Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Videos for Classroom Use

A teacher at my school asked the Technology Department to purchase software to download video so she could show video clips at school. Our school district blocked access to a common video sharing site so the video could not be accessed on campus. Knowing the priorities of our budget for this year I set out to find FREE resources.

First I found TeacherTube, which boasts lesson plan friendly videos on a site organized similarly to the common video sharing site (let's abbreviate c.v.s.s. for typing's sake). So far so good right? I looked up content related to the teacher's curriculum and found not so many quality offerings...yet. So we continued the search.

Having caught my students watching videos instead of doing math, I learned about Google Video, so I searched for the teacher's content and received a sizable number of hits due to Google's web dominance, but was reduced when I selected the "videos hosted by Google" option. Success! Videos played past the district's filter, even from c.v.s.s. Note: Google acquired the c.v.s.s. on 10/9/06.

But we can go further and apply NETS*T standards to employ real learning so we move along:

A handy Google search (key words convert dvd to web video) turned up a cNet video on how to convert home DVDs to web video, which I chose to implement after a harrowing experience in our auditorium playing a student-produced video from a DVD (it stopped inexplicably during the viewing!). Now you can take a DVD, upload the video to a "safe" website to show in your classroom, or write the converted video to CD to show anywhere (now that the file size is smaller).

Be sure to test whichever option you use to ensure it will work when you need it in the classroom!

Update! In my online travels I saw an ad for a Firefox add-on that downloads video! There are others but this one was not ad supported. https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/3590

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Using Technology to Improve Teaching & Learning?

I attended a workshop today where we discussed how to use technology to improve teaching and learning. At the prior workshop (which I had missed ;,) they proffered the following levels of technology use in education:
  1. Teacher using technology behind-the-scenes
  2. Teacher using technology for instruction
  3. Students using technology for learning
  4. Students using technology for teaching
This got me thinking about the technology and actions of each level:
  1. behind-the-scenes: grading software or database, word processing lesson plans, student handouts, letters to parents, notes from meetings, credential school work
  2. teacher instruction: POWERPOINT
  3. student learning: computer labs, online research
  4. student teaching: POWERPOINT
At the most basic use of technology in teaching is a computer (desktop or laptop), a projector, and Powerpoint slides. This also reminded me that I had promised a co-worker links to learn Powerpoint online, so I share the following to provide basic Powerpoint skills to get one started:

Friday, February 1, 2008

Tools-Online Bookmarks

Online tools that make life easier, more interesting, or are just way cool!

Online Bookmarks: the beauty of this tool is that you can access your best links from anywhere, not just on your main computer(s).

  1. del.icio.us social bookmarking
    I chose del.icio.us for my bookmarks because it's interface was easy for me to understand immediately, I can easily share links with my classmates, and it seems to be pretty popular in the online community. I don't like that it basically lists the bookmarks but I need to investigate further.

    These are tools to improve your deli.icio.us experience:

  2. Most Popular Online Bookmarks and Filesharing sites
    Sure you have your favorite sites bookmarked on your home or work computer, but what happens when you need a site and you're not at home or work? Online bookmark and filesharing sites allow you to save your information online, which you can access anywhere

  3. Digg Social Bookmarking
    Digg is another prominent social bookmarking site, where you bookmark sites you and others find interesting , then the most popular are advertised worldwide.
  4. Yahoo! Bookmarks
    I'm not sure if this list is sharable otherwise having it interface with my Yahoo! email account is a definite advantage. More to come.

  5. Sharing Links: social bookmarking for educators
    Haven't tried this site out yet but it seems to be tailored to educators and can be used by your students safely.

  6. List of Bookmark Managers
    Comprehensive list of bookmark managers in case you wanted to compare some lesser knowns to the most popular.

Online Safety & Security

Yes many entities online are out to do bad things. Is that a reason to not join the Information Revolution? NOPE! So this section will highlight some basics to keep safe online.

  1. Great System for Maintaining & Changing Your Password
    A great system to maintain a very secure password. You know, when your computer forces you to change your password and you have to remember it but you're forced to change it so often you forget the password?

  2. Creating and Maintaining a Strong Password System
    Interesting system for changing a password regularly when you must have a strong (secure) password but you must remember it.

  3. How to Detect and Prevent Phishing Scams
    "Phishing" happens when individuals try to "phish" or retrieve your personal information for their use. It's a starting point for identity theft. This simple article describes the types of email messages you should NEVER OPEN. Once you automatically recognize potential phishing email messages you reduce your chances of getting a computer virus or corrupting your hard drive.