Sunday, October 21, 2007 now funded by U.S. federal Dept. of Ed

In my quest to find a scanned version of the book Speak, by Laurie Halse Anderson, I browsed to, and learned that on October 1, 2007, the Office of Special Education Programs of the U.S. federal Department of Education made a major five-year award of $32 million to further the objectives of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), by supplying high quality textbooks and educational materials to students with special needs.

This funding is designed to fully support all schools, and students 26-years-old and under, with qualifying print disabilities in the United States, K-12 and post-secondary. will provide these students with access to the entire collection of accessible electronic books, and to software for reading those books.'s website reports they also expect to add over 100,000 new educational titles in high quality DAISY and Braille formats over the next five years, getting students the terrific quality textbooks they need for academic success.

This will save countless hours of scanning and reworking print material for our students with learning and physical disabilities.

By the way, Speak is not yet in the library. If you have a scanned version that you can share, please contact me.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Amazing Street View in Google Maps

Check out some new views in Google Maps using the amazing "you are there" tool called Street View. Google posted this intro 4 days ago on YouTube and it has already been viewed more than 130,000 times (wonder why they didn't post it on Google Videos?)

Street View is currently available in six U.S. cities: Chicago, Portland, Philadelphia, Tucson, Phoenix and Pittsburgh. And, it's not just the cities themselves, but out in the suburbs as well. The "blue" indicates where Street View is available:

Street View provides a 360-degree view at a given point on the map. Here's a look at our school, if you were driving by on Rt. 22:

Google Maps Help says: "To navigate along a street, click one of the white arrows overlaid on the street to move in that direction. You can also use arrow keys. Street names display within the info window. You can navigate on to another street once you reach the center of an intersection."

I grew up in the city of Chicago here:

The neighborhood is still looking pretty good. I wonder how often these views will be updated. Take a virtual walk!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

K12 Online Conference -- tagged!

Vinnie Vrotny tagged me with a meme to help promote the K12 Online Conference, which "opened" this week with a pre-conference keynote by David Warlick. How appropriate, since announcing the K12 Online Conference was to be the subject of my next post.

What is the K12 Online Conference?
The K12 Online Conference could be described as an open source conference, you can choose when, where, how, and at what level you will participate -- AND, there is no cost to you, other than your time!

Congratulations to its conveners, Darren Kuropatwa, Wes Fryer, Sheryl Nussbaum-Beach, and Lani Ritter-Hall who have voluntarily organized this year's 2007 conference, and in the process, have gathered 40 volunteer presenters who will provide information on topics they are passionate about. Add to that: four live events, three fireside chats and one 24-hour culminating gathering that will allow educators from all over the world to connect and share ideas, thoughts, and experiences with each other during the two weeks of presentations, and beyond.

If you don’t have time to "tune in" during the conference dates (October 15-27), you can visit the presentations anytime, which will be available in perpetuity, or when the technology evolves, which ever comes first.

K12 Online Conference Meme Rules
To share either three (3) reasons to participate based on your experience from last year or (if you didn’t attend last year) three (3) things you hope to gain from the experience this year.

My Responses to the Meme

  1. I continue to learn and re-learn from last year's presentations. Since I subscribed in iTunes, I only need to dial up David or Wes or Mark to review the information.
  2. I am grateful for what I have learned, and that I have been able to teach others at workshops and conferences throughout the year.
  3. What better way to "meet" like-minded educators! You do not have to innovate in isolation! These folks genuinely care that you learn -- and they don't even know you yet.

Who is next?

I tag: Lucy Gray, Joe Brennan and the TechChicks (Anna and Helen)

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