Saturday, December 11, 2010


Just revisiting Gloster again. Could be very useful for creative students, perhaps to build a collage based on their reading of a work.

Here's a little poster I built with my granddaughter. (Actual size is 960 X 1300.) The app is free.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

TED: John Underkoffler points to the future of User Interface

This video from the TED (Technology, Education, and Design)conference in February (Long Beach, CA) has some astonishing new ways to look at user wetware-computer connections.

It's amazing to see Tom Cruise's Minority Report interface now displayed with many different ramifications. The new interfaces use computations that are "space-soluable and network-soluable," allowing a user to drag/send their visual information from one "monitor" to another,both co-located and in space, with a hand gesture. In five years' time will this be the computer we get??

For more TED Talks see

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


WolframAlpha is an amazing third-generation search engine that can tell you almost anything about anything: math, chemistry, socioeconomics, geography, etc. You can input a formula, or just a few words as a question, and Wolfram will make the appropriate assumptions about what you want to know. Especially good with relational data, e.g., what's the ratio of France's GDP to Italy's?

The screencast illustrates a few of the many ways this tool can be useful:

This should be an excellent classroom tool, both in content-based projects and math work, and for general English, writing research papers, making predictions, etc.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Personas for Firefox

Just had some fun creating my own "persona" (theme) for my Firefox browser.

This might be a good activity for your students. They need to create a long, narrow photo for the top and the bottom of the browser, and then upload it to the site. All the step-by-step directions and specifications are at the site (a good reading activity, and/or watch the tutorial video), and they can try it out before uploading. After the photo is accepted, they can share their personal favorites and/or make their theme public for others to use.

You will need to be able to download an add-on to Firefox before starting the process, so this may require the OK from your school administration or tech support. However, the download itself takes only a few seconds.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Web 3.0

Webhead Moira Hunter tipped me off (see her blog) to this interesting video about Web 3.0, the semantic Web, as seen on Kate Ray's Vimeo site:

Web 3.0 from Kate Ray on Vimeo.

It gets increasingly interesting as you watch: should the semantic Web have pre-defined ontologies? Of course, Vance Stevens and most Webheads would answer a resounding "no!" If contemporary Web is increasingly about social networking, it is left to developers to help us find and explore new ways of interconnecting.

Monday, May 10, 2010


TinyChat looks to be a very useful little Twitter-related tool for meeting up with students or colleagues on the fly, especially if you have a Webcam built into your computer. It's free and anyone can enter by typing in a nickname--or you can make the chat private.

My own room is at

Thanks to fellow Webhead, Rita Zeinstejer for the tip.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Resources for Teaching Poetry

Just came across Google's tool, Search Stories, for creating a video out of your online searches. I did one on Resources for Teaching Poetry.

It's a pretty nifty tool, and students might get a kick out of using it as a way to present their initial searches in a content-based project.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Teaching Poetry

This great little slideshow, Teaching Poetry, at Slideshare, illustrates many of the types of poems taught by Kenneth Koch in Wishes, Lies, and Dreams, my all-time favorite book on how to teach poetry.

You can analyze each slide/poem and then have your students write something similar. It is amazing how rapidly they come to understand what metaphoric language is and how to use it. I have also put some more specific directions and other examples of poetry on my Website at Quicksteps to Teaching Poetry. This was one of the favorite parts of my Liberal Arts Teachers class in English.

A related site, Poetry Tools, offers a nifty little Flash tool so that students can generate some nice little Metaphors right online, or download the tool for desktop use. This is a nice way to introduce the poetry writing sessions suggested by the Teaching Poetry slideshow.

And be sure to get Koch's book if you want to know more. It's available at

Monday, April 19, 2010

280 Slides

I was directed to 280 slides by Nik Peachey's Ten Teacher Development Tasks for Web2.0 Tools (yes, I am still slogging on with them...) The presentation tool is really fun to use, and here is my exercise task completed. It's for intermediate students, who watch the two videos and make notes using an online dictionary, thesaurus, and/or translator, then write up a description of "My Favorite House."

You can also send the embedded video to Slideshare, or email it to friends.

My writing activity is very similar to Nik's, but I gave it different twist by using pairs at the computer, some online vocabulary resources, and a writing process with note-taking and discussion built-in.

Here is Nik's simpler version: Getting Video Tasks Online

Thursday, February 04, 2010


Wetoku is a nifty little Internet app that sets up two talking heads--the interviewer and the interviewee. This is perfect for many classroom activities. The introductory video below (5 min. +) gives some tips on doing a good interview, so it's a nice way to get students started using the program.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Bases for a Personal Learning Network

These are excerpts from a Kim Cofino fireside talk at WorldBridges, as edited by Vance Stevens.

Her main points form the basis for a Personal Learning Network--what every teacher really needs in the Digital Age:

- RSS feed - find out what other professionals are thinking about and stay up to date
- Join an education social network - learn and share with other teachers
- Start a blog - express yourself and monitor your own growth as a professional
- Use Skype to share and connect with other professionals
- Attend online conferences - both synchronously and asynchronously [WorldBridges is a good place to catch up and get into conferences]
- Use Twitter - find professionals and make connections [Vance's own anecdotes are clear illustrations of how useful this can be]
- Design global online interactions for your students [e.g., iEarn, GLOBE, or your own class-to-class project]

- Be more flexible and try out more collaborative approaches
- Allow for student-led processes, and learning from peers
- Learn, create, and share with your students
- Use the Internet to let your students connect with other students--and teachers--around the world
- Students in developing countries already have "global attitudes" - multicultural and multilingual perspectives, so take advantage of these