Thursday, July 30, 2009

Simple, yet Great Sites – Vol. 2

Sometimes - we all run across websites we think are simply great. They can be very simplistic in nature but achieve huge things! Well... here are a few educational sites that I want to share with you.

Curriculum: Art


This site allows students to travel 500 years into the past and look at the many art innovations. You can also create/add your own innovation ideas! Great add-in to any art class!

Curriculum: History


This site is an interactive time-travel back into the days of slavery and the underground railroad. It is a mixture of story-telling about the journey but also gives you opportunities to make decisions as if you were in the story!


So much to choose from on this site. “This Day in History” is my personal favorite part of the entire site. Being an unofficial (and self-proclaimed) history buff (of sorts) it is very interesting to read the dated historical tidbits. There are several educational/history games on the site as well! Example…there is a “History of Ireland Quiz” and a “Declaration of Independence Quiz”.


This site is self-explanatory! Need your students to do biography research? This is the gold mind of all sites to start with. Simply type in the person’s name and voila – you have their biography at your finger tips. This is a sister site to, by the way.

Curriculums: Science and Art


This site (for the museum of science, art and human perception) is a mixture of student activities, teaching tips and special emphasis on the revolving exhibits within the science museum. There are tons of hands-on activities/directions and even a digital library of podcasts, etc.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The ABC's of your OS

2000. XP. Vista. Snow Leopard. What do all of these have in common? They are absolutely necessary for your computer to even function! Operating Systems (commonly referred to as simply “OS” provide the backbone structure for your desktop, laptop, or notebook computer.

According to Encyclopedia Britannica, an operating system is a “program that manages a computer’s resources, especially the allocation of those resources among other programs. Typical resources include the central processing unit (CPU), computer memory, file storage, input/output (I/O) devices, and network connections. Management tasks include scheduling resource use to avoid conflicts and interference between programs. Unlike most programs, which complete a task and terminate, an operating system runs indefinitely and terminates only when the computer is turned off.

So, what’s the latest and greatest in OS’s on the market today?

Windows 7 is the newest operating system for the PC. Check out this introductory video.

If you are a Mac lover, then Snow Leopard is sure to peak your curiosity as the latest OS to hit the scene for the Apple.

The Unix OS is a multi-user system that allows multiple users to take advantage of different resources all at one time! Nice thing about Unix? It is open-source (free) and runs on a variety of computer platforms!

Quite like Unix, Linux is another type of OS that is also open-source and runs on a PC. Who uses Linux? According to, typically the folks most interested in going against the norm of Windows and Mac operating systems…

· People who already know UNIX and want to run it on PC-type hardware;

· People who want to experiment with operating system principles;

· People who need or want a great deal of control over their operating system; and

· People who have personal problems with Microsoft

What's on the OS horizon? Google's newest arrival... the Google Chrome OS. It is in the works and is supposed to change how we look at the OS altogether... Stay tuned for its release...

So, after all is said and done, are you still using Windows 2000 or XP? Don’t feel bad. As long as your computer is performing up to par and your tasks and goals are met – all is well.

*Disclaimer – This post is for educational and information purposes only. Please do not attempt to upgrade any of the district and/or school-owned desktops or laptops. As with all processes and protocols, the Technology Department will handle upgrades, etc. when appropriate.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Ashe County Technology Conference 2009

As you may have already read in an earlier post, Emory and I were given the opportunity to present last week at the 2009 Technology Conference in Ashe County, North Carolina!

Technology Conferences are always exciting - you go in with a great expectation and huge anticipation for learning, seeing, and hearing something that will inspire you back at your desk. This time, though, things were a little bit different... As a presenter, I was in the role to provide that inspiration to others. Did I do just that? I sure hope so. I received a lot of kind words and many thanks for my session titled "Introduction to Wikis" using PBWorks.

So, what was my main goal in presenting the idea of wikis into a regular classroom curriculum? Simple. It gives the students a 21st century method for presenting the same work they always have. The key here... teachers must realize that 21st century skills learning doesn't necessarily mean changing the curriculum... it just means taking a second look at the delivery method - as a teacher and as a student. Where can you start? Tackle the two most common assignments most teachers give... Writing Prompts and Research Projects. Both make excellent use of the wiki and collaborative learning environment.

Whether presenting away from home, or simply doing the day-to-day workshops here and there, inspiration is my top priority. I want to inspire teachers on several levels.

I want to...
  • Inspire them to be open-minded in their quest for achieving successful 21st century learning environments in their classrooms;
  • Inspire them to be gutsy and try new things - being oh so mindful that the new things they try aren't so "new" to the students! We just need to shape what they already use into our educational molds and purposes!
  • Inspire them to believe in themselves. It does not matter how long you've been a teacher... learning is the name of the game in your 1st year and in your 30th year.
  • Inspire them to see the bigger picture... yes, the little details matter during the day when integrating technology into the projects, one class project at a time - but better still - the big pictures makes way for overall and increased technological skill development by the end of the academic year
Did I enjoy presenting? For certain. I only hope that those folks who came into my session left with the same passion I came in with.

Want to check out the technology conference format? Take a look.