Learning about Coursera -- a MOOC worth exploring

Andrew Ng

Andrew Ng, Stanford University computer science professor, is the co-founder of Coursera, a for-profit company that partners with colleges and universities to provide free MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses).

It's hard to believe that the company only started up in April! Stanford Professors Launch Coursera With $16M From Kleiner Perkins and NEA.

The list of participating colleges and universities is impressive -- thirty-three as of this date.

"Brilliant!" I thought as I listened to Andrew on the Google+ EducationOnAir
Re-think College: Discussing Cost, Expanding Access, Harnessing Technology, and Student Success.

Here's his bio.

Who can take a Coursera course? Anyone over 18. And students 13 and above can take the courses with parental permission.

The variety of courses and topics is impressive. Here are the 210 offerings for 2013.

And here's the Coursera team.

Coursera co-founder Daphne Koller speaks about "What we're learning from online education" on TED. Food for thought.

The company has already encountered controversy: Minnesota Gives Coursera the Boot, Citing Decades-Old Law.

How would Coursera make money? Check out: Inside the Coursera Contract: How an Upstart Company Might Profit From Free Courses.

Here are the nitty-gritty FAQs about Coursera, if you're ready for details.

Coursera isn't the only MOOC organization to consider, of course. Here are three excellent ones I recommend exploring:
  • EdX, a partnership between MIT and Harvard
Coursetalk is an online community that helps you to identify the best MOOCsand the three organizations above (in addition to Coursera) have the best reviews so far. Coursetalk is a very handy site indeed.

Yes, I know there will be more MOOCs in our future, and No, I'm confident that online learning will never be as rich socially and culturally as "face-to-face" with our teachers. But what an amazing opportunity to learn for all of us!


Must-See Creative Commons Visuals Infographic

Just found this fantastic infographic, courtesy of a Mashable article.

Pinned it and embedded it in our Copyright and Creative Commons LibGuide.

 This is nitty-gritty must-have information for serious researchers!

Source: mashable.com via Linda on Pinterest


It's All About Empathy -- An RSA Animate on the Power of Outrospection

My librarian friend from another island came to visit yesterday and mentioned how her school places emphasis on empathy.

And this morning this appeared on my radar screen. ... It's now my new favorite RSA Animate!

I love the idea of living empathy museums!

This is definitely worth a watch if you have 10 minutes to spare.


mauilibrarian2's Nominations for the 2012 Edublog Awards #eddies12

My nominations for the 2012 EduBlogs Awards are all about being inspired and helped throughout this year.

I highly recommend and nominate:

Best group blog -  Hawaii Book Blog (soon to be Hawaii Reads). Yes, I know it's a local blog, but Misty-Lynn and Alex give me hope for the future. Every state should have young people like these to carry on and spread the love of books and reading.

Best class blog -  Mrs. Yollis' Classroom Blog. Linda Yollis' seamless use of blogs to have her 2nd and 3rd grade students reach out globally is so inspiring.

Best ed tech / resource sharing blog - Educational Technology and Mobile Learning. Med Kharbach does an excellent job of curating edtech tools. I consult this blog every day!

Best teacher blogTeaching Like It's 2999. I met Jennie Magiera at #GTANY and she is an educator on fire! She is forward-thinking and so enthusiastic -- a mover and shaker, IMO.

Best library / librarian blog -  A Media Specialist's Guide to the Internet. Every time Julie Greller (cybrarian77) comes out with a list of resources, I'm all eyes and ears. She has a real knack for finding the crème de la crème.

Best administrator blog: A Principal's Reflections. Eric Sheninger's opinions are always thought-provoking. Creativity and Why It Matters is today's gem.

Best individual tweeter @AuntyTech. Donna Baumbach leverages the power of her tweets by using twylah.com and rebelmouse. She's a frequent contributor to #TLChat. Her tweets are so useful!

Best twitter hashtag #TLChat. This is my bread-and-butter go-to hashtag for educational resources that rock. I access it via paper.li.

Best free web tool - Google Apps for Education. This ubiquitous, dynamic set of tools provides a solid online workplace for students to organize, create, collaborate, and publish. Empowering.

Best educational use of audio / video / visual / podcast  - TeacherCast. The brainchild of Jeffrey Bradbury, this network produces volumes of quality content. The variety of educational experts on the show is astonishing.

Best open PD / unconference / webinar seriesGoogle EducationOnAirThis is a very well put together program by The Giant. The offerings are practical and Google+ Hangouts is such a fun way to participate. The topper is the Past Recordings archive, assuring us that we won't miss a thing. More, please!

Best educational use of a social network  iPad Education Dreams. This Facebook group makes everyone an administrator (you can request to be invited). Created by Josh Reppun, this burgeoning group is a stellar example of how people who are passionate about an educational topic come together and generously provide support for one another. 

Best mobile app -  TripIt. This handy little free app was recommended to my by a colleague this summer at #ISTE12 and I have been using it ever since. Takes the worry out of travel plans.

Lifetime achievement - Jerry Blumengarten, the one and only cybraryman. My hero, 'nuff said.

What about you? Who or what inspired you this year?

Nominations are open until November 26, and here's a quick link to the form.


Four Ways to Keep Track of Who Uses eReaders

Interested in who uses eReaders? Here are four ways to keep track:

1.  Read reports and surveys of research organizations.

Check out these reports from Pew Research

Here's a Harris Poll of 2,056 adults: No Surprise, eReader Use Continues to Grow.

If you're really serious about knowing about the status of the ereader industry, you can fork over $4500.00 (!) for International Data Corporation's Worldwide and U. S. eReader 2012-2016 Forecast which covers statistics for Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kobo Inc., Pandigital Inc., and Sony.

If you want to pay less ($635.00) check out the eBooks and eReaders: 2012 report by Research and Markets.
◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

2. Look for infographics on the subject.

Here are a couple of infographics for your review, courtesy of The Digital Reader:

(It would be interesting to know more about the demographics of this survey conducted by spectos.com.)

This infographic uses data from Pew, businesstocommunity.com and Gizmodo.

Pinterest is the mother lode of infographics, of course. Here's my favorite board:

(53 pins as of this writing)

As with all infographics, be sure to read the fine print at the bottom to determine the authoritativeness of the data source(s).

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3. Monitor up-to-the-minute developments and trends via blogs and Twitter.

I recommend adding these sites/blogs to your reader (I use Google Reader);

Pew Internet Libraries
Publishers Weekly's digital content and ebooks section
The Digital Reader
Digital Book World
Publishing Trends
The digital publishing section of goodereader.com
Publishing Perspectives

If you're a Twitter user, I've created a short Digital Publishing list. I invite you to subscribe.

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4. If you're interested in how ereading affects libraries, follow these three great resources.

No Shelf Required
eBooks, eReaders, and Libraries on scoop.it, curated by Buffy J. Hamilton
The Digital Shift (Library Journal, School Library Journal)

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And there you have it, four ways to keep up with what's happening with ereaders! This is by no means a comprehensive list. Please comment below if you have suggestions.

To my dear author friend who asked me to do some investigative work on ereaders, I hope this helps! The state of the digital publishing industry is a subject in which I'm keenly interested. I learned a lot writing this article!

Happy reading!


(Cross-posted in my SEABURY READS blog)

We're Having a Mock Presidential Election at our School!

Democracy in action! So exciting!

Mrs. Middleton's U. S. History classes are in charge of conducting a school-wide mock presidential election on Tuesday.

Click on the cartoon below to get to our Elections LibGuide.  You can learn all about the presidential candidates, the issues, and how the electoral college works.

Voting will take place during both lunches, and students will have a choice between a written or electronic ballot (courtesy of Google forms). There will be 3 separate groups: upper school students, middle school students, and faculty.

And to the adults: be sure to vote on Tuesday, if you haven't already!


P. S. Thanks to students Dylan West-Vonn Sonn and Taka Tsutsui for creating the very cool electronic ballots!

Considering iPads for your high school Geometry classroom?


Considering iPads for your high school Geometry classroom?

Here are some options:

Got only one iPad for the classroom?

     Try Geometry Sketchpad Explorer for iPad - The Geometer's Sketchpad Resource Center

Want to use iPads with smart board technology?

     Check out what one California district did.

Got a BYOD classroom?

     How about Geometry Pad, a personal assistant, for iPad and Android tablets.

Considering games?

     This looks like fun: Super Hexagon (99 cents)

And if you're going "all in", here are two possibilities:

     Geometry iPad apps - more than an online textbook -- for your school or district

     Geometry Classroom for iPad on the iTunes App Store

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Any more to add to this list?


Google+ Hangouts: A Brief Reunion with Google Certified Teachers on a Monday Morning

When fellow Google Certified Teacher Tanya Avrath invited 46 from the #GTANY cohort to drop in for five minutes to help her show the power of PLNs (professional learning networks) to her class, I was happy to accept.

It sounded like fun!

The time of day was a little problematic. I was supposed to be checking in my advisees and leading them to the reflection pond area of our campus, for a school-wide assembly.

What to do? 

I should bring my laptop along with me outside, I decided, and go from there. I figured other GTANYers would enjoy the scenery.

The Hangout turned out great! Much to my delight, our Headmaster Mr. Joe Schmidt came over to see what I was doing and ended up inviting the group for a gathering on campus. Summer is a good time, he mused.

Photo by Ned Simonds

The group included a principal from Illinois, two educators from Ohio -- a district administrator and an ed tech specialist, a teacher-librarian from Maryland, an ed tech specialist from New York, two professionals from New Jersey -- a Google lead learner and a director of curriculum and technology, and two classroom teachers from California. And of course, Tanya, who's an educational technology teacher in Quebec. Many others wanted to join in, but couldn't because of schedule conflicts.

This was so easy! All that was needed was a Gmail account, set up of a Google+ account, and download of a plug-in. Up to 10 people can participate at one time, and if the Hangout link is shared or the event is made public, anyone can view and enjoy.

If the Hangout had been a show-and-tell, I would have included the group in the beautiful Hawaiian canoe blessing ceremony that took place in front of Cooper House, with the entire student body witnessing. It was a heart-filling event.

Are there more Hangouts in my future? Most definitely.

Would I recommend them? Whole-heartedly!

(◕‿◕) @mauilibrarian2

Five Take-Aways from the Google Teacher Academy

Yes, of course there are more than five things I took away from the Google Teacher Academy!

This little list is just a pupu* to start.

1. Let's jump right to the Grand Prize (yes, I sometimes do eat dessert first!). The email invitation at the end of the training to become a member of the very active Google Certified Teachers Group assures me that the awesome learning I experienced at the Google Teacher Academy will continue. I've already consulted the archives a couple of times to answer Google-related questions, and the word is that group members are quick to respond to questions. I've elected to subscribe to the daily digest, and I definitely will be tapping into this mother lode of knowledge often.

2. I discovered that the Chrome Web Store is jammed packed with useful apps and extensions to automate tasks.

A couple of free extensions mentioned by Sean Beavers and Eric Curts grabbed my attention:

Awesome Screenshot,  to "capture the whole page or any portion, annotate it with rectangles, circles, arrows, lines and text, one-click upload to share."

Anesidora, still in beta, is an unofficial Pandora player that you can play right in your Chrome browser.

I'll be shopping for free web apps and extensions at the Chrome Web Store often.

3. I found out that Google Docs Integration with Edmodo (often called Facebook for Education) has been available since March. This opens up exciting collaboration and networking possibilities that I'd like to explore, for our Google Apps for Education (GAFE) school. (One of our teachers had expressed interest in trying Edmodo, before the Academy.)

Fellow GCT, New York librarian Brendan Breen, has had experience with Edmodo, and he offered to help me set up an experimental Edmodo group, using Google+ Hangouts. Thank you, Brendan!

4 of the 5 school librarians at GTA

4. The Data Liberation Front site is a central location for information on how to move your data in and out of Google products.

How cool is it that I found out about this site at the Academy? Love the transparency.

5. I was blown away by the in-person presentation by Kern Kelly's students of Nokomis Regional High in Central Maine. Their Tech Sherpa group has just started a live online technical support program that's available for the world every Tuesday at 3:00 EST. So inspiring!

Yes, there's more ... stay tuned!

(◕‿◕) @mauilibrarian2

*appetizer, in Hawaiian

Dear Faculty, What Would You Like Me to Ask Google?

Dear Faculty,

Is there anything you would like me to ask the folks at the Google Teacher Academy next week?

Someone already gave me a question to ask:

"The Google Site search could use improvement in my opinion. If I do a keyword search to find a site, I get way more than I need. Are tags the only solution, or is Google planning something new?"

Please use the Google form below to submit your question. Your anonymity is assured. You can, of course, choose to identify yourself so that I can follow up with you personally.

(◕‿◕) @mauilibrarian2

A Magical Guide to Avoiding Plagiarism, from Kate Hart

MAHALO to Donna MacDonald who pinned this infographic to the SIGMS Forum 2012 Pinterest group, and for introducing me to YA writer Kate Hart's fantastic work!

Hart is called the queen of infographics and I can see why!

This infographic is just the ticket for my presentation on plagiarism tomorrow!

For the back story on this infographic, go here.


7 New Things I Learned in Google's Online Power Searching Class

Full disclosure: Yes, I'm a librarian, and No, I did not get 100% on first my try (on either assessment).

I don't mind confessing. :)  As with class, conference, workshop, webinar, whatever -- I ALWAYS learn something new. And with Google, things are always changing anyway, right? There's always room for improvement.

So these are the new things I learned from the two-week FREE online Power Searching with Google class I just completed today:

1. You can use images instead of words to do a search, by dragging and dropping an image into Google's Image Search:

2. When you do an OR search (obviously I haven't used this or I would have known this), the word OR must be capitalized.

3. If you want to eliminate shopping sites from your search results, two good words to use with the minus sign are price and/or buy.

4. If you want to achieve search results that are unfettered by the algorithms Google has imposed on your Google account based on your previous searches, you can do one of the following:
  • Sign out of your Google account.
  • If you're in Chrome (recommended by Google, of course), Type Control(pc) or Command(MAC)/Shift/N and you will go "incognito".
  • (my favorite) After conducting a regular Google search, go to the left menu and under More Search Options, choose "Verbatim". Here are more details about it. Although not directly stated, Verbatim will erase those personalization algorithms.
    5. You can view KML (Google Earth) files in Google Maps.

    6. You can search Google Scholar to find legal documents, including patents. (I'm thinking, perfect for U. S. and world history primary documents!)

    7. And the last notable tip is something I knew about and emphasized with our students but was gratified to hear coming from Google Research Guru Daniel Russell:

    "Ranking is not the same as credibility."

    Hear that, students? :)
    ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

    These are the things I loved about this class:

    •The format - the short tutorials and the doable time frame in which to complete assignments
    •Being in the company of and learning from students from all over the world via the Powersearch Forums (available only to registrants) and the two Hangouts: Power Searching with Search Experts and Hangout with Search Experts
    •Learning about three blogs to stay updated: Official Google Blog, Inside Search -- The Official Google Search Blog, and SearchReSearch.

    ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊
      Do I have any suggestions for Google? Just one: More of these, please. Two thumbs way up!


      Day 2 of #ISTE12 was all about Twitter Connections and Fun!

      Yes, I did learn an ISTE12 lot yesterday (more about that later), but there were two great personal threads running through Monday: meeting up with some of my Twitter buddies, and having just a little bit of fun!

      Came upon Colette Cassinelli @ccassinelli demonstrating the use of tech in YA reading (Great presentation!).
      Met Donna from Vermont @dsmacdonald and paused to reconnect with The Daring Librarian @gwynethjones! (Reminder to self: chin down when taking a photo)

      Half-way into her Media Playground presentation, I realized this was Joquetta, @accordingtoJo!

      Fellow Hawaii colleagues Molokai librarian Diane @dmokuau and Maui librarian Shannon @shannon_alueta flank library goddess Joyce @joycevalenza, at the SIGMS social.

      Met Marie @sraslim and reconnected with 
      incoming CSLA President Jane @jane_librarian.
      Just had to get a photo with the lovely Mighty Little Librarian @librarian_tiff at the social!

      Too-good-not-to-share plug: I'm really looking forward to Hollywood Squares Live on Wednesday at 1:15, featuring Joyce, Gwyneth, Tiff, Joquetta, and other media megastars!
       ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

      And two bits of fun caught on camera ...

      Seeing double: happened upon ISTE clothes models (and ISTE Board members) 
      Kecia @keciaray and Dr. Kari @karistubbs, larger than life, and F-2-F.
      How much do I love Google? ... ummmm, a LOT!
      ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊
      Looking forward to more learning today! Such a great ISTE12 conference so far ...


      Takeaways from the Global Education Summit #ISTE12 Session

      The Global Education Summit session I attended yesterday was so interesting!

      Led by Lucy Gray, the presentations were for the most part pecha kucha  (pronounced “pa-chok'-cha”) style, 20 slides, 20 seconds per slide. I had presented in this style myself, so I know the constraints of the method. It's not easy to condense material this way. Everyone did a fantastic job!

      There are several programs I definitely want to know more about:

      •Bob Barboza from Super School University spoke about the island kids will help build, as part of the Cabo Verde Tenth Island Project, and KidsTalk Radio will be the vehicle for conversation about the island.

      •Jennifer Correiro talked about her experience with Taking It Global, and read so beautifully "Yellow Bird" by spoken word artist Andrea Gibson.

      Ann Murtschin of western Australia enthused about several global projects in which she's been involved over the years.

      Julie Lindsay and Vicki Davis talked about the wildly popular Flat Classroom Project.
      •Sharon Brown-Peters of the American International School of Mozambique discussed "Popping the Bubble", outlining 10 things she learned about global projects.

      •Karen Yager, Dean of Studies at Knox Grammar School in Australia mentioned using Minecraft in the classroom, and also about participating in the International da vinci Decathlon and WeWrite, books for kids by kids.

      One program that really caught my fancy was Penpalnews.com, a start-up company that arranges pen pal exchanges structured around current events.

      Michael Bernstein of Penpalnews.com
      I'm particularly interested in their new project coming up in September, Penpal News Red/Blue, an exchange between pen pals in red and blue states "to make this election year a teachable moment". I think our U. S. History teacher Ms. Middleton and perhaps our Speech and Debate teacher Ms. Sefton might be interested in this project for our students!

      Monday was a fantastic day for learning about global connections!

      . . . And yes, the weather in San Diego is absolutely gorgeous!


      Loving the ISTE12 Mobile App, With One Exception

      Just downloaded the ISTE12 mobile app and I am loving it!

      One thing, though, that I hope the developers will consider for next year. It would be fantastic to be able to "Add Own Event" to the app. I was disappointed to find that the information I had put in my conference planner via my laptop didn't transfer.

      ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

      I'm really looking forward to learning about new tech tools and meeting my Twitter PLN peeps!

      Willing be blogging at least once per day and will be tweeting as well. Stay tuned!


      Four Videos for Learning about China's History -- in a Class Period

      Here are four videos that will give your high school students a nice intro to China's history, in a class period.

      Three are ready to watch and one is a two-part series, ready to order:

      Legacy: The Origins of Civilization - China -- The Mandate of Heaven
      (50 min.)

      China: Power and the People - BBC

      (60 min.)

      Explore: China
      by Charles Annenberg Weingarten and the Explore Team

      China: Geography and History of the North and the South - New Dimension Media (26 minutes each)
      ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

      Two clever videos worth watching: "BYOD in the 21st Century" and "To Tweet or Not to Tweet", by lalande

      Benjamin Room posted "BYOD in the 21st Century" in the Practical Technologies for the Classroom Facebook group and I just had to share!

      Schools exploring BYOD will find this video clever and informative!

      Producer Dr. Marc-Andre Lalande, is so creative! The video is the latest in his Pedagogical Quickies YouTube series. I just subscribed to his channel: lalendema.

      Here's another great video in the series, about Twitter in Education: "To Tweet or not to Tweet".

      I just followed him on Twitter: @malalande.

      And here are two more of his videos to check out:
      Want Can Fun Need - What We Want to Learn and Why
      Schoolisyzation - "Force-fitting"

      Dr. Lalande promises a Pedagogical Quickie every two months. I can't wait to see what he comes up with next!

      ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊


      All My Tweets -- A New (to me) Way to Archive Tweets


      Since I wrote How to Create a Searchable, Permanent COMPLETE Archive of Your Tweets using TwimeMachine & Evernote I've discovered

      which puts all tweets (up to 3,200) on one page.

      As with TwimeMachine, I simply copy and paste the live tweets into my shared Evernote document.

      The tweets are bulleted, a nice feature that makes things a little easier on the eyes.

      Another nice feature is that you don't have to sign in. It's a simple search engine. How cool is that?
      I manage three Twitter accounts (mauilibrarian2 for my own PLN, castlelibrary2 for our faculty, and castlelibrary for our students), so this is a great time saver for me!

      Going a step further, I've gathered all three accounts into our Twitter LibGuide. This gives one-stop access to our students and faculty who want to keep up with the latest developments, but who don't tweet. (This is the link I recommend they bookmark.)

      I really like this method of keeping track of Twittered ideas for our school community, and for my PLN. :)


      Considering OpenClass to Manage Your Classes? Check out these Resources (and the P.S.)

      Pearson Promo/Intro to OpenClass

      Just discovered Pearson's OpenClass, a learning management system with social and collaboration tools.  It's new and in beta and there doesn't seem to be too much in the news about it, other than its launching at EDUCAUSE in October, 2011.

      OpenClass is totally free and integrates with Google Apps For Education which we have at our school, so the system is definitely worth a look for our institution!

      Here are some articles announcing the launching of OpenClass.

      Pearson's Announcement launching OpenClass in October, 2011. "First full-featured learning environment that's free, easy to use and scalable."

      Pearson Debuts Free LMS with Google Apps Integration | Campus Technology

      Pearson Llc + Google Expands LMS Business With “OpenClass” System | WiredAcademic

      Pearson and Google Jump Into Learning Management With a New, Free System | Wired Campus - The Chronicle of Higher Education

      The mastermind behind OpenClass is software engineer Adrian Sannier, who works for Pearson. Read about how he Wants to Put Learning-Management Software in the Cloud.

      Adrian Sannier - Photo by Ida von Hanno Bast

      If you're ready to try OpenClass, check out these tutorials:
      Getting Started gives an overall view of the Help Knowledge Base.

      These are direct links to some of the sections within the Base:
      How to Use OpenClass Help

      How to Create a Course

      Course Gradebook

      Course Tools

      Threaded Discussions

      Social Tools
      Also check out the OpenClass Mobile app, downloadable at CNET Download.com.

      Upcoming plans for OpenClass? An Educational Idea Exchange,
      "which will make it easy to find and share the latest education methodologies, content, and curriculum. Get access to and integration with world class content from publishers and individuals alike. With the Idea Exchange, anyone can publish content to a global marketplace that includes ratings and reviews." (OpenClass website)
      Pearson seems to be very responsive to questions and concerns of its customers. See The OpenClass Community Forum for an ongoing discussion on how OpenClass can be improved to meet customer needs. And take a look at the employees. I like that they respond personally to each question. No, not open source as the name might imply, but definitely a great model of openness!

      Is your institution experimenting OpenClass? What do you think of it?


      P. S. Update just before posting:

      I just read about United Opt Out National's boycott of Pearson. It does put a different light on things, doesn't it? Or does it?

      I would love to hear your opinion.


      How Two of our Freshmen Use Their iPad2s in the Classroom

      Farm5 Flickr image

      A few of our students own and use iPads for school.  How are they using them? I asked two of our Freshmen to share their experiences thus far with their iPads.

      This is how my conversation with Jasmine and Ridge (interviewed separately) went:

      How long have you had your iPad2?
      J: I got my iPad at the end of 8th grade.
      R: A year.
      Why did you get an iPad and how has your perspective changed now that you've had it for a while?
      J: I had wanted one to use for flash cards, quick notes, and the calendar. Now that I've had the iPad for a year, I learned about Twitter and Flipboard so I'm using those two apps regularly to keep up with updates and news. ... I'm interested in math, technology, and education, but I've also come to realize that I need a little balance in my life so I added Temple Run and Fruit Ninja to my iPad desktop. ... I didn't know about Facetime and Skype - I will use those to contact friends and family. ... Also, I like to borrow books from the public library that I can download to my iPad.
      R: At first I used my iPad for lifestyle use - games, movies, email - for fun. Now I use it for school. These are some of the school apps I have on my iPad now:

      For Spanish class - translator - SayHi - .99 - I like that you can talk it into it. I usually use it to look up the meaning of a word.

      For English class - ereader - iBooks - free - The Color of Water - I didn't find that there were limitations for annotations.

      For English class - dictionary - Dictionary.com - free - I like it because it's easy to use. It's the iPad version of the website.
      How did you go about learning about what was on your iPad? Would you consider the iPad intuitive?
      J: I read the Quick Manual online. That took about 5 minutes. And I set up my password right away. I went through the settings - it was easy to do. Then I downloaded apps. I went to the App Store and looked for specific subject apps.

      R: My brother had an iPad, so I kinda knew what it was about. Also, I already had an iPhone, which is similar. Everything is pretty straightforward on the iPad.
      Do you take notes on the iPad? What app do you use? (This question led to a demonstration by both).
      J: I like using Evernote to take notes in every class.

      Quick Evernote demo
      R: I use Notability to take notes. I picked it out right away. I looked at the top 10 apps for Productivity in the App Store and chose Notability. I like the magnifying feature a lot.

      Quick Notability demo

      Ridge decided to get a stylus to use with Notability. His choice? Bamboo. "It's a nice weight and length. It's a little expensive, but worth it." Ridge keeps the stylus separately in his backpack and doesn't find that he needs to keep it with his iPad.

      Do you have any advice for others considering purchasing an iPad?
      J: I would definitely recommend it for flash card apps. ... At first, I uploaded bunches of apps, then I realized that I didn't use a lot of them. Now I have a few that I use regularly.

      R: I would recommend the iPad because it will lighten your load. I now have a small backpack, I don't lose any papers, and I have my work neatly organized.
      Both Jasmine and Ridge are very happy with their iPads. Ridge concludes:
      "I'm hooked on it. Life is so much easier for me now."
      ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊


      Teacher Tip Using Evernote: Skitch as a Teaching Tool

      This is my first try at sending a Google Reader find to my blog.

      Very simple!

      I'm happy that it's a tip from a teacher!

      Skitch as a Teaching Tool:


      Steve Lai teaches French as a second language to 6-10 year old students at Richmond Christian School. In addition to his day job, he teaches children how to play the guitar. Steve shares how he uses Skitch in the classroom to create colorful, interactive visuals that help students learn.

      A different way to teach French

      I love the simplicity of Skitch — using it with my students takes only a matter of seconds, and there are unlimited possibilities. 
      Skitch has allowed me to teach French in an engaging and interactive way that resonates with my young students.
      1. I snap pictures or take a screenshot of anything that visually displays a word or category of words, like clothing, colors, and diagrams of the body.
      2. I hook up my iPad to a projector.
      3. I use Skitch to annotate the image. My students are able to chime in and respond to what’s happening on the screen; for example, I’ll color in a pair of pants, then draw an arrow and prompt the students to name the color. Or, I’ll ask a student to come up and color another part of the image. I sometimes take pictures of (willing) faculty members and call on students to draw silly clothes or hairstyles on them. Skitch makes learning more fun, and turns it into a group activity that’s very engaging.
      Skitch makes technology accessible. My students are really excited about using iPads, and Skitch gives them a fun and easy way to interact with them. They are amazingly proficient, and Skitch is so intuitive that they can go home and play around with it on their own almost immediately.
      Skitch makes it easy to share. I can share all of the images we create in the classroom on my blog, so parents can see what their child has accomplished. Skitch then becomes not only a great teaching tool, but a great communication tool that can be used to keep parents updated with what’s going on in my classroom.
      Skitch for illustrating motion. For French language instruction, my school uses the Accelerated Integrated Method which pairs words with actions in way that’s similar to sign language. Skitch is great for helping kids practice and learn the movements. To do this, I take a picture of myself posing in the correct position, then use arrows and text to describe the motion.
      Skitch on the go. I work in a school where I switch classrooms throughout the day, and I have a cart of materials that I take with me between each class. With Skitch on my iPad, I can just snap photos so I don’t have to lug around a bunch of coloring books or other papers on my cart. All I need is my iPad and an HDMI cord/adapter!

      Skitch for showing complex chords to my guitar students

      In addition to teaching French, I’m also an avid guitar player and give lessons to students on the weekends and evenings. Before Skitch, I used to take pictures of my fingers’ positions for different chords and then just list them in order for my students to help them memorize the placement. Now I use Skitch to quickly label and share — it’s so much easier to keep track of what chord I’m trying to show them. I simply snap a photo of my fingers in the correct position, use Skitch’s text or drawing tool to label it, and share it via email. Marking up chords in Skitch is a cinch and it really helps students visualize where they need to place their fingers to get the right sound.
      Do you use Skitch as a teaching tool? Leave your tips in the comments below!

      Takeways from Google's First EdTech EducationOnAir Conference at our School

      Considering 14 busy people dropped in to the conference during the day and I would have been happy with 5, I declare the first Google EdTech Conference a success for us!

      It was fantastic to have fellow tech staffer Louis Turbeville there to help throughout the day!

      Louis' thoughts about the day:
      "I thought it was a very unique concept and very convenient for busy people. Anytime you can share or gather information from others on how they do things, or use tools, is a great learning opportunity. The use of technology to bring together people from all over the world was fun to be a part of."
      Yes, there were technical difficulties. Our connection dropped a few times. Would things have worked better in Chrome (we used Firefox)? Hindsight is 20-20. (A blog post and informational sheet are in the works on how we can manage/share bandwidth at our school.)

      Here's an archive of the sessions we participated in, with links of the tools mentioned, for further study.

      My personal favorite was the session on Harnessing the Full Power of the Web, which I put at the center top of the LibGuide, with Digital Literacy and Citizenship running a close second.



      Check out the Google Air EdTech Conference, May 2!

      Curious about how Google+ and Google Hangouts work in an educational setting? So am I!

      This Wednesday, I'll be participating in (viewing) the first Google Air EdTech Conference via Google Hangouts. It's called


      I invite you to join me when you have a free moment, either in the Hawaiian Studies Room, or wherever you and your laptop want to be.

      I've made these choices, from the fantastic Conference Schedule:
      8:00am - 8:50am Becoming a Google Search Ninja - Hangout on Air live streamed on the Google+ page of Derrick Waddell (Session Twitter hashtag: #Searchtips)

      9:00am - 9:50am The World is Your Oyster: Using Google Docs and Google+ to Connect with the World - Hangout on Air livestreamed on the Google+ page of Wendy Gorton (Session Twitter hashtag: #g+edu)

      10:00am - 10:50am Digital Literacy & Citizenship - Hangout on Air streamed on the Google+ page of Google in Education Moderator: Kelly Mendoza of Common Sense Media (Session Twitter hashtag: #digcit)

      12:00pm - 12:50pm - Google Apps and Other Products in a Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) Environment - Hangout on Air livestreamed on the Google+ page of Juan De Luca (Session Twitter hashtag: #googlebyod)
      1:00pm - 1:50 pm - Harnessing the Full Power of the Web - Hangout on Air livestreamed on the Google+ page of James Sanders (Session Twitter hashtag: #edu1:1)
      Feel free to stop by any time, and if you'd like help setting up your own viewing of the other great sessions being offered (no registration required), give me a shout.


      6 FREE, User-Friendly Online Quiz Programs I Recommend to our Faculty

      Question was asked of me yesterday about FREE, user-frendly online quiz programs, comparable to Class Marker, and these are the six I recommended checking out:






      Hot Potatoes

      Good luck researching!


      Going Paperless: How to Share and Assess Assignments using Google Docs

      Sophomore history teacher Father Andrew and I recently assigned an Annotated Bibliography as part of a larger research project. I just finished grading the papers shared documents.

      Two things were new: (1) it was the first time I required students to use EasyBib (we have a paid subscription) and (2) the assignment was 100% paperless.

      The EasyBib part went smoothly. Our students navigated through the process with ease, for the most part.

      There were some kinks to work out with going paperless, and out of the unkinking process came this screencast, which explains how sharing and grading in Google Docs can work. Google Docs is simple, quick, and effective.

      I learned a lot from this assignment and I feel better prepared for the next project!

      Come the end of spring break, Mrs. Middleton's U. S. History students will be the next group to go paperless using Google Docs -- at least for the Annotated Bibliography portion of their project.

      I hope more teachers will consider paperless grading!


      How will we work, play, and communicate? Here's Corning's fantastical vision

      I discovered and shared this fantastical video a year ago, and my friends were just as amazed as I was! It's Corning's vision for the future.

      One year and 17 million+ hits later, I went back to look for the video to show to a student, and I was pleasantly surprised at what Corning came up with next (just a couple of weeks ago in fact, and already with almost a million hits).

      Corning Hopes For Another Viral Hit With Sequel To Its 'A Day Made Of Glass' Video - Forbes details the story behind the two videos.(The first video was meant only for Corning investors' eyes.)

      Portraying Corning's futuristic view with beautiful, translucent images, dream-like mood music and only a few words makes Corning's vision seem very dreamy and far-fetched, doesn't it?

      Add the story behind the videos in "The Story Behind Corning's Vision" below, and suddenly the future seems within very close reach, and not fantastical at all.

      I for one am excited about the possibilities!