Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Top Tools for Learning in 2011

Colette Cassinelli has been compiling a list of the Top 100 Tools for learning for the past 5 years. It is now time to contribute again. Please use the link above or the web address: to add your thoughts and recommendations to the list. Below are my contributions. Do you agree with my top picks?

Top 10: (These are in no particular order)
Diigo - the ability to access and catalog valued web-based resources and file from anywhere with a connection is invaluable. Plus, the groups allow for targeted sharing and researching.
Plurk - I know that everyone loves Twitter, but Plurk is just as powerful, if not more, because you can follow a true thread of thought. More people should look into Plurk as a microblog.
Google+ - You want emerging...this is exploding. I firmly believe that G+ will make Facebook into the new MySpace (passe and over the hill). Plus, if G+ is included in Google Apps for educators, schools can run their own social network that is monitored for safety and provide some read education and experience in NETS regarding social networking.
Animoto - Such a great tool to introduce digital storytelling and one of the best ways to reinforce the concept of pre-writing!
VoiceThread - Collaborate on presentations, gather input, let students voices be heard!
Wikispaces - Easy to use, infinite in possibilities. The discussions tab provides an opportunity for sharing that thought development and the History tab can take care of any "accidental" deletions
Skype - Connect, collaborate...all for free! Great classroom resource to connect your students with the rest of the world!
Dropbox - File sharing and data backup that is easy as pie. Plus, the more people you get involved, the more storage you get for free.
Wordsift - Very similar to Wordle, but what I like is the linkage to visual images and a thesaurus for better vocabulary development. It emulates what our reading specialists are talking about.

iPad - Come on...iTunes University, Facetime, Digital reader/annotator, the list goes on and on...hopefully, when BYOD becomes SOP, iPad will have only gotten better.

Continue to share and contribute because we will learn together and change education to what it can be.

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

C&I 579 Reflection 3

Typically, when preparing for a PD session, I have a PPT plan in mind. I create the PPT with links and questions embedded. With this task, it was a lot more involved than originally thought. This session was developed by brainstorming an outline of what to present and how to educate and entertain. I developed a wiki with a multitude of resources and difference methods of presenting information. I made some presentations with Google Docs and had to solve me lack of animation problems. Additionally, I learned a new application, Jing, to do some screen casts.

My intent of the project was to introduce my participants to some of the ways that learning and the capacity of teachers can be increased. I think that my project meets the intent. What I have learned throughout this class and though my other classes in examining professional development is that true change takes a long time and even a four hour session can only introduce material.

While I was trying to demonstrate multiple techniques, I would probably try to be a little more uniform in presentation styles. Additionally, if I were presenting this information in person, for a live audience, I would be able to utilize some of the features of PowerPoint that are unavailable in Google Docs. Additionally, a lot of the presentation is emphasized by the enthusiasm and experience of the presenter. Just as in the classroom for students, there is the art of teaching that is just as important as the science (Marzano, 2003). I am satisfied with the information that my participants would be exposed to and begin to integrate into their instruction. Even with the voice over screen cast, there is the human element missing in this session.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

C&I 579 Blogpost 4

Direct Link:
  I love Dilbert Cartoons and my daily calendar always has an eerie coincidental alignment of topics to what is going on in my life. The above cartoon is no exception. I saw this cartoon after reading a blog post that hits "closer to home", as the author of the blog is my professor for C&I 579, Dr. Cheri Toledo. As she has endeavored to create a Tuesday Tool blog post, one of the items posted was the "How Millennial Are You" quiz.

I was surprised with my results on the quiz. Below is the comment that I made on her blog:

I got a 31 this time. I have found that it is because my parents were married for most of my life, I have no tattoos or piercings, and I did not receive a text message in the past 24 hours. When I took the quiz the first time I had received a text message (we don’t have a txt plan with my Blackberry) and I scored a 71. The quiz employs interesting metrics to determine the generation to which you belong. I think that this quiz might make an interesting introduction to a PD session.

If you would like to take the quiz, here is the link:

Monday, March 28, 2011

C&I 579 Reflection 2

Up to this point in the class, I have been reinvigorated to increasing my PLN and seeking out new people with whom to collaborate. The Author C/C project got me reading some specifics on education with technology and the presentations by my classmates have gotten me intrigued to continue reading. I have continued to explore online resources and the shared links that people have submitted via Diigo have been helpful.

One of the things that I will not forget tomorrow is from the collaboration that I have had with my PLN and classmates. This communication has lead me to develop Google Forms that not only grade themselves, but also email the results to the taker with suggestions on how to do better the next time. I have shared this with my teachers and they are very excited to begin exploring and using this capability. I have further inquired to my PLN how to modify the java script to make the results a little more user friendly from the teacher side. If you are interested in seeing this form in action, here is the link. Don’t worry about the answers to the questions; just make sure that you have a correct email address so you can get your results.

With what I have learned in class, I will continue to share with my teachers and challenge them to examine their practices in their classroom. I want my teachers to continually find new ways to do new things while still exploring the content as prescribed by the district/state/Common Core State Standards. I hope that my teachers get as excited as I do when I learn about the new and changing resources that are available.

Friday, March 18, 2011

C&I 579 Blog Post 3

As I was reading through my Twitter feed, I found the article called "21 Things That Will Be Obsolete by 2020". The article was written by Tina Barseghian in the KQED Mind/Shift blog. After working through our project on creating a technology enriched learning environment, the list was quite intriguing.

My comment:  I read your article after finding it on Twitter. There are some major, heavily anchored concepts and paradigms of schools that will have to be broken before these changes can take place. Won't it be wonderful when it happens? We should all try to imagine a time when students can have access to their "pocket computers" (smart phones) and perform research anytime they want. With that increase in access of information, imagine how the teaching would have to change! A movement away from facts and figures to creating and collaborating! Live the dream.

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Update to C&I 579 Blog Post 2

In a blog post based on an article about the death of blogging, I had a conversation continuer...

I received a comment by the author of the blog that I read:

Tim Holt said...

Thank you for keeping the conversation going. And thank you for visiting my blog out here in little ol El Paso

Based on the article and blog post, one of the challenges to blogging is the limited capacity for conversation. The use of comments can help continue concepts and connections of ideas. When commenting on a blog, make sure that you include a post to your blog website to begin gaining connections to authors. It is REALLY neat to have your blog referenced by someone that you do not personally know! See one of my references: (

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

C&I 579 Blog 2

The blog that I read for this post was, strangely enough, about the death of blogging. Are U reading a Dinosaur? by Tim Holt in El Paso, TX and it was based on an article from the NY Times.

My comment that I posted was:

The article is an interesting point that as we "evolve" in our electronic communication, we now have students who view email as too slow of a method of communication. Twitter, which I value, and Facebook, which I use for personal communication, offer instant communication and collaboration opportunities. The blog, as a "slower" version of communication, may be on the same pathway as print media. We are looking at being able to edit and collaborate and develop ideas in a hyper-paced life style and while comments on blogs are interesting to read, they are not interactive like Twitter or wikis.

It is strange to know that we have a generation of students who have been so hyper-connected that blogging and email is viewed as too slow of a method of communication. Students today txt message and tweet to get instant feedback. Non-dynamic text does not stimulate students as books did for older generations. As educators, we will need to find ways to bring in more methods of quick feedback to maintain engagement.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

C&I 579 Reflection 1

So far in the class, I have not had a change in attitude. I have been a large proponent of building professional learning networks as a new method of learning and discovery. When I started in teaching, I had made some websites and was familiar with instant messaging and online chat. Fortunately, I attended an administrator academy that reinvigorated my interest and drive in technology integration. Many of the early topics discussed in this class were topics with which I was familiar. I have enjoyed the opportunity to work with other educators, learning with them and exploring topics in more detail.

I selected C&I 579 for the specific reason of finding more of the academic research base that supports the integration of technology into instruction as a method of improving student achievement. The largest concept that has been thought-altering has been the exposure to TPACK. Being in the EAF doctoral program, I want to explore how the leadership of the school can develop this. I was excited when I began reading about this as a potential theoretical framework to my research. As I develop my dissertation topic more fully, I would like to discover how TPACK can serve as a model for leaders to follow.

As I continue in the course, I will continue my reading into the academic basis for technology integration, including 21st century learning and the NETS standards, as it relates to student achievement and the leadership needed to support those efforts.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

C&I 579 Blogpost 1

I am currently taking an instructional technology course as a part of my doctoral work at Illinois State University. While I have blogged before (sporadically), one of my current assignments is to review blogs of other educational technologists, comment, and reflect.

The blog I read was by Richard Byrne and discussed

The section of the blog that grabbed my interest was this: is an open-source backchannel tool developed at the MIT Media Lab. Using you can create an online forum through which users can exchange messages in response to a presentation they're watching. There are a lot of free services that do the same thing, but there are a couple of things that make different. allows you to select a start and end time for your backchannel. As the administrator of a account you can create and manage multiple backchannels and schedule them to go live at different times. also includes voting tools that participants can use to vote messages up or down.

My comment on the blog was: Thank you for this resource. In the past I have used Chatzy when I have done workshops or presentations. The polling option is a nice way that educators can gauge the level of understanding by students or the audience. Have you run into any major firewall problems? The chance to have the audience or students interact as a part of presentation really hits the 4 C's of 21st century learning.

While I have used other back channel utilities before, presents some wonderful opportunities to educators as well as presenters. The benefits include polling options and more user controlled timing with start and stop times. When I have presented a backchat to a workshop group before, they were hesitant and questioning the attention span of themselves and their students. Once they realized that they could discuss unique aspects of my presentation, ask questions, follow related tangents, etc., they found that they were actual participants in my presentation and were actively learning, collaborating, and communicating without missing my message. It presents a powerful avenue for students to express opinions and find their voice within your class.