Sunday, February 27, 2011

Readability - Focus on the Content

Readability is a must bookmarklet for anyone that reads through the many blogs and online articles to stay current in your profession.

Scenario: You are reading a blog post of a popular author, and there are ads surrounding the article. By clicking the readability bookmarklet installed on your favorites toolbar the article is transposed into an ad free view, customized to a selected font, stationary, and size. Save money by printing in readability mode because you are printing content, not ads.

Assist students who are distracted with surrounding media. Teach them how to use the readability button.

Readability is a bookmarklet well worth the value of a quick install. Click the "add on button", provide an email address, and obtain your bookmarklet.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Newsmap - Mapping Todays News

Would it be interesting to see how different countries perceive which current events are most important? Check out these perceptions using a tool called Newsmap. (screen shot below taken on February 26, 2011)

The news is layed out in blocks, larger blocks representing a bigger focus around the country, represented by the number of articles written about that topic. Reading stories from different countries is accessed by clicking corresponding tab found across the top. Different types of news are highlighted with different colors; for example world affairs in maroon while sports are in blue. Checks near the bottom allow one to select which type of news to display. Each block links to a story from a variety of newsmedia sources.

This resource would be great for any current events class, as students could compare viewpoints from different regions around the world. Foreign Language classes could use this tool to read comparative stories in different languages. An ad free mapping of todays news, definitely worth reading.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Word Stash - a flashcard dictionary

Check out this online dictionary called WordStash, which has an interface providing a feel of flashcards. To begin, look up a word and read the definition.

To obtain the most for this tool, create an account. A Teacher account will allow you to create lists of words you can publish for your students. Teachers will have the ability to create a class, and allow students in that class easy access to the lists and terms available to study. A Student account must be linked to an email address. Students will also have the ability to create lists of words which they can share publicly or keep private.

When creating a list of terms, you have the option of choosing a WordStash definition, or typing your own. Popular activities inside Word Stash include Learning Mode, Practice Mode, Play Match Game, and Quiz me.

Follow Wordstash updates on their blog at Try it out, as this site could be a great enhancement for your vocabulary resources.

Thursday, February 24, 2011


Have you ever watched a Youtube in the classroom and had increased levels of anxiety because of anticipating what advertisement image will be displayed when the video is over?

Have you turned beet red because of the image that displayed when the video was completed? I call this Youtube Roulette.

Ah, I learned of a new tool to eliminate such anxiety. Quiettube. This tool will work differently depending on your browser with the bottom line objective, the only thing on the screen is the particular Youtube video of interest. No suggested alternative videos nor any ads.

In some browsers simply drag n drop the quicktube button onto a browser toolbar. Other browsers like chrome have quicktube installed as an extension.

In any case, check this out. A great little tool.

Digital Drifting

After sitting in a session at ITSC (Instructional Technology Strategies Conference) in Portland, OR, a term hit me across the side; "personal transparency". So I asked myself, am I transparent digitally? Easy answer, not really. Second question, do I have knowledge and experiences to share? Again easy answer, yep. I share them all the time with local teachers. Why not practice digital transparency and share them virtually? Thus the start of "Digital Drifting".

Some of the posts will be fast paced, as it will seem we are drifting through white water. While others will be casual. Causing us to stop, reflect, or possibly enjoy life as if drifting down a lazy current. Yet others may appear we are in a little rapids for the first time ever causing our adrenaline to increase. And after a few rides through similar rapids we learn to be at ease with this type of technology.

I hope to share stories of seamless integrated technology into the classroom. I hope to share resources and pose questions seeking ideas. I hope to share struggles and attempts, unsuccessful and successful, at working through them. I hope that whatever the post, it will offer you time to learn something new or validate what is in existence causing an increase in your ability to perform your job.

Enjoy the drift through digital experiences.