Monday, April 27, 2009

Waubonsee College AEHS Induction

Created using ANIMOTO.  The simplicity and elegance of Animoto makes a strong statement for the use of Web 2.0 technologies in the classroom.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

UDUTU: Online Course Authoring   My UDUTU is an online course authoring site. The main advantage is the ability to add rich media (the kind that takes up bandwidth) and having it resized for optimization automatically. There are good tutorials onsite, not only for developing the product but also for developing a strong academic structure as well. It includes some uses of Bloom's Taxonomy, development of learning outcomes you wish to achieve and design of the course itself. .

From UDUTU:  "Adding rich media to course in myUdutu is made simple because the compression and resizing to make it play on the web is all done for you automatically.

When you upload images or movies or sound files from your computer to a screen in your myUdutu course they are automatically resized and optimized for bandwidth efficiency on the web. They will also become a part of your personal learning object repository for future use. At any time you can publish the course onto our web server, and let your interested parties view it, or you can zip it and save it to your own computer, ready to be deployed wherever you prefer."

From the Blog Computer Methods and Applications by THX2: this is the info on an online course authoring site called UDUTU:
" is a website that provides online course authoring software. If you want to make online courses, eLearning modules or training programs, then can offer you a good answer to your needs.’s main product offering is myUdutu™. It is an easy-to-use online authoring software that can be used by anyone. With this software, you would no longer need to rely on programmers to produce for you good quality online modules. myUdutu™ enables any user to create interactive courses rich with visual media which greatly improves training opportunities for students and employees alike. It can be used in all fields and professions providing human resource managers, trainers, professionals, teachers, etc., the edge in making such courses. With its WYSIWYG (What You See Is What You Get) feature, myUdutu™ attracts more users...
...Another breakthrough that the site offers is that it ties up with social networking sites such as Facebook to build up a learning network in which productive individuals can work together...
...Its simplicity and its customization is also one of its values. You only have to access from the internet, build your course by importing PowerPoint presentations, customize your learning windows, and add videos and audios, and then publish it using the site’s server, and you’re done!
...The experts can either upload their courses through their own server or use the Udutu server for a measly fee of $1."

ESL Flashcards

I had a request for finding free ESL flashcards with pictures. I have 3 sites that cover that category (all are also listed in the side column under Recommended Web 2.0 Sites): requires a free registration. Has many different emotions, body parts etc. requires a free registration, has choice of color or BW pictures, and can include the term or not. requires a free registration, can also register with Facebook account, and quizzes can be accessed from that account. Some are prepared, or you can make your won.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Easy Wikis: Jottit

For those of you who really want to create your own blogs or wikis, but need an easy site to help you grow your expertise, I suggest both Blogger ( and Jottit (, create by Camtasia Studio 4. I tried the Jottit site out yesterday, and would think it easy enough for most beginners to master in a very short time. My sample wiki is at, and is just a practice site for me to try new techniques. I've used other wiki sites, such as Wetpaint ( and until recently, was concerned about the ads (it is free, after all). However, you can now apply as an education site which eliminates most of the ad content, solving that dilemma,
Jottit is a no nonsense site developed for educational uses. It isn't as robust as say the Wetpaint site, but you quickly learn how to adapt to a wiki format. A very useful tool in the edit mode, where you will be creating your content, is in the top right corner, and it is called 'formatting help', This gives you some simple coding tools to create things such as italics or links. You can create as many pages as you like, and you can edit them as you need to. Like most wikis, it also gives you a history of your edits. If you are new to the world of wikis, this is a great starter site. Check out the screencast on Demo Girl if you need more instruction:

Custom You Tube Video Players

To create a You Tube Video Viewer, go into your You Tube account.  Go to More.;Custom Video Players.
Create customized video players for publishing to websites or blogs. You can change the colors and contents of a player at any time, and all instances of that player will automatically update to the new settings. Be sure you have saved some videos to a Playlist or as Favorites. You can choose the type of player and which Playlist to use. You Tube will then generate an embeddable code for your blog or wiki. To use on a Blogger account, make sure you choose the Edit HTML tab before pasting in code.
Clicking on the left and right tabs above with allow you to see which videos I've chosen for this play list. Click on the video of choice to view on this player.

UPDATE: 5/6/09:  I've seen the error message on this player for a couple of days now. I tried re-doing the custom video player and reinstalling the code, but to no avail.  I will think this through and see if I can find a resolution. Has anyone else had problems with this app? 

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

My Favorite MI/Web 2.0 Tools

I personally love Web 2.0. I'm also aware that my own staff, although they all try, may not embrace these tools as fondly as I do. That said, I decided to create a short list of my very favorite Web 2.0 tools for MI. If you don't know what MI is, see the post immediately below this one...
Actually, there are quite a few more, which I've listed as 'Web 2.0 Tech Tools Recommended' in the right hand column of this blog. However, I wanted to give you a flavor of what you can do with Web 2.0.  Please make note of the fact that I have little patience, so therefore all of these tools have an intuitive quality to them that makes using them quite easy. Click and check out these samples, then scroll down for even more. When you find those you like you can just come back to this site (and remember only ONE URL) to access them when you need them. And here's an old school tip from an old-schooler...I have a Rolodex in my office where I make a card for each of these sites, with the date joined and any passwords or user names that I need to use them. On the back of the card I put a short description, and then file them by what they do, and then the title. These passwords are not going to help anyone who is seeking to steal my identity (word to the wise), but since they are all unique, I need to keep track of them somehow.

MI: the 'New' Buzzword

One of the latest 'buzzwords' in education is the theory, first espoused in 1983 by Howard Gardner, regarding Multiple Intelligences, or MIs. This concept plays well into the social fabric of the technological revolution, as it shows the need for educators to examine more extensively the 'how' of learning as well as the 'why'. So much of the way students learn today is wrapped in this theory, either by design or default. Once computers moved from 'media' (although admittedly this was short-lived) to 'multimedia', so did society. With the advent of personal computers in the early 90s, and cell phones and the WWW hitting the general population in the mid-1990's, life as we know it changed dramatically. It seems as if almost overnight everyone had a phone attached to their ears for most of their waking hours. Households were figuring out how to include the very expensive computer into the family budget.

In schools, computers started trickling into classrooms, then curricula. Suddenly the world was awash in tech terms. Unfortunately, in many instances, instructors were trying to fit this new square peg into the old round hole, and despite a lot of banging on that square peg, it never fit snugly into the hole. But to their credit, many tried to make things work. Of course, there was also the problem of fitting the fat square tech peg into the skinny round hole of the available curriculum budget. Once the WWW came into play, we had the additional learning curve that using these interactive websites incurred. Web 2.0 brought on even more problems for the classroom instructor. Suddenly (or so it seemed) we were inundated with potential websites and tools, and classroom instructors, already weary from all the accountability issues, started to lose interest just as their students found it.

Email was cool, but then blogs and wikis came into the picture. Students were involved in text-messaging (TMs), instant messaging (IMs), social network sites (think Twitter, Facebook, My Space, Jaiku etc), and Second Life, which isn't real at all, but students sometimes think it is. Schools were now outfitted with computers and peripherals, but their use was spotty, even among the best instructors. So it was inevitable that the concept of MI which was developed prior to the personal computer wave would find a home in the post Web 2.0 phase. And yes, we are well into Web 3.0, and 4.0 me, we can .0 to infinity and beyond.

What does this mean for the average, tech-challenged classroom instructor? Well, the good news is that Web 2.0 doesn't always require a lot of tech savvy. As a matter of fact, you can turn that part over to the students, who are usually quite capable of incorporating it into their work. In the latest issue of Edutopia (April/May 2009,, there is question that was asked in the Sage Advice column last month: "How do you address multiple intelligences in your classroom?" The responses are great, and show that instructors are indeed trying to creatively inspire all of most of the multiple intelligences that their students possess.

My favorite was from seventh grade science and math teacher Carol Craig in Trinidad, West Indies: "Right now my students are working on 'Rock Concerts'. They are divided into groups of 4, with 2 rocks assigned to each group.
They research their rocks, write a song using the facts, design a t-shirt that they wear at their performance, and perform the song in front of their classmates. They also create a poster, a model and a presentation for the perfomance. They can add a dance if they like."

I personally love this assignment. It's an extension of the theories from old tv shows like Schoolhouse Rock. Give the students a somewhat boring assignment (my apologies to earth science instructors but rocks are not usually not the most engaging subject), and make it into a project that they can all use their varying MI skills to achieve. Creating a song using their research is a wonderful way to remember the information (remember: "Conjunction Junction, what's your function?"), and allows for collaborative learning (yet another current buzzword, or is it buzz phrase?) with real learning goals (bzzzzzzz, bzzzzz).

Instructors have always had aspects of MI in their classes (field trips, movies, film strips) but now the goal is toward using the available tools for project-based environments that are heavily into socializing. This is the new educational curriculum. Be there or -be square...

Information on Howard Gardner and Multiple Intelligences:

"Howard Gardner claims that all human beings have multiple intelligences. These multiple intelligences can be nurtured and strengthened, or ignored and weakened. He believes each individual has nine intelligences:

Verbal-Linguistic Intelligence -- well-developed verbal skills and sensitivity to the sounds, meanings and rhythms of words

Mathematical-Logical Intelligence -- ability to think conceptually and abstractly, and capacity to discern logical or numerical patterns

Musical Intelligence -- ability to produce and appreciate rhythm, pitch and timber

Visual-Spatial Intelligence -- capacity to think in images and pictures, to visualize accurately and abstractly

Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence -- ability to control one's body movements and to handle objects skillfully

Interpersonal Intelligence -- capacity to detect and respond appropriately to the moods, motivations and desires of others.

Intrapersonal Intelligence -- capacity to be self-aware and in tune with inner feelings, values, beliefs and thinking processes

Naturalist Intelligence -- ability to recognize and categorize plants, animals and other objects in nature

Existential Intelligence -- sensitivity and capacity to tackle deep questions about human existence, such as the meaning of life, why do we die, and how did we get here.

Howard Gardner1 defined the first seven intelligences in FRAMES OF MIND (1983). He added the last two in INTELLIGENCE REFRAMED (1999). Gardner is a psychologist and Professor at Harvard University's Graduate School of Education, as well as Co-Director of Harvard Project Zero.

Based on his study of many people from many different walks of life in everyday circumstances and professions, Gardner developed the theory of multiple intelligences. He performed interviews with and brain research on hundreds of people, including stroke victims, prodigies, autistic individuals, and so-called "idiot savants."

According to Gardner,

All human beings possess all nine intelligences in varying amounts.
Each person has a different intellectual composition.
We can improve education by addressing the multiple intelligences of our students.
These intelligences are located in different areas of the brain and can either work independently or together.
These intelligences may define the human species."

Concept to Classroom

Sites from Edutopia

If you've never seen Edutopia magazine (published by the George Lucas Foundation) I suggest you add it to your 'must read' list. It has a lot of useful ideas and thoughtful articles defining what works in public education. One column is 'Head of Class>Hot Stuff' which has great new websites to explore:

Woogi World: Free for kids; $7 per month for "Honors Program"

Combining a virtual game with school standards, the world of the Woogi teaches children in grades K-6 responsible uses of the Internet while also promoting cooperative behavior offline and encouraging students to enhance their reading capabilities. Educational online games reinforce other classroom skills, while offline activities promote community involvement and family time.


Coming soon to a laptop near you: Vast treasures from more than 1,000 manuscripts, as well as museums, libraries, archives, and film and sound materials from 27 European nations. From the Magna Carta to music scores by Mozart, Europeana seems to be the European Commission's answer to Google's ambitious venture (along with the Library of Congress) to create a World Digital library. The site offers multilingual searching and plans to have ten million items by 2010. A prototype version with two million items went live last November, got swamped by users, promptly crashed, and is now up and running again with quadruple the server capacity. Stay tuned for the full-blown site.

Poe Revealed 1809-2009

Celebrate the master of the macabre's 200th birthday with help from this site. Students can watch an animated version of The Tell Tale Heart, solve the mystery of how Poe died, read an overview of his life, take a fact-or-fiction quiz, and compete in a writing competition (deadline May 8). The site also offers teachers information about Poe's life and writing technique, suggested readings, and a classroom-activity packet.

Classroom Earth

Delivering activities and resources for six high school subject areas and 14 topics, this online resource from the National Environmental Education Foundation in partnership with the Weather Channel helps teachers incorporate environmental content into lesson plans for language arts, math, science, social studies, and more. Educators can also learn about professional-development opportunities and find relevant grant information.

This article was also published in the April 2009 issue of Edutopia magazine under the headline "Hot Stuff".