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Posts from June 2006

Trip Planner - Yahoo! Travel

Link: Trip Planner - Yahoo! Travel.

Here's a cool little doodad from Yahoo. I just stumbled upon it as I was printing out directions for my SoCal sojourn. You can make your own itinerary on the fly as you browse travel options, keep it private or make it public, and subscribe to its RSS feed in your news reader of choice. It is also a social service in that you can share your itinerary and browse those designed by other people. Nifty!

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TEDTalks in iTunes

TED is a technology, entertainment and design invite only conference for people on the forefront of innovation. I've always been inspired by the TED Blog and I'm glad to see the addition of TEDTalks. Now we little people can listen to and watch some of the same stuff our cultural celebrities and geniuses have been privvy to. This is another great resource for those of us interested in thinking outside of the box! Take time to explore the TED website because it will lead you off in all sorts of tangents.

Educational Web Adventures (Eduweb)

Link: Educational Web Adventures (Eduweb).

This company has designed a number of fabulous interactive games for various institutions. Among my favorites are the The Artist's Toolkit , A. Pintura: Art Detective, and Amazing Reef. Awhile ago, I signed up to be a teacher tester and my students and I tried out a genetics web adventure designed for the Minnesota Zoo.

Right now, EWA is asking for help from adults and kids with their latest adventure and it involves a survey on how people learn and a series of short interactives. Click here if you'd like to particpate.

I haven't browsed their site in awhile, so I'm glad to see that there's a whole slew of sites to check out that I haven't seen before. I'm particularly interested in the U-505 one at the Museum of Science and Industry. This sub was captured by a distant relative during WWII!

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Your Ideal Professional Development Scenario ?

I need some help thinking outside of the box. I'm investigating best practices in professional development related to educational technology for a couple of projects. One such project involves a school that has a 1 to 1 laptop program.

If you were able to implement your ideal technology professional development program, regardless of cost and other limitations, what would your program look like? Think innovation!

Some things to consider:
-What resources and equipment would you need?
-What sort of schedule/time frame would you follow?
-What would be your staffing needs in order to support such a program?
-What's the best way to reach and motivate as many faculty members as possible? Do you even try to reach everyone or do you just hope to reach the mavericks who will take new ideas and run with them?
-What model would you follow, if any? Just in time help? Peer mentoring? Workshops? Study groups? What really works for teachers in your opinion?
-Do teachers need incentives to develop professionally and if so, what incentives have worked for you?
-How would you assess the progress of teachers in terms of technology usage and integration?
-Would you prefer having your own teachers conduct training sessions or are outside speakers more helpful?
-What the most difficult thing about planning for professional development?
-What personally has been the most rewarding professional development experience of your career?
-Who would be on your dream team if you could invite any ed tech speaker to visit your school?
-What topics do you think teachers are most interested in learning about?

I'll post my own thoughts on all of this in the weeks to come...

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My Favorite Posts from Other Blogs

Every once in awhile, I post a list of blog posts that have caught my attention and I usually title these "Apple of My Eye". I use the flagging feature in NetNewsWire to cull posts that interest me. Aren't I original? Anyway, I thought I'd add on to Cool Cat's idea for listing our most popular blog entries by post my favorite posts from other people's blogs. If you decided to do this, tag your list the following tag: othertop10eduposts. This will be an interesting experiment and hopefully it will turn other bloggers on to new material. I know I am always looking for new sources of information.

So here goes, again in no particular order:

1) TED Blog: The Year of Thinking Dangerously

2) TED Blog: Meanwhile in Africa...

Examples of innovation inspire via the TED blog.

3) Creating Passionate Users: Crash Course in Learning Theory

Via Will Richardson awhile back... this is now one of my favorite blogs.

4) Official Google Blog: I'm Feeling Silly

Nothing to do with education, but I like how this post speaks to the working environment at Google. I am intrigued by examples of innovation and creativity in the workplace.

5) KrazyDad: Wacky Collages a>

Again, nothing to do with education really, but this post brought back childhood memories!

6) Presentation Zen: Gates, Jobs, & the Zen Aesthetic

I first used this post with students to discuss effective presentation design. It's a classic.

7) The Unofficial Apple Weblog: Iconic Mosaic of Steve Jobs

Another wierd thing I found out there...

8) Lifehacker: How To Use RSS in 23 Steps

The world needs to know about RSS!

9) Spiral Notebook: Favorite Web Sites for Educators

Edutopia rocks. Trust me.

10) PEP Tech Talk: Things Have Changed

I can't recall the reference to this posting, but it's great food for thought.

Cool Cat Teacher Blog: My top 10 eduposts of 2005-2006

Link: Cool Cat Teacher Blog: My top 10 eduposts of 2005-2006.

My computer science department colleague, Baker Franke, recommended the Cool Cat Teacher blog to me a few months ago because he thought the Cool Cat author and I are two peas in a pod. I haven't had much time to delve into it, but I have noticed that people are following her Top 10 eduposts initiative, so I thought I'd add something and then morph it a bit.

I haven't been blogging enough or indepth enough to generate a tremendous amount of traffic here, and that hasn't been really my main intention. I started out just wanting to document thoughts and cool things for future reference. If someone else got something out of what I've posted, fabulous... otherwise, I'm quite content just talking to myself in cyberspace.

So, I am just going to post links to my personal favorites in no particular order from within my blog:

1) Sam at the Apple Store
This post morphed into something bigger... see #2.

2) Sam at the Apple Store Revisited

Not only did Garr Reynolds of Presentation Zen blog about the first post, but Susan Patrick, president and CEO of NACOL, heard about Sam and invited him to speak at a distance learning conference in Chicago!

3) NSBA TLN Executive Briefing

I'm selecting this post just because my students and I had so much fun at this event! I realized how lucky am I to work with these students.

4) Google Earth and Earthquakes

I tried to duplicate an activity from the NSBA event cited in #3 and this is what I came up with. I am in love with Google Earth!

5) Our Professional Development Day

Again, this post reminds me of how lucky I am to be working where I do.

6 ) Apple Store Field Trip

One benefit from teaching classes at National Louis University is that it's conveniently located down the street from the Michigan Avenue Apple Store. It's a great place for impromptu field trips!

7) NLU Class Visit the John Lennon Educational Tour Bus

8) Chicago Matters

The student I blogged about here was valdectorian of his high school class and is entering a top west coast school next fall. Hooray for him... it warms my heart that he is doing so well in life.

9) Friday 5: Global Awareness

I post links from a listserv I run and this is one of favorite collections.

10) Video Blog Sample

This needs no explanation as to why I like this post!

Next... I am going to list my top 10 favorite posts from other people's blogs!

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Experience Mobility: Educators First to Test Negroponte's $100 Laptop Prototype

Link: Experience Mobility: Educators First to Test Negroponte's $100 Laptop Prototype .

Okay, I am the one living under a rock now. While I realized the significance of Nicholas Negroponte's NECC keynote, I had NO idea that prototypes would be available at the conference. This is amazing!

I'm interested in how these machines will be mass produced and distributed to far long parts of the world. Will there be any training of people on how to make the most of these machines? I also wonder if this machine will be available to our students in the U.S who are still behind the digital divide. I'm beginning to think some schools here are just as behind in terms of technology deployment as those in countries where you might expect it. I just don't know enough about this project and I'm looking forward to learning more at NECC. I'm also interested in learning more about how Negroponte has been able to bring his vision to fruition. People who think outside of the box fascinate me.

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Another NECC Suggestion

I think most bloggers are aware of the concept of tagging. You can label a post or "tag" it with a keyword. If everyone tags their posts about NECC, for example, with the tag necc or necc2006 as suggested by David Warlick, all of the posts from various authors will be collected in the blog search engine Technorati. Click here to see the results of all blogs tagged necc. This list should be growing and changing as the National Educational Computing Conference draws near.

I'm sure this has been mentioned elsewhere, but blogs are not the only things that can be tagged. You can also upload photos at Flickr and tag them as well. Here are some photos I took, for instance, at the Illinois Technology Conference for Educators posted under the tag iltce. If you search Flickr using the tag iltce, you will also find pictures taken by Tim Lauer and David Warlick. So once again, you can have multiple perspectives... this time via photos.... collected in one place. Flickr pictures will also show up in Technorati.

It doesn't stop there! If you use the social bookmarking tool Furl, you can create a category for your bookmarks that serves as a tag. If I bookmark web sites and put them into categories I created in my account (necc and necc2006), these web sites will also appear in the Technorati aggregate of everything tagged necc. Scroll down to the bottom of this page and you will see links submitted by under my username elemenous. I plan to bookmark interesting web sites mentioned during the conference in Furl. Conferences are great providers of resources and I'll be passing them on via my Furl account. If you want to see all of my Furled bookmarks, click here. If you want just to see only bookmarks I have in my NECC category, click here. Remember that as the weeks go by, these lists will be changing. Furl is also handy in that you can rate sites and add notes, which I rarely do. Maybe I'll start doing this at NECC!

By the way, I am sure you can do virtually the same thing with another popular social bookmarking service called I just happen to prefer Furl. If you are a fan of both Furl and, try this bookmarklet creation tool. A bookmarklet is a little doodad that you install in the bookmarks bar of your browser. Every time you visit a web page and you want to record its url in a social bookmarking service like Furl or, you just click on this tool. It's bookmarking on the fly and on the web! So, if you'd like to use BOTH Furl or, you can create a bookmarklet that will allow to bookmark to both places with one click. Give yourself a pat on the back if you fully comprehend what I just wrote, but try it playing around with this stuff. It's really, really powerful.

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School's Out

School's out and I am ready for some adventure! I am pinching myself because the summer of a lifetime awaits me. In two weeks, my family and I will be traveling to San Diego so that I can attend NECC 2006 and so that we all can do the Southern California tourist thing... Sea World, San Diego Zoo, Disneyland etc.

And, I had this all planned before I knew about the Apple Distinguished Educator Institute for this summer which promises to be another amazing experience. We're traveling to Europe July 21 -31 to collaborate on a digital global awareness curriculum in conjunction with EF Tours. We will be addressing an essential question via four themes, and this curriculum will hopefully be published on Apple's web site in the fall.

At any rate, I plan to be blogging on a more regular basis now that I have some time. As instructed by David Warlick in a recent post regarding tags for NECC, I'm adding mine here:

tags technorati :

Here's to a fabulous summer ! Yay!

Explore Shakespeare with Google

Link: Explore Shakespeare with Google.

Here's a new site from Google that has contains many Shakespearian texts. I'm assuming that Google can publish these in their Book section because these works are in the public domain. This site also have links to other ways to explore Shakespeare, including via Google Earth. The link for Google Earth just leads to that homepage, but here is an old post in the Google Earth blog that contains placemarks for places quoted in Shakespeare. You can download this file and open it in Google Earth to take a virtual tour! How motivating to kids is that!?!

I hope other pages containing multiple resources are developed by Google!

Kettle Moraine School District

I will be presenting a remix of my Wisconsin Ed Leadership preso to teachers and administrators in the Kettle Moraine School District on June 13th.

Here are some related resources:

Workshop handout:  Download Handout Here

My Blog:

My Web Site:

Workshop Blog:
To join this blog, workshop participants should send me an email at

It is recommended that participants create a Bloglines account if they do not have one yet.

Here's  the main preso:  Download kmsd.pdf

And finally, here is the RSS preso:

Download rsspreso.pdf

Cathy Janovjak's Web Page

Link: Home.

I run an after school program using the GenYES model. I've enjoyed it because it gives me the opportunity to get to know students better and I like the bond we've developed as a group. I also like how we are able to explore technology on a more informal basis. After all, an after school program is supposed to be fun, first and foremost!

Part of the philosophy of this program is that teachers and students work together on technology based projects. To be perfectly honest, we've had limited success with this; teachers' schedules sometimes prevent them from investing time with us. A few teachers have really been generous with their time and effort, and the above link is the result of one such collaboration. Music teacher Cathy Janovjak met regularly with Jeremy, one of my sixth grade students, to develop a set of web pages. Today, they basically finished this project after months of hard work and Cathy was pleased as punch. She decided on this project initially because she wanted to be supportive of Jeremy, one of her chamber music students. During the course of working with him, Cathy also came to realize how useful her web pages could be to her music program, too. She had initially been ambivalent about web pages, but as she delved into the project, she became convinced of the value of a web site. Take a look around the site..Jeremy and Cathy posted pictures, helpful info regarding music stores and teachers, and copies of practice compositions authored by Ms. Janovjak.

I am so proud of both Cathy and Jeremy. Jeremy is an extraordinary student and techie. This year, he has grown so much and I've particularly enjoyed seeing his sense of humor become more apparent. I've also appreciated how Cathy has visited our class almost every Friday, always ready to work. This success of this project gives me faith that we can facilitate more of these collaborations.

By the way, Jeremy used RapidWeaver to design this web site. He did a lot of additional coding in HTML and made the cute musical favicon in Photoshop, I think.