Posts categorized "Ed Tech Resources" Feed

#CUEROCKSTAR Global PBL Resources

Hi All -

Anyone, including those not present in my workshops today, are welcome to join my Edmodo group, Project-Based Learning with a Global Focus. Use this link to join and I'll approve your membership:

Make sure to check out the four tabs of global learning resources that I've compiled in this Google sheet. Feel free to add any additional resources that you think are valuable. This is not an exhaustive list; I'll be adding to this frequently.



Modern Educators As Curators of Information

In this digital age, a vast array of information is at our fingertips via technology. We can instantaneously find news articles, research, videos, photos on every topic imaginable and beyond. A conundrum exists for these consumers of knowledge…while access to information is empowering, it is also potentially overwhelming, and thus people need to learn how to manage this content. No wonder Google’s mission is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful.

On a professional level, educators need a plan for managing teaching resources so that information is organized and accessible for themselves and their students. Modern educators acknowledge that information can be looked up at a moment’s notice and as a result, many believe that the rote memorization of facts and figures is becoming less of an important skill in today’s schools. Students need more time and guidance developing essential critical thinking skills, some specifically related to this digital age, including to the ability to search effectively, organize resources, distill this information and synthesize this content to produce new insights and materials. This is not your father’s Oldsmobile; 21st-century schools and teachers are shifting approaches to better meet the needs of their learners. No longer are teachers serving as “sages on stages”, but rather as “guides on the side”, giving students the tools and strategies needed to be successful in a rapidly changing world.

Within the educational technology industry, companies have been grappling with the problem of helping teachers organize and deliver materials to students. Teachers should experiment with a resulting plethora of tools and learning management systems in order to find the best fit for their instructional needs. When dabbling with these tools, teachers should carefully consider features and benefits for themselves and their students.

Some questions to think about:

  • What tools and platforms are essential to a modern teacher’s workflow?
  • How does a teacher locate, evaluate and keep track of high-quality teaching resources and primary source materials on the internet?
  • What’s the best method to organize these materials and maintain an easy to access system?
  • How can the process of content curation be made more efficient?
  • What tools allow teachers to collaborate with students and/or colleagues?

One website that teachers may want to try out is Participate Learning. Formerly known as Appolearning, this Chicago-based startup recently went through a re-branding process, adding some new and unique features. The Participate Learning platform contains a database of educational content that includes websites, videos, and linkable documents. Much of this content is vetted and tagged by regular contributing education experts; the Participate Learning community at large can also contribute to this database. It is searchable by grade level, subject area, and Common Core standards.

Once teachers find useful content within Participate Learning, these assets can be organized into collections. These collections can be made public to benefit others or be kept private; it is also possible to use and re-purpose the public collections of other Participate Learning users. New to collections is the ability to invite others to a collection to co-curate and privately discuss content. Here’s an overview:


Another new feature within Participate Learning is the ability to bookmark resources while conducting research on the internet. For instance, say you are surfing with the goal of finding primary resources for a lesson related to the Civil Rights Movement, you can use the Participate Learning Bookmarks Chrome extension to save resources directly to your Participate Learning account. Then, you can quickly organize these bookmarked links into collections. Here’s an explanation of how to accomplish this; you must be using Google’s Chrome web browser and the Participate Learning Bookmarks extension.


The last new feature in the Participate Learning makes this a platform that stands out from other social bookmarking options for educators; it is truly unique and useful. Participate Chats for Twitter allows you to select a predetermined Twitter chat hashtag, view and save a transcript from this chat, and curate resources referenced during the course of the Twitter chat. You can also directly participate in a Twitter chat right from the Participate Learning interface. Learn how to leverage Participate Chats here:


This is a much better solution than trying to keep up with fast-paced Twitter chats using clients such as Hootsuite, Tweetdeck, and the Twitter interface itself. And, there is no other tool that lets one grab resources cited in a Twitter chat exactly like this. With Participate Chats, you can save individual resources from a chat or you can harvest all links mentioned during a designated period of time and put it into a collection. Read more about the logic behind Participate Chats in this article by Participate Learning CEOAlan Warms.

No other social bookmarking solution has this Twitter chat integration and this feature makes Participate Learning particularly exciting to use. Prior to the introduction of Participate Learning, there have been few curation options specifically designed for educators. There are other social bookmarking options out there, but these have not necessarily been developed with educators in mind or improved with educators’ input and feedback. Keep an eye on the Participate Learning platform as its community grows and new features are added to further benefit students and teachers.

This is a Remind Reminder!

This is a reminder to try using the Remind app! This seemingly simple, free tool can transform your classroom or organization. 

In early 2012, I was introduced to Remind co-founder Brett Kopf as I was leading CoSN's mobile learning initiative at the time.  At the time, I was intrigued by his story and impressed that a local Chicagoan had gone on to make his mark on the world. 

If you're not familiar with Remind, it is an immensely popular communications platform for educators. I encourage you to sign up on the web for it or download the app for iOS or Android. Experiment with it from the teacher perspective (creator of a class) and the student perspective (person receiving messages). Remind is currently being used by 1 out of 5 U.S educators and it is a safe, simple and secure method for educators to communicate with families and students over the age of 13. From the web, you can schedule announcements and add attachments; on the app, you can also attach photos and voice memos. Recently, Remind announced that multi-owner groups a great feature for co-teachers; translation in six languages another feature being rolled out this fall.

Since August, I've been contracted to conduct educator outreach with Remind in the state of Illinois. This means that I'm available to meet with anyone interested in using this tool through the end of October 2015 and can provide no-cost training to teachers, administrators, coaches, parent groups, after school programs,  childcare workers and park district employees who are curious about using this tool to improve home/school communications. I'm willing to work with you and your colleagues to find the best method for supporting users in your school, district or organization. Email me at if I can be of help! 

During the last couple of months, I've been very impressed with Remind Connected Educators, a group of Remind power users, who continually demonstrate creative ways to use Remind. Many of their ideas are inspirational and would have never occurred to me. These teachers have gone beyond using Remind for basic class announcements and homework reminders. Recently, we held a Twitter chat on this topic, and you can see some of these ideas on this tagboard. I love how teachers are using Remind to send celebratory shoutouts to kids and parents, to communicate with families on field trips and student travel excursions, to participate in Twitter chats and even to engage students in class scavenger hunts. Administrators are also finding Remind to be invaluable for sending resources and morale boosters to faculty and for hosting "Asking Me Anything" chats for their school communities via Remind. 

I've been using Remind to share innovation resources and global education links on a daily basis. You are welcome to join either group, and you can see them embedded at the bottom of this blog post. 

  • To join my Illinois Ed Tech Innovator class, follow this link or text @iledtech to 81010.
  • To join my Global Education News class, follow this link or text @gecnews to 81010.

Here are some links to get started and I hope that you'll experiment with Remind and share potential uses on Twitter with the hashtag #RCEchat. 


GlobalEdCon Follow Up

Hope you enjoyed last week's conference!  Again, many thanks to our sponsors, keynotes, presenters, and mighty volunteers!

As we mentioned during the closing session on Friday, we are planning future events including a Global Education Summit in North Carolina this spring, followed by a Global Education Day just prior to the International Society for Technology in Education Conference (ISTE) in Atlanta, Georgia this June. If you are interested in sponsoring or helping to plan these events, contact Steve at 

Also, here are a few important reminders and resources for you to reference and pass along to friends and colleagues!


  • All recordings, including our closing session,  are located here:
  • Anyone can download the MP3 and MP4 files from the presentations and re-purpose them along as attribution is given to the presenter and it is for non-commercial purposes. See our Creative Commons license for details. 
  • Conference keynote presenations will be posted to YouTube as well: (Not all are up yet... stay tuned!)
  • Read here for information about requesting certificates.
    • Attendee certificates will also be given to those who watch the recordings post-conference.
    • Attendees must write a full paragraph (minimum) blog post describing what they learned from sessions attended in order to receive a certificate. 
    • Blog posts that just thank us for the conference or do not contain sufficient reflection will not count and will not be accepted. 
    • If requests do not meet our established criteria, you will not receive a certificate. It is the requester's responsiblity to read and follow directions and we cannot notify people if they have not followed the necessary steps.
    • Volunteer certificates are for those who moderated sessions, attended educator advisory board meetings, or who worked on projects comissioned by the conference co-chairs. 
    • All requests must be submitted by December 6, 2013 at 5 PM CST (GMT-6). Certificates will be sent or posted online on December 8, 2013.
  • Please consider signing the Charter for Compassion; information about becoming a Compassionate School and more educational resources are also available here. This Charter was discussed by Friday's keynote, Marilyn Turkovich


Carry on the spirit of the conference by contiuing to leverage the resources developed by our community. Here are a few quick links:

  • Read our crowdsourced A Declaration of the Value of Global Education
  • Recordings
  • Groups - We have many affinity groups for those interested in connecting with community members. There are groups for language teachers, primary teachers, higher education, Skype using teachers, etc. Feel free to create your own group on a topic of interest.
  • Ongoing Projects - Five group projects were established during the conference. Consider participating:
  • Discussion Forum - If you want to post a call for participation, solicity project partners, share a resource, or ask a question, please post in our discussions. This is a great place to connect with other GEC members. 
  • Social Media - We have several social media channels. Here are a few to check out.
    • Diigo (social bookmarking):
    • Pinterest:
    • (a daily digital newspaper):
    • YouTube:
    • Facebook:
    • Twitter:

Thanks again for your support,

Lucy Gray and Steve Haragdon

Conference Co-Chairs 

Wes Fryer: A One Man Blogging Machine at #blackfootetc


Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to keynote Blackfoot Telecommunications Group's Educational Technology Conference in Missoula, Montana, a place that I previously have not had the opportunity to visit.  I received this invitation,  thanks to Wesley Fryer who has been involved with this conference for the past couple of years.  

Montanan educators were attentive and interested in educational technology, and seemed dedicated and thoughtful about their craft. Most surprisingly to me, many of these teachers work in tiny schools, often with 15-20 student maximum, and are responsbile for teaching everything to their students. As a result, it seems that it's more difficult for students to slip through the cracks and I'm guessing that teachers have to be pretty accountable for making things work in these situations, too. I loved hearing about these teaching scenarios as my perspective was broadened in terms of what students and teachers across America, even in rural areas, are experiencing. It also made me think more about the idea of making "highly qualified" teachers available to all students. Here in the suburbs of Chicago, we take it for granted that our kids will have a Mandarin teacher or a Calculus teacher, but what happens in remote areas of our country where it might not be possible to recruit great teachers in these subject areas? Students in states with widely dispersed populations are going to definitely benefit from increased online opportunities, and this is another reason not to ingore the trend of virtual instruction.

Speaking of online instruction, Wesley introduced me to Jason Neiffer, curriculum director of the Montana Digital Academy, and Mike Agostinelli of Helena Public Schools. This duo gave a few compelling presentations (see Wesley's links below) and had dinner with us one night. Our conversations gave me further insight into Montana, and we started brainstorming ideas for a ed tech wilderness experience/retreat for similarly minded school leaders. Stay tuned to see if we go anywhere with this idea!

Mostly importantly, besides being my first visit to Montana, it also was my first experience working closely with Wes, and I'm happy to report that the entire experience really fun and enriching. If you've never gotten the Wes Fryer treatment during a conference, you are particularly missing out. He is one of the few people I know who still has the time and inclination to take detailed notes during events. The best part is that he posts these online almost immediately, and includes relevant links and recordings. As someone who gets nervous about being scrutnized professionally, I found Wes's blogging to be enormously helpful as he does this in the least judgemental way, and his posts help me determined if I covered salient points. Below are some of what he covered at the Blackfoot ETC and I think this is a tremendously valuable service. Additionally, Wesley also did one of the best keynotes I've seen him do over the past few years... he has really evolved and improved as a keynote speaker. So, this is an unsolicited plug for Wes in terms of the education conference circuit... I think he'd be invaluable for his speaking skills and for participating in the conference experience along with attendees. 

Check out some of the highlights of the Blackfoot Educational Technology Conference, courtsey of Wesley Fryer:

Wes's Professional Wiki

Educational Podcasts from Blackfoot ETC

Using Social Media to Improve Classroom and School Communications

Exploring Instructional Uses of YouTube (my session)

Mobile E-Book Options

Digital Textbooks Using iBooks

30 in 60: 30 Tools for Tech Savvy Teachers

Getting Your Game On

Beyond Search ( my session)

Mobilizing Learning

My Flickr Photos of the Blackfoot ETC

Lucy's Edublog Awards Nominees #eddies11

  • Best individual blog

Scott McLeod's Dangerously Irrelevant

I appreciate Scott M's fearlessness.

  • Best individual tweeter

Scott Newcomb at @SNewco

Scott N. continually spreads his love for mobile learning via Twitter. He's always generous with re-tweets and acknowledging others. 

  • Best group blog


Great blogging idea!

  • Best ed tech / resource sharing blog


Very interesting newsletter and web site from my friend, Betsy Corcoran. Love how EdSurge is bridging the gap between educators and Silicon Valley.

  • Best School Administrator blog


  • Best free web tool

Google Apps for Education

I use Google Apps daily. This suite is truly transforming how students and teachers work. 

  • Best educational wiki

Horizon Report:  K12 Edition Wiki

The Horizon Report continues to be a relied upon resource for schools as they navigate educational technology headwaters. I love the process for compiling this report (I've served on their advisory board for the K12 report)  and also love NMC's Horizon Report Project Navigator

  • Best educational use of a social network

Making Curriculum Pop

One of my favorite nings where one can find fantastic ideas for livening up their teaching. 

  • Lifetime achievement

Diane Ravitch and Deborah Meier

These ladies keep us thinking and honest in education. 

ITSC - Beyond Search

Download ITSCsearch

My many, many slides for my Beyond Search presentation tomorrow. I swear this is a hand-on session! Download the presentation from Slideshare or the PDF from Scribd and follow along. Links in these documents should be live.

We also will be creating a search scavenger hunt on this Google Doc. Feel free to add your own items for this.



Beyond Search - ITSC Conference
View more presentations from Lucy Gray.

ITSC Beyond Search

Friday 5: Literacy

Since reviving the Friday 5, my plan is to start with re-visiting basic content areas with a few links worth exploring. In the past few weeks, I've covered math and science; today's featured topic is literacy.

1. Voice of Literacy

Podcasts by literacy researchers on the implications of their work in classrooms. I think this is a great way to bridge the gap between research and practice and the design of the site makes it very easy to listen and share podcasts. Wouldn't it be fun to have a similar site dedicated to discussing educational technology research?

2. K-2 Writing Interactives

Links to some high quality sites for helping kids with writing.

3. Leading to Read

Activities for early childhood from RIF.

4. Kids on the Net

This is a great site for encouraging kids to write and publish. One activity that looks particular fun is their interactive Monster Motel:

5. Woodlands Literacy Zone

Another site from the UK that contains tons of links for every language arts skill imaginable.

Re-visiting My Newsreaders

This is a follow up to Finding and Managing Stuff, a post  I wrote in January about organizing sources of information.  A friend recently mentioned that she wanted to get started following that advice, but hadn't had time. My suggestion for her is to start with developing a newsreader, and attached to this post is a file that will save her a huge amount of time in getting this started.

Newsreaders are tools where you can follow multiple blogs, news, Twitter feeds etc. in one spot. The technology behind newsreaders is called RSS and the analogy that's often used is newsreaders are like magazines. You can go out to the newsstand and purchase a magazine, but it's much easier to have the magazine come to you via a subscription. Newsreaders allow you to subscribe to a variety of sources of information and then you can access this stuff in one spot. New items pop up in your reader as they are published, too, eliminating the need to manually check web sites to see if there's new content.

Back in 2005, I started using the application called NetNewsWire as my news reader. I still like it as I find it easy to organize subscriptions in this tool, although I do use Google Reader as well as it has some other features.  I haven't fallen in love with Google Reader, but it works well enough, particularly on mobile phones.

Over the course of the past couple of years, I've been relying more and more on Facebook as my de facto newsreader (and Twitter somewhat), and it's become easier to manage with tools such as PostPost. Facebook is a great way to stumble upon news items, but I recently came to the realization that I still have a need to monitor some blogs and news sites a bit more closely. I used to subscribe to everything that came my way, but I'm now thinking that a carefully vetted set of resources would better suit my current research needs.

Thus, I'm returning to my newsreaders and plan to spend more time utilizing them in my work. NetNewsWire will still be a place where I subscribe to everything, but a more vetted set of news sources will be in my Google Reader feed. Over the weekend, I went through my current subscriptions and weeded out defunct blogs etc and created  a streamlined set. I exported it into OMPL format and this file can be imported into any newsreader.

To import the attached OMPL file  into your newsreader, download this file (Download LucyRSS). Then, go to Google Reader, login, and click on the Settings link in the upper right hand corner. Select Reader Settings, Import/Export, and then browse to the downloaded OPML file. Click on the upload button, and you'll be good to go.

The selected feeds in my OPML file are a mix with a strong focus on technology, education, and news. I subscribe to a variety of sources (Delicious, Diigo, Twitter, YouTube,regular web sites) to show how one can follow different types of information. If some of the feeds are not interesting to you, delete them from Google Reader by going to Settings>Subscriptions and editing as needed.

Hope someone out there will find this useful, and let me know if you are able to start using Google Reader now that you have some resources to follow!




My Edublogger Award Nominations!

Edublogger Awards

A few shout outs to people and resources that I admire!

Best Teacher blog: Dolores Gende

Best individual blog:  Always Learning

Best individual tweeter: Karen Blumberg

Best group blog: Bridging Differences

Best resource sharing blog: Box of Tricks

Most influential blog post: We Can't Let Teachers Off the Hook

Best teacher blog: Journey in Technology

Best librarian / library blog: Joyce Valenza's Never Ending Search

Best educational tech support blog: Tech Ease

Best elearning / corporate education blog: Search ReSearch

Best educational use of audio:  Lit2Go

Best educational wiki: TeacherWeb2

Best educational podcast: Lab Out Loud

Best educational webinar series: Classroom 2.0 Live

Best educational use of a social networking: New Media Literacies Community

Lifetime achievement: Steve Haragdon


The Ning Debacle: It's Not About the Money (entirely)

Today, I sent out a blast in the Global Education Collaborative about the changes to Ning's pricing. Read more about it here, but the social network creation company is experiencing financial difficulties which have led to layoffs and the discontinuation of all previously free networks created on its platform. A plan is supposed to emerge within 2 weeks, and new APIs and features are expected within 90 days. Not soon enough, I say.

I started the Global Education Collaborative using the Ning platform in 2007 after being inspired by the success of Steve Hargadon's Classroom 2.0 Ning. My site has grown slowly, but steadily, and our membership hovers around 3500 members. Steve's Ning has an astounding 40,000 educators interested utilizing new and emerging technologies within his online community. Ning has changed the way I connect to other teachers, probably almost as much as Twitter. 

This afternoon as the news got out, it was fascinating to see people's reactions over Twitter. I followed a search in Twitter (#ning) and read everything from people truly shocked to others who thought it was high time people were expected to pay to others offering jobs to the laid off Ning workers. This is another example of how news can unfold via Twitter.

My first reaction was to panic and to chide myself for relying too heavily on a tool that inevitably was going to evaporate in some form. I thought about our members and how we would lose many if we moved to another platform; I thought about the all the content accrued in the GEC, too. I also thought about the current fee to have ads removed which is $19.95 per month. A friend emailed me to basically state that it's only fair to pay for services that are of high quality. I agree, but I believe that's from a business perspective, not an education perspective.

Here's essentially what I wrote in response with some edits: 

Educators pay out of pocket for many items that they are never reimbursed for, and generally, they are paid much less than other professionals. Educators pour tons of manpower hours into cultivating these networks as well. There are also many non-profits who are looking for affordable, preferably free, methods of connecting with their communities. The word of mouth support for Ning from these groups is huge, and should be valued by Ning.

Wikispaces has long had a policy of making ad-free wikis available to educators because they know the intangible value of having teachers use their product. They know that educators will spread the good word and will provide feedback to them about Wikispaces. I'm wondering if Ning has ever valued educators; many of us thought this when Steve Hargadon was let go as their education evangelist last year.

The most troubling part of Ning's announcement to me was that it was announced with no plan in place. People would not be freaking out if a transition plan had been made publicly available immediately. It should have been publicized in tandem with the announcement. I think teachers would pay if such a plan existed; we are not about free loading and know that if something is of quality, it's worth a reasonable price. 

One GEC member responded to my announcement in the Global Education Collaborative that several charities in Africa that he worked with had Nings and he would no longer continue with the company if they started to charge. Just think of all the good work that is going on around the world (where people AREN'T getting paid for their efforts) that may stop as a result of this decision. 

The bottom line is, however, that we'll just have to wait until see what plans unfold. I hope Ning is listening carefully to its user base. If you are interested in sharing stories and thoughts about this, please take my survey and you can also see the results here

Midwest Tech Forum 2009 Handout

Check out the handout for my portion of the Web 2.0 panel at Tech Forum Midwest tomorrow! This is intended to be a short overview of Web 2.0 and its implications for education. I've also included some web sites and readings for further exploration. Lucy Gray • Tech Forum - Midwest 2009 Lucy Gray • Tech Forum - Midwest 2009 Lucy Gray This is a handout I created for Tech Forum - Midwest in 2009. It gives a definition of Web 2.0 and the implications of such tools in education. Find recommended tools and resources in this handout.

Education Week: Districts Weigh Benefits and Drawbacks of Setting Up Student E-Mail Accounts

Link: Education Week: Districts Weigh Benefits and Drawbacks of Setting Up Student E-Mail Accounts.

Ironically enough in the same week, I subscribed to Edweek, my sister-in-law was interviewed by them on P16 stuff, and then I myself was interviewed for an article on email in schools. I had a lot more to say (isn't that a surprise if you know me) about this topic, but I think Katie did a nice job with an overview of some of the issues and uses. My bottom line is that either we teach kids to use these tools in an appropriate context or we will have to prepare for a slew of other problems resulting from miseducation (or noneducation) about technology. I'm increasingly concerned about school districts who lock down tools and resources in the name of protecting students; they should be looking at how to manage tools and resources effectively in my opinion.

Anyway, my sister-in-law's piece should be published in August or Septmember, I think, and I'll post the link here when it's available.

Friday 5: 100th Day of School

We're celebrating the 100th day of school at my new school next Monday. I put together a list of resources for our staff and I thought I'd share them here as well.

Work life has been unexpectedly busy and I hope to get around to publishing the Friday 5 more frequently!

Lucy Gray
subscribe to the Friday 5 at:

Education World: Celebrate the 100th Day in 100 Ways

One Hundredth Day of School Activities, Crafts and Printouts from Enchanted Learning
Enchanted Learning has been one of my favorite early childhood sites for many years. They also have some great world languages resources.

ReadWriteThink: February 15, 2008: Celebrate the 100th Day of School!
ReadWriteThink has a calendar linked to various lessons and web-based activities for kids.

Celebrate the 100th Day of School! See What Life Was Like 100 Years Ago! PowerPoint SlideshowThis slideshow includes pictures of commonly known people and objects contrasted between 1908 and 2008 which might foster a great conversation about how things have changed in the course of a century.

100th Day of School Homepage
One stop shopping for all things related to this unofficial school holiday!

Starfall's 100th Day of School
Starfall is a classic site for many interactive reading activities for young children.

This is an interesting  web-based tool that could be used for 100 day activities.

Counting on and back in ones and tens
Another tool to demonstrate counting which could be especially useful for lessons involving interactive white boards or projectors.

SMART - 100 Square - for use with SMARTboards

CanTeach: Songs & Poems - 100th Day of School

100th Day of School Printables from ABC Teach

Robomance: An iStopmotion Production

Fellow ADE Dan Schmit and I attended a stop motion workshop at Macworld sponsored by Boinx software, the creators of iStopMotion. The workshop was held at the Zeum, a very cool digital technology space for kids. For pictures of how the Zeum sets up its space for visiting school groups to do stop motion animation, check out my Flickr photos.

Here's our first attempt at this type of animation. We used previously created figures from the Zeum.

Friday 5: Pageflakes

I've been wrestling with a quick and easy way to direct students to relevant web sites. Our new web site management system is great, but a little clunky for quickly adding links. We have a wiki that will serve as a repository for curricular resources, but again, it takes time to add links to this. I also have envisioned one page of links for kids to reference, so that little ones in particular do not have to do a lot of web browser navigating.

So, the other day after speaking with technoguru principal, Tim Lauer, about how he keeps web sites up to date on his school's machines, I decided to try Pageflakes (

Here is a tutorial wiki on Pageflakes that explains everything you
need to know:

Techwithme: PageFlakes for Education

And, here are the ones I created for teachers at NKO focused on
currently taught math topics:

NKO Pageflakes Home

PreK-1 Cluster

2-3 Cluster

4-5 Cluster

Research and Resources

Fun For Kids

Teacher Sites

These pages are works in progress, so stay tuned!

Wishing you all a happy and healthy New Year,

Lucy Gray

P.S. - Remember you can subscribe to the Friday 5 via email at!

Fast Company Blog Post on Education & Technology

Education: Technology -- Academic Godsend or Demon?  Annotated


"At age 55, Professor Nazemi stands on the far shore of a new sort of generational divide between teacher and student. This one separates those who want to use technology to grow smarter from those who want to use it to get dumber."

  • I follow Fast Company's Twitter feed, and tonight I followed a link to a blog post entitled Education: Technology -- Academic Godsend or Demon which gives a good, brief description of the dilemma faced by most ed tech professionals: What makes the use of technology compelling? Why engage in something that can be done just as well in a low tech way? I think I'll refer to this post in my preso next weekend in Palm Springs. I particularly like this quote, "At age 55, Professor Nazemi stands on the far shore of a new sort of
        generational divide between teacher and student. This one separates
        those who want to use technology to grow smarter from those who want to
        use it to get dumber."
        Incidentally, I highlighted this quote and wrote annotations to myself using Diigo. I am now posting these annotations directly to my blog! I think I am going to like this tool.
        - post by elemenous

Friday 5: Special Mystery Guest: ELL

Hi All -

Larry Ferlazzo has put together tremendous resources for teachers and students. He teaches Social Studies and English to English Language Learners and native-English speakers at Luther Burbank High School in Sacramento, CA.  He was named the Grand Prize Winner of the 2007 International Reading Association Presidential Award For Reading and Technology.  He has a website with over 7,000 categorized links accessible to English Language Learners and younger native English speakers at and a blog ( where he daily shares new content added to the website. A few months ago, I shared his student examples page ( l) with Friday 5 readers; it's helpful because I'm always seeking concrete examples of student technology use. Thanks, Larry, for sharing your expertise with us!

Lucy Gray


1) Oxford University Press -- Student   Sites
Hundreds, and probably thousands, of online   English language development activities for all levels.
2) Peace Corps English Teaching Manuals
I think the teaching manuals the Peace Corps   has developed for teaching English as a second language are extraordinarily   helpful to teachers.
3) Starfall
The best online site to teach reading to   beginning English Language Learners or young native speakers to read..
4) Dvolver Moviemaker
A great site for students to develop their   writing skills in a fun and creative way by creating simple movies.
5) Hello World English
A site for beginning English Language Learners   to learn basic "survival" English.
6) English 180
A very good site for both Beginning and   Intermediate English Language Learners with graduated lessons.
7) English Interactive
Another excellent site for both Beginning and   Intermediate English Language Learners with exercises at various levels.
  You can subscribe to the Friday 5 at or read it in my blog:

Friday 5: Ning

Hey Everyone -

A year or two ago, during the early stages of my foray into Web 2.0 applications,  I was introduced to a web site that I really didn't quite get called Ning. My vague recollection of the original Ning was that one could create various items to share with others such as a list of books. I recall exploring it a bit, not finding it particularly user friendly or compelling, and setting it aside for other Web 2.0 tools.

Fellow ITM blogger Steve Hargadon revived my interest in Ning last spring. Using Ning, he created two online communities that I joined, and I found that this social networking tool had completely changed since my initial exploration. In a nutshell, anyone can create a customized space online, make it public or private, and invite others to participate via threaded discussions, the sharing of multimedia, and posting of blog entries. Ning communities can be further embellished with all sorts of web widgets that are available from third party developers as well.

I am fascinated by how quickly Steve's Classroom 2.0 Ning caught on. Since March 2007, nearly 3000 educators have joined this group which focuses on using Web 2.0 tools (Flickr,, Google Docs & Spreadsheets are examples of this). For some reason the format put forth by Ning seems conducive to participation by others. Several worthwhile communities have since developed and I thought I'd share them with you this week.

I think Ning is a powerful tool because it makes it easy for educators to take charge of their professional development by interacting virtually with other like-minded souls. For instance, I've had answers to questions within hours, been directed to great edtech resources, philosophized with online colleagues about the state of education, and even met many of my fellow "friends" on Ning in person at conferences. My personal network has grown substantially because of this.

Keep your eye on Ning as it is still being developed and additional features are frequently announced. Recently, Steve started another group that focuses just on the uses of Ning within education. Ning wasn't necessarily developed as an education tool, but it seems teachers have found their Ning experiences worthwhile and are eager to try it out in their classrooms. Something has to be done about advertising within Ning sites before I will try it out with younger students, but in the meantime, it's a great tool for working with adults or maybe even high schoolers.

I hope you'll check out the following Ning groups and consider joining one or two! Let me know if you know of any other good Nings!


Lucy Gray


1) School 2.0

This is one of Steve Hargadon's original Ning sites and it focuses on rethinking schools under 21st century terms.

2) Classroom 2.0

Here's a very active group in which people explore the use of emerging technologies in education.

3) Ning in Education

4) Global Education Collaborative

Yes, this is a shameless plug for a Ning that I started and have been nurturing. If you're interested in global education related topics, this is the Ning for you. Many educators from around the world have joined this adventure and are in need of global collaborative partners. If you are looking for resources, projects, and ideas, this is the place for you! We will be holding our first online meeting this Sunday evening CST. Email me if you're interested in participating.

5) Literacy Coaches

Matthew Needleman's new literacy site is designed to support coaches in his district using the Open Court reading series, but it is open to everyone and growing! Literacy coaching is a fairly new concept to me and I'm interested in it as its practiced in my new set of schools.

6) Open Education

Learn more about Open University's open source courses and materials here.

7) Library 2.0

A plethora of librarians have gathered here to share ideas and resources.

8) Learning 2.0 Conference

This event is taking place right now in Shanghai. Isn't is amazing how we can now follow along and learn virtually? This is the Ning that interests me the most right now!

Global Education Collaborative Meeting #1

I'm playing around with this very cool video conferencing tool called FlashMeeting. It's sponsored by Open University, I think, which hosts all sorts of open source content and courses. FlashMeeting is used for research purposes, so you to submit an application to be able to book through them, and meetings are recorded. Anyway, I'm hosting my first FlashMeeting this Sunday evening (September 16th 8PM CST)to discuss global education efforts; please consider joining and sharing any ideas that you may have. The meeting will be available for viewing when we're finished, too.

If you need more info, please contact me or check out the Global Education Collaborative ning.

Friday 5: Math Mania

Hi All -

Just a quick list of some recent math related finds.

Have a great weekend,

Lucy Gray


1. Rainforest Maths

I thought this site was better than typical drill types; nice sets of visuals accompany math problems organized by grade level. The same web author publishes a math dictionary and a writing help site. You can find these links at the bottom of the Rainforest Maths home page.

2. Intermath

This is a project from the state of Georgia that seeks to improve the content knowledge of middle school math teachers. I was struck by the links within lessons to "constructionaries", small web demonstrations of various mathematical principles. The lessons seem to refer in general to many interactive sites including Interactivate, a site dedicated to math and science interactive tools. This page, in particular, has some great tools.

3. That Quiz

Create customized online math quizzes for students and track their progress at this web site.

4. Countdown

This is a video library of math TV shows produced at Loyola University in Chicago. I used to watch this show with my students two schools ago, and I think it's great that the materials are now archived online.

5.'s Homework Help Everyday Math

Everyday Math is a popular math program currently used in my previous and current schools.

6. Everyday Math Resources - Center School District

Find more resources here for using the Everyday Math series.

Don't forget that you can subscribe to the Friday 5 at:

Friday 5: Back to School 2007

Hi All -

Here are a few sites to jump start your school year.


Lucy Gray

A few reminders about the Friday 5 list:

A) I try to publish a thematic list of useful web sites each week. Sometimes I annotate entries, but this depends on how busy I am. To subscribe to the list, visit Archives are browsable, too.

B) You can also read the Friday 5 in my blog:

C) If you have an idea for a theme, email your suggestions to me.

D) If you'd like to be a special mystery guest and submit a list for the group's perusal, also email me and we'll discuss a potential topic and date. Last year, we enjoyed lists on everything from Google Sketchup and Architecture (Fred Bartels) to digital scrapbooking (Rae Niles and Marianne Handler). Thanks to everyone who joined in!

On to this week's list.....

1) Beloit College's Annual Mindset List

When I was a student at Beloit, this annual tradition was nonexistent. The list is now 10 years old, and is designed to give faculty of a cultural sense of the incoming freshman class. You can look at's history of who has bookmarked this site, and the user notes crack me up. Nearly all the comments are on how this list makes people feel old. Do you remember when car windows used to roll down?  ( ADEs who were on the global awareness trip last summer should note #1 on the list!)

2) Chalkboard Message Generator

This is an entry from the Generator blog, which lists a gazillion types of fun generators. Here, you can put a custom message on a chalkboard graphic to use in a blog, web site, or presentation.

3) Classroom Organization and Set Up - Tips for Classroom Organization

4) Librarians' Picks: Back to School

Here's a good bibliography of school related titles from the Ann Arbor public library.

5) Free Stuff for Teachers

This site is a little heavy on worksheets for my taste, but there's a ton of practical stuff to be found here.

6) Proteachers Ideas Back to School Ideas

Field Trips 2.0 Project

I am part of a group of teachers working on a project that we plan on submitting to the Apple Learning Interchange. Specifically, this project focuses on the idea of reinventing field trips as we traditionally know them. We'd like to show teachers how to plan effectively for mobile learning experiences, what great excursions look like, and help them kick field trips up a notch by taking advantage of collaborative opportunities, digital tools, and web-based resources.

Interested educators are welcome to join our project. There are a couple of ways you and/or your colleagues can help:

1) Add bookmarks to our resource collection in by tagging any great links with the tag: Fieldtrips2.0.

2) Let us link to your educational blogs, blog posts, and Google Earth files that deal with your own field trip experiences. We also would love links to geocaching projects. We will post your name and school along with any links you send.

3) Participate in a group audio and/or video. We want to record a conversation, preferably using iChat AV, between multiple educators on how to make a field trip work, particularly when using Apple stuff and other digital equipment.

Send any of us an email indicating strands of interest if you'd like to participate. Additional details will then follow.

Thanks in advance,

Lucy Gray - University of Chicago Charter School
Judy Beaver - Punahou School
Andrew Gardner - The School at Columbia
Julene Reed - St. George's Independent Schools
Mike Searson - Kean University

Websites for Image - Google Docs & Spreadsheets

Link: Websites for Image - Google Docs & Spreadsheets.

I'm developing a list of essential sites for teachers and students that will used with browsers on computer images at my new school. Take a look at this list, which is a little rough, and make suggestions in the comments of this blog. Or, email me, and I'll add you as a collaborator! Thanks to ADE Leslie S. who's already added sites!

Friday 5: Getting Ready for NECC 2007

Hi All -

Sorry for the dearth of activity on this listserv, but it's been a busy few weeks. I'm heading across the Midway Plaisance to a new job at the University of Chicago Center for Urban School Improvement, and it's been a stressful time making the decision to leave my current school. I'll be the Lead Technology Coach for the Center, working two days a week at one of four charter schools which are operated under the umbrella of the University. The rest of my time will be devoted to designing and implementing a technology professional development plan for all four charters run by USI. I am going to miss Lab very much, but I'll stay connected as my children will still attend school there. I am really grateful for the opportunity to have taught at Lab. My students and colleagues have been amazing, and I am appreciative of all that I have learned.

Anyway, I'm in the midst of preparing for the National Educational Computing Conference, which starts a week from tomorrow in Atlanta, Georgia. I'll be running a workshop for Apple with Julene Reed of St. George's Schools in Memphis, Tennessee, as well as participating in two panel presentations. I should also be floating around the Apple booth at various times, so stop by and say hello if you are attending the conference.

If you are not able to attend NECC, check out the following resources for following the conference virtually. I'll be publishing the Friday 5 on a more regular basis once life slows down a bit!

Take care,

Lucy Gray

1) NECC 2007 Flickr Group

Check out this link in the next week or so to see images taken by conference attendees. Flickr groups also allow for discussions, so you might catch some comments as well.

2) HitchHikr: NECC 2007

David Warlick has set up a service for aggregating conference information. Visit this page, and you'll see everything related to NECC that's been tagged with the keywords necc, neccprep, and necc2007.

3) NECC Podcasts and Web Casts

Several sessions have been selected to be podcasted or webcasted. I'm not sure how quickly these files will be published, though. I'm guessing Apple will also publish podcasts in the Conference Connections section of the Apple Learning Interchange, too.

4) NECC Bloggers

Many people have signed up to have links to their blogs posted on the NECC web site. These people, myself included, will be posting thoughts and reactions to the conference.

5) Lucy's Global Stuff
I'll be conducting a workshop on collaborative tools used to foster global awareness. I've created several resources that we will demonstrate. Feel free to jump in and add content, or just follow our progress as we add information.

The Global Education Collaborative Ning Group

The Global Education Collaborative Discussion Group | Google Groups

Flickr: The Global Education Collaborative

The Global Education Collaborative Wiki

Friday 5: TeacherTube

Friday 5 : TeacherTube

Hi All-

TeacherTube  is a new service for educators to upload and view educational content. Here are several videos worth watching!

Have a great weekend,

Lucy Gray


1) Did You Know

2) Pay Attention

3) Why Let Our Students Blog?

4) Riddle iMovie Step 1

5) Homage to Magritte

6) Inspiration Software with Math Instruction

7) Constitution Day 2006

8) Poetry and Multimedia

9) Dinoland

10) Digital Students @ Analog Schools

11) When I Become A Teacher - This is my all-time favorite. I couldn't find it on TeacherTube, but here it is on YouTube.

Google Scavenger Hunt for Middle Schoolers

I'm so excited about a spur of the moment project I started today in my sixth grade computer science class. We just finished group reports in our millennial/computer terms wiki, and our next topic to cover is graphing. For the past two quarters, I've done a rather dry assignment involving temperatures of cities around the world in Google Docs and Spreadsheets. I decided I wanted to explore an Ogle Earth blog posting forwarded by Chris Walsh to the GCT community, and I began by trying out the Google LookUp formula within Google Spreadsheets. Essentially, you enter certain search terms into this formula, data is found by Google, and entered into the specified cell. See this blog posting in the official Google blog for more information and check out the hunt itself. I need to add more complete directions and polish it a bit, but I may post about this over at the Infinite Thinking Machine when the project is finished. So far, my students' reactions have been really positive... they had no idea about the calculator features in Google Search and many said that this alone would help them with their homework. Another thing to note is a suggestion from my colleague, Marty. She thought it would be great to use autofill with this Lookup formula, to say, find statistics for a set of pro baseball players. Unfortunately, autofill doesn't seem to be a feature with Google Spreadsheets yet!

Friday 5: More Cool Tools

Friday 5: More Cool Tools

Hi Everyone -

In February, I had the opportunity to help with the second Google Teacher's Academy in New York. Along with two other GTA leaders, I participated in a "Cool Tools Duel" in which we presented a couple of our favorite edtech resources. Everyone present then voted via applause for the overall favorite. This activity inspired a long list of other cool tools within the Google Certified Teachers community, and I thought I'd share a few of my favorites this week. The third Google Teachers Academy just wrapped this week in Southern California, so welcome to any new Google Certified Teachers who may have joined the Friday 5!

Enjoy and think summer,

Lucy Gray

1) VoiceThread

This site was recommended recently by my ADE friend, Valerie Becker, and I'm looking forward to exploring it further. At VoiceThread, you upload photos (or directly import them from your Flickr account) and a slide show is created. You then can add audio and text narration, and have others comment on the photos in a similar manner. Check out this document for information on how you can set up VoiceThread to for classroom use.

2) Gliffy

Here's an online alternative for concept mapping. There are some nice Web 2.0-like features in Gliffy, such as the ability to blog about a drawing as well as to add collaborators to a file. Via Chris Walsh.


Create multimedia, interactive time lines for free at this web site. This is a nice resource for personal use because several sets of guiding questions regarding various life scenarios are presented. For instance, there is a set of travel questions that will lead you to reflect and document on a trip. Via Kevin Jarrett.

4) Math Thinking Blocks

This is an online visualization tool for helping students with math. In the module I sampled, I was given a story problem in which I had to figure out the total cost of two items. I was guided through three steps to solve this problem which included visual guides and feedback. I found this to be a really unusual as well as useful tool for helping students with math. You really need to try this one out!  Via Kevin Jarrett.

5) The Generator Blog

This was suggested in the GCT community by Alix Pleshette. This blog contains a growing list of web sites in which you can generate general silliness. For instance, you can add your own picture to an image of a cereal box, make a banner for a web page, or create your own customized Hollywood sign. You might want to screen any of the sites listed here first before using with students, though. Some of them do not look appropriate for kids.

To subscribe to the Friday 5 Google Group, visit this page.

NECC 2007 Workshop Resources

Excuse multiple crossposts -

Julene Reed and I are teaching a workshop at NECC on global collaboration, and I've set up a series of resources to demonstrate during this class. I hope that these resources will live on as people become interested in sharing resources used to teach global awareness concepts. Please consider jumping in and joining any of these groups. Some of them are already seeded with material, but others are just getting started. Feel free to pass this info on to anyone you know that also might be interested.

If you are presenting on a simliar topic at NECC, please think about "crosspollinating" material in these spaces as well.

1) Global Education Ning group

2) Global Education Flickr group

3) Global Ed Google Group

4) Global Education Collaborative Wikispace

5) I'm tagging any resources I bookmark with the tag globalawareness in Furl and in

6) Google Calendar for Global Education - enter your NECC global awareness events here, for instance.

If you think of other similar resources we should include, please send me suggestions.  Thanks!!!

Friday 5: Will Richardson Workshop

Friday 5: Best of Will Richardson

Hi All -

On Friday and Saturday, teachers and administrators from several area independent schools gathered at the Francis Parker School here in Chicago to learn from classroom blogging guru, Will Richardson. Will is a former high school teacher and early adopter of Web 2.0 technologies, now consulting in school districts across the country. His blog, Weblogg-ed, is widely read by many educators. All in all, it was a productive and enlightening workshop; this week's list represents a handful of sites that were discussed.

Take care,

Lucy Gray


1) Gcast

Gcast is a podcast hosting service. Users can make recordings via phone amongst many other features.

2) Wikinomics

This is the accompanying web site to a popular book written by Don Tapscott and Anthony Williams. Will recommended this business book as its message apparently has potential implications for education. Interestingly, the web site includes a blog and a wiki where community members are authoring additional chapters of the book.

3) Remote Access blog by Clarence Fisher

Will referenced Clarence's work several times during the workshop. There's an interesting graphic on emerging technologies and services included in Clarence's May 5 post.

4) 21Classes

Will consulted on this student-friendly blogging service.

5) A Web of Connections: Why the Read/Write Web Changes Everything

Will relies on wikis for presentations nowadays, not slideware.

While browsing sites during the workshop, I found two others worth sharing that were not directly a part of the workshop:

6) Using Google Earth for Earth Science and Remote Sensing

7) Celebration of Teaching and Learning: Multimedia Resources from Thirteen/WNET and WLIW

This conference had a great line-up of speakers. For those of us unable to attend in person, videos of several presentations are online for viewing.

The Global Education Collaborative

Link: The Global Education Collaborative.

Excuse the multiple cross-postings on various listservs etc....

Please consider joining a Ning community on global education:

At the National Educational Computing Conference to be held in Atlanta, Georgia this June, fellow Apple Distinguished Educator Julene Reed and I will be hosting a workshop on global collaboration. I plan on utilizing a variety of tools and resources throughout this hands-on class, including Ning, a service that allows one to establish a custom social networking site. I am hoping to seed this site with people and content in preparation for this workshop, and I would like to invite anyone to jump in and participate.

I've made a few prior attempts at creating an online meeting space for those interested in global collaboration which included the establishment of a .Mac group and a blog. While I still plan on posting to these resources, I think this environment might be more inviting because it allows for the posting of photos, videos, and RSS feeds. Users can make their own custom personal pages, contribute to discussion forums, network with other like-minded individuals, and comment on these features. I've been inspired by the success of Steve Hargadon's Classroom 2.0 and School 2.0 Ning communities, particularly by the forum conversations in the Classroom 2.0 one.

I also hope that this will also serve as a hub for anyone who will be presenting at conferences on various global education topics. Please consider uploading any relevant files including presentation slides. You can upload slides to sites such as SlideShare and Scribd, which I think, will give you the html code to embed videos in a Ning community. If you need help with any of this, just let me know.. it's pretty easy. Of course, you can probably also save slideshows as Quicktime files and upload them directly, too.

Please let me know if you have any questions...

Continue reading "The Global Education Collaborative" »

Friday 5: Using Chat and Instant Messaging in the Classroom

My students have found me online. I haven't decided if this is a good thing, or not, quite yet, but it definitely has me to thinking about using chat and instant messaging to communicate with students.

In my sixth grade computer science class, our discussion about instant messaging started when a student asked me about my user name for a class wiki project. I explained that I use the same user name (elemenous) for all my accounts, including the AOL Instant Messaging service (AIM), and my students perked up immediately. They were surprised that a teacher, of all people, actually used AIM, and I bet one class that many more teachers use an instant messaging service than they realized. I also explained that I use chat regularly to communicate with other teachers around the world, and that it's been wonderful tool for exchanging files and learning from other educators.

So, since this discussion, the number of kids instant messaging me after school has jumped from 1 kid last week to about 8 kids last night. I think I had 4 different chat windows open on my computer, and it was difficult for me to multitask. I noticed that the conversations are markedly different than the ones I have with adults. When I chat with an adult, I usually am pinging them for a specific reason such as tech help or to share a resource. With kids, however, it seems as if they are sort aimlessly IMing each other and me. This is a social tool for them, and they must be chatting with lots of other people because often our conversations go dead as if they were busy elsewhere. Sixth graders, IMHO, have not learned the fine art of  carrying on an online conversation. Interestingly enough, though, one of my students told me that most of the grade-level "drama" happens within instant messaging conversations after school. One kid said he's learned to hit certain keys to quit IMing quickly when his mother approaches as he's not supposed to be online during homework time. Another kid said his mother took away his keyboard because she thought his computer habits were too distracting for him. (I'm making a mental note of this tactic for when my children hit middle school.) It's fascinating to see how important this tool has become to kids; I feel like I've been let into the club a bit as they have been reaching out to me via IMing.

Generally, I think using instant messaging and chat rooms in the context of learning is not something most teachers want to incorporate into their curricula; it's a matter of digital natives versus digital immigrants. We immigrants have been slow to realize that this tool is wildly popular amongst adolescents, and that if we frame its use properly, chatting via instant messaging or inchat rooms might actually empower learning. So this week, I've compiled a slew of related articles that might help you understand this phenomenon.

Take care and have a great weekend,

Lucy Gray

1)   Strategies For Using Chat
Academic Distance Learning Center, Webster University, Saint Louis, Missouri

2)    Let's Chat: Chat Rooms in Elementary School

3)   Educause | Resources | Resource Center Abstract

4)   PC World - Internet Tips: A Grown-Up's Guide to Instant Messaging

5)   Moving at the Speed of Creativity>Blog Archive> The Case for Instant Messaging in the Classroom

6)   Experimental College at Tufts | Instant Messaging: R U Online! RU? | By Robert Farmer

7)     Spiral Notebook > IM in the Mood for Chat

8)     Apple - Education - iChat AV and iSight in the Classroom: Lesson Plans

9)     iChatCollaboration.pdf from Goochland County Public Schools

Friday 5: Green Friday

Everywhere you turn, green is in the limelight. Thomas Friedman, of the New York Times and A World is Flat fame, has authored a new green article for the NYT Sunday Magazine, Vanity Fair has devoted its entire April issue to environmental topics, and my local papers, the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times, both have turned out several articles that have caught my attention. Is this a fad or are people really getting serious about our environment? Only time will tell, but I am certainly more interested in learning about what I can personally do to make this world a better place. This week's list consists of sites that I've found in my online explorations... a little late for Earth Day, but I suppose every day is Earth Day now.

Take care,

Lucy Gray


1. The Power of Green | Thomas L. Friedman | New York Times
(may have to register to read this article)

2. Living the Dream | Chicago Sun-Times
The Sun-Times is running a series on the green movement; check out this article and others to discover a variety of resources.

3. Making It a Green Sweep This Spring | Chicago Tribune

4. The Green Guide

5. Monterey Bay Aquarium: Seafood Watch Program - A Consumer's Guide to Sustainable Seafood.

6. Treehugger

7. North American Association for Environmental Education: Student Programs
    and Choice Picks for Teachers

8. EEK! Environmental Education for Kids

9. National Environmental Education Week

10. The EnviroLink Network

11. Sustainlane

12. Grist: Environmental News and Humor

Friday 5: Creating Comics

Hi All -

I've been working with a science class this week in which kids are creating newspapers on genetically modified foods. Some kids are drawing political cartoons and I showed them how to scan their work, import these files into Comic Life and add fun touches including captions, speech bubbles, and various graphical enhancements. This project got me thinking about other useful tools for creating comics and thus, this week's theme was born!

Have fun exploring these tools!

Lucy Gray

1) Comic Life

This is one of my favorite pieces of software, and I believe it comes installed on new Macs. iPhoto is integrated into Comic Life, and you can publish directly to a .Mac account as well.

2) ReadWriteThink: Student Materials: Comic Creator

This web site generally has great tools and lessons for students and teachers.

3) Make Beliefs Comix

This site seems kid friendly!

4) Comeeko

This site lets you create comics with photos. It is a social web site, too, meaning that you can rate and comment on users' comics if you choose. I would recommend using this site for teachers to possibly create materials, but NOT for student projects, as the content does not seem to be screened for the k-12 arena.

5) ToonDoo - The Cartoon Strip Creator

Again, this is a social site and you may want to take a look around this site before using it with students.

6) The Comic Book Project at Teachers College, Columbia University

I found this link while looking for comic resources, and it looks like an interesting project for hand-drawn comics. Take a look at the online gallery of student work.

Friday 5: More Web 2.0 Sites

If you've followed the Friday 5 for awhile, you probably already know that I am a fan of an internet phenomenon known as Web 2.0. According to Wikipedia, Web 2.0 is, "a phrase coined by O'Reilly Media in 2004, [that] refers to a perceived second generation of Web-based services—such as social networking sites, wikis, communication tools, and folksonomies—that emphasize online collaboration and sharing among users." The second coming of the Internet includes web sites that you might have heard of, such as Flickr, Blogger,, You Tube, and MySpace. Each of these sites serves a different purpose; what they have in common is that they depend on user generated content. This content is easily shared with others using something called RSS feeds, and interaction with others is encouraged via comments, tags, ratings and linking to other sites. Web sites that fit this Web 2.0 genre bring people to together, allow others to collaborate, and help distribute content that can be used in new and different ways. I encourage you to try out one of these services to discover the power of Web 2.0. Flickr, a photo sharing site, is a great place to start.

This week's Friday 5 contains a few sites that are new to me. If you are really into these kind of web applications, make sure you check out this comprehensive list of other Web 2.0 sites.

Take care,

Lucy Gray


1.    Swivel

Swivel allows users to upload data, make charts and graphs, and share it with other in multiple ways. I first read about Swivel in Wired magazine, and it appears like it's not quite perfect and still in beta testing. Because it is so new, there's not a ton of data to look at, but I imagine this will change over time. Here's some data on Chicago Public Schools that can be viewed in different charts and graphs, for instance. It will be interesting to see how educators adapt Swivel for classroom use.

3.    Quimble

Quimble lets you develop online polls that can be made public or private. I heard about this service recently on the EDTECH listserv.

4.     Scribd

Kathy Shrock recently blogged about Scribd, which lets you upload PowerPoint presentations and other files. I like the nifty feature that reads this material to the viewer. Other similar sites worth checking out are SlideShare and ThinkFree.

5. ToonDoo

This site was mentioned on Steve Hargadon's new Classroom 2.0 Ning site, where educators are discussing how to incorporate Web 2.0 technologies into classrooms. ToonDo allows users to create and share cartoons using a bank of clip art. It's definitely nifty, but I'd hold off referring kids to this site as I ran into a cartoon that was not particularly kid friendly that was featured in the archive section of this site. As with any site where material is shared, it's wise to take a look around before deciding whether something is appropriate for kids. ToonDoo, however, is very handy for teachers looking to create a graphic for a newsletter, web site, presentation, etc.

Friday 5: Summer Professional Development

Hi All -

This info is crossposted at the Infinite Thinking Machine blog. Thanks to Laurie Bartels who gave me a good portion of the technology and brain based learning links. If you'd like to contribute to this list, email me and I'll add you as a contributor to the Google Doc version of this list. You'll be able to find any additions if you bookmark this link.

Lucy Gray


Summer Professional Development Opportunities


Learning and the Brain (takes place every November and April)
April 28-30, Cambridge, MA

CAST conference - Universal Design for Learning (applicable to both
technology and the brain)
July 23-26, near Boston, MA

The Brain, Learning & Applications Summer Institute (same as below)
August 2-3, Nashville, TN

The Brain, Learning & Applications Summer Institute
August 21-22, Avon, CT

Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain
multiple dates and types of drawing, painting and sketching sessions so
check the site

Schools Attuned -
See this press release:


Authentic Education Summer Institutes

ASCD Summer Conference on Differentiated Instruction
June 30 - July 2  Salt Lake City, Utah


The Library of Congress | The Learning Page | Self-Serve Workshops

Professional Development Listings at the National Council for the Social Studies web site

National Gallery of Art - Teacher Institute 2007

National Geographic School Publishing and Literacy Achievement Research Center's Literacy Institute


Texas Instruments Professional Development

Key Curriculum Press Workshops

Math Forum - Math Education Conferences


Stanford Summer Programs for Teachers
For Bay Area teachers only

International Studies Summer Institute 2007

NCTE - Literacies for All Summer Institute
July 12 - 15 Louisville, KY

Responsive Classroom Institutes

Summer Institute for the Gifted

Phillips Exeter Academy Summer Programs

Chicago Foundation for Education's Fund for Teachers Grant

The application deadline for this has passed, and it's only for Chicago Public School teachers. Keep it in mind for next year!


Pasco Professional Development

Teachers as Investigators

The Keystone Center's Bringing Environmental Issues to the Classroom Program

Teton Science Schools - Teacher Learning Center Programs

Exploratorium: Teacher Institute

Earthwatch Institute


Summercore - "A Unique Five Day Marathon in Hardware, Software and
dates and locations vary so check the site

CAIS 11th Annual Summer Technology Conference
June 18-22, Farmington, CT

Lausanne Collegiate School Laptop Institute
July 15-17, Memphis, TN

Building Learning Communities
pre-conf: July 16-17;  main conf: July 16-17, Boston (Newton, actually), MA

CAST conference - Universal Design for Learning (applicable to both
technology and the brain)
July 23-26, just north of Boston, MA

Teach the Teachers Collaborative

National Educational Computing Conference
June 24-27 Atlanta, Georgia

Logo Summer Institute
July 30 - August 3 New York, New York

The Stonington Retreat
July 31 - August 3 New York, New York

Photography Workshops and Digital Lab Workshops in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Join the Classroom 2.0 Wiki

Link: classroom2dot0 - home . Steve Hargadon, a fellow Infinite Thinking Machine blogger, has started a collaborative document known as a wiki that focuses on using new technologies in the classroom. These web sites and applications are known collectively as Web 2.0 technologies, meaning that they represent the second coming of the Internet. This wave focuses on user generated, collaborative content.  Check out this wiki and think about how you can incorporate things like Google Docs and Spreadsheets, social bookmarking services, and video conferencing into your curricula. This site is definitely worth exploring. Steve has also started a social networking site for Classroom 2.0 stuff at Ning and the link is here. His goal seems to be to bring practical ideas for implementing these interactive and powerful technologies into classrooms, so please consider exploring,and possibly contributing to, his forums for making this happen!

Friday 5: Special Mystery Guest: Astronomy

Greetings -

This week's list comes to us from the one and only Karen Thompson of Springfield, Illinois, another Apple Distinguished Educator. She is a stellar person, no pun intended!

Next week's list will feature summer professional development opportunities... send along any suggestions that you think should be included!


Lucy Gray

The spring equinox is March 21, 2007. I started this list of websites with Stellarium. It offers so many delightful explorations for students!

1)  Stellarium

A free open source planetarium for your computer.

2)   Springfield Public Schools - Stellarium Projects

I’ve listed some of the lessons we’re using with our 6th graders.

3)  Open Astronomy Curriculum

Stellarium is great, and this will get you started in some meaningful explorations.

4)     Bad Astronomy

I know it’s going to come up, so as long as we’re talking about the equinox, let’s not forget about standing eggs on their ends. Don’t miss the Bad Astronomy website and the discussion on the eggs and the equinox.

5)  The Ceres Project

Did you see the recent lunar eclipse? Stellarium makes it very easy to preview these events. If you’re looking at the moon, let’s explore the Birthday Moons!

6) Time Exhibits

And if you’re looking for more information on the change to daylight savings time, check out this site.

Karen Thompson started her teaching career as a middle school science teacher with a slide rule in hand. Currently she is an instructional technology facilitator in Springfield, Illinois and serves as a school board member in the consolidated school district of Tri-City in Buffalo, Illinois. Karen is currently using her vision of educational technology to help guide her district’s 1 to 1 laptop program for 800 6th graders.

Mapping Literary Journeys: Google Lit Trips

There's a new post up at the Infinite Thinking Machine that focuses on the new project of my fellow Apple Distinguished Educator and Google Certified Teacher, Jerome Burg. Jerome has instituted a project called Google Lit Trips, which are essentially guided tours of resources related to books within Google Earth. Check it out and consider making a lit trip of your own to submit to this site!

I have an idea for a collaborative Google Lit Trip that I'll post here later!

Friday 5: Special Mystery Guest: The Great Potato Famine

Hi All -

I sent this list in the midst of editing, so I apologize for duplicate entries this week! Please welcome my friend and neighbor, Joan Kane, as our special mystery guest this week. Another SMG will follow next week with sites on the spring equinox.

Lucy Gray


As St. Patrick's Day approaches and all things seem to turn green, it is important to remember the reason why the Irish seem to be everywhere. Many of these Irish are descendants of the four million victims of the Great Famine that left Ireland between 1845 and 1851.

The links below highlight some of the resources available if you would like to explore some of the social, political, historic, governmental, and cultural issues associated with the Great Famine.

Beannachtái Lá Fhéile Pádraig (pronounced: ban-ach-tee la fay-le Paw-drig) or Happy St. Patrick's Day!


1) An Gorta Mor

This site, developed by Quinnipiac University in Connecticut and County Kerry Library offers original source documents from the time of the Great Famine, digitized resources, Irish history e-texts, a collection of over 400 pictures of Ireland, and more.

2) Following the Great Famine

This website focuses on the impact of that Great Famine on Canada. It tracks the experiences of the Great Famine victims in Canada through stories that mirror the Irish experience in many countries. The site provides curricula on the elementary and high school levels.

3) BBC History of the Irish Famine

Information on the Great Famine from a British viewpoint. This site provides a different viewpoint
that can be used as a basis for discussion of famine and reactions to famine across the globe.

4) Curriculum on Great famine from the New Jersey and New York
Departments of Education

Both sites offer complete version of curricula for grammar school and high school students with many resources listed.

5) The International Famine Centre at University College Cork, Ireland

The International Famine Centre commemorates the more than one million people who died and nearly four million who were exiled during Ireland's Great Famine by working to prevent the present-day recurrence of famine elsewhere in the world. This site provides information on current famine conditions across the globe.

Joan Kane has over twenty years experience in the software industry. She has worked in training, marketing, and management roles for leading software companies, such as Adobe, Ashton-Tate, Asymetrix, and Borland Software, but she has always considered herself to be a teacher first. She recently returned to teaching as a business/technology teacher for the Chicago Public Schools and is completing her doctorate in instructional technology. Joan has presented at the Illinois Technology Conference for Educators, the ToolBook Developers conference, and the American Society for Training & Development Conference.

Official Google Blog: Coffee Talk in the Teachers' Lounge

Link: Official Google Blog: Coffee Talk in the Teachers' Lounge.

There's been a major "site refresh" at the Google for Educators pages. The latest posts from the Infinite Thinking Machine are visible here, and there's now a Google Group community for all teachers. I especially like the downloadable posters, and am planning on doing a bulletin board using these resources. I also noticed something cool today, and I'm not sure if this is new or what, but any picture I've used in my Blogger blogs appear in Picasa.

Friday 5: Best of IL-TCE

Friday 5: Best of IL-TCE

Hi Everyone –

Last week’s list is compiled from various presentations that I attended at the Illinois Technology Conference for Educators.

Stay tuned for this Friday’s list which should feature another special mystery guest…

Take care,

Lucy Gray

1)    OhmyNews International

This citizen journalism site was highlighted in ADE Tim Wilson’s Web 2.0 presentation.

2)    My Friend Flickr

ADE Charlene Chausis presented on all the things one can do with the photo sharing site known as Flickr.

3)    Photofiddle

Cited by NYT columnist David Pogue during his digital photography workshop, Photofiddle lets you create interesting items from your own photos.

4)    Breaking the Myth of Megapixels – New York Times

According to Pogue, four or five megapixel cameras are sufficient for most users.

5)    The River City Project

My ADE friend, Steve Wagenseller, instant messaged me during my workshop with David Pogue and during our virtual conversation, he mentioned this site. It’s an online simulation described as “a multi-user virtual environment for learning scientific inquiry and 21st Century Skills”.

Friday 5: Online Teacher Networks

Friday 5: Online Teacher Networks

Dear Readers –

Last week, I spent a glorious day at Google’s New York office assisting with their new education initiative, the Google Teacher Academy. Participants in this day-long professional development event are now part of the Google Certified Teacher learning community, along with teachers from the first GTA held in Mountain View, California, late last year.

Google Certified Teachers are actively sharing ideas in a Google Group created just for them, and this has reminded me of the potential power of online communities. Virtual places can serve as support for teachers at any level, and it’s a huge convenience to participate in a professional development activity at anytime from any internet-connected computer. Judging from the enthusiasm of these Google Certified Teachers, educators are truly yearning for opportunities to connect and collaborate.

While the Google Certified Teacher program is open only to those who’ve participated in academies, there are many other places where teachers can find similar opportunities. For instance, my professional life has indelibly improved by my participation in the Apple Distinguished Educator program, which is currently taking applications for a new class of ADEs. The deadline is February 28, so consider applying as soon as possible! Please note that some of the communities cited in this week list do not require application for membership, however. There is something for everyone out there!

I suspect that Second Life probably also has some learning communities for teachers, too, but I have yet to dive into this virtual world. Maybe this summer I will take the plunge!

Have a great weekend,

Lucy Gray

1.    Tapped In
Create a virtual office in Tapped In and participate in various activities in this space.

2.    National Geographic Education Network

3.    EdWeek
EdWeek has several community tools within its extensive web site. Check out:

4.    Discovery Educator Network

5.    Golden Apple Foundation’s Teaching Excellence Network