“iPhone/Touch App” shared Doc has a new sibling: iPad Only

The Google Spreadsheet for iPhone/Touch Apps by subject area we (over 60 contributors) have been building since November 2009 has been extremely popular. How do I know? Well, the Apple rep said she has been sharing it with all of the other Apple reps and they have requested an iPad only version as well. I actually had that in the works, but I just never got to sharing it out. So, I’m doing that now.

iPad Only Apps spreadsheet is now ready for contributions. I shared it with the same crew who has been editing the iPhone/Touch apps sheet. Hopefully, this one will grow as plentiful and popular as the other. I have a few listed already, but I know there are tons more ready to be added.  Yes, I do realize the iPhone and Touch apps will work on the iPad, but there are some just for the iPad that will not roll backwards and are worthy of attention. Now is the chance for that to happen.

Leave me a comment below or shoot me a message on Twitter (@woscholar) if you want to be added as a contributor on either/both of these. I just need your Google Docs email address.

The Google and The Presidential Election

All I am doing in this post is copying and pasting a Google resource for those interested in utilizing the election in the classroom in any way. Google has done the legwork for you:

Bring the political process to life in your classroom

It’s back-to-school season in the U.S. and social studies teachers everywhere are excited about the November elections and all of the ways that politics has evolved since even just four years ago. Technology is advancing. Internet fundraising has brought all kinds of new small donors into the political process, social networking is helping campaigns and citizens organize themselves in new ways, and YouTube, which didn’t even exist four years ago, has swept the political dialogue.

With technology producing such dramatic changes in American politics, we want to make sure it’s easy for teachers to bring some of the best Internet tools into the classroom to help students get engaged. Working with the National Student/Parent Mock Election, we’ve pulled together a site called Elections Tools for Teachers where you can find descriptions and suggested learning activities for tools like YouTube, Google Maps, Elections Video Search and Power Readers, which we announced here yesterday.

We want students to walk away from their engagement in this election with a sense of excitement about our democratic process and with the belief that their voices matter. As Gloria Kirshner, president of the Mock Election has said, “In the classrooms of today are the Presidents, Senators, Congress members and, most important, the voters of tomorrow. Whether we are sending these children to the White House or to the polls, we hope to send them with a deep understanding of ‘government of the people, by the people, and for the people.'”

Please let us know if you find Elections Tools for Teachers helpful in your teaching, and we hope you’ll enroll your students in this year’s National Mock Election on October 30th.

As always, if I can assist you in implementing this in your classroom in any way, I am more than happy to help out.

Online Learning Sites by Grade Level

Rolla Public Schools in Missouri has a neat little section of its website where it archives links to online activities by grade level and subject area. I thought I would share it here as both a resource for my staff but also a nice little archive for me as well. Thanks RPS!

Also check out what the Utah Education Network has posted on their grade level/subject area links:

K-2

3-6

7-12 

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Kenya Escape Through Digital Storytelling

Ellen Petry Leanse has a powerful story to tell of her escape from the political unrest in Kenya during the presidential elections over the 2007 Christmas holidays. She and her 12 year old son were there volunteering in an orphanage as well as other humanitarian work.

I first encountered her story January 15th on Guy Kawasaki’s blog as a guest post. Her writing moved me. Something inside of me kept saying to contact her and help her share what she and her son went through. As Google would have it, her email came up in the first try, and by 8:11 AM I sent off a personal plea to her to share her narrative through digital storytelling.

By 9:34 Ellen had taken me up on the offer and we were off on a plan. Since she lives in CA and I live in TX, logistics said the use of Web 2.0 tools were in need. With very little instruction, Ellen had read her blog post over the phone into my GCast account (I gave her my PIN to access it). The recording quality was awesome! My next step was to gather pictures of her events. By 9:57 she emailed me a picture to get my mind rolling with ideas. A trip to her Facebook photo album allowed me to harvest a number of great shots. I visited Flickr, did a Creative Commons search, and borrowed a few very well taken photos from others witnessing the events in Kenya. I was well on my way to helping Ellen and her son. Or so I thought.

Honestly, as I moved through the process, the story began to touch me even more. Then it hit me. Now, it was helping me. I needed to tell her story to others soon, and I had plans to present a professional development session to a private, Christian school. Their curriculum is driven by the Classical Education model(I can hear them shriek from here as I link that to Wikipedia ;). For those not familiar with the model, it is founded on a trivium consisting of the school of grammar (K-5), logic (6-8), and rhetoric (9-12). Students at this school must complete a rigorous course load that includes fine arts, several languages (Spanish, Latin, with Greek as a high school option), and a senior thesis. The thesis is based on a 20-30 minute presentation (after a year of research on a self-selected topic) in front of a panel of professionals and then defend it for a like amount of time from the panel’s questions. And this is high school. Wow! Now consider that they start defending and debating their work in middle school and you have some real world preparation going on there.

Since this was a curricular program unlike many that I had been involved with personally (although I had studied in my graduate work), I knew I needed some professional opinions. Enter Jen Wagner and Vicki Davis. These two ladies gave me advice about the Classical private school setting via email, previous blog posts, and even Twitter. Both offered even more assistance, but they had done such a wonderful job with the digital archives of their blogs sharing their work, I didn’t need to bother them any more. The common thread was found, and I knew what I needed to do. Not focus on technology. Huh?

I decided I was going to use digital storytelling to help drive home the importance of these tools for students to use on their own. My focus was the six senses Daniel Pink shares in A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future: Design, Story, Symphony, Empathy, Play, and Meaning. Those senses really drive home the importance of preparing our youth for a continually changing economy.

Classical Education’s focus on logic and rhetoric in the secondary classes are a perfect fit for what Pink has in mind. I zeroed in on Story because it can drive emotion in a person. How you tell a story is so important to how it is perceived/received. The strength of logic and rhetoric from the presenter’s side of the table relies heavily on one’s ability to gain audience buy-in. Story can do that. Story can make or break a case in front of a panel (or classroom). This is what these students are looking for to give them an edge in the world outside of K-12 schooling. As we have read with the articles on over-achievers and their battles to differentiate themselves from the rest of the pack for college admissions, Story can be more important than ever.


Here is what I shared with the teachers after presenting Vision of Students Today (both the K-12 and Wesch’s versions), Pink’s views, and renderings of revised Bloom’s:Blog post from Guy’s blog
How to Change the World- Guest Post- “We Got Out of Kenya, But What About the People Who Live There?”_1200867570845This post had an emotional appeal to it for me, but not everyone is as visual mentally when they read as I am. So there had to be another step.


GCast GCast Podcast (Click on MP3 link to hear audio recording.)Add to my PageEllen did a wonderful job of reading her ten minute post over the phone. Not only did this add to the impact of the story, it allowed me to have an audio archive in her voice to build on to the story’s presentation. And…GCast is FREE.


Animoto
Download Video: Posted by woscholar at TeacherTube.com.
This piece is perfect for those wanting a short, visually driven narrative. It delivers the story (without the personal narrative). Animoto offers a VERY easy method to create 30 second videos for FREE and with NO hassle. I find this to be a powerful way to begin a writing session. Use it for the prompt. See what develops.


Voicethread
[kml_flashembed movie=”http://voicethread.com/book.swf?b=45226″ width=”400″ height=”400″ wmode=”transparent” /]
Voicethread gave me the chance to use the entire audio clip with 25 pictures. As many of you know, the audio commenting feature of Voicethread will be a great way to extend the conversation for Ellen and her son with others interested in what they lived through. I have comment moderation on temporarily until I am sure Ellen is ready for the conversation to take place. After all, it is her story to tell.

My last piece needed to be high impact. While sorting through the pictures in my office, I dreaded the time it was going to take to choose music for the background. A story this emotional had to have something special. I had my iPod playing in my Altec docking station, randomly choosing the order of songs for me. Since I was concentrating on the photos and the story they were telling me, I was just subconsciously listening to the music. That is, until Brandon Heath’s “The Light” came on. I started humming while I was working. Then the lyrics started coming out (good thing everyone else had gone home for the day). I got to the chorus, and it hit me: “Stay close you people with your broken hearts….as we move toward the light” That was it. Perfect. The good Lord blessed me once again. I fired off an email to Brandon (music minister in The Woodlands, TX) to ensure permission to borrow his song for this cause with the understanding that if he did not like the final product I would pull his music out of it immediately.

Next thing, download Ellen’s audio narrative, edit out parts that fit the pictures and music and yet keep the strong storyline intact. After a bit of time in GarageBand editing the audio and iMovie piecing the video together, I was ready. One week, almost to the minute, after reading Ellen’s post, I found myself presenting her moving story to a K-12 school needing to hear what she has to say and willing to learn about the tools it takes to tell the world.


TeacherTube
Download Video: Posted by woscholar at TeacherTube.com.
Thank you, Ellen, for your wonderful heart and willing spirit. Your words are now a part of the many that hear them from this blog and beyond. I pray your works in Kenya expand the lives of the families you touched there.Thank you, teachers of CHS, for your open minds and hearts. I know you have the best things planned for your students. Your enthusiasm is unmatched by any group I have worked with. I thank you for inspiring me to keep up the faith. We can improve what our students face in the classroom. I will be your willing guide any opportunity you will let me.


Photo Credits from Presentations:
Ellen Petry Leanse
http://flickr.com/photos/tarique/archives/date-posted/2005/02/15/
http://flickr.com/photos/dennissylvesterhurd/
http://flickr.com/photos/iaindc/
http://flickr.com/photos/runningtoddler/
http://flickr.com/photos/lo_/
http://flickr.com/photos/7270375@N03/
http://flickr.com/photos/httpwwwactionpixsmarukocom/
http://flickr.com/photos/bjornsk/
http://flickr.com/photos/paulkist/archives/date-posted/2007/11/26/
http://flickr.com/photos/44222307@N00/archives/date-posted/2008/01/01/
Music in iMovie:
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Online Photo Sharing in Plain English

I am double posting this here and here.

To piggyback my previous posts about design and photography and Flickr usage, I would like to offer this short tutorial video about online photo sharing. Thanks to the folks (Lee LeFever) at Common Craft for once again making this an easy to understand topic. So don’t let a little fear of a software program slow you down from joining the fun and learning of photo sharing.
Download Video: Posted by leelefever at TeacherTube.com.

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Google Maps and the Political Machine

googlemaps_politicsThanks to Google Maps Mania for the link, you can view the caucus results for Iowa inside Google Maps to see which precinct voted which direction for their 2008 presidential primary. An even neater use of this is the sidebar that has current topical links to articles, videos, and even a “How the caucuses work” article link. How sweet is that? Those Google guys and gals are some innovative folks. Wonder if it has anything to do with the fact they get 20% of their work week for personal interest research and projects? Maybe? 

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Using Google Maps to Find a Toilet…and more

woisd_googleHere is a great list of Google Maps links to all types of mash-ups. Look at the clouds, track a package, explore and map the Bible, map 2008 campaign contributions, track terrorism, or even find a public toilet.  You name it, it seems to be a part of this great list.  This might even give you some ideas to try out on your own.

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More Free Media Resources for Educators

I found a neat collection of free videos that are online for streaming right to your PC/Mac for many purposes. Take a look at the following topics.

  • Teaching Reading 3-5 Workshop- This video workshop will show intermediate elementary teachers how to help their students transition from “learning to read” to “reading to learn.” Supplemental classroom programs provide further exploration of each topic.
  • Teaching Reading K-2 Workshop- This video workshop addresses critical topics in teaching reading for K-2 teachers.
  • Teaching Reading K-2: A Library of Classroom Practices- This video library shows the teaching practices of K-2 teachers across the country as they introduce their students to reading through a variety of methodologies.
  • Teaching The Children of Willesden Lane- This set of video and Web resources with curriculum guide helps middle and high school teachers teach the Holocaust-survival book The Children of Willesden Lane by Mona Golabek.
  • Write in the Middle: A Workshop for Middle School Teachers- This video workshop helps middle school teachers learn effective practices and strategies for writing instruction.

Teaching Multicultural Literature: A Workshop for the Middle Grades- This video workshop introduces middle school teachers to ethnically diverse American writers and offers dynamic instructional strategies and resources to make works meaningful for students.

Annenberg Media

These are just a very few of the listed topics. They range from administrators creating great campuses to science(tons) to math (tons) to pedagogy to many literacy-based videos. The registration is free. Don’t miss out on this. There is a lot of great information provided here by Annenberg Media whose goal is:

Advancing Excellent Teaching in American Schools Annenberg Media uses media and telecommunications to advance excellent teaching in American schools. This mandate is carried out chiefly by the funding and broad distribution of educational video programs with coordinated Web and print materials for the professional development of K-12 teachers. It is part of The Annenberg Foundation and advances the Foundation’s goal of encouraging the development of more effective ways to share ideas and knowledge.Annenberg Media’s multimedia resources help teachers increase theirexpertise in their fields and assist them in improving their teachingmethods. Many programs are also intended for students in the classroomand viewers at home. All Annenberg Media videos exemplify excellentteaching.

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National Geographic Lesson Plans for ALL Grades

If you found yourself in need of some geography lessons for your K-12 classroom, then do I have a deal for you.  National Geographic Xpeditions has been nice enough to share lessons, projects, and maps on their site by grade level. There is a wealth of information available for educators to take advantage of. 

Here are just a few of the items that the My Wonderful World blog pulled from the site to share:

  • Map your class! – (can be adapted for various age groups)Have students locate on the map (e.g. with removable stickers) countries from which their families immigrated to the United States.
  • 20 QuestionsPlay – 20 questions with a world map!
  • Name Game – Have students name a world location for each letter of the alphabet.Name GameHave students name a world location for each letter of the alphabet.
  • Country Comparisons – Have students research and then compare and contrast two countries.
  • Map your community – Have students look at a variety of maps, and then get them to create a map of their neighborhood or school with a key, title and appropriate map conventions.
  • Locate Earth’s Physical Extremes – Maps4Kids – Maps4Kids provides a series of “top 10” lists about the Earth.
  • Locate Earth’s Political Extremes – Maps4Kids – Maps4Kids provides a series of “top 10” lists about the Earth.
  • Seven Wonders – Maps4Kids – Use the lists at Maps4Kids to have students locate and research the history of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World.
  • Top 10 lists – Have students use other available resources to research and compile their own “top 10 lists” and locate them on the map.

These are just a few of the items National Geographic has made available.  Go try it out for yourself.  There are some awesome resources out there for free for EVERY grade level. 

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