Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Searching Again, Smartboards and TV on Demand

From: Those Dark Hiding Places: The Invisible Web Revealed - Robert J. Lackie, Associate Professor-Librarian, Rider University

"The Web," according to Chris Sherman, Internet search expert and Associate Editor of, "is increasingly moving away from being a collection of documents and becoming a multidimensional repository for sounds, images, audio, and other formats." Because much of this information is not accessible to many general search engines' software spiders, we need to look for specific search tools that will lead us to this hidden content. Some of these tools include directories, searchable sites, free Web databases, and a few general and many specialized search engines. Begin searching with...

Directories and Portals when you:

  • have a broad topic
  • want selected, evaluated, and annotated collections
  • prefer quality over quantity

Invisible or Deep Web [searchable sites and databases] when you:

  • are looking for information that is likely in a database

  • are looking for information that dynamically changes in content

Search engines [general and specialized] when you:

SmartBoard Resources: (specific Australian and New Zealand stuff)

These should keep you busy for a while....quite a while! Don't forget to try using Google Earth or Google maps with your smartboard.

This looks to be an excellent Global Warming site - From American Radio works. I'll add it to our list of sites.

Maths manipulatives:

It's the time of the year for sore throats. If you feel one coming on, it might be worth trying this remedy:

Who says house prices can't drop? Try selling your house in Detroit!;_ylt=Aov5dA96IapEm53NtFaK6N0EtbAF

The way of the future? Have a look at TVNZs video on demand site. Look at the previews of TVNZ shows or watch the Lions play the All Blacks at Carisbrook in 1966. (Before my time, but Steve would remember it.)

Friday, March 16, 2007

Shrinking the World Tools and Busy Teachers

I've put a site which contains links to Climate change information. Have a look and see if you can use it, or suggest some more sites. I'll update it with more links as we go.

Wellesley links for Climate Change

I mentioned Google maps last week. Did anyone have a play? Just open it up and type in any address in the world.... yes that's right!... any address in the world for a zoomable map which shows the actual address on a map or if you like the satellite image. There are a growing number of web tools out there that pull together web features in a useful way.

Or have you tried Google Earth? Again there are huge possibilities for using Google earth in the classroom. If you want some ideas try these links:

There are other search engines than Google. In fact their are about 500,000 of them. Maybe in a school a talking search engine is good idea. Ask the question and hear the answer. Here are two of them - both "manned" by women interestingly enough.

Try ask Vox:

And if you really want the full on search experience, try Ms Dewey. But she's not for kids and don't keep her waiting for too long.


I often think we don't use spreadsheets enough. Excel is a powerful tool which can be used to achieve a range of tasks - not just graphing! If you haven't used a spreadsheet in the past, have a look at this useful list of relevant ways of using spreadsheets in the classroom.

Busy Teachers

This is a repeat of a quoted blog from last year. It's from Dean Shareski in his Blog Ideas and Thoughts of an EdTech and I think it bears repeating:

Our culture is obsessed with being busy. When’s the last time you asked someone about their job or life and they didn’t use the word busy? It’s worn like a badge of honor. To even hint you might not be busy, conjures up visions of laziness and lack of ambition. As we plan various activities and events for schools, I’ll often hear, “that’s a busy time for schools”. Tell me when it’s not a busy time?

That fact that everyone is busy should be a given by now. It’s almost akin to breathing. Should I preface every statement about my current state of existence by stating that, “I’ve been really breathing lately….consuming a lot of oxygen.”

I’m trying to stop acting like I’m so busy and telling everyone how busy I am. No one really cares and it’s nothing worth talking about. Telling folks about how busy you are creates too many negative images. Talking about busyness does not usually leave the impression you love your job. I do love my job so maybe I don’t think of myself as busy. My job is to support teachers. When a teacher asks for my support, I figure out how to help. I don’t need to remind them how busy I am because they’re just as busy. I want to give people the impression that I have lots of time for them. They need to feel relaxed and I’d like to alleviate some of the stress they might be feeling in their daily grind. Life and work shouldn’t be taken so seriously. Relax. I’ve worked with some great people that I know were extremely busy but always had time to chat with me about work, life and I dare say it, even fun, non-work related stuff.

I think this is the type of classroom we ought to be creating. One where teachers have lots of time to work with students and there is less a sense of panic and mayhem and more one of calm and reflection. Is this possible?

How could we achieve this in our classrooms?

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Maps, Pictures and Interesting Stuff.

The diagrams below come from David Warlick - who recently keynoted at the Learning in Schools ICT conference in Rotorua. I think it's a useful illustration of the changing nature of schooling.

School 1.0 is traditional classroom structure - the teacher being the centre of the classroom - the font of all knowledge:

The second diagram represents the modern classroom - a blurred definition of who is learning an who is teaching - more sharing, facilitation and interaction

There are some very powerful web technologies available you you to use with your class. How about mapping?

Do you get your children to draw maps?

I think it is a useful skill but I don't know.... In an age where you can alternate maps and satellite images with a click of a mouse, you've got to wonder whether or not there is a more powerful mapping activity to be had than simply drawing a map:

Have a look at Castlepoint - Here's the google map found with Google maps and the key words Castlepoint, New Zealand. Zoom in and click the Satellite Image and then the hybrid image:

Castlepoint, Wellington, New Zealand

or Mataikona? Mataikona, Wellington, New Zealand

These maps and images can be printed off then drawn on etc. - Use with a smartboard.....

Or you could use this web site which uses google maps, to plan, map and time your walk, run, cycle or swim. Punch in Wellington, Eastbourne or Lower Hutt and set it to work. Classroom applications????

For more teaching ideas there is the Google sponsored Infinite Thinking Machine, a Blog which aims to provide ideas to help teachers and students thrive in the 21st century.

This article by Stephen Downes titled Elearning 2.0 really sets the scene for a lot of the things I have been talking about in the past six months.

As we approach the halfway mark of the new millennium's first decade, the nature of the Internet, and just as importantly, the people using the Internet, has begun to change. These changes are sweeping across entire industries as a whole and are not unique to education; indeed, in many ways education has lagged behind some of these trends and is just beginning to feel their wake.

Full article found here!

And (in case you haven't read enough) this week's New York magazine has an article called:

Kids, the Internet and the End of Privacy: The Greatest generation gap since Rock and Roll

A mixture of interesting Websites: