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Thursday, October 28, 2010

ATS Picks 10/28/10

1. 100+ Google Tricks that will Save you Time in School
Check out these great tips and learn how to use Google to convert units, do a timeline search, search for a specific file type, search for a face, use Google News, study the oceans, and much more.

2. Protecting Reputations Online
This 3 minute video illustrates what happens to information that you share on the web. Common Craft's unique style makes it easy to understand some of the risks of oversharing information Online.
A small contribution in the fight against rampant immappancy by Kai Krause.
 This map makes it very clear how big Africa really is. Be sure to zoom in to get the full picture.

4. Lincoln Middle Schools Students Use Technology to Help Each Other Succeed
Campus Innovation: Kids Teaching Kids
Lincoln Middle School creates an innovative learning environment centered on kids teaching kids. Middle school students create math video lessons and collaborate via a Moodle-powered class website, creating a community of learners. Eric Marcos teaches 6th Grade Mathematics at Lincoln Middle School in Santa Monica, California. He also operates Mathtrain.TV, a site that features math video lessons (a.k.a. mathcasts) created by his students.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Eighth Grade Current Event History Blog

Facebook is failing to prevent child predators from posting suggestive and potentially illegal photographs of children on its website, a weeks-long investigation by reveals, despite its claim that it's doing all it can to keep pedophile materials from being displayed.

This topic, which is the first paragraph from a Fox News story, was chosen by Bill Rogers eighth graders for their first blog discussion this year. Blogging was piloted early last year by Miles Billings and quickly accepted for use in our eighth grade history curriculum. To view this blog post and read the student comments (100-200 words), and the leading questions, click on Facebook Abuse: Peter's Post. Posts and comments will be assigned about twice a month, selected from student submissions. Bill Rogers/MS History

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Kara Oehler - Mapping Main Street USA Project

KNBC club at the Middle School, had a pleasure to welcome Kara Oehler, an independent audio producer at Mapping Main Street USA Project. Mapping Main Street is a collaborative documentary media project that creates a new map of the country through stories, photos and videos recorded on actual Main Streets. Kara told the kids how in May, 2009 the Mapping Main Street team packed into a 1996 Suburu station wagon and started a 12,000 mile journey across the country to visit USA Main Streets. In the process, they took photos, shot videos, and interviewed people. They have talked with farm laborers and business owners, people out on their porches and people on park benches.

Since then 700 Main Streets have documented. Anyone can contribute to this project. The goal is to document all of the more than 10,000 streets named Main in the United States.

We are looking forward to documenting our own Main Street here in Cambridge and organizing a KNBC field trip in the next couple of weeks. Stay tuned for our updates!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

ATS Picks 10/22/10

1) New iLife features
See the new features available in iPhoto, iMovie and GarageBand. The new lessons for guitar and piano, and the new guitar amps and effects look pretty cool. And if you purchased a Mac recently, but don't have iLife '11, you can get iLife '11 for just the cost of shipping and handling instead of the full price (details are on the webpage).
Washington (CNN) -- As e-book readers and tablet computers become more common, one prominent tech mogul says that physical books could disappear sooner than expected. In an interview with CNN's Howard Kurtz on "Reliable Sources," author Nicholas Negroponte, founder of One Laptop per Child, said the physical book's days are numbered.

3) Copyright-Friendly and Copyleft (mostly!) images and sound for use in media projects and web pages, blogs, wikis, etc.
Most of the media in these collections are attached to generous copyright licensing. Though you may not need to ask permission to use them when publishing on the Web for educational purposes, you should cite or attribute these images to their creators unless otherwise notified!

4) Michael Wesch BLC10 Keynote Speech
Dubbed "the explainer" by Wired magazine, Michael Wesch is a cultural anthropologist exploring the effects of new media on society and culture. After two years studying the implications of writing on a remote indigenous culture in the rain forest of Papua New Guinea, he has turned his attention to the effects of social media and digital technology on global society.

5) The "In B Flat" website is a compilation of YouTube videos all embedded on one page. Each one is a musical (or spoken word) performance. You can start playing several of the videos to have an interesting effect. It would be interesting to replicate this as a lesson for music class.  ~Demetri

Edutopia is a Great Resource

One of my favorite online journals for education is edutopia which is published by the George Lucas Educational Foundation. They have great ideas for integrating technology across the curriculum. The examples and ideas have all been developed by teachers, so they are relevant and classroom-tested. Here are a few examples:

You can sign up for their free weekly e-newsletter if you want to get a few good ideas each week!

~ Demetri

Monday, October 18, 2010

MS KNBC media club makes music videos

The Middle School KNBC club has started the year off making mashup music videos. They used the website, garageband, iMovie, and screencasting software. Below are some sample videos created by the students:

CSPAN 6-12 Student Video Competition

C-SPAN's StudentCam is an annual national video documentary competition that encourages students to think seriously about issues that affect our communities and our nation. Students are asked to create a short (5-8 minute) video documentary on a topic related to the theme: “Washington, DC - Through My Lens”
Tell us about an issue, event, or topic that helped you better understand the role of the federal government in your life or community.

President Obama discussing the importance of the CSPAN competition:

10th grader Sawyer Bowman made the following 2009 winning video "Cancer: It's Personal"

Friday, October 15, 2010

Keyboarding at BB&N

Students at BB&N learn to touch-type in the 3rd and 4th grades. Last year we upgraded our software and purchased Type to Learn 4, which is a networked version of the program and can therefore be installed and used both at school and at home. This software is also available to all of our other students, as well as to our faculty and staff. If you are interested in learning to touch-type, please email Megan Haddadi for a Type to Learn 4 account.

STEM Lecture at Tufts Mon 12/1/10 4-5:30pm

Tufts STEM Education Lecture Series presents a talk by Janet Kolodner "How Can We Help People Develop Creativity?"
Monday, November 1, 2010, 4:00-5:30p.m. Open to the public. All are welcome.
Location: Nelson Auditorium, first floor Anderson Hall (School of Engineering), 200 College Avenue
Tufts University, Medford Campus

Abstract: How can we help people develop more creative problem solving and design capabilities? Research on the processes involved in being creative provides some clues. So does research on helping children learn to be scientific reasoners. In this talk, I bring the two together - using what we know about processes involved in creative reasoning and what we know about helping children learn reasoning skills to propose ways of helping people become systematically more creative when they solve problems and design. I suggest a pedagogical approach (one based on what cse-based reasoning suggests about promoting learning) and several types of software resources to support such learning - a special type of simulation and modeling system, a special type of case library, and software in support of storytelling.

If you plan to attend, please register, but you do not have to register to attend the event. For information on further talks in this series, please check out this site.

Tufts STEM Education Lecture Series
Co-sponsored by the Tufts Center for Engineering Education and Outreach and Department of Education

Thursday, October 14, 2010

ATS Picks 10/14/10

1) The 10 Best Apps for Education
Check out these useful free iPhone apps, including flash cards, book readers, and dictionaries

2) Guess the Google
Improve your search skills with this visual guessing game. You are shown a montage of images and you have to figure out the search term that returned those images before the clock runs out. "It turns the mental activity of searching into a fun, visual and engaging game where people can enjoy the challenge of being the fastest and most efficient at making that connection between search terms and their results."  (see if you can beat Megan's high score of 381... but be careful-it's addictive!)

3) Best of History Web Sites
Best of History Web Sites is an award-winning portal that contains annotated links to over 1200 history web sites as well as links to hundreds of quality K-12 history lesson plans, history teacher guides, history activities, history games, history quizzes, and more.

4) Math Starter of the Day
Presenting a different problem each day, the Math Starter of the Day site can be a fun way to get primary grade students engaged with mathematical puzzles and problems.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

SmartBoard in Upper School Science

Newsflash- new SmartBoard in the Upper School Science department! Rachel Riemer gets a SmartBoard in her classroom as part of the science lab construction over the summer. Since Rachel has wanted this SmartBoard in her classroom for years, the board has been in constant use since its installation. For tips and tricks, see Rachel.

iPads at the Upper School

The Upper School History department has been given 2 iPads this year through a launch grant. Nia Hays and Tom Siegel will be researching ways to use iPads in their classrooms. One thing they are examining is whether their textbook can be used electronically.

BTW, I also make custom-designed iPad cases (and laptop cases, purses, diaper bags, quilts, etc.) Website with pictures under construction.


Friday, October 8, 2010

Mass. School Library Association Annual Conference

I had the great opportunity this past Monday to attend the annual Mass. School Library Assoc. conference, a wonderful professional development venue for school librarians. It is always inspiring to network with colleagues. The day is packed with a multitude of workshops I loved hearing about hot new young adult books, and have already ordered a number of them for the middle school library. I heard about how Cushing Academy is organizing information now that the library has drastically reduced their print collection. Last year, I was concerned about the library nearly eliminating all print resources; despite my lingering misgivings, I am impressed with their vision about how to organize online information. I feel validated, having worked on the MS library web page for the past year and a half with Svetlana; we are moving in a similar direction in terms of information organization. We are striving to create a library web site that serves as a portal for information access, both print and electronic. Later in the afternoon, my imagination went to town as I listened to the librarian and info. tech. specialist from Pentucket High School describe their "Digital Literacy Challenge" program. Every two weeks, they present their school community with a challenge that requires use of a digital tool or resource, like visiting delicious, exploring the wonder wheel feature of advanced google search, using the online library catalog to find relevant resources for a research project, and more. I'm thinking about how to integrate this sort of challenge into the middle school. I am always grateful for a chance to learn new things and find ways to use them here at BB & N!
Beth Brooks, MS Library Director and All School Library Coordinator

Thursday, October 7, 2010

ATS Picks 10/8/10

1) Ways to Use Voicethread in the Classroom

The Digital Library is a database of articles about successful VoiceThread projects. Our hope is to create a resource that offers guidance and inspiration for people undertaking new projects.

2) Internet4Classrooms... Helping You Use the Internet Effectively
At this site there are a large number of games that kids can play that help review math, social studies and language arts skills. The games are organized by grade level and the site is very easy to navigate.

3) Sketchcast... a New Way to express yourself
Record a sketch with or without voice. Explain something, have fun, or create art. Then embed the sketch player in your blog or point people to your sketch channel.

4) VocabGrabber- Visual Thesaurus
VocabGrabber analyzes any text you're interested in, generating lists of the most useful vocabulary words and showing you how those words are used in context. Just copy text from a document and paste it into the box, and then click on the "Grab Vocabulary!" button. VocabGrabber will automatically create a list of vocabulary from your text, which you can then sort, filter, and save.
Select any word on the list and you'll see a snapshot of the Visual Thesaurus map and definitions for that word, along with examples of the word in your text. Click on the word map or the highlighted word in the example to see the Visual Thesaurus in action.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Bee-Bot in Beginners and Kindergarten

A new piece of technology we have at the Lower School is the Bee-Bot. It is a great tool for teaching sequencing, estimation, problem-solving, and just having fun. The Bee-Bot is already being used in Beginners and Kindergarten. Students in both grades are solving maze-like problems, sending the Bee-Bot from one point to another, sometimes going under bridges or around obstacles. Kindergarteners are also using the Bee-Bot to study rhyming. The Bee-Bot starts on a square with a picture and a word on it. They then have to guide the Bee-Bot to another square that has a picture and word that rhymes with the first. The students are having a lot of fun with the Bee-Bot!