Monday, December 7, 2009

10 Ed Tech Apps That I’m Thankful For | Emerging Internet Technologies for Education

10 Ed Tech Apps That I’m Thankful For | Emerging Internet Technologies for Education

10 Ed Tech Apps That I’m Thankful For

by K. Walsh on November 29, 2009

Sharing my gratitude for some great online software applications.

10productslogosIn the spirit of the Thanksgiving Holiday, I’m taking a break from my series on Interactive Whiteboards, to post this list of internet and instructional technology products that I am grateful for. Some of these tools are purely education focused, and some are much more general. They have each played a role at the school where I oversee technology, or for me personally in my pursuit of education technology knowledge and awareness.

  • SurveyMonkey: This low cost online survey tool is easy, flexible, and really delivers. We are able to create electronic surveys quickly, with a wide range of question formats available, and then hand off the administration of the surveys to the users who requested them. Survey administrators can have complete, secure access to results, browsing them in summary or full detail on line, and downloading them in a variety of useful formats for further analysis if desired. I was particularly thankful as I put up some new surveys recently and discovered that SurveyMonkey now provides much shorter URL’s for accessing surveys.
  • The Timecruiser integrated suite of products: We licensed and implemented the Campus Cruiser portal and the Cruiser Alert emergency notification and messaging systems this year. I am thoroughly appreciative that we now have a robust Portal tool for the entire college community, and comforted by the knowledge that we have an easy and effective mechanism to message everyone quickly in the event of an emergency or other important notification situation. I am also quite grateful for the SaaS delivery model that eliminates the need for server procurement, implementation, maintenance/management, upgrade oversight, etc. I’m looking forward to the next step with this product suite, the migration from our current LMS/CMS (Blackboard) to the Course Cruiser LMS that is integrated into the Timecruiser suite.
  • Google Sites: A was delighted to learn recently that this free application positions students to easily create an ad-free, uncluttered web site where they can host an electronic portfolio of representational academic work, which can facilitate further academic pursuits and their career searches.
  • Doodle: This simple, free “polling” tool is a real time saver when trying to offer and coordinate multiple training sessions. In about 10 minutes, I can create multiple offerings of a training session, and send the link to the resulting poll to as many user as I want. Those users can then see and self-select from the available offerings. This has reduced the time required to administer the scheduling of training offerings from hours to minutes!
  • Blogger: I am grateful for Blogger because it helped get me started with blogging about education technologies. Of course, Blogger also facilitates blogging for lots students, teachers, and administrators (as well as vast numbers of users outside of the educational field).
  • Wetpaint: Wetpaint’s free Wiki’s are utilized in various courses at my college, and having the option to have ads turned off (for educational users) is very much appreciated! A Wetpaint Wiki can be a great, fun introduction to hosting your own web site, but it is also functional enough to serve as a pretty robust web-based community site.
  • Microsoft Office: Yup, good old Office made the list (while this isn’t typically used as as online app, there are now online versions available). How many of us would be willing to give up Word or Excel? Up-and-comers like Google Docs offer interesting alternatives, but few of us could go without this gold standard productivity suite. We teach it in our classrooms, students use it regularly to complete assignments, and it plays a daily role in administrative processes.
  • Goodsearch: While Google Search is the search engine of choice for the masses, we are grateful for Goodsearch here at our college because it allows organizations to earn some income for charitable purposes. By indicating the charity of your choosing when configuring Goodsearch, searches you conduct can result in small donations to that charity. For us, this helps to grow our scholarship funds for students in need.
  • Wordpress: This free, powerful Content Management System is the main tool that allows me to produce a professional looking blog. It positioned me to blog about education technology in a professional manner, and I could hardly be more thankful for it (and for the recently purchased outstanding Thesis theme add-on). This blogging effort has helped me learn so much, which benefits my institution and myself. I have had the opportunity to meet and interact with lots of knowledgable people online through this blog, and Wordpress is an essential element in making that possible. Of course, also hosts blogs, and like Blogger, hosts many student, teacher, etc., blogs.
  • YouTube: YouTube undeniably popularized the use of Internet based video clips, and with the vast potential for this technology in instructional applications, one has to appreciate the impact that YouTube has had.

There are plenty more Internet and instructional technologies I am thankful for, but the above ten products quickly rose to the top of the list as I thought about the many tools we use. Hopefully this listing provides a couple insights for you (or at least reminds you of what you have to be grateful for!).

Speaking of you, and of gratitude, I am so very, very thankful for my subscribers and readers! Your feedback, comments, and suggestions bring so much value to the process. Without you, this blog just wouldn’t exist. I hope you had a great weekend, and I want to wish everyone a healthy and happy upcoming holiday season!

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Best Websites for Teaching and Learning

Best Websites for Teaching and Learning: "

VoiceThread has been recognized by the American Association of School Librarians (AASL) as one of The Best Websites for Teaching and Learning, a list of 'tools and resources of exceptional value to inquiry-based teaching and learning.' We're very honored to be recognized by this organization and community, and fully support the vision they've set forth in the Standards for the 21st-Century Learner. If you're looking for the language to describe the proper role of technology in education, you can find it within this great document.

posted on July 27th 2009 by Steve


Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Technology & Learning

Project Based Learning Checklists

A project based learning method is a comprehensive approach to instruction. Your students participate in projects and practice an interdisciplinary array of skills from math, language arts, fine arts, geography, science, and technology.

"The collaborative nature of the investigation enhances all of these valuable experiences ... as well as promotes a greater appreciation for social responsibility (Scott, 1994)."

Building Motivation
Using Multiple Intelligences

PBL Checklists

To help you start using PBL, we've created age-appropriate, customizable project checklists for written reports, multimedia projects, oral presentations, and science projects. The use of these checklists keeps students on track and allows them to take responsibility for their own learning through peer- and self-evaluation.

PBL Project Checklists in English
PBL Project Checklists en EspaƱol

We now have customizable rubrics for multimedia projects, work skills, experiments, oral projects, and many more -- all available at RubiStar!

Posted via web from kakronfeld's posterous


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Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Coach Graves Dances!

Coach Graves' students get him to dance. He has been dancing for awhile. Check his video from September 2007.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Grace Is Going Places

In a day in the life of Grace on Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at Grace School, here are just a few of the many uses of technology in our classrooms:

3rd Grade-
A 3rd grade teacher set up math centers in her classroom focusing around the concept of remainders. She used a book, A Remainder of One, to introduce the concept. Students used varied manipulatives in two different centers, worked in their math journal in one center, used the Notebook computers to visit the interactive math site which ties directly into our math program where teachers can view student progress in another center, and in yet one more, a SMART center, students use the Airliners and the SMARTBoard to practice cloning and infinite cloning images and regrouped to show arrays and remainders.

1st Grade-
A 1st grade class recorded their voice to go along with an 'All About Me' slideshow they created using PowerPoint and SMARTNotebook software. The students even chose their own music!

5th Grade-
Students used their ePal email accounts to study for a social studies test later in the day while at the same time practiced sending messages with proper 'netiquette' in preparation for blogging activities they will begin soon.

3rd Grade-
Students in 3rd grade were immersed in a keyboarding camp that will run the rest of this week in the afternoon. Students learned keyboarding skills through several activities including direct instruction with two teachers in the computer lab, drill and practice activities on the classroom computers, and other handwritten activities involving color connections and key/letter identification.

7th & 8th Grade-
Middle school Yearbook students began their class by checking their school email accounts for any information or announcements pertinent to the class. They checked-in for the day by accessing the Yearbook collaborative website hosted by Google sites which contains important information about assignments, deadlines, and announcements. Students completed a self-evaluation which was posted on the comments section of their personal page and worked on the appropriate assigned spreads using the Adobe CS3, including PhotoShop, InDesign, and Illustrator.

This is what I saw yesterday...there's a lot more going on at Grace, so stay tuned for updates about what other grade levels and classes are doing!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Passion for Dancing?

As I read through the "What Makes You Dance?" responses, I get this wonderful feeling. I hear words and phrases in my head like 'chart their own course,' common goals, invigorated, exhilarated, passionate, challenges, and working collaboratively, and I think - Wow! These people are talking about learning! On top of that, I 'get' to work with 'these people' who are more than just people. They are scientists, counselors, leaders, learners, teachers, mothers, librarians, mathematicians, and anything in between. But, best of all, they are all educators working together for a common goal to meet the needs of the students in our school and are doing it in a way where they can take student independence to a whole new level.

We are providing our students with the tools they will need to survive in the 21st century. Like Ms. Hammett said, some of us are learning alongside our students. How cool is it to walk into a classroom where there is a live feed of a frog that students are observing in class? Not only that, but the students were the ones who had the idea and set it up. And, furthermore, I know at least three places where SirLime is proudly showcased on a homepage of a teacher's social networking site. If you visit the froggycam, you can view the chat room where students have posted information about what frogs eat, how much they eat, and whether the food intake of SirLime is acceptable for his size and species. It is quite fascinating and is only one example of the many ways we are taking our passion for teaching and learning and providing our students with alternative ways to become independent thinkers.

It's so exciting! What have you been doing with students to promote this same type of learning?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

What Makes You Dance?

In our PLC we are discussing ways to promote learning through project-based digital tools, the Internet, and Web 2.0. So, we ask our teachers, what makes you dance? Is it the school, the environment, the students, the parents, your colleagues, what you teach, what you learn, or something else? At Grace, we have the opportunity to explore new possibilities and challenge our students to become independent thinkers in order for them to become life long learners. As 21st century learners, it is difficult for some us to understand how this "works" in a world that does not yet exist as we know it now.

Maybe some teachers prefer to look at what does not make them it fear of the unknown, is it not enough time, is it, "I'm too old for this," is it not enough support, is it not enough money, or is it simply, I don't know how? Whatever the reason, it is okay to have uncertainties because the benefit of working in a collaborative environment like Grace with students who want to learn is that, as teachers, we are facilitators of learning and have exceptional colleagues who support us in our own paths. It is our job to provide our students with the tools they need to go out into the world and make a difference. And despite our fears or challenges, we really do use the tools we have available to make learning happen and happen at a higher level.

Kevin Jarett, a technology facilitator in Northfield, New Jersey, said, "Technology is evolving faster than ever before-bringing people together, eliminating barriers, facilitating understanding and knowledge transfer, and improving the world around us with each passing day."

Jarett goes on to say that there's never been a better time to be an educator, according to Diana Fingal, Senior Editor of Learning & Leading with Technology. Then in an another article about HP's Innovations in Education grant program, she quotes Principal Seema Sapru at the Heritage School in Kolkata, India, "The teacher will no longer serve as a disseminator of information via lectures and textbooks. Rather, the teacher will adopt the roles of facilator, tutor, and learner. Similarly, the student will abandon the role of solitary memorizer of facts and principles for the roles of researcher, problem solver, and strategist."

Our students at Grace will do this with their teachers and their peers so that they develop communication and inquiry skills, learn to be flexible, develop an understanding of how the world works, and achieve the feeling that, as individuals, they can do something to change the world.

Knowing that our students will leave Grace with this skillset, what makes you want to dance?

Saturday, October 17, 2009

jdthomas7: RT @kakronfeld:
TLA Fall Conf. -presenting Research 'Round the School

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Thoughts About Professional Development in Technology

I visited three educational professional websites which were the Association for Supervision Curriculum and Development (, Tapped In (, and the National Staff Development Council ( Here are some of my thoughts about what I found out.

ASCD and NSDC focus on providing educators with professional development opportunities through access to up-to-date information on hot topics and trends as a means for enhancing teaching and learning. Similarly, Tapped In centers on promoting and enhancing professional development; however, the delivery of information and structure of the site is much different than the other two in that it enables a subscriber, i.e. an organization, to establish its own learning community and create customized staff development programs specific to its needs. All three of the sites are membership or subscription based, but ASCD and NSDC do provide limited amounts of information (such as links to articles and blogs) to non-members, whereas, Tapped In does not provide this type of information unless you are a subscriber.

Of the three sites I reviewed, it quickly became obvious to me two emerging trends or hot topics are the continuous need for ongoing professional development with regards to technology, and the growing popularity of online learning communities. According to Tapped In’s vision, “Research has shown that student achievement is directly linked to teacher quality” (2007). Although there are a few educators who seem to possess a natural ability for always providing quality learning environments regardless of the scenario, it is still imperative that all educators keep on top of the latest innovations, especially technology. In order to do this, organizations and schools are creating learning communities for educators which are similar to social networks. According to Wikipedia, the definition of a learning community, “…is a group of people who share common values and beliefs [and] are actively engaged in learning together from each other” (2009). By combining learning communities with professional development opportunities, educators now have real-time access to information, whereas, previously, educators may have had to wait for a conference or a meeting to learn about or ask questions about the latest technology or trend. Because the technology world is rapidly changing, learning communities allow educators to review and discuss new ideas and equipment as it emerges rather than waiting for experts in the field to deliver the information at a later date. Through online access, up-to-date information can be delivered instantly, and educators can quickly decide how best to incorporate new trends into everyday learning experiences for students or determine whether more research or evaluation is necessary in order to successfully implement the new technology or idea. As educators become well-versed in the world around them through ongoing professional development via online communities, teacher quality improves and, ultimately, student achievement improves. The information available to us through web sites such as the ones discussed here are springboards for ongoing learning in the field of education which will have lasting effects on us as professionals who strive to successfully educate the children who will be our future leaders.

Association for Supervision Curriculum and Development. (2009) ASCD home. From

Learning community. (2009, June 21). Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Retrieved June 30, 2009, from

National Staff Development Council. (2009). National staff development council (NSDC): welcome. From

Tapped In. (2007). About tapped in. From

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Resources for Creating a Technology Rich Environment


-video cameras

-digital cameras

-audio/video editing software

-DDR - Dance Dance Revolution

-wii fit


What else?

-tv in the hallway



jdthomas7 (Jeff Thomas)

jdthomas7: - PLC
Original Tweet:
Sent via TweetDeck (

PLC Book Study #1 Underway

Think Big - It Is Our Time!

Project-based learning = Teachers designing the experience and the students taking part in the process and product.

Redefine your personal edge to push yourself to go farther and farther.

C.A.S.E = Change Agents for the Student Experience

C.A.S.E = Change Agents for the School Experience

Become the Agent - constantly redesign your edge

Initiatives -
>" become the most technology rich learning environment..."
> it's about the staff and the students
> not necessarily about having the pieces

> Teacher Web Pages - consistent and timely communication

> ePortfolios for all students - digital content managed by one person
>Here's an example at Atomic Learning:

Assist students in building a collection of student work - How could we do this? What are some ideas?
-Google docs

>student accounts and email - How will we get the information out to kids successfully?
>Students in Tech CASE class will be assigned to new users --> teach the basics, be held accountable through real-world experiences and applied learning processes

>create an effective PLC - related to student learning

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Community, Collaboration, & Communication

The 3C's as we are calling them, I believe, are essential for us to learn about ourselves and build upon our vision of empower students and teachers to think critically with digital tools, the Internet, and Web 2.0 (or maybe Web 4.0).

I'm looking at Appendix A at the "Essential Learning Functions" and am thinking about a fabulous group of people who came to an optional in-service today to learn how to make their lines of communication better which will ultimately improve their immediate community, but also the Grace community. This could not have happened without collaboration. We are "doing" the "list" in Appendix A without even realizing it. We are creating opportunities for students in alignment with the National Educational Technology Standards for Students (NETS-S) and teachers don't even realize it. Life is just that great for our students right now, and I am proud to be a part of what we have and what Grace will become.

It's amazing to me that everything stems from an idea which insists that we can always improve. We are all learners, students and teachers together, and I find myself wondering, "Is this real?" I ask myself this question because we are learning so much so fast, it is very difficult to keep up, but it does come back to the 3C's. It's a book, a PLC, an idea, a website, an app, a podcast, a wiki, a conversation, an email, or a smile that brings us all together in a place where we are learning to lead and living to serve.
tonyvincent: New video podcast: Create a comic strip with saved images from Maps and Safari on an iPod touch.

Friday, September 18, 2009

What is Project-Based Learning?

When you hear the term project-based learning, what does that mean to you? Are you using this type of student learning in your classroom already? If you are, what are you doing? What type of technology are you integrating in your project?

Let's see what we are doing...

PLC Book Study

The Middle School (MS) teachers are reading Reinventing Project-Based Learning by Suzie Boss & Jane Krauss

Our Professional Learning Community (PLC) will meet on Wednesday after school.