Showing posts from July, 2011

An Open Letter of Thanks to My Mimio Family

I spent this week in Ogunquit, Maine at The Cliff House. It was a beautiful setting with crisp air, great views, and delicious food. But the highlight of my week was the quality time I spent with some of the most dedicated, intelligent, and compassionate educators I've ever met.

We were all there for the 2nd Annual Mimio Educator Summit. There were about twenty teachers and technology coordinators and directors invited, along with the wonderful Mimio staff. Most of us are Mimio Masters and teach for Mimio online. And while the majority of the time we spent together focused on their wonderful product, there was so much more!

We learned about great Web 2.0 tools (Thanks, Lynn!). We explored QR Codes in the classroom (Thanks, Kurt!). We looked at exciting new iPad apps (Thanks, Tracy!). We explored the power of social media (Thanks, Lauren!). We talked about professional development, Google Apps for Educators, one-to-one initiatives, cell phones in schools, and the list goes on and …

Keeping Fit with Technology - QR Fitness Trails!

This week I'm in Oguinquit, Maine with fellow Mimio educators at their annual Mimio Educator Summit and while the focus of our work is, of course, on interactive whiteboard technology, we've found the time to talk about other areas of technology. (What a bunch of geeks!)

One of my fellow Mimio buddies, Kurt Kohls, a fabulous and passionate educator, has started a little venture that incorporates new QR technology into fitness. His new company, QR Fit Trail, sells signs with QR codes that can be "placed along fitness trails, walkways, courtyards, etc." Using a smart phone and a free QR reading program, visitors to the signs can watch and participate in various fitness activities in four categories - core body, flexibility, lower body, and upper body.  The entire series of signs has five signs for a total of twenty exercise activities.

It's a fabulous idea that incorporates the latest in technology with good health. Pay the site a visit and I know you'll be imp…

Flat Daddies Project Connecting Kids to Their Deployed Parents

Well this post doesn't have that much to do with technology (other than the website noted), but it's just too good a project not to share.
Most educators, parents, and students have heard of Flat Stanley. He's the fictional characters that gets flattened when a bulletin board falls on him. He takes advantage of his altered state and discovers he can mail himself all around the world. Educators have used the character in all sorts of lessons to teach geography, math, social studies, and more.

Well, that same concept is now helping children whose military parents are deployed. The Flat Daddies project turns pictures of our military into life-sized cutouts. Families can then take their loved one along to school events, picnics, parades, birthday parties, etc. Photos of Flat Daddy (or Flat Mommy) can be shared with the deployed spouse letting them know they are at home "in spirit." Many of the Flat Daddies and Flat Mommies have been donated and there is a link on the…

The Educational Power of Twitter for Teachers

I've recently re-discovered the power of Twitter! When I first heard of Twitter I really couldn't see the value of having an account. I couldn't care less about what Ashton Kutcher had for breakfast or where Demi Moore was going for dinner. I didn't see why anyone would want to follow anyone through this "micro-blogging" site.

Then, I discovered just how much really good information is being shared out there! In my case, there is a multitude of technology directors, coordinators, and vendors that tweet about educational technology related issues. A lot of the information I pass along through this blog, or through my staff development, comes from information I've gleaned through Twitter. 

And, it doesn't stop at eduational technology. There are educators out there tweeting about just about everything you can think of - language arts,  math, science, social studies, special education, at-risk students. The list goes on and on.

Some non-tweeters still thi…

Avoiding Death by PowerPoint: The Pecha Kucha Method

Years ago, I heard about a method of delivering PowerPoint presentations that helped avoid many of the pitfalls we encounter when preparing or watching them - slides with tons of text, presenters reading directly from the slides, presentations that seem to take forever!

The format was simple - limit presenters to the number of slides they can have, limit them to just one image on a slide, and limit them to little or no text. Then, force the presenter to use the auto-timing in PowerPoint so that each slide only plays for a limited time and then the presentation moves on automatically.

I loved the idea, but forgot what it was called. I knew it had a Japanese name and I searched everywhere for it, to no avail. Well, I ran across it last night! It's called Pecha Kucha. The format is exactly as described with even more specifics - 20 slides for 20 seconds each. The Official Pecha Kucha Website has even more details.

Here's a video of a Pecha Kucha that explains Pecha Kucha:

The id…

Cool New Google Search Features for Chrome Users!

If you're a Google Chrome user (Chrome 11.0 or higher), you have some great new search features that you may not even know about! The first is searching by voice. Open Google and you'll see a small microphone icon in the search box. Click on it and talk away! Google will perform your search. I tried it a few times and was very impressed with its ability to transcribe my voice.

The next cool feature is the ability to search images by uploading an image! Click on "Images" in the upper left to open the Image Search tool, then click on the camera icon. You can then either paste a URL of an image, or upload one from your computer. I tried several times and the results varied. For the most part, Google matched images based on color and shape. However, when the image was very recognizable (like when I uploaded a picture of the Parthenon or a plate of fruit) Google did a great job matching the images.

There are also some great new mobile search features. Using any web browse…