Visitor Counter? NO, ClustrMaps!

Why would someone choose to add a ClusterMap to their website or blog instead of the ol’ standby of a visitor counter.  You know the ones that look similar to your cars odometer.

There are several reasons I chose Clustermaps instead of a typical counter.  First, I LOVE visuals and what better way to “see” your visitors than via world map.   The map is great for not only seeing visitor locations but also their location is relation to yours.

Clustrmap also doesn’t count every single visit to your site.  That, for me,  is for Google Statistics.  Clustrmaps instead counts unique visitors.  Sure someone might visit your site from two computers and be counted twice, but that is better than if a person visits once a week for a year and is counted 52 times:)

Here are some additional benefits:

  • Easy to install on a website, blog, etc.
  • Has an additional live Clustrmap to allow you and/or your students to see who is currently looking at the blog.
  • Archives yearly, so you don’t have one big red dot:)

Oh no!  You loose the map?  No it isn’t lost just archived. There is a link above you map for archives.  Clustrmaps also sends you an email about the soon change.  But you can have your own archive too such as saving the image to add to post just like this one.  As this year starts to close, so does our 2009 Clustrmap.

Here is our archive for 2009:

tidertechiemap2009Take a look at these awesome visitors!!

United States (US) 843
Australia (AU) 148
Canada (CA) 81
Norway (NO) 28
United Kingdom (GB) 26
Germany (DE) 14
Russian Federation (RU) 13
Czech Republic (CZ) 11
France (FR) 7
Belgium (BE) 5
Netherlands (NL) 5
Switzerland (CH) 4
China (CN) 4
India (IN) 4
Finland (FI) 3
Spain (ES) 3
New Zealand (NZ) 3
Argentina (AR) 3
Korea, Republic of (KR) 3
Portugal (PT) 3
Philippines (PH) 2
Thailand (TH) 2
Serbia (RS) 1
Ireland (IE) 1
Sweden (SE) 1
Poland (PL) 1
Austria (AT) 1
Japan (JP) 1
Malaysia (MY) 1
Trinidad and Tobago (TT) 1
Indonesia (ID) 1
Peru (PE) 1
Chile (CL) 1
Brazil (BR) 1
Puerto Rico (PR) 1
Hong Kong (HK) 1
Italy (IT) 1
Macedonia (MK) 1
Greece (GR) 1
Iran, Islamic Republic of (IR) 1
Taiwan (TW) 1
Bulgaria (BG) 1

Techie Tuesday: Wiki Anyone?

Most teachers and students have heard of Wikipedia, some in controversial circles.  But have you actually taken a look at wikis from an educational perspective?

Close to the same time Web 2.0 was coined, Wikipedia was blossoming into the current 2.5 million articles.  What made this encyclopedia different than any other?  The ability for everyone to collaborate in building it!

How could you use a wiki in your classroom?  Let’s start from the beginning.  What is a Wiki? Basically a wiki is a website that uses wiki software.  This software allows you to edit pages in real time.  Wikis are used in a variety of collaborative tools.  For this post we will focus on uses in a classroom.

You can limit wiki membership, so only your students are allowed to add and edit information.  You can also open membership to other classrooms for collaboration.  Wiki’s are for the geeky and challenged techie alike.  If you can type in Word, you can have a wiki.

There are so many uses of wikis in the classroom.  What better place to cover wiki information than the collaborative education queen, Vicki Davis aka @coolcatteacher (see below).

One of my favorite ways to use a wiki in the classroom in as a collaborative “binder”.  Previously I referred to this as a notebook, but it is so much more.  Each student has an account and instead of keeping a notebook, they are required to add to the class wiki on a weekly bases.  Each unit has a page, but today they started asking to add additional information such as “Welcome to the Classroom” to help students that enter after school starts, email directions, etc.

It will be interesting to see the changes over the next few weeks.

Here are a few more ideas for wikis in the classroom:

  • Class Website
  • Writer’s Corner
  • Research Paper
  • Student (or teacher) portfolios
  • Project

What is your favorite classroom wiki idea?

Techie Tuesday: Take Your Student’s Online

Are you looking for a way to both save time and better meet your students’ needs? How about an online classroom?

Better yet, how about a FREE online classroom?

Edu 2.0 could be the answer!   Edu 2.0 is similar to Blackboard or Moodle.  The only difference is that it is 100% FREE and super easy.  You can even create a school site to manage all your teachers and students.  There is a thorough discussion board for help as well as superb one-on-one assistance!

So, what are some of the features?  I’m glad you asked.  Check them out below:

  • Class/school calendar which is exportable and all items (lessons, tests, etc) are automatically added to the calendar
  • Lesson plans with ability to add files, websites, etc with just a click of a button
  • Various Web 2.0 components such as blogs, wikis, collaborative groups, debates, feed, and chat
  • Threaded message board
  • Various assessment options such as quiz, free form, discussion, survey, and offline.  There are automatic grading options similar to Quia.

With Edu 2.0, students are able to access directions as many times as needed.  They also have access to lessons and resources at school and home.  Teachers are able to save time with auto grading and by having lessons readily accessible for absent students.

Is it time you took your students online?

Have you Diigo’d today?

stickyWith the explosion of web 2.0 sites, it is sometimes hard to pick and choose sites most beneficial for you.  When it comes to social bookmarking, Diigo is a great option for not only you but also your students.

Social Bookmarking is replacing our basic web browser bookmark function or “add to favorites”.  One problem with the typical bookmark function, is the fact that your bookmarks are saved on that particular computer.  With social bookmarking you are able to access your bookmarks from any computer and there are numerous extra features!

Have you Diigo’d with your students today?

Diigo includes the social bookmarking features found in most services such as one click browser bookmarking, tags, rss feeds, and sharing.  It’s the special features of Diigo that makes it stand out over other sites such as and make it particularly useful in the classroom.  These special features include highlighting and adding sticky notes to websites!

How can you use Diigo in the classroom?  First you will want to get familiar with it yourself.   There are numerous tutorials on the web if you would like to get an overview before jumping into Diigo.  During this time you will also want to check on your district technology policies.  Next, you will want to use the basic functions with your students. The following is a possible avenue for introducing Diigo to your class:

  • Discuss Internet Safety and Digital Citizenship if not previously covered*
  • Send Home Required Contracts*
  • Create Student Diigo Accounts: You can apply for an educators Diigo account and create the accounts for your students which is especially important for younger students because you have control of their account, or have them create their own account with parent permission.
  • Add Teacher as Friend (as needed)
  • Bookmarking and Tags: Walk students through using the Diigo website to bookmark and create tags.
  • Sharing: Share a bookmark with your students.  Have them share one with you.  Then have them share one with a peer.
  • Diigo Toolbar: Students need to become familiar with the Diigo toolbar or Diigolet depending on your browser.  This might be an item you want to reserve for older students depending on computer access and technology knowledge. If they are not signed into a computer account that only they use, they need to sign out at the end of each class.

Next is the fun part, integrating into your lessons.  Here are just a few ideas:

  • Find a website (or two) that are great resources for a unit/lesson and add sticky notes to the websites.  This is a great way to add questions for students to answer and integrate higher order thinking skills.
  • Teach students about picking out key information by highlighting it on a website.  Then have them do the same on another site.
  • For your next group project, have students share bookmarks for information.  Better yet, pair up with another teacher maybe out of state or country and have those students build resources together for a collaborative project.
  • Point out copyright information with the highlighting or sticky note feature.
  • Share a great web resource with your students for each unit/lesson by sending them bookmarks.
  • When students use online resources for a written project such as a research paper, have them highlight the sections they used in their paper.  Then they can create a list.
  • You can also pose a problem or have students take sides of a debate.  Then they collect bookmarks, highlight key points, and add stickies to support their side.

What ideas do you have to Diigo with students? I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas!

* It is especially important to make sure students and parents are aware of the potential danger of any online site that incorporates friends, public vs. private accounts, etc.
Sticky Note Image:

Tweet, Tweet, … tweet?

Addicted to Twitter

From the blogosphere to the cover of Newsweek, you are bound to have at least heard of Twitter.  You may have even created a twitter account just to find yourself talking to …. yourself and really not understanding the twerrific tweet fascination.

Why are some people’s Twitter experience totally different from others?

Let’s start first where we ask our students to begin when posed with a question–research. Before you get started in twitterverse, shouldn’t you know a bit about it?

I’m a teacher, so I wanted to find out how Twitter could be used in my classroom or to make me a more effective teacher.   I started simple enough by just creating an account and watching the twitterverse from the main Twitter page.  I must admit I wasn’t instantly impressed.  There had to be more to the whole “Twitter Phenomenon”. How were teachers using this when every other tweet wasn’t appropriate for the classroom?

Surely Google could help me out with this one!  I started searching for educational uses for Twitter and realize that my use of Twitter was probably going to be more to build my effectiveness as a teacher and not necessarily as a classroom tool for students.  Now, there aren’t any set rules for using Twitter, and this was just how I decided to use Twitter.

One great finding in my research was Twitter Groups.  I was able to easily join a variety of educational groups as well as groups that would help expand my resources for various units such as photography:) Day by day I started having people follow me from the various groups.  Day by day I read through great ideas and resources.  Day by day I continued to research.

One of the best suggestions came from @suewaters  One of her suggestions was to ask one of your favorite tweeters to ask his/her followers to follow you (not her exact words:).  Which also leads me to a great Twitter resource, Sue’s Blog.

Twitter has become one of the best ways I have expanded my PLN.  Here are just a few ways I have use Twitter since my first tweet:

  • Ask questions
  • Hash Tag posts while posting on f2f workshop
  • Save favorite tweets
  • Attend various meet-ups and PD internationally
  • Check out resources
  • Answer questions
  • Pretend I was attending NECC by following others NECC experience
  • Post resources
  • LOL
  • Search for unit and class resources using “search”
  • FOFL (usually @philhart or @johart )
  • ReTweet and be ReTweeted
  • and my favorite….shared a pic of my boys and 81 yo grandfather climbing a “mountain” hunting for shark teeth in Kansas.  Who would have thought someone in my PLN was actually interested in visiting Kansas?!
So, are you wanting to become a more effective teacher?  Maybe you would like to save hours of searching for the right resources.  Jump into the Twitterverse!