turning stones

taking for a spin: tools for The Five 8s

Tag Archives: online

Featuring Mannixlab

Mannixlab is New York Social Studies teacher, Mr. Brian Mannix’s website. It contains links to nice Web 2.0 tools. As I’m writing this, I typed up a quick email to Mr. Mannix seeking his permission to feature his website here. If and when I hit the ‘Publish’ button, It means that I got his approval.

His site includes the links to his classes, a portal where his students can login and be directed to their class page. Students can find their homework as well as the projects for the unit. It contains links to other resources the teacher used in his classes.

Built in Google Sites, it also contains connections to cool Web 2.0 applications his students or anyone who visits may use. Visit Mannixlab, have a look around and pick up ideas you may want to try out.


Tell a Compelling Story via Social Media

Social Media is the main buzz nowadays. I’m sure it is becoming more and more difficult to find inhabitants of this planet who have not been exposed to social media. Just some figures I found:

Facebook Stats(www.facebook.com/press/info.php?statistics)

  • More than 500 million active users
  • 50% of active users log on to Facebook in any given day
  • Average user has 130 friends
  • People spend over 700 billion minutes per month on Facebook

Twitter Stats(www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/04/14/twitter-user-statistics-r_n_537992.html)

  • Twitter now has 105,779,710 registered users.
  • New users are signing up at the rate of 300,000 per day.
  • Twitter users are, in total, tweeting an average of 55 million tweets a day.

YouTube Stats(www.website-monitoring.com/blog/2010/05/17/youtube-facts-and-figures-history-statistics/)

  • Exceeds 2 billion views a day
  • 24 hours of video uploaded every minute
  • Average person spends 15 minutes a day on YouTube

Just looking at those stats we realize the power of these networks. And there are so much more than just those 3 most popular sites. They provide terabyte upon terabyte of information. When television/news networks cover events, information is not only provided by their field reporters, information is supplied by many sources. These networks follow trends of events in social media sites, tracking updates from warm bodies who are actually in the scene and airing opinions of those who aren’t. Our hobby or habit of typing updates, letting the world know what is happening around us and what we feel about it can be harnessed to come up with a unique story.

Enter Storify. Storify is a web application used to tell stories with elements from social media like tweets, Facebook updates, YouTube videos, Flickr photos, blog entries or others. You can tell your own story, a school event, news that have global impact, a weather report, a disaster. Readers can go to the original sources quoted and also retweet or reply and interact. When you’re finished, you can let your sources know that you have cited them in your story. You can share it on your social network or embed it on your blog or website.

Visit storify.com and send an email to get an invite. Testing Storify, I created my own simple story about what I did for onedayonearth.org here.

I just added another storify… made it in 5 minutes… here is XS Dress Me A Literary!

Storify from Burt Herman on Vimeo.

Getting Kids to Blog Safely

The Operation NExT Team has been encouraging Xavier School teachers to blog about their professional life, their experiences in and out of the classroom, the technologies and strategies that they use, their insights and successes as teachers and formators. Also WordPress is being introduced to students from Grade 5 to High 4 for them to build and maintain their individual Personal Learning Websites(PLWS).

It’s a great leap for Xavier School as teachers and staff and students are starting to blog. You should visit their sites and take a look at what they have to say and learn what they are learning.

WordPress is the preferred platform due to its robust elements, which includes wide layout flexibility and its more open commenting feature. It can be pretty demanding to the uninitiated, first time user. But it gets easy as you use it. So yes, we feel that WordPress is appropriate to our 5th graders. However, we can go even younger. As early as when we start computer classes in 3rd grade.

And yes, we have an age-appropriate WordPress version for them. Welcome KIDBLOG! A simple and secure site teachers can use to create space for students to blog. Here’s how it works:

  1. teacher creates an account using his/her email address
  2. teacher enters user names and assigns passwords for each student in class
  3. teacher tells students to go to the class site
  4. students see a drop down list of user names and log in
  5. voila… they can start blogging
  6. teacher may want everything to run by him/her for approval before publishing

KidBlog is secure because kids do not have to have their own email addresses. The teacher can have control over all posts, reviewing them before it gets published. The teacher has control over who can view and make comments on the blog; either named users(class members) only, or all visitors. This is also a good way to let parents know what their children are doing and learning in class(if you choose that path).

KidBlog is easy to use. User can upload pictures, link sites and videos and comment on each others works. Even if it is simple and does not have all of its features, it has the look and feel of WordPress. I create a class site for Operation NExT Team members and I made viewing public so anyone can visit kidblog.org/larrydlpsnextclass.

A great and fun way to learn!


Thousands of online books, poems, essays, fiction, non-fiction, plays, short stories and novels are available for you and your students for FREE! That’s right an online library listing over 8,000 online books by 3,500 authors at your fingertips!

READ PRINT has been featured in BBC World, CNN and USA Today and is listed among Time Magazine Online’s 50 Best Websites 2010. Whether you are a classics enthusiast or trying to find a budding author, readprint.com is a great resource.

The site is entirely free and there is no registration or sign in required. Just point your browser to readprint.com, use it’s catalog and start reading. The stereotypical book worm would absolutely love what Read Print has to offer. Even a casual reader can find something, with numerous genres covered through the website’s catalog of materials. Users can spend as much or as little time as they like reading every day, week or month. Since the site is available online and at no fee, it is also very convenient. Anywhere with a computer and internet access, users can find Read Print and look for another good book to explore or a resource to use for a report.

I have an online newspaper

I created my own online newspaper and I had fun doing it. It was easy, took just several minutes and I learned a lot… coolness. View my online newspaper here inthobpas.newscred.comNewsCred is a site where you can create your own newspaper. Their tagline: Create and Discover Newspapers About the Things You Love. Create your own newspaper in 60 seconds.

So how does it work? After signing up for a free account, you are prompted to select the topics you want published in your newspaper. You have control over what kind of content will appear. Preloaded with content from over 2500 news sources and blogs, you can select relevant, high quality multi-media material that interests you. The result, you have an online newspaper displaying news, features and interesting information personally suited to your preference. What’s more, you can write your editorials and really make it your own.

Your newspaper comes to life with high quality articles, blog posts, beautiful images, videos, Twitter buzz and more which you can share with friends. It could be a good project idea for a class where small groups could create newspapers and share with other groups. As owner of your newspaper, you can follow any newspaper in NewsCred.

Here are some interesting newspapers:

http://eflnews.newscred.com/ http://thecrimejournal.newscred.com/ http://entertainingtvnews.newscred.com/

Go create your newspaper and share it with us!

A Playground for Ideas

An online community for teachers. A forum for innovation and collaboration. A rich and powerful resource, WeAreTeachers combines the expertise of its member community, the knowledge base of its partners and the momentum of social media in providing and contributing ideas for teaching and learning. Listing resources on an myriad of subjects and grade levels, signing up and joining WeAreTeachers is easy and free.
Teaching and learning ideas are not limited to the use of technology. There are individual, group, short or long-term projects and activities. An intuitive search feature returns results that are quite specific to what you are looking for. There are plenty of links to other resources.

If you are a teacher with a blog, you can submit your link here and WeAreTeachers can help you get exposure. You can also sign up to participate in teacher panels as well as submit your teaching and learning ideas.

So what will this be about?

I like searching for ideas, resources, free tools teachers can use. Not only on infusing technology into their teaching, but also other ways of spurring students into learning. Activities that engage students, widen or deepen understanding. It can be in any subject area.
I will be combing the net for teacher blogs, organization websites, tech magazines and I will share what I find here.

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