Answerables

Answerables
Game Based Learning System

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Inside the Cyber Studio: Digital Book

As the New Year arrives I decided to compile all the interviews I have done throughout the year into a digital book.

It can be read or downloaded by clicking the link below...




Soon to follow the all digital books that I create will be listed on Book Rix and Mixbook and available for download. Eventually, I will be offering hard copies of my books for free via raffle.

Happy New Years everyone, be safe, and thanks for reading!!

Creative Commons

Creative Commons is a term used to describe what permissions a person/educator has for using other people's content. It is seen a lot when dealing w/ pictures but also applies to other types of media as well.

Here is a great slide show detailing the use of "creative commons".

LoudLit

LoudLit is a site dedicated to great pieces of literature. It covers everything from poetry to children books and is a great site for beginner readers. What really makes this site stand out is the user can either download the literature or have it read to them (similar to Nettrekker).

Below is an example of the Novel, Scarlet Letter...



Give LoudLit a try by clicking here.

For another excellent review check out Life Feast.
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Monday, December 28, 2009

Squareleaf

Squareleaf is a site that I found out about from Richard Byrne's excellent blog. It is an online note taker/organizer and reminds me of Apple's sticky notes app but online. It's very user friendly and a person can start posting notes once they are registered.



Give Squareleaf a try by clicking here.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Holidays

I just wanted to take the time and wish everyone a happy/healthy New Year. I've only been blogging since Feb and have really enjoyed this experience. I've developed my PLN which has helped me personally/professionally in so many ways.

I can only thank all of you my readers for taking the time to collaborate w/ me. It's because of all of you that I enjoy doing what I do so much, and that is integrating technology w/ education.

I can't wait for what the following year holds as I release another free digital book, explore new/innovative opportunities, and hold free raffles to give back to my readers.

My best to all of you and have a great New Years!!!

Picartia

Picartia is an excellent site for making mosaics/collages (think of the movie poster for Truman Show). It is very easy to use and only takes 3 steps to get an interesting piece of work together.

Below is an example using my logo...



Give Picartia a try by clicking here.

Check out other interesting sites on Ozge Karaoglu's blog (which is where I found this one).

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Inside a Cyber Studio: Lesley Coe

Due to the popular response I've decided to issue two columns a week instead of one. I will post one at the beginning (monday/tuesday) of the week and then one at the end (friday). Otherwise, it would just take to long to get through all of them.
Keep in mind the questions might change from time to time (especially as technology changes), and I'm looking to provide other formats as well (audio/video).

I hope you all find this to be a fun/exciting journey as we get to learn a bit more about each other and why we love technology & education.

Lesley Coe
website: http://www.lesleycoe.com/


  1. Where do you live? Wake Forest, NC
  2. How long have you been working w/ technology/education? 3 years
  3. What OS/platform do you use for work? Windows
  4. What is your favorite Web 2.0/21st Century tool and why? Couldn't possibly pick one but for a school district as a whole I think the combination of Moodle and Google Apps would be perfect.
  5. What is the biggest misconception about technology? That it's treated differently than any other "tool" an educator would use in his/her classroom.
  6. What are the biggest hurdles you face as a technology educator? Insufficient technical staff funding.
  7. What has been your biggest success in technology integration? Helping teachers comfortably use and integrate new technologies in their lessons.
  8. What has been your biggest setback in technology integration? Lack of time/money to attend valuable professional development.
  9. Who/what has been your biggest inspiration in technology/education? The way technology lends itself so easily to differentiation.
  10. Where do you see technology integration heading in the future? Not sure.
Fun
  1. What is your favorite movie? The Princess Bride/When Harry Met Sally
  2. What is your favorite book? Books written by Nelson Demille ofen grab my attention very easily.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Main Menu

Main Menu is a new free app from the latest MacUpdate winter bundle. This is a nice application for maintenance of your mac. It takes care of processes such as: force quit/restart, repair permissions, network utility, disk utility, etc etc.

Download your free app by clicking here.

Sprixi

Sprixi is a new search engine for finding pictures. It mainly filters images w/ a Creative Commons license and uses Flickr's API. However, keep in mind that these images are not passing through a filter so does not abide by CIPA compliance.

There are some features that I like about Sprixi and that is the ability to generate an html code or even rate the pictures that you are searching.

Below is the results on searching the term, computer.



Give Sprixi a try by clicking here.

For another detailed review check out the award nominated, Websites of the Day by Larry Ferlazzo.

Teqpad

Teqpad is an excellent site for getting web statistics from any given URL. (Thanks to Larry Ferlazzo's blog for the tip).

Below is a data from this very blog...



Give Teqpad a try by clicking here.

Skitch

Skitch is an application developed by Plasq (Comic Life creators) that is very useful/handy for creating tutorials/walk-thru's.

It basically allows a user to draw over any picture by either adding text, shapes, or arrows. I use it a lot for making handouts/tutorials for either print or the web.

However, it is also a lot of fun to draw over your close friend's faces and then deny having anything to do w/ it. (See below...)



Don't worry guys when I find out who did this I'll be sure to let you know 8-P

Give Skitch a try by clicking here.

Droplr

Droplr is an excellent new application for file-sharing on a Mac. There are so many apps/sites that do file-sharing, Doplr has to be one of the best. All a user has to do is click on the drop on their menu bar and decide where/how they want to share their data. This will work w/ pics, links, etc. It's going to make my posting on Twitter a lot easier!!



Check out Droplr by clicking here.
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Friday, December 18, 2009

Inside a Cyber Studio: Kay Tibbs

Due to the popular response I've decided to issue two columns a week instead of one. I will post one at the beginning (monday/tuesday) of the week and then one at the end (friday). Otherwise, it would just take to long to get through all of them.
Keep in mind the questions might change from time to time (especially as technology changes), and I'm looking to provide other formats as well (audio/video).

I hope you all find this to be a fun/exciting journey as we get to learn a bit more about each other and why we love technology & education.

Kay Tibbs

  1. Where do you live? Wellington, KS, US
  2. How long have you been working w/ technology/education? 20 + years
  3. What OS/platform do you use for your work? Both Windows & Mac
  4. What is your favorite Web 2.0/21st Century tool and why? Wikis
  5. What is the biggest misconception about technology? That is will magically engage all students and make them want to learn.
  6. What are the biggest hurdles you face as a technology educator? Misconceptions about what technology can and cannot do.
  7. What has been your biggest setback in technology integration? budget cuts
  8. What has been your biggest success in technology integration? Becoming the technology director after 20+ years of classroom teaching and advocating technology use in the classroom. Now I'm in a position to put my words into action.
  9. Who/what has been your biggest inspiration in technology/education? My PLN on Plurk
  10. Where do you see technology headed in the future? Virtual Reality
Fun
  1. What is your favorite movie? all Harry Potter movies
  2. What is your favorite book? anything written by Robert Ludlam
Next on Cyber Studio: Lesley Coe

Words Like

Words Like is a great site that is a combination of a dictionary and a thesaurus. It's very easy to use and one of the better dictionary/thesaurus sites around.

Click here to give it a try.



For another excellent check out the award winning, Free Technology 4 Teachers.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Sputtik

Sputtik is a very interesting search engine that words just can't do it justice. It has a very nice look to it and a bunch of buttons for different content to search through, such as: games, tv shows, music, etc.

Below is a search on the term, 21st Century Technology...



Give Sputtik a try by clicking here.

Refseek

Refseek is a great new (beta) search engine that I found out from the award winning blog, Free Technology 4 Teachers. It is a academic search engine designed for students and researchers and searches a lot of resources such as: documents, web pages, books, encyclopedia, etc.

What I find so fascinating about Refseek is the ability to search in documents for any giving topic. This really is a nice feature for students/educators.

Below is a document search on the term, Web 2.0.



Give Refseek a try by clicking here.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Bump Top

Bump Top is a new (beta) 3D desktop that allows users to have a very unique and fun experience while using their computer.

It's kind of hard to explain what BT is w/out seeing it in action. I happen to be using a very earlier Mac version, but there is a more stable version out there for Windows. That being said it still was very user friendly and had a nice intuitive design.

When BT is in use it replaces the current user's desktop. This desktop is completely customizable. For example, a person can make their file icon's either bigger/smaller, stack them, and even pin them to side walls for important items. While some user's might find this confusing they have a nice grid view they can use which is similar to what the standard is now.



I highly recommend checking out their video for a unique experience!!

VoiceThread + PLN = Magic

While surfing the web I come across all sorts of technology projects & ideas. At times something will catch my eye and I'll stop and take a closer look, similar to shopping for a book in a bookstore. The other day this very thing happened to me when I came across a Voicethread project. Now, this was not that unusual in itself, but like that fancy book w/ the cool looking cover, I noticed three amazing educators looking back at me (yes, it was their profile picture).


Of course, after seeing these three people who happened to be huge contributors to my PLN, I had to take a closer look. So, I hit the play button and watched as Shelly, Marama, and Ozge created that very thing that is at the heart of Web 2.0, and that's collaboration MAGIC.

I don't want to spend time explaining what this project is all about because it's not mine to tell. Shelly did an amazing job covering this already on her wonderful blog. What I find so fascinating is that these three people took that "web 2.0" technology and applied it to their teachings. What started out as a chance meeting of like-minded individuals through their PLN's, became this full fledged inspirational project that both educators and students could enjoy.

I highly recommend checking out these wonderful sites by these special educators:
Click here to view the Voicethread.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Easy Define

Easy Define is one my new favorite Web 2.0 sites! It is ideal for Language Arts/ESL/ELL teachers who want a fast and simple dictionary. However, it is much much more then that.

ED is a resource that takes a list of words that a user types in and generates the definitions, synonyms, and "how to's" about each word. Best of all this is done all in one place by a series of tags.

Below is my example of using ED...



I highly recommend giving Easy Define a try by clicking here.

Thanks for Alexandra Fransisco for sharing this wonderful resource!!
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Sketchpad

Sketchpad is a site I just read about on Free Technology 4 Teachers. This is a place where people can draw/paint online. It reminds me of a cross between Alpoy and Paint Brush, and is an excellent alternative to both. What I like so much about Sketchpad is how easy it is to use. Plus, w/ all the editing tools available for the user it really is one of the better free drawing applications out there.



Give Sketchpad a try by clicking here.


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Free My PDF

Free My PDF is a great site for unlocking those stubborn PDF's that won't let you: print, copy text, etc. It's very simple to use and is really handy for those who have permission issues.



Click here to five FMP a try.

Thanks to David Andrade for the tip on his excellent blog, The Educational Technology Guy.

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Sunday, December 13, 2009

Inside a Cyber Studio: Janice Conger

Due to the popular response I've decided to issue two columns a week instead of one. I will post one at the beginning (monday/tuesday) of the week and then one at the end (friday). Otherwise, it would just take to long to get through all of them.
Keep in mind the questions might change from time to time (especially as technology changes), and I'm looking to provide other formats as well (audio/video).

I hope you all find this to be a fun/exciting journey as we get to learn a bit more about each other and why we love technology & education.

Janice Conger
blog: http://powerlibrarian.blogspot.com/



  1. Where do you live? Collegeville, PA, US
  2. How long have you been working w/ technology/education? 7 years
  3. What OS/platform do you use for your work? Windows
  4. What is your favorite Web 2.0/21st Century tool and why? Wiki. It can be used for so many things. I actually created a wiki for a 5th grade teacher to use for her students to journal about their reading. You might think a blog would be better but the teacher loved it because each student could have their own page. And, wikis are easy, teachers can use them without too much of a learning curve.
    I also use Wordle quite a bit with my students. It is an excellent tool for everything from spelling to poetry.
  5. What is the biggest misconception about technology? That we have to use technology for technology's sake. If a lesson works better without technology don't use it. But if a technology tool can enhance a lesson by all means go for it!
  6. What are the biggest hurdles you face as a technology educator? Getting technology into the hands of students, limited by the lack of computers in the library. 10 is not enough when class sizes are 25 to 30. The other hurdle is typing. Students in my district do not get typing until 6th grade. That is too late.
  7. What has been your biggest success in technology integration? Videoconferencing. My teachers are sold, anytime I present a videoconferencing idea they are more than willing to put the work necessary into having the videoconference. On December 14th we are doing Cookies with Santa (K, T-1, and 1) and it requires quite a bit of pre-conference preparation but teachers love videoconferencing so they are willing to do the prep work.
  8. What has been your biggest setback in technology integration? Loosing all technology funding for this school year, the Superintendent just took all the funding away (after we sent the new technology plan to the state). It was just cut out of the budget. There were supposed to be 4 new SMART Boards for my building this year but the money was cut. There is not enough technology to go around.
  9. Who/what has been your biggest inspiration in technology/education? My biggest inspiration has been my Personal Learning Network. I follow many teachers, librarians, and technology integrators via social networking. When I have a problem I turn to them.
  10. Where do you see technology integration heading in the future? Portable devices. I like one to one laptop programs but can't really afford that but I think once a tablet PC or Mac comes out that it will change the face of education.
Fun
  1. What is your favorite book? Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
  2. What is your favorite movie? Princess Bride or Bachelor Mother
Next on Cyber Studio: Kay Tibbs

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Stage'D

Stage'D is an amazing new site for digital storytelling, that I first learned about from Alex Fransisco's blog. It lets a user not only create a movie but control all the aspects of their cool looking world.

Digital Storytelling is a term that has really picked up a lot of "steam" as of late. It tends to be one of the more used 21st Century Tools as podcasts/blogs/wiki's. Sage'D should offer educators another fine choice in creating their own digital story.

All a user has to do is create/choose their: characters, actions, backgrounds, and objects and then create the story by typing in the text. Finally after that is done a user can save it and create a link to share their stories w/ others.

Below is my quick example (ignore the watermark)

video

Give Stage'D a try by clicking here.

Weebly

Weebly is a site that has been around for making really nice looking web pages and easily too. Since, I use other CMS's to create pages I usually just take a peek at a web design site and then add it to my Diigo bookmarks. However, Weebly has now crossed over into a full fledged educational solution and that ganders a more in depth look.



Weebly for education offers some great/filtered options for education such as:
  • create a classroom website/blog
  • manage your student accounts
  • online homework assignments
  • keep parents up to date
After viewing these options and looking through their site it kind of reminds me of another free CMS such as Moodle.

I highly recommend giving Weebly a look by clicking here.
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Edublog Awards: Voting Open

Voting for the Edublog Awards is now open! Go ahead and vote for whichever person/category you like. This is a fun event for educators/bloggers alike and I just want to thank everyone who has nominated/voted for me.

It's a humbling experience to be recognized by your peers and there are many other "unknown" deserving people out there. So, for those tech educators in all of us, get out there and vote!!!

Disclaimer: If you'd like to vote for this blog it appears in the following two categories:
  • Best New Blog - Technology Tidbits
  • Best Resource Sharing Blog - Technology Tidbits Thoughts of a Cyber Hero
Click here to cast your vote on all the great nominees...

Thanks!!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Kngine

Knigne is a new (beta) Web 3.0 search engine. What does this mean? It means it is built around semantics or the "semantic web". It tries to help answer a users question but also determine trends of that user.

There are a bunch of engines around that are starting to do this, Europeana has one and there are viral videos all around too (search parallax browsing).

I feel that Knigne is already an excellent new resource and can really see it being used in education. However, that's not to say there is room for improvement. I asked a question, What is the Matrix (yes, I'm watching that movie as I type this) and it kinda got confused as to what I wanted. I suppose that's ok, considering I'm not exactly sure what it is either ;-) Although ,when I did a search on a term and not a question, it gave me a nice looking page of graphics, tags, and wikipedia type data.

I highly recommend giving Knigne a try by clicking here.

Below is a pic on a search on the term, Web 2.0...



For another excellent review, check out Larry Ferlazzo award nominated blog.



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Pixuffle

Pixuffle is a site I just learned about from a great blog, Zarco English. This is a place where a person uploads a picture and then can shuffle the pixels around to create some fun and interesting designs. It kind of reminds of those games where you can move the tiles around to form a picture.

Interesting note - I had an issue getting this site to work in Firefox, it worked Fine in Safari. Also, using big pictures gets the best results.

Below is my example using my Fantasy Football icon ;-)



Give Pixuffle a try by clicking here.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Fodey

Fodey is a site I learned about from the wonderful blog, Life is a Feast. This a great site for doing some fun things w/ text. For example, you can create a newspaper, circus ninjas w/ their hair on fire writing text (ok, I really don't think they're from the circus or that their hair is on fire, but it sounded good ;-), and other interesting things.



Give Fodey a try by clicking here.

Quiet Tube

Quiet Tube is a browser add-on for removing all comments/adds from Youtube and other video sites. Just go to the video and click on the quietube button and watch in peace. Ideally, this would be great if it can be installed in a browser so school's could use Youtube effectively w/out having to worry about inappropriate comments.

Install Quite Tube by clicking here.

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WeTransfer

WeTransfer is simply one of the easiest file sharing sites (beta) around, just upload your file (up to 2 gig) and click transfer. Also, you can email it to whoever you want and add a message: nice, simple, and neat. Nuff said...

Give WeTranser a try by clicking here.



For aother review check out Alex Fransisco's excellent blog.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Inside a Cyber Studio: Martha Thornburgh

Due to the popular response I've decided to issue two columns a week instead of one. I will post one at the beginning (monday/tuesday) of the week and then one at the end (friday). Otherwise, it would just take to long to get through all of them.
Keep in mind the questions might change from time to time (especially as technology changes), and I'm looking to provide other formats as well (audio/video).

I hope you all find this to be a fun/exciting journey as we get to learn a bit more about each other and why we love technology & education.



Martha Thornburgh
blog: http://digital-doors.blogspot.com/
  1. Where do you live? Mount Vernon, WA
  2. How long have you been working w/ technology/education? 20+
  3. What OS/platform do you use for your work? Windows
  4. What is your favorite Web 2.0/21st Century tool and why? Google Docs: Great way to collaborate in the clouds. Equalizer for students. Free and available from any computer with internet connection.
  5. What is the biggest misconception about technology? Technology is not about the stuff, it is about what you do with the stuff. As Marco Torres says. It is about he verbs, not the nouns.
  6. What are the biggest hurdles you face as a technology educator? Getting others to believe that technology is worth their very limited time.
  7. What has been your biggest success in technology integration? Small steps, but when I reflect on the past few years, it looks like giant leaps.
  8. What has been your biggest setback in technology integration? Sites being blocked. Teachers having to wait for equipment and software to be installed while losing momentum.
  9. Who/what has been your biggest inspiration in technology/education? Marco Torres is such a great inspiration as an educator. He believes in students, believes in the power of creativity and taking kids where they are at and building on that.
  10. Where do you see technology integration heading in the future? Mobile technology. Rethinking assignments and questions based on the fact that content answers are available at student's fingertips. Asking higher order questions that can only be answered by exploring the world and collaborating.
Fun
  1. What is your favorite book? The Bean Trees, Barbara Kingsolver
  2. What is your favorite movie? The Mission
Next on Cyber Studio: Janice Conger

Friday, December 4, 2009

The Future of Learning

After reading an article from Tech & Learning, I decided to write a short post on it. This article covered a book from Curtis J. Bonk called, The World is Open.

I must say that this is a technology book I look very forward to reading. It talks about a variety of topics that Curtis feels that education/technology are evolving.

Some of the highlights include:
  • E-COACHES
  • QUARTER-CENTURY LEARNING CLUBS
  • TERABYTE LEARNING ACCESS POINTS
  • THE VENERATION OF LEARNING
  • PERSONALIZATION + PORTFOLIOS
  • THE SELECTION OF GLOBAL LEARNING PARTNERS
  • TEACHING-LEARNING PERPETUITIES
  • AUTHENTIC LEARNING AMALGAMATIONS
To read the entire article click here.

Also, you can join a discussion I created on the Educator's PLN for further collaboration on the topic.
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Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Animated Explanations

Animated Explanations is a great site I found out about on the excellent blog, Zarco English. This is a site that looks and feels like Brain Pop but is a free tutorial site similar to Atomic Learning. Another great feature that AE has is the ability to embed their videos directly into your site/blog.


Sorting through huge amounts of e-mails - Animated Explanations

Give Animated Explanations a try by clicking here.
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Scribbly

Scribbly is a an application from Adobe (uses Adobe Air) for emailing notes to yourself or others. This really is a nifty little app (free) that is easy to use. After installation a person can type on a note pad (similar to stickies on a Mac) and then email it to themselves.

I would probably be more inclined to use something like this then some online note taking site just for the fact that I take notes at any given time and I don't have to worry about staying logged into a site.

Below is a sample of Scribbly in action...



Download Scribbly by clicking here.
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Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Flockdraw

Flockdraw is a great new site for collaborative drawing projects. All a person has to do is click start drawing and then send people the URL to have others edit it. Another neat feature will be the ability embed the drawing into your site/blog.

Below is a test drawing on created, feel free to edit along...
http://flockdraw.com/8wks9k



For another excellent review check out Richard Byrne's blog.

Glitchscape

Glitchscape is a site I just learned about from Larry Ferlazzo. This is rather unique in that you create shapes and then watch as music plays in a repeating pattern. I really can't compare it to anything, but it sure was fun to try out.

Below is my sample video (ignore the watermark)...

video

Give Gitchscape a try by clicking here.


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