Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Diigo (or Goodby Delicious)

Diigo V5: Collect and Highlight, Then Remember! from diigobuzz on Vimeo.

After three years with I am leaving.  Two days ago Delicious announced their changes.  I initially didn't want to change and even taught my teacher students last night in my class with them about it.  But after getting some time today to look at the changes, I am finally going to Diigo.  Diigo is a much more intuitive way to put your bookmarks on the Internet.  It also allows you to take pictures of websites and write on them and/or put digital sticky notes on them.  Also if you are a Delicious user you can import all of your sites (locks and all) and can do the same if you have been storing them on a browser on your laptop.  Above is a video showing you the features and below this is another that shows you how to use it.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

AP US History Multiple Choice Question of the Dat

If you go here, you can have your students sign up for a multiple choice question of the day.  There are also quizzes from each era of US history that they can take to prepare for you own tests. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Sharing Google+ Circles

Google+ finally went public last week and has already gone up to about 40 million members.   If you want to share your circles with others, above is how you can do it. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Online Maps for Your US Class

This fall one of the new (albeit experienced) teachers in our department came to me asking for some new maps.  I told him to here (among other places) to get his US maps (physical, expansion, political, etc.  Since we all have a LCD, I figured it was reasonable to save the $ and use the free ones online!  By the way different people (depending if you have a cookie for the site) will see different things on this link.  You may have to input your state and grade and then look for the book titled The Americans.  When you get to the ancillaries' page you will see much more than maps as there are quizzes, reviews, etc. 

Saturday, September 24, 2011

US Energy Consumption Versus the World

So I am here at our Google National Geographic institute and we are learning Google Earth.  One of cool features is that you can see energy consumption in the  world.  Above is a youtube video on it.  I always tell my kids that the US is 1/25th of the world's population, but consumes 1/4 of the world's products as the video above graphically shows. 

Friday, September 23, 2011

The First Map of America

I am in the midst of a Google National Geographic institute here in D.C. this weekend.  Besides getting to do Google Earth and Sketch Up we have been given a bag of goodies.  One of them is a book called "The Fourth Part of the World" by Toby Lester.  Perhaps I had been living too much under my "tech rock," but it is a fascinating story (so far) of the Waldseemueller map which gave us the name of America (Amerigo Vespucci).  Certainly we all teach that in world and US history, but the book starts off recounting how while Columbus made it to the islands first, Vespucci said he made it to the mainland one year before Columbus - and now I'm hooked.  If you are interested in a short (3 page history of this map - see above) summary of the map, click here.   I also included a very short video by the author on the map. Finally here is a Google Literature link which includes a Google Earth view of the trip. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Online Study Groups For Your Students

My students are not old enough to use Google+ (18 years old), but TinyChat will allow them to create chat rooms and have as many people as they want in it.  Then kids can set up a room and then get to work on their project or studying for a test.

Alternatively your students can use a 12 person free room called Oovoo (which may be their answer to G+ since they just jumped to two more).

Google Plus Huddles

If you have been following the changes to your Facebook page closely recently, you might have noticed that many of the new changes have been to mirror what one can do in Google+.  Of course Facebook has 750 million people and after just 90 days G+ is some where around 20 million.  One thing Facebook can't touch though is the "hangout" feature where you can have a video chat with up to 9 others.  Soon it is going to be doubled to 20 and I've even noticed that one Google person I follow had a huddle with 31 others.  But if you go here you can see some other additions.  For example if you are a school that wants to stream an event you can be both in a huddle and stream it online.  You can also stream with others and be looking at Google Docs. Best of all you no longer need an invitation, but simply can go here to sign up.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

This spring a colleague in my department and I collaborated on a project for our AP US and AP Government students who were in different days and periods to turn in an amazing project on Medicare, Social Security and the debt.  The kids who an amazing array of digital tools and put it all together using Google Docs.  George Mason University just wrote about it on their Teaching Digital Classroom site which you might want to visit as there are many lessons showing how teachers have integrated technology into the classroom.  Our write-up has links to our actual assignment as well as much of the student work product. 

Deliberating Democracy

One of the teachers in my department just did a demonstration for all of us on "deliberating democracy" that has been around, I believe, for about a year.  The point is to have kids discuss differences on a wide variety of subjects and come to a consensus.  The technique involved all kids in the classroom as opposed to a debate which only involves a few outspoken students.  The methodology can be used to say compare two leaders in US history or an issue in government. Above is an explanation of it. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

List Sync Btw Phone, Tablet and Computer

If you are a regular visitor to this blog, you know I like delicious.  But if you aren't saving codes or want visuals, a new site to try is Springpad which allows you to save links (and icons of the webpages which you can move around), keep lists (don't we always think of something we need to do when we are out and about).  You can also get the items on your tablet, phone and webpage as they are all synched together.  The video above gives you a nice short overview. 

Saturday, September 17, 2011

What is cloud computing?

I do a bunch of in-services a year (and if your district is interested in having me, please e-mail me) and one of the first questions I get is "What is cloud computing?"  If you don't know (and I believe it is too important not to), then the above video might be helpful to you. 


I like to go to one place to find all of the websites I use.  For that purpose I used igoogle which allows me to see both a RSS feed as well as the top three titles of each recent article from the blog or website that I am following.  Since I look at it before my morning run, I also have the weather embedded as well as my Twitter feed.  Above is a video I made a year ago detailing how you use iGoogle. 

Friday, September 16, 2011

History of Colonial America 1497 - 1763

This  is a short video on US history from 1497 to 1763.  If you are using Google Docs' Presentation mode, you can go to "insert" and then "video." Type in the name of the video and it will appear.  Double click on it and then you can drag it around your page or even grab a corner and stretch it. 

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Since I am getting new viewers all the time I will soon repost my video on igoogle which is where I get my RSS feeds (i.e. I look at my choice of blogs).  If you are a regular viewer of blogs, you probably are like me where you see lots of things you like in a short period and then go a few days or weeks where you do not use something.  At any rate, I have found several items recently from FreeTech4Teachers such as the editing additions to Youtube.  What I am hoping youtube will do one day is to make it so that one can record screencasts (such as Jaycut used to do before it was bought out).  For now, please see the wonderful ways you can edit your video in youtube above. 

I like Timerime as a timeline as it allows students to put in both a short description as well as a date.  The hardest part (which I like) for the kids is that they have to be concise on what they say.  Above is an example of what the timeline looks like.  Click on the dates and the full pictures and descriptions will appear. 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Instant Reponse

Two years ago fellow blogger Frank Franz turned me onto where students can answer multiple choice questions using their phones.  For those who do are not allowed to have their students text, they can use  The teacher would send out a Tweet and the students would then answer and you can get an instant poll.  This is the perfect way to create an "exit ticket" and have the kids answer several multiple choice answers and show you and the entire class (if you are showing it with a LCD) the percentage that got each question. Above is a video explaining it as well as giving a little history how a company begins. 

Monday, September 12, 2011


My social studies technology integration course is almost full and so I am finishing up what I will have in the course (actually I am mostly finishing up, but will tailor it to my students' needs once we begin).  One of the items we are going to do is Quizlet.  It is rather amazing as you (the student) enters in the word and the definition and then it lets you test yourself.  Then it mixes up your definition, then it can play a scatter match game.  It also keeps track of what you get right and incorrect so that you can go over those tough items later.  I am actually going to ask my own children's teacher if they can use it for their class as one of their weekly assignments.  

Google Plus How To Articles

This is a very nice resource that is continually new articles on such items as how to keep your pictures private when someone forwards your them through Google+ or how to put a blogpost (on Blogger) and G+ at the same time, how to re-organize your pictures, how to send private messages, how to ignore someone's posts and much much more. 

Downloading Youtube Videos

I just got this from one of our former teachers.  If you cannot show youtube videos in your school, go to the period after the www and write "kiss." So, for example, here is "" where I added in "kiss" and bolded it so you can see what I added into it. You will then be redirected to a new site which will allow you to download it to your computer. 
One of the teachers in my department gave me the video above which is much more succinct than the ones I posted below. It gives all the images of 9-11. 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Texting Students

Last year one of my fellow teachers starting Tweeting students their homework.  Not surprisingly almost everyone of her pupils signed up.  I've also written about how to set up an e-mail to your students' phones.  But here is a new service where your students can text a code you set up in Remind101 and every time you send out a message it will be sent to your students and/or parents.  The nice thing about this is that it is free and you can use it for multiple students.  I found it at the Pursuit of Technology Integration Happiness blog. 

9/11 Videos

Ten years ago my wife was pregnant with my daughters.  Now that they are 9-1/2 I have been looking for video to show them about 9/11.  Well I findally found a great collection on CNN which you can see here

Friday, September 9, 2011

Nice Translator

Just two days ago I was talking to an ESOL teacher in my school who had no idea about online translators.  I have a number of ESOL kids in my classes and use the translators for essay writing.  My thought is that if I am trying to teach the mechanics of essay writing, then I don't want language to be the barrier. So the kids write in their native language and then run it through the translator before turning it into me.  Here is the one I have been using from Google and here is the new "Nice Translator."  Thanks to a G+ post from Larry Ferlazzo. 

Disney Propaganda Films

I just learned from this blog that Walt Disney made a lot of propaganda films in WWII as the company was nearly bankrupt (imagine that) and needed the cash.  Here is a list of the films and here are some of them on youtube. 


At least once a day I have to remember a password and login combination.  As hard as I might try to keep them similar many of the sites seem to have different requirements (first letter must be capital, one must be a number, etc.) and so I use (others like  First off it is on the cloud so I can use it on any laptop.  Secondly if you save yours on your computer's browser, it can import them into it.  Next you can create folders.  You can also choose to lock the items so no one else can see them (good for the login/password combos) and if you want to share them, you can see who else is using the same site.  The advantage of this is that you might end up finding a whole host of new sites you never knew existed (and is one way I find new sites for this blog page).  If you want to see my unlocked items, go here

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Do You Want to Take My Technology Integration Course?

If you work in Fairfax County, VA, you can take my course this fall called "Enhancing the Use of Technology in the High School Social Studies Classroom."   You can sign up for it in MyPLT.  Simply type in "social studies" into the search engine and it will be the first one that pops up.  Classes will be on Tuesday from 430 to 730 at Woodson HS from Sept 27 - Dec 6.

The course will be designed to go at your pace meaning if you need to go slower, that will be fine and if you are a quick learner of technology, you will be able to do that too.  We will go through a variety of things such as Prezi and Glogster, using Google Docs in the classroom, making blogs, delicious, Poll Everywhere, how to build a webquest, how to integrate our new e-books into your lesson plans.  In the end people will end up with one or two lesson plans where they can use all the items we have learned.  

Friday, September 2, 2011

Prezi How To

This fall I am teaching a class in enhancing the social studies classroom (if you are a Fairfax County, VA teacher there is still room if you want to sign up).  One of the things I am going to try to do is model good teaching in that I will have different people going at different speeds.  To do that I am finding all kinds of how to videos for those (like myself) who are visual learners) so you will see me adding those like the one posted below and the above 1:39 video which very quickly and nicely covers how to make a Prezi presentation.  If you have never heard of Prezi, it is a very different way to make a PowerPoint.  Here is an example. 

Glogster has now been around for a couple of years.  It is in essence an online poster where you can embed videos, put up links, write words, add pictures, create connected pages, etc.  Also, you can create pages for your students so they do not need an e-mail to create one.  Above is a very nice video for how to make accounts and then create a video.