Saturday, October 23, 2010

Helping "Digital Immigrants"

    If we are to believe Marc Prensky, I am a Digital Immigrant. We got our 1st VHS VCR when I was 12 years old. There were no computers in my high school except in the Business Lab.  I had several programs on large floppy disks. 

     My first Windows operating system was 3.11. All of the folders were right there on the desktop. Opening File Manager was the way to access the software. There was no email or Internet connectivity in my home. Our printer had long rolls of connected paper...

 Windows 3.11
    Thus began my transition to the digital age. As computers became more sophisticated, we found more ways to use them to keep organized. When I saved a file, I had no idea where it would go!

    What a difference between then and now. There are phones that function almost identically as a computer. The World Wide Web keeps us moving and email, texts and chats keep us communicating.

    In my current position as Technology Teacher at my elementary school, it is my responsibility to assist teachers how to integrate technology into their instruction. Most embrace the opportunity, but a few refuse to get in the Digital boat!
So how can you convince ... I mean motivate someone how to take those 1st shaky steps into the world of technology? First of all, don't push. Some Digital Immigrants (DIs) are just getting used to checking their email regularly. To force too much technology at one time will frustrate the user. Here's what I suggest should be done...create a educational technology plan for that individual, complete with measurable goals and objectives. Once an objective is reached and a goal is met, it gets removed and a new one appears at the end.

    Sound silly? Not at all. Educational planning is the key to being prepared to deliver good instruction. It will map out the course and the user can take one step at a time, at their own pace. What is silly is expecting a teacher who has never been trained, to jump right in using a Smart Board in their instruction!  I'm going to create a sample plan and post it here next week.


Sunday, September 5, 2010

My Virtual Classroom!

In my quest for a truly safe yet virtual game experience for my ITV class, I have found a Web 2.0 tool called Whyville. It has all the features I wanted such as chat rooms, games, creative activities, and even shopping! But the thing I like most is the safety.

I earned my "chat license" in Whyville
 After I registered, I was allowed to take a tour. I even earn my "Chat License" which takes the user through scenarios and makes them decide what is or is not a dangerous chat. For elementary students, this feature is a must, and as a parent and teacher I was happy to see it as a prerequisite for the chat feature.

  Another safety precaution is since I registered as a teacher, I had to complete a verification form with my school name, principal's name, and my state of license. This is another well-planned safety precaution. I am introducing this to my parents after the Labor day holiday, and I know they will feel comfortable with my choice. I'll write more after I receive my approval.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

BP14_Flash CS4

   For my final post about my experience learning Flash, I have to say that, even the beginner course that I took went over my head as soon as Todd, the presenter, started talking about using Action Script 3.0. I have a mental block when it comes to code, very similar to the mental block I had for Algebra in high school!
    I created our school website from scratch  7 years ago using Front Page. My principal constantly received phone calls about how wonderful the site was, and some even shared ideas about how to expand the site using teacher web pages. Front Page was a very easy-to-use web designer that the school district supported. Other web masters used Dreamweaver and posted via ftp, but I was satisfied with the capabilities of FrontPage. Then, 2 years ago, we got some new support staff in the IT department that wanted to migrate to SharePoint. Those of us who previewed it didn't like it. The design tools were not as fun to use as FrontPage, and after all, it was for an elementary school!
Screen shot of school website default page
    The new IT guys developed a CSS, or cascading style sheet for each school to use as a template. The district was now looking for uniformity as well as accessibility. Some of my dynamic web content could no longer be used since it could not be read by a screen reader for a person with disabilities. I felt my creativity was being challenged, and I ignored the polite suggestions of a redesign. But after 2 years of this, the district became more insistent that I change over. I agreed, and this is the resulting website: Griffin Elementary. (I DID create the blended picture of the eagle looking over our school!)
     When training to use the CSS in  my site, the IT guys kept talking about "the code". How code had changed from HTML to XTML and how CSS was now the most popular. They had us open the template in the code and I got nauseous! Letters and parentheses and numbers took me back to my high school algebra class, that I know I only passed because my teacher played poker on Wednesday nights with my Dad.
     So it was earlier today when I was trying learn about Action Script 3.0 in Flash. Definitely must learn it since we will be using it in a few months, but I have to repeat those videos! I am confident that with determination, I can learn Flash, even if it takes me 3 or 4 times viewing the videos!


     As I continue my journey into the topic of my research, "Using Game-Based Learning to Teach Positive Behavior", I have found so many more articles, that I am tempted to ask if I can change or update my list of resources. The first article I read was from Newsweek magazine and was titled Gaming the System. (Tyre, P, 2007). The article discussed how a student had no time to do his reading and writing assignment, but had plenty of time to work on his video game assignment for his technology class.
     In teaching Instructional TV in an elementary school, I see this all the time with my students. One of my 3rd graders did not pass the state assessment and was retained and has to repeat 3rd grade. When I saw his family at Orientation, his father pulled me aside and said the only reason he wanted to go back to school was to be on the news team. Now this student had anxiety issues in 2nd grade and was frequently sent out of the room to the Media center or sent home. He cried a lot, and now that he has to repeat 3rd grade, his parents are trying to be as positive as possible.
     So I had a conversation with his classroom teacher, an excited, young teacher who wants to use all the technology at her disposal in her teaching. The selection of this teacher for my student is a perfect match. I asked her to try to give him a leadership role using the interactive white board, or any other idea she has. After 1 week of school, he has not exhibited any negative behaviors, however, we are all watching him closely.
     There have been many organizations that use games to teach, such as the armed forces and businesses. These are mostly simulation games, but they are easier for the student to use because of the motivation factor. Why it has taken schools to embrace this idea is beyond me. We need to be using tools that we know will motivate our students to want to learn. (Tyre, P. 2007).  Tyre continues that teachers in the more progressive states of California, New York, & Maryland have already designed lessons around videogames in several different subjects.
    The sooner our teachers understand that we first need to motivate the students to want to learn, the sooner they will (hopefully) accept using game-based learning in their instruction.
     The second article I reviewed was called Handheld Gaming in Education, by Lim & Wang. This article looked at a project developed called "EcoRangers". The project was designed to help students work cooperatively while solving problems by questioning and discussion. (Lim & Wang, 2009). Students used handheld devices that were capable to text, and responded via text to the problem proposed by the instructor. It was interesting that, as my research will hopefully prove, students not only benefited from the highly motivational activity, they also shared opinions and views they would not have ordinarily contributed.  The reason for the change in student contributions was that it was a no-risk activity. The texts were not identified by user to the group, although the instructor could see who was responding and who was not. This is an important piece for use in assessment of the activity.
     Likewise, my theory that students will be more honest to share their feelings and opinions when using game-based learning, is evidently supported by this article. With face to face confrontation, there is such a high risk of embarrassment and ridicule that people chose not to share the important issues they need to discuss.

      The third article I reviewed this week  was called Rapid Communication; Relationships between Electronic Game play, Obesity, and Psychosocial Functioning, by E.Wack and S. Tantleff-Dunn in 2008. The researchers pointed out early on that there has been conflicting findings when examining electronic game play, and that was the basis for their study. (Wack. E. & Tantleff-Dunn. S. , 2008).
     While I was less interested in the findings about obesity, it was interesting to note that their research proved that electronic game play has been given a "bum rap". Their study found that many gamers spent time playing only when there was a friend to play with. Games then began to take on a social relevance all their own, as many 18 - 19 year old young men would rather socialize online rather than going out.  (Wack. E. & Tantleff-Dunn. S. , 2008).
     In my own observations of my 16 and 19 year old sons, it seems that game play is almost always a social event. In fact, no one wants to play with the Wii console unless there are at least 3 other players. We have turned video games into a social event by inviting friends over to play Wii games or to play some of the interactive DVD games.
     I am glad to see that this week's readings have for the most part supported my theory for my Action Research project.

BP13_Flash CS4

     I just finished Chapter 4 of this tutorial and I learned that the word "tweens" doesn't just mean a young adolescent. Tweens is another word for animations. Each type has a different function. There are 3 kinds of tweens in Flash and they are shape tweens, motion tweens, and bone tweens. 
     The presenter kept using the term "scrubbing the play head." I had never heard that before, but found out it simply means moving the play head across the time line in order to preview your animation without previewing the entire clip.
      Motion tweens are the most commonly used tweens in Flash. Using a key frame, (which I understood to be an in point or out point for a motion from Final Cut Pro), you select your symbol in the movie and designate start and end points in the time line. All you have to do then is right click on the time line and select motion tween. Flash will do the rest!
Example of a vector shape
     Shape tweens are best understood as changing the shape of a graphic using motion. Vector shapes must be used to create a shape tween. Since I am not well versed in what vector shapes actually are, I had to look it up. A vector shape is a shape using geometrical elements like points an lines. (see example retrieved from All you have to do is set your key frames in the time line, make the changes to your vector shape, and right click on the time line. Choose select shape tween, and that's it.
    If by now your head is about to explode, I can understand. I had to review these videos over, and now that I have the concept, I will be able to try it in the software.
       The last type of tween is the bone tween. This is one I really liked! By selecting parts of a limb on a movie, you can animate it! To achieve this, you first have to have created another layer of the part of the limb or bone you want to animate. Use the bone tool to click on the joints, click and drag from point to point, and set up the time line for the length of your animation. Use key frames to create your stop and start points and right click to select motion tween.
Bone tween in Flash. (Image from
     When I saw the arm of the movie file move, knowing it had been manipulated by Flash with little effort, I thought of some of the other things that I could animate with this software! I have a logo created for the name of news team. (SEN News: Soaring Eagle Network News). It's pretty, but certainly does not include and motion. So I was thinking, why not make the eagle fly in? I'll be working on it and will post my results!

Saturday, August 28, 2010


     For my week 4 practical experience, I chose to work with Adobe Flash CS4. I had taken a course on Flash CS3 a few years ago at the Florida Education Technology Conference (FETC) and enjoyed it, but since I did not have the software on my school or home computer, I was not able to practice. When learning new software, you have to be able to practice and explore on your own. Needless to say, I remember nothing from FETC, and have to start completely over!
Flash CS4 Interface in the Essentials Layout
     Using videos on, I began with an introduction to the software. Since I have Flash installed on my MacBook, I was able to follow along with the presenter as he toured the interface. 
    The next few videos in chapter 1 of the Flash training introduced me to the common file extensions used in Flash. They are FLA, or flash file, SWF, the Flash movie file, and the supported files such as FLV, F4V, and MP4. 
Working with Symbols in Flash CS4

     Up to this point I was able to follow along with the video, but when the presenter started discussing object drawing and merge drawing modes, I had to pause the video frequently to digest and try out the information. I learned how to draw ovals and rectangles and how to drag a shape from the library onto the stage. The example we used had a logo on it and I learned how to double click on the symbol to remove the logo. That's when I started getting excited!
      I imported a picture file, a music file and a video file. After each import, I was able to preview the the changes by selecting control, test video.
     I finished 3 chapters this morning, and feel more confident than ever. I will take on another group of chapters this afternoon. So check back and see what else I found out!

Sunday, August 22, 2010


The first article I read this week for my action research was  “Game design and learning: a conjectural analysis of how massively multiple online role-playing games (MMORPGs) foster intrinsic motivation.” Written by M. Dickey, it discusses the impact of virtual reality and collaborative games like SIMS and Second Life.  She defines them as MMORPGs or “massively multiple online role-playing game.” The difference in these types of games is that they are interactive and require not only the ability to follow the rules of the game and exhibit some skill, they also require higher order thinking skills in order to solve the problem posed by the game.
    Because the MMORPGs are geared toward solving problems rather than just reacting to stimulus, there are many instructional designers taking a second look at how to design learning games.

    The second article, “Linking Pedagogical Theory of Computer Games to Their Usability,” similarly to the last one argues whether gaming is relevant and what kind of gaming is best. Ang, Anvi & Zaphiris feel that there is much potential in using games, and that we need to focus on “learning through games rather than learning how to play games.” Therefore, we should be looking into how learners will interact with games and the effect of learning with gaming over time. (Ang, Anvi, & Zaphiris, 2007).
    The authors used a diagram, seen below to illustrate the typography of games, an how they should be analyzed. These 3 categories not only make up the typology, but sort them into groups as they are being studied. This is particularly interesting to my research project because as the types of gaming are broken down, it will be easier to see how they will affect behavior.
This is the diagram of typology of gaming

    The third article, written by Maja Pivec, is called “Editorial: Play and Learn: Potentials of game-based learning.” In the article, written in 2007, Pivec tells how learning environments have been researched and recently there has been a move to include the technology into those learning environments. The teacher has control over the environment and therefore needs to not only make changes to the design and structure of the physical room, but also make changes to the technology in that environment, making it more accessible and interactive. Pivec says that many teachers do not embrace the cognitive learning that modern commercial computer games can offer. (Pivec, 2007).
    I agree with Pivec that more teachers need to “get on board” in accepting the use of gaming as an authentic learning activity, and not just something to fill up the day’s schedule.


This week's commercial or one minute message is for Weebly, a free website creator. It is perfect for classroom websites. Hope you enjoy!

BP_10: Link_to_comment

Follow this link to my comments on Justin's blog.

Wordle called "school"


Follow this link to my comment on Dena's blog!


Weebly start page
       If you have ever wanted your own website, but don’t know the code, (HTML or CSS), have no fear, Weebly is here!  Weebly is a Web 2.0 tool that you can use to make a website for free. Yes, I said FREE. The company was founded in San Francisco, California in 2006, and since then they have been helping people put their information on the web with their easy-to-use interface. There are now over 3 million people who have created websites for any occasion, and that number is rising. (Weebly, Inc., 2010).
    Now that teachers are looking for ways to communicate more effectively with parents, class websites are on the rise. While Weebly is not the only tool available, it is, in my opinion, the best. Starting with beautiful templates to choose from for your website, you will be able to add documents, pictures, links, and interactive tools including surveys and photo galleries.
Some of the themed templates in Weebly
One of my Weebly website pages with Teacher Resources

    In partnership with Google, Weebly features a Google Maps gadget and You Tube viewer that can be added to your pages. If you have a song in your heart, you can upload an audio file to be used with their free audio player. And why not share your photo collection from Flickr by adding the slideshow gadget? All of these wonderful tools are free to the user. And signing up is easy: just sign in with your gmail account for instant access.
    If you are interested in creating a website for your business with a unique url, Weebly has a pro account. You can request your own domain name without their extension for a reasonable fee. With the pro account, you can also upload your own videos to your site.
    I thought I would try this out, and created a website for my department at my school. It contains technology information, lesson plans, links to popular resources, and recent articles. I also used the survey tool to create a work order page for teachers who need me to assist them with a repair or a project in their classroom. The survey is linked to my school email so I will get the message in my office. The teachers who have seen it feel that it will be useful. I may even have a few of them create their own class website that I can link to our school website. Why not try it for yourself and send me your screen shot? Here is the Weebly site I created for my department at my school. I'd love you to check it out and post a comment on what you think!
Teacher's work Order Requests go to my School Email

Sunday, August 15, 2010


For part of my career I taught students with severe emotional disabilities and emotional disturbances. As part of my reward system students could earn time to use the computer to play a game. It was the most coveted reward of my reward system, and they always enjoyed the break from the academics. Since then I have discovered some wonderful Web 2.0 tools as a result of my last 2 Full Sail classes. One of them was Second Life, which is really a gaming site used for everything from corporate meetings to college classes. My interest in this type of Web 2.0 tool has led me to narrow my AR focus to how gaming can effect character education. Here are some articles I read about the subject:
I read an article called “Effects of Reducing Children’s Television and Video Game Use on Effective Behavior”, which was a paper revealing results of a controlled trial done by the American Medical Association in 2001.  The conclusion of the trial was reported that reducing television, videotape, and video game use decreases aggressive behavior in children. (Arch Pediatric Adolescent Media. 2001; 155:17-23). I found it interesting that at the same time this study was being reported, my 12 students became less aggressive the more they played. In fact, I found they concentrated more, and the time playing gave them a chance to calm and sooth their aggression. This attitude, whether based on controlled trials or simply generalizations of those with digital-phobia, is one that i intend to explore as part of this research project. Even though this article did not support the idea of using gaming  in character education, it was an example of the reasons people have such negative perceptions of gaming.
The next article I read was called “Video Games in Education”, written by Kurt Squire of MIT, no date. In this article Squire acknowledges that video games elicit powerful emotional reactions in their players such as fear, power, aggression, wonder, or joy. (Squires, nd). He quotes Bowman,who suggests that educators could use video games as a model for improving learning environments. (Bowman, 1982). I found this article encouraging in support of using video games as a tool in the classroom, and although it did not specifically discuss it’s use in character education, it certainly was a meaningful approval.
My next source was a video called “Games Can Change Behavior” by Jesse Schell, posted on 2/28/10 by Dr. Robert Hughes, Jr. This was an excellent lecture on how society could be made to change their behavior if given points for everyday things. Assuming as we are all networked and connected through our Facebook, Twitter and other online accounts, the powers that be could keep track of our score for each activity. Schell’s most amusing example was earning points for brushing your teeth. If you brushed your teeth you received 10 points, but if you brushed them for the recommended amount of time you earned 20 points! The toothbrush had a chip in it that reported your time. Points could also be earned for being on time to work and for riding the bus, because it would save resources. While the thought of such a thing bordered on the ridiculous, one could see how motivating it would be to everyone. In fact, what Schell described was much like my reward system in my class that provided points earned for good behavior, which would allow students to play video games.


Today's blog is a "commercial" for a Web 2.0 tool reviewed here previously. Pixenate Photo Editor is easy to use and since you do not have to sign up, teachers can have students edit photos with very little assistance. Enjoy the commercial!


Saturday, August 14, 2010

A New School Year

     With each new school year comes new challenges and requirements. There is the uncertainty of working with news staff members and the concern over a smaller budget. 

    Instead of thinking about challenges and requirements, I thought about the children. My school is a Title I school that receives federal funding due to the number of students who qualify for free and reduced lunch. We also serve many students who live with family members other than their parents. Many of our students are part of families that are struggling economically because of unemployment and underemployment. Yet while their needs are great, I believe if we commit ourselves to do all we can to reach out to our students, they will be successful. 

So I put this video together to share with the staff at my school. I hope that even if you are not a school teacher, this video will inspire you in your relationships with all children you come in contact with.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

BP6_Comment to Dien

Follow this link to my comments on Dien's blog!

BP5_Comment to Christine

Follow this link to my comments on Christine's blog.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010


Voki is a Web 2.0 created by Oddcast Incorporated. It is a design site where users create their own "Voki” or avatar character. (Oddcast, 2010.) There are plenty of choices when deciding how to create your "Voki." They range from animals to political figures, and have options for hair, skin, clothes, and glasses, even bling! It only took me a few minutes to create my "Voki". But having the character is only the beginning. Once you are finished designing the look of your character, you can then choose how it will sound. The several options included selecting built-in voices to using a microphone and recording your own voice. You can even call in your voice over the phone!
I selected the built in voice and typed in a greeting. The "Voki" can be played and previewed and then sent via email or to your favorite website to share with your friends. The only drawback I noticed about the sharing feature was it did not share with Facebook, although Blogger and My Space were available destinations.

I can see this application working with my AR project. I am part of the Positive Behavior Support Team at my school and would like to use a tool like this to help students in conflict begin communicating.  The time spent creating a "Voki" would be time the student could use to cool down. Not only will the activity be engaging, it is usually much easier to say how you really feel if you do it through someone else! Voki could be very useful in allowing students to communicate honestly with each other without anxiety or fear of rejection. Once those barriers are removed, students in conflict will eventually be able to move to face to face communication.

Whatever it is used for, this is fun, so give it a try!

Sunday, August 8, 2010


      I take pride in my digital photos. Much of my work has appeared on our school website at one time or another. I have used many different applications to edit digital photos, but none so easy as Pixenate.  It is a Web 2.0 tool that makes editing digital photos as easy as 1, 2, 3! 
      To begin, upload a digital picture. Once the picture appears you have a range of options that you can use to enhance your image. My favorite option, which I seem to always use the most, is the UNDO feature! Thankfully it is the feature located right at the top.
Pixenate Basic Toolbar

    Other basic tools include select all, and unselect all, zoom in and zoom out, crop and resize tool, and the flip and rotate tools. While these are all pretty basic, some of the next tools may take some playing with to get used to. For example the normalize and enhance tools. The normalize tool is used "to improve color balance within the photo. Good for improving flat, muted photos." (, 2010). Whether you have the experience to know if a photo is flat or muted does not matter, because the undo button is always there to save you if you need it!
Pixenate Fun Effects Toolbar
Pop Art Effect
     In addition to the basic tools, are a group of fun effects that will give your photo editing some pizazz! Whether it's to add a halo or to create a heart shaped cut out of one of your loved ones, these fun effects demand to be played with! I personally enjoy the pop art poster effect that allows me to make a pop art poster style photo of myself. So have some fun and enjoy Pixenate to create some interesting variations of your digital photos. You can save, print, and share your finished products to Flickr

Saturday, August 7, 2010


This month I have been introduced to Diigo, a website that allows you to save bookmarks of your favorite websites in an online location that you can access form any computer or compatible mobile device anywhere. You can even use the toolbar functions to highlight and add other annotations. So, if you are working on a research project and you find some great resources at work on your PC, instead of emailing links to your other email account, save them in Diigo. Then when you get home and are working on your Mac, you can access the same information. Here is a screen shot of my Diigo account. Check it out for yourself!
Diigo screen shot

Thursday, August 5, 2010


IGoogle is a feature of Google that allows the user to customize your own home page. You can add widgets of popular websites and also add a Box of Links that you can customize with websites that do not have widgets. You can add tabs for different areas of your life online. For example, I have a Home tab that includes popular destinations such as Facebook and Twitter. My other tabs are organized for my Full Sail work. Here are screen shots of my tabs.
IGoogle Home Tab  

 IGoogle Full Sail OnlineTab

IGoogle Action ResearchTab

IGoogle Emergent Technologies Class Tab

     You will notice that each tab has a different list of websites, specific for my work in that area. I also have changed the theme for each page which makes it easier for me to quickly identify where I am.
     You should try setting up your own IGoogle home page. All you need is a gmail account, and the onscreen directions will guide you easily through the rest. Have fun and let me know how you did!

BP1_Google Reader

     Google Reader is part of the family of online tools to help increase productivity and organization. You need a free gmail account to log in. Within Google Reader, you can subscribe to RSS feeds from your favorite places on the web and see all of the updates and latest news in one place.
     So for this blog I am going to share my top 5  RSS feeds in Google Reader with you, and explain their features and benefits.
     This website is a one-stop resource for teachers. The site was created by Richard Byrne. Mr Byrne is a Google certified teacher and also provides professional development. He feels that when used correctly, technology has the power to improve student engagement and student achievement. (Byrne, 2008). The website offers advice and resources for both Mac and PC platforms, and includes free software downloads, templates, clip art, and lesson plans.
     One of my favorite features of Free Technology for Teachers is the video tutorials. I don't know about you, but I absorb information much better when I watch a video as opposed to reading a tutorial in print. You can follow his website updates not only through RSS feeds, but also through Twitter, Facebook, and email updates.

2. Edutopia
     Sponsored by the George Lucas Educational Foundation,  Edutopia is an incredible resource for not only the classroom teacher, but for specialists and administrators alike. There are articles on six Core Concepts for the improvement of education that are introduced by a brief video. The Core Concepts are Integrated Studies, Project Learning, Social and Emotional Learning, Technology Integration, Teacher Development and Comprehensive Assessment. (, 2010)
     Edutopia also features a large video library that can be searched by keyword, grade level or topic. In addition, reader contributed blogs from noted experts in education are available. An educator can join one of the groups on Edutopia, and there are plenty to chose from. There are also several articles that promote schools that work in our communities.
     I like the weekly giveaways and the e-newsletter from Edutopia. Kudos need to go to George Lucas and his Foundation for Education for getting involved in the support of educators.

3. Discovery Education Classroom
Puzzle Maker Feature from Discovery Education
     The Discovery Channel is a leader in cable television in providing interesting and educational programing. Their role in providing teachers with resources for the classroom via the web, has helped them make this list of my top 5 RSS feeds. Discovery Education Classroom is one of the features of the Discovery Education series of websites.  While some of the services on the Discovery Education websites require a subscription, Discovery Education Classroom is free. (And right now, FREE is GOOD!)
     One of the best features of this website is Science Fair Central. With the belief that "Science can answer a world of questions," Discovery Education Classroom provides help for Science Fair coordinators, ideas for science projects that students can try, and help for parents to encourage their children in exploring the world of science. (, 2010)
List of videos on Homework Help page by Discovery Education
     The Homework Help tab has a variety of videos available for students to watch from home. The videos are available in all subject areas, and stream from their location, they do not need to be downloaded.
     Following their Tech Tip blog is a great way to keep informed of new Discovery Education offerings, so check it out!

4. MakeUseOf
     Whether you are a Mac lover or an avid PC user, MakeUseOf is the website for you! Written by a large staff of contributors from all over the world, MakeUseOf is an important resource for any educator interested in integrating technology. You can follow the updates to their site through Facebook, Twitter, RSS, of by an email subscription.
     As a technology specialist at my school, I have to keep up with new trends in software, virus protection, and operating system updates. I also train teachers regarding these trends, and there is no better place than MakeUseOf to get training guides.  Their guides are entirely free and include everything you could ever dream about knowing. (, 2010). There are guides available for both Mac and PC platforms. They are easy to follow and a nice reference to pull out when you need an answer right at your fingertips.
Geeky Fun Page from
     I enjoy the section of the website called Geeky Fun. (I am not a geek per say, but I do have some geek-like qualities!) This area is full of silly videos and articles for the technology lover. They are designed to entertain rather than inform, and it is a nice change after spending time on research.

5. TeacherTube
     Welcome to the YouTube for education professionals: TeacherTube! This website, which is updated frequently with new content, is the teacher's best friend when looking for appropriate sources of video clips. However, TeacherTube also has a wealth of audio clips, pictures, and documents that can be downloaded for use in the classroom.
     But what if you and your students produce a video that you would like to share with others? TeacherTube now has the availability for teachers to submit their videos and share them with the world of educators. However, the newest feature, which is still in beta mode, is the classified section. On the TeacherTube Classified page, teachers can buy, sell and trade educational items all for free! (, 2010). You can define your search parameters by location or item, or just start browsing! Are you are in a school district that is cutting jobs? They also post jobs on the TeacherTube Classified page, so you can find that new job.
     Another useful feature from TeacherTube is the RSS updates for video, audio and photos. They are all separate feeds, so if you are more interested in photos, you don't have to receive all the video and audio updates. As for me, I have subscribed to them all!

     I hope you will check out these websites and subscribe to their RSS feeds. I also have a few websites I recommend on the home page of this blog. Check them out too and I'd love to hear from you!