locations.  It also allows teachers to add in new resources as they go along and clarify instructions as the lesson is implemented in class.

  •  Texas Energy – This is a 6th grade science project to have students research different types of energy to be used in the regions of Texas.  Students were to create a presentation of their choice to make a recommendation.
  • Bill of Rights Webquest – 8th Grade US History – Tying into the novel “The Giver,” students were to explain to the citizens of the book why their amendment was vital to civilization.  Students then put that info on a wiki page.  After each group had completed the research they then used their classmates wiki pages to learn about the other amendments.  Here are some  random class examples:
  • Go Green – 8th Grade Science – The students job is work in groups and to persuade the government to use that alternative energy source in place of oil. Students have a choice of products to use in your presentation to the government.
  • Welcome to the World – 6th Grade World Cultures – Students researched a country to help create their own mini, online encyclopedia through use of another wiki page.
  • Republic of Texas  – – 7th Grade Texas History – Students were to represent one of the many points of view that existed in Texas after the war for independence.  They were then to try to persuade the people of Texas on the issue of Annexation.

Student Projects:

Staff Pages:

Are there others?  Please let me know if I left anyone off the list!

Ideas for the futures:

Remember that wikis can be made private and not open to viewing for non-members!

  • Online Staff Collaboration – Examples:
    • Potluck on May 7th– Sign-up for food could be online instead of the traditional work room refrigerator.
    • Chair Massage Time Slots
    • School Supply Lists– Why not collaborate on next year’s supply list through a wiki?  Everyone can see each grade level and know who has requested what.  Easier than tracking emails!
    • Plans for grade level field trips– a great way to keep everyone updated on who is going where and when (not who – that info needs to be a little more inhouse.)
  • Online Staff Development– take the model of the LA department – could more training be offered at flexible times by going online?

 Need to know what a wiki is or how to get started?  A post will be coming soon to help fill you in!

Tags: , ,

Web Wandering Wednesdays – April 23

It is that time of the year, when we all need to take a mental break from time to time. Here are a list of sites that can help take your mind off of the testing season and onto something completely different. – is a collection of web sites/stories/postings that other people have found interesting.  if you like something you can “digg” it and the more votes or diggs something gets the higher on the list it becomes.  Search by category or by most recent “dugg stories.”  Very interesting stuff can be
found here.

Stumble Upon – “StumbleUpon discovers web sites based on your interests, learns what you like and brings you more. Discover your web with StumbleUpon.”  Organized more visually than Digg, but also has categories to break down what type of information you want.

LinkedIn – Connect with people from your past.  The object of the game is to make as many connections as possible.  Actually the point of this website is to help you network with those you went to high school or  college with or worked with in the past.   I actually found my old college roommate here and found out what she is up to now.

Symmetry Lab – build machines and change what they do by adjusting friction, gravity, etc.  Okay – so maybe this is a little educational, but it is kinda fun as well.

Ellen and the Hula Chair – Need a laugh?  Watch and enjoy!



Tags: , , , – Social Bookmarking

or – How to Meet Friends and Influence People

With summer fast approaching (although not approaching soon enough) plans are already being made as to what people want to learn over the summer.  Most people have their favorite internet sites bookmarked on a computer and the question is how to access those sites from other computers to avoid having to find your resources again.

One solution is– It is a social bookmarking site where you can bookmark your favorite places and then have access to all of your links online by logging into your account from any internet connected computer. 

Web sites can be recalled by how you label or “tag” them.  Tags are key words that describe the site so later if you want to organize all your links to see what you tagged as “chemistry” you look on the right hand side column for your list of tags and click on chemistry.  Only those sites that you used that word for will appear.  The difference between that and using folders in Internet Explorer is that the sites can be filed under multiple “tags” and can be reorganized at any point by clicking on another tag.  Very flexible!

That is the basic function, but how can you make friends in delicious?   Delicious can also link you to people who are interested in the same things you are.  Once you bookmark a site, you can then see who else has bookmarked that site, and what else they have bookmarked.  If they have common interests you can add them to your network list and share internet sites you find with them and vice versa.   Once you have a friends list going, you can send them links that you think they might be interested in as well.


Getting Started:  Here are a few links to help you set up your account and to use Delicious to it’s full extent.

Tags: , , , ,

Google Search Tricks

Google is a powerful search engine and can do so much more than just return websites that have the info you are looking for.  I thought I would find a few of those tricks and pass them along.

 8 Google Search Tricks:

1. Specialized Information Searches:

  • Definitions: You can get a word defined in by using “define:warriors”
  • Want to find food in a hurry?  Type in the type of food and the zip code or city and the closest business are returned in the results.  ex.  pizza 78664
  • Weather:  find local weather by typing in weather and the city or zip code.

2. Restrict Information:

  • Search Within a WebSite: If you put a word/term and then “site:” and then the domain name  you can conduct a search within that web site.  For example if you put “podcast”  you would be searching for podcasts within this website only.
  • Search within a range of numbers.  Ex  BIll Cosby parenting 2007 2008  will return anything posted from Bill Cosby on parenting between 2007 and 2008

3. Calculator – Basic Math Operations: Type in a equation and google will do the math for you  ex. 12 + 34 – 56 * 7 / 8. 

  • Functions include: + – * /
  • Percentages  – % of
  • Raise to the power of ^ or **  ex. 2^5 or 2**5
  • Convert currency:  Enter the conversion you want Google to preform:  ex: currency of Mexico in USD or 40 USD in Euros

4. Filetype – Want to find pdf files, or just have powerpoints returned?  type in the search terms and add “filetype:ppt”

5. What Time is it?  Find out the time anywhere by asking “what time is it in Zimbobwe

6. Track Flight Status:  No need to go to the airlines page – just type in the airline + Flight + flight number.  ex. Southwest Flight 805

7. Search for Related Terms – adding a ~ will opens results to terms that are related to the search word. ~education returns results with schools, universites, teachers, etc.

8. Phone Book – type in the name and city, state to return phone numbers

Not a Search Trick  – But did you know:  Google Maps now contains 360° views at the street level – Type in your address and look around your street. 

Do you have any favorite tricks in Google to share?

Resources used to prepare this list:

Tags: , , , ,