Ed Tech Ideas

Tech Integration for Busy Teachers

Category Archives: Information

Student Study Techniques

I came across this great infographic from Learning Fundamentals and thought it very pertinent not only for students trying to focus their attention for learning, but for everyone who lives in a connected world.


Mac vs. PC

As our school struggles with platform choice and I am soon to begin using a Macbook Pro (the last time I had a Mac was 1996), I think this infographic from Hunch Blog is rather interesting.

Help Japan

Here’s a great info graphic to help students learn a bit more about the Japanese disaster, and what can be done to help.

Info graphic created by Digital Surgeons

3 Great Websites for Country Information Comparisons

One thing kids (and adults) often have trouble with is the concept of scale. Understanding how big or small something is can be difficult if there is no familiar reference point of which to compare. Here are 3 sites that help students gain an understanding of size and how certain occurrences that happen on our planet compare to places that they are familiar with.

If It Were My Home

The Gulf Oil Spill

If It Were My Home allows students to choose a disaster and place the disaster somewhere familiar to show the vastness of its destruction.  Another feature is the country comparison, which highlights certain aspects of what your life would be like if you were born in another country compared to where you were born. Unfortunately, you cannot change the default comparison country (US).  Perhaps this will change in future versions. 

Show World

Countries Resized Relative to Total Population

Show World visualizes the countries of the world not by land mass, but by certain data entered. For example, in the map below showing the world’s current oil supplies, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela appear largest due to the fact that those 2 countries house the largest reserves.

Countries Resized Relative to Total Oil Reserves


The BBC’s Dimensions allows students to compare a variety of different occurrences and phenomenon to familiar areas including: the war on terror, space, depths, ancient worldsenvironmental disasters, and more.

Gross National Happiness

I recently listened to Chip Conley’s TedTalk on my run to work where he discussed the topic of measuring what makes life worthwhile.

Although Chip’s talk is directed towards business, it made me think about my students and education in general. Is our educational system designed with the students’ best interested in mind?  Or are we just creating survivors?

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Another Ted Talker Nic Marks talks about his idea of the Happy Planet Index. He brings up a fantastic quote by John F. Kennedy, who in 1968 said:

The Gross National Product measures everything except that which makes life worth while.

It’s unfortunate that as much progress we have made as a species over the last 100 years or so, we’ve also, along the way, created so much emptiness and ruin.

I enjoyed both of these talks, as they reminded me to continually focus on what’s important in life, and take a step back every now and again to smell the proverbial roses.

Mindset List

Beloit College has just released its annual Mindset List which aims to give the older world a look into the mindset of this year’s freshman class.  From a teacher’s perspective, I find this always to be an interesting list, as it gives me insight and reminders into what is normal for today’s youth. Although I try to stay as current as I can, I find that the older I become, it’s natural to become a bit detached from mainstream society.

The List

1. Few in the class know how to write in cursive.

2. Email is just too slow, and they seldom if ever use snail mail.

3. “Go West, Young College Grad” has always implied “and don’t stop until you get to Asia…and learn Chinese along the way.”

4. Al Gore has always been animated.

5. Los Angelenos have always been trying to get along.

6. Buffy has always been meeting her obligations to hunt down Lothos and the other blood-suckers at Hemery High.

7. “Caramel macchiato” and “venti half-caf vanilla latte” have always been street corner lingo.

8. With increasing numbers of ramps, Braille signs, and handicapped parking spaces, the world has always been trying harder to accommodate people with disabilities.

9. Had it remained operational, the villainous computer HAL could be their college classmate this fall, but they have a better chance of running into Miley Cyrus’s folks on Parents’ Weekend.

10. A quarter of the class has at least one immigrant parent, and the immigration debate is not a big priority…unless it involves “real” aliens from another planet.

11. John McEnroe has never played professional tennis.

12. Clint Eastwood is better known as a sensitive director than as Dirty Harry.

13. Parents and teachers feared that Beavis and Butt-head might be the voice of a lost generation.

14. Doctor Kevorkian has never been licensed to practice medicine.

15. Colorful lapel ribbons have always been worn to indicate support for a cause.

16. Korean cars have always been a staple on American highways.

17. Trading Chocolate the Moose for Patti the Platypus helped build their Beanie Baby collection.

18. Fergie is a pop singer, not a princess.

19. They never twisted the coiled handset wire aimlessly around their wrists while chatting on the phone.

20. DNA fingerprinting and maps of the human genome have always existed.

21. Woody Allen, whose heart has wanted what it wanted, has always been with Soon-Yi Previn.

22. Cross-burning has always been deemed protected speech.

23. Leasing has always allowed the folks to upgrade their tastes in cars.

24. “Cop Killer” by rapper Ice-T has never been available on a recording.

25. Leno and Letterman have always been trading insults on opposing networks.

26. Unless they found one in their grandparents’ closet, they have never seen a carousel of Kodachrome slides.

27. Computers have never lacked a CD-ROM disk drive.

28. They’ve never recognized that pointing to their wrists was a request for the time of day.

29. Reggie Jackson has always been enshrined in Cooperstown.

30. “Viewer Discretion” has always been an available warning on TV shows.

31. The first computer they probably touched was an Apple II; it is now in a museum.

32. Czechoslovakia has never existed.

33. Second-hand smoke has always been an official carcinogen.

34. “Assisted Living” has always been replacing nursing homes, while Hospice has always been an alternative to hospitals.

35. Once they got through security, going to the airport has always resembled going to the mall.

36. Adhesive strips have always been available in varying skin tones.

37. Whatever their parents may have thought about the year they were born, Queen Elizabeth declared it an “Annus Horribilis.”

38. Bud Selig has always been the Commissioner of Major League Baseball.

39. Pizza jockeys from Domino’s have never killed themselves to get your pizza there in under 30 minutes.

40. There have always been HIV positive athletes in the Olympics.

41. American companies have always done business in Vietnam.

42. Potato has always ended in an “e” in New Jersey per vice presidential edict.

43. Russians and Americans have always been living together in space.

44. The dominance of television news by the three networks passed while they were still in their cribs.

45. They have always had a chance to do community service with local and federal programs to earn money for college.

46. Nirvana is on the classic oldies station.

47. Children have always been trying to divorce their parents.

48. Someone has always gotten married in space.

49. While they were babbling in strollers, there was already a female Poet Laureate of the United States.

50. Toothpaste tubes have always stood up on their caps.

51.  Food has always been irradiated.

52. There have always been women priests in the Anglican Church.

53. J.R. Ewing has always been dead and gone. Hasn’t he?

54. The historic bridge at Mostar in Bosnia has always been a copy.

55. Rock bands have always played at presidential inaugural parties.

56. They may have assumed that parents’ complaints about Black Monday had to do with punk rockers from L.A., not Wall Street.

57. A purple dinosaur has always supplanted Barney Google and Barney Fife.

58. Beethoven has always been a dog.

59. By the time their folks might have noticed Coca Cola’s new Tab Clear, it was gone.

60. Walmart has never sold handguns over the counter in the lower 48.

61. Presidential appointees have always been required to be more precise about paying their nannies’ withholding tax, or else.

62. Having hundreds of cable channels but nothing to watch has always been routine.

63. Their parents’ favorite TV sitcoms have always been showing up as movies.

64. The U.S, Canada, and Mexico have always agreed to trade freely.

65. They first met Michelangelo when he was just a computer virus.

66. Galileo is forgiven and welcome back into the Roman Catholic Church.

67. Ruth Bader Ginsburg has always sat on the Supreme Court.

68. They have never worried about a Russian missile strike on the U.S.

69. The Post Office has always been going broke.

70. The artist formerly known as Snoop Doggy Dogg has always been rapping.

71. The nation has never approved of the job Congress is doing.

72. One way or another, “It’s the economy, stupid” and always has been.

73. Silicone-gel breast implants have always been regulated.

74. They’ve always been able to blast off with the Sci-Fi Channel.

75. Honda has always been a major competitor on Memorial Day at Indianapolis.

My personal favorites/shockers are 1, 11, 19, 27, 31, 32, & 68

Document Corrupter

Document Corrupter is a site that all teachers who have students email in assignments should know about.

Document Corrupter according to their site shuffles documents, which makes it harder for tech-savvy teachers to recover the file.

Out of time? Can’t finish that paper? Don’t hand in a garbage paper or buy one online! Send a corupted file instead for FREE!

I find it funny that on their site, they spell “corrupted” incorrectly. Perhaps if the creators spent more time in school working on their assignments, this snafu could have been avoided.

The Internet of Things

Just came across this via ReadWriteWeb and it got me thinking. From IBM’s Smarter Planet team, The Internet of Things is a 5+ minute video about data usage and how it is all becoming interconnected.

After watching the video, what are your thoughts? Do you think this an entirely positive direction we are heading? Will we continue to lose face to face interaction? How will this affect our future generation? Are we preparing them for this? Is society becoming too “big brotheresque?” Do people even care anymore if big brother is watching? Have we all become big brother, watching everyone else? Have we discovered that no one is doing anything truly interesting anyway, so why watch?

What’s in Your Reader?

Attribution: "Rss para blog do Rafa feito por+mim" http://www.flickr.com/photos/31770402@N02/3531293278I’m always looking for new ways to gather, organize and learn about new information regarding technology and education. Listening to an EdTechTalk podcast the other day where Richard Byrne was being interviewed, he mentioned his Google Reader and I was really hoping that he would reveal some of the sites he subscribes to.  Unfortunately, he didn’t (not that he was trying to hide his sources) but it got me thinking that more peeking should be encouraged among educators. Diigo, Delicious, and other social bookmarking sites are great resources to see what sites other people find interesting enough to save; but I want to see what people are reading when they first log in to their computers in the morning.


For those who don’t know about RSS or Readers, let me fill you in on the info. RSS is most commonly expanded as “Really Simple Syndication.” These RSS feeds can be subscribed to using a reader, or aggregator. You can subscribe to as many different sites as you like and then all of the new content comes directly to you in one, easy to use page. You can read the articles directly in your reader, or you can open them in their home site.

Common Craft has a fantastic explanatory video called “RSS in Plain English” that I’d recommend watching if you’re wanting more information.

You can read How to Explain RSS the Oprah Way if you still don’t quite get it (Preview: Instead of calling it “Really Simple Syndication,” RSS is referred to as “Ready for Some Stories.

My Reader

In the spirit of sharing, I’ve inserted a screen capture of my Google Reader subscriptions as it stands today. I have five basic categories: Tech – which is a collection of sites that blog about all technology-related topics. Education – general education blogs, not necessarily dealing with technology. Ed Tech Blogs – the most useful to me as they are primarily written by educators, for educators. News – I used to have more news sites that I subscribed to, but they were so prolific in their amount of posts, that it became too much to keep up. Fun – I should probably have more here to keep somewhat of a balance in my life, but alas, there is but one.

Care to share?

Let’s hear about it:

  1. What’s in your reader?
  2. Which subscription(s) do you find most useful to your everyday life?
  3. Do you have your students use a reader?

Leave your comments below.

Biography Timelines with Excel

Who says Excel is just for lists and numbers? (Probably no one, but let’s pretend someone says that).  For a recent biography project 4th graders were to create a timeline of a famous person. After researching and gathering facts, I had the students open up excel and showed them how to use the drawing tools to create text box shapes, connecting arrows, and multiple page view with page breaks.  There are a lot of online timeline creators where you just plug in a title, date and event; but I wanted to allow my students flexibility to create and design their timelines in their own unique style, as well as, teach them some new tools in Excel that they may not have known about.

%d bloggers like this: