Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Google - Advanced Searches

Your challenge today is to refine your searches so that you only see a relevant number of results applicable to the search you are doing. When doing searches, it is easy to just take the first couple results and assume they are the best. Google does a good job of putting relevant information at the top but it also can't read your mind.

That's where Advanced Search comes in. It lets you think about those keywords that work with your search. With the advanced search, it is easier to find results based on:


  • All search terms you enter (AND)

  • An exact phrase you type ("quotes")

  • At least one of the words typed (OR)

  • Words you DON'T want in your search (NOT)


And more.... let's consider some examples.

You want to do a search for dolphins and are finding that the football team keeps intruding your results.  Your search could look something like this: 

dolphins "marine mammal" atlantic OR gulf miami football

You will find a host of other options in both the Advanced Search, Search Features and the More Google Products page.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Website - Social Networking

Monday morning, I am getting ready for a workshop in one of our conference rooms. Setting up tables, laying out electrical reels, putting necessities on the tables: all of activities normally reserved for another day with educators. Sue walk in and asks, "How are you feeling?" A little confused, I responded, "Fine. Why?" "I was just wondering how your back was after you and the boys moved all of that sand," she responded. "How did you know we did that?" I asked. "It was on your Facebook!" she exclaimed.

More and more people are using social networking sites to communicate and share. Not only for personal use but professional use as well. I use some for personal, some for professional use - and always try to keep the two separate, of course. (That's probably a topic for blogging in itself!) Social Networking has received a bad rapport in schools, I believe, because it has been untamed, unchartered territory. Our students were the ones paving the way and, well, they haven't had much direction on HOW or WHAT it should be used for.

Let's get in and explore a couple of different social networking sites and see how it might benefit your or your students.

Twitter - I already spoke to this in a previous blog post. Highlights are personal professional development, networking, social filtering and more.

Facebook - I use this for keeping up with family and friends. Sharing what we are doing, pictures, and fun applications that they have to enhance the online social networking environment.

LinkedIn - This is the "professional" version of Facebook. Professionals all over the world share their experiences, resumes, and create groups to schedule events and collaborate.

Ning - A social networking site that allows you to create your own group to share blogs, upload files and media, participate in discussions, meet new people and much more. This is been a popular site for educators to create interest groups.

ESU 10 Communities - Communities of educators in ESU 10 that allow the sharing of their interests, files, websites, etc. in a blog format. 

ALI or Apple Learning Interchange - Educator driven lessons and ideas to support learning using technology. Lots of groups, collaboration and general information.

These are just a few of the social networks out there. I challenge you to try one of them and see how it might work in your classroom!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Creativity - Animation-ish

A message from Peter H. Reynolds...

Animation-ish, based on the book by Peter H. Reynolds called Ish, is a wonderful cross-platform tool to get started with animation. Fablevision has also created lessons for use in almost every curricular area: Counseling, English, Foreign Language, Handwriting, Health, History, Language Arts, Life Science, Mathematics, Music, Reading, Science, Social Sciences, Social Studies and Technology Education.

Another Fablevision Ambassador, Terry Shay, was integral in developing curriculum ideas. You can see a few examples on his blog. Also from his blog: All about Animation-ish.


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Mobile Phones - Text reminders

buzzz buzzz buzzz - buzzz buzzz buzzz

From: 62262
Polls are open in Nebraska until 8pm. For location info visit: VoteForChange.com

Just a little reminder to go out and vote. (Not that I would have missed THIS election!) Wouldn't it be nice to be able to send our students a reminder on their phones to let them know of an upcoming quiz or test? Maybe they need to do an extra workout for volleyball on Saturday. Just a gentle reminder to read chapter 4 before tomorrow? Whatever it may be, sometimes a little note to remind us is helpful.

Send them a text message. Collect their phone numbers and create a group on your phone to send them a message. It will take some time to set it up initially but after it is set up, it only take the time to write a text message.

Can't or don't want to text on your phone? You can also send an email message to a phone. For example: get your students phone number, format an email message, send it to their phone. If they use Alltel, the email address is 3085551212@message.alltel.com. Try it! Send yourself a message using your phone number in place of the number in the email address. Then, set up a distribution list will all the phone number/email addresses and send one message to the whole group!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Web Tool - Twitter

There are some things that you look at on the web and think - "I just don't have time for this!" When I first looked at Twitter a year ago, that's exactly what I thought. I created an account and left it sit for months. But then came back to it and was amazed at the potential. As with most tools, it can be a huge time waster and for a lot of people, that's just what it is. But for me, it is an invaluable tool. A tool I use for collaboration, personal professional learning, and sometimes a release from the real office.

So what is Twitter? By definition, it is a social micro-blogging service. That means you have 140 characters to communicate important ideas with your network of friends and/or colleagues. I have heard it called a "slow motion chat room" also. Some have referred to it as a group instant messaging system. However you think of it, the main point is that it connects you to those people you feel are important. You determine who your network of friends are and what you want to share.

Since my field is educational technology, these are the people I choose to befriend on Twitter. Our conversations include websites, ideas, surveys, etc. on how we can better use technology in the classroom. 

There are really two major components of Twitter and they both have to do with building your network of friends. They are your Followers and those you are Following. You can see who others are following and who is following them. So, for example, if you know Tony Vincent is a great resource and  you find him in Twitter you may start "following" him. He will update with some great posts and give us all some really valuable resources. Then, you can see who Tony is following and you'll see there are some people he is connected with that are pretty intelligent too! You'll soon have a bunch of really smart people to follow and be up to date with all the latest and greatest news they know.

As you find more people to follow, those people will start following you. To see what YOU have to share. Soon you'll have just as many followers as you have of those following you. You'll soon have a network of colleagues you can bounce ideas off, share resources, frustrations, coffee habits or whatever.

Get an account - it's free and if you don't like it, maybe there will be something else you can try. Good luck and have fun! Add me to your network! http://twitter.com/jason_everett


Sunday, November 2, 2008

Creative Inspiration

Computer MonitorIt was many moons ago that I started in my education technology career. As a student at UNK I was hired by Graci Gillming (who is now our tech training team leader at ESU 10.) At that point in my life my job title was "Internet Specialist." This included being the webmaster, showing faculty, staff and students about how to surf the Internet, send email, and all other things Internet. I loved it! All the networking (machine type) and programming was right up my alley. I had never turned on a computer before college and I took to this like a duck to water. It was my thing! Well a few years rolled by. I was "upgraded" to a full time staffer at UNK. Things were good.

During this time, Graci left UNK to work at ESU 10. She and her boss Alan tried to get me to move but I was getting college classes for $1/credit, insurance, the whole nine yards. It would have been tough to leave. I suggested they offer the job to Todd. He and I were good friends and talked a lot about technology and it's impact in education. He was a great fit and is still at ESU 10 as one of our top Windows support people.

Well, I finally succumbed to the pressure and left UNK. Although, I didn't go directly to work at ESU 10. My first stop was Centura Public Schools as a Technology Coordinator. I also moonlighted installing networks for several schools in the area and teaching adult night classes for the community college until a position opened at ESU 10. It was great. I was hired as the webmaster and programmer for the media catalog. I was the typical computer geek programmer type. Left brained like you wouldn't believe. I was the epitome of linear thinking. Bing, bing, bing - everything had order and a place and I was comfortable with that.

Peter H. ReynoldsUntil one day, I sat in on a presentation - a keynote actually - by Peter H. Reynolds at the NETA conference in Omaha, Nebraska. He inspired me to move on from by left brain ways and start working in both hemispheres. He inspired me to "Make your mark and see where it takes you." I started using his material more and more in workshops and it changed how I see the world and work with educators. The world is no longer black and white as it had been before, but now was covered in color and brilliance. It was an awakening.

Now I don't leave my office without my pencil bag filled with scissors, colored pencils, paint, glue and other creative tools. Instead of using the command line text editors, my computer has 3d tools, animation programs, photo editing software and more creative software. I believe creativity should be infused in every task we undertake. Splash it with color! As such, I have been enthralled with Fablevision and the mission it has undertaken infusing creativity and education. My wife and I are now Fablevision Ambassadors and we love to show the great things they are doing to spark the creative fires in teachers and students.
Crayon Line
Stay tuned for more on next Sunday's creative app - Animation-ish. Tomorrow's blog is a Web 2.0 site I can't wait to share with you! Until then...

Saturday, November 1, 2008

November Blog Challenge

There are a couple of us at ESU 10 who have taken on a challenge to write a blog post every day for the month of November. Several people in the educational technology career field have posted challenges and tips to better blogging. (See links below) As I thought about blogging, what I wanted to share with you, and how I was going to go about it, I came up with a plan. And so here it is...

For the month of November:

  1. On Sundays, I will write about creativity applications.

  2. On Mondays, I will share and write about web 2.0 websites.

  3. On Tuesdays, I will write about Google tools that you can use in the classroom.

  4. On Wednesdays, I will write about how you might consider use a cell phone in education.

  5. On Thursdays, I will write about using an iPod or other handheld.

  6. On Fridays, I will share a blog for you to read.

  7. On Saturdays, I will review the week and for a bonus, share a "Using Technology with Classroom Instruction that Works" tip.

Shared by Deanna Stall:

30 Days to a Better Blog - http://www.teach42.com/
Blogging Tips for Beginners - http://tinyurl.com/o3qtk
31-Days to Building a Better Blog - http://tinyurl.com/5gyadg
10-Steps to Become an Edublogger - http://brandon-hall.com/janetclarey/?p=398
Ten Secrets to Better Blogging - http://www.chrisbrogan.com/ten-secrets-to-better-blogging/