Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Free Dictionary by Farlex

This is a nice learning site that could be used for a student's homepage. The Free Dictionary has the following cool educational stuff:

  • Word of the Day with audio
  • Quotation of the Day - build a quick lesson around understand the
    meaning--equivalent in L1?
  • Immediate links to a dozen or so dictionaries/thesauri
  • News items with vocab linked to dictionary
  • Quick Match Up test of 5 words and their meanings
  • This Day in History - talk about historical events (past tense)
  • Today's Birthday (historically famous people)
  • Hangman game
  • Local weather -- talk about the weather (present and future tenses)

Internet4Classrooms: Useful instructional Web pages

This collaborative project has lots of ideas for using not only Word
(Microsoft Word Modules), but a bunch of other common classroom tools.

(Published originally in Learning with Computers.)

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Dutch MPs visit Second Life

This was posted to Webheads in Action by Gavin Dudney. I suspect the MPs had considerable tech help from Delft Univ. in setting up their avatars, etc.

The considerable amount of time avatars spend typing in air indicates a real need for a stable audio feature in Second Life.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Second Life and Baldric's Presentation

Spent Sunday morning (5 AM for me) at Second Nation and later EduTech. Naturally, I got a little lost and only arrived at Baldric Commons' presentation after it was over. As other Webheads mentioned, getting lost is one of the disadvantages, but now I've created landmarks of the various places most likely to be used, e.g., the Webhead Hut and the EduNation Seminar Room. (I also keep a cheat sheet with the coordinates at hand on paper.) One of the frustrations of SL is that the names of buildings are not searchable. Even finding someone who was in the correct place was hard, as the teleport only gets you into the vicinity (around 200 m.) I expect familiarity (and landmarking) will resolve these problems.

We also tried to use Skype at EduNation as a means to voice chat simultaneously, but I had the usual difficulties with getting into Skype. At last I seemed to have my computer settings match up with Skype's expectations, and joined the Skype conference. In the meantime, I had missed getting to EduNation to see Baldric's presentation. (Another frustration--learning everyone's SL name and deciding which name to use at any given moment. In voice chat we ask, "Can you hear me now?" while in SL we ask, "Who are you in 1st life?")

Thanks to Candace Pauchnick for the photos of Sunday morning at her Website:
Since I wanted to see people, I failed to notice the sunset! So another tip--it pays to look around.

I got some new duds from Baldric. Dare I ask what he was doing with high-laced, high-heeled boots and a denim mini-skirt in his inventory? (He-he.) I wonder what percentage of time men vs. women spend in shopping for clothes? Though men do seem concerned about getting the right body image, facial hair, etc. Vance was quite pleased with his (muscle) T-shirt. I'm sorry Sus Nyrop wasn't there, as she has one of the more imaginative costumes I've seen--well, except for the woman with black wings...

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Kids Vid

This is a great site from Gladys Baya over in REO:

Kids' Vid ..."an instructional Web site to help teachers and students use video production in class to support project-based learning." The site also has examples from a recent competition.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Second Life Update

I've been exploring a bit in Second Life. I met Sus Nyrop there (avatar=SuNy Foss), and she teleported me to Dove's (128,128,0), where you can get new outfits for free. I couldn't seem to pick up the free iPod, however.

I made the mistake of passing up on the offer of 250 Linden dollars (the local currency), so I am stuck with my present avatar body. I did learn how to change the color and style of my sweater, though I wish it covered up my belly button. For now it's me in jeans.

I got lost after Sus signed out, and thought for awhile I would never get back to EduNation (70,49,23). I felt like my 10-year-old self when I got on the wrong bus and couldn't find my way home one Saturday afternoon. I wound up at the entry to an "Adults Only" site that felt really creepy (in SL, I mean).

So Doug Coleman is right--the virtual has to feel real to make it authentic.

I also seemed to be unable to find EduNation in the SL >search window. Bummer. Finally, while clicking around I found an "educational" region of SL, and by going there I eventually found the link to EduNation. I ran upstairs in the Webheads beach hut (noting how nicely the palm trees swayed out the windows, and how the moon was just rising beautifully low in the sky), sat down on the couch and had that perpetually steaming cup of coffee on the table--or wished I could, anyway. (How do you pick up the cup???)

So here's my avatar--Babette Hanson.

Google Widgets for Your Website

Google has released its Widgets for anyone to glue into their Website.

Google Widgets

Takes forever to browse them, however. Spend an afternoon.

Teachers' TV

Another video-based set of guides to using technology at various levels, even with young children.

Teachers' TV also has videos of several classrooms as examples of how technology is used in them.

Note: The sound seemed to have a streaming problem, so you might want to watch it silently and then click the >Play button again to hear it.

Friday, November 03, 2006

On-Line Practice Modules

Step-by-step video lessons on how to use a variety of applications used in K-12 classrooms. Covers most common applications

On-line Practice Modules

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Second Life

Virtual realities for ESL/EFL are just beginning to be explored. You can create a world and all the creatures in it, and have them move around and interact. A VR for language learning would have to do more than shoot-em up, however.

Here's a little construction tutorial for Second Life, where EduNation is going to come into being under the wise leadership of Gavin Dudeney, with help from Graham Stanley, Vance Stevens, and other Webheads. Coordinates for EduNation are 70, 49, 23 -- Try out the informative introductory tour by sitting on the tour stool (Command-Sit).

Warning: contains some profanity towards the end.

Other cool stuff sent to me by Nicky Hockly at the Webheads' list:

The Second Life homepage
This gives you a good overview of what SL is all about

Getting Started With Second Life
A step by step guide to getting started in SL, from installing and
registering to learning how to move around in SL

A site for eduactors interesting is using environments like SL in
teaching and learning. The site includes a blog, a wiki, a
discussion group, and some sample SL videos

SLED Archives
The archives from previous discussions held by educators in SL

You Tube – Sample Second Life Videos
A selection of videos that show you clearly what life is like in SL

And there is a gamers user group at GameLearning
Hope this gets off the ground!

Monday, September 25, 2006

9-11 Memorial

This is a short video including an interview with my nephew, Matt Hanson, who organized a 12-hour memorial at William & Mary College for the victims of 9-11.
911 Memorial
Interesting that the younger generation is communicating to the world through YouTube.

Friday, September 15, 2006

I've been thinking of mentioning this site for some time, but Nicolas Gromik's video convinced me to look it up again--it is a beautiful huge viewer, and the films can be downloaded from the site as well. (I assume the creator selects whether or not to allow this.

Here is the direct link to Gromik's vlog, hutong2
Henri Rousseau

Brenda Fohio does a great job of combining paintings and music. Among her work are her own paintings, which I still have to explore.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


Have you noticed the iPod icon at the bottom of each post? I've been trying to get Talkr to speak my podcasts, but it hasn't worked yet. This is the latest in a long line of trials.

Your Jackson Pollock

This is another site on the theme of what you can do with art online. To make your own Jackson Pollock, click to start, and swoosh and swirl. Each time you click the paint changes colors.

Mr. Picasso Head

This is like the old Mr. Potato Head, but a lot more fun. Find the true artistic spirit in your students.

Photos for Peace

This is a great collection of photographs from around the world by Peace Corps volunteers, posted at the Cote d'Ivoire's American Embassy site. They might be used for an intercultural project or to explore other countries' land and peoples.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Radio Children

Radio Children is a podcast made by children for children, with support from a variety of British museums. Educational and attractive.

(Thanks to Graham Stanley, podcaster supreme, for this tip.)

The Freesound Project

The Freesound Project sounds like it would be well worth joining.
From their site:

The Freesound Project aims to create a huge collaborative database of audio snippets, samples, recordings, bleeps, ... released under the Creative Commons Sampling Plus License. The Freesound Project provides new and interesting ways of accessing these samples, allowing users to

* browse the sounds in new ways using keywords, a "sounds-like" type of browsing and more
* up and download sounds to and from the database, under the same creative commons license
* interact with fellow sound-artists!

We also aim to create an open database of sounds that can also be used for scientific research. Many audio research institutions have trouble finding correctly licensed audio to test their algorithms. Many have voiced this problem, but so far there hasn't been a solution.
How can you help?

If you have audio samples which can be released under the Creative Commons Sampling Plus License please add them! Label them correctly and help us build a huge database.

Note we are not looking for songs, or compositions. We are looking for sounds. Field recordings, kit recordings, generated sounds, ... as long as the sounds are not copyrighted (in a non-compatible way) or if the sounds are made by yourself and you want to release them under the Creative Commons Sampling Plus License.

Freesound is also looking for institutional help with sound files and mirror/server space.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

IPod U.

Here are three universities using iPod technology to deliver content, e.g. lectures, language practice, videos that are too long to view in class, etc.:

UC Berkeley webcast.berkeley
Duke Digital Initiative

Why do project-based learning?

I've been meaning to reference this for a long time--

Why do project-based learning? The Multimedia Project: Project-based Learning with Multimedia. San Mateo County Office of Education. 1997-2001. 17 June 2006.

The whole PBL WebRing collection of sites is very helpful in defining collaborative tasks. There are rubrics for assessing creative projects, suggested lesson plans, models, et al.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Address Book Widget

I don't know how useful (or dangerous) this widget might be, but added to any Web page, it will allow the user to look up their own address book in one of a dozen or so services (like Yahoo!), in order to send a quick email to someone, e.g., to send your Web page address to a friend.

Would this create a privacy or spam problem?

Plaxo Address Book Widget

Mandarin Design

I've been having a lot of fun with Mandarin Design, working out "opacity," getting my feet wet in CSS, and trying out banners and logos. The site has nice links to other sites with more on creating interesting Web designs. This is a logo for my consulting company, Computers for Education, based on a design in Typogenerator, linked from Mandarin. What you get is very seredipitous.

Friday, September 01, 2006

iPods for Teaching and Learning FLs

Integrating ICT into the Modern Foreign Language Classroom with iPods

The languages faculty at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina has been experimenting with the use of iPods to enhance teaching and learning since 2004 as part of The Duke Digital Initiative. . . .

The mobility of listening comprehension activities and recording capabilities has opened up new avenues for language students and instructors.

This is a way cool site with numerous links to descriptions of the Duke project, tips on using technology for language learning, etc. To quote further from their frontpage:

The iPods are used by the students and professors in the following ways:

The students:

* listen to audio clips based on their workbook and textbook as well as dramatic recordings of four short 'novellas'
* read text files which accompany the audio material to further improve their comprehension
* record dialogues and keep a weekly 'oral diary' using an attached microphone
* explore the use of Spanish language podcasts
* interview native speakers

The professors:

* record feedback on compositions and oral exams
* create an iTunes playlist including Spanish language songs used to reinforce grammar, functions and vocabulary in class
* make weekly recordings called 'audio flashcards' which are designed to revise vocabulary and review pronunciation
* monitor students' progress in speaking Spanish
* record native Spanish speakers of different backgrounds reading the course literature

Absolutely Intercultural podcast

This is a great new wiki space that combines the advantages of quick Web page editing and podcasting.
There is also a lovely, very detailed lesson plan to get started with intercultural podcasting. A great idea from our friends at the British Council (thanks for the tip, Graham Stanley):

Absolutely Intercultural podcast

From their site:
Absolutely Intercultural is the first podcast in the world to deal with intercultural issues. We’ll be releasing a new episode every second Friday evening, looking at all intercultural aspects of human intercultural communication.

Friday, August 18, 2006


This is a try out at Hellodeo--the voice mail greeting with Webcam. As I've noticed with a number of widgets and proffered "add a button" code, some adjusting had to be done, e.g., Blogger won't accept /> as the end of an embedded src.

Don't you just love the big red button over my face?!?

Glitter Graphics Text

Myspace LayoutsMyspace CodesMyspace LayoutsMyspace CodesMyspace CodesMyspace Text Generator, Myspace GraphicsMyspace LayoutsGlitter GraphicsMyspace CodesMyspace, Myspace Codes
Unfortunately, Blogger shows the borders of the graphics--kind of spoils the effects. Found at

Getting Results

This is a multi-week, video-based course for professional development. Targeted at community college teachers, it is appropriate for all levels of teaching and learning, focusing on task-based, hands-on collaborative knowledge building. It really makes sense, and could be done with a group of teachers, either facilitated or not, as an ongoing discussion about how their classes can "get results." As the intro video tells us, students who never before could "get it" in a math class can now, with new teaching methods, really grasp the subject. Very professionally produced by the National Science Foundation and WGBH Boston.

Getting Results: A professional development course

The videos are captioned (yeah!), and you can turn captioning on or off. You also can select Windows Media Player or QuickTime, so you get the optimal player for your own machine. While the focus is content, rather than ESL/EFL, the techniques are excellent for a sustained content, task-based language learning setting.

Saturday, August 12, 2006


Clocklink is a handy little widget to let you add a clock to any Web page by copying in the html. Seems to load and work without much fuss.

You'll find the clock I chose in the sidebar at the right, under my profile and email subscription link.

Websites as Graphs

Bee found this neat program. I'm not sure what the purpose is, but it is beautiful as the analysis takes place and the graph opens and expands like some kind of amoeba. I tried it several times, and it seemed to open and unfold in a different way each time.

Try it out at Sala Aharef's Webpage. This is the graph for my homepage, Computers for Education:

What do the colors mean?
blue: for links (the A tag)
red: for tables (TABLE, TR and TD tags)
green: for the DIV tag
violet: for images (the IMG tag)
yellow: for forms (FORM, INPUT, TEXTAREA, SELECT and OPTION tags)
orange: for linebreaks and blockquotes (BR, P, and BLOCKQUOTE tags)
black: the HTML tag, the root node
gray: all other tags

Class Blogmeister

Here is David Warlick's Class Blogmeister blog which explains how to use a blog with students. Warlick has created the Blogmeister so that classes can have safe blogging experiences. The blog also has some good quotes from teachers on why they use blogs and how they have been successful. The image at left is from his blog, showing how students can use blogging in a writing class.

Friday, August 11, 2006

FEEDblitz email subscription added!

OK, following the suggestions in LwC YG, I went to the FEEDblitz site and added an email subscription form to this blog.

So when new items come in, you, the subscriber, can receive email notification. Remember, you can also subscribe to my RSS feed. Or both.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Wikispaces Help Videos

Here's some cool little screencasts of how to do a wiki, starting with joining Wikispaces.

Don't you just love the technology? (These guys have way too much time on their hands.)

Protopage - Your own homepage

Here's another neat trick from the LearningwithComputers YG. It's a homepage with all the stuff on it you usually look for when you start up:

Computers for Education in Protopage

My only problem is that I like a blank page after my first entree into the Web. It does pop up very fast, however. (I am assuming when you see this page it will not be editable.)

Bubbleshare slideshow

Finally got around to adding this show to my blog. Click the >PLAY icon to hear the audio and see the show.

Sunday, July 23, 2006


Here's a nice advance over the usual photo sharing sites--you can create picture albums with titles and explanations and design more or less your own Webpage arrangement. Takes a bit of fussing, but it does work. (That's my son and my new grand-daughter in the lower left corner, BTW.)

Also has iPhoto and Flash plug-ins for faster uploading, though at high speed DSL or cable, it is pretty quick.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

The Daily English Show

So I am like totally hooked on The Daily English Show run by Sara, a young New Zealander with, apparently, a lot of time on her hands. She produces a new show almost every day, and each one is filled with sly wit: stick news (little stick-figure drawings), a conversation (with herself), where Sara looks down at the subtitles after each line, and then turns around and repeats the other half.

I still think the whole thing is a spoof--there is no way one could actually learn English like this--but it is fun...

Here is the Grouper link to DES or click on the image above for a sample of a recent show. (Also available on The scripts for each show are found at Sarah's blog.

If I were more adventuresome, I'd try getting this movie to play directly, but I don't want to bug anyone with the sound.

Jack and Elizabeth: The Movie

Mike Marzio made an interesting little video, mainly of Jack doing his anecdotes and story-telling. We had a fun afternoon--good memories. The episode starts with Mike live at the Sunday meeting of the Webheads in a voice chat. So I'm taking a video of him while he's talking to the Webheads. Weird and fun.

Direct link to the QT movie

Friday, May 12, 2006

How to make a video blog - FreeVlog

This is a chatty little video + screencast found at FreeVlog showing how to use a blog interface and add video to a blog.

Rather fast language for a NNS, but it can be replayed.

Monday, April 24, 2006


You've got to love the name!

This clever site lets you use a WebCam and microphone (or combo) to make a video to store online. No uploading files.

Here's the link to my first effort (you may need to register first to view it):

MySpace SlideShow Creator

So here's a direct link to creating a slideshow from your photos at Frappr--or elsewhere.

Colorful, and a constant reminder of who you know.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Safari U

Your course--in print, on the Web--your way

Safari U allows you to create RLOs of your textbooks, articles, and other syllabus material using a wide range of top technology books from publishers that include O'Reilly, Prentice Hall PTR, and Addison Wesley. While primarily tech/science books are accessible, this FREE service might be expandable or useable by ELLs.

One big advantage is that you can include your own articles and links and share-share-alike. I love this model, but how does anyone get paid for their time/labor? I think the idea may be that many students will pay for the printed version of the materials because of the convenience of holding paper text.

This will be an interesting experiment to follow.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Free CMS software -Whiteboard, Sakai, & Bazaar

There apparently are a number of free courseware management system (CMS) software products around, including Whiteboard.

(Free demo on the site.)

Other products include Sakai

and Bazaar by Athabasca, whom I like as a reputable resource for video, among other things. Bazaar announces itself, quite honestly, as a "content-management system."

References to these resources come from Skop Gabriel's Quick Resource Sheet #75. Write to Skop directly to get on his weekly newsletter mailing list and link to his resources: Skop Gabriel

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

A Groupboard Experiment

Groupboard has reorganized and appears to be seeking some $$ for support, but it also allows the addition of a board to your own Web page. I thought I'd try to see if you could add a whiteboard and chat right inside an old Blogger blog. And it seems to work!

[May 12, 2006 - I have taken down the Groupboard, as it seemed to slow down the loading of the blog, and the ads got annoying. Hope you had a chance to look at it. It did indeed function as promised here inside the blog space! I think this would be a great addition to a blog activity, and students could take a screen shot to save their work.]

Click to go to the main Groupboard page, where you can link to the code that will let you add a groupboard to your own blog or Website.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Marsha Chan: Using Audacity to Comment

Marsha shows us with a QT animation how to use the two tracks on an Audacity recording to make comments on a student's oral work. The illustrations are very useful and the explanations quite informative. A great technology combined with excellent pedagogy.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Lessons Ideas Exchange

Sue Lister has had another great idea--let's collect our lesson ideas in a wiki:

I've started a page from there (I hope) on Teaching Literature Electronically.

So let's hope everyone contributes. To access the editor use the password lessonideas.

Friday, March 03, 2006

This site has a collection of videos of teachers teaching real classes of students, with a nice preview and accompanying explanation of what the teacher is doing and why. Unfortunately, some of the pedagogy looks pretty awful.

Interesting feature--a scrolling closed caption (that almost works). You need RealOne Player to watch the movies.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Using Audacity for Enhanced Podcasts

Marsha Chan explains how to make dual track audio comments on student work, using an enhanced Audacity podcast.

Bubbleshare (see below) might be of great use in shortening the process.

Comparing the Flickrs of Video

Michael Arrington combiles a chart comparing features of currently available vlogs in his blog on Web 2.0, Techcrunch.

Monday, February 20, 2006


I couldn't resist this application because it mimics the Stickies app on my Macs. You can try it out from mine, or go to the first part of the address to get your own. The idea then is to paste the html into your blog or Webpage and people can leave notes for you. Or you can go to your Webnote page from any computer/browser, and add comments on things you are working with online.

Elizabeth's Webnotes


Experiment with a photo album service that allows 30 sec recordings. Seems perfect for digital storytelling.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Video Dancing Lights at

Still wrestling with making and saving a video online. So far the making part is good. How to manage OurMedia (you must also have an Internet Archive registration) is another kettle of boots.

So here is the movie in QuickTime (you may need to get the plug-in).

Saturday, January 21, 2006

EVO Grand Opening Webcast at WorldBridges

The EVO Kickoff Teleconference at WorldBridges is
a 45 min. recording, so find a time...

Scroll down to January 15, EVO 2006 Kickoff Webcast.
The archive should play through any default browser plug-in.