Thursday, November 30, 2006

Spanish GED Websites and Online Texts

Many of these sites have online texts that can be used for teaching Spanish GED

Matemáticas (Mathmatics) Lectura y Escritura (Reading and Writing) Ciencias Naturales (Natural Science) Ciencias Sociales (Social Science)Informacion sobre el Examen [pdf]

Web Resources Related to Latinos and the Spanish Language Literacy Assistance Center

Site has good resources available on the following topics:

Web Resources Related to Latinos and the Spanish Language :
Topical Resources on Latino and Community Issues
Websites for the Public in Spanish
Resources for Adult Learners
Books in Spanish Information about Bilingualism and Language Diversity
English Language Learning Activities on the Web
Educational Materials, Teaching Ideas, and Classroom Connections

Literacy Assistance Center 32 Broadway, 10th fl.New York, NY 10004 Phone (212)803-3300 Fax (212)785-3685

General: Language Websites Language Websites

Many websites in a variety of languages. Some are for teaching the language itself, others address the needs of native speakers learning English. Quite a comprehensive listing of sites.

ESL Websites Literacy Support Center

Activities for ESL Students: This project of the Internet TESL Journal has more than 1,000 contributions by many teachers.
English Channel: Listening: The listening exercises on this site are integrated in writing and reading exercises. Sound files can be played with Real Audio Player, which can be downloaded for free.
English Grammar Links for ESL Students: Do you have a question about prepositions? Do you need to find out how to use the future tense? Do you want to practice for a grammar test? On this page you will find links to grammar references, exercises, and quizzes that can help!
General Listening Quizzes: Randall's ESL listening lab offers easy, medium, and hard listening exercises.
Global Update: Collection of Articles Around the World: Find a collection of articles for ESL students at intermediate/upper intermediate level. The material is authentic and exercises are added regularly. Some of the exercises contain audio and video fragments. They can be played with the Real Audio Player.
Internet Sites for Adult Learners: Official student site on the Illinois LINCS website. Find numerous student resources and websites listed by category.
Karin's ESL Party Land: Student pages have over 75 interactive quizzes, 15 discussion forums, interactive lessons on a variety of topics, a chat room, and lots of great links.
Multilingual Dictionaries: Find an online dictionary in almost any language. (Dutch, English, Finnish, German, Portuguese, Spanish, Polish, Ukranian, Bantu, and more.)
Self Study Quizzes for ESL Students: Find grammar, vocabulary, and word quizzes on this Internet TESL Journal website.
Speaking: This English Channel site offers practices in pronunciation, introductions, and telephoning.

ABE/GED/ESL Civics and Government Literacy Support Center

Civics Online: Students: This gateway portal, designed for children, will lead you to many American heritage sites. Find original U.S. documents, information about American history, archives, collections, history museums, and more.
Cultural Orientation Resource Center: Find materials on housing, community services, transportation, health, employment, and cultural adjustment in several Asian, European, African, and Middle Eastern languages. Other orientation materials include bilingual phrasebooks, health resources guides, and a website devoted to cultural orientation.
Government Guide: Government Services Made Easy: As you move through this site, you will be able to find federal, state, and local resources for officials and agencies, consumer services, health and safety, benefits and assistance, and more.
Tax Center: Yahoo: Find information about state and federal tax forms, tax tools, basic tax tips, and tax resources, such as the Internal Revenue Service website. Find information about state and national elected officials, bills in Congress, elections, agencies, and more.

ABE/GED/ESL General Information Websites Literacy Support Center

ESL Special Collection: This site for students and learners offers language practice and other important ESL services and information.
GED: This is the official GED test site provided by the American Council on Education.
Immigration and Naturalization Service: Find citizenship information and government forms on this official site.
Interactive Instruction for Adult Learners: Find sites on this Maryland Adult Literacy Resource Center that lead to newspapers, interactive stories and geography games, grammar exercises, and more.
PBS LiteracyLink: GED Connection and Workplace Essential Skills: GED Connection, Pre-GED Connections, and Workplace Essential Skills. Find online lessons, interactivev activities, instructors, and more. This website will lead you to dictionaries, weather forecasts, newspapers, magazines, forecasts, maps, people finders, puzzles and word games, writing guides, and more.
Value: Voices for Adult Literacy United in Education: This site promotes a learner-center approach to adult education, and includes learner-centered resource materials which learners and practitioners might find useful.

ABE/GED/ESL: Finances and Consumer Issues Literacy Support Center

Financial Management: The Virginia Cooperative Extension offers advice in the following: credit, taking charge of finances, health care, home business management, insurance, loss of income, and estate and retirement planning.
Family Resource Center: Budget: Find information on how to keep a budget and track your credit report. Also find money-saving tips, a printable budget form, online banking, saving on purchases, and more.
Learn About Buying a Computer: This Virtual Visit was made by students and teachers at the East Boston Harborside Community Center. This site is easy to read and navigate.

GED: Websites Literacy Support Center

GED Materials and Websites: Practical information for GED students

Adult Education Resources on the Web: Resources from the Maryland Literacy Adult Resource Center for adult learners on ABE, computer-assisted instruction, employability skills, family literacy, GED, life skills, math, pre-GED, reading, school-to-work, workplace literacy, and more.
GED: This is the official GED test site provided by the American Council on Education.
General Educational Development: Find resources on test-taking strategies, test facts, test preparation, free practice tests, GED scoring, skill games, grammar guides, and more.
GED Practice.Com: This is a free service provided by Steck-Vaughn to familiarize you with the types of items you will see on the actual GED test. By answering the GED practice questions and getting feedback, you will develop a feel for the kind of reading, thinking, and problem-solving skills you will need to pass the GED test.
Improve Your Studying Skills: Find study tips from the Counseling and Psychological Service (CAPS) website at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Division of Student Affairs.
Lesson Plans: Use of the Casio Calculator: Lessons and practice exercises from the Missouri Valley Adult Education Association for teaching use of the Casio fx-260 calculator. The lessons are in Adobe PDF format or text version for instructors' use.
Study Skills: is a free study skills resource site.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

ESL: Verbals: Gerunds, Participles and Infinitives Purdue University Online Writing Lab
The three types of verbals are discussed: gerunds, participles, and infinitives.
Gerunds and participles are also compared and contrasted in a separate section because they can both end in -ing but have different functions in a sentence.
Finally, since they can both function as nouns in a sentence despite their different forms, gerunds and infinitives are compared and contrasted in the last section.

ESL: Participles, Adjectives and Adjective Phrases Grammar Online

Verb participles, adjectives and adjective phrases

ESL: Guide to Grammar and Writing

Guide to Grammar and Writing: Capital Community College, Hartford, CT: Site includes more than 170 interactive grammar quizzes. There is also a link to some grammar Power Point presentations created by Elene Sandorff, an English teacher from Morton, Illinois, that can be used in the classroom.

ESL/ GED Principles of Composition

Principles of Composition: Very well done site which includes:
The Writing ProcessWriter's Block Freewriting Clustering Outlining A Sense of Purpose
Tone Maintaining Objectivity Concrete, Specific Language Unbiased Language
Building Your Vocabulary Avoiding Plagiarism Being Logical Formatting Papers
Editing Process Computer as Writing Assistant Deadly Sins Checklist
Proofreading Symbols
Structural ConsiderationsThe Thesis Statement Transitions Beginnings Conclusions
The Five-Paragraph Essay
Patterns of CompositionOrganizing Principles Mixing the Patterns The Personal Essay Narrative or Descriptive Describing a Process Comparison & Contrast Using Examples Classification / Analysis Developing a Definition Evaluative Essay (Review)
Cause and Effect Argumentative Essay Writing about Literature
Writing Research Papers

Presented by Capital Community College, Hartford, CT

ESL: Gerunds

Excellent review of gerunds and infinitives, with two quizzes. Also includes using possessives with gerunds.

ESL: Gerunds

How to recognize a gerund when you see one.

ESL: Gerunds

Test your understanding of gerunds with this ESL quiz. . . and some easy to follow rules for creating them.

ESL: Forming Gerunds

410 Grammar: Includes a quiz on gerunds as well as an easy to use chart for forming gerunds.

Monday, November 27, 2006

ESL Websites

Websites suggested by ESL Instructor Cathy Perillo:


Here are the other websites I wanted to tell you about: (English Language Listening Lab Online) , and (English for All)
Thank you for all you do ~ for all of us ~ and our students!

Cathy Perillo

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Commentary: Text Messaging Will Destroy Language: LOL

Sigh, what fools these mortals be, with my sincere apology to the Bard. I recently read a discussion question posed on the Living Classroom Symposium Forum which included '...Well, at one of these events, one the engineers was asked to present how he had been using the online environment in his teaching. During his presentation, he showed a few example of postings on the discussion board. It so happens that in some of them, the students had used 'txt'. A communications lecturer in the audience who had been asked to attend by her manager got very upset and to her this was totally unacceptable.' The question on the forum was '...Businesses have adopted strategies such as inforcing spellchecks on all emails that leave thier company so as to maintain a professional standard. Should we in education do the same?' (Question from Hasmeeta Shukla, Auckland, New Zealand)

Now, I happen to be a fervent proponent of proper language. I also text message daily, and use the shorthand with abandon. So I responded to the question this way:

"I absolutely disagree with your Communications lecturer. Discussion boards are a form of communication, and putting up barriers to that communication is counter-productive. Students today communicate in very different formats: text messaging, emoticons, SMS text messaging shorthand ('r u ready?') etc. Some phrases, such as SWAK (sealed with a kiss) have been used for decades, and have not caused irreparable harm. Language is fluid and adaptive to cultural influence. Chill...if the language hasn't been broken yet, it's likely to survive. This is no different an argument than the fear that calculators would cause students to lose the ability to add or subtract.

Still not convinced? Then do tell why we no longer speak as did Petruccio and Kate in Shakespeare's Taming of the Shrew:

Petruccio: Come, come, you wasp, i’faith you are too angry.
Katherine: If I be waspish, best beware my sting.
Petruccio: My remedy is then to pluck it out.
Katherine: Ay, if the fool could find where it lies.
Petruccio: Who knows not where a wasp does wear his sting? In his tail.
Katherine: In his tongue.
Petruccio: Whose tongue?
Katherine: Yours, if you talk of tales, and so farewell.
Petruccio: What, with my tongue in your tail?
So, should we ban the teaching of Shakespearean Literature? Methinks not.

FYI (for your information): I would respectfully suggest that the Communications lecturer realize that we have btdt (been there, done that) and pay attention to the FAQ's (frequently asked questions) that linguists have grappled with for centuries, and frankly.the lecturer should do so asap (as soon as possible) cuz (because) it's eod (end of discussion) LOL (laughing out loud). Oh, and TGIF (thank goodness it's Friday), or it will be, soon."

So, what do you think? Should educators police discussion boards?
You can follow the discussion on this topic on the Living Classroom site, or post your comment on this blog. Just do it asap.

Symposium 2 Forum address: ( )

Saturday, October 21, 2006

The Living Classroom Symposium 2

This is a wonderful site for sharing information on educational technology. Participants from all over the world weigh in on what makes technology work in education. You can register for free, and join any of the topic streams, or start one of your own.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

General: Test Anxiety
Some done to earth ideas on dealing with test anxiety for teens and adults.

Additional sites on test anxiety: dents/improving/test%20anxiety.htm
This is a compilation site, which also has a lot of good information about study habits,
techniques, financial aid, selecting a college etc.
Great site!

General: ACT Test Scores

Some students ask about how to interpret test scores. Here is a useful site explaining the ACT test scores individually and as a ranked group. Good information on college admission requirements, how colleges decide how to admit students etc.

GED: Geometry Cool

Calculators, graphing calculators, lessons in Algebra and Geometry done in a very user friendly format. There is also a section on how to be a successful student, how to study for a math test, and some flat out cool math.

GED: Geometry

Basic geometry terms and help. Brought to you by Math League Multimedia.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Spanish GED Websites Cultural Resources for Hispanic and Latino Americans Authentic American Pronunciation Spanish Glossary of Mathematical Terms Virtual Spanish Lab: Online Dictionaries, Vocabulary etc. Apuntes, ejercicios, exámenes, enlaces, un tema de matemáticas cada quincena, un consultorio, algo de historia, diccionario, etc. Dave's Math Tables in Spanish : Matemáticas Generales Notación de Números Tabla de Sumas Tabla de Multiplicación
Álgebra Identidades Básicas Secciones Cónicas Polinomiales Exponenciales Curvas de Álgebra
Geometría Áreas, Volúmenes, Áreas de Superficies Círculos : English/Spanish dictionary of math tables.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

ESL/ABE/GED: Spanish and English Basic Computer Ayuda!

If you are looking for some basic information on computers in both English and Spanish, this site may help. Go to the main site for more choices:

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Tools: Docupen RC800

Things found in reading journals and magazines: The September 2006 volume of T.H.E. Journal ( highlighted a pen-sized scanner from Planon. It's about 9 inches long , weighs two ounces and is powered by a rechargeable lithium ion battery. It does not need to be plugged into a computer to function, and can save hundreds of pages on its 8 MB flash drive. You use a USB cable to transfer data to a PC or Mac. Cost is about $299.00.
Where was this when I was in college and copying endless pages to use for annotation while creating research papers?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

New Sites to Explore: Blogs and Wikis and Podcasts, Oh My! Interesting commentaries on education and second language writing (Blog) ESL Writing and Technology Blog Edblogger Praxis. A compendium of Educational Blogs and Podcasts. The Thinking Stick. Thoughts on teaching using technology. The Living Classroom: Teaching English in an Mobile and Networked World. A continuing online symposium started 9/24/06

Monday, September 25, 2006

Podcast Activities for ESL

Often our ESL students want to listen to the pronunciation of irregular verbs. Go to the website: Interesting Things for ESL students: and click on the grey colored tab on the left under Podcasts/Songs/Jokes. The second section called Listen and Repeat Podcast houses those irregular verbs. Click there and you will get up to 4 sections of Commonly-Used Irregular Verbs. The speaker reads these verbs in rapid succession followed by students repeating them. In addition, other podcast activities include Adjectives for People, the Alphabet, and English Useful Expressions and more links to other ESL/EFL Podcasts. Check it out!
Robin B.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Educational Podcast Usage

Podcast uses...from the Apple Education Site

University of Michigan: Students at the university’s Dental School are taking advantage of their free time to review lectures and lessons.
Stanford University: Two iTunes U portals keep the Stanford community, as well as alumni and the public, connected to what’s going on at Stanford.
University Wisconsin-Madison: University of Wisconsin-Madison on iTunes U was prompted by the instructors — they overwhelmingly identified podcasting as their top technological priority.
Kansas State University Launches World's Largest Course Podcasting
Kansas State University announced recently its use of Tegrity Campus to convert an unprecedented 6,000 recorded classes to enhanced podcasts. K-State plans to have all 6,000 class podcasts available to its students this year, making it by far the education realm's largest podcasting implementation worldwide. (From Tablet PC Education blog)

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Commentary: Sotir: Philly's School of the Future

Source: TechLEARNING News link (9/12/06) to an article from The Philadelphia Inquirer:,

Here's an interesting concept...a school of the future. Actual future thinking educators and businesses (the school was built under the guidance of Microsoft Corp.), creating a first-of-its-kind model for technologically advanced schools. What a concept. The school, built at a cost of $63 million, claims to be as paperless as possible. Students each get a lap-top (soon to be upgraded to tablets). No textbooks are used as nearly all learning materials will be accessed by computer. (Are you listening, Texas?). General amenities include interactive white boards, plasma boards, ceiling projectors, smart cards that track student movement throughout the school, virtual teaching assistants and software that allows parents to track students' progress from home. Even the sports teams will use electronic-play diagrams. Of course, it's totally wireless.

While Microsoft assisted with the design, they did not donate money, equipment or software, other than $100,000 to name an area of the building. Kudos to Microsoft for giving the school what it really needed, which is a vault of experience, from personnel time, to best practices and access to its network of "international thought leaders". I am excited to see that there was a real working relationship with the business, rather than simply a monetary (and transitory) donation.

Futurism in schools is not merely the presence of technology, but rather a thoughtful approach to using technology effectively. Even non-technology equipment was considered by putting classroom furniture on wheels to allow for group work in varying configurations. Conservation was also addressed. Photovoltaic panels in the windows and the roof will covert sunlight into electricity. The building will also catch rainwater and convert it to non-potable uses, such as toilet and boiler water.

Two local universities, University of Pennsylvania and Drexel University have established partnerships with the school. University professors will teach courses in areas such as robotics and urban design, and provide staff and student resources. Honor students from Villanova University will serve as online tutors.

Yes, a futuristic school needs more than the newest technology. It needs people from both inside and outside of education who are thinking in the framework necessary to achieve real student success in the impending society where they will exist, not the world that existed 50 or even 25 years ago. Students will be required to apply to at least one college to graduate, and also to demonstrate 11 "adult competencies". Proficiency on standard reading and math tests is also considered a graduation requirement. Even the start time has been thought through, starting at 9:15 based on research that says teens function better a little later in the day. Thank you, Microsoft, and thank you Philadelphia. I hope to see more effective collaborations in the future, and more movement towards re-designing education, rather than just designing buildings. It's about time.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

ABE/GED: Starategies for Better Reading

TV411 has some wonderful sites, including this one for reading strategies. For students struggling with understanding content and inferences, this site gives them short (just a few sentences) vignettes and asks them a question. Excellent for low level readers.

Monday, August 14, 2006

ESL/ ABE/GED: International Classroom and School Virtual Visit

The International Classroom and School Virtual Visit (Virtual School)
project is beginning its eighth year, linking classrooms across the
world to enable students to meet each other virtually, share
information about their cultures, their classrooms, and their
communities, and to build cultural understanding. Classes can include
English as a Second or Other Language (ESOL/ESL), Adult Basic
Education (ABE, GED), elementary or secondary education, or family
literacy. Students can be from age seven to adult.
As in past years, we hope classes will engage in lively written
discussion, and possibly choose a film, book or current event to
discuss. This year we have set up a free wiki, so classes don't have
to create their own web pages, and we will help teachers to use free
Internet telephony so their classes can talk to each other if they
can find a time that works to do that.
If you would like to participate in this year's project,
1. Sign up on the I.C.V.V. e-list by going to:
Scroll down the page to choose an ID and password. That's it,
easy and free.
2. Once you receive confirmation that you are on the I.C.V.V. e-list,
send an e-mail to:
indicating your interest in participating this year. Be sure to
describe your class, when it will begin, and what age group or
nationality you would prefer to partner with.
If you would like to look at classroom virtual visit projects from
previous years go to:
and then choose

ESL: Tips for Teaching ESL to the Elderly Tips for Teaching ESL to the Elderly

Coalition of Limited English Speaking Elderly
53 West Jackson, Suite 1301
Chicago, IL 60604
312-461-1466 (fax)

An excellent resource of ideas for teaching ESL to the Elderly, and can be used for teaching any limited proficiency students as well. Above is the address of the main organization, located in Chicago.

ESL Civics: Beginning/Elderly Learners Civics for Very Beginning ESL/Elderly Learners

"ESL-Civics Curriculum Designed for Very Beginning ESL Learners
The Bright Ideas curriculum was designed for elderly learners participating in community-based ESL programs. The curriculum focuses on developing oral English communication skills and providing opportunities for learners to use these skills inside the classroom and outside in the community. The units reflect the interests of the learners as they emerged from conversations with students, focus groups, and needs assessments. Each unit contains step-by-step instructions for the teacher, lessons for the students, and visual support materials to facilitate learning for students who have few literacy skills in English and in the native language. The units may be taught in any sequence. (All units are in MS Word format; you may modify them to meet your needs.)"

Unit 1: Introductions and Greetings (84 KB)
Unit 2:
People and Places (97 KB)
Unit 3:
Field Trips (79 KB)
Unit 4:
Numbers (110 KB)
Unit 5:
Fruits and Vegetables (433 KB)
Unit 6:
Weather and Clothing (674 KB)
Unit 7:
Homes (69 KB)
Unit 8:
Coming to America (101 KB)
Unit 9:
Colors, Feelings and Art (49 KB)
Unit 10:
News (47 KB)
Unit 11:
Healthy Life (89 KB)
Unit 12:
Meet Students in Other Classrooms (59 KB)
Unit 13:
Favorite Foods (346 KB)
Unit 14:
I've Got a Problem Video (385 KB)
Unit 15: (part 1)
Civics and Community (645 KB)
Unit 15: (part 2)
Buildings (262 KB)

ESL Civics Center for Civic Education

Developed for K-12 and native speakers, these resources can also be adapted to adult education level Civics students, including:

Lesson Plans Lesson plans for teachers.
Civic Education Resources Selected curricular materials available from the Center for Civic Education.
Internet Resources Links to internet resources.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Sites Found While Searching the Web

I spend a lot of time searching for good academic Websites, and often, while searching for one topic, I find links to other sites that are as good or better than the original search sites. Here are a few interesting Websites, blogs and wikis that I came across while searching for other things. I hope they won't mind that I have shamelessly copied their words as to their function, but I did not want to misrepresent their organizations. The new global world of education means that your 'colleagues' can span the globe, and you can share their information and knowledge without ever leaving your office. So sit back, grab a cup of coffee and see what others have to say. Their words are in italics. "Education Bridges is an experiment in a new means for bringing together educators and nonprofit, business and government leaders to voice their concerns and opinions on the role philanthropy can play in addressing issues that will enhance the quality of conversation about education in communities we live. We invite you to listen to the show, participate in the conversation in the forum, blogs and comment area. Educationbridges is supported with funding from The Nord Family Foundation." "Three Blind Mice: This site was designed to advance teaching and learning in the global classroom." I found this while searching for information on wikibooks, and spent a while getting their perspective of tech ed. Netsquared: Home "Our mission is to help non-profit organizations understand, use and expand the social web.There's a whole new generation of online tools available – tools that make it easier than ever before to collaborate, share information and mobilize support. These tools include blogs, wikis, RSS feeds, podcasting, and more. Some people describe them as "Web 2.0"; we call them the social web, because their power comes from the relationships they enable.
How we Net2
We work with you in three ways:
The online community, focused around this web site, is a venue for learning skills, sharing experiences and developing expertise.
New to the social web? Here are three ways to get started right now
Subscribe to our interview series
with this RSS feed. You'll get the very latest interviews with leaders and innovators working at the intersection of technology and the non-profit world.
Tell us what you need from technology
here. Our wishlist lets a growing community of developers know where their efforts can make the biggest difference for non-profits.
Find out more about specific tools and strategies at
Net2Learn. The Net2 community has built a resource center filled with tutorials, tips and links to get you up and running with tools from blogs to podcasts, and challenges like online fundraising and managing virtual teams.
Find out more about how you can participate
Comfortable with the social web? Here are three ways you can start contributing to Net2.
our four questions about the social web, and what it means to you. Encourage your colleagues to chime in.
Start your own Net2 blog, and join the conversation. Or, if you run your own blog, tag any post as "net2" to have it picked up by our aggregators.
Start a resource center at Net2Learn, or add your knowledge to one of the resource center's that are already there.
Net2 is created by
TechSoup, a project of CompuMentor. "

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

ESL: Lesson Plans: The Brain, The Key To A Fruitful EFL Classroom

(Click on title above to take you to the article. You can see it in either pdf or html format)

Mr. Jody Marshall and Mrs. Qi Wenhui
Foreign Language Department, Yichun University,
People’s Republic of China

This is a well done article with excellent and unique lesson plans for ESL. It is indeed interesting to see how ESL is taught in other countries. It's amazing what one can find posted on the Internet while in search of other things. Let me know by adding a comment to this post if you try any of these lessons in your classes, or if it inspires you to create something similar.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Commentary: Sotir: Books vs Computers: Where Do You Stand?

Quotes are from an article reprinted from the Houston Chronicle by
July 25, 2006 - Vol. 5, Issue 30

AUSTIN - Funds set aside since 1876 for school textbooks cannot be used to purchase laptops or other computer hardware, the state attorney general ruled Tuesday.
Greg Abbott's decision is expected to impact debate in the Legislature, where some lawmakers want to shift funding from books to technology.
Funds designated for textbooks "must be used exclusively for the purpose of conveying information, including curriculum content, to students," Abbott said.
The opinion was requested by Geraldine "Tincy" Miller, who chairs the State Board of Education. The 15-member elected board manages a $20 billion fund comprising oil and gas royalties, which generates about $800 million a year for textbooks and other instructional materials.
"I'm absolutely delighted in the answer to the question that we asked," said Miller, R-Dallas. "I think it once and for all defines that instructional content material is a textbook or software. It is not a device, a piece of equipment or hardware."

My first reaction was, well, shock when I read the article. As an educational technologist, I work constantly to develop a better synergy between technology and traditional curriculum. How dare they ignore the value of technology in today's society?? Once I calmed down, I re-read the article, and softened my opinion, somewhat. I happen to agree with the idea that money should be spent on content. Without content, technology is useless. There are the techno-horror stories of schools that received grant money to develop incredible computer labs, with all the newest hardware. Unfortunately, they did not take into account the fact that the grant would not cover software, so the state of the art computers became state of the dust. What a waste of money.

And more to the point, for years my mantra has been that technology is just a tool, much like writing on a board. Just having a board is no advantage, unless it is used and used correctly. I've seen instructors go an entire year without ever needing to have their boards cleaned. However, we've moved from blackboards to white boards to smart boards. The boards of the future may be virtual, but they will still convey shared information. The very nature of technology is change, and education must change as well.

The problem I have with Texas, is that I sorely want to mess with them. What Texas seems to be missing, is that all forms of learning are needed to deal with the wired students that populate their classrooms. I would never advocate eliminating texts, any more than I would advocate eliminating teachers. I do, however, advocate teaching the tools necessary to engage meaningfully in society.

Miller said she hopes the Legislature will increase the technology allotment using funds other than the Permanent School Fund.She said the forefathers of Texas wanted students to have books they could take home and that the whole family could read. "Nothing is more precious than a book," she said.

So if what Texas is saying is that books are needed along with computers, I can't disagree. I doubt the scene of the family sitting together and reading a math textbook together in front of the fireplace exists, but nonetheless, there is a place in the world for books. What I would like to see is the book money be spent on developing the libraries so that the joy of reading would grow. The Internet gives specific information needed to answer a question. Books expand on that information, and round out the thought process. People should read for enjoyment and knowledge and that does have a place in our tech based society. It's not an either/or situation.

I'd want to see adequate money allocated for technology, not just for hardware but for training and encouraging instructors to develop new ways of teaching their students. Leave the actual texts online, where pertinent portions could be downloaded just in time (JIT). The textbook information would be current and up to date. Expenses would be about the same, but outdated texts would not inundate the landfills, and students would not need chiropractors. Come on Texas, think through the process. Know your end goal, and know your audience. Today's world is different, and you need to challenge your educational institutions to move forward as well. Use the tools that technology provides. And instead of the debate being hashed out in the Legislature alone, include the classroom instructors and the students and yes, even the tech companies. They know what can be done, and how to do it effectively. Engage in meaningful conversation if what you want is a robust educational system. Don't just think outside of the box. Reinvent the box.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Informational: Wikis

Summary: Understand how wikis are being used in academic, professional, and personal contexts. Contribute texts to different wiki applications. Understand how wikis enable people to collaborate online with minimal knowledge of HTML authoring conventions or web authoring tools.

Informational: Wikis: For Teachers New to Wikis

This is a great Website if you are new to Wikis and need some basic information on them, and how to use them in the classroom.

Informational: Wikis Challenging the Textbook Industry
By Daniel Terdiman Staff Writer, CNET
Published: September 28, 2005, 4:00 AM PDT

As I wrote in my commentary above (Books vs Computers, Where Do You Stand?) , there are other and better ways of getting texts into the hands of students. Many publishers are selling subscriptions to their texts. For a fee, students have access to a text for a specified time frame. Chapters can be read online or printed out, as needed. Advantages include having up to date texts available, and updates can be done at any time. Did a country change its name? Has a new leader been elected? Publishers can update their product immediately.

The link attached to this post is an article by Daniel Terdiman from CNET News entitled Wikibooks Takes On Textbook Industry. "A project called Wikibooks aims to create an open-ended curriculum that would offer a free and freely licensable alternative to traditional textbooks."
"The hope is that by turning the Wikibooks keys over to a worldwide community of writers and editors, the project will eventually contain tens of thousands of books and smaller entries on a wide range of topics. In each case, the idea is that any Wikibooks reader could create his or her own book or make edits to an existing title.
Wales explained that the Wikibooks authors--whom he calls "volunteers"--are professionals from many fields, college and graduate students and professors. "All sorts of geeky people, basically," he said.
Today, Wikibooks contains 11,426 submissions. The topics covered range from biology to economics in New Zealand. Because the books are digital and open source, any teacher can decide to assign one and simply point students to PDFs they can print. "

Interesting? Yes, but it is too soon to tell the level of success it will have. It's worth reading about though. Check out Wikiversity: which is a source for Wikibooks. They list as their priorities and goals:

Create and host a range of free learning resources for educational processes, for all age groups in all languages
Form projects to interface with, (ie develop) existing Wikimedia projects (eg. finding sources project for Wikipedia)
Host and foster research based in part on existing resources in Wikiversity and other Wikimedia projects (such as Wikibooks, Wikisource etc.)

However texts are written and distributed in the future, one thing is certain: things are certainly changing. Diplomacy may or may not be the answer for bringing peace to the world. Perhaps technology can help bridge the gap.

Monday, July 10, 2006

General: Blogging Tools and Uses

The above article from Tech Soup ( gives a good overview of seven blogging tools, as well as blogging itself. FYI, this blog uses Blogger as the host site.

Another good article on blogging comes from TechLEARNING July 1, 2006 issue ( , (Blogs: Webs of Connected Learning By Miguel Guhlin) This article discusses the use of blogs in an educational setting.

Perspective: CUNY/Borough of Manhattan Community College/H. Robinson

For another perspective on using technology in the classroom, check out the article by Helen M. Robinson ( in the July Converge online magazine. Helen is a faculty member at CUNY/Borough of Manhattan Community College and talks about tools and sites that she has found for enhancing faculty and student use of technology in the classroom. Converge is an online magazine from Center for Digital Education,

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Early Childhood Education: Early Learning

Posted on eZine July 2006

PDQ (Professional Development QuickTips)
Free Software for Young Children
Early Learning

Tip:Marianne Wartoft from Uppsala, Sweden has been developing educational shareware programs since 1995. Now these wonderful interactive programs are available as freeware at Marianne Wartoft ab.
Minisebran offers early learning games for 2-6 years olds, including doodle drawing exercises and very simple games to get to know numbers, letters, and the keyboard.
Sephonics includes seven different exercises for practicing English pronounciation and the phonetic alphabet, including a phonetic memory game to relax between the lessons! There are also exercises where you learn to match a sound to a phonetic sign, transcribe from phonetic text to ordinary text, and much more! (British English)
Selingua is a vocabulary training program with six different exercises for practicing vocabulary and verb inflections, including a crossword exercise. Users can also add their own words to the dictionaries, which already have more than 2000 words in each of the following languages: English (both American and British), German, Spanish, French and Swedish.
She offers other freeware for other age groups, and all work on PCs. In order to run Minisebran, you need Windows 2000 or Windows XP. You also need the Microsoft .NET Framework to be installed on your computer, but if you are running Windows XP, it is probably already installed.

General: Consumer Action Website

From eZine , July 2006 listed by FREE (Federal Resources for Educational Excellence) , a US Government Website listing. Books are available free, and the Website is also in Spanish.

Consumer Action Handbook provides advice and consumer tips on such topics as cars, shopping from home, avoiding consumer and investment fraud, home improvement and financing, and credit cards. Also included are thousands of names, addresses, phone numbers, and web site and e-mail addresses for national consumer organizations, better business bureaus, corporations, trade associations, state and local consumer protection offices, state agencies, military consumer offices, and Federal agencies. (General Services Administration)

Have a consumer question or problem? You’ve come to the right place for help. All of the information available in the Consumer Action Handbook is available right here online. Here are few pointers...
Check out the Consumer Topics to get helpful tips on specific consumer issues, like buying a car or home or preventing identity theft.
Use the Resource Directory to contact a specific company or your local consumer protection office or BBB.
If you’re a teacher, a member of the military or the media, or a person with disabilities, try our Specific Audiences tab.
Also very handy is a sample complaint letter.
If you still haven’t found what you need, try Want More Help for links to other useful websites.

Monday, June 19, 2006

VESL: Problem Posing at Work: English for Action

A good text for dealing with non-native speakers and their issues in the workplace. While written in Canada, the issues are universal. Teacher's guides are also available from Grass Roots Press, and the cost is about $25. per text.
by Elsa Auerbach and Nina Wallerstein

This student book contains 30 lessons that focus on workplace themes and issues related to the working lives of immigrants and refugees. Inspired by the problem-posing approach of Paulo Freire, this book invites learners to share and analyze their experiences, to acquire the language, skills, and information necessary for greater power over their circumstances, and to strategize together for changes. Originally published in 1987 as ESL for Action, this revised edition is updated to incorporate a focus on the effects of globalization on workers' lives while its scope is expanded to include information about Canada as well as the U.S. It includes authentic photos and stories of workers active in their workplaces and communities. The text is intended for intermediate to advanced ESL students in workplace, pre-vocational, vocational, community-based, union, and labour education programs. (335 pp.)
Table of Contents
Unit I: Learning English
Unit II: Working In A New Country
Unit III: Power at Work
Unit IV: Making Money
Unit V: Getting Through the Day
Unit VI: Health and Safety
Unit VII: Moving Toward Equality
Unit VIII: Unions
Unit XI: The Big Picture
Teaching Guide

Thursday, June 15, 2006

General: Adaptive and Assistive Technologies

Adaptive and assistive technologies compensate for functional limitations in order to enhance and increase learning, independence, mobility, communication, environmental control and choice.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Workplace: Employability Skills

ATI Skills Tutor Software:

More than 100 lessons help youth and adult learners build the skills they need to succeed in today's job market. This research-based program teaches learners how to find, obtain, and keep a job.
Employability Skills Online is divided into 4 modules:
Career Decision Making
Job Seeking Skills
Work Maturity Skills
Worker Effectiveness Skills
Screen Shots
A comprehensive Management and Assessment System identifies skill deficiencies and generates performance reports. The program is offered online and on CD-ROM and serves adult education and vocation programs, corrections, special education, and is ideal for any middle or high school-to-work program. ESO also meets transition requirements as mandated by IDEA and the Goals 2000: Educate America Act.

Purchasing contact: Jeff Small, 888-391-3237

ESL: Citizenship

ATI: Achievement Technologies Software

Ideal for teaching teens and adults to be responsible citizens, this program includes pre-and posttests to identify skill deficiencies, prescribe remedial training, and a management system to document competence and report progress.
Citizenship Skills adds value to any after-school or summer school program, family literacy, character education or intervention program. Over 86 lessons in 10 categories cover a variety of topics and life coping strategies in:
The Rights of Citizens
Understanding Economics
Building Self-Esteem
Good Citizen Values
Financial Responsibility
How our Government Works
Responsible Behavior
Problem Solving

Purchasing contact: Jeff Small, 888-391-3237

Thursday, June 01, 2006

For Fun: Listening to Mona Lisa

Did you ever wonder what the Mona Lisa would have sounded like? Or Leonardo da Vinci himself? Yahoo News reported that a Japanese acoustics expert may have resolved that question. "Dr Matsumi Suzuki, who generally uses his skills to help with criminal investigations, measured the face and hands of Leonardo da Vinci's famous 16th century portrait to estimate her height and create a model of her skull.
"Once we have that, we can create a voice very similar to that of the person concerned," Suzuki told Reuters in an interview at his Tokyo office last week..."In Mona Lisa's case, the lower part of her face is quite wide and her chin is pointed," Suzuki explained. "The extra volume means a relatively low voice, while the pointed chin adds mid-pitch tones," he added.
So although she is known as the woman with the enigmatic smile, her voice is no longer a mystery. It's a Japanese site and Mona of course speaks Italian, but it's interesting nonetheless.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Commentary: Sotir: Professional Development: It's the New Big Thing

Some call it 'professional development' some call it 'staff development' but whatever the title, it's the latest trend in education. While it isn't always done well, it is being done a lot, and with good reason. It's what educators need to stay ahead of the curve, and their students.

Most educators were trained in a era where you went to college, got a teaching degree, and then went off to teach the things you learned at college until you retired. Yes, there were things like 'Teacher Institute" days, and sometimes a few hours were spent brainstorming with your peers, but overall, what you learned in college pretty well was all you needed to teach a class. History teachers learned the history. Math teachers figured out the math. English teachers knew the grammar and used their market share of red pens. But suddenly, a mimeograph machine and a typewriter with lots of carbon paper and white out just weren't enough. Things changed. Words changed. Typing would not longer do were now 'keyboarding'. 'Cut and paste' were used outside of the kindergarten classroom. 'Windows' were not just the things you see through, but rather things you use to see with. And an entire generation of baby boomers were spending more time with their mouse than with their cats and dogs. It's a revolution, baby.

So administrations began to figure out how to take the old guard instructors and bring them up to new guard standards. CEU's were now worth their weight in gold. Everyone was going back to class, and workshops were popping up like dandelions in springtime. And professional development was coming into its own as a life force for instructors struggling to keep afloat in a sea of technology.

For years, the defining word for education was 'consistency'. Technology is anything but. So teachers were dragged, some kicking and screaming, and put into a strange new world where few wanted to be. However, there were the pioneers, (and pionettes), who said wow, this could really be useful. They turned on the LCD projectors (and even knew they had to turn on the computers first.) A new iteration of haves and have-nots appeared, though these were more precisely use and use-nots. There were the purists...'children who use calculators will not learn how to do math.' And the realists...'children had to know a LOT of math to be able to figure out how to use the calculators effectively'. And really good teachers knew the difference.

Professional development is no longer optional, it is essential. Whether portals or blogs, wikis or iPods, instructors need to know what they are and how to use them effectively. So professional development is not really a trend, but a life-time commitment. Functional technology literacy is just not enough. Not for students, not for teachers and not for administrators. This is a road we all need to travel together, and financial commitments, whether for hardware or training, need to be adequate to get the job done right. It's time to support the revolution.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

ESL: It's English, Baby!

For advanced ESL students, English, Baby! (a web site) teaches real English by using American movies and music. It looks like a fun way for ESL students to get more exposure to today's English.

English, Baby! is at:

Thursday, May 04, 2006

ESL: Teaching Assistance Site

For ESL teaching tips, visit's ESL page:

You can also sign up to receive emails about Teaching ESL.


AELC Blog Learning to Blog is fun. Thanks for the great workshop Judith.

Informational. Financial Literacy

In 2003, Congress established the Financial Literacy and Education Commission (the Commission) through passage of the Financial Literacy and Education Improvement Act under Title V of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions (FACT) Act of 2003 (P.L. 108-159). The Commission has recently published an in-depth review of financial literacy in America. The 160-page report is available on the Government web site, linked below. Improved financial literacy among all Americans requires an increased public awareness of the issues, as well as the many state, local, and national resources that are available for financial education.The Financial Literacy and Education Commission has established an information distribution infrastructure which will help increase public awareness of the resources available within the Federal government by establishing, a clearinghouse for financial literacy materials. This Web site contains links to free financial literacy and educational material produced by Commission members. also provides links to selected .edu sites maintained by publicly funded colleges and universities affiliated with the USDA Cooperative State Research, Education, and Extension Service (CSREES), as well as .org sites affiliated with government entities such as the Federal Reserve Banks, to ensure that valuable financial information and learning tools are available from sites beyond Federal government agencies. The goal of the Web site is to provide a convenient and accessible source for credible and free resources. The Web site now contains useful information for individuals who are facing an array of financial needs, such as balancing a checking account, shopping for a mortgage or auto loan, researching ways to pay for a college education, reviewing credit card statements, putting money away for retirement, understanding a credit report, or simply deciding whether to pay cash or to charge a purchase. It contains information on how to understand, evaluate, and compare financial products, services, and opportunities and assists investors in understanding how to proceed when they encounter difficulties with market intermediaries.Although the Web site is arranged to be accessible and helpful to consumers, it also will make it easier for community educators and nonprofit organizations to find and use those same resources, reducing costs of needless duplication.

Sherry Burlingame

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Free Reports on Tips for ESL & GED Teachers

Merit Software offers a free report on Top 65 Tips for Teachers to Improve English Language Learners' Skills and a free report on 85 Surefire Ways for GED Teachers to Improve Student Skills. To get these reports visit: to register. While this is a plug for Merit's software, many of the tips are worthwhile to look at. Maybe ordering a demo and a free evaluation CD-Rom would allow teachers to find out more about these programs.
(Merit Software) Toll Free #: (800) 753-6488.

Monday, May 01, 2006

ESL/IEI: Pronunciation Websites

Robin and I have found two useful pronunciation websites. These would work especially well with class tours. They are and
They both have minimal pairs, and the latter website has dictation as well. The latter website has 13 lessons with sounds people have most the most problems with. It also gives basic definitions of each word. The former website has a fun memory game that most students enjoy. You should try them !! We think you'll really like them!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

ABE/GED/ESL Reading Speed General: Ultimate Speed Reader

One of the best programs for increasing reading speed is Ultimate Speed Reader, originally published by Davidson, which then became Knowledge Adventure. The program was out of print, but I have found a reliable resource for the product at Smart Kids Software:
They are currently listing the program at $247.95 for a 15 site license, and $559.95 for an unlimited network license. They also sell stand alone versions. If you have been searching for a source for this program, I contacted them today and they said they have the program in stock. Their phone # is 888-881-6001 for more information.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Commentary: Sotir: Tablet PC's

I have written about Tablet PC's before, but perhaps a quick overview might make them easier to understand. Have you ever gotten tired of typing? Wish that you could just write what you want and see it magically appear as typed text on a screen? Well, then Tablet PC's might be for you. I know that voice recognition computers seemed to be the way to go, especially if you were in the Star Trek set. However, getting a good voice recognition program is dificult. You do need to 'teach' it your voice and intonation, so training it takes quite a bit of time. For example, years ago I used a Dragon Speak program for voice recognition. My daughter's name is 'Heather', but no matter how hard I tried, it always typed 'Feather'. So I gave up, started calling her Feather and moved on. She's (slightly) more adaptable than the software. Also, it's hard to work in a crowd or a classroom if everyone around you is talking to their computers too. The Tablet PC is a good alternative. While most Tab PCs have some voice input capabilities at an operating system level, they still require training and may have difficulties with accents and voice inflection.

A much better tool is handwriting recognition which does not need training and is built-in as well. Yes, there are some tricks to making it read your writing better, but basically, you write, it prints. Actually, script works better than printing for recognition. Digital ink allows hand-written notes and drawing to be entered directly into Office applications. So, if you are an English instructor, you can have students send you their writing assignments in MS Word, and you can annotate directly on them using your Tab PC. And red is not the only ink color, so you can do spelling errors red, grammar errors in green, and smiley faces in yellow.

If you are doing a PowerPoint presentation, you can write directly on top of the presentation, and then choose whether or not to save those annotations. This gives the Tab PC more of a whiteboard functionality. If you want to add a diagram, you can write the labels directly onto the diagram. Since you can hook-up and load a Tab PC directly from your desktop PC, you can add photos, drawings, text and other documents from any source. Classroom notes and lectures can be printed or sent to any other computer. Since all Tab PC's have built-in wireless connectivity, the most exciting application is that in a wireless environment, you can walk around the class with a Tab PC. There is no need for a mouse, since it is a pen operated device, and it can be used in both landscape and portait modes.

For students, taking notes is a snap. They can write directly on the Tab PC screen, and then organize and print the notes after class. Brainstorming and sharing as a group is easy, simply emailing their ideas to others.

I understand that having new technology is not always exciting to instructors, since it requires training and is sometimes accompanied by frustration. But think of the Tab PC as OLD technology. It works pretty much like the old slates that were popular in classrooms of previous centuries. But...they are a whole lot cooler. And cooler is always better. If you want to see how Tab PC's are used in education, check out the Tablet PC Education Blog: (

Monday, April 24, 2006

Commentary: Sotir: Splogs and Spings?? Oh NO!!

I know that you are still reeling from terms like 'Blog' and 'Wiki'...not to mention 'RSS and Atom'...or even 'Vlogs' (video blogs). Now new terms have been coined due to the rash of spammers who have branched out from email and are now posting unwanted and potentially harmful fake blog posts or comments. The term for this is 'Splogs', for Spam Blogs or 'Spings' (recalling that legitimate sites like Blogarithm can keep track of your interests by 'pinging' your email when a new post of interest comes up).

As a Blog administrator, these are more than annoying. There are methods to thwart the buggers (or Sploggers). Some sites ask for word verification, a particularly annoying method of asking you to read letters that are uneven and write them into a box before your post is published. While these usually workbecause 'bots' or robotic readers can't read them, frankly, neither can I, most of the time. Other methods allow for moderating comments or posts from anonymous sources. I prefer this method, so if someone is not registered as a Blog member, their posts go into a holding site that allows me to agree or not agree to publish them. Not foolproof, but not too bad either.

According to an article on by Christopher Heun:
"The people who create splogs - or, more accurately, the people who write the programs that do it for them - rarely intend for anyone to actually read their posts. They're just building a giant clump of links that refer back to some other site - that, say, promotes gambling or sells something like Viagra - and thus increases the page rank of that site on different search engines.

Then, in the odd chance that anyone might actually read their junk posts, the creators put ads on them that generate a small commission, usually a fraction of a dollar, for every click. "

The underlying factor is that if someone wants to annoy you, with a little effort, they can. Buggers.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

English Instruction for Learning Disabled Adults

This is an informative article written for the instructor trying to assess whether or not a student should be considered 'Learning Disabled'. It has a good section on understanding how ESL students studied in the past might be indicative of how they will study English. Many are not learning disabled, but instead have little or no educational experiences to draw from, which consequently puts them behind their peers. Bringing those education skills up can help the student succeed more quickly.

ESL/IEI/VESL: All Levels: Conversation Lesson Plans

Conversation Lesson Plans for English Learners at All Levels

Trying to find conversation starters for ESL is difficult at best. Here is a list of free English conversation lesson plans for beginning, intermediate and advanced levels of English learning in ESL classes as well as business English classes. Each lesson provides an introduction, step by step teaching guidelines and printable student worksheets.

ESL/IEI/VESL: English for Business for Business, Work and other Special Purposes
Adult Education English for special purposes including business, commercial, financial, legal, insurance and human resources sectors as well as help with resumes, job interviews and cover letters.

Informational: Center for Adult English Language Acquisition

The Center for Adult English Language Acquisition CAL is pleased to announce the opening of the Center for Adult English Language Acquisition (CAELA). CAL has received funding from the U.S. Department of Education, Office of Vocational and Adult Education to operate this center for three years (October 2004-September 2007).
The purpose of the Center is to assist states with emerging populations who are learning English as a second language (ESL). Center staff will work with state representatives so that they will have the capacity to promote the English language learning and academic achievement of adults learning English.
CAELA has replaced the National Center for ESL Literacy Education (NCLE), also housed at CAL, which (since 1989) has provided information and technical assistance to professionals who work with adult English language learners.

Commentary: Sotir: Cool Tools

It's a bird, it's a plane...well, no, but it is cool. I wouldn't preclude the ability to fly in some later version... but while it won't fly just yet, it IS a Palm Treo PDA 700w smartphone...which starts at about $400. What makes this so cool? It runs Microsoft Windows Mobile Operating System (Windows XP), so you can download directly from your PC. It's a smartphone, which means that you can have a portable media player (like MP3), handheld computer (which can run Word and Excel and even PowerPoint) and it's a cell phone. How cool is that? Software developers are writing education oriented software specifically for these PDAs. You can keep grades and attendance on these. Student portfolios? No problem. Of course they are also a great PDA for use as a calendar, reminder, and all the other neat things that can be done on a wireless phone, including hooking up to the Internet. It can store files of just about any type. This is a techie's dream toy.

So what other kinds of tech toys can see their way into the classrooms? Well, consider iPods and MP3 devices. These little babies have taken the world by storm. So sure, you love them for playing your fav tunes, but in the classroom?? But of course. In addition to playing tunes, these little media players are small, relatively inexpensive (and dropping in price as we speak) and have a lot of memory in a compact space. On some, students can record video and audio (great for portfolios) and then download it to a computer, or play it as is. They can play electronic books. You can even use it to back up a hard drive, if you don't have a key drive handy. The bottom line is that the newest generation of computers don't much resemble their predecessors, and can truly revolutionize how computers can be used in a classroom.

Commentary: Sotir: New Horizons in Educational Technology

Ultra Mobile PC/Samsung Posted by Picasa

Look behind you...the latest and greatest new technologies are already creeping up! Check out the Ultra Mobile PC (UMPC) that will be available this summer. As with any new technology, the first versions of the products need some tweaking, such as extending the battery life. However, it is compact and much smaller than a laptop, which is a big draw for portability and storage. It comes pre-loaded with Microsoft's Touch Pack for Windows XP and weighs in under 2 pounds. It has a 7 inch LCD (bigger than a cell phone or Blackberry, but smaller than a laptop), has a 30-60GB hard drive and an average battery life of of about 2 hours per charge (THAT won't set well with the mobile techies!) Prices will range from $599 - 1000, and could include GPS features, Webcams, and digital TV tuners. You can use it by a touch screen, a stylus or a dedicated onscreen thumb keyboard. If you need more flexibility, you can hook up a regular keyboard and mouse via USB or BlueTooth.
So how could this be used by Adult Educators? In the soon to be new world (at least in Aurora) of free Wi-Fi, these can be used in our classrooms. Since they are small and light, they can be easily stored in a lockable cabinet in the classroom. They are more affordable, and therefore can fit more easily into budgets. This is a new direction in computing, and one that should seriously be considered. Rather than the current configuration of dedicated 'labs' which limit the amount of classroom space, any room could become a lab by bringing in a cart on wheels with portable computers inside. If you have a three hour class period, three classes can each be a 'lab' for an hour of that time. One set of these per department can be all that is needed to bring computers into the classrooms. It's a new world, but one worth exploring.

ABE/GED Math: Graphs Create a Graph

Complete site redesign featuring tabbed interface with active help, examples, and templates.
No number size limitations
Decimal values allowed
Data source name
Graphs can be saved and edited later
Better printing graphs
Print graphs with table of data
Graphs can be downloaded in many new file formats (PDF,JPG,PNG,SVG,EMF,EPS)
Hundreds of colors to choose from with new Color Picker tool
Choose from 10 different fonts for graph labels
Bubble and Scatter graphs added.
Up to 6 data groups with up to 50 items each.

Monday, April 10, 2006

ABE/GED: Coping with Math Anxiety This site may have changed, and is now available on:

Good information in easy to understand format to help students with math anxiety.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

GED Math: Math Anxiety, Algebra, Study Skills, Learning Styles
"This site provides information about basic math, algebra, study skills, math anxiety and learning styles and specifically addresses the needs of the community college adult learner. A student who is frustratedby college math can be helped by identifying his individual learning style and recognizing the instructor'steaching style. This site provides links for students and teachers to information about learning styles, study skills tips, and ways to reduce math anxiety and gives the students access to tutorials, algebra assignments, math videos, and a forum for discussing with the professor a variety of math topics."

There are also video snippets on algebra and pre-algebra topics. These are short videos to help students remember common topics. I really liked the student tutorials on math fundamentals and elementary algebra:
"Students helping students is an important part of classroom learning. On this page you will find links to math tutorials on varied elementary algebra topics authored by students to help others having difficulty with mathematics. "

This is an excellent site developed by a true teacher. Highly recommended.

GED Math: Tech 21 Math Training Model Tech 21 Math Training Model
" The purpose of this course is to explore technology-based resources and tools that can be used to bolster the math concepts tested by the GED. While identifying resources and tools is one part of this process, the more important parts are the teacher's ability:
to evaluate resources for their usefulness; and to consider how the resources could be used most effectively.

This course consists of 5 sessions. The first session provides a general overview of some of the larger issues related to teaching math to adults; the next 4 sessions focus on the topics of:
Problem Solving; Geometry, Spatial Sense, and Measurement; Data Analysis, Probability, and Statistics; and
Sessions 2-5 are similarly structured in that they consist of 2 sections that each raise an issue and require exploring particular websites to inform a response to that issue.

GED Math: Instructor Resources Math Forum at Drexel University

This page offers a selection of good sites to visit for information about adult numeracy. To find more recommendations, search or browse Teaching Issues/Strategies : Special Contexts : Adult Education in the Math Forum's Internet Mathematics Library.

ESL: Teaching with Music Teaching ESL through music

Compendium of sites that help instructors to teach ESL using music. Here are some online resources that can help you integrate music in ESL teaching.
Teaching with Music - Songs and Chants for Children Lyrics - Music Clip Art - Irish Music - Christmas Music Other Useful Music Resources - français - Español - Portuguêses

Other sites include: "Take advantage of the power of music and use it in your ESL classes. We've created this page to provide resources, lessons, and ideas on teaching with music. There are printable materials for classroom use, lessons, lyrics, and ideas. We also have two discussion forums and links to other web sites about music. Get ready to jam." "The new site now features additional articles supporting the use of music as well as an annotated bibliography of books and CD's that teachers will find particularly helpful when they use music to instruct English. As before, this site was created for educators who are interested in promoting the acquisition of English through music.
Here teachers are provided with the tools which they need in order to foster the acquisition of English through music. Therefore, in this site, teachers will find the following:
teacher-made and tested lesson plans materials such as books, videos, and tapes/CDs which have been helpful to other educators as they use music for second language instructional purposes articles supporting the use of music in the ESL classroom
Feel free to copy and disseminate information which you obtained from this Site to other "ESL-Music enthusiasts."

New IBT TOEFL test information,0,w TOEFL Test Info

This is a good review of the changes from the previous version of the TOEFL test to the new, which was released in September 2005. The changes center mainly around the emphasis on grammar. The old test used grammar as the base, but the new version incorporates grammar and vocabulary within the Writing, Reading, and Speaking and Listening sections. There is also a 'test drive' section of this article, so you can see the changes in the test. Good information.

Lehigh University gives its ESL faculty the following information on the new test:
' Based on Communicative Language Pedagogy, the speaking test on the new TOEFL will cover these areas of communication:
Remembering the most important points in a lecture
Understanding instructor's directions about assignments and their due dates
Recognizing which points in a lecture are important and which are less important
Relating information that they hear to what they already know
There will be questions about personal knowledge subjects such as a familiar place or event and on a personal preference about a situation. For the academic speaking questions, students will be asked to listen to academic conversations, university lectures, and readings on academic subjects. Students will need to respond fluently and coherently to problems that are based on the information that they've heard. '

Other good sites for information on the new test: (includes free practice tests) (free TOEFL help forum) Practice tests