Nov 12, 2011

Learning to Change and Changing to Learn

Thanks to Keith Tompkins @PEISchools on Twitter for tweeting this video out.

Sep 15, 2011

Words Their Way Meets Diigo!

Have you ever wondered how you could use your netbooks in a center during "Words Their Way?" I know one teacher that did!

(This idea is credited to our Grade 3 teacher Mr. Foote who spent a large portion of his evening thinking about and researching how to use Diigo (social bookmarking tool) in his classroom. He gave me permission to blog about his idea).

Here is what he shared with me:

While one group is finding patterns in words through "making and breaking" words, another group is building word meaning playing pictionary with whiteboards, the third group is doing a variety of sorts, the fourth group could be using netbooks to search for words online in sites like National Geographic for Kids. Not only are they reading the articles, but they can be highlighting and adding words through the powerful collaborative tool called "Diigo."

Considering effective integration and "thematic teaching," if students are learning about animals, for example, they could do a "word hunt" by reading an online article and highlighting the words that they find and even adding them on a sticky note where others can respond/comment on.

Article from National Geographic for Kids: (using Diigo)
Clifford Online: (using Diigo)

You could take it a step further, and have students add a question or a response to the article through the "comment" tool on diigo, or through the sticky note tool.

You could do the same on any virtual site. You would need to consider that diigo works on most webpages, but not in PDF files.

Here are some more examples to get you thinking about the possibilities:

Pop Magazine (Canada's Adventure Magazine for Kids)

So many possibilities! Thank-you Mr. Foote!

Need resources to learn about Diigo?

This should be enough to get you started. Remember you can always google your question.

Aug 24, 2011

Why igoogle?

I recently had the opportunity to use igoogle. I never thought much of it before, but after playing around with it the last couple of days, I think it is pretty great.

Many search engines have "personalized homepage" capabilities where users can customize their page with the local weather, quote of the day, joke of the day and many other types of gadgets. Google's "Personalized Homepage" is now called "igoogle" and it really takes the homepage "up a notch!"

I think one of the best parts of igoogle is that your google reader, calendar and email (and other cool gadgets) are all on one page.

With igoogle you can:
  • check your mail without going to your inbox
  • update your blog
  • check your facebook
  • add your social bookmarks like delicious
  • check your twitter account
  • you can connect with others through the igoogle chat feature
  • surf the web
  • Create your OWN theme with thememaker
    Simply upload your favorite picture, customize your colors on the page and your igoogle has it's very own, unique theme. (The only downfall to making your own theme, is that you have to add it to igoogle's theme gallery)

Before I use igoogle in the classroom with my students, I need to consider ways to ensure that students will not come across some of the inappropriate themes and gadgets. I wonder if igoogle will be getting a filtering system?

May 5, 2011

Who is controlling our information?

I wrote a post a while ago about google bots called "How Does Google Really Work?" and while researching how it really works I learned about google bots and began to find answers to my new question as to whether or not google bots help make searches more efficient. Some things still did not sit quite right with me, because I keep feeling like these google bots were more like "spy bots" who could tell where I have been and what I am interested in. As I am currently realizing, I was not asking the right question. The question I should have been asking is "Why do google bots seem to make my searches more efficient?

Why, in November when I was house hunting would real estate sites for Rocky appear on my facebook page, and why would advertisements appear about "Bench" clothing stores when I just came back from shopping in Calgary. I have found an answer.

While we believe that "knowledge is power" and that the internet is a "web of resources" I am starting to see that the information that is coming to me on the web is "tailored" based on my interests.

The Ted Talk below provides insight into how we are merely consumers:

Apr 30, 2011

QR Codes in the Classroom

I came across QR Codes (quick reader codes) a few weeks ago and learned how to use them and have been seeing them everywhere! I blogged about them in "My Digital Footprint is a Barcode" and have recently been researching ways to use them in the classroom. Here are some ways you could use them in your classroom:

1. Print to Audio:

3. Adding QR Codes to an assignment so students can check their answers.

4. I like the idea of adding a QR code in the back of books which links to a website for more information.

7. Create a print art project and add animation in a particular spot by adding a QR Code. Here is an example of how advertisers are doing this. "Print Campaigns."

What ideas would you add to this list?

Apr 9, 2011

Please include these educational videos in your playlist!

At Free Tech for Teachers, Richard Byrne has begun creating an educational youtube video playlist. He has listed seven great videos that are worth checking out. I would include these valuable videos to his playlist:

A Vision of K-12 Students Today (different one than Byrne has listed)

Apr 2, 2011

My digital footprint is a bar code?

I heard about people having their own "bar codes" a while ago, but laughed it off. I guess I just didn't know what I didn't know or perhaps was not ready for my own barcode. Today I was surfing around and saw Cybraryman's webpage and noticed a little barcode and underneath the barcode it said "QR Code for this page." I immediately wondered why someone would want their own barcode? Is it even possible to have your own bar code?

So I began to do a little research. First, I went to wikipedia and learned that a QR Code is short for "Quick Response" code (Wikipedia). Wikipedia claims that QR codes were initially used to track vehicles and are now very popular in Japan and South Korea and that it is slowly catching on in the west (Wikipedia). QR Codes store text, URLs, contact information, pretty much anything!

I went to Twitter and searched for #QRCodes and found some more information. Some people are using QR Codes for their resumes, business cards, and even making stickers of their codes to put on their laptops, brochures for conferences, etc.

It was time to try this out and see how I would use it and/or if I would even use it. I tried two code generators, Qurify and Kaywa, mostly because they were the top hits for my google search.

I added my url for this blog:

Then clicked "create."

Here is what I got from Kaywa:

And my code from Qurify:

Strange, they really did look the same. Could this really work? So I grabbed my iphone and downloaded "QR Code Reader" (for free) and scanned my codes and my blog appeared!

I love it! I think I will be adding my QR Code to my blog (for sure) and to my business cards, and I am excited to print some stickers too!

Mar 31, 2011

Google is changing the way we read on the web!

There are now 5 new options for reading/viewing blogs on the web. When you go to a blog, type in "view" at the end of the URL.


You then get options to change the view:

I tried all of them and here is what they look like on my blog:

Mosaic View:

Sidebar View:

Snapshot View:

Flipcard View:
Timeslide View:

I appreciate these options when I am surfing through different blogs because I can scan for information more effectively. I can definitely see using the mosaic view and snapshot view the most when I am deciding whether or not to follow a blog. The timeslide and flipcard view will certainly help me find the main ideas of posts pretty quickly and then I can find the most interesting posts quickly.

Mar 15, 2011

Testing, testing...can you hear me?

I tried "Ustream" yesterday and ran into an audio problem. The video streamed but there was no audio. I google searched to find a solution to the problem and then began to search for other streaming sites and found "" and then "Livestream." was not what I needed for my school site because you could not embed the code (or at least I could not find the place to embed after google searching for that answer) and I wanted something more mainstream. Fortunately, I found "Livestream" which is very similar to "UStream", except the audio works! It is pretty user friendly, was easy to create a channel and super easy finding the code to embed into my blog. If someone asked me which streaming site to use, I would recommend Livestream.

So what did I learn?

A. The audio does not work in Ustream for some odd reason.
B. You can always use google search to find answers however when you can't find an answer, find another tool that does work!! (there are so many out there!)

Mar 13, 2011

Ustream it to the world!

A really cool 2.0 tool that I have been watching for a while is Ustream. Ustream is a place where anyone can broadcast information. You can find broadcasts from NASA, PBS and Rolling Stones, to name a few.

Ustream was launched in 2007 and in 2008 more than 400,000 users were streaming video. You can watch live streamed athletic events, or watch university lectures (Educause, 2008). Tomorrow morning, we are going to try it at our school for our morning announcements.

This is a great opportunity for our school community to tune in to hear what is going on in the school during the week and even see who is being recognized with a "Caught Being Green Award." This will be a trial run, but I am hopeful that it will be engaging for everyone.

Feb 6, 2011

Digital Citizenship is defined as advocating and practicing safe, legal, and responsible use of information and technology and exhibiting "a positive attitude toward using technology that supports collaboration, learning, and productivity'' (ISTE in

Here are 2 videos that help to build media literacy:

The House Hippo

Teenage Affluenza

Cyber-bullying is "the use of information and communication technologies to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior by an individual or group, that is intended to harm others"(wikipedia).

Here are 2 videos about cyber-bullies:

Cyberbullying Prevention: