Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Online Collection of Audio Books Grades K-12

Lit 2 Go is a website developed by the Florida Educational Technology Clearinghouse. It contains a collection of audio books all posted in MP3 format. The site allows you to search by Author, Title, Reading Level and Subject. If you have Itunes installed on your computer you can download the Audio book directly into it. Many of the books have the chapters broken up into individual file.

An abstract, citation, playing time, and word count are given for each of the passages. Many of the passages also have a related reading strategy identified. Each reading passage can also be downloaded as a PDF and printed for use as a read-along or as supplemental reading material for your classroom.

You can:

  • Download the files to your Mp3 player and listen on the go

  • Listen to the Mp3 files on your computer

  • View the text on a web page and read along as you listen

  • Print out the stories and poems to make your own book

Educational Uses

  • Audio books can be setup as a listening center

  • Links to the books can be posted on a teachers website for students to download and listen to at home.

  • By providing multiple sources for students you are supporting the Universal Design for Learning framework.

  • Students can use excerpts from the books for digital stories such as:

    • Audio or video book reviews

    • Mock interviews of book characters

    • Podcasts

  • Audio Snippets can be incorporated to any class instructional activity. They can be uploaded to Smartboard lessons, PowerPoints, or Glogs.

  • The audio tracks can be trimmed and modified using Audacity and then used in lessons and projects


Sunday, September 26, 2010

Historical Images for Digital Content Creation - A UDL Resource for Social Studies and Science

The Flickr Commons was launched in January of 2008. It started out as a pilot project between Flickr and The Library of Congress. The original project was to provide a large sample of the over 1,000,000 images that depict American and World History. The project has grown to include many of our countries museums, organizations, and public institutions.

A blog posting on the project reveals the intent of the project: "There are two main aims to The Commons project, starting with the pilot: firstly, to increase exposure to the amazing content currently held in the public collections of civic institutions around the world, and secondly, to facilitate the collection of general knowledge about these collections, with the hope that this information can feed back into the catalogs, making them richer and easier to search."

Today the collection contains images from institutions such as NASA, The Brooklyn Museum, Smithsonian, The National Library of Scotland, National Maritime Museum, The New York Public Library and many other civic institutions.

The images have many uses in the classroom:

  • Most of the images are public domain. This means that no known copyright protection is applied. These images are available for digital story projects.

  • They may also be used by educators to introduce topics in social studies and science classes.

  • Images may be inserted in Google Earth tours to add historical perspectives to present day imagery.

  • Many of the images can be used as conversation starters and writing prompts.

  • Each image has a full description and comments from various viewers. Students may be provided with an opportunity to write for an audience by providing additional information in the comment section of each image.

Enjoy this fabulous resource. I welcome your comments regarding ideas for classroom integration.

Monday, September 13, 2010

PD Workshop- Digital Stories Using MS Photostory 3

I will be offering a course on Digital Storytelling using MS Photostory 3 on September 20, 2010 at White Rock School. This course will introduce digital storytelling. We will explore the process of creating and managing a digital story project. Participants will create a short digital story using MS Photostory 3.

  •  Topics

  1. What is digital storytelling? How can it be used?

  2. What are the steps involved in planning a project?

  3. How to find and organize images?

  4. Creating your story using MS Photostory 3

  5. Publishing Options for your story.

When:  Monday, September 20, 2010

Time: 3:30 to 5:00

Location: White Rock School Computer Lab

Professional Development Hours: 1.5

This workshop is open for all educators grades K - 5. Project examples will be provided for all grade levels. Digital Storytelling provides an authentic experience for students to publish their work for an audience. The focus on writing, organization, and delivery of content has proven to develop high order thinking skills. Come and explore this effective Web 2.0 tool and start infusing multimedia creation into your classroom.

You can register for this course by filling out the below form.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

50 Excellent Open Courses on Teaching With Technology

The information below is taken from a recent posting on
It is a listing of 50 free online courses that are offered on a wide variety of instructional technology topics. The courses are free, self-directed, and accessible over the internet.  Rather then listing a few examples in this posting I decided to paste all of the links below.

Using technology and creating unique learning environments are two big dreams that all types of teachers have, from elementary educators to distance education teachers to college professors. If you're already used to taking classes from an online college but are curious about creating your own open resources, or if you are studying to be a teacher in today's tech-fueled economy, check out these 50 free courses on teaching with technology.

Technology and Learning

Find out why technology is such a draw for educators and how we learn from non-human tools.

  1. Blogs, Wikis, New Media for Learning: This course will show you how blogs and other new media are optimal teaching tools. [Utah State]

  2. Computer Games and Simulations for Investigation and Education: This class will teach you how we learn from computer games and interactive technologies. [MIT]

  3. Instructional Gaming: Learn how to use instructional gaming to reach out to students. [Utah State]

  4. Creativity, community and ICT: Discover how online learning and technology fuel creativity and collaboration. [The Open University]

  5. Intro to Instructional Design: If you're curious about how humans interact with and learn from non-human tools, take this course. [Utah State]

  6. Videogame Theory and Analysis: Find out how videogames are legitimate teaching tools. [MIT]

  7. The Impact of Open Source Software on Education: Learn how different countries are using open source for college education and beyond. [Connexions]

  8. The review of the development of eLearning: Get a 10-year history of eLearning here. [Connexions]

  9. Principles and Practices of Technology: Designed for teachers, this course will teach you about the application of technology for learning and principles of instructional technology. [Utah State]

  10. Cultural History of Technology: Consider how technology has shaped our culture and is now a tool for learning, communication and more. [MIT]

  11. Artificial Intelligence: Discover how tools can actively teach us, even non-human ones. [MIT]

  12. Technological Tools for School Reform: Consider how innovation and modern technology contribute to the school reform debate. [MIT]

Online Education and Distance Learning

If you want to create online learning environments and manage a distance ed course, look here.

  1. Creating Open Educational Resource: Learn how to write learning units that enhance self-directed learning. [The Open University]

  2. Producing Distance Education Resources: You'll use Dreamweaver and FTP in this course as you learn how to develop open and online learning spaces and resources. [Utah State]

  3. Collaborative Learning and the Open Educational Resource Movement: Get an overview of the popularity of open education resources. [Connexions]

  4. Introduction to Open Education: Here you will review some of the main topics in open education like sustainability, licensing, creativity and more. [Utah State]

  5. Accessibility of eLearning: Learn more about eLearning solutions for disabled students. [The Open University]

  6. Facilitating online: This course will walk you through all the course models and lesson planning strategies you'll need as an online teacher. [Centre for Educational Technology]

  7. Master Online Teacher Certification: Teachers interested in creating their own online courses get a lesson in interactivity and other key issues here. [Weber State University]

  8. Online Instructor Training: This course features 10 areas of study to help you become an effective online teacher. [UC Irvine]

  9. An Overview of Open Educational Resources: Find out how open educational resources can be beneficial to all class levels. [Connexions]

  10. Understanding Online Interaction: Design better learning tools and environments after taking this class on online interaction. [Utah State]

  11. Best practices in online teaching: Learn how to prepare for and manage an online course. [Connexions]

  12. Managing your Distance Course: Discover ways to manage students learning from home. [Connexions]

  13. Managing and Maintaining the Discussion Board for Distance Courses: Facilitate online discussions through discussion boards. [Connexions]

  14. The "How Tos" of OER Commons: Practice creating open educational materials to add to the OER commons here. [Connexions]

  15. Connecting People with Online Resources: This course will train you to become a better researcher and collector of quality online resources you can share with students. [Utah State]

  16. Establishing Tone in the Distance Course: Get your point across so that your students really understand what you're teaching when you take this course. [Connexions]

  17. Promising Practices in Online Teaching and Learning: This class can help distance ed teachers become capable designers of online courses. [Connexions]

  18. Introduction to Copyright Law: Make sure you're correctly sourcing and citing any materials you reference when creating online courses. [MIT]

  19. eCommunities: Study how we interact with each other via online communities, which can help you design better courses or get the most out of networking with other students and classrooms. [University of Michigan]

Younger Students

These open courses will help you work with technology in elementary classrooms.

  1. Technologies for Creative Learning: Study games like the LEGO Programmable Brick and Computer Clubhouse center to get a lesson in innovation design and how children learn. [MIT]

  2. Play, learning and the brain: This course explains how playtime and experimentation is important in young childhood education, and that sensory deprivation can really hurt brain development. Consider this when planning interactive lessons with computers and other technology. [The Open University]

Tech Tutorials

These courses will introduce you to the technology systems you will need to create blogs, websites and other media that can bring learning to a new level to your students, as well as safety and legal tips.

  1. Living with the Internet: keeping it safe: Find out how to avoid viruses and hackers. [The Open University]

  2. Information on the web: Become a master at using search engines so that you can quickly direct your students to quality materials. [The Open University]

  3. Ethics and Law on the Electronic Frontier: Learn about privacy laws, the U.S. PATRIOT ACT, and more. [MIT]

  4. Interactive Multimedia Production: Practice using Macromedia Flash so that you can create animations and graphics. [Utah State]

  5. Computer Applications for Instruction and Training: If you use a Mac, then take this course to review some of the best apps like PowerPoint, iMovie and Photoshop that aid in lesson planning. [Utah State]

  6. Video in Distance Education: This mini-course will teach you how to use video for an online course. [Connexions]

  7. Designing the user interface: text, colour, images, moving images and sound: Here you'll learn how to design a user-friendly learning environment that includes great design and interactive media. [The Open University]

  8. Open Web Mapping: Create maps for history or science lessons after taking this class. [Penn State]

  9. Creating Interactive Multimedia: If you want to design interactive learning environments for your students, take this course. [USQ]

  10. Learn and Apply HTML: Learn the basics of HTML to create websites. [Utah State]

  11. User Interface Design and Implementation: Continue your education of creating good user-friendly websites and educational platforms. [MIT]

  12. HTML Basics: This is another course designed to teach you about HTML tags and coding.

Secondary and Higher Education

College and high school teachers can take these courses to design innovative learning systems and resources for their savvy students.

  1. Introduction to Open Educational Resources: Take this course if you're a college teacher wanting alternatives to textbooks. [Connexions]

  2. Teaching using digital video in secondary schools: Take this course to discover new ways to use digital media and video in the classroom. [The Open University]

  3. An Open Source Vision for Caribbean Higher Education: Find out how the higher education system in the Caribbean is opening up to open source. [Connexions]

  4. Teaching College-Level Science: This course includes a lesson in using educational technology in your curriculum. [MIT]

  5. OpeningScholarship: Here you'll learn about different ways technology can be used in higher education. [UCT]

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Teaching story writing in grades 1-3 with My Story Maker

My Story Maker was developed by the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. It can be found at  Students will create their own online book that can be viewed online or printed out as a PDF file.

The process is simple. Students will start by naming their story. They will then select characters, settings and various objects to insert into the pages of their story.  As students develop their story they can edit the type and location of objects on their pages. A text box is provided at the bottom of each page for writing the story.  As characters are added to the story the software provides an opportunity for students to change a characters feelings, actions or interactions.  There is also a small character on the bottom right of the screen that provides guiding questions for students to help with the development of their stories.

When you finish your story you are provided with the option to share it. The software will display a numeric code for your story. You can access your story at a later time by visiting the site and entering your code. My Story Maker will keep stories on file for up to 1 month.

Classroom Integration

My Story Maker is a great interactive tool for teaching students the craft of developing a short story.  The entire software is loaded with excellent resources that will guide students through the process. Because it is web-based we are providing students the opportunity to publish their work. We are allowing them to write for an audience other then their classmates and teachers. These types of activities have proven to contribute to a students motivation and enjoyment for writing.

Grade 1 - Towards the second half of first grade this could be a great activity for whole group instruction on an interactive whiteboard. The teacher can work with students by going through the process of developing a short story using images. Students can participate by using the interactive whiteboard to add items or text to the story.

Grades 2-3 - This is an excellent lesson for the computer lab at these grade levels.  Students can work in one or two sessions to complete a short story.  Students or teachers may record the access codes for each students story. This will allow the students to present their stories to the class on an interactive whiteboard at a later date.  If time is limited the stories can be printed out immediately.