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web as long as humans still have electricity and internet, there is a real effort being made to save the Internet as a historical document.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.

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!

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