Archive for May, 2008

Testing The Waters for iPods in the Classroom

Final exams are wrapping up and by all accounts it looks like our little experiment is working out well.  What was it?  I have been exploring using iPods in the classroom and had mentioned the possibilities to a colleague on campus.  She ran with the idea and next thing I know we have all the final exams recorded and saved as mp3s so that students who need the test read to them can listen and move at their own pace.  I thought I would share what we have done, and see if anyone has ideas to help out for the future.

  1. Using Audacity each test was recorded. 
    • Pauses between each question is important. 
    • Break up large tests into several different recording files.  This allows for students to better manage what they are listening to.
  2. Files were saved as mp3 files.  Remember to do that you need to download the required dll file.
    • Establish a naming convention so if files were to be put on iPods, the files are easily accessed.
    • Edit the ID3 tags so that you have a naming convention that works for each test.  Once again it makes it easier if the recordings are going to be loaded on an iPod or other mp3 player.
  3. An internal web page was developed so that all the files were easily accessed by clicking on links.  This kept the tests secure and helped the students navigate easily between different sections of the test.
  4. The tests were given/  Students came into the lab and using the internal web page choose the correct test and were able to pause and rewind as needed.

So did it make a difference?  I haven’t seen the test scores, but the students seemed very focused and the teachers facilitating the testing rooms were happy and not running around trying to keep everyone on task.

The next step?  Now that we have a handle on this, we can continue to record tests and load on iPods.  Also we can begin to develop different teaching/study aide files and podcast them out through the help of blog sites.

One small step for Web 2.0, but a huge step for our campus. 

Suggestions? Ideas?  Has anyone else had experience with this and have insight on the next step?

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Collaboration Beyond the School Walls

I was reading a friend’s blog recently, explaining how to make good use of your summer.  One of the ideas was to explore projects with other schools in other areas.  That started me thinking – telecollaboration has been around for a while, but not until recently has it been made so easy.  Connecting with other schools is easy with the aide of wikis, blogs, email, skype, etc.  Our students are already linking with all sorts of people around the globe through facebook, myspace, gaming sites, etc.  Some of this is good and some not so good.  But the idea of linking and working with other groups is an irristeable hook  for our already connected students.

So how do you do it and where do you begin?  Start with asking yourself a few questions:

  • What do you hope to gain through the project? 
  • What learning is going to take place? 
  • Is approaching the subject matter this way going to add to what students need to learn or just distract from it?
  • Do you have the time, support, and equipment needed to make it happen?

Here are a few good links to get you started. 

  • About Telecollaborative Projects –  a basic overview of telecollaboration
  • Telecollaborate! -step by step details on how to plan, create and implement a project
  • Links to Current Projects – lists various running projects.  Some are closed for the year, but a good place when looking for ideas.
  • 2Learn – Requires a registration to gain access to project resources and tools.
  • ePals– Emailing another classroom through epals is a good starting point

Do you have any ideas?  Anything holding you back? 

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YouTube on PowerPoint

Did you know that you can embed YouTube video into PowerPoint 2002?  I just figured this out and wanted to share what I learned.  This only works when the computer you will be showing the powerpoint on will be connected to the internet.

Find the movie you want to embed and find the URL:

  • In the address bar is the url  – highlight that info and copy it.
  • You must change the url by deleting the “watch?” and replace the “=” with a “/” |
    Ex. v/YcqJoE_78a0
  • Note: – will always be the same
    The end string “YcqJoE_78a0” is specific for each video.

To Embed it into PowerPoint:

1.   Open a Slide

2.   Go to View – Tools – Control Toolbox

3.   Click on the more controls button (hammer) and scroll down to find Shockwave Flash Object.

4.   A cross-hairs will appear for the cursor – so click and drag a box where you want the video to appear.

5.   Right click in the box and choose “properties”

6.   A properties box will appear  – scroll down to the item titled “Movie” and paste in the URL for the video.

7.   Save – view show.  The video will play once you double click on it, just like embedding on a website. 


That’s it!   A few more steps than embedding it online, but a nice trick to know for making teaching presentations.

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Web Wandering Wednesdays – May 7 -Math

Math Web Sites:

Math Tips – They have taken the most missed TAKS questions from last year’s 8th grade test and created teaching videos to show how to work those type of problems.

Decatur Intermediate Math Videos – Decatur teachers took the 5th and 6th grade released math TAKS and posted short videos on how to complete each problem.  These videos are available for anyone to use free of charge.

 Math Solutions – This web site contains math lessons broken into grade areas.  Each lesson contains step by step directions and student samples.  Good ideas when looking for a different way to teach.  Not all lessons are for all grade levels so be sure to verify this info.

Tulyn – Math Video Help – you have to create a free account to see the videos uninterrupted, but the site does contain short video clips on all sorts of math problems at all levels.  Might be a great resource for kids working at home to include a link to a similar problem.

 Math Interactives – lessons for 6-12 grade

Just for Fun:  Don’t you wish all students took math this seriously:



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Marzano and Web 2.0 – What more could a girl ask for?

I have been a fan of Robert Marzano’s work since I read Classroom Instruction that Works  several years ago.  He broke down what teachers could do into doable “chunks” with research to prove that it works.  I have designed staff development around this model for years and incorporated my CRISS trainings to include this research.  So image my excitement when I discovered this wiki : Web 2.0 That Works!

According to Marzano’s research there are 9 Key areas for Classroom Instruction to focus on:

  • Identifying Similarities and Differences
  • Cooperative Learning
  • Summarizing and Note-Taking
  • Reinforcing Effort and Providing Recognition
  • Homework and Practice
  • Non-linguistic Representation
  • Setting Objectives and Providing Feedback
  • Generating and Testing Hypotheses
  • Questions, Cues and Advance Organizers

The wiki gives the basic info about each area, lists tools that address that area and gives examples of these tools being used by teachers and students.  The difference between this and a regular web page is that a web page is static for the most part with one “expert” author, this allows any of us to add in new tools and to share our examples with other educators.  This is also a great place to check out some web 2.0 tools that you have not heard about before.

So what categories does blogging fit in?  Identifying Similarities and Differences, Cooperative Learning, Summarizing and Note-Taking, Homework and Practice, Generating and Testing Hypotheses, Questions, Cues and Advance Organizers

What other topics in education could you see wikis being used to help collaboration?  Do you see a benefit of having multiple authors on resource?  Do you trust the information?

Edited to add in this resource: – “Many teachers are asking how technology can be integrated with these strategies to improve student learning.  Click on the links (each bar of the graph below) to review those strategies and see examples and templates to support technology integration.”

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