Posts categorized "Web/Tech" Feed

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. 


Shame on Slideshare and Lessons Learned

MAY 13, 2014 UPDATE: My account has been restored and upgraded. Yay! Thank you, Slideshare, for making the impossible happen!

If you take a look at my blog and particularly at posts under the Conferences category, you'll notice many gaping holes to embedded content.  These holes are where my slides posted in Slideshare and embedded on my blog appeared until recently. Without warning, Slideshare didn't just suspend my account, but deleted the entire account and its contents because I've violated their Terms of Service agreement. From what I understand from their twitter evangelist, this account is now irretrievable.  I have not received any written warning about this nor has anyone from Slideshare responded to my queries about what I did exactly. 

If you're not familiar with Slideshare, it's similar to YouTube... only for slidedecks. You can upload PowerPoint files and PDFs, and Slideshare provides an embed code that you can use to show your slides front facing style in a blog, wiki or similar web site. It's also a social network that allows users to follow other member's posts and to favorite slideshows. 

I've been using Slideshare regularly since at least 2009 under the username elemenous. I've uploaded hundreds of presentations, favorited many others for future reference, and followed others in order to learn from their design and content. I've received numerous emails from them congratulating on my content and lauding the "popularity" of my content. See some of the screenshots I am posting. 

Typically, when I present at a conference, I created slidedecks in Keynote, convert the slides to a PDF and  then upload the file to Slideshare. I then embed this in my blog and give that link to attendees. This way they can follow along with my slides or download my slides for future reference. My content is usually made up of a template that I've used from Keynote or purchased here, photos that I've taken, photos I've purchased from iStockPhoto,  original ideas, and a lot of screenshots of web sites. I use Instantshot mostly to take screenshots of sites that I am demonstrating in my presentations. Using Preview, I sometimes annotate these screenshots to point out particular features. I generally link to the site that I am demo'ing so that attendees can go directly to a site and explore whatever I've mentioned.

One of my last presentations to be uploaded on Slideshare about using YouTube in the classroom. In order to quickly and efficiently go through a lot of material about this great educational resource, I've had to use screenshots to demonstrate my points.  I show what my YouTube channel looks like, how to add a video to a playlist, and how to search YouTube effectively through screenshots among other things. Attendees at conferences need visuals during presentations and afterwards in order to retain and use the information I provide. I could give this information to them in a paper handout, but in order to save trees, all of this is posted online. 

My work as an ed tech advocate focuses on helping teachers become more connected and tech savvy. My main intent is to help and inspire people and part of that is making materials accessible to them. This all doesn't really matter if I'm violating copyright, though. 

That said, here's what happened regarding my account:

1. I lasted posted material on slideshare probably in conjunction with a conference in the Waukegan school district or SxSWedu in February/March. These were standard presentations that I've given before and tweaked for these events. Earlier versions of these presentations were on Slideshare.

2. I did not touch my Slideshare account for about a month. As I was listening to Jackie Gerstein last week during the online Learning Revolution conference, I went to Slideshare to favorite her fabulous slidedeck. Not going to link to it here in case Slideshare wants to delete HER account. I noticed that I had trouble logging in... normally, I'm automatically signed in there. I tried logging in with LinkedIn and Facebook and my stuff wasn't coming up. I didn't have time to figure out what was going on and assumed that I just hadn't linked Slideshare to my FB or LinkedIn accounts.

3. I returned to Slideshare a few days ago to see what was wrong with my account, and realized that when I had tried to log in (see step 2), I had created new accounts. I looked all over and tried logging in with my known user name and password, and realized that I couldn't. My account was completely gone. I looked at my blog and at my LinkedIn profile that had presentations linked there. None of the content was appearing.

4. I submitted a help ticket asking for help and noticed that I had submitted a help ticket for a similar problem 7 months ago. While uploading presentations, I was inexplicably locked out as opposed to my account just being deleted.  I was not given a TOS warning. Upon investigation, Slideshare reinstated my account, so I thought it was a glitch.

5. I then tried to reach out to Slideshare via Twitter. No one from @Slideshare responded. A follower, however, did provide me with the email address of an editor at Slideshare and I held off from contacting her at first.

6. I wait and wait and nearly 48 hours later, I checked the status of my help ticket. My ticket was completely deleted ... there was a message in the help center saying that it was either deleted or resolved.  So no record exists of my two contacts with customer service. I have some screenshots, though. I submitted another ticket using a newly created account. 

7. During this time, I also searched the internet for other users who were reporting problems. I found this post and this post. In the former blog entry, I found the name of a Slideshare evangelist, Guarav Shukla, who did respond to a tweet and said he'd look into it. Later, he said my account was deleted due to TOS and it was not possible to retreive it.  Note that I had not received any notifications from Slideshare nor a response to my first or second help ticket.

8. Meanwhile, I happened to look at my LinkedIn account, and if you don't know this, there is a section where you can see who's looked at your profile. Lo and behold, someone from Slideshare named Christopher Schaff had been checking me out. He's a customer service rep for Slideshare! I decided to connect with him on LinkedIn...and of course, he hasn't responded to that request. :) 

9. I then decide it is time to contact the editor from Slideshare to see if she can help. She responds fairly quickly and says she'll forward my issues on to customer service. Lo and behold, she's also checked out my LinkedIn profile. Note to the less social media savvy: Turn off the ability for people to see that you've looked at their profiles in your LinkedIn privacy settings. 

10. This morning, I heard from the Twitter contact about my TOS violation. No official word followed, other than a LinkedIn communication from Christopher saying that they would refund my account. I'm not sure if I paid for a pro account this year or not...actually.

11. I've since tweeted Guarav asking for further explanation and submitted more comments on my second help ticket asking for clarification. I've also looked through their community guidelines and I can't figure out what I did wrong other than use screenshots of web sites. If they had warned me, I would have taken things down and altered the way I did future presentations. It also states here that if your account has been banned, you are forbidden from creating accounts in the future. How was able to create 2 new accounts inadvertently then when I was trying to log in through FB and LinkedIn at the begining of this saga? 

How ridiculous is the following given this situation? Again from their community guidelines: 

"We trust you to be responsible and respect each other. SlideShare is a large community of people. In order for all of us to live happily on this service together, it implies a certain level of trust. Trust and respect each other!"

"SlideShare does not actively screen content being uploaded because we trust you to self-moderate. But we do have a system where users flag accounts or slideshows for violations/abuse and we will step in when we think it's necessary."

I wish Slideshare would respect me enough to give me an explanation for what happened here so that I can learn from any mistakes I made. 

And from their Help Center:

"We suspend and disable SlideShare accounts that violate our ToS. This includes:

  • Continued prohibited behavior after receiving a warning or multiple warnings from SlideShare
  • Unsolicited contact with others for the purpose of harassment, advertisement, selling, dating, or any other inappropriate conduct
  • Providing false credentials for the purpose of creating an account
  • Impersonation of any individual, entity, or other misrepresentation of identity
  • Posting content that violates our terms

Please review SlideShare's community guidelines to learn more about our policies. If you think your account was disabled by mistake, you can send us a ticket by clicking on the link below. We will gladly review your account and fix it if we made a mistake. "

 So to wrap this up and put this situation to bed.... here is how it stands for me.

  • See related screenshots documenting my experience here. I would be happy to take these down if I received a decent response from Slideshare. 
  • I wish Slideshare had better customer service and had the courtesy to explain any wrong doings to me.
  • If I did anything in violation of anything, I'd be happy to correct it. I would have appreciated the chance to learn from this. 
  • I am cancelling my LinkedIn premium subscription as they apparently own Slideshare. I wish I could live without LinkedIn altogether, but it's requiste in today's work environment.
  • This is not about backing up for me. I have copies of my presenations. I am not pleased that there now gaps in my blog posts and that teachers can no longer benefit from my work. 
  • This is a warning about the future of content and how a company can eliminate your stuff without any due process. I really have no power to rectify this situation, other than to write about it and post to my social media channels. Fortunately, I do have some reach, so hopefully this will influence other educators on how they should protect their materials and help them decide about which companies that they want to do business with.





Social Media and Mobile Learning Workshop at #CoSN14

New Leadership for Mobile Learning Project Director Marie Bjerede and I will be hosting a workshop next at week at the Consortium for School Networking's annual conference. The focus will be on using social media in conjunction with mobile devices and the purpose will be to give school leaders more direct instruction with using social media effectively. It seems that many administrators don't have the time and/or inclination to dive into the world of Web 2.0 tools, and we want to provide an opportunity for such types to play with tools that will potentially enhance their work. 

That said, we are not going to cover every single hot social media channel out there during this three hour workshop. Instead, we'll explore social networks and blogs and then dive into microblogging and social bookmarking. We could go to town by looking at YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, etc., but we will keep things simple and practical for the scope of the workshop. 

All of these tools are almost rendered useless, however, unless one takes time to develop a personal learning network. This means you connect to others who share your professional interests and this increases your chances of learning about best practices, identifying great resources, and building opportunities for collaboration. During this workshop, we'll give advice on how to do this as well as how to develop one's online professional persona. 

Anyone is welcome to peruse our workshop materials (see below) and contribute to our networking survey. We'd love to have school leaders show how they are leveraging social media and connect with workshop participants. Please also follow our conversations on Twitter by searching for the hashtags #CoSN14 and #CoSNLML.  


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: Interactive Sites

Using multimedia in the classroom is one of the suggestions put forth by math teacher Dan Meyer in his TEDxNYED talk from last spring.  I watched the video of his presentation today in preparation for my own talk at this year's TEDxNYED and it's well worth a look by any teacher, not just teachers of math.

If you have other suggestions for interactive web sites, leave them in the comments! Thanks!

1. Interactive Learning Opportunities on the Internet

2. Library of Congress Interactives

3. Spin and Spell

4. Interactivate

5. PhET Interactive Simulations

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!




Simple Communication Tools

Cross-posted at November Learning.

This is a follow up to my blog post at the end of November urging educators to improve communication with their students and their families. I contend that publishing basic class information gives parents a window into your classroom and helps students get digitally organized. It’s now easier than ever as a plethora of tools exist to help people publish without a lot of technical steps. Creating and maintaining a class web site also does not have to be a time consuming chore.

Now that holidays are over and schools are back in session, perhaps now is a good time to explore a few tool recommendations.  The following are a few that are popular with educators; start playing with one tool that appeals to you and see where it leads!

One method of publishing is through bloggling. Blogs are made up of a series of linear posts.  The following blogging tools share many of the same features which include posting by visiting their website, through mobile devices or by emailing posts. They have design templates which are generally customizable and support the embedding of media such as links, photos, and videos. A few to try are:

Many teachers prefer wikis which are easily editable web pages. Wikis tend to provide more flexibility than blogs in terms of design. Most wiki providers give you a choice of templates and allow for the embedding of widgets which provide additional functionality. For instance, if you are a Google Docs user, you can embed documents in a Wikispaces wiki or you could use Google’s own wiki tool, Google Sites, to do the same thing. While you can usually assign multiple authors to a blog to create individual posts, wikis are better suited for collaborative purposes as you can invite others to edit your entire wiki. A few wiki services to try are:

To see how other teachers are using blogs and wikis, browse through the nominations and winners of the 2010 Edublog Awards and through CASTLE’s list of blogs by discipline and wikis.

Keep in mind that Blogger and Google Sites can be used by themselves or within Google Apps Education Edition if your school has adopted this platform. Wikispaces and PBWorks also offer no cost ad-free wikis to educators and Glogster also has a version for educators. Edublogs is also geared towards school audiences. Education versions of Web 2.0 tools usually give you more security options so that students can use them as well.

Edmodo is another tool worth a look and it defies categorization as a blog or wiki. Designed specifically for schools, Edmodo promotes the concept of micro-blogging and teachers can post easily to their Edmodo space on the web or using a mobile device. Calendars, assignments, links, files, and polls can be shared with students. Groups can be created, and educators can also connect to colleagues.

The selected resources mentioned in this blog post were picked for purely their ease of use and my intention was not to create an overwhelming list that might be interpreted as intimidating. However,  if you are interested in trying additional tools, read on.

Via Twitter, I asked other educators for suggestions of simple to use publishing tools and VoiceThreadAnimoto, Wallwisher, and Audioboowere mentioned. Also, Larry Ferlazzo recommends various tools within his great list of his blog posts geared toward tech novices.

If you have any additional tools or strategies that you recommend, share them in the comments of this blog!


PostPost Enhanced by yolink!


My friends at TigerLogic, the company behind the yolink search technology, are pleased to announce a new Facebook app called PostPost. Using PostPost, Facebook users can connect and create a digital newspaper containing their friends' posted links, videos and photos. Postpost provides a great way to scan items without having to scroll through status updates.

This customized content can then be searched using yolink's search box and the results can be exported to various social media such as delicious and Diigo, much like how yolink operates as a browser add-on or integration into web sites such as Sweet Search.

Facebook seems to be the common meeting ground for people, and it makes sense that more and more apps are being developed to take advantage of the content housed in Facebook. In my case, personal content has blended with professional in Facebook. I post my presentations there, ask questions of my online colleagues, and find and share links to resources. With PostPost, this accrued content is even more easy to digest and share with others. 

Check it out and let me know what you think! Below is a screenshot of PostPost along with a few annotations./div><


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

Friday 5: Cool Sites

For the past month, I've been babbling about interesting web sites for kids and teachers at (, Chicago's first user-generated content radio station. It's an initiative of our local NPR affiliate and it broadcasts on the internet and at 89.5 if you're in the Chicago/Northern Indiana area. The station is a really interesting concept and I think a sign of the ways things will go with radio. Anyway, I thought I'd share 5 of my favorites from this series with you today. Enjoy! 1) Eduweb's Portfolio Interactive games for kids 2) Sumo Paint A free online image editing tool 3) Great webcam tours of a wildlife reserve in South Africa 4) The National Day of Writing Starting in October, you can contribute to your own gallery of writing! This is a great initiative to focus on all kinds of writing. 5) Interactive Exhibits from the Library of Congress Explore primary source materials and much more at this very cool and creative site.

Obnoxious Online Marketing Tactics?

I'm preparing to write a blog post in which I'd like to incorporate the input from my personal learning network friends, so I've been posting the link to this survey in multiple places including Twitter, the Future of Ed ning, and Classroom 2.0. I'm wondering where to draw the line with this... when it does become obnoxious to see the same material in several spots online?

As I logged into EdWeek's Digital Directions ning this morning after following a tweet from EdWeek forum panelist Barbara Treacy, it occurred to me that by posting in lots of places, I may be joining a practice that I have long abhorred. I saw on the front page of this ning posting of a man pushing a product. He left comments on several members' pages, essentially cutting and pasting his message. 

This man, who shall remain nameless, has done this for consistently for the past few years. In fact, when he did this on the Global Education Collaborative, which I run, I asked him about his intentions and then banned him from the group when he did not reply. There is now another woman posting events that use this same product fairly often. I did a search for her name and she's an SEO expert and has been posting the same information about this same product in multiple Ning communities. I did write to her expressing my concerns and she said she'd curtail her postings.

When I've inquired on Twitter about the practices of the aforementioned man and the product he is pushing, I've heard from extremely reputable educational technologists who think the product is legitimate and that this guy is really a teacher. The more I see his name and his canned message pop up, though, affirms my doubts that he is a spammer. And frankly, I will not even look at a company's product if they resort to these kinds of marketng tactics. It takes away from the authenticity of relationships in these online communities and the lack of transparency creates makes me think this company is not trustworthy.

So, am I going in this same direction by posting in many places in line in order to reach as many people as possible? It's a fine line, but the bottom fine line is that I am not profiting from anything and I genuinely want to gather input from as many of my online colleagues as possible. 

UPDATE: I dug around a bit and it turns out that this aforementioned man who pastes canned messages on Nings is the US business development executive for this India-based company. Supposedly he works in a high school, but I couldn't find a faculty directory on his school's web page. My problem is that he is NOT transparent in his postings that he WORKS for this company and he is pasting generic messages on people's pages. He is not even engaging in conversations and mentioning his product in context. I would not have a problem if he was transparent with his consultancy, but I clearly recall asking him if he worked for this company and I received no response.

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.

Lucy's List: March Update to Interesting Twitterers to Follow

I published a list awhile ago of recommended people to follow if you are just getting started with Twitter. I'm appending that list in this post and my suggestions reflect a wide variety of Twitterers, not just people involved in the field of education. I find it fascinating the many ways people have chosen to use this tool.

Have fun exploring and feel free to list any other recommendations in the comments section of this blog! I've posted these suggestions in no particular order.

A Few People to Follow in Twitter

I sent a list to a colleague new to Twitter today, and I thought I'd share it here. I selected people I'm following that might interest Sydney. She's an extremely talented performing arts teacher, very artsy and cool. This list will give her a range of what you can do with Twitter. So, this is sort of my recommended list of people to start following plus a few others that I thought might specifically interest her. Any others you'd add?


This isn't supposed to be a Best Of list... just some suggestions custom tailored for Sydney. It includes people in her industry, a few of our current colleagues, funky people I think she'd be interested in follow. It's also just a basic list to get start with, and my advice would be to listen to these people's twitter conversations and figure out who other people that are worth listening to!

My Twitterverse had a couple of other suggestions:

Weblogg-ed » Amazing Add-on for Blogs: Apture

Link: Weblogg-ed » Amazing Add-on for Blogs: Apture.

Just added Apture, not to be confused with Apple's Aperture, to my blog after reading Will Richardson's post today. If you look at my blog directly, and not through an RSS reader, you'll see little icons next to some hyperlinked text. These icons indicated that I've linked to additional media using this cool little doodad.

Apture is a widget that allows a blogger to add assorted links and media to anything on their blog. I just added the widget with a click in Typepad, but some people may have to posted a snippet of HTML code if they use another blogging service. Once I added Apture, I visited my blog, and a couple of windows popped up. One is a control window for editing my blog pages in Apture, and the other was a quick video tutorial on Apture. Without going in and editing the body of my blog posts, I add links and additional content to my blog. All I have to do is highlight some text and a window appears allowing me to select this stuff. It's really a different interface for editing my blog.

Some people responded in Will's blog comments that this should be used judiciously as these pop up windows can be annoying when reading a blog. I don't think these windows to be as irritating as Snapshots as they are easily expanded or collapsed. Many people have also commented that this add-on would be useful with content-driven webpages used with students. It's an effective way of annotating text and providing support for students with digesting material.

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!


Someone mentioned Kwout yesterday on Twitter, and I ran across this Web 2.0 app again in today. It lets you cut out portions of web sites and gives you embeddable code for your blog etc. There's a convenient bookmarklet to help the process, too. Also, note that this is an image map. Click on any of the links in this image, and you'll go to the corresponding web site.

Here's a picture of the Friday 5 link on Mashable today:

Friday 5: Year in Review

Hi Readers -

My New Year's resolution is to try and get back in the habit of publishing Friday 5 lists on a consistent basis! Here are a few sites I've collected to ring in the New Year.

See you next year,

Lucy Gray


1) The Condition of Education 2007

2) Year in Review 2007 - Special Reports from CNN

3) AFI's Top 10 Movies of 2007

4) 100 Notable Books of the Year - 2007 - New York Times

5) Internet TV: 2007 Year in Review | last100

6) The 100 Best Songs of 2007: Rolling Stone

7) 50 Top 10 Lists of 2007 - TIME,30576,1686204,00.html

8) Google Zeitgeist 2007

Google publishes lists of the most popular search queries, which give you an indication about the public mind set during 2007. It's scarily fascinating! At the end of each section in this year's zeitgeist is a practical tip on how to refine your searches.

9) Lifehacker Zeitgeist 2007

Mashable and Lifehacker are two of the most practical web sites out there. I highly recommend skimming these sites on a regular basis.

10) Ask Lifehacker: How Can I Create a 2007 Timeline?

11) Lifehacker Top 10: Top 10 New and Improved Apps of 2007

12) Mashable's Best Technology Quotes of 2007

13) Top Web Apps & Sites of 2007 - ReadWriteWeb

Another Hit: Google Docs in Plain English

I love all the videos from Common Craft and here is one that's new to me. I just added it to my favorites in You Tube, which I'm increasingly relying on as a way of bookmarking videos I frequently use in workshops. You can view my channel here to see my favorites and videos I've created myself, although I haven't  upload many of those.

Anyway, I'd love to see more Common Craft videos explaining Google features such as Google Groups. I just made a Google Group for my daughter's soccer team, and some parents found joining and using the group perplexing. It's a reminder to me that all this techie stuff may be easy for me, but somehow, something gets lost in translation and other perfectly intelligent people don't find it that way and miss the power of today's internet. I really need to rethink how I explain techie stuff to people...

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: Best of the 2007 Webby Awards

Hi All -

The Webby Awards were recently announced, and here are a few of my favorite sites culled from the long list of nominees and winners. Check out the entire list here if you would like more!


Lucy Gray



This site has a great search tool: One feature includes searching for poetry-related images within the foundation's Flickr groups.

2) Best Stuff in the World

#2 and #3 on this week's list fall under the category of social networks, sites that revolve around user generated content. Best Stuff in the World has people rate and compare anything and everything.

3) - The Social Music Revolution

Listen to and buy music here at this site.

4) The Gapminder World 2006

I think I've mentioned this site in a previous Friday 5, but it's worth another mention. This site uses graphics to represent data in interesting ways.

5) Smithsonian Photography Initiative

This site has search capabilities which allow one to easily browse photos, create a personalized collection, and share it with others.

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" »

The Friday 5 Search Engine

I've made a customized Google search engine using sites I commonly use when compiling Friday 5 lists. It's now listed on the left-hand side of my blog along with a box that allows people to subscribe to the Friday 5 in Google Groups. If you ask to contribute to this search engine, you can add relevant sites. It is also possible to add the search engine to your blog, homepage, or Google start page.

I can see teachers using Google Co-Op to make customized engines for various units of study. I think it's a pretty handy way to direct students research instead of just letting them loose on the Internet.

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.

Let’s make it a Good Friday for the blogging world : Thoughts From A Technospud

Link:  Let’s make it a Good Friday for the blogging world : Thoughts From A Technospud.

In response to a recent cyberbullying incident that's garnered a huge amount of attention, Jennifer Wagner of the Thoughts from  a Technospud blog has made a request of the those who blog. She is encouraging fellow bloggers to take a moment today to recognize other bloggers who have been supportive in the blogosphere. I'm not sure if I am supposed to comment in the blogs of these people, or comment in a post on my own blog, so I am going with the latter option and tagging it "cybercompliment". Here are the people I'd like to thank:

1) A marketing person for this landscaping company. I can't remember the marketing person's name, but she wrote me after reading a post I had written about Margate Park. Here is the link I actually referenced in this post that's now in a password protected blog. Anyway, this was the first time I realized that people really do indeed read and respond to blogs. Blogs as a way to connect with others was completely foreign to me.

2) Garr Reynolds of Presentation Zen fame. He noticed a post I had written about a student presenting at the Apple Store and he incorporated the story into his own post. I had read Garr's stuff previously, so when I received an email from him regarding Sam, I was blown away. What was this business professor with a popular blog in Japan doing contacting me?!?!?!? Again, the reach of the blogosphere was evident and it made me ponder how the Internet has forever changed our ability to connect, network, and derive meaning from others around the world.

3) Tim Lauer and others who held a blogging workshop at NECC 2004 in New Orleans. This was really the first time I explored the concept of blogs.  Here's a post from Anne Davis's blog about that event.

Thanks again, everyone!

Flickr Tools on Flickrbits » The definitive collection of Flickr tools, plugins and API applications

Link: Flickr Tools on Flickrbits » The definitive collection of Flickr tools, plugins and API applications.

The other night I was looking for a particular Flickr plugin that I had installed on my home computer that allows for easy browsing of my Flickr pictures. I didn't have this doodad installed on my school laptop, so I browsed this Flickrbits list and found what I was looking for.. something called PicLens. There was a name listed to the link to the company page, and I immediately associated with a former student of my father's who was a year behind me in high school. I found his email address on the company web site, emailed him and lo and behold, it was indeed the same Alec Jeong! He does marketing for PicLens and Cooiris, both neat additions for the Safari web browser.

Resources Worth Mentioning

I've been audio and video chatting a great deal with fellow ADES recently, and I thought I'd pass on a couple of resources I've learned of via these conversations. First, check out Rae Niles' web site, and particularly this page. She's created simple video tutorials for basic thinks like CD burning. And, Judy Beaver recommmended a blog maintained by a colleage at the Punahou School as well as a book by Dr. Sally Shaywitz. Judy heard Dr. Shaywitz speak at this Learning and Brain conference. And, Judy and Kris Hill both discussed a reading intervention product called Fast ForWord that might be of interested to blog readers.

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

Friday 5: Special Mystery Guest: Online Photo and Digital Scrapbooking Resources

Rae_ucea Our second Friday 5 Special Mystery Guest is the incomparable Dr. Rae Niles, Director of Curriculum and Technology in the Sedgwick, Kansas and fellow Apple Distinguished Educator.  Her list on online photo resources refers to many sites of which I was previously unaware, and I am grateful for that she has chosen to share her wealth of knowledge with Friday 5 readers!

Sorry for the delay with this week's list; I was off in NY last week at the second Google Teacher Academy, and I'll have more to share about this event in a future Friday 5.

Take care,

Lucy Gray


Online Photo and Digital Scrapbooking Resources

1.  For creating my own books using my own photos, I am the first to admit that I love iPhoto. However; as of late, I am sold on using Photoworks   or producing high quality hard cover bound books!  Many times, coupons can be found for free shipping or a 5-15% off an order.  Normally, I search Deal Mac for links to Photoworks coupons.  Photoworks not only lets you upload your photos for printing, but also allows for the creation of some really cool present ideas for those "hard to buy for" relatives!

2.  Digital Freebies offers a very colorful website chockful of digital scrapbooking resources. In particular, I like the "Friday Freebie"  and the online weekly newsletter.  Not only does this site offer great ideas and examples of cool layouts for photos, it also has a forum for folks with questions about digital scrapbooking.

3.  Linda Sattgast not only offers a great website for those interested in digital scrapbooking, but also a great weekly ezine that includes a link to a "how-to" video on using Photoshop or Photoshop Elements. I am not a digital scrapbooker, but I LOVE the weekly tutorials. To receive the tutorials, you need to sign up for the ezine.

4.  Snapfish  is another site similar to Photoworks that offers users an opportunity to upload photos and create items using the photos. One of our teachers at school has a latte mug/cup she made with photos of her children on it. It looks nice every morning on her desk with coffee in it.

5.  Winkflash is similar to Photoworks and Snapfish, too. I like some of the items available through the site that can be created from your own photos. 


Dr. Rae Niles  is currently the Director of Curriculum and Technology for Sedgwick Public Schools in Sedgwick, Kansas.  Students at Sedgwick High School are in the fifth year of a one-to-one laptop computer initiative where every 10th, 11th, and 12th grade student has their own wireless Apple iBook.  She is an Apple Distinguished Educator (ADE) and serves on the national ADE advisory board. Rae was recognized as a published author on the Apple Learning Interchange in 2003 and named one of six National Technology Leaders in 2005 by the Technology and Learning Magazine.

Rae has worked with the Kansas State Department of Education on a five-year leadership project funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to help private, public, and parochial principals and superintendents across the state begin the educational change process in an effort to move Kansas education into the Digital Age. Most recently Rae has worked with McNeil Lehrer Productions in Washington, D.C. to help create digital content for students and also with Follett Education in Chicago.  She has also been invited as a panelist for the Learning First Alliance Summit this spring in Washington, DC this spring. Rae has been a keynote speaker and presenter for several state, national, and international conferences, including the CUE strand of MacWorld 2006.

Lucy's NICE Mini-Conference Resources

NICE Homepage

PDFs of My Two Presos:

Apple Global Awareness:

Download global_awareness.pdf


Download google.pdf

Essential Links:

Google For Educators
Rethink.Global Awareness

Document containing most links mentioned in both presentations: 

Download NICElinks.doc

Please email me if you have any questions!

Slideshow Using ImageShack

Go to ImageShack® to Create your own Slideshow
Just saw an example of a slideshow created with ImageShack on a student blog linked from ADE Mike Searson's iStory tour blog. Very cool! I grabbed these photos directly from my Flickr account to create this slideshow.  My after school class is starting a wiki, and I'm wondering if we could embed a slideshow like this in Wikispaces. I'm guessing the answer is yes...

Snipshot: Edit pictures online

Link: Snipshot: Edit pictures online.

I'm researching bookmarklets for this week's edition of the Friday 5 and I stumbled upon this very cool, very basic, and free web based photo editor. If you just need something quick to edit a photo, this might do in a pinch. Installing the bookmarklet is key. This doodad that you install in your browser's toolbar allows you additional functionality in that you can import a picture directly from Flickr, edit it, and then add the edited version to your Flickr account. It's a very painless process.

A Couple of Fun Things for Kids

Before I lose my mind and forget about these things, I thought I'd post a couple of fun things to do with kids.

My students this week showed me Line Rider, an interactive Flash game in which a user draws a path and when a play button is clicked,  a little person on a sled slides down this path, sometimes with disastrous results. These scenes can even be downloaded and sent to a mobile phone.  It turns out people really are into creating elaborate scenes and pathways as evidenced in this related collection at Squidoo. (Squidoo, by the way, is interesting, too. I discovered it via Typepad, I think, and you can essentially build a web page called a lens. You can add various web resources such as video and links to provide support for your topic. RSS feeds to Squidoo pages are available so that you can track comments and such about a page.) At any rate, I am contemplating how Line Rider and similar games could be incorporated into educational settings. I know from a computer science stand point that it would be great to have kids program such a game, but from a simulation perspective, how can such games be used in the classroom?

After discovering the joys of Line Rider, another student directed me to Ski Battle at One of his classmates said that he thought had inappropriate stuff, but I haven't seen anything yet beyond the usual annoying banner ad. Ski Battle is very similar to Line Rider and you can add holiday music, snowflakes and animated characters. Ski Battle also gives you the code for your creations so you can embed a scence in your web site. Also, at, I noticed a Christmas e-card maker that may interest some kids.

Finally, as I was researching online video stuff for tomorrow's Friday 5, I browsed the Google Earth Blog and noticed this post about tracking Santa and a related game in Google Earth. The GE Santa tracker piece is not new, but apparently Sketch Up has been incorporated this. Sounds like fun and I am planning to try this with my kids. Too bad Santa won't let me open my Christmas present until the big day... a brand new iMac! Tracking Santa would look so much better on a big screen!

Continue reading "A Couple of Fun Things for Kids" »

PictureSync - Photo Sharing for Mac OS X

Link: PictureSync: Photo Sharing for Mac OS X.

I stumbled upon PictureSync yesterday while I was looking for info on iPhoto's file sharing capabilities. PictureSync lets you batch upload photos and video clips to a number of well known services. I tried it out first with Flickr and Shutterfly, and decided to buy a copy after I successfully and rather painlessly uploaded hundreds of pictures. It's particularly timely for me as I am working on my annual holiday cards and calendars in Shutterfly, and unfortunately, their Mac batch upload plugin does not work on Intel based Macs.

Friday 5: Widgets in Education

MydashboardWidgets are mini-applications that can be employed to make your working life more efficient. The Mac operating system, known as OS X, includes Dashboard, a piece of software that runs and manages widgets. Yahoo also has a widget engine which runs on PC and Mac desktops. This week’s list is primarily focuses on Dashboard widgets for OS X. I've also included a screenshot of my Dashboard.

The impetus behind this week’s list is that I decided that a list of educationally usefully widgets would be helpful to educators, particularly those who are implementing 1 to 1 laptop programs. There are also sorts of widgets out there that can potentially enhance learning including ones containing dictionaries, words and facts of the day, calendars, converters, translators, and photos. Also, students absolutely are intrigued by widgets and you should be aware of these doodads from a classroom/laptop management point of view. Best of all, many widgets are free, although I’ve noticed a few shareware and commercially sold ones out there.

For more background information, I suggest you check out  a couple of Wikipedia articles on Yahoo’s Widget Engine (formally known as Konfabulator) and on Apple’s Dashboard software which also uses widgets. And, for a more in-depth history of Konfabulator widgets and Apple widgets, read this blog post from Daring Fireball.

Have fun exploring,

Lucy Gray


1)    Yahoo! Widgets

Get the Yahoo engine widget here. You need this before running any Yahoo widget. There is a version for both PC and Mac users.

2)    Apple’s Dashboard Widgets

If you have a Mac running OS 10.4 (Tiger), you have Dashboard on your computer. View a demo of Dashboard and find widgets that run on Dashboard using the above links.

There are differences between Yahoo! Widgets and Dashboard widgets. They are created using different technologies and Yahoo’s widgets run on your desktop while Apple’s run in Dashboard.  Read the aforementioned Wikipedia article on widgets for more info.

Next Steps

3)    Listing of Education Widgets

Here’s a comprehensive list of widgets that could be used in school settings.

4)    Dashboard Widgets from ZDNet

Google Macintosh Dashboard Widgets

5)    Voicenotes Dashboard Widget

This one is a demo and it costs $5.95. Check out the company web site for additional widgets: .

6)    Graphing Widgets for Dashboard

7)    Notepad Widget for Dashboard

8)    Stop-It! Widget for Dashboard

This widget is a count down timer.

9)    This Day in History Widget for Dashboard

10)    The Periodic Table Widget for Dashboard

For Fun

11)     Pirate Translator for Dashboard

12)     Christmas Lights for Dashboard

13)     Basketball for Dashboard

Deep Dive

Apparently, it’s fairly easy to create your own widgets. Here are some sources for getting started.

14)     Developing Dashboard Widgets

15)     Yahoo! Widgets – Workshop

Subscribe to the Friday 5 Google Group here.

The Apple Blog: Access any Mac menu with Quicksilver � LifeClever ;-)

Link:  The Apple Blog: Access any Mac menu with Quicksilver from  LifeClever ;-)

This blog post inspired me to try out Quicksilver tonight. Looks like now I'll have to waste time learning this in order to ultimately save time. :) Seriously, this is a nice app for navigating OS X and it's worth a look, particularly for power users.

Geek Out: 4 Cool Things Worth Checking Out

Before I completely lose my mind, I better note here in my blog a few techie things that I have tried out recently.

1) Feedburner - Feedburner is not a new thing at all, but for the longest time, I didn't quite get why I would want to run my blog's RSS feed through this Chicago-based service. I decided to explore Feedburner again after someone mentioned it during a conference call for the ITM. I discovered that I can use something called FeedFlares to add links to bookmark, email and share content at the bottom of each blog post. I haven't done this with the blog site itself as I'd have to break away from my Typepad template, but if you look at my blog in a newsreader, you'll see new links at the bottom of each post. I've always wondered how people did this! Also, Feedburner keeps stats on blog traffic, not extensively as StatCounter, but it gives me an idea of how many people are viewing my blog.

2) Adium - This application combines instant messaging services for Mac OS X users. Wes Fryer suggested this to me as I was having trouble getting Google Talk/Jabber to work for me in Chat.

3) Inquisitor 3 for Safari - Another Mac only app, this adds cool functionality to your Google search box in Safari. Thanks to Bruce Ahlborn for this and the next item!

4) Podomatic -  Bruce and I taught a podcasting workshop at National Louis University recently, and Bruce found this fabulous resource. Podomatic is a great place to host and publish podcasts. Best of all, a basic membership is FREE.  

I Am A Geek

Okay, I was going to post something about this in the Infinite Thinking Machine, but some people might find this overwhelming.

I love RSS. I love my newsreader NetNewsWire. I subscribe to feeds from a gazillion sites. I do not read them every day, but the headlines from these feeds are in NetNewWire just waiting for me if I have time. It is simply the BEST way to keep current in my field.

So, I just spent time cleaning up my newsreader, put new feeds into folders and deleting ones that are dead or don't seem to interest me much anymore. Being the generous person I am, I have put them into an .opml file so that others can see what an RSS nut I have become. So if you're looking for a little light reading, check out my feeds.

Download lucysfeeds1026.opml

You need to download this file and import it into the newsreader of your choice. I recommend Bloglines or Google Reader. It's interesting to use Bloglines for reading feeds because you can see how many others have subscribed to a particular feed. I like seeing what others are reading as I think it's a picture of a person's mindset. Send me your OPML file if you feel like sharing!

Apple of My Eye #4

It's been a few months since I've posted a referral list to posts that have caught my eye, so here are some headlines I've recently flagged in my newsreader.

1) My curiosity is piqued about how Web 2.0 technologies can be leveraged for students as many tools require registrants to be of a certain age. Two sites have appeared on the blogosphere horizon that might be worth checking out. One is Imbee, which I read about it this press release. The second is Studicious which I read about here. Via Net-Gold Yahoo! Group, there's something for librarians on the Web 2.0 front, too... an online course called Five Weeks to a Social Library.

2) Edtech guru Kathy Schrock gave a very nice closing session keynote at NECC this year, and I particularly liked the PSA projects that she highlighted. I plan on showing these videos to student in the next month or so when we start working on various iMovie projects.

3) I'm glad George Bush has gotten the hang of THE Google. Check out this    from Think Progress via Techmeme. The leader of the free world can't even remember the name of something extraordinary like Google Earth. Any middle schooler can tell you all about Google Earth! I must go look at Bush's ranch on Google Earth now and see if all the brush is cleared.

4) And finally from a blog called Photojojo, there is a reference to Zingfu, a site that offers silly templates for your digital pictures. It's not a completely kid friendly site in my book, though, but maybe I'm just getting old. It's defintely fun for grownups not adept at Photoshop.

EarthLink DSL and Home Phone Service : Don't Do It!

Link: EarthLink DSL and Home Phone Service.

Don't do it! It's too good to be true!

I am a longtime Earthlink customer and invariably something goes wrong with my DSL about once a year. Last year, the service was mysteriously taken off my phone line and it took weeks and many phone calls to get the situation rectified. I should have changed ISPs then, but I didn't want to be inconvenienced.

My service has been steady ever since, and of course, I bit when I saw this ad. It seemed like a great deal. One Earthlink rep told us it was not available to us, and another told us we were eligible to participate. So the order was placed and a few weeks later, our phone service went out and phone calls were diverted to a voicemail account. However, our phone in our house never rang. After about five days of phone calls and promises from Earthlink, they finally told us that this service was NOT available in our area and they are now promising to restore our phone service at no charge. I hope this is true, but I am not holding my breath. This has been a truly frustrating experience and a huge waste of time... this time for my husband who's been dealing with all of this... and I will never recommend this company again unless a minor miracle occurs. I am seriously considering moving to another ISP even though it would be highly incovenient. Argh.

tags technorati :

Friday 5: New Projects

Hi All –

Here are some newly launched initiatives worth checking out. Admittedly, some are shameless plugs for projects with which I am involved, but I think you will appreciate them nonetheless.

Next week, I am off to the Closing the Gap conference in Minnesota and hopefully will have some assistive technology resources to share with you next Friday.

Take care,

Lucy Gray

Two links in this week’s list come from Friday 5 reader James Lerman:

1)    Educational Hotlinks for New Teachers

2)    Educational Hotlinks for Middle School People

More stuff related to Google:

3)    Google Accessibility

This search tool finds access friendly sites for those with visual impairments.

4)    Google for Educators

Another resource from Google that resulted from several Google Educator Councils held around the country last spring. The purpose of these focus groups was to gauge the needs of teachers and several people from my school, including myself, participated in these meetings.

5)    The Infinite Thinking Machine

A new blog from WestEd and sponsored by you guessed it… Google… has debuted this week. An internet T.V. show is featured along with blog postings from various educators across the country, including moi.

6)   First Monday

I attended an educational publishing event this week (AEP Midwest Seminar and learned of this peer reviewed journal that sounds fascinating. While it’s not new, in fact it has been around since the early days of the internet, I thought people might like to check it out.