Thursday, July 31, 2008

If this is Math, Sign me up!

I was reading posts on Clay Burell's site and was completely awestruck by a video he had posted there. Seems one Dan Meyer is doing right by his students in how he approaches teaching math. Awesome stuff, Dan...major kudos to you for the work you are doing with students!!

Here's the video:

dy/av : 002 : the next-gen lecturer from Dan Meyer on Vimeo.

Thing #23 - Reflections

For this Discovery Exercise, I will reflect on my learning experience by answering the following questions...

1. What were your favorite discoveries or exercises on this learning journey? - It's hard to choose! The mashups were a hoot, as was Flickr. On a professional level though, I think I got the most of discovering and expanding my 'circle of the wise.' I will be incorporating blogs, wikis, and nings into my teaching this coming year. I will also take advantage of podcasts and vidcasts to help reach my students in their digital native world.

2. How has this program assisted or affected your lifelong learning goals? I have become proactive in seeking out and learning new technologies that will help me grow as a teacher professional and affect positively the lives of my students. I also am developing a network of experts from which I can glean knowledge...awesome!

3. Were there any take-a-ways or unexpected outcomes from this program that surprised you? I think what surprised me the most is just how easy it is to create podcasts and vidcasts. I was expecting something really technical, but it wasn't. I purchased a microphone, plugged it into my computer, read a little bit of the index on the help areas of Audacity and Photostory (thank you SBISD for providing those tools on our new laptops!!) and then just 'went to town.' I did experience some issues with uploading my vidcast directly to Blogger, so I opted to upload it to TeacherTube and then embed it to my blog from there. Worked fine...

4. What could we do differently to improve upon this program’s format or concept? I'm not sure. The instructions/information listed on the Library2Play blog were easy for me to follow. I did read comments from other blogs though where people struggled in certain areas (like with podcasts and creating avatars). If I were you, I would read carefully the comments from the survey and incorporate the most relevant suggestions into the next round of learning. Just a side note here--I spent WAY more than 18 hours completing the 23Things...

5. If we offered another discovery program like this in the future, would you choose to participate? Absolutely!

6. How would you describe your learning experience in ONE WORD or in ONE SENTENCE, so we could use your words to promote 23 Things learning activities? Phenomenal! 23Things incorporates the 3R's that are necessary to successful learning: Rigor, Relevance, and yes, Relationship! Thanks for an incredibly enriching and rewarding experience!!!

Thing #22 - Nings

For this Discovery Exercise I surfed through the Ning for Teachers. There's all kinds of stuff there! This ning is an educational community designed to connect teachers. On the site I found Lessons, blogs, a message board...there are even Education Blog Groups that connect high school teachers, tech specialists, administrators, etc. I took the time to join the site...I want an additional opportunity to connect with other teachers.

It looks like Nings are a great way for teachers to collaborate with one another. I can see the business teachers in our District creating a Ning so that we can share Lessons, Lesson Plans, best practices, etc. I am working on a plan right now to present the idea to the other business teachers whenever we return for the fall semester.

I'm lovin' all these new tools!!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Thing #21 Podcasts and Audio Books

This was a Discovery Exercise was AWESOME!! After reading some others comments and blogs I was a little concerned, but both Audacity and PhotoStory are very easy to use. Our new laptops issued by our District have both programs on cool is that?!? Anyway, I decided to compose a Vidcast about our JA Company Program, WINC at Spring Woods HS. I did have some hiccups with uploading--I couldn't upload it straight to Blogger for some reason (???), so I uploaded it to TeacherTube and have embedded the file from there. Enjoy!!!

p.s. WINC still has a few lamps for sale on our here to purchase one!

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Thing #20 YouTube and TeacherTube (part 2)

Once again, I learned volumes from this Discovery Exercise. For me this exercise was about much more than embedding video into my blog, this exercise forced me to do further research on the people and topics about which I am passionate. Once of the videos that I found was on UStream. It was posted by my (now) favorite teacher blogger, Vickie Davis. It's an interesting discussion with a student regarding Student 2.0.

Live Broadcast by Ustream.TV

The other video I found was on YouTube. This video was shot during the Edublogger's Conference 2008. The content is good, but take special note of who is featured in the video. Their names and websites are sited there. Many of them I have learned about during my participation in the 23Things this summer. I am in the process of tagging these educator's blogs/websites for future circle of the wise in increasing...

Edit to Post (7/31/2008): When I played the YouTube video through my blog, the names and websites of the 'wise' in the video did not appear. If you want to copy their names/sites from the video directly from YouTube, click here.

Thing #20 YouTube and TeacherTube (part 1)

Okay...before I begin my official post on this thing, I wanted to post this video that The Library2Play blog had on their site. This video, called Three Steps to 21st Century Learning is produced by Jackie Halaw, owner of the TeacherHacks Blog. I am amazed at all the information that I've been able to glean as a part of the 23Things project. Enjoy this video...I'll be back with the rest of my Thing #20 post shortly.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Thing #19 - Web 2.0 Awards List

What a list! This discovery exercise challenged me to find a 'useful tool' from the Web 2.0 Awards List--a tool that I can incorporate into my classroom. I have been seeing Twitter and Digg icons everywhere, so I had to investigate those sites...I joined both! However, I don't know the District policy on accessing those sites, so I am not sure if I would be able to incorporate them into my curriculum.

LinkedIn, on the other hand, probably is not blocked by the firewall. This site would be a great way of exposing my Junior Achievement students to business professionals that could answer various questions for them. I joined the site (big surprise) so that I could surf through its offerings. There's an area there where you can ask questions and professionals with the knowledge/expertise in said area can answer you. This may be a great tool for assisting my students that are members of our Junior Achievement Company Program.

With that said...if I am able to access Digg through our firewall, I believe that it would be a great asset to my Marketing class. The students would be able to 'dig' articles related to various aspects of marketing (novel idea!).

I will be on campus tomorrow working on grants with another business teacher...I will try to access Digg and Twitter within the district...I'll report back to you all on my progress...

Thing #18 - Online Productivity Tools

I am very familiar with Google Docs...I spent some time collaborating with a colleague a year or so ago and we decided to use Google Docs to share our information. It worked fine for us. I've never used OpenOffice...but...I didn't want to download and install it on my computer--so--I found some video tutorials via Technorati. I watched the tutorials and read the blog reactions. Most agree that OpenOffice is a viable (not to mention affordable) option to the MSOffice Suite. While I agree, I admit that I am partial to the standard software version. Personally, I believe the choice to be a matter of personal preference as both options meet the need.

Thing #17 - Rollyo

Registering on Rollyo (as with most of the sites I've visited during this experience) was easy. I created a Searchroll and then placed a widget on my blog for searching (it's located just below my profile). You can view my Searchroll in the's called "Estie's Gifts" and it centers around educational sites and blogs. I think I will go back and create a few other Searchrolls for other topics like weather and travel.

Thing #16 - Wikis

Wow! Exploring Wikis was really fun! I can see how useful a wikispace could be in my classroom. I require my students to work collaboratively on most of their projects. By creating a wikispace, teams would be able to share research, ideas, add and edit content without having to email or even meet together after school.

The teams that we recruit for BPA competitions will find wikis indispensable. There's an enormous amount of research that goes into the Small Business Management and Global Marketing Teams (among others), so my collaborating via a wiki, the students can communicate information with one another more easily and effectively. I can hardly wait to use this!!

Here's another tool that I can incorporate into my lessons that will help students stay engaged in their learning! Yeah!

Thing #15 - Web 2.0 - Library 2.0 (Classroom 2.0)

I was blown away by the video A Vision of Students Today (the video is beneath this post) from TeacherTube. I wish that every teacher I know would not only view this video, but internalize its message. I left Corporate America to teach...I desire earnestly to reach students help prepare them for both college and career. I understand that to reach them and for them to truly learn I have to meet them 'where they are.'

Kids today are in sync with's practically in their DNA. They are proficient multi-taskers. They cannot be reached in a one-dimensional classroom. I understand this.... The vast majority of my lessons are interactive. I play music in my classroom everyday. I make sure that my students conduct Internet research and complete online activities. This year, I will incorporate blogging to replace notebook journals as the students' reflection piece after completing lessons.

Of the 5 perspectives listed in the Discovery Exercise for this 'Thing,' I enjoyed (and could relate to) Dr. Wendy Shultz' article, To a Temporary Place in Time... most. Dr. Schultz not only embraces the changes, but also looks to the future with excitement. Libraries are morphing (or mutating) into interactive learning environments to meet the needs of their patrons--shouldn't our classrooms do the same?

Thing #14 Technorati and Tags

I began using Technorati while completing the Discovery Exercise for Thing #9. However, I did not begin adding blogs and tags until now.

I like Technorati. I have all of my favorite blogs on my Google Reader, but am in the process of adding them to my Technorati site. I like the fact that Technorati connects bloggers to bloggers. It's a great way to create community. I have begun connecting with others who share similar interests with me. Although I can find other teachers via tags (tags are awesome!), I would like to see Technorati add an Education folder to it's Blog Directory. I think it would make it a little easier to find other teachers and their blogs.

I added some Technorati widgets to my site. The button at the top, right side of my page allows people to add my blog to their Technorati favorites. The horizontal ticker widget at the bottom of my page displays a real-time feed of what users are searching for on Technorati, right now.

I spent a fair amount of time on this Thing. I wanted to be certain that I understood fully how Technorati works. I plan on having my students create blogs this year rather than keeping a paper/pen journal. I will be able to add my students' blogs to my Technorati site. That will make it really easy for me to check/grade their 'journals' as they reflect on their lessons in my class.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Thing #13 Tagging/Discovering

I enjoyed discovering I also explored Furl and Mag.nolia, but was by far my favorite. It was really easy to register for an account and import bookmarks from my IE7 browser. I watched the tutorial, but really got just as much out of the teacher tube tutorial on the Library2Play site and it wasn't as long.

The discovery exercise for this "Thing" asks several questions...

1. Can I see the potential of and social bookmarking for research assistance? My answer is both yes and no. Yes, on a professional level. Social bookmarking is a great way of sharing information with my colleagues and helping me research information I may need for a lesson or a unit. No (or rather, 'not so much') on a student level within my lab. Students have a tendency to get bogged down in the plethora in Internet information. While I can see many students utilizing this tool effectively for independent research, I think it would be difficult (although not impossible) to keep them on task in the classroom.

2. How can libraries or classroom teachers take advantage of social bookmarking sites? I think that one of the best applications would be for us to share information. All too often we as teachers tend toward isolation...this may not happen as often with larger departments, but I know that those of us who teach Career and Technology Education courses find that we may be the only teacher on campus who teaches Business Law, Business Management, Marketing, or Accounting. Having access to other teachers' expertise would be incredibly beneficial.

Now that I have an account on, I will most definitely research for others from whom I can glean scholarly advice.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Thing #12 - Creating Community Through Comments

Ummm...I've been commenting since I started my 23Things. I've been utilizing forums for some time now, so I am familiar with posting etiquette. With that said, I really enjoyed reading the commenting post from CoolCatTeacher. She's gives some great advice there (although I'm having problems remembering the html code to create hyperlinks in comments). I really appreciated her information regarding "Darth Commenter." I, too have been a victim of DC a time or's not fun, but you can't take it personally.

Of the blogs I have found/studied so far, the CoolCatTeacher blog is the best (JMHO). I will most definitly utilize the information on her blog to assist me in my classroom (lots of great information there!)

In addition, as I find other terrific blogs on which I post, I will add them to my blogroll for you all to visit as well!!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Thing #11 - LibraryThing

At first I was thinking that this site would be only enjoyable to Librarians, but I was wrong. Joining LibraryThing was really easy...I enjoyed searching for and adding books to my library. It was also easy to add the list to my blog...While I was searching for groups, I thought it would be great to incorporate some of these groups into my business classes.

Unfortunately, most of the groups I clicked on were either inactive or deleted. I won't give up though. I think that introducing my students to LibraryThing will help them seek out and (hopefully) read books that are relevant to their future careers.

Thing #10 - Online Image Generator

I had fun with this 'thing.' I made a cartoon from Comic Strip Generator, wrote in the sand on Image Chef, and created a tennis ball smilie on Happy Face Generator. All of the sites were fun!
Here are my masterpieces!!!

Beach custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more -

Thing #9 - Useful Blogs/Newsfeeds

It's official--I'm addicted to RSS!! I've been searching, subscribing, and reading more in the past 24 hours than I did for the past two weeks! It's great!

1. I used several methods to find feeds...probably the easiest was to just search from my Google Reader. I also went to the sites that I already had bookmarked in my browser and added subscriptions from there.

2 and 3. I liked the interface on Technorati better than Syndicat8 or Topix. But that's just personal preference...none were difficult to navigate. I joined Technorati and 'claimed' my blog there. I really like the layout and navigation there.

4. I found several useful blogs...two of my finds came from the CoolCatTeacher blog. I really enjoyed surfing through Victoria Davis' site. I believe that I will learn much from her...she's is now a part of my circle of the wise.

5. Of course, I also used Google to just google stuff by keyword... :-)

Thing #8 - RSS Feeds and Readers

Okay...I stayed up way too late last night organizing my Google Reader. Talk about addictive!!! This is great!

Here are my thoughts about RSS Feeds and Readers:
1. Awesome! I've been seeing the little orange icon for some time now, but hadn't taken the time to find out about RSS...Now, the news and blog updates will come to me! That's very cool...

2. How can I use this technology in my classroom? I will be teaching a new section this year that revolves around business/entrepreneurship. I can have my students set up a reader that will include information on writing business plans, organizing financials, marketing basics, etc. With the District firewall, I don't know if we'll be able to include blogs, but they can still utilize the Reader to help them with information and research.

3. I'm not that familiar with the library angle of things, but I would assume that librarians could use RSS Feeds and Readers to help students with research and obtaining scholarly information on authors, subjects, etc.

4. I set up a public page. I will continue to monitor and share relevant information with others as I obtain it...

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Thing #7 - Cool Google Tools this is something I already know about and use A LOT! I have an iGoogle page that includes news, a calendar, NatGeo photos, etc. I've also used Google Docs on a number of occasions--Google Docs are a great way to share all kinds of documents.

I've also played with Google's really fun to search for different places around the globe. And, I have a Google group (private) for my Junior Achievement students at school. We're just now getting it organized, but I believe it will help us to communicate more effectively.

The one aspect that I wasn't familiar with was Google Notebook. It took me a few minutes to figure it out, but I like it. It will make Internet research much easier to organize. In fact, part of my curriculum requires several of my classes to conduct Internet research. I think introducing my students to Google Notebook would really help them organize and catagorize their research.

Thing #6 - Mashups and 3rd Party Sites

Honestly, I had a little trouble following the Wikipedia article about mashups; however, once I started exploring, it was a lot of fun!

Unless I am reading something wrong, the Mappr has changed. Flickr now has a way to place your photo uploads on a map...since I had already posted some photos on Flickr I used the opportunity to attach those photos to the location where they were taken (pretty cool stuff).

Of all the mashups, I enjoyed BigHugeLabs the most! I created a magazine cover, a puzzle, and a trading card. If you visit my Flickr site, you can see them all. I think that I could incorporate some of this into my classroom. It would be fun for the students to create trading cards that hightlight the computer skills they learn in my class...or create posters with their team names on them (I use lots of cooperative learning in my classes).

Great stuff!

Thing #5 - Flickr

OMG! This site was SO much fun! Flickr is incredibly user friendly. I posted some pictures on the site just to see how things would show. Take a look! It was easy to add tags and organize my photos.

The site has a lot to offer...I really enjoyed surfing through the different groups...I even joined one. I love pictures of Houston's skyline, so I joined a group that specializes in posting pictures strictly of our gorgeous skyline (I don't think that we get our props for our downtown area). Here's one of my favorite pictures that I found there.

Also...from what I can tell, libraries are using Flickr for all kinds of things...several of the groups I found are using the site to chronicle the libraries in their area...I thought that was neat.

I'm Back!!! obligations pulled me away for a few weeks, but now I am back! I've begun exploring Flickr and will be back to post about my experiences VERY soon!