Friday, February 26, 2010

Teaching Current Events -The Week in Rap

I came across this site thanks to a blog posting I read here. It is called The Week in Rap.  The week in Rap is a music video that summarizes the major world events of the week. It is organized as a Rap video.  A typical video is under 5 minutes.


This is a great alternative tool for teaching current events. It may be a great end of the week activity.  Some ideas that come to mind are:

1. Link to this in a Moodle discussion and ask students to respond to a question regarding it.

2. Have students develop a blog posting reflecting on these events using Ning, a wiki, Moodle, Google Doc, or traditional journal.

3.  Have students create their own music video that discusses a global issue. Use this as an example.


Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Glogster - Create 21st Century Posters

Have you ever heard of a Glog? Would you like to learn how to take a traditional project like a poster and create a 21st century, online version of one? Do you think your students would be interested in learning how to create an online poster with text, images, video clips, sound, graphics and design features? Would this type of assessment foster creativity, engage students in the learning process, and develop technology literacy skills?

If this sounds interesting to you then you should take a look at Glogster Edu. A glog is a 21st century poster. A Glog is an online poster that can contain photographs, images, graphics, video files, sound files and text.  Glogs allow you to add hyperlinks to other websites.

Glogster EDU allows teachers to setup a virtual classroom for creating Glogs. A teacher can create and manage accounts for each of his or her students. Student Glogs are kept private and are viewable by the teacher. Other students in the class can leave comments about another students Glog and the teacher can exchange messages with his or students as well. Once a student has a managed account they can access Glogster and start making a Glog. The teacher can monitor and manage their progress.

The finished Glogs can be viewed online or embedded into a wiki, website or blog for review.


Glogster is an exciting and engaging tool for students. Glogster takes the traditional process of creating posters and makes it more interactive, dynamic, creative, and in tune with 21st century expectations.

I will be offering a workshop on a web 2.0 tool that provides the opportunities listed above. To learn more about it and to register please follow the link below.

If you want to jump right in and start exploring then please visit the Glogster EDU home page at

IMPORTANT: Currently a teacher who registers with Glogster EDU can create up to 200 student accounts. This will be changing to 100 starting March 1. Register now to lock in 200 accounts before March 1.

Stay tuned for how to documents and instructional screencasts.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

We need to teach kids about food

This topic is not typical for my postings but it is a topic that is of great interest to me. Jamie Oliver discusses how the food we eat is the number one killer in our nation. He explains how we need to start teaching kids about food to help solve this growing problem. He won the 2010 TED prize for his work in the area. I can think of a number of technology infused lessons that will cover this topic. Take a few minutes to listen to his speech.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Wolfram Alpha - A 21st Century Search Engine

WolframAlpha is the next generation in search engines. I have found this site to be one of the most useful tools available on the Internet.  It  is a computational search engine.

What this means is that this search engine can compute just about anything. The program is so sophisticated that it can query almost any computation using natural language. You can "just ask a question". You will not only get your answer, but you will see the steps to solve it as well as all other pertinent or relevant information related to your question.


Does this sound confusing. The best way to learn about the power of this website is to watch this demo video made by its creator.   Sit back and enjoy this clip. I am confident you will be amazed!

Wolfram Alpha can be used quite extensively in Education. Math and Science students can use the engine to help solve math problems, learn the step to solve a problem, and gather data for research.

This search engine separates itself from GOOGLE in that it delivers the answers and data you are looking for. It does not just list a page of search results that you  sift through to find what you are looking for. As I mentioned, it is a computational search engine. That means it has access to endless amounts of data to pair with its algorithms. At the bottom of all of  your search results you will find a link to sources. These are the sources that are used to complete the computations. Whether it is historical weather data or us census numbers, the sources of data are right at your fingertips.

There is so much that I could write about Wolfram Alpha. Stay tuned for more postings.  In the meantime, take a look at the video and start exploring.