Google Doc’s Blocked? Check out these resources.

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Recently I was told that a school would not allow access to Google Docs and they would not be moving forward with Google Apps for EDU. Why? I have no idea. The teacher was frustrated because she saw all of the educational benefits that Google Docs provided as well as the 21st century skills that our students need.

I started looking around and I found a couple of tools that although they do not do everything that Google Docs does, you can still bring in cool tools to help facilitate 21st century learning.

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Google News Timeline

While writing an article about Google Search in EDU, I stumbled upon a labs project that is called Google News Timeline.  The about page reads: “Google News Timeline is a web application that organizes search results chronologically. It allows users to view news and other data sources on a browsable, graphical timeline. Available data sources include recent and historical news, scanned newspapers and magazines, blog posts, sports scores, and information about various types of media, like music albums and movies.”

To get started click here.

The next step is to add some queries to your timeline. You can do this by clicking on the “add queries” link.

Go through and click as many or as few sources as you prefer.

Now you can go back to the timeline view and browse through the different events that are listed on the timeline.

How can you use this in the classroom?

This is a great resource if you are teaching a “decades” lesson, this will showcase several different events that occurred on or around a certain date. This is also great for current events and historical events. The timeline gives you the full picture of what was happening during events in history.

Remember this is a labs project, it can either get really good and move forward or it could go away all together.

For more information click here.

Thanks

TJ

Edu Tool Spotlight: Tagxedo

Many teachers are starting to use Woordle’s in their classrooms. Today I found a tool that lets you take the Woordles that you already are creating and turn them into images that deal with the subject and content area. The best part, ITS FREE!

To get started head over to http://www.tagxedo.com/

You can add your website or blog URL, a Twitter Feed, a del.icio.us url, News, Search Term,  RSS feed as well as your own words.

You can choose an image that they already have such as a heart, a flower, a cloud, a giraffe, etc.

How can we use this in the classroom? (these suggestions also apply to Wordle they just look cooler)

  • Enter words (vocabulary) into Tagxedo and create an image that might appear in a book/topic that you are working on in class.
  • Because of the way the Tagxedo images work, the more times you enter a word the larger it is on the finished product, copy a whole paragraph of text or story and discuss why the larger words were used
  • First week of class, have your students create a Tagxedo about themselves and present it
  • Kids create gifts for parents, grandparents, teachers 🙂 describing the person
  • Create a Tagxedo around a holiday (Veterans Day, Presidents Day, MLK Day) with words that describe the person or holiday
  • Create an image of a Historical Character / Author with words that describe them
  • Paste student writing into Tagxedo and see what words are used the most. This will help to get rid of the “and then’s” in students writing
  • Paste speeches (Gettysburg and MLK) and study and discuss the large words and why they were used. What  point was the speaker trying to get across?

If you have any other ideas feel free to leave them in the comments section.

*FYI you do need Microsoft’s Silverlight which you can find and install here.

Thanks

TJ

White House Releases Educator Kit

Today the Obama administration released a toolkit for Educators with lesson plans and tools to help with 2011 National Financial Capability Challenge “The Challenge, which begins March 7, will include a voluntary online exam for high school students that helps teach about saving, budgeting, investing, and other important skills critical to building a strong financial future. The highest scoring students on the exam will be recognized through a national awards ceremony in Washington, DC. Other high-scorers will receive official award certificates.” – Ed.gov. The official press release can be found here. The toolkit has lessons that deal with

The toolkit can be found here.

Thanks

TJ

Nightly Roundup from Twitter #Edchat

So many resources go streaming by on twitter and I know I will want to go back to them in the future. Here are a “few” resources that I found interesting. For more join the discussion by searching for the hashtag #edchat

HP Teacher Experience Exchange– Great resources for all grade levels. Articles about classroom activities, Professional Development, and Lesson Plans.

17 ways to meet individual learning needs in the math classroom– “Differentiating instruction can be challenging. Student’s educational strengths and weaknesses can be widely varied, making it a difficult task to meet each student’s needs in any given lesson. Math is one such subject area where student skill levels can be very different.”- From the article

Great Idea for showing different technologies you have integrated in the classroom for the year

Changing the language of employee learning

Great First Grade Teachers Blog– Using Candy Land for Site Words.

FreeTechForTeachers– All around great resource. Must ready daily!

Washington Post article: Why Teacher Bashing is Dangerous.

There were several other interesting articles and I encourage you, if you are not already on twitter come join the conversation.

Twitter Handbook for Teachers

#edchat!

Thanks

@tjhouston

Who am I?

My name is TJ Houston. Here’s a Wordle that describes me and what I do.

Wordle: TJ Houston

Normally I write for http://www.Smalltowngeeks.net but a lot of times I have something that I want to share that isn’t say “commercial” information. This blog is going to be my personal blog that I can share cool #edtech links that I find or share some photography tips that I have learned. You can find me on twitter @tjhouston and on facebook at tj.houston.

Thanks for stoppin!

TJ