Saturday, May 30, 2009

Archiving images from the past...

Not sure what's available in your area, but if you live in Chicagoland, I found this as I was going through the weekly "ads" this morning. Time to get out your old photo albums and go digital!

From Kodak: Rapid Print Scanner Service, "Exclusively at Jewel-OSCO" -- prints to digital in minutes. You can archive up to 200 photographs on a CD for only $9.99...

Archive images from the past with their easy-to-use scanner.
1. Choose up to 200 images
2. Load 20 at a time (up to 8 x 10)
3. Scan in minutes
4. Create prints, photo gifts or store images on a Kodak Picture disk.

Perhaps this would make a nice summer project?

Monday, May 25, 2009

Build Vocabulary with Google Gadgets

Google developers will be gathering for their annual conference this week, which means information consumers (you and me) can look forward to some new Google tools or features, such as the Flash Cards, Word Study and Word Search gadgets recently announced on the Google Docs Blog:

If you are a user of Google Docs, open a new spreadsheet, and select "Insert > Gadget" from the menu:

Or, open a "Gadget-containing" document from the Template Gallery (New > From Template). If you have not yet browsed the many templates available for students and teachers, it's worth a look!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Wolfram|Alpha: Making the World's Knowledge Computable

Wolfram|Alpha came online at 7 pm CDT on Friday, May 15. I had first heard of Wolfram|Alpha from a NY Times clipping shared with me by a teacher at school this week. Until I actually "saw" it, I had no idea of the power of this new web resource, and the impact it can have for learners everywhere! Wolfram|Alpha was conceived by "Mathematica creator and scientist Stephen Wolfram as a way to bring computational exploration to the widest possible audience." From the website:

Wolfram|Alpha's long-term goal is to make all systematic knowledge immediately computable and accessible to everyone. We aim to collect and curate all objective data; implement every known model, method, and algorithm; and make it possible to compute whatever can be computed about anything. Our goal is to build on the achievements of science and other systematizations of knowledge to provide a single source that can be relied on by everyone for definitive answers to factual queries.

Take a peak at the sample topics and examples of data you can retrieve at which include Mathematics, Statistics, Physics, Chemistry, Engineering, Astronomy, Weather, Socioeconomic Data, Health and Medicine, Food and Nutrition, Words and Linguistics, Places and Geography, Sports, Music, Money and more.

I would also highly encourage you to view Stephen Wolfram's 13-minute screencast "Introduction to Wolfram|Alpha" to experience the scope of information you can retrieve on the Wolfram|Alpha website or view this shorter version (Part 1) posted on YouTube:

And, for a bit of background .…
Stephen Wolfram introduced the Wolfram|Alpha project during a recent webcast from The Berkman Center for Internet & Society at Harvard University:

Learn more about Stephen Wolfram from this 2003 University of California lecture, "A New Kind of Science" available on


Saturday, May 09, 2009

A Twitter Journey reveals "2 Days to Launch!"

This morning's Twitter journey began with a post by @unklar (aka Mark Dunk, an educator from Houston) who tweeted, "@Astro_127 I was nominated to be in mission control for your flight! I'm hoping to hear something soon (hopeful that I'm "approved")" and also, "@Astro_Mike good luck! fix that hubble space telescope for all of us!"

Clicking on "Astro_127" in @unklar's update took me to the Twitter page of Mark Polansky, an astronaut who joined Twitter on May 7th. As of today, Mark has 2,200 followers. Mark shares some good advice on his Twitter stream, "You're never too old to study and learn."

Astro_Mike is astronaut Mike Massimino, a mission specialist for STS-125: Final Shuttle Mission to Hubble Space Telescope. Mike has been tweeting since the beginning of April and has 199,447 followers!

Although these astronauts have many followers, Polansky only follows NASA, and Massimino follows NASA and one other Twitterer. I appreciate the information being shared, and hope that they will join the conversations that are being "@"-ed their way!

Clicking through to the NASA Twitter stream, I learned:
"Countdown sign along the road shows two days until the launch of Discovery!" <-- this links to the Flickr page of NASA HQ -- currently 265 images posted from NASA.

I'm not sure what @unklar's tweet about being in mission control was all about, but it started me on a journey that led to the discovery of some great resources from the U.S. Space program. I think it would be exciting to tune in from your classroom and get the latest updates directly from the people involved in these missions! This is an example of how Twitter can be used for education... and if it's blocked in your school, your children are missing out.

Yes, there has been a lot of press lately about Twitter: "It's a waste of time... Who cares what I am doing?" For those who have been "Tweeting" for some time, we appreciate the value of Twitter. We love the connections that Twitter provides into the "happenings" of those we follow -- our chosen "network" of friends and associates (who often become our friends). It's so much more than "what are you doing?" In Twitterverse we "tune into" to the thoughts, ideas, discoveries, successes, disappointments and failures posted by our colleagues -- and we share in kind. We stumble onto websites, learn of new books, review movies and TV shows (sometimes during the broadcasts), find deals to be had and contests to enter. We congratulate one another, offer hugs, encouragement, and ask questions -- our Twitter network is our lifeline. It's something you have to experience, to really "get it."

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Social Networking and Teens: What Parents Need to Know

Today I am presenting a session on "Social Networking and Teens: What Parents Need to Know" as part of a 5-week Parent Breakfast Series at Stevenson High School, hosted by Jerry Franklin, academic counselor and Lisa Franz, school social worker. The goal of these meetings is to provide a forum to "discuss some of the challenges parents raising teenagers face during adolescent development. This group will provide information, strategies, mutual support and resources for parents who would like to gain an increased understanding of their children while improving their parenting approach."

Here is a link to the audio file of the presentation.

Here are links to resources mentioned:

Project Tomorrow

Digital Youth Project

Danah Boyd, Researcher

Danah Boyd on YouTube

PEW Internet Report: Social Networking Websites and Teens

Five Years of Free Friendship – Facebook commentary

10 Privacy Settings Every Facebook User Should Know

Readers Digest May 2009 Report

New NSBA Report on Social Networking

Digital Dossier

CyberSmart Curriculum

And the slides from the presentation

Special thanks to Steve Dembo, of Discovery Education for his help and sharing his resources.

Additional websites shared during the presentation: