Monday, January 14, 2008

Do your students know how you learn?

I took part in a very interesting Edtech talk tonight on the topic of RSS feeds and their roll in education. One of the presenters mentioned the above question that she had been presented in a previous workshop. Do your students know how you learn?

I thought this was a very profound statement and an excellent transition  into introducing RSS feeds into your classroom. I use RSS feeds everyday. It has become a daily part of my professional and personal life. In fact, I wonder how I got by without them.

I was introduced in this discussion to some interesting ways that educators are implementing them with their students. I wanted to share some of these to anyone who is listening???

  • One of the presenters discussed how she has all of her students create accounts on pageflakes. She then has each student create a tab for each topic they are researching for classes. She has them pull in RSS feeds on that topic. 

  • Create a current events tab. They use this for their current events discussion.

  • Create tabs that you can share with your students. Pageflakes and igoogle allow you to share tabs with other users. One teacher shares a tab on Cyberbullying. They use the updated feeds as topics for discussion.

  • Create a Tab for your department or grade level and share it with them. Discuss updated content at grade level or team meetings.

  • Have students pull in homework, assignments or links of interested generated by the teacher.

  • Some sites allow you to save searches as RSS feeds. Students can save searches to their aggregators as feeds.

Those are some of the great ideas that was discussed during this session. I hope you find it useful. One of the topics that was brought up is the lack of RSS feeds on elementary sites. By using you can create RSS feeds for any content on any page. It is a very cool tool. For elementary students you can create the feeds and the tab and then share it with them.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Free Mind Mapping Resource I Came Across Today

I came across an great site today and wanted to share it with everyone. I am always networking in search of new Web 2.0 sites that are relevant to our classrooms. Today I was introduced to    (no "e" at the end.)

This is a web based mind mapping site. It is very similar to Inspiration. You can create a mind map of ideas using connected bubbles. Students can use this at home or at school as an alternative to inspiration or a written graphic organizer.

These "bubbl maps" can be printed or saved. They can also be converted to HTML code and inserted into a page on your website or blog. If you create an account on the site you will be able to save your work. You can also collaborate with other users by sharing your work with friends. This will allow for students working in groups to collaborate on one document/organizer.  If you do not want to create an account you can still create a new mind map without signing in. Then you can print it out or save it as a document. is an excellent resource for both students and teachers. Mind mapping graphical organizers are a valuable tool in the writing process. This software allows for collaboration and 24/7 access. The best feature is that it is 100% free.