Techie Tuesday: K-12 Online Conference 2009

Have you ever wished you could attend a particular conference or workshop only to be short time and money? There are numerous conferences with backchannels to allow you to attend on your own schedule via Ning, Twitter, Wiki, video, or website.

This week is part of the K12 Online Conference 2009. The theme, Bridging the Divide, might be termed perfect as they invite participation around the world.  As with most large conferences this one started with a pre-conference keynote.  This is followed with two week’s of over fifty presentations.  The K12 Online Conference is much more than a backchannel for an existing conference.  It is an entire conference held online.

You can attend the K12 Online Conference via live events online.  What if you missed one of the scheduled events?  That is the great part!  You can watch the video or read through their ning-blog-wiki.

The K12 Online conference will also continue to host live events twice monthly during 2010 through K-12 Online Echo webcasts on EdTechTalk.  Go to their site now and check it out!

What other educational online events do you enjoy?

Techie Tuesday: What’s your Inspiration?

webInspiration Software has been around for several years, but have you been inspired to check it out?  For this week’s Techie Tuesday we will look at Inspiration and how it can be used in the classroom.

According to their company website, Inspiration is an essential tool to visualize, think, organize, and learn.  What makes this software special?  With the explosion of web 2.0 sites, there are numerous free online graphic organizers such as and Mindmeister.

If you simply want to create semantic maps/webs, one of the free online organizers would probable fit your need.  If you want more, keep reading for highlights on Inspiration Software.

outlineOne nice component of Inspiration is how you can create a graphic organizer and with one click it can be changed into a formal outline.  Students can create a web with shapes and/or clip art filled with information.  Then it is transformed into an outline using the hierarchy of the web.  These graphic organizers include concept maps, webs, and idea maps.  The outline can be built upon using other components such as a dictionary.

Other key components include the following:

  • Video and sound integration
  • Templates
  • Curriculum Packets

To get a varieties of class integration possibilities, I asked my fellow teachers for ways to integrate Inspiration in their classroom.  Of course bribing them with a free copy of Inspiration always helps them respond quickly:)  Here is a list of ideas to integrate Inspiration into your classroom:

  • Draft and Revise writing assignments
  • Research
  • Visually explain math concepts and problems
  • Planning (project, web site,etc)
  • Semantic web of a Country
  • Transform the semantic web to an outline
  • Use the audio part for students to review
  • Concept mapping
  • Brainstorming
  • Story maps
  • Character analysis
  • Book reports
  • Creating storyboards for PowerPoint presentations
  • Defining new terms
  • Assist teachers in planning lessons or units
  • Plot Summaries
  • Historical Cause and Effect
  • Cycles (recycle, weather, etc.)
  • Developing a course or workshop
  • Lab Procedures
  • Show relationships
  • In foreign language classes create an organizer that shows the English word on one side and the foreign language word equivalent on the other side with pictures as hints.
  • When studying a poem, in the center concept list the name of the poem and the connecting lines contain phrases from the poem. The sub-concept explains the words in the phrase and the literary technique used such as personification.
  • Faculty/district – responsibilities of committees

So are your Inspired?  What other software or sites for graphic organization are your favorite?

Techie Tuesday: Flying with Eagle


This week’s Techie Tuesday focuses on a new online assessment tool provided for Louisiana teachers.

Louisiana, the Pelican state, has created an EAGLE:  Enhanced Assessment Grade Level Expectations.  This program provides immediate feedback to teachers of their student’s knowledge of designated GLE’s.

Don’t worry, we are still the Pelican state!

Basically a teacher logs into the Eagle system, creates a test, and distributes it to his/her students.  All test items are aligned to GLE’s and teachers can use the Eagles pre-made tests or create one using the item bank.

Creating your own test from scratch takes four easy steps.  After you fill out a test overview:  select the area of content (ELA or Math), grade level, and test name, you select “assemble test”.

  • Select your Content Standard, Comprehensive Curriculum, or Passages (ELA only).
  • Pick a standard/unit, GLE, and items that correspond.
  • Click “add to test”.
  • Repeat this process to add additional items.

So, you don’t have time to create a test from scratch?  EAGLE has you covered.  Just go to the “Edit Test” tab and click “pre-made.”  Select the subject area and grade level and this opens a list of pre-made tests including one for each Comprehensive Curriculum unit.

Tests can be pre scheduled giving teachers the option to set class and individual goals, time limits, and calculator options.  Scores are immediate for multiple choice, short constructive response, and interactive items.

You can analyze your student’s performance using any of the six progress reports.

  • Content Standard
  • GLE’s
  • Test and Content Standard
  • Test and Question Type
  • Test Questions
  • Instructional Need by GLE

Are you ready to get started?  Each Louisiana Parish has trained personnel.  Contact your Region TLTC or parish school board office.

If you aren’t from Louisiana, do you have a similar program you would like to share?

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: 31 Day Challenge Days 20 – 23

Anyone up to a challenge?  How about two?

I’ve been slowly working my way through the original 31 Day Challenge by Darren Rowse. It is hard to believe there are only 7 more challenges remaining.  As you read in my last post, my class and I joined another challenge – 2009 Blogging Challenge.  This post is actually a reflection on my 31 Day Challenge, but if you are looking for some blogging fun or maybe you would like to just improve your skills, there is still time to join both challenges. 

My last post actually summarizes and reflects on my reader survey for day 20. Throughout this challenge Ive been discussion various things with my PLN. Some of those are readers. The 31 day challenge has been a great kick start to getting readers:) For day 20,  I revisited a survey I conducted awhile back on web 2.0 and wrote a post on the results last week. I will definitely come back to this at a later date and run more surveys. I used poll daddy and it was very quick and easy.  Day 21’s challenge asked us to make someone famous, like I have that ability 🙂 lol.  I did include @ccroad in my last post and asked readers to add her to their twitter.  

I really enjoyed day 22’s challenge to make readers aware of my blog basics.  There were several topic to choose from and I basically choose to cover the creation of my blog and it’s purpose.  This is a great reflection to do regularly!  I am actually still working on day 23 in which we were suppose to go on a dead links hunt. I used the one Sue suggested, W3C link checker. I am still checking links. It did find categories that I had made when creating the blog, but didn’t actually use.  This is a great resource.  After I finish the blog, I will be checking out our school website for deadlinks!

So are you ready for a challenge?  If so, here are two for you to consider:

1)  31 Day Challenge  

contact:  Mrs. D

2)  2009 Challenge

contact: Miss Wyatt