Last November I came across a post from the Vagabondish blog about clever uses for your digital camera while traveling. Now that there is so much excitement surrounding use of cell phones for education, I want to bring back that "old post" and dress it up some. The post was created by Mike Richard on November 8, 2007 and is called:

"Travel Tips: 12 Clever Uses for Your Digital Camera "

It is definitely worth the read if you have any interest in using cell phones in class or just like finding interesting ideas for products you already own. There are suggestions from blog responses such as taking a photo of where you park your car at an airport (remember Seinfeld and friends lost in the parking garage for the whole episode?), pic of hotel in a foreign city, photo of your kids as you enter an amusement park to show what they are wearing, pic of your group of kids you are leader of on a field trip, pic of a bus route sign or signs as bread crumbs as to where you are going, more and more ideas. You can subscribe so when a new idea is posted, since there are many more than 12 ideas now, you will receive it!

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I have heard about all of the Ivy League or top 10 universities who have published podcasts, tours, class lectures and more in the iTunes U library. I wandered around there tonight and found some interesting programs for our school to follow. First I clicked on the iTunes U link in iTunes. Just exploring the opening page could take a day with the variety of information you could read, listen to or watch. One can't help but to see Carnegie-Mellon is at the top of the download list because of the passing of Randy Pausch. If you have been under a rock and don't know his story, download his "last lecture" here for free.

In addition, there are commencement speeches from celebrities like Oprah, studies about energy consumption, becoming a greener household, and stories about nano-technology. With the price of gas so high, people cannot travel to hear or see many cultural events. So in that case, take a virtual tour through a museum. Living close to Philadelphia, I am partial to the Art Museum. Just by typing museum into the search box, a complete list of museum tours will appear. You can go on a talking tour of the National Portrait Gallery to a Zoofari at the San Diego Zoo!

See, hear, and learn. Put it on your own child's iPod and see what they can learn. Better yet, assign it for your students as a listening exercise!

Image from iTunesU at Penn State poster

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I debated and debated, in my own head about iPhone, no iPhone. After talking with the AT&T rep in the mall, I realized that my current phone plan had one more year to go on Verizon and the buy out would not be worth it. So I settled for the iPod Touch. I need gadgets and fru-fru! The next stop after the Apple Store in Delaware (no tax), was to the $5 and Below store for a cover. They had a good selection too. So I saved $24.99 by not purchasing one at the Apple Store. Next stop, skins!
I happened to see an ad for iPod skins from It is a perfect fit, easy to apply and looks classy! There are hundreds of styles for many tech toys. This is the rear view of the skin I selected. I bought two for about $14.00 including shipping. There are many places you can purchase skins, but I must say, customer satisfied!

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I just signed up for the FREE teacher resource site for and after wandering around for a while, I found some good links for election coverage. LINK. I would imagine there will be hundreds of sites and links available for teachers to use in their classroom this year. Start your critique early and find a few sites that you trust, are impartial (HA-HA) and can provide pertinent information for your students.

Photo by Dave Ward on

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How did I miss this creative new, to me anyway, cartoon creator? Stripgenerator is so easy to create a strip cartoon, just by choosing humans, objects, shapes and text balloons. Once created you can embed or print them. Here is a sample. My column is not wide enough, but you get the idea.

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Thanks to my colleague Laboure Rafferty for these three math links from a workshop she is attending this week. This is her review of the sites:
  1. Math Songs: "The website provides songs to teach students mathematical concepts through the music of many familiar songs. The songs are written to well known tunes such as: Dry Bones Song, Heartbreak Hotel, Hotel California, O'Christmas Tree, Old MacDonald Had a Farm, New York, New York, Jailhouse Rock, Houndog, Twelve Days of Christmas, Burning Ring of Fire, Blue Suede Shoes, Do You Believe in Magic, etc. A variety of mathematical concepts are taught through the songs. The concepts include but are not limited to: multiplying integers, rates and rations, PEMDAS, parenthesis, circumference and area of circle, simplifying rationale expressions, solving equations, graphing lines, Y=MX +B, Vertical Lines, quadratic formula, distance formula, midpoint formula, squaring a binomial, factoring for basic math to Alg. 2, exponent rules, finding equation of line from two points, solving systems of equations, linear equations, slope, Pythagorean theorem, CPCTC, parallel lines cut by a transversal, COIC PAAM, and horizontal asymptote. The site offers a variety of possibilities for use. The songs could be used to introduce a new mathematical concept. They could also be used to help students prepare and study for tests. "
  2. Math Songs & Poems: "This website is maintained by Vicki Young who teaches at Motlow State Community College in Lynchburg, Tennessee. The site offers a variety of poems and songs related to math. The site is organized by math standards. The topics covered include: number and operation, patterns and algebra, graphs and functions, geometry, measurement, probability and statistics, problem solving, reasoning and proof, communication, connections, and representation. Just as Ronnie Flowers site could be used to introduce a new mathematical concept or to help students prepare or study for tests, this site could also be used to help students reinforce mathematical concepts."
  3. Ask Dr.Math: "Ask Dr. Math is a website maintained by the Math Forum @ Drexel University. The Math Forum is a research and educational enterprise of the Drexel School of Education. The site is a wealth of information on a variety of math topics. It provides a variety of answers to math related questions as well as the ability to ask a question and receive an answer from a member of The Math Forum. Math Problems of the week are provided in the areas of math fundamentals, pre-algebra, algebra and geometry. Interactive mathematics puzzles are also available. A full table of contents on a variety of mathematical topics is also provided. The site is a fabulous resource for students and teaches alike."
Whoever says teachers sit around and eat bon-bons in the summer doesn't know education. I know many teachers who are extending their PLN(personal learning network) by taking courses, attending workshops, conferences, seminars and connecting with others all over the country, and world. In fact, this weekend I am going with another colleague to the DEN Regional Workshop in Monmouth University. Watch for some blog posts on that next week.

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Thanks to Jen Dorman for posting this link to some great pages on differentiated instruction. Links to learning styles inventory, multiple intelligences inventory, instructional theory, classroom tips, and sample lessons and units to look over. Read a discussion about how your teaching style matches with your students' learning style.

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If you want to venture outside your classroom this year, then check out the projects on the I-Earn site. From here, you can connect with teachers in the next community to across the globe. Look for topics that fit your curriculum and dovetail them to fit. No need to create your own project. You can choose something simple the first time, they step it up a notch when your students are ready for a more in-depth study. Check out the newsletter for past projects and how they worked too.

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I was not aware of this until I went to the Apple Store and played with an iPod-Touch: You can have live wireless Internet if you are in an area with WiFi. I thought that was just for the iPhone. Well I must tell you that I was hooked and plunged in to the purchase. I love the applications, the way you manage the settings, the touch screen, it is all great. I was a big fan of wireless PalmPilots, but the screen was too small for me (sorry over 50). But this larger screen is just about as small as I want to get! Even my Classic iPod screen is too small. This is just right.

It leaves me to mention that if your child has one of these, they can use the Internet at a friend's home, the library, some malls, walking down the street, anywhere. Yes anywhere they can get unsecured Internet access. Be sure you are involved in what they are doing with that access. Ask them to show you how they use it, where they use it and what they are doing. Sit at the computer and have them teach you how to download Apps to their new device.

If you do not know how to text message, I suggest you get in to it right away. Teens prefer to text and you are more likely to get a response if you text rather than phone. Of course this depends upon your child and their preference. I think I will add the texting plan to my phone in September. I have two teens who want rides home or here and there, and sometimes I stay after school for something too and want to inform them.

Image from:

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The blog by Tom March is filled with some additional teacher resources for wikis, blogging, PageFlakes, how to create a blog, podcast and wikis. There is a section about creating a project, class portals and other helpful links. It is work taking a look. I am sure you can find something to use in your classroom, or at least post this link on your blog for your school to have access to it.

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Creating a thesis statement can be troublesome for some students. This web site walks you through the process by asking key questions. But of course you need to know a little bit about your subject before working with this page. I found this really user friendly to complete. In addition, when students have their project thesis approved, they can print it and move forward to the outline creator.

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I have been following Tweets and blog postings about NECC since early this spring and I have never seen so much excitement from teachers about collaborating, learning, growing and exploring great ideas. If only the non-tech teachers, administrators and community in which we work could see this excitement. They would have pride in their schools and what is taking place in classrooms that they did not know about. They would be so surprised at the activities that their first, second, and third graders could accomplish with web2.0 tools. They would enjoy watching students collaborate on worldwide projects. They would rejoice at the research projects on world hunger, environmental issues and students ideas and actions for saving the planet.

How do we tell the world about all of this enthusiasm? I wish they could see the Twitter, Plurk, Ning, blogs, Diigo, webinars, backchannels, Coveritlive, more, more, more, that has evolved from teachers who love what they do. It is easy to get pumped up about using one new tech tip in your life or classroom. It was fun to see people bring their geeky"ist" toy and have others Ohhhh-Ahhhh over it. That is contagious!

So I am borrowing a thought from Lisa Parisi's blog "Lisa's Lingo and making a summer list. I am also going to put on paper, er - blog, those simple tricks I want to pass on to teachers in my school. Furthermore, I have written that Jott is a great tool to start your administrators using web2.0 tools. I am going to go the next step and find a few more web2.0 tools for them to use this year. Tonight I ponder what those lists and tools will be.

But even better, I am going to commit to offering a tool tip on our web page and PTO newsletter web page. Why should keep all of our fun toys, I mean tools so secret from the parents in our community. Surely by sharing these tools we will be sharing the enthusiasm.
Pay it forward.

Photo by Lucy Gray at Edubloggercon, Saturday June 29,2008

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Thank you to Tom Chapin for his insight to teaching/tesing in USA! His lyrics are humorous and he back up with facts. The website contains a link to download the song, the lyrics and several insightful links about the statistics about education and the real cost of cutting out the arts programs in schools because they are "not on the test". If you really want to interact with Chapin, you can leave comments on the myspace page dedicated to the song/video!
This post from Peggy George by way of Mrs. Durff!

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In the recent edition of the Learning and Leading with Technology from ISTE, there is an article about Rubrics and Rubric Generators I encourage you to read. Educators have become quite adept at creating or finding rubrics for classroom activities. Our students ask about them right off the bat if they are not offered a rubric. The article includes several sources I have not tried before when searching for rubrics. Here are the rubric sites mentioned:

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The conversations continue on Twitter,, NECC.ning and numerous shows. During the last WOW show, there was a wonderful tribute to Vicki Davis who is leaving the show to spend more time with her family. She continues with her other endeavors and will still be a web presence. In addition to this tribute, it was revealed that Terry Friedman has a book available for FREE which contains 60 web2.0 projects for education. Friedman says: "Coming of Age: An Introduction to the NEW Worldwide Web (1st Ed) is a great introduction to Web 2.0 in education. This first edition was downloaded 60,000 times before I lost count!" Download here.

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After 5 days of intensive learning and thinking, I need to debrief. As I have followed many "tweets" about NECC, I have bookmarked or diigoed many new things to process. Many people have said before how fun it was to meet people in person you have followed or met on Ning, Twitter, or any other network. "It was like a class reunion," someone said.
So far I only have 32 bookmarks on my new diigo account, but have not finished including all the paperwork I picked up at the poster sessions. I expect that number to rise a great deal.
I loved the format of Edubloggercon, DEN day at the ranch, the NECC Unplugged, Classroom2.0 OpenSource sessions, Blogger Cafe, the poster sessions, and oh yea the formal concurrent sessions.
I learned that the technologies to watch include the use of Moodle, GoogleEarth and the use of cell phones for school projects. These sessions were full and often closed up to 45 minutes before the sessions were scheduled to begin.
If you want to follow the post conference conversation log in to these sites:

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This session is running in Second Life, Ustream, and Chatzy all at the same time. I am sure there are Twitters going out as well. The walls come tumbling down.
Google Presentation - collaborative for students to use and when someone is absent, the others can keep working or work from home.
YouTube - The connected classroom, share your video, presentation, before you use them and you can get feedback from others.
Twitter, Google, Diigo, Wikispaces, UStream - tools that Kristen uses.
Wikis, embedded content from other locations to one place, Skype, -Darren
Blogger, Twitter on cell phone, bridges vs. walls, Communication and Learning Revisited - book, which references students learn by talking, online book talks, flickr - Carolyn Foote
Literature Alive in Second Life, Skype, Birth of Literature Alive(The edgar Allan Poe house of Usher, Camelot, The Cantebury Tales) Mixbook, Penzu, Google Notebook and Docs, Yuuguu, Wikispaces, -Beth Ritter-Guth

Open PD - Anyone can participate in the virtual classroom experience for FREE. Daren and Robin teach social software with teachers from all over the world from the comfort of your own home!
SL - create a gmail account such as and join the educator forum to get some help or a mentor to help guide you.

Kristin - first step for collecting bookmarks, then go to Diigo to expand your bookmarking to sharing with friends, or groups, highlighting info on web pages, etc

Carolyn - live blogging, edublogs, wordpress, cover it live, - use with student groups to talk about book talks,,

Stephanie - Ustream - use a cable not wifi, video streaming on the web, with a chat ad backchannel, try to have a backchannel moderator to pull out the questions for the panel,

Backchannel - helps the students who are a bit more quiet particpate

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