Monday, October 25, 2010

Tech Tuesday 10/26

Hello everyone! I hope this Tuesday find you well. I only have a couple of resources today and a cool experience I had while at a conference on Wednesday.

I was at the #140 Character Conference in Detroit on Wednesday. This was my first non-education conference and it was exciting. The focus on the conference was on social media and real time communication in different parts of the business world. I was asked to be on a panel to discuss my use of social media in my classes. Here is the video of my panel.

We received tons of positive feedback from people on Twitter. It actually went so well that I was a trending topic on Twitter in Detroit!  

Here is a cool article from that summed up the event and mentioned the education panel.

Overall, the conference was very interesting as I talked to people who were interested in the things I was doing in the classroom. I really started to get a better idea of the perception of education by "outsiders". Educators are really viewed as reluctant adopters of new technology in the classroom. I would to agree with them. Not all teachers are reluctant to integrate technology into the classroom, but there are many. To be honest, the people that I'm talking about are the ones that hit delete when my Tech Tuesday email appears in their inbox. 

I'm not going to go on a rant and tell everyone why they need to use tech in their classroom. I will say that there is a perception of teachers and technology that is fed by reluctant teachers that overshadow the teachers that are being innovative with technology. It's not just using the tool to make kids smarter, it's about using technology to give students options and diversify the amazing lessons that are already in place. Consider trying to bring one new tech tool to your class by the fourth marking period this year. See what type of impact it can have on your lessons and the students in the classroom.

This is a great site for English classes. A student can type in any verb and the site will show the different conjugations. It also has a translate function! It a very fun and simple site that teachers can use with younger students to show them the different conjugations of verbs. Share this with students so they can take it home and use it there.

Like Geometry? Eucliding Me, Right?

Here is a great article on Geometry and it has some fun sites to use in class to break up the week. One of the site focuses on the Geometry of Baseball. Math teachers are always telling me that it is tough to use technology in the classroom. Well, I hope these games help with that problem.

Punctuation Practice

Here are a great collection of sites that would work wonderfully on the Smartboard that allows students to practice their punctuation skills. Take a look at the different sites and see which ones would work well with your students. Good punctuation is something that is tested on ACT/MME exams. The more practice students can get, the better.

I hope everyone enjoyed this weeks Tech Tuesday and I hope you try something new and share it with other teachers.

As always, give it a try!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Tech Tuesday for 10/19

Happy Tuesday everyone! I hope October is treating everyone well. The next few weeks are going to be busy for me as I embark on a few conferences and get started on some exciting new web based projects with  my students. More details will come in the future. Here some good resources for you to use in your classroom. Enjoy!

Digital Storytelling

I'm not even sure why I write a blog. Kelly Tenkely always has an amazing collection of web tools for teachers to enjoy. As teachers look for more interesting ways for students to present information, Kelly has collected 31 great digital storytelling tools in one place. Kelly's site, iLearn Technology, always has a great collection of web tools for teachers to integrate into their curriculum.

Digital storytelling is a fun way for students to present projects. Book reports can be replaces with exciting and interactive presentations that really allow students to work with the material instead of just writing up a report. As education becomes more and more digital based, digital storytelling is a great way to start getting young students used to using web based tools.

Fun Halloween Interactive Games

Here is a great collection of interactive Halloween games for our younger students. There are fun math games, description games, matching games, Halloween Dress-up Games and many more great games for the interactive whiteboard in your classroom. As we get closer to Halloween, consider adding these to class for your students to have fun and learn at the same time. Thanks to Karen Ogen and InTech InSights for compiling this great list.

Education Revolution

Quite simply, if you care about education, you should watch these videos. Sir Ken Robinson gave two talks about what is ailing the educational system. He says that education needs a revolution to save our students. He uses this quote from President Lincoln,   

"The dogmas of the quiet past, are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country."

I love this quote when thinking about education. Education is at a crossroads and fixing a broken system is not going to cut it.

The first talk was in 2006 and his follow up talk was in 2010. He is very funny and makes excellent points. If you think education as a whole is heading in the wrong direction, watch these videos and share them with other teachers. Click here if you can't watch the videos on the page from school.

140 Character Conference

Lastly, I want to share with you a very cool event that I will actually be speaking at on Wednesday. The 140 Character Conference is a national conference that is coming to Detroit. According to the website,

"Since the launch of the #140conf events, conferences have taken place in: New York City, Los Angeles, London and Tel Aviv. At these events we have explored the effects of twitter on a wide range of topics including: Celebrity, “The Media”, Advertising, Politics, Fashion, Real Estate, Music, Education, Public Safety and Public Diplomacy.

The #140conf events provide a platform for the worldwide twitter community to: listen, connect, share and engage with each other, while collectively exploring the effects of the emerging real-time internet on business.

Our schedule will be unique and fast paced. It is our intention to provide a platform for as many people as possible to share their thoughts and engage in conversation with the attending delegates. You will find individual talks set to: 10 minutes; “Featured talks” 15 and the various panel discussions are set for 10 to 20 minutes.

The take aways from this event will provide the attending delegates knowledge, perspectives and insights to the effects the real-time internet will have on both “we” the people, business and society."

I'm really excited to be speaking at this conference on the importance of Real Time Communication in Education. I've seen the amazing impact RTC has had on the students in my classroom and on teachers around the world. I can't wait to meet with people from all over the area to discuss the value of Social Media on society. I'll be speaking at 10:15. Look here,

 You can watch me live on the 140 Character Conference site. It should be a blast. 

I hope you take a look at some of the things I have shared to today. I'll have some more info in the coming weeks, so stay tuned.

As always, give it a try!

- Nick

Monday, October 11, 2010

Tech Tuesday #101

Happy Tech Tuesday everyone! Here is post #101. It's filled with some goodies I hope you enjoy. See if there is anything you can use in your classroom.

The Tower Pulse

The Tower Pulse is brand new with some exciting new content. We have the video of the surprise teacher dance at homecoming. Thanks to Lisa Kurtz for taking the time to teach us the dance moves. We did our best and the kids loved it.

We have some interesting articles on what teachers are doing in the their classrooms and a fun video of Michigan vs. Michigan State predictions. Stop by The Tower Pulse and see what the kids are doing.

Project PLN Issue #2

The October Issue of Project PLN is out and worth a read. Project PLN is an online collection of posts by teachers from all over the world that I have collected with the help of a friend. Please take a moment and read this month's issue. The focus is on great ways to start off a class or a new unit. There are some very exciting ideas being shared by some great teachers.

projectpln10 - Project PLN Issue 2

The November Issue is going to be all about Administrators. Are you and Administrator? Do you have some advice to other Admins or teachers? If you are interested in sharing those ideas, please send an email to and you could be published in the November issue! I hope to see some submissions from Grosse Pointe Public Schools.

Interactive Water Cycle Game

Here is a very cool site shared by InTec InSights: Technology Integration Ideas for your Classroom. This is a game designed for the Smartboard that allows student to interact with the Water Cycle. Students can move the water around and see liquid evaporate and move into the sky. This is a fun way to see the science happen and allow students to interact with the concepts. A new and exciting way to present a simple concept for students. Check this one out.


Glogster has been on my "to blog about" list for a while now, then I found this post that explains the uses of Glogster better than I could. Before I send you to the site, let me explain a little about what Glogster is to see if it is for you and your students. Glogs are graphic blogs. They are places where people can present ideas through a visual medium. Think of them as digital poster boards. People can add  many different types of media (Video, Songs, etc.) to their glog and share it with anyone they want. Glogs can be embedded into blogs like this,

Click on the link to see the interactive Glog. This one takes students to different glogs about the different literary terms. Each literary term has its own glog with pictures, definition and an audio example. It is a fun and interactive way for students to present information. Here are four examples a coule of students created for a presentation on The Great Gatsby.

If you are curious on how to integrate Glogs into your content area, check out this site that provides some great examples. Thanks to InTec InSights: Technology Integration Ideas for your Classroom for putting together a nice post.

Bloom's Digital Taxonomy

Here is a great piece that has taken Bloom's Taxonomy and configured it to apply to our new digital world. The graph showing the Higher Order Thinking Skills is amazing! If you are thinking about integrating more technology into your classroom and are looking for the best ways to do so, this wiki will show you how to get it done. Thanks to Andrew Churches for putting this great wiki together and sharing it with the rest of us.

The Learning Progression in the Interactive Whiteboard Classroom

I wanted to share this last bit of information with you before we end our weekly Tech Tuesday. A very good friend of mine, Julie Lachance, is an amazing educator. How amazing? She was selected by ISTE as the Outstanding Young Educator of the Year 2010 and was named North Carolina Instructional Technology Educator of the Year for 2009. She is also a heck of a bowler. Anyway she put together a very helpful chart on how teachers use IWBs in the class room. Take a look and see where you are on the chart and what the next step is.

Thanks to everyone for reading the blog and sharing your thoughts and ideas with me. I've got some really cool things going on next week that I can't wait to share with you. Keep your eyes peeled for some exciting stuff.

As always, give it a try!


Monday, October 4, 2010

Happy Tech Tuesday! My 100th Post!

100 Posts! Who would have thought I would have made it this far. Thanks to everyone that has read this blog and sent me emails of support. I only keep doing this because I like knowing that I'm helping teachers help students. I have a few things here that I think are valuable. Take a minute and see if you find something useful. Please feel free to comment or send me an email with any thoughts or ideas about any of these tools or one that you have heard of that you would like me to share with others.

The Tower Pulse

The Tower Pulse is a new online component of Grosse Pointe South' student newspaper The Tower. Kelli Fimbinger and I are the adviser of The Pulse and we couldn't be any prouder of the work our students have put in to make this possible. This came about because one student was passionate enough to bug Jeff Nardone into convincing us to make it happen. :-) We are looking to have the site updated 3 times a week with new content in the sports, entertainment, clubs and features sections. We will grow as the weeks pass to include a variety of different content. Creating this site was not as difficult as it might seem and other schools might want to consider bringing this to your students. Check out this exciting new part of the South family and please leave a comment for the students. They would love to hear the positive feedback.

Connected Principals

I spend a good deal of my time looking for great sites for teachers to use in their classroom to help students learn. I always try to find something for everyone, so when my Twitter friend, George Couros, started a blog dedicate to Principals, I had to make sure I shared it with the administrators in Grosse Pointe. In the blogs about me page it says, "This blog is the shared thoughts of school administrators that want to share best practices in education. All of the authors have different experiences in education but all have the same goal; what is best for students." I think this says it all about this blog. George has worked hard to bring great administrators from all over the country together to share their ideas regarding education. Just as it is important for teachers to talk to other teachers and learn from one another, it is just as important for administrators to talk to others outside of their district and see what they can learn. I would love to see Grosse Pointe administrators join this blog and share what we do in the best district in the State of Michigan. Consider that a challenge. :-)

Connect to the World Using Twitter

The other day some fellow teachers were giving me a hard time about using Twitter. They cracked jokes about not caring if I was going to the supermarket or pumping gas. I'm not going to argue those points. That information is not important. However, it shows the lack of understanding of how Twitter can be used. Twitter, like most social networking tools, is what you make of it. It can be used to share your every waking moment with the world, it can be used to share bits of celebrity gossip, but it can also be used to connect with like minded professionals. I have used Twitter this year with my students and it has been working out great! I post the days' homework for each prep on Twitter and those Tweets are sent directly to my website.

Students and parents can see the information on the front page of my teacher site. They can also check it from there phone if they have signed up with Twitter. Students have already commented that it has made getting assignments a little easier at the end of the day. 

Here is a video a good Twitter friend of mine has put together. Shelly Terrell is an amazing person and she gave a Keynote Speech at a conference about using Twitter to connect with other teachers. I know have written a few posts on using Twitter, but I feel that it is important enough to harp on until more teachers get on board. Twitter is not a fad and it can be used to make yourself a better teacher and solve some problems you might be having in the classroom. It is the best Professional Development I have ever received and it is available 24/7. Here is a video that explains using Twitter to connect to other teachers worldwide. It's only 3 minutes, so please watch it and keep an open mind. 

Progressive Phonics

Progressive Phonics is a site I learned about from Kelly Tenkely's blog iLearn Technology and she got it from @rmbyrne's blog Free Tech for Teachers. Progressive Phonics is a free site that provides phonics books for download. You can print as much as you would like and all it requires is a simple registration. Instead of re-inventing the wheel, please click here for Kelly's full review of the site. I will say that this is a very cool site that would be very helpful for teachers of younger students and parents looking for good resources to use at home with their own children.

Professional Development 2.0 – the eBook

This is an e-book put together by my good Twitter friend Jason T. Bedell. He tackles some very great topics about growing as a teacher and using web tools to not only enhance the learning of the students in the classroom, but it also provides information on how these tools can make you a better teachers. It is a free book you can download and read at your own pace. Some of the topics include, social networks, bookmarking, blogging, unconferences and much much more. I would really like the administrators of the district to look at this e-book and see how the teachers in your building could be using these tools to help our students. Click here to go to Jason's website. 

As always, thanks for stopping by and give it a try!