Saturday, April 25, 2009

Today's Interesting Links

Links for 2009-04-22 []

  • Holocaust Remembrance Project Teacher Resource Guide
    Holocaust Remembrance Project's Teacher Resource Guide is a powerful tool in sharing the Holocaust with your high school students. The Holland & Knight Charitable Foundation is pleased to provide this Teacher Resource Guide and hopes you will use the Guide to further share the Holocaust, and it's significance to us today, with your students.
  • Education | For Educators
    For Teachers: Teaching about the Holocaust The Museum has many resources for teachers striving to help students learn the history of the Holocaust and reflect upon the moral and ethical questions raised by that history.
  • The Edurati Review: It's Not about the Technology
    I am sitting here at my laptop, occasionally watching my Skype and Tweetdeck notifications in case I miss something from a family member or colleague, and I'm going to honestly tell you that learning in the 21st century is not about the technology. Blasphemy! my tech-savvy friends are saying. Six months ago I might have agreed, but today I'm more than willing to stand by my words.
    You'll find a Google Lit Trip for Kite Runner and a Holocaust studies unit on this site.
  • Holocaust Education Resources for Teachers
    This Holocaust Teacher Resource Center (TRC) web site, is dedicated to the memory of the six million Jewish people slaughtered during the Holocaust and the millions other people slaughtered during the Nazi era. It strives to combat prejudice and bigotry by transforming the horrors of the Holocaust into positive lessons to help make this a better and safer world for everybody. This site is sponsored by the Holocaust Education Foundation, Inc.
  • Guidelines for Teaching about the Holocaust
    The Holocaust provides one of the most effective subjects for an examination of basic moral issues. A structured inquiry into this history yields critical lessons for an investigation of human behavior. Study of the event also addresses one of the central mandates of education in the United States, which is to examine what it means to be a responsible citizen.
  • ReadWriteThink: Lesson Plan: Using Technology to Analyze and Illustrate Symbolism in <i>Night</i>
    Literacy learning is no longer limited to books; to be truly literate, students need to investigate and use technology in the classroom. This lesson for middle and high school students explores the use of symbolism in Elie Wiesel's autobiographical novel Night. After learning about symbolism and discussing its use in the book, students create visual representations using's Literary Graffiti tool. Students then express their response to the symbolism in the book by creating a photomontage using images from multiple websites about the Holocaust and text from survivor stories, articles about hate crimes, and Night.
  • SCORE: Teacher Guide--Night by Elie Weisel
    This supplemental unit to Night by Elie Wiesel was developed by teachers in the Schools of California Online Resources for Educators (SCORE) Project, funded by the California Technology Assistance Program (CTAP) and the California County Superintendents Educational Services Association (CCSESA)
  • Elie Wiesel: First Person Singular . Teaching Guide | PBS
    The film Elie Wiesel: First Person Singular is about one man's passionate resolve to bear witness for the millions of people who suffered and perished in the Holocaust. He has been sustained by his faith and guided by his belief in the power of language and the value of teaching.
  • Elie Wiesel @Web English Teacher
    A wonderful collection of resources for teaching Elie Wiesel's memoir Night.
  • K-3 Teachers Guide to Twitter
    I have been itching to write this Teachers Guide to Twitter for a while now - hoping to encourage K-3 Teachers and others, to give Twitter a try. Many of our visitors have expressed that it is all too confusing - so - I will do my best to unravel the 'mystery' behind Twitter - it is worth hang in there with me...
  • onepage : Tim’s Blog
    On this page you will find all (currently 21) of the one page guides - including a new Blogging with Wordpress introduction and a guide to registering a domain name created as part of a series I'm working on for local campaigning organisations.
  • World Digital Library Home
    The World Digital Library will make available on the Internet, free of charge and in multilingual format, significant primary materials from cultures around the world, including manuscripts, maps, rare books, musical scores, recordings, films, prints, photographs, architectural drawings, and other significant cultural materials. The objectives of the World Digital Library are to promote international and inter-cultural understanding and awareness, provide resources to educators, expand non-English and non-Western content on the Internet, and to contribute to scholarly research.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Today's Interesting Links

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Bring on the Ning!

As many educational technology writers like David Warlick, Will Richardson, and others have pointed out, when students write for an authentic audience they not only grow as writers but as thinkers as well. In his book Blogs, Wikis, Podcasts, and Other Powerful Web Tools for Classrooms, Will Richardson explains how the collaborative nature of Web 2.0 encourages students to "read more critically, think about that reading more analytically, and write more clearly. And, they are building relationships with peers, teachers, mentors, and professionals..." (21). In publishing their writing to the web through platforms like Nings, students "become active participants in the design of their own learning, we teach them how to be active participants in their lives and future careers" (129).

Joyce Valenza, a library information specialist and writer, expands on the advantages of using the Read/Write Web with students, specifically the advantages of using Nings. On her wiki page, Top Ten Reasons for Using 2.0 in Learning, Valenza suggests that Nings:
  • open up opportunities for students to write for larger, authentic audiences

  • create class environments for interaction and media sharing

  • promote, support, and model creative and innovative thinking and inventiveness(NETS*T)

  • engage students in exploring real-world issues and solving authentic problems using digital tools and resources (NETS*T)

  • promote student reflection using collaborative tools to reveal and clarify students' conceptual understanding and thinking, planning, and creative processes (NETS*T)

  • allow teachers to customize and personalize learning activities to address students' diverse learning styles, working strategies, and abilities using digital tools and resources (NETS*T)

  • promote collaboration with students, peers, parents, and community members using digital tools and resources to support student success and innovation (NETS*T)

  • advocate, model, and teach safe, legal, and ethical use of digital information and technology, including respect for copyright, intellectual property, and the appropriate documentation of sources (NETS*T)

  • promote and model digital etiquette and responsible social interactions related to the use of technology and information (NETS*T)

But what the heck is a Ning?
According to their website, a Ning is a social network that "...empowers people to create and discover new social experiences for the most important people and interests in their lives. Ning was started with a simple premise: when people have the freedom to create a new social experience online, uniquely customized for the most important people and interests in their lives with no effort, no cost, and infinite choice, the world is a better, more colorful and certainly more interesting place in which to live."

What can teachers do with a Ning?
  • Create a discussion board where students can respond to your questions and to each other

  • Post assignments or link handouts

  • Enable each student to create a blog

  • Encourage students to respond to one another's posts or blogs

  • Link files, images, audio, and video files

Check out what these teachers are doing with Nings:
  • I created this Ning for my 10th grade students, but am also using it to help introduce other teachers to using Nings -

  • Mr. Siegerman and Ms. Ward created this Ning to connect upper and underclass students -

  • Mrs. Follis has been using a Ning to help students reflect on their reading of Frankenstein at

  • Ms. Nash has her Benton High School students use a Ning to explore topics in zoology at

  • The wiki page Social Networks in Education offers a huge list of teachers using Nings.

Ideas for using Nings in the classroom:
  • Check out this great resource produced by EduCause: 7 Things You Should Know About Nings

  • Suzanne posted this blog entry about using a Ning with her high school students. Check out the comments, too. Some great ideas!

  • Mrs. Follis offers some wonderful reflections on how she has used the blog portion of the Ning to help her students better understand Frankenstein.

How to Create Your Own Ning:
  • First, head out to to sign up. Then use the linked tutorials below to help you set-up your Ning network.

  • After you set up your initial page you will be able to make changes using the “Manage” tab in the upper right of your Ning page.

  • Liz B. Davis has put together a wonderful presentation on how to set-up your own Ning. Find the directions here.

  • These embedded tutorials walk through the basics of setting up a Ning:

Tips for Creating Your Educational Ning:
  • Get the ads removed from your educational Ning site by following these steps

  • Liz B. Davis, an educator and writer, has a wonderful blog reflection on using Nings with students. Check out her post "Doing the Ning Thing"

  • Jenny Luca, a teacher in Australia, also offers her reflections on using Nings with students.

Cool Nings for Educators

Friday, April 17, 2009

Today's Interesting Links

Links for 2009-04-16 []

  • powerlibrary » home
    What it is: POWER Library is a service of Pennsylvania's public libraries, school libraries and the State Library. What it provides: Power Library provides access to thousands of full text periodical articles, newspapers, a major encyclopedia, plus photographs, pictures, charts, maps, and reference materials for people of all ages. Accessing Power Library Power Library is IP-identified and can be accessed directly from anywhere in your school providing that at least one library in your district is part of the ACCESS PA Database. If your public library is an Access PA participant, Power Library can be accessed from home with a library card and assigned PIN.
  • Excellent guide comparing Wordpress, Joomla, Drupal, and Plone | CMS Report
    Idealware is providing online a report on open source content management systems by comparing Wordpress, Joomla!, Drupal, and Plone. This 60-page independent Idealware report in PDF format provides both an introduction to the topic and a very detailed comparison of the four systems. The report also includes their new directory of the consultants and firms who help nonprofit create websites and implement these Content Management Systems.
  • copyrightconfusion » home
    Copyright and fair use issues are definitely things that concern teachers. Many factors have contributed to the culture of fear and uncertainty -- but now there are resources available that enable educators to feel more confident in their use of copyrighted materials -- including websites, images, movies, news media, advertising, online resources and popular culture -- to build students' critical thinking and communication skills.
  • Teaching About Copyright And Fair Use | Media Education Lab
    Lesson plans and materials to help you teach about copyright and fair use in high school, university or graduate school.
  • Latest Ning Tutorial December
    SlideShare presentation on how to set-up a Ning social network
  • Technology in the Middle » Blog Archive » Get Connected: Social Networks–Ning
    This post, the final of a three-part series about "getting connected" through social networks, will focus on what for many is THE social network: Ning. For those new to Ning and/or the concept of social networking, this short screencast provides a nice overview:
  • How to Create Your Own Social Network on Ning - A Guide to Creating Your Own Social Network
    The popular social networking site Ning allows you to create your own social network. The ability to create your own social network allows you to create a site that is centered on your individual tastes. Want a social network just for keeping in touch with your family? Perhaps you want a social network for your softball league? The choice of what social network you create is up to you.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Today's Interesting Links

The English Teacher's Companion: Death at the River: Writing the Personal Essay
  • We are in the process of beginning a personal essay about an event, idea, experience, person, or whatever that is of personal interest or importance to them. The details are spelled out on the overview (see below). The video clip shows me working with them to see how to take an underdeveloped piece of writing (Example A in the attachment below) and, using questions, develop it into the more interesting example of Example B). The point in the video is not to watch me ask the questions but to teach them to ask them, and how to use them to improve their writing. They had read an excerpt the night before from Angela's Ashes to examine how writers use sensory details and dialog.
12 Best Google Keywords for Finding Classroom Resources | Making Teachers Nerdy
  • Are you ever overwhelmed with searching for classroom resources? Do you seem to suffer from brain fades as you stare in the Google search engine wondering where to begin? No worries. Today, I’m offering my personal keyword and key phrase arsenal to help you navigate Google in record time and still find the best resources for your students.
The Global Education Collaborative - Helping Teachers and Students Reach the World
  • This is a community for teachers and students interested in global education. Contribute by adding media, conversation, and collaborative project ideas.
Pan-Canadian Interactive Literacy Forum 2008: Legacy
  • In April 2008, the Pan-Canadian Interactive Literacy Forum, the first of its kind, took place in nine different locations across the country. Hosted by the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada, the forum used webcast technology to connect 3,000 learners, literacy experts, and delegates from a number of sectors (education, non-profit, business, and labour) at sites in all over Canada. In addition to keynote speakers, each site hosted local presentations and training workshops that covered literacy-related topics from pre-school to adult literacy. To facilitate continued discussion and learning post-forum, much of these materials was recorded and is accessible on this site.
Twitter Handbook for Teachers
  • An overview of Twitter and ways of using it in education for a group of educators attending Twizza (Twitter & pizza) gathering in Perth, Western Australian on April 8, 2009.
NEIUCollaborationDay » LanguageArtsRegistration
  • Northeast Pennsylvania's CFF Wiki Pages

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Today's Interesting Links

Langwitches » Teacher Code of Conduct… Revisited
  • I am wondering if there is a necessity to create a guideline or code of conduct how teachers are to present themselves in their private online network places profiles? Does the administration at school or the district have the right (duty) to bring the subject up for discussion and in the end to make rules? Is it their business or not?
20+ Must-Read Education Technology Blogs for Teachers, Students, and e-Learners | Online Schools and Degree Programs
  • Over the past decade the information technology revolution has drastically changed education. Never before has so much information been available, with new technologies popping up daily to help us make sense of it. The dedicated bloggers featured in this post are your best bet for keeping up with the cutting edge of e-learning.
19 Amazing Free Graphic and Image Editors for Designers and Photographers : Speckyboy Design Magazine
  • In this article you will find a range of free editors that can be used by graphic designers, photographers, animators, artists and even kids. Some have basic functionality, for the amateur or learner, others are very powerful and professional, suitable for the professional.
teachingwithted / FrontPage
  • TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from those three worlds. Since then its scope has become ever broader and it has begun releasing its talks online under a Creative Commons license so that they can be downloaded for free for non-commercial use. Their applications for education are endless. The purpose of this wiki is to share ideas how these talks can turn into broader discussions, projects, and actions.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Today's Interesting Links

Links for 2009-04-04 []

  • More Tuition-Free Education Courses for Teachers
    In a recent post about Tuition-Free Education Courses for Teachers, I pointed out a number of online education courses that are free to self-learners around the world. Most of these courses are provided through well-known colleges and universities. While these courses are an excellent way to broaden your knowledge of specific topics, they aren't the only sources of free teacher education on the web. There are many other organizations that provide tuition-free education courses to teachers.
  • About - Creative Commons
    Creative Commons is a nonprofit corporation dedicated to making it easier for people to share and build upon the work of others, consistent with the rules of copyright. We provide free licenses and other legal tools to mark creative work with the freedom the creator wants it to carry, so others can share, remix, use commercially, or any combination thereof.
  • Facebook Strategies For The Classroom
    This presentation explores the potential uses of Facebook for teaching and motivating collaboration between students. Issues of privacy and intellectual property will also be covered, as well as advantages and pitfalls of social networks
  • facebook in the classroom
    A good PDF resource for teachers on how to use Facebook with students.

Today's Interesting Links

Links for 2009-04-03 []

  • Image Generator Links 2009, Make Custom Graphics/Clipart Online
    A large list of websites for creating free custom graphics and clipart online without any software.
  • lizbdavis's PLNBook Bookmarks on Delicious
    Liz Davis's links on the Personal Learning Network (PLN). A wealth of information here!
  • 100 (Legal) Sources for Free Stock Images | Virtual Hosting Blog
    If you've ever tried to design a website or blog, you've probably felt the need to add images to your creation. It can be easy to see the Internet as a free-for-all, but images belong to the people who created them. Staying legal means you'll have to either create your own images or buy them from stock sites. Fortunately, there are a number of sources for free images, and we've collected them here. So read on for 100 sources where you can find free stock images: and don't worry — they're all legal! Most Popular These resources are some of the most popular free stock image sites on the Web and with good reason. If you're looking for some mainstream images, these are the first place to try.
  • MicroModule Tutorials
    21st Century Information Fluency A good resource for those teaching students about web site evaluation.
  • 100 Ways to Celebrate National Poetry Month
    April is National Poetry Month, four weeks dedicated to the celebration of verse. How are you going to enjoy the occasion? Try one of these poetry readings, projects, or resources. Whether you want to hear great poets share their work aloud or embark on a writing venture of your own, you'll find dozens of links to help you gain a better understanding of poetry.
  • Lifehacker - Skype Call Recorder Creates MP3s of Your Skype Conversations - Skype
    Windows only: Free application Skype Call Recorder creates MP3s of any Skype conversation with a couple of simple clicks.
  • About Red Room | Red Room
    Red Room ( is the online home of many of the world's greatest writers. Red Room provides authors and members with free, easy-to-use, elegant online homes. It's a place for the literary community to promote their work, express themselves, and connect with their favorite authors.
  • What Makes a Good Project? - new articles : Stager-to-Go
    Two articles about project-based learning from The Creative Educator Magazine. -What Makes a Good Project? -Raising Our Standards - Developing Projects that Endure
  • Facebook Privacy for Teachers « Megan Golding
    I'm a Facebook user AND a teacher. Here's how I locked down my profile so that I can have a social life and not worry that the world is watching over my shoulder.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Workin' the Web: Social Networking in School

Facebook, Wikipages, and Nings…oh my! We know our students use these technologies outside our classrooms, but how might such social networking platforms be used to promote critical literacy skills inside our classrooms? Can Web 2.0 technologies help students learn to interpret, question, summarize, evaluate, and synthesize their worlds? With multiple studies suggesting teens are more apt to pick up a laptop than a paperback, it is imperative that educators find ways to bridge the gap between traditional and digital texts. Instead of blocking and banning Internet use from our schools, twenty-first century teachers must learn to embrace this new frontier of reading. This means teaching our students to be critical readers and consumers of media. In reality, this is no different from the skills that we have been teaching our students for decades. It is not a change in content; it is merely a change in where and how we apply the skills of critical literacy. Practically speaking, this means that English teachers must broaden our definition of what constitutes a “text.” By utilizing social networking platforms to engage our students, we will help students become more competent readers in the world in which they already dwell—the world of Web 2.0.

Education writers and bloggers David Warlick, Will Richardson, and many others see Web 2.0 technologies as transformative, a way to encourage students to be not only consumers of their education but creators as well. Students use wikipages to summarize, question, and create knowledge. They use Facebook and Nings to interact with learners in other classrooms, other cities, other states, even other countries. Social networking sites have the potential of connecting students to learners in ways that we could not have imagined just a decade earlier.

According to David Warlick, social networking includes:

  • the process of initiating, developing and maintaining friendships and collegial or professional relationships for mutual benefit. Current discussions surrounding social networking deal with web-based or technology-mediated tools, interactions, and related phenomena, but social networking occurs in many forms, including face to face.
  • person-to-person exchanges that can be classified as question and answer, point and counterpoint, announcement and support.
  • technologies that facilitate social networking tend to emphasize ease of use, spontaneity, personalization, exchange of contacts, and low-end voyeurism.Some technologies that are often considered social networking technologies may not be socially oriented in and of themselves, but the communities that form around such technologies often demonstrate key elements of social networking (for example, the discussion communities that form around collaboratively authored wiki content).


  • Wiki Pages - Sites like PB Wiki and Wikispaces offer free pages where users can collaborate to create content online. These sites are offer students a place to demonstrate knowledge, interact with other learners, and create a product for an audience outside the walls of their classroom.
  • Ning - A Ning is a platform that connects invited users to interact with one another through discussion boards, personal spaces, video links, and more. A central administrator oversees who is allowed to join the site, the types of posts made, and design of the site.
  • Facebook - Facebook has replaced MySpace in popularity. Facebook is a site that allows users to "friend" one another, post updates, play games, upload photos, create and join groups, upload videos, and comment on others content. Users have control over who is allowed to see their content. Check out this presentation on using Facebook in the classroom.
  • LinkedIn - Unlike Facebook which was originally started as a way for university students to connect with one another, LinkedIn is a networking site meant for professionals. There are LinkedIn networks for accountants, teachers, psychologists, and more.
  • Twitter - Users are limited to 140 character posts. Users "friend" one another in order to follow the updates of a particular Twitter user. Each update is called a tweet. Innovators of Twitter have used this application to inform their network of friends of interesting content on the web and to create "Twitter Stories."
  • Voice Thread - This is an application that allows users to upload images, presentation slides, or videos, record narration for them, and post them to share. It is a social networking site in that it also allows other users to also comment on the uploaded presentation. There is even a specific section of this site with added security for teachers and students called Ed.VoiceThread. Check out this example of a teacher's Voice Thread site.





  • SocialNetworking4Teachers - David Warlick had assembled a wonderful wiki all about how social networking can work for students and educators alike.
  • Classroom 2.0 is a Ning website for educators. This site helps to connect teachers around issues of technology.
  • The English Companion Ning was created by author and teacher Jim Burke. It is a wonderful resource for content specific lessons as well as ideas on how to incorporate Web 2.0 technologies into the classroom.
  • Use Twitter to build your Personal Learning Network (PLN). Check out this post for ideas on how teachers can use Twitter to find curricular resources.
  • This is good information about how to protect you and tour students when using Facebook in class.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Today's Interesting Links

Links for 2009-04-02 []
  • Web20-Guru - A wealth of lesson plans, tutorials, and information about all sorts of web 2.0 applications. A great place to start if you're putting together interactive lesson plans.
  • Top 10 Web 2.0 Tools for Young Learners : February 2009 : THE Journal - Technology needs to trickle up, she said, not down. We need to give the most powerful tools to the most vulnerable populations because they are the ones who need it. "Young learners, non-readers," she continued, "need high-speed access, they need animation and graphics and sound. And that's the truth."

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Today's Interesting Links

Links for 2009-04-01

    An excellent how-to guide for using the online poster maker - Glogster.
  • Social Media Schools is a website that documents and assists with the integrating of Internet and social media technologies into the public and private school systems.
  • Instructify » Blog Archive » Go virtual for free professional development at the FETC Virtual Conference and Expo
    On April 23 from 11 a.m. until 7 p.m. EST, the award-winning producers of FETC and T.H.E. Journal invite you to participate in a FREE virtual conference for K-12 educators and technology staff exploring the most pressing issues related to 21st Century Skills. The FETC Virtual Conference and Expo 2009 promises to be almost as good as attending a conference in person. There will be a keynote speaker, from Dr. Steven Paine, State Superintendent of West Virginia Department of Education, and many other break-out sessions to attend…all virtually. "No travel expenses. No line. No out-of-office downtime. It's 100 percent online and interactive." There will also be a virtual exhibit hall where you can check out the vendors' products, enter drawings, and be able to pick up their information.

Links for 2009-03-31

  • Visual Field Trips - Webcam Feeds for Classroom Viewing Making Teachers Nerdy
    A wonderful blog post on webcam feeds you could be incorporating into your classroom. "Consider these as teleportation devices to many of the world's greatest landmarks, national parks, and historical significance. In addition they are virtual eyes that allow students to study animal behavior patterns and habitats. Possibly they could be regarded as voyeuristic tools where students can ride along with a big rig truck driver or observe the physics of skateboard parks. The choices are vast, but they do bring a bit of the outside world into the walls of your classroom."

Related Posts: