Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wednesday Web of the Week:

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Web address:

With the vast amount of resources available to us today it is easy to overlook the ones right on our doorstep.  I have heard this site referred to and the Genetic Science Learning Center is housed on the University of Utah campus.  so these folk are UEN's neighbors.  Despite every good reason I had for knowing about them.  I didn't.  Until yesterday when during a presentation one of the people involved in the project asked me why their materials weren't linked to our Science Resources page.  Well, they are now and we will be linking more.

These resources are fantastic simulations, activities and general background for those learning about genetics.  The focus of this project is specifically 5-12 and they have a fantastic staff that keeps freshening up the content.  The really wonderful thing is there is a sister site:

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Buy a book!

This blog has highlighted the various eBook and eReader formats. These have truly changed the way our world consumes text. The various eReaders have enabled us to carry dozens of books in a much smaller space while still being able to highlight amid take notes right on the text just like a real book. Amazon's Kindle books even allow for social highlighting. Passages of text that you highlight can be shared anonymously and you can view how many others have highlighted passages.

But even more amazing are the books that aren't books. Many of the books available on both the iPhone OS and the newer Android are Apps. Many books are aviable as stand alone Apps. But these Apps go way beyond just the text. They allow interaction with artifacts from the book, and can even embed multimedia. It takes the experience of reading a book to really experiencing a book. One premier example of this is the Bram Stoker Family Edition of Dracula for the iPad. Learn more about it at:

Tech Tip Tuesday: Make a list...put headphones on it!

Each year in the fall millions of kids come home with a list of the school supplies they need.  For the Tech tip this week I have two suggestions.  First, make a list.  Espcially in Secondary education where students have between 6 and 8 different teachers they have an enormous list of lists.  They get a different list of materials required for each class.  Sometimes buried in a paragraph of a multiple page Open Disclosure document.

So, make a list. Use a wiki, GoogleSpreadsheets or my.uen to create a list of all the materials students in your grade need.  Teachers can collaborate on the list making it comprehensive.  It could even be prioritized with color coding so parents know which items are 'useful' but not 'required'

As a tech suggestion, add headphones or earbuds to the list.  Many schools spend a portion of their tech budget each year providing headphones for the school computer lab.  Asking students to provide their own makes for a much more sanitary and simpler solution.  Earbuds can be purchased at many Super Stores and Grocery stores for less than $3 making them equivalent in cost to a nice pen.  It can be invaluable in a computer lab setting to have students be able to engage with the audio without having to compete with a dozen other computers nearby.

Creating a list like this with GoogleDocs might look like this!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Wednesday Web of the Week: Mission U.S.

Web address:

[caption id="attachment_950" align="alignleft" width="385" caption="Mission U.S."]Mission U.S.[/caption]

Learning often involves becoming immersed in a topic well enough to see things from a different perspective.  Mission U.S. is just such an immersive experience.  Mission U.S. is an interactive first person simulation of life during the U.S. Revolutionary period. As a player you become Nat Wheeler and make a series of decisions and take on a series of tasks to progresss through the gameplay.  Based on your decisions you either become a revolutionary or a loyalist and you can never know fully which direction each choice might take you.

This project will be highlighted in UEN's Professional Development Faculty Lounge.  Visit at 3:00 p.m. on Thursday December 2 to join in or Click Here ( to see the archives.  The archives are usually posted within a week of the original webcast.

For additional support in teaching about the United States Colonial period visit UEN's Colonial Williamsburg page:

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Tech Tip Tuesday: Keep your Thumb Drive under your Thumb

Thumb drives, or Flash drives are those highly useful and now highly inexpensive USB flash memory storage devices.  These little devices are available almost anywhere and have become extremely inexpensive.  But are they safe.  We often do a lot to protect our online presence and use passwords and usernames to keep our information safe online.  What about your thumb drive?  While it is physically in my power it is also much easier to lose than the internet.

This article from Tech Learning has some suggestions for keeping your thumb drive safer.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Web of the Week Wednesday: Bayeux Tapestry Maker

Web address:

This site adds a bit of the surreal or the arcane to your presentation.  It's an online presentation tool...of sorts.  This tool allows you to add Medieval themed clip arts to a papyrus type background.  You can also add text.  Multiple frames and line tools round off this tool.  Your creations can be shared with others on the gallery or emailed to friends.  So for a flair of history try the Tapestry Maker for your next presentation.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tech Tip Tuesday: Gmail just keeps getting better

Gmail has become one of the best email services around and more and more people are choosing it or migrating to it from other services. Google just made it better with Priority Inbox. This feature moves more important emails to the top of your list. How does it know which are important? Well Gmail knows what you spend time reading and replying to. The longer you ignore that email from the principal the lower it goes on your priority list. The quicker you respond to your principal the more it moves up. Gmail will also let you decide whether you want to start in the priority view or your regular inbox and you can also tell Gmail which email is most important.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Web of the Week Wednesday: 270toWin

web address:

With the election coming up soon it seems like a good idea to refresh our relationship with a site that has been around for a while.  The 270 in this refers to the number of electoral college votes necessary to win a Presidential Election. This site will allow you to look at previous elections as well as do simulations of what will happen if certain state are carried by the Democrats or Republicans.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tech Tip Tuesday: Citing sources in a Multimedia project.

This becomes a huge question, what do I do to at least try to cite sources, when there isn't a consistent way for it to be done. Well, of course there are specific style sheets and tools for finding the proper format for citing sources, but where do you put them? Especially in a multimedia project?

Here are some suggestions


For your websites I would suggest creating a box/table/container, for your sources. In an inconspicious place cite the sources for that page. If you have used images or content information, both cite the source and post a link, if it is an online resource.

For Multimedia Presentations/Shows:

This is a little tricky. For most shows that have only a few sources a final slide that is a works cited is probably just fine, but that doesn't necessarily show which source matches which citation. To work around this I suggest posting citations in the 'notes' section when developing a presentation.  This does two things.  It gives you a reference close to the resource so you can find it again and it gives you more space than a single slide if you are creating a large presentation with many sources.

For Video:

Most video tools have a section where you can define properties. This is a good area to post some reference to your sources. There is a limit on the number of characters, so this works best for projects with only a few resources cited. Even with the limit you can post references to a website with the documentation or contact information so people can obtain it.

Big Stuff:

Finally, For extensive resources you may consider creating a document with a word processor and cite each reference with a relevant description of multimedia resources such as pictures or video.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Web of the Week Wednesday: NSDL

web address:

NSDL is the National Science Digital Library.  This is a repository of science content and learning.  The site contains a wide variety of really useful information.  One area referred to as refreshers is designed to help teachers do just that refresh their knowledge in an area they need help in.  The resources often point to other websites and bring together everything from amateur YouTube videos, to professional peer reviewed journal articles.

The site is all free of charge and does not require a login so go explore some science.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tech Tip Tuesday: 7 reasons you should buy an iPod Touch

There are lots of really good reasons to buy an iPod Touch right now.

  1. Built in cameras.  This is a video camera and still camera as good as anything you bought more than 2 years ago.

  2. Built in wifi. This means you can surf your favorite websites.  With mobile versions of many sites  and 'pinch' zooming for the rest it is a fantastic tool for checking almost any site.

  3. Built in mail.

  4. Books! - With basically every big book seller offering an app for reading eBooks on the iPod it is a great tool for carrying a library with you.

  5. Notes! - With a pretty good built in note taking app you can also use the iPod to take notes and jot down ideas, or if you would prefer use the Voice recorder for voice memos.

  6. Apps - iTunes has a vast library of applications that can be used for literally thousands of things.  Games, PDF readers, even remote controls for your computer, iTunes library, PowerPoint or Keynote.

  7. Calendar - You can also use the iPod to manage your calendar.  The built in App can be configured to sync with a Microsoft Exchange Server, Google Calendar or with your desktop computer.

Oh, and by the way it will also play music!

Visit to see your options.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Web of the Week Wednesday: Wonderopolis

UEN's partner Thinkfinity has added a new partner themselves.  Wonderopolis is a new site jointly sponsored by Verizon and the National Center for Family Literacy.  This site has just launched so you can get in on the ground floor.

The basic idea of the site is to provide an interesting video to prompt discussion with families.  The video are hosted on YouTube so may not be available in all schools.  The videos will be posted each day so visit often.

You can check out their first one right here:

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Tech Tip Tuesday: Change your icons has a wealth of trivia and minutia and who knows what else available for the taking, but a few days ago a really useful hint came across the feeds from the site.

Changing your iTunes icon.  Apparently it isn't pretty enough.  Ok, so I guess I am not a total technogeek junkie because frankly it didn't really matter to me and I would have been happy to leave to archaic Compact Disc as part of the icon (BTW what are they going to replace the save icon with when someone realizes the little 3.5" floppy disk icon is not only archaic but arcane?)

Well despite the fact that changing the icons for iTunes ranks about as low on my list of things to do as disinfecting my mouse (computer pointing device not the furry little rodent) The fact that you can change your icons is pretty nifty and all the instructions are right there in this one post. I republish them here for your benefit:


For Mac users, actually has a help document that outlines the steps needed to change an application or folder icon.

From that document:

To change an item’s icon to another one:

  • Select the volume, application, folder, or file whose icon you want to stamp onto another, just click the icon to select it.

  • From the File menu, choose Get Info or press Command-I to open the Info window.

  • Click the icon in the upper-left corner of the Info window to select it.

  • From the Edit menu, choose Copy or press Command-C.

  • Select the volume, application, folder, or file whose icon you want to replace.

  • From the File menu, choose Get Info or press Command-I.

  • Click the icon in the upper-left corner.

  • From the Edit menu, choose Paste or press Command-V to replace the icon.

Note: Mac users want to use the *.icns file type for icons. You can also use third-party programs like the fantastic CandyBar if you want more control over your icons and organizing sets of icons.


For Windows users, you want to use the *.ICO file type.

In Windows XP:

To change the icon to a shortcut for iTunes (assuming it is on your desktop)

  • Right click the shortcut

  • Select Properties

  • Click on the “Customize” tab

  • Press the “change icon button”

  • In the selection window that opens up, select “browse”

  • Find the location of your icon and open that folder or select the *.ICO file

  • Press “OK” once you have chosen the icon you want to use

In Windows Vista and Windows 7:

  • Right click on the desktop and select “Personalize”

  • Click on the “Change Desktop Icons” item on the left hand side of that window

  • Select your iTunes icon (this assumes it is on your desktop)

  • Click the “Change Icon” button

  • Select the icon your want to use in its place and press OK.

Visit the full post here:

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Web of the Week Wednesday: EconEdlink

web address:

UEN has many partners.  One of our biggest partners for sheer volume of content is Thinkfinity.  Thinkfinity is the Charitable Foundation for Verizon.  Some may remember Thinkfinity from the days it was Marco Polo. This month a new updated portion of the resources was launched.

This is a web site devoted to teaching about financial resources.

UEN has it's own site that supports and strengthens these Economy resources.  Check out Finance in the Classroom for great Utah specific resources for educators and parents.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Tech Tip Tuesday: Shorten your Uniform Resource Locator (URL)

Today, many of us spend a lot of time surfing the web and finding great resources we want to share, but often the web address fluctuates from bulky to downright unwieldy.  An example: You want to share a google spreadsheet you have created but it's really long. Not something you want to write on the whiteboard.

Other sites are much the same.  Automated systems create bulky URL's on

GoogleDocs intentionally creates a lengthy web address or URL to make it unlikely that someone will accidentally locate your spreadsheet without your permission.  (If you aren't sharing your spreadsheet they can't see it anyway, but if you make it public anyone with the URL can view it)  There are many services that make short work of chopping down a long URL

Tiny URL has long been a big player in the business of making web addresses shorter.  They have a simple direct interface.  The user pastes the url into a box and you get a****** back.  One of my favorite features of this is that it creates a single tinyurl for each site that runs through their system.  So even if 200 people shorten the url for that amazing NPR report, it's the same tinyurl for all 200 people. is a new player in the URL shortening business, but they have gone from a bit player to a major player by doing two things tinyurl doesn't.  First, you can use it just like tinyurl, but to make it more useful you can also create an account.  This account lets you store and refer to your urls.  Since you can store them you can also analyze them.  These two features make a good choice for URL shortening.

Google has gone allows you to shorten URL just like tinyurl and and has the huge advantage of being Google.  It links to your Google account, has analytics and the largest most powerful search engine on the web behind it.  This just launched  and looks to be an amazing new choice for URL shortening.

Word of Caution- UEN does not promote the use of url shorteners, but they can be useful in specific situations.  Be aware that these work by redirecting you from the shortened url to the full url and therefore do not provide away around Local Internet Filters.  Additionally, check with your local IT folks for policies or suggestions on using these tools in your specifici situation.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wednesday Web of the Week: Ghosts vs Zombies

web address:

This month begins a month long smackdown for UEN's SciFi Friday series.  Each week KUEN Channel 9 aires a great old sci-fi movie.  This month you get to vote on which one we all watch.  Check it out and vote for Ghosts or Zombies.

You can also subscribe to the podcast right here: Science with the Show

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tech Tip Tuesday: Use your camera as a scanner

IMAG0253Sometimes nothing but a good quality flatbed digital scanner will do, but other times you are in a hurry.  Digital cameras have gotten better and better and now it is often pretty easy to 'scan' something you need with your digital camera or even your camer on you cell phone.

Case in point.  You are in a hurry to get a PowerPoint ready and you absolutely must have the chart on page 32 of the student's mathbook.  A quick check online tells you it isn't available on the textbook's website so you want to scan it, but...the scanner is down in the media center.  Grab your digital camera, keep a steady arm, use the autofocus.  You've got it!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wednesday Web of the Week:

web address:

Today it is becoming increasingly useful to accomodate Spanish Language resources.  StoryPlace helps do that and it greatly enhances English reading skills as well.  StoryPlace has two portal one in English and one in Spanish.  Both list and review excellent children's books and have games, printable activities and resources for teaching literacy.  Check out the "Cuentas Divertidos" to listen to a story about you!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Tech Tip Tuesday: Get more out of your textbook

In today's digital age there is often a desire to move away from textbooks, but textbook companies are learning that.  If you have a good textbook chances are it has a good website and online resources to back it up.

Check for your textbooks website and learn what resources are available.  Often you can find online videos, audio files, even worksheets, and tests.  Some textbook companies also offer the complete text of their books online and self tests for evaluating understanding.

Another great tip regarding textbooks is to use competing textbooks websites.  Often the book your school purchased will have a competitor that will have some of their materials available online for free.  Reviewing those can be a great help and provide another perspective on topics you are teaching.

UEN hosts the State Core Curriculum and attached to each course is a list of textbooks that have been suggested for use.  Try it out here:

Or to learn more about the textbook adoption process watch Faculty Lounge episode all about it.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Web of the Week Wednesday: Constitution Days Resources

The 17th of September is Constitution day so this week you get a 2 for 1 deal on Websites.

UEN has it's own page devoted to Constitution resources  Visit the page at:

UEN's partner the Verizon Foundation provides great resources as well through You can access Thinkfinity's resources through Pioneer: Utah's Online Library or directly here:

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Tech Tip Tuesday: Keep a record

Keeping student work to show other students can be a very valuable way of modeling.  It teaches kids to learn from each other and it allows teachers to showcase what quality work looks like, but sometimes there is just too much or projects are too big to store all of them.

The solution: digital photography or video.  Digital snapshots of exceptional dioramas, artwork, water filtration systems, Science Fair displays, almost anything kids can do you can take a picture or video of it.  These digital videos and images become an archive of exceptional student work that can be shared back at the appropriate time.

Want to make even more of you digital archive? Consider storing it online with a free tool for photo sharing and storage.

4 favorites

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Web of the Week Wednesday: FavIcon

Web Address:

Somebody took the time to create a tool that shows the top 1 million sites online and show off their icons.  The bigger the icon the more popular the site.  See what you can find.  UEN made the list.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Tech Tip Tuesday: Get more out of iTunes.

Last week Steve Jobs and Apple Computers announced a new iTunes and new iPod Touch. (Watch the announcement here)

TScreen shot 2010-09-08 at 12.14.24 PMhe run down for educators.  The new iPod touch has an HD camera on the rear and a front facing camera for video chatting.  It will also be compatible with the iMovie app for the IOS4 software meaning that you have a portable video production studio.  For educators that's a lot to add to a pretty good product all starting at $229.00

ITunes itself got a facelift.  There is a new view that allows you to see album artwork if it doesn't create wasted space, the sidebar items are now grey instead of multi-colored (a feature some don't like because it means the loss of a visual cue). ITunes also has improved syncing.  You can now see how far over the mark you are with your sync settings.  Ping a social network centered around your music and music preferences was also launched.   Screen shot 2010-09-08 at 10.58.54 AM

Finally, iTunes has a whole page of Apps just for Back to school.  Check out the new iTunes.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Wednesday Web of the Week: Constitution Day 17th September

web address:

Constitution Day is just a few weeks away. What better way to celebrate than with newly updated resource page from UEN. The web page has resources sorted by grade level for a true smorgasbord or agglomeration of wonderful materials. So do some 'xploring!

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

eBook Formats

Nope, not digital literacy, but this will be a lesson in that as well, today we are talking about Digital Literature.  My first device for reading was an eminently portable, inexpensive and 100% recyclable device called: a book.  Now, the problem was that I soon had many of these portable devices, ones that I liked to refer back to and read again.  Sort of like getting together with old friends.

Fast forward 20 some odd years.  I got my first PDA (no, not Public Display of Affection, I am a techie, I didn't even know that meaning until someone told me about it.  I am talking about a Personal Digital Assistant) I had a PalmPilot IIIxe.I tinkered and toyed with getting my books onto this device and found a few things that worked but nowadays there are a vast jungle of options for reading books digitally.

When you go down to the store to buy a new appliance, you never stop to think about whether it will work with your electricity at home.  Why not?  There are different ways electricity can be delivered and if you have traveled out of the United States, you know that plugs aren't the same everywhere in the world.  Why don't we worry?  Because of standardization.  Someone somewhere (or probably a group of someone's in a meeting) decided that one style of plug was going to be required either by law or by consensus.  This is slowly happening with cell phone adapters, among other things.

It however hasn't happened with books.  Why does that matter?  Well, if you are deciding on a device that is dedicated to reading books, or you are decided to buy books that you want to use with multiple devices it's worthwhile to know what you are looking at it.  With books, there are still a bunch of different widely adopted formats of eBooks.  Below are three and where you are most likely to encounter them.


This is the file format for the Amazon Kindle.  You probably won't ever see it because if you have a Kindle your books are delivered via Cell phone or Wi-Fi and they live on and your device.  But it's good to know it exists.  Also, since Amazon is interested in selling books, the software needed to read the .azw format is widely available on multiple platforms.


This is the format of choice for iBooks on the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch.  It is an open format that while a little heavy on resource use, it is still a very good format that is being supported.  The fact that it is the format chosen for the iBooks app means that it will be strong for as log as Apple is strong and supports it.


These two file formats are variations of each other.  The .prc format was created for the Palm™ devices.  MobiPocket is a reader you can still use on many portable devices and the .mobi format is still commonly used.

To learn more you can start with the really great wikipedia article on eBook formats:

Tech Tip Tuesday: 21st Century Digital Literature

Nope, not digital literacy, but this will be a lesson in that as well, today we are talking about Digital Literature.  My first device for reading was an eminently portable, inexpensive and 100% recyclable device called: a book.  Now, the problem was that I soon had many of these portable devices, ones that I liked to refer back to and read again.  Sort of like getting together with old friends.

Fast forward 20 some odd years.  I got my first PDA (no, not Public Display of Affection, I am a techie, I didn't even know that meaning until someone told me about it.  I am talking about a Personal Digital Assistant) I had a PalmPilot IIIxe.I tinkered and toyed with getting my books onto this device and found a few things that worked but nowadays there are a vast jungle of options for reading books digitally.

When you go down to the store to buy a new appliance, you never stop to think about whether it will work with your electricity at home.  Why not?  There are different ways electricity can be delivered and if you have traveled out of the United States, you know that plugs aren't the same everywhere in the world.  Why don't we worry?  Because of standardization.  Someone somewhere (or probably a group of someone's in a meeting) decided that one style of plug was going to be required either by law or by consensus.  This is slowly happening with cell phone adapters, among other things.

It however hasn't happened with books.  Why does that matter?  Well, if you are deciding on a device that is dedicated to reading books, or you are decided to buy books that you want to use with multiple devices it's worthwhile to know what you are looking at it.  With books, there are still a bunch of different widely adopted formats of eBooks.  Below are three and where you are most likely to encounter them.


This is the file format for the Amazon Kindle.  You probably won't ever see it because if you have a Kindle your books are delivered via Cell phone or Wi-Fi and they live on and your device.  But it's good to know it exists.  Also, since Amazon is interested in selling books, the software needed to read the .azw format is widely available on multiple platforms.


This is the format of choice for iBooks on the iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch.  It is an open format that while a little heavy on resource use, it is still a very good format that is being supported.  The fact that it is the format chosen for the iBooks app means that it will be strong for as log as Apple is strong and supports it.


These two file formats are variations of each other.  The .prc format was created for the Palm™ devices.  MobiPocket is a reader you can still use on many portable devices and the .mobi format is still commonly used.

To learn more you can start with the really great wikipedia article on eBook formats:

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Web of the Week Wednesday: SweetSearch

Web Address:

SweetSearch is a search engine managed by Dulcinea Media.  This organization is committed to providing reliable resources for educators, students and all other learners.  SweetSearch searches only reviewed credible websites and returns the results.  From the main search page you can also find links to various versions of SweetSearch.  SweetSearch2Day provides daily learning.  SweetSearch4Me is focused on emerging learners. And of course SweetSearch provides excellent results itself.  Add this one to your list of search engines.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Web of the Week Wednesday:

Web Address:

This week's web of the week came via an article: The article there does a fantastic job of explaining how to avoid plagiarism and help students avoid plagiarism.  The only thing I can add is the resources available on UEN's website:

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Tech Tip Tuesday: Have your students Flip for video

Last Week was all about Teacher uses for Flip video.  This week it's the kids turn:

  • Have students write dialogue and film from two different angles

  • Document Science Experiments

  • Conduct Surveys

  • Conduct interviews

  • Use to record presentations as practice before presenting in class

  • Create a newscast

  • Create a Public Service Announcement about your class or a relevant topic

If you can think of other ideas leave them in the comments.  It would be great to get some more ideas.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Tech Tip Tuesday: Flip (or some other verb if you choose) for Video

There are several different brands of highly portable simple to use video cameras on the market. Probably the most popular are Flip Video cameras. These super small, portable and affordable video cameras are becoming popular in schools. Teachers are finding creative and effective ways of using these cameras to help students learn and to make things easier for themselves. Here are some quick tips and ideas for using your video camera:

  • First day of class! Record each student introducing themselves.  Now you can play it back to learn names

  • Record students reading then 2 weeks later record them reading the same passage to document improvements

  • In the spring video tape your classroom, closets, desk, cabinets, as a visual inventory

  • Set up the camera on a tripod and record yourself during instruction to improve your own teaching

  • Record student presentations, skits, dialogues etc. to use as documentation of your class activities and for students to use in portfolios.

  • Take one along on vacations, trips, and outings so you can grab footage of that amazing ..... whatever you really need to teach....

Next week student project ideas!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wednesday Web of the Week: Bingle

Web Address:

Sometimes our biggest problems with searching for information aren't about not finding what we want they are about finding too much of it.  Google returns millions of results in microseconds, Bing does the same.  Which you choose is often determined by what you like.  But what if you are bilingual and speak both Microsoft and Google?  And what if you are like many others, "Too much is just enough?" Bingle might just be the thing for you.  Bingle is a website that creates a quick frame and displays the results from both of these search engines. 

Screen shot 2010-07-21 at 9.20.43 AM

So go ahead, give it a try

Search UEN on Bingle

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Tech Tip: Record your screen

There are some great tools out there for recording your screen.  Well terrific, but why would you want to record your screen?  If you ever want to show someone, or somestudents how to to do something the screen recorder can be helpful.  There are two I recommend.  The first is for WIndows and the second is for Mac.

Windows: Expression Encoder 4

This is a free download (there is an older version called Windows Media Encoder that is also free) It allows you to record and capture your screen and some basic editing.

Mac: QuickTime

With the latest release of QuickTime X and MAC OS Snow Leopard you can record your screen and share it to YouTube, or with your iTunes library.

Either way you grab it recording your screen can be very helpful.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Live Web Apps

So, Google docs has been around for a long while, and Microsoft has been scrambling desperately to stay behind. They hadn't even launched any kind of BETA of Office online until just about six months ago.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Tech Tip Tuesday: Take your media everywhere!

With cloud computing being more and more discussed, debated, and talked about something interesting is happening.  Cloud computing is happening and we don't even realize it.  For instance, most of us use email to send files to ourselves so we know that wherever we login we can get to them.  This has extended to the SkyDrive from WindowsLive and Google Docs from Google.

Here's another tip for doing the same kind of things:

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Dear Steve Jobs of Apple Computers, Inc.

Dear Steve Jobs,

It's been awhile since we last chatted but I wanted to give you a list of things I would like fixed. My iPad is broken. I am sure this was unintentional but I would appreciate it if you could please fix the following things:
  1. My iPad doesn't sync files properly. Please check with Bill Gates, he has been doing this right for a long time with WindowsMobile devices. Just for starters, there should be a sync folder on my computer and on my iPad and the files should sync.
  2. I can't connect my iPad to other bluetooth devices. It isn't locating other bluetooth devices when I try to send the files (see above) to other devices and receive them. Again, chat with Bill on this.
  3. My VGA adapter cable is broken. It only projects videos, Keynote Presentations and a few other selected items. Please make sure it will mirror my screen to the projector, screen, or TV. Please add a button so the iPad can toggle from mirrored to projecting for Keynote, videos etc.
  4. This is more of a software glitch than a problem. For some reason, iBooks is not showing up in my iTunes software. Also because the sync folders aren't showing I can't load eBooks from others sources properly
  5. Which brings me to another thing. Is it really iTunes anymore? Isn't it iSync? or MobileSync? It's not just tunes and there is some more stuff going on.
  6. Also, iTunes is still using Genres to organize my music. I would like you to change that to tags. After all music can be Romantic and Hip-Hop
  7. My camera's aren't functioning properly. I can't seem to do face to face chat with my iPad and I can't shoot HD video. Since iMove for the iPad is being marketed I know this must have been an oversight.
  8. When I connect a USB flash drive to the USB adapter kit it won't let me move files onto my iPad, please refer to #1 above.
  9. For some reason the following Apple Apps aren't visible on my home screen: Calculator, Stocks, Weather, Voice Memo, and Clock.
  10. There is also a slight problem with the size. Mine seems just slightly bigger than I was expecting. Below I have included the size it should be (it's the middle size):

Otherwise, my iPad is working fine. I love it and use it everyday. Thanks for the great work

An interested educator,
Mitchell B. Jorgensen

#ISTE2010 #ISTE10: Day 3 Monday

Today was a lot of fun. I got to a couple of good sessions and enjoyed what I learned. The highlight of the day though had to be helping my colleagues present on Google. We did a presentation highlighting a few of the best tools available from Google. But we hardly got to the best ones. Google is a rich toolbox of resources that allow teachers to really enhance what they do in the classroom. So my tech tip for today is 3 steps:

  1. create a Google account. All you have to do is click on the Sign In link at http:\\

  2. click on the more link on http:\\ and choose 'even more'

  3. try some stuff

Tuesday Tech Tip: 12 tips for creating better presentations

Looking for ways to spice up your PowerPoint?

We at UEN have talked about the 7 Deadly Sins of PowerPoint for years.  There is lots of advice all over the web and in books and around the water cooler about how to make a PowerPoint better, but sometimes it's good to listen to the experts.  Microsoft Sponsors a site entitled "At Work"

Check out the entry on how to improve your Presentations skills:

Monday, June 28, 2010

1st session: engaging young scientists

Sitting in on my first ISTE session. It's a mode, classroom lesson about using tools to learn science and to study science. It gives me a good idea for a session for next year. I think I would like to present at next year's conference. A science lesson seems right up my alley.

So far they are referring to proscopes, iPods and checking out iPods to students.

I am noticing that these folks are good and it's shooing up to be a good session but I ask myself: Why do educator's talk about hands on activities. We so often go too fast. We have an hour in this session and what we really need is three. We should all participate as students, then have time to explore what these educator's have already done. Finally, we should be able to discuss wi each other ways to extend adapt and enhance this. Their wiki, I should be able to add resources that I have or know of that wil help. We Asa educator's are still to intent on dispensing what we have and not nearly enough on working together to create.

Anyway good session and powerful activities for the learners.

Check out their stuff at

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Wednesday Web of the Week: Open Library

Web Address:

No, it's not a new magic password, although it would be nice to have one that opened the library.  There are other online tools that allow us to work with books, but for those who really love tracking and managing the books in the world, or maybe you just like contributing.  Open Library lets you become the Librarian.  Tools allow you top edit book information, editions, and even cover art.  All with the goal of making more information about books available.  So, whether you are looking for information on all existing editions of Moby Dick, or just want to make a little contribution to the world of knowledge, Open Library can be a resource.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tech Tip Tuesday: What should I buy?

When out training educators, I often get a question?  What ______ should I buy? You can fill in the blank with the electronic hardware of your choice: digital camera, mp3 player, iPod, document camera, laptop, GPS device, electronic book reader.  Whichever device people are  looking for, they want advice.  They want to know how to pick one out of the crowd that clamor for their attention. Here's some quick principles about buying electronics.

Pick a brand:

Sometimes it helps to narrow things down by picking a brand.  If your workplace already uses a specific brand, talk to the folks who made that decision and ask them why.  It often makes a lot of sense to choose the same brand especially, if compatibility is important.  Otherwise, do some research on brand satisfaction and find out which brand has a reputation for the factors or features most important to you.  By narrowing things down to a specific brand you can often eliminate lots of choices.

Pick a price:

When shopping for electronics there is usually a wide range of pricing.  Know your budget before you start.  A couple of quick online searches should let you know the range you can expect.  When deciding on a budget, pick a price in the middle.  Choosing the lowest priced model may not always be the cheapest.  Lower costs can be associated with less features, support and lower quality workmanship and materials.  Alternatively, highest priced may not mean best, sometimes it just means a particular model is over priced.

Buy the most:

Sometimes people will tell you to pick the features, memory, size, speed, etc. etc., you need and just buy that, but the problem is sometimes we just don't know.  Often we are overbuying anyway, simply because we don't know how our needs will change in the future.  Also, sometimes we don't know what all those numbers mean.  What are megapixels anyway?  Ram? Gigs? Clock speed? Hard Drive RPM?  Well, when it comes to the numbers here's some advice, more is better.  If you aren't sure what all the numbers mean, then pick a price (see above) and then just buy the biggest numbers you can get in your price range.  Related to this is advice to buy the biggest and best you can afford.  This sometimes doesn't work, which is why at the local youth soccer games, you sometimes see 10 people toting around huge Digital SLR Cameras and multiple lenses.  We can often afford much more  than we need, but usually, buying the most you can afford means that you will have enough capacity to carry you through the immediate future.

So go ahead, jump right in, pick a brand, or pick a price, and then buy the most.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Wednesday Web of the Week: What You ought to know!

Ok, so this is a cheat.  We already talked about this site, and this isn't really a whole website, but from the interwebs this week you really need to see this.

See the full site with lots of great videos at:

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Wednesday Web of the Week: Timelines

There have been 2 for 1 sales here on the Teaching  Strategies blog, but this week it's a 10 for 1 sale.  Tech and Learning posted a great list of 10 sites for creating Timelines.  Rather than list them all here's just one link for all 10:

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Tech Tip Tuesday: Get more from your Whiteboard

Interactive Whiteboards, Smart® Boards or just using a projector and screen in our rooms requires some adjustments to the way we teach.  Being able to use the current tools for teaching is an important part of being an effective classroom teacher.  Tech and Learning recently published their own Blog post about how to use Whiteboards more effectively.

Check it out:

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Wednesday Web of the Week: UEN Smart Tools-Activities

Web Address:

The Utah Education Network has a whole suite of Smart Tools.  One of those tools is the www.Activities editor.  This tool allows you to quickly create a list of links and relevant questions.  You can even set it to expire and become unavailable after a specific date.

Learn more about how to create your own Activity at:

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Tech Tip Tuesday: Get a Mobile Translator

There are so many devices that are easily portable nowadays, and so many of them can access the web.  Having a mobile translator is nothing more than having your web enabled mobile phone.  One of my very favorite translation tools is but even better in many ways is the mobile version of the site.  If you visit the Google Translate on a mobile device you will see their mobile optimized version. It lets you quickly enter a word or phrase and automatically detects the native language and returns a translation.  It also keeps a running list of the terms you have translated, making it a great way to see a list of vocabulary.


Use this in the classroom on the iPod touch, and you have a world of culture at your fingertips.

mobile site:

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Wednesday Web of the Week: Visit a museum!

Web addresses: or

With Summer right around the corner, what a better way to enjoy it than visiting a museum!  It's a great 2 for one deal too, because you get valuable teaching ideas, tips and  maybe even materials, plus you get to see some great places in Utah.  Make a day of it and visit a museum in a different city.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Tech Tip Tuesday: Find your stuff!

The end of the school year is fast approaching, and many teachers are packing away boxes of handouts, activities and lessons.  Books and materials get packed into their own box, crayons and markers in another.  What about your files on your computer.  Managing your files can be a lesson in itself, but there are some easier ways to work with your digital cupboard.

Screen shot 2010-05-28 at 6.17.02 AMIf you are a Mac OSX user, you need to know about Spotlight.  Spotlight is the all purpose search tool on the Mac.  In the toolbar Screen shot 2010-05-28 at 6.28.03 AMupper right hand corner, you find a tiny magnifying class.  This is your Spotlight.  Clicking on this brings up a search box just start typing and you will see results.

WIndows users aren't left behind either.  In Windows XP there was a pretty good Search function. It was enhanced for Windows Vista and again for Windows 7.  Now the Search box is right on the Start Menu. Do you have dozens of programs and don't remember quite where your Calendar 2.0 is found?  Start typing in the search box and your computer will help you find it.

Learn more about the Windows 7 Search features.

For the true digital packrat with so much stuff they can't find any of it, you can go all out and install Google Desktop.  This uses Google's technology to search the files on your computer. There's a version for Mac and Windows.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Wednesday Web of the Week: Archive the Internet!

Web Address:

Everything's permanent on the internet right!  We teach kids to "think before they post" because once posted it's there forever.  While this is true in the very real sense that anything posted online could potentially circulate on the web as long as humans still have electricity and internet, there is a real effort being made to save the Internet as a historical document.  Much of the earliest content on the web has already been lost.  Web servers have been taken offline or files permanently deleted and these things are forever gone.

A program was begun a few years ago to create an Internet Archive.  A place to store the parts of the web that change before they are lost.  A new program has added the capacity for younger people to have a say in what is archived.  Visit the website for details on how to get involved.

You can also visit another organization that is working along the same lines.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Tech Tip Tuesday: Learn with Podcasts!

A while back, we talked about how to draw information to us by using RSS feeds and feed readers.  RSS feeds are subscribable feeds of information on websites.  These allow anyone who's interested to be notified of updates.  Basically it allows a person to have information flow to them instead of constantly searching for it.

Screen shot 2010-05-19 at 7.02.54 AMPodcasts are a special case of RSS feeds.  In fact all they are are RSS feeds that notify the user when new content is available.  Content for podcasts comes in two flavors: Audio and Video.  Orginally, they only came in audio and were most often played on Apple's iPod devices.  The term itself podcast is a composite of iPod and broadcast.  These audio files were created with the intent that they be broadcast for use on an iPod.  With increased internet speeds, it became possible to transfer Video as well as Audio and the vidcast was born, although the term vodcast is also sometimes used.

Any way you serve them up these episodic files are very useful for educators.  Podcasts, of both flavors can be found on a wide range of topics.  Everything from very amateur fan produced podcasts about your favorite TV shows, athletic teams, or hobbies, to highly professional and advertise sponsored extras for Paid TV content.

So, how do you find these?  How do you subscribe?  The most direct method is using iTunes the original software for iPods.  You can find out more by using Apple's iTunes tutorials.

Apple's iTunes is available both on a Mac and a PC, but if you are looking for other options a search on you favorite search engine for "Podcast aggregator" will give you all kinds of results for free software that helps you search and download and often sync podcasts to devices other than an iPod.

Suggested links:



Juice, the podcast reciever

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Wednesday Web of the Week: EZ-Calculators

Web address:

This week's web pick is a pretty simple and straightforward one.  Calculators.  For almost anything you want.  Try a few.  See how many calories you burned.  How many days till that anniversary? How much horsepower?  If you want to calculate it there's a good chance you can do it here.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Tech Tip Tuesday: Linux (That other Operating System)

In the world of educational technology there is one question and it isn't good vs. evil it's Mac vs PC.  Well lately it been spiced up.  With the popularization of the so called "net-books" super small laptops designed primarily for using the web, there has also been an increased awareness of Linux.  Linux is a third operating system.  The computer world has always been the home of tinkerers.  Tinkerers and these computer folks are notoriously cheap and leery of authority.  This group didn't bow down to Mac or PC, so a group of them created another operating system called Linux and made it both free and open source.  Free we all understand.  Open Source means that the code is accessible to anyone who wants to fix it, improve it, or just mess with it.

What does that mean for us?  Well,  a version of Linux that has been branded as Ubuntu is being packaged and sold on many of the new Net books.

Check out the video below ( or watch it on it's original site)

And today's tech tip is a two for one. The original site What you ought to know is a terrific spot to visit for great video explanations of all kinds of things.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Tech Tip Tuesday: multiple monitors for multi-tasking

Multiple monitors connected to one computer has been around for a long time.  As early as Windows 98 a user could buy a graphics card that supported multiple monitors.  Today, with many School Districts adopting laptops for their teachers, the ability to support multiple monitors is built in.  There are at least three great ways to maximize this feature.

2 monitors, 1 image

This is the most common and probably simplest setup.  When a teacher has their laptop set up to display on a projection system this is typically what we see.  The same image is displayed on the laptop (or desktop) screen and on the projector screen.  For doing demos or showing how to navigate a website this is a very useful setup.  It also is usually the default system configuration so it requires very little adjustment by the teacher. But what if I want to to do more?

This feature is referred to as 'cloned' monitors on Windows and 'Mirroring' on Mac

2 monitors extended display

Sometimes though, you want to be able to multi-task.  For example.  Maybe I use PowerPoint for my bell ringer activities.  I want the students to see the PowerPoint slide but I need to take role?  What's a teacher to do?  Typically, we would either have to have two computers one for presenting and one for administrative tasks, but there is a simpler way.  If you turn off 'cloning' or 'mirroring' you get a larger desktop.  When your computer is connected to a projector that display becomes an extended desktop (That's the PC term, and I don't mean politically correct) With programs like PowerPoint this enables features that let you display the slide show on the second monitor while leaving the laptop (or main desktop) screen free to do other things like take attendance.

3+ Monitors means true multitasking.

With the adoption of new computers, often laptops, the older CRT monitors are sometimes surplused out of existence, but if you have an older CRT monitor or even better an LCD monitor and a laptop, (or really any computer) you can really start to dazzle.  One configuration that I used and loved was to buy a VGA Splitter and send the image from my laptop to 3 places.  I usually extended the desktop to the "second" display which was really the splitter.  The splitter then boosted the signal and sent it to a second monitor on my desk and to my projection system.  This let me not only see my own screen, but also see the PowerPoint slide the students were seeing behind me.  When I needed to do a demo, it was just a couple of quick clicks of the mouse to switch back to cloned mode and I was ready to show students how to create a chart in a spreadsheet.  I would see the same image on my two monitors that they saw projected behind me.

With Windows Vista and Windows 7 you can really do even more and extend the desktop onto multiple monitors.  This may mean an additional graphics card or some specific technical help, but you can have up to 10 monitors connected to one computer.  If you are the kind of person who has email, calendars, web, grading, and Instant messaging all going at the same time, this could be a really good solution for you.

To see what Microsoft is saying about Multiple monitors Click here.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Teacher Magazine: No Value Added: The Mismeasurement of Teaching Quality

Teacher Magazine: No Value Added: The Mismeasurement of Teaching Quality

I haven't blogged much in a while because I have been so busy with so many other things, but this morning along comes a tweet, BTW Thanks @Larryferlazzo that insight-fully points out the flaws with the mandated programs that are killing our schools by killing our teachers.

My favorite line?

Asking students multiple choice questions about reading is an assessment approach with only marginal value, and it is just plain preposterous to claim we can assess student writing without the students actually writing.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Wednesday Web of the Week: New Money

Web Address:

We handle it all the time.  We still use it regularly even in the days of web surfing and online shopping.  CASH.  It is often easy to overlook the technology of money, but this New Money goes over a lot of the details about how our money is protected from fraud and from counterfeiting.

Use it along with UEN's Finance in the Classroom Resources.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Tech Tip Tuesday: Spring Clean your PC

Bang! Bang! Bang! Bang!

"What are you doing"

"Burping my keyboard"


This was me.  Asking one of my students why he was banging his upside down keyboard on the desk.  While shaking the crumbs out of the keyboard is an effective cleaning regimen, there are some additional tips available for cleaning up your computer.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Wednesday Web of the Week: Earth Day Resources

Today's Web of the Week is actually two:

Thinkfinity, one of UEN's partners has created a great list of resources available for teaching about Earth Day:

UEN also has it's own Earth Day Resource Page:

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Tech Tip Tuesday: Extend your Battery Life for Earth Day

With Earth day just around the corner, it's a good idea to consider what to do to keep battery life up.  Check out these tips for extending the life of your laptop battery.

Windows PC:

Apple Notebooks:

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Tech Tip: Choose a document camera

Webcams, and digital camers have come way down in price, but now there's something on the market that puts a Document Camera  easily within the reach of every classroom. The HUE HD webcam is very reasonably priced.  But along with the reasonable price, you also get a quality product.  HUE cameras are USB and compatible with Windows, and Mac.  HUE also provides support for Linux which means that the lower cost netbooks would also benefit from the HUE.  With a flexible, snakelike arm supporting the HUE camera head you are enable to set the HUE to focus on just about anything you want.  The arm can either plug directly into your computer's USB port or into a provided base that allows for stable use. These two features make the HUE HD a very passable document camera allowing teachers to project images from books, papers, close-ups of small objects as well as allowing recording of demonstrations and actvities.

So as they ask on their website: Which HUE are you?

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wednesday Web of the Week: PhotoSynth

Ok, this is kind of cheating because this isn't only a Website, but it really matches well with yesterday's Phto sharing tips.  PhotoSynth is another tool available to anyone with a Windows Live (Hotmail, MSN or Live email account) account.  Photosynth creates 3-d images from pictures you take.  It stiches them together automatically based on textures and colors. It does require a download in order to create them, but there are lots of amazing ones that are already built.  Programs have done this before.  Quicktime from Apple has been able to create 3-d elements you could manipulate for a long time, the difference here is the level of automation and the 'free'ness of it.  Meaning it doesn't cost a penny. So take a look at some great synths or download the desktop program (Windows only) and give it a try yourself!

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Teaching with Tech: Photo's on Windows

If you are a Windows user, and I know there are a couple of you out there, you may wonder how to take care of your digital photos.  It can be really easy!

There are several tools that will allow you to manage and work with photos, especially photos that you may be using in your teaching situation.  Microsoft actually provides some excellent ones that you may find helpful.  If you are a WindowsLive user, or in other words, if you have ever had and used a Hotmail, MSN or Live email, you can access these products.  Even if never had a Hotmail account, you can create one and still use the services.

The first step is to download the WindowsLive tools: This set of desktop tools includes something called WindowsLive Photo Gallery.  Photo Gallery allows you to organize, tag, and edit photos on your desktop computer.  When you are sorting and organizing lots of photos that you may use to teach multiple concepts, this can be a real life saver.  It takes a little bit of time to learn, but luckily there are tutorials to help. One of the nice features is that Photo Gallery integrates with the Windows Live Web tools so you can share your photos easily.

So grab your camera, shoot some pics and organize it all easily with a tool you may already have!

Bonus Link: Learn about all the Windows Live tools here:

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wednesday Web of the Week: NEW! Read, Write, Think!

Web Address:

One of the parnterships that UEN has is with Thinkfinity.  Thinkfinity is the Verizon Network's Educational Foundation.   Thinkfinity in turn is partnered with other organizations to provide a single federated search of 8 different educational partner sites.  What this really means for teachers is that by clicking on the Thinkfinity link in the Pioneer Library or when doing a global search in Pioneer, you are also searching 8 of the best websites ever created for sharing lesson plans and materials.

Thinkfinity recenty announced an update to one of their partner sites which for Utah Educators means that Read, Write, Think resources have been updated.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Tech Tip Tuesday: Redefine Books

Teaching often involves helping students read.  Learning also involves a lot of reading.  No matter what the subject area we teach or learn in, reading is an important part of it.  But there are some possibiliies on the horizon that may force us to redifine what we mean  by books. See more about what may be the book of the future on Apple's iPad.

You can also read more here:

Friday, February 26, 2010

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Drinking from the Fire Hydrant

This video really accurately describes one of the huge risks of trying to incorporate technology in the classroom

One risk is using too little technology. Kids so often feel like they are downshifting to come into schools. They are used to such rush of information and interaction that sitting still for even 20 minutes and viewing a PowerPoint is mind numbing. Too little tech is a problem

On the other hand, too much tech is the other problem. Sometimes I see people in my line of work who try to incorporate too much at once. For example, I can give a simple instruction:
Place a Creative Commons licensed image in your PowerPoint then share the .pps on your web page.
Straightforward right, but not really. If I as an instructor don't slow down and analyze the tasks I am actually asking of a teacher/student inexperienced with technology, I may not realize the embeded/implied tasks.
Here they are:
  1. Define/understand Creative Commons
  2. Learn how to search for CreativeCommons licensed information
  3. Locate a CreativeCommons licensed image
  4. Download and save the Creative Commons Licensed image
  5. Record the necessary attribution details ie: cite your source
  6. Understand what PowerPoint is and that you can insert images
  7. Learn to insert images into PowerPoint
  8. Insert your CreativeCommons licensed image
  9. Be able to manage your files well enough to remember where you saved it and how to navigate back to and then insert your previously saved CreativeCommons licensed image
  10. Understand 'Save' options in PowerPoint and correctly save the file in the correct format
  11. Have a web page
  12. Be able to remember how to login to the web page
  13. Be able to upload files to the web page and properly host a link to the file
  14. Be able to verify that your web page is published
  15. Upload the file to the web page (see step 9)
  16. Share the URL with me as an instructor
  17. Do all this while managing classrooms of rowdy kids or juggling 7 other classes each with similar expectations
What I am getting at, is the fact that those of us who are immersed in technology are unconsciously competent. We do some things reflexively. It's like asking Michael Phelps when to breath during the crawl. He doesn't think about it. He just does it.

So the lessons:
  • Don't Confuse volume for rigor! Asking someone to do lots of things is not a substitute for them learning a few things well
  • Analyze your tasks, what is embedded. What else are they going to have to learn to do the overall task
  • Give choices! When teaching teachers or students technology, give them 10 options for projects/task and ask them to do 5. For example: insert a picture, sound, shape, WordArt, SmartArt, or video instead of insert a picture, sound, shape, WordArt, SmartArt, and video
Drinking from the fire hydrant is so impossible because it is usually either closed down tight or wide open. Lets learn to use a garden hose when teaching technology.

Tech Tip Tuesday: Online Bookmarks

This week's Tech Tip:

Store your web favorites online!

There are several sites that allow you to keep a list of your favorite websites online.  If you have ever had the frustration of knowing you favorited a website at home, but now can't get to it at work, or the other way around, it's time to consider a web based favorite or bookmark list.

3 Good ones:

Of course, UEN's own also allows you to store and share favorite websites from any internet connected computer.  Just login and add the bookmarks portlet.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Tech Tip Tuesday: Building a better blog, Now with pages!

UEN Professional Development has long had classes using various Google Tools.  We have also taugh Blogger as a tool teachers can usein various classes but especally in Web Publishing for Everyone. That course has had a minor face lift and is now Web Publishing for Teachers and doesn't place as much emphasis on Blogger. Blogger has been a good tool, but Blogger had it's drawbacks, too.  The tech tip today is all about how those drawbacks are disappearing.

One of the drawbacks to Blogger for Education was the fact that many teachers want to have some static pages with information about their class, rules, guidelines, or even contact information that don't change.  Blogs by nature are very dynamic.  Just recently Blogger announced that a Blogger in Draft feature was graduating.  You can now add up to 10 pages and a new pages widget that allows your readers to visit them easily.

A second drawback was the fact that due to the public nature of blogs and their social nature many blogs contain content that is Screen shot 2010-02-09 at 6.31.20 AMat best distracting in the schools and at worst.... well they can get pretty bad.  Another way the disadvantages of Blogger and other web based blog tools is disapearing is by the continued improvements in my.uen. Utah Educators who register with a school email can now use my.uen's new blog tool to add blogs to their pages.  You can maintain different blogs for different classes and display the same blog posts on multiple pages.  The blog tool in my.uen is a great improvement to the services available for Utah Educators.  This week on Thursday at 3:30 pm MT visit to join our weekly live Webinar and Victoria Rasmussen will be teaching how to use my.uen's new Blog tool. If you miss the  live webcast, you can always check it out in our archives.

Useful links for my.uen

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Wednesday Web of the Week: Inside the Brain

Web address:

Often as educator's we talk about learning styles, brain-based learning, multiple intelligences, and various methods of understanding learning.  We understand a lot about how the human brain processes information, and how we build and maintain memories, but there is a lot more that research and science and new technology teaches us each day.  Some of what we know about how the brain works comes from studying when it doesn't work.  We learn what portions of the brain do when someone has damage to those portions.

This website sponsored by the Alzeheimers Association teaches about the different parts of the brain, interactively showing what parts of the brain are responsible for various different activities.  It is also filled with fun and intersting facts like: How much of our bodies fuel and oxygen is used by thinking.  So go check it out, and if you find the answer, leave it in the comments.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Tech Tip Tuesday: Convert Video...or almost anything else.

Web Address:

FormatFactory_iconWhen working with multimedia, one of the greatest challenges is similar to traveling in Europe.  In the United States when we go down to  the store to buy a new appliance we give almost no thought as to whether our new toaster is going to work with the electricity in our house.  The plugs were made standard a long time ago, and so was the voltage.  For years, more than many of us have been alive, electricity has been standardized in the United States.  Europe is different.  Most of Europe runs on the same voltage, but their plug shapes are or at least were different.

Multimedia files are a bit like European plugs.  All video files are video, all audio files are audio, but the plug to get them to run may be different.  Just like traveling in Europe means you have to carry adapters to use electrical devices designed for another area, using multimedia may require an adapter.

Format Factory is just such an adapter.  This multipurpose file converter will let you convert on video format to another, one audio format to another, even convert PDF documents to Word or the other way around.  It is a great general purpose tool for teachers, or students who need to get media into a format that will work.  For example, Microsoft PowerPoint will not play Quicktime movies directly in PowerPoint, but with Format Factory, you can convert the .mov files to .wmv files and PowerPoint will nicely play the Windows Media format.

Try out Format Factory for free.  If you like it then the developers appreciate Donations.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

What are schools for? #edchat

During this week's edchat, Somebody sent me this reply

rliberni: @mbjorgensen I don't teach school, but have done and have a 10yr old I'm not always sure what's going on now & what schools are for

This is the fundamental question that needs to be addressed. More than any other issue facing education right now.

What are schools for?

Are they big babysitting factories? Are teachers there to help students pursue their own interests? Is it a mechanisms to maintain national superiority in math, science, and GDP? Are schools there to compel compliance in the dominant societal norms? Are schools agents of social change?

What are schools for? What should we be doing. Most of my professional life, I have worked on one form of that question or another. What should I teach? How should I teach it? How should I grade/evaluate/assess what I teach? Who decides what and how I teach?

This isn't a question about resources, technologies, reading skills, math skills, Science scores, or even equality.

This question. What are schools for? What is the purpose of a school? Strikes fundamentally at one key element. What experiences do we want for the people who will run the world in our old age?

Photo: flickr user Dean Terry

WOW! This is why I love @scifri #scifri

Ok, this is why I really love Science Friday with Ira Flatow.

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.