Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Web of the Week Wednesday: Twitter Teachers

Web Address:

The buzz about Twitter may be barely a peep, but it has been in the news lately.  It will probably stay in the news and the ability to communicate to the masses from any cell phone will stay with us.  Twitter has changed the playing field.  If you are looking for a good way to gather information Twitter can be a great addition to your PLN (Personal Learning Network)   Are you looking for someone to follow?  Here's the list:

Need more people to follow.  Find someone you are interested in and see who they are following.  Need someone to start with? Try out these two:


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Response to TeachPaperless: Twitter has arrived...

This was a post that finally articulated what I have tried to say for 4 years. There are 'right relationships' online between students and teachers.

I love your turn of phrase "right relationships" I have been proposing that Education is really about relationships. We learn from people we know car about us. The concept, though, has been that any online relationship is inherently sinister, evil, and predatory. While I don't extol the idea that we should be facebook friends with all of our students there is a right way to forge "right relationships" in the digital world. A fan page for my class where I can post updates to all the students, a Twitter account for test reminders. A blog for announcements. The digital landscape is really no longer a den of thieves and thank you for articulating it so well!

Response: What Do You Believe to Be the Most Effective Methods for Delivering Professional Development to Teachers?

What Do You Believe to Be the Most Effective Methods for Delivering Professional Development to Teachers?

My response to this post:

Great and insightful post. I work for the Utah Education Network and we deliver Professional Development all over the state in a variety of ways. We offer face to face workshops and 2 day courses. We also offer 6 week online courses. Finally, we do a weekly webcast available at http;//

The one area I would like to see more done on is the webinars/webcasts where educators can chat with others. People do some of this over lunch but usually that dissolves into a gripe session. Something teachers need, but a well facilitated workshop or webinar can allow the kind of deeply reflective practice that we as educators can truly benefit from.

The webinar/chat sessions can catalyze the kind of focus that sometimes lacks in a general Professional Development put on by a specific school or district. Maybe what I really need is focused tips and tricks on PowerPoint, or alternative assessment, or rubrics or whatever. When a workshop or professional development session has to appeal to the masses it often gets diluted because of the varying levels, whereas when I chat with my other Science Teacher friends I can focus on the peculiarities of teaching science. To me a mix of

Tech Tip Tuesday: Save your Video!

Most teachers I know are hoarders.  I don't say this in any derogatory tone.  Teachers keep stuff.  We keep lesson plans, materials, books anything we might someday use.  I am no exception.  I have a lesson plan on legal size paper written by a Science Teacher in Canada all about Edible bugs!  I keep it because I might teach that lesson some time.

Well, another thing I hoarded was videos.  Not the cool viral videos we get in emails but the actual honest to goodness VHS tapes.  Long after my last VCR gave up the ghost at home.  After I had put my last video-tape at home out to pasture.  I still used VHS tapes in my classroom.  I had videos that aren't available on DVD.  What to do with these old videos?  Many of them become outdated and it can become time to upgrade to newer materials, but what about that video that simply has the best explanation you have  ever found about_______.
Roxio USB Video Capture device

The solution:  USB video capture.  There are several different products on the market for capturing video.  There are DVD burning softwares (more to come in another post) that allow you to use the DVD playing capacity of your computer to capture video.  But what about VHS tapes?  A USB video capture device plugs into your computer's USB port and has standard yellow, red, and white RCA cable connections and usually an S-Video connection.  This allows you to connect any device with RCA output to your computer: A DVD player, a VCR, even your old camcorder. With this connection and free software already on your computer you can capture portions of the video to use in your class.   On a MAC you will need to use iMovie to help capture your video.  Witha Windows computer you can use Windows Movie Maker.  Doing this requires that you still comply with Copyright requirements including Fair Use and the Teach Act 2002.  You can check here for more info on copyright.

image source:

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Web of the Week Wednesday: Rolie Polie Olie

Website address:

Rolie Polie Olie has retired, but he still lives on in cyberspace.  This site was a favorite of kids a few years back When Rolie Polie Olie was still being regularly shown on Disney Channel.  One of my favorite activities for teaching is all about colors.  You can see it below or click on the link to find the activity:

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tech Tip Tuesday: For More Than PowerPoint™

It's an obviious use of our digital projectors to use them to display a PowerPoint™ or other multimedia presentation. But they can be used for far more.  Tech Learning gave some good suggestions for using a digital projector for more than presentations. One of the suggestions was to display a digital timer.  If you are interested there are some other sources of online timers.

Check out their list:

What other suggestions do you have?

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Web of the Week Wednesday: LibriVox

Web Address:

[caption id="attachment_275" align="alignleft" width="300" caption="LibriVox Logo"]LibriVox Logo[/caption]

Have you heard a good book lately?  Well you can.  Much like Project Gutenberg LibriVox is devoted to keeping information open and free.  LibriVox has at least two applications for the classroom.

First, it can be used as a source of audio books for both classroom and at home use.  The books are available in multiple formats.  The most recognizable will be the individual chapter downloads in mp3 formats.  You can also download the entire book as a zip file.  You can also download the files in Ogg Vorbis format.  A less common but open source format that is used when a free format is needed.

Secondly, there is an option on LibriVox for volunteering to read books.  Students or the teacher can download software that along with a computer, microphone and internet connection allow the volunteer to read books that are in the public domain.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Tech Tip Tuesday: Getting Smarter! Interactivity Unhooked

Many teachers have heard the buzz about Smart™ Boards.  Smart™ boards are kind of like Kleenex® We use the brand name to describe the product.  There are several brands of Interactive White Boards.  Each of them has a similar set of characteristics.  The main obstacle to each of these is actually still the cost.

There are some solutions to this.  Most of these companies that make Interactive White Boards also make a wireless tablet version.  These are a more mobile and less expensive alternative to the Interactive Whiteboards.

Tech Learning reviewed one of these wireless tablets. 

Check out: for the full article.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Response to Kelly Hines: My Hair is not on fire!

Kelly Hines has been reading Teach Like Your Hair is on Fire She expressed her conflicted reaction to the book on her blog. I love to see people's conflict. I think it is one of my favorite things about the blogosphere. It is sort of like 'think aloud' in class. It's great to see that other people are wrestling with ideas and their own changing philosophy. My response on her website was:

I have said this recently. If you were to pick any person in the profession of education you could probably give them the title of Rumplestiltskin. Educators more than almost any other profession spin straw into gold.

Having said that, I totally get your hesitation about this book. I want to read it now that you have so effectively pointed out the inherent conflict with our heroes. We watch teachers who do miraculous things but get disheartened and disillusioned because we can’t do it.

I told a mentor of mine once that I didn’t think you should have to be a hero to teach. He disagreed he said every teacher is a hero. My reply "well then we shouldn't all have to martyr ourselves to be teachers." I still believe that. I see to many do to much for too little. I don’t ask that teacher be on the leading edge of salaries and compensation and support in the world, but could we at least be firmly in the middle?

Thanks for a super thoughtful post!

Her conflict reminds me of my problem with Erin Gruwell and the Freedom Writers. (I wanted

to link to her website but this is what I got:

I had her story inflicted upon me in a training. The facilitator prefaced it with "Oh, we aren't saying you have to do all ...." But the message was still look at how hard she worked and how much she sacrificed to make sure these poor, underprivileged, students succeed. And they have succeeded. But is her story really the best model. She spoke at NECC and I listened to most of it, but from what I gathered she has pretty much built everything she has done since then on the reputation and fame of what she did then. Is this any more amazing than the teacher who for 32 years teaches in the same school consistently and daily and puts in their time? Or what about my fellow teacher who taugh 10 years in one state then moved and taught 30 years in another state and sat through training after training with 'Presenters' hired to come teach her about reading in the content area when that was her Master's Degree? I am much more likely to admire the person who quietly does what's expected. I see no need for more martyrs to the educational cause.

Citation Nod:

I found this great site about grammar rules that helped me figure out what to put in italics.

Comment invitation: I am too lazy to research what else Erin Gruwell has done so if I am totally of base in my unsubstatiated opinion please correct me in the comments.

Web of the Week Wednesday: Peter Russell World Clock

Web Address:

This weeks website is all about statistics and analysis. This world clock has some interesting figures that roll up. With the "Now" button you can watch the statistics grow right before your eyes.

Don't forget to check the Food clock to see how we weigh in on the food we eat. And to finish your trip visit the Life Expectancy calculator.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Tech Tip Tuesday: Learn some HTML

If you are getting into an online life you may have heard the term HTML well, it's time to learn a little. If you want to really spice up your comments on websites or just really get your blog to look exactly the way you want it it's very worthwhile to learn some simple HTML tags.

First of all lets define HTML and tags. HTML stands for Hyper Text Markup Language. It is just what it says a language used to markup hyper text. What is hyper text? It's the text used in web pages especially where it links to other sites or files.

The table below gives some quick examples of what you can do with HTML:

To display this

Use this Tag
Arches National Park<img
src=""> Use
the web address of your image to replace the one listed here.


<h1>heading</h1> The
h tags start with the
largest at 1 and go smaller with larger numbers.  These h or header tags also do more than just
make things big.  They also apply any formatting that is assigned
to that heading level.
UEN<a href="">UEN</a>

These are just some of the HTML tags you can use to spruce up your commments on blogs, your own web pages or even parts of your my.uen web page, UEN Lesson Plans or UEN Rubrics.

Check: for specific tips on using tags within the UEN tools.

Welcome to Jorgie Learning

I really am learning and this blog is maintained both as a record of some of what I am doing as well as a place for me to train and teach others about creating an online presence. So please don't mind the dust. We aren't remodeling we are learning!

Visit some of my other blogs or the other blogs I find mildly entertaining for a more polished feel.