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?

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