Are computers the magic pill?


This ISTE presentation, “Is it Time to Give up on Computers in Schools?

Asks an important question.

It might be worth keeping bookmarked.

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Infobytes for May


Searching for change at Sleedo: highlighted today on FreeTech4Teachers, this search engine, powered by Google,  donates 10 grains of rice to the poor every time you use it. I’ve done some searching today with it and have found it to be satisfactory for me needs. It’s going on the bookmarks toolbar!

There are days that I miss out on a lot of information on my twitter page simply because I forget to log in.  Thanks to Scott McLeod’s blog,  “Dangerously Irrelevant,”  I signed up for ReadTwit  and I now have my twitter feed in my reader on MyYahoo, a place I tend to check more often anyway. It’s simple and easy.

Hopefully this link will work, but on April 21st, Colorado Public Radio interviewed Rob Stein, principal of  Manual High School  about his decision to leave Manual. Stein had some interesting comments about education in general.

Want to teach children about website evaluation?  Okay, here’s a good one: All About Explorers.  I read through the blurb about Lewis and Clark (they formed a folk band) and the one about Christopher Columbus (born in 1951 in Sydney, Australia) and realized I really needed to go back to the “For Teachers” page!   This is SO going on my weblist track, right next to the one about the tree octopus.

Larry Ferlazzo recommended a new e-book publisher: epub bud I admit I haven’t played much with this one yet, it looks easy enough, but what seems to be the real appeal here is that you can upload any ebook file to their site and they will convert it to epub so you can read it on your ipad. This looks pretty interesting, I’d love to hear some feedback.

Here’s an interesting one: a web to PDF converter. simply type in the URL and download the pdf. file!

Another quick and easy pdf converter can be found here: http://www.hellopdf.com/

The Denver Writing Project


I have been .a member of the Denver Writing project for nine years now. First I worked as the Director’s assistant, then as the librarian and payroll coordinator, then I attended an institute as a member.

In every aspect, I found my time with the DWP to be a rewarding experience as a teacher and as a writer.

My children have enthusiastically attended the Young Writers’ Camp for the last three years an have made lasting friends.

I wholeheartedly recommend the DWP summer institute for teachers of every subject who wish to include writing in their curriculum, who wish to be even better teachers, and/or who want some time to work on their own writing.  Many alumni have published as a result of their work at the summer institute.

http://denverwritingproject.org/content/how-do-i-get-involved

Frm SLJ: Art Teachers Bring 21st-Century Vision to 2010 Conference


Art teachers shared web 2.0 tools: http://www.schoollibraryjournal.com/article/CA6726768.html

Embrace the Google


Denise Cushing brought my attention to this article: Ten Simple Google Search Tips from the NY Times

Richard Byrne has posted some amazing Google  tips as well, including the links to a 33 page online book, “Google For Teachers.”

You know that Google would really like to be in every classroom, and they have a myriad of helpful tools, tips, and tutorials for educators on their site as well. 
Google held a teachers’ academy the last two years and likely ahs an upcoming one for 2010.

When information is available, we’ll post it.

My Question for the Superintendent


Today at 3:15, Superintendent Tom Boasberg and Chief Academic Officer Ana Tilton will be at Thomas Jefferson High School to meet with Hamilton MS and TJ faculty.
This is the question I have emailed to him and will have on hand should it not be addressed during the meeting as promised:

For the last two years there has been a trend in the DPS district of replacing full time teacher-librarians with hourly-rate library techs to save money despite the research that shows that schools who have a full-time teacher-librarian score higher on CSAP and have stronger literacy scores across the board. In this age of 21st century skills, trained professional information literacy experts are becoming even more important, but more and more of them are being replaced by hourly employees who have neither the training nor the education to perform this educational duty well. In light of this disparity, what do you plan to do to address the importance of librarians before the lack of these specialized professionals affects our district the way it has in other districts, with tanking literacy scores and overworked teachers trying to fill the gap left by the lack of a trained full time information literacy specialist (i.e. Teacher-Librarian)?

Earth Day is April 22


If you have some lessons coming up for Earth day, here are some great resources:

BreathingEarth.net  is an interactive global map. As your mouse hovers over countries, statistics show on the bottom of the screen including deaths, births, and CO2 emissions.

At the Water Use it Wisely  web sites, you can find some interesting games to play. They’re blocked by DPS filters, but I think we could request an exception, don’t you?

Remember Captain Planet? This online game based on the cartoon looks silly at first, but it’s actually pretty challenging.

Free Rice.com is a great website. Choose your subject (Art, Chemistry, English, Math, Geography) and answer trivia questions.  Each correct answer nets a donation of  ten grains of rice to the United Nations World Food Program. As you answer questions correctly, the difficulty level increases. It’s an addictive site.

WWF offers some fun online games related to Earth day. I tried the “Switch ’em Off” game and once I understood the rules, I had fun.

The BBC Climate Challenge Game is pretty complex. Players select policy cards, subsidize countries to change their environmental policies and really learn about the politics behind clean air. This one’s pretty good for High School students.

 There are many games to be found on the Ecogamer website. Not every one’s a winner, some are downloads rather than free online play, but they all work hard to teach the kids in a fun and thoughtful manner.