Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Testing Techniques

When I was asked to help administer a math test, I really didn't think much about it. Testing is testing, right?

All the students looked much the same as when I was in high school - young, studious faces; some a little nervous with others holding onto the "I can do this attitude." The most noticable difference was the technology piece available for them. Times have definitely changed. I had paper and pencil to figure out my solutions to the extensive questions. Some problems would take an entire sheet of paper. I watched the students read the problem and then reach over for their T1-84 calculators without a second thought to start plugging in the information. Within seconds, there was the answer. Of course, they still had to know the method to get the correct answer. It was exciting to see the changes from pencils flying across the page writing numbers and characters to fingers pressing buttons on the calculators confidently and quickly.

As the technologies advance and try to stay up with our thoughts and needs, I just wonder how we'll do testing in the future - touch screen with calculating capabilities built in, headset with microphone and individual testing areas, or devices that can read your thoughts and record the answers. The possibilities are endless. What direction do you think we're going?

Friday, March 12, 2010

Podcasting Without a Microphone


 It's time to create your podcast but you can't find or don't have a microphone. An easy solution is to use the website and your phone. After signing up for a free account and giving them the phone number you'll be calling from, you can call their toll free number and record your podcast. Gcast is an ad-supported service that allows users to create and publish podcasts free.

Along with recording voice messages, you can upload MP3 files, mix your favorite music in with music they provide, and even add songs from All your audio is stored free and listeners will be able to go to your podcast channel when Gcast automatically generates the RSS feed.

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What Do You Search For?


While working with teachers in netTrekker, we are always “searching” for information that goes along with the curriculum. Millions of students work at their computers and are typing keywords into the different search engines available to them. I, along with the teachers, are eternally hopeful they are searching for information that will help them with their schoolwork. Since we can’t keep up with every word they search, we can guide them to a safe search engine and get an idea of the top keyword searches through a new index launched by Thinkronize (

Thinkronize is the developer of NetTrekker and compiles the data from all K-12 student searches within the NetTrekker search engine. An index of the most active student search terms is compiled and released at quarterly. The population of student searches includes over 20,000 schools and 11 million students within the 50 states using NetTrekker. This index helps us teachers understand what our students are questioning, learning about and wanting to know more about.

 The top-searched word in NetTrekker was “games.” Children will be children and do searches for what they are interested in the most and by using the features of NetTrekker, we can incorporate their interests into what they are studying. Below is a listing of the top 15 keyword searches from the spring quarter index which includes “animals,” “weather,” and “plants.”

Although other search engines provide lists of the most popular keyword searches, Thinkronize’s NetTrekker puts a different spin on the results. According to the CEO Randy Wilhelm, their report shows “a real-time, school-based mirror of what our children are searching for – both for academic purposes and out of genuine curiosity.”

Stickies on the Web!


Ever look at your Bookmarks or Favorites list and wonder why you took the time to mark that particular site.

For those of us who need little reminders or just love Sticky Notes, MyStickies is a web-based application that allows you to add a sticky note to any web page. When you revisit the page, the note is right where you left it. This makes it easy to remember why you marked the page in the first place and what was important on it.

Included with the MyStickies account is an area where you can go to review your notes, go back to "stickied" sites, modify text in a note, and delete unwanted notes. For the people who want to remember why they chose that site but don't care for the "Sticky Note Effect," each account has an unlimited number of Sticky Pages that act as a scratch pad, allowing you to make your notes, lists, or reminders in one spot and not clutter up your web page. Tags or categories can be added to each sticky note and then viewed later by category.

The future of MyStickies for me is to share tags, notes, and sites with all my friends - and remember why!

Mind Mapping with Mindmeister

May 9, 2008

Mindmeister allows users to participate in real-time collaboration in global brainstorming sessions on the web. Users can be anywhere and work together anytime; seeing each other's changes as they are made. Skype calls allows the invited participants to discuss new ideas and put them into the mind map at the same time.

As you share your mind maps with friends or colleagues, the invitees will receive an email with a link and will be able to add their own ideas and comments. Old versions of the mind map are saved on the MindMeister server so you can replace the new ideas with a previous version if necessary.

I really like the brainstorming mode (two or more users are in the same mind map at the same time) and you can see every change that is made instantly through color-coded effects. Working offline is an option through Google Gears and when you go back online, just slide the button to online and all the changes will be automatically synched.