Sunday, February 28, 2010

Digital Story-Telling

After training our staff in Photo-Story (which is a free download if you don't have on your computer at home) this past fall, it is amazing the number of teams that have used the digital story-telling tool in their "arsenol of weapons" to keep students interested in learning.  I am proud of our teachers for trying it, and I think the results have been pretty amazing.  There are many rationales for using these tools in your class.

Here are some ideas for using in the classroom:

I will try and continue to add resources, but I saw this comprehensive one in a tweet from Emory Maiden:

Our own Department of Technology has blogged about Digital Story-telling/Podcasting as well:

Here is a link to a google doc folder containing several digital story-telling related documents:

What to buy INSTEAD of an Interactive White Board...

I read an interesting blog from a teacher in Raleigh who sent out a twitter about what he'd like to buy INSTEAD of an Interactive White Board (Smart Board/Active Board, etc.)

It's a great piece, and it does make you think about not putting "all your technology eggs in one basket"!  I think we have resisted doing that at our school, and sometimes it seems to our detriment, but then again maybe not?  I personally think we should look at some of the things my friend from Raleigh suggests, and not just automatically go for the "classroom solution".

I understand that the WS/FCS school district's "classroom solution" for Middle School's does NOT include an Interactive WhiteBoard for Middle and High Schools, but instead opts for LCD TV's with airliners attached to a fully equiped technology station with a document camera and speaker/sound system.  I am still on the fence as to whether or not these TV's are better than projectors, but I see the benefits of not mounting projectors whose bulbs go out frequently and cost a fortune!

We will see if a bond ends up on the ballot in November, and if the school system asks for these classroom solutions for all classrooms in WS/FCS...

But,  I like the way this guy from Raleigh thinks...I think we need more "stationed" type activities going on in classrooms that are student centered.  He is right; an interactive white board does not necessarily give you that student centered learning approach!

Just some things to consider and think about :)

Friday, February 26, 2010

What is Scratch?

At dinner last night I was talking with Erin Mulhern, who is a technology facilitator at Old Richomnd elementary school here in Winston-Salem.  She was telling me how the students at her school LOVE a program called SCRATCH.

Scratch is a programming language that makes it easy to create your own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art -- and share your creations on the web.

As young people create and share Scratch projects, they learn important mathematical and computational ideas, while also learning to think creatively, reason systematically, and work collaboratively.

Erin starts out with a tutorial site:

And, from there the students pick it up like "wildfire"...

It's available for download on our computers here at school, and I look forward to showing some teachers who might give it a try!

Here are a few resources with some ideas about SCRATCH:

Information from educators using Scratch:

News stories about scratch:

WS/FCS In Touch blog about Scratch:

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Language Arts Links

Writing to Increase Writing Skills in Classroom at #NCTIES good stuff from April Patterson!

Cool way to look up words:

Online Audio Books  (maybe geared more toward the lower grades, but a good inventory of poems, and different genres)

Google Lit Trips: This site is an experiment in teaching great literature in a different way...

Language Arts Games:

Its primary goal is to make it easy for student researchers to cite their information sources

Current Events Articles to read:

Comprehensive ideas for using google docs/other digital writing tools with your classes:

NCWISE Frequently asked questions or "quirks"

Below are some frequently asked questions about NCWISE.  Also,  you might first want to look through the manual from NCWISE for the Teacher assistant Module.

First of all,  this document is a quick reference guide put out from the people at NCWISE, and covers many common questions and issues.
(I recommend that you use a password you commonly use such as your e-mail password and then add four numbers on to the end, such as the month and year that the current quarter starts...e.g. pluto0210--that way you always know what month and date the quarter started and hopefully you always will remember your regularly used password.  (Here are directions for changing your password)

E-mailing an individual student's progress report

In terms of gradebook set-up at the start of the Year, I often get the question of which format is better for setting up your gradebook:
In terms of setting up your grading method or Preps. I will go on record that I tend to favor the Total Points    set up over percentages for the following reasons:
1)  In the past our district NCWISE coordinator  recommended the   Total points  method of grade calculation over percentages because of several known "issues" with NCWISE in calculating grades when percentage setup is done. 
2) If you use percentages and don't use one of the categories (such as a project worth 25%) it dramatically "skews" the students grade at that point in the quarter--such as at progress report time.
3) The grade calculation using Total points is vastly easier to explain to parents:  The Student's grade equals the total points earned divided by the total points possible .  Calculating the grade when the percentage method is used requires one to sit down with pen and paper or spreadsheet (and if one of the categories is not used--it's  difficult to explain or justify the grade)
4)  With total points , all assignments can be worth 100 points, but you can weight individual assessments more than one time. For example, a particular test can be weighted 4 times or worth a total of 400 points to give it more "weight". (you must notify parents that you are doing this)  This way you have more control as to the overall "weight" of assignments, and can essentially lower the weight at your discretion depending on student performance. 

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Science Links I have shared recently

The following are some science related links that I found on Twitter, and through the DOT's In-Touch Blog and shared with our TJMS science teachers:

Science blogging:

Tour Ocean "HOPE" spots on Google Earth:
Explore Outter Space with Social Media:
I constantly see references to the Science section of the NY Times on twitter--lots of good stuff:
Science Storybooks:
Here is a link to the PBS site on tectonic activities: #
This site also has little animations of all the different earthquake fault types:
Science behind the Olympics:
Ocean Habitats.
Earthquake resources:
Nasa's on-line digital Media:
Science Videos and Games from Neok12
Make use of weather resources on Google Earth

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Office Scan Update


Recently,  I had a school computer in which Office Scan was not present and had to be manually started so I thought I would share the instructions in case someone came across this again. Office Scan is not red but looks like the squiggly line in the middle is broken.

Right Click on My Computer
and click on MANAGE
Find on OFFICESCAN NT LISTENER - right click on it
Click on START.

Office Scan Re-install:

To reinstall go to: https:\\\officescan. No need for a password, click on the link below the password field under where it reads:

For Networked Computers:

Comment Settings on Blogs

Blogs are wonderful things but the comments can be a dangerous issue. We have had an incident already at school with students making inappropriate comments on someone's blog. But don't fear!! You have full control over the comments, you just have to set it up right.

Here's how to moderate your comments on blogspot:

Go into edit your blog as normal.

At the top you will see a
Settings tab--click on it

Then, under the settings tab you will see a tab for
comments--click on it

You can choose who can comment,

but more importantly, be sure to scroll down and under the section called:

"comment moderation"
choose ALWAYS,
and then put in the e-mail address that you want those comment notifications to go.

Then, whenever a comment is made, you will have full control to either publish or DENY the comment(s) before it ever is seen on your blog !!

Friday, February 19, 2010

SmartBoard or Interactive White Board Resources:

Smart Boards are designed to be used with the interactive software called Notebook software.  The following links provide fantastic resources for using the Smartboard and/or the smartboard notebook software.

Smart Education Resources

To Download the latest Smartboard software (at home for example), go to:
Also, if you already have Smartboard notebook software on your computer, you can update to the latest version, by clicking on HELP from the menu, and choosing Check for Updates...Otherwise you will need an activation code, which you can use this code from a SMARTBOARD here at school:

Here is your product key:


Smartboard Grant Opportunities

Comprehensive list of Smartboard Resources

"Live Binder" of SmartBoard Manipulatives

SmartBoard Lesson Activities

Smart Exchange--Browse by Subject

Smart Board Sharing Wiki

I have also uploaded several interactive "games" that are designed to be used with the Smart Board but some could also be used with just a projector.  I have those loaded on the S drive:


Have Fun!!

Student Computer Log-in Information

All Student accounts are reset each summer and server files purged. Students log on to "active directory" with their student number as their user name and their first time password will be 123456. Students will be prompted to change their password and they should change it to their last name. There is a generic student user account called user406 with the password tjms that will allow a student on the computer with limited access in the event their account is locked or they are brand new to the district. It basically allows for internet access.

I can reset locked student accounts through my MMC utility program.  E-mail me or call me to request a student be "unlocked".

"Bogen" Remote and Phone Issues

The following holds true in the event of a power outage or at night after the system automatically turns off:

Using your Bogen remote:

Point at your Bogen box (the little box with the red light under your TV)

Press the "TMRC PWR" button (middle lower left of your remote) until the red light comes on and stays on

Then, press the Main "PWR" button (upper right corner of your remote)

and the TV should come on

If for some reason that doesn't work also try pressing the "TV" button at the top to make sure your remote is activating the TV and not something else.


If you have signed up for a VCR channel in the media center, and you have problems with your remote, you can operate the VCR through the Bogen telephone.


E.G. 525 (if you were assigned channel 25)

 Listen for the sound of electronic beeps, and then…


You can rewind and fast forward while it’s playing to see the moving video

You might want to place this near your phone

In terms of the "bogen" phone--to make and Outside call
Dial 98, (wait a second),
then 9 followed by the number you are calling to get an outside line. To get through to a phone number that blocks phone calls from non-disclosed callers: Dial 98, *82, 9 then the number you are calling.

To call directly into a room through the intercom, dial * (thats a star) and the room number and just start talking: (Such as "Mr. Downs, are you there?") It saves interruption time during instruction.

Can't Get NCWISE or E-mail at home :(

Why can't I get my e-mail or NCWISE at home??

System requirements for NCWISE from the NC State site

Also, check out suggestions from Rockingham County Schools for troubleshooting problems with getting on NCWISE

Especially at the start of the school year, teachers often have trouble accessing their school e-mail or NCWISE at home. The most common problems are:

1) Pop up blockers. You must disable all pop up blockers for email or NCWISE to be able to "work". Pop up blockers may be de-activated from tool bars along the top of your screen or through tools/internet options/privacy tab.  You might also try simply removing the tool-bars from view by going to your menu and choosing: view and toolbars, and take the check off those bars    Or you can often remove tool bars though the add/remove programs in your control panel.  Things like yahoo & google tool bars will often block e-mail or NCWISE from loading.

2)  An excessive amount of spyware on your computer can sometimes cause your e-mail or NCWISE to perform poorly or not at all. Try installing and running free anti-spyware programs like Malwarebytes  , Windows Defender , or CC Cleaner and see if the situation improves.

3) If all else fails, try installing another browser on your computer such as Mozilla/Firefox . When nothing else has gotten e-mail or NCWISE to work, accessing  through another browser such as the Mozilla Browser has done the trick for me on several occassions.   The folks at DPI say that there is a web browser that has been successful with Vista and NCWISE. The browser is OPERA.

4) Sometimes browsers settings get changed by spyware or viruses. Try resetting your internet explorer settings by going to TOOLS / INTERNET OPTIONS / Advanced Tab / and choose RESET

5)  Finally, We were also provided with the direct URL to Microsoft should you find anyone getting an "iNotes DST/Time-Zone error" when there was an error assessing their e-mail.

SPAM--What to do at School?

In terms of SPAM or Junk mail, keep in mind "KREVS"

Do you KNOW the sender?
Have you RECEIVED an e-mail from this person before?
Did you EXPECT an e-mail from this person?
Did the e-mail pass the VIRUS stamp?
Have you used common SENSE? (Places like pen pal, financial companies, etc. will never e-mail you asking you for personal information) 

Something else to consider:   if you have not already done this, it might be time to try and sign up for a " disposable e-mail account"--something like a yahoo mail , or g-mail account that you can use for online sites that ask for your e-mail address. Never use your school e-mail for online shopping/games, etc. Think of your school e-mail as your home/cell phone number!  In general, there is not much we can do for you if you have given out your school e-mail address online.


Place to buy Computer Cords/Accessories

I sent this out earlier this year, but wanted to remind people again about Cable Wholesale...

Have you ever bought some electronic gadget that did not come with the appropriate cords?? If so, check out the cable wholesale website that Daniel Bryant is talking about below...The cables you find in the stores are a huge rip-off :(

From Dabiel Bryant:

"As he says below, my uncle who designs and builds lcd tvs for Hitachi recommends this site. Might be helpful for cables for school as well?"

From Daniel's uncle:

I just bought a cheap DVD player at Walmart. While I was there, I saw that Walmart sells HDMI cables for $45. This is a big rip off. In the quantity they buy, they probably pay less then $1.00 for these cables from China. That is over a 45 times markup.

For home, I buy them from:

You can buy a 3 ft HDMI cable from CableWholesale for $3.65 plus $2.09 for USPS shipping. CableWholesale has many different lengths. At Hitachi, I buy them from China for even much less (hundreds for $2.00 each or so).

CableWholesale is also a good source for almost any cable for low cost.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Buying a new computer?

I get this question often...What computer to buy?

I suggest you start by looking on the following website:

Next, try Consumer reports on-line and see a list of their recommended models:
I have a log-in I could go in with you and check out some of their recommendations...
First you have to you need a new computer??
If your old computer is sluggish, it might be time for a new PC. First try these steps to beef up its performance: Delete programs you no longer use. If that isn't enough, and the computer is no more than four years old, add 1 GB of memory. Adding memory is an inexpensive and easy way to upgrade your computer.

If you're running out of space on the hard drive, burn your old music, photos, and videos onto a CD or DVD and delete them off your hard drive. To add a lot more storage space, consider adding a hard drive. (An external hard drive is one of the easiest computer upgrades that even a computer novice can perform.)

Once you've cleared all your old files and moved any files to an external hard drive, run the Disk Defragmenter that's bundled with Windows. That will help your hard drive access files faster.

If none of that works, and the computer is more than four years old, it's probably time to replace it. Be sure to recycle your old computer, but don't forget to wipe your hard drive first. We recommend Eraser, available free at, for Windows-based computers. Apple computers have an erase feature built in :)

Skype anyone?

Recently, Ms. Ebert's Team "skyped" with a class in Dubai.  It was a great experience, and if you are interested in setting up a web-conference with a class or instructor outside of our school, please let me know!  Later this school year, Ms Abrams and Ms. Hall's classes skyped with a group of students in Namibia, Africa.  Here are some resources:

Listing of educators/experts  to contact who are interested in SKYPE:

Making Classroom Connections through Skype from the Department of Technology

Reasons for Skyping in the classroom

50 Awesome ways to Use Skype in the classroom

"Read with me via Skype"--In Touch blog from WS/FCS

Skype Other Classrooms--How to connect

Have Virtual Authors visit your classroom through Skype

Skype Directory:


Resources for Skype

DeLea Payne's LiveBinder

WSFCS Wiki site for Skype

Evan Herreid's Prezi for Skype

Steven Anderson's Prezi for Skype

Wiki site for Skype

Skype site

Kelly Hines LiveBinders for Skype

Melissa Edwards LiveBinders for Skype

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

No Network Drives Available?

Have you ever logged into windows, and tried to save something to the Staff Share folder (on the S drive)  or the Media Files (on the K drive) only to find that those drives are not available?  Many times if you logoff and log back on that will take care of the problem.  But there is another solution.

If you go to START and then PROGRAMS, and Windows Applictions, and Choose REFRESH PRINTERS, Nine times out of ten it will "populate" all the other network drives and they will now be available for saving or finding files. 

The "refresh printers" trick  can be especially helpful when a student is logged-on but is out of space on his/her home directory (H) drive, and has no other option to save a file he or she has been working.  "Refreshing the printers" will then give them the chance to save to the K drive (which recall does not count against your allottment of server space, but don't forget it is not backed up :(

This is an SSO technical possible solution for Tech Facilitators/Something you can try on the machines getting the SSO error:

Go to Start --> Run and type in \\406dc01\installpoint$. Go into Applications --> Windows Scripting Host and run the Windows Scripting Host installer. After that, run the installer for the SSO client and select Repair. If you had previously uninstalled the client, just re-install it.

I've had some success with resolving scripting errors that way, and hopefully it will work

Blogging Workshop at Jefferson

It seems appropriate to use a blog to get information to you about our blog workshop at Jefferson:

First of all, don't forget to sign up for the workshop through the workshop registration system

"Blog Basics"
02/18/2010 - 07:45:00
Jefferson Middle --Thelma W Anderson

Then,  I have posted some basic resources on blogging and blogs on the staff shared drive in the following location:  S:\StaffShare\staff development\BLOGS.

The same links are here too :)

Teaching your students how to make comments on a blog

How to Search for Blogs on Blogger

Blogs in Plain English Video

Blogger Tour from Blog Spot

Blogger for Dummies

Ten Tips for Beginning Bloggers

 Reasons why students should use blogs

Inspiring examples of blogs in WS/FCS district

33 Ways to use blogs in a classroom setting

11 Other reasons to Blog in the classroom

Top Instructional Technology Blogs


Converting Power Point's/Movie Maker to DVD

I sometimes use a website called Author Stream to upload and Save large Power Point Presentations on-line where I can send out as link rather than attach huge files.  Slideshare is another useful site too.  Author stream makes it easy to download Power Points as video files that then can be converted to DVD as needed.  Here are some tutorials for doing that:

I have used this Tech Tip site to help too:

There have also been occasions when I wanted to convert Movie maker Files to DVD.  Atomic Learning which the school system as recently contracted a subscription for is now available to teachers:  School district user names are: your entire e-mail address:  password:  hint: "our school district".

Papa John's Movie Maker Site has helped me in the past too:

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I'm not getting email I'm sure I should be getting. Why not?

Frequently-Asked Question....

• Someone sends you an email

• You don't get it

• The sender doesn't get any indication that the mail wasn't delivered

"And it really is all about spam."

This turns out to be a fairly common problem, and not just for Hotmail. Yahoo and other email services seem to suffer the same problem from time to time.

It's the worst of all possible scenarios - you can't know what you didn't receive, and the sender has no indication that nothing was delivered. Neither of you realize that there's any problem until much, much later.
It's the most frustrating of all possible scenarios.

And to cover the stock recommendations, Here they are:

• Check your junk mail folder

• Clear any filters you have set that might automatically act on incoming email (have you perhaps inadvertently blocked mail from the sender?)

Add the sender's email address to your address book. On some email providers this acts as a kind of "whitelist", or at least increases the probability that email from that person will get delivered

• Make sure that the sender isn't sending something that "looks like" spam. (see more on SPAM below) For example if his email is talking about enlarging body parts, then it's highly likely to get filtered as SPAM. Sadly it doesn't have to be that blatant - legitimate messages about breast cancer, free offers, and more can often be confused with, and filtered as, SPAM

And it really is all about SPAM. Chances are that your email provider, (Our district in this case), is simply being overly aggressive about filtering spam. (And unfortunately in doing so, there are actually reasonable arguments for not sending a bounce message - many spammers actually rely on bounce messages to either legitimize an email address, or to actually carry their spam message.)

So, what can you really do?

I wish that email providers,  gave you more direct control over what is, and is not, Spam to you. Truly paying attention to your address book would go a long way to solving the issue, but as you can see that's not happening consistently.

So what's the one thing to do that I said your parent probably won't like?

Use a different email provider.

Tell the parent to stop using Hotmail or one of the other substandard free e-mail service providers

Find an email provider that is more responsive to its customers needs. G-Mail currently appears to be the best of the free services, but email reliability is also worth paying for, if that's what it takes.

Here’s a set of troubleshooting strategies you might try:

1. If you know your message wasn't caught or deleted by the spam filters, you must then contact the sender and get hard evidence the email actually was sent.

"They say they sent it," or "I should have received this," or "I'm not getting email from so-and-so" are NOT specific enough comments to be useful in troubleshooting missing email, so you'll want to get better data before making a support request.

This means you must obtain the following specific information FROM THE SENDER:

1. What email address was the missing mail sent from?

2. What email address was it sent to? Verify there wasn't a typo in the email address.

3. When was it sent? The exact date and time (including time zone) is required.

4. Was a bounce message received?

1. If so, request a copy of it (with full headers, if present) and forward it to:

2. Send a test message to the sender and have them reply to it.

1. If you receive their reply, you know you can receive from them, so have them resend the original message.

2. If you receive a bounce message from your test message, forward it with full headers to

3. If you don't receive a bounce and they don't receive your test email, forward a copy of your test message, including full headers to

Why is my mail to this person not getting through? MORE ON SPAM…

Spam is a real problem. With some people getting literally hundreds of unwanted messages per day a lot of internet service providers as well as some individuals are taking drastic steps to reduce the amount of junk mail in their inboxes.

The problem with many of these anti-spam measures is that they can block legitimate email as well. Assuming that your email to other places is working it's quite possible that that's what you're seeing.

Legitimate email typically gets erroneously blocked for a couple of reasons:

either the receiving system thinks your email looks too much like Spam


The receiving system thinks that you're sending it from an address that is or has been accused of being a spammer. Note that I said thinks, and it's the mistakes associated with that thinking that cause legitimate email to be mistaken for spam.

Spam content filters look at your email and assign points for various behaviours that are also associated with email that comes from a spammer. As soon as you collect too many points (where "too many" is up to the receiving system or the individual recipient), your email is flagged as spam. Some of the things to watch for in your email include:

• Sexually explicit terms or phrases such as "adults only", "over 18" and the like.

• Certain drugs, again typically linked to sexual performance or characteristics.

• SHOUTING. Spam filters will often consider shouting (or alternately SHOUTING or not) as sales copy.

• Fake, inconsistent, or illegal return addresses. Or a "reply-to" address that does not match the "from" address. (If you don't know how to even make that happen don't worry about it.)

• HTML email. Spam filters consider HTML email as having a higher likelihood of being spam than plain text email.

• Marketing terms. Because so much Spam is in fact direct sales marketing many filters now look for various words and phrases such as "satisfaction guaranteed", "free offer", or any of a host of sales wording and give that a higher probability of being Spam.

It's important to realize that no one is saying that any of those things in your email is bad or that any one of those things will cause your email to be blocked. The unfortunate reality of the situation is that the more your email looks like Spam, however innocuous, the more likely it is to be treated as Spam.

The other common problem is email being blocked because it came from an IP address that's been identified as somehow being related to spammers. If you're not getting your email bounced back to you with some indication this is both harder to detect and harder to resolve.

A quick test to make sure any email can get through is to use another provider - a friend's email account on a different service or even a free account (though many places filter those addresses as well). Assuming they get through, one resource is the Mail Abuse Prevention System (MAPS) site. This site offers both information and a tool to see if perhaps your IP address has been blacklisted.

Finally, if you find that your address has been blacklisted or you still can't determine what's going on it's time to contact your Internet Service Provider. They're the "owners" of your IP address and are responsible for keeping spammers off of it and keeping it working for you.

And if they're not interested it might be time for a new Internet Service Provider.

Microsoft Word Issue--"Show all"

Over the years, I have occassionally received an e-mail asking why "editing marks" sometimes show up in a word document.  Personally I like to see where all my marks are because it helps me edit and keep spacing consistent, etc.

However, for some people it drives them crazy, and they can't stand to see all the editing marks.  In order to remove the editing marks, you can simply click on the symbol like the picture above if you see it in your 
tool bar.  Otherwise,

You can display the show/hide button on your toolbar, by going to Tools/customize/command tab/click on View under categories/  and drag the Show All symbol (picture above) to your tool bar.  From then on, all you have to do is click on that show/hide button to either show editing marks or hide them :)

Monday, February 8, 2010

Places to find Instructional Videos On-Line

25 places to find instructional videos

Recently I have received a number of emails asking about places that offer free instructional videos.  Of Course our School system subsribes to a pay service called LEARN-360, and that should be your primary resource site for instructional videos. 

Still can't find what you are lookin for??  Maybe try on of the following 25 sites.  If one of these is blocked...below you will find my instructions again for "any video converter"-- if you run across a site that is blocked here at school and want to try and convert it at home and bring it to school for classroom use.

I saw this list Jane Knight's blog for educators:

5min Life Videopedia - instructional and how-to videos

Academic Earth - Thousands of video lectures from the world's top scholars - next generation TV network

Google Video - videos on all topics (blocked at school)

Graspr - The instructional video network

Howcast - How-to videos

iCue - A fun, innovative, learning environment built around video from the NBC News Archives

Instructables - Make, HowTo and DIY

iTunes U - Faculty are using iTunes U to distribute digital lessons to their students, e.g Stangord, Trinity College Dublin, etc.

John Locker - Documentaries and educational videos

MindBites - Video instructional marketplace and publishing platform (Some free)

MonkeySee - HowTo videos

neoK12 - free educational videos and lessons for K-12 school kids

Research Channel - 3,500 video titles available

SchoolTube - provides students and educators with a safe, world class, video sharing webiste

Sparkeo - a flexible video platform

SuTree - learn virtually everything by watching how to videos from all over the web.

TeacherTube - educational videos

TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) - a clearinghouse that offers free knowledge and inspiration from the world's most inspired thinkers, and also a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other.

TV Lesson - How to videos

Ustream - watch live broadcasts, explore networks ranging from music, talk shows, sports and politics and/or review our past broadcasts.

Video Jug - Life explained. On film.

Vimeo - a thriving community of people who love to make and share video

YouTube - videos on everything under the sun

YouTube EDU - aggregates all the videos from more than 100 institutions of higher education around the US.

So,  you found one that is blocked??

My favorite tool for getting around the Youtube blocking is to download and install a very easy program called: "ANY VIDEO CONVERTER" (I blogged about this before since it is also great for converting Flip videos to wmv's for easy use with movie maker: )

Anyway, here again is the link for the free download for Any Video Converter:

Once you download it, INSTALL IT on your computer.

Open the program

Choose FILE,

SET OUTPUT FOLDER (so you can keep track of where your converter files will go)

Under PROFILE (in the case of converting Youtube videos) you might set the Video Output to be WMV

Then, simply click on CONVERT

The converted file will end up in the folder you designated earlier. If at home, you can then easily save that converted file to a flash drive and bring into school to play with windows media player. Woo Hoo

One last site...

European Film Gems

Weather Tips for Teachers or Weather Geeks like me

As the technology teacher at school, (believe it or not) I get many questions about the weather (as if I know something about it!)  I always say:  "a meteorlogist is one of the only jobs where you can say you don't have any idea what's going to happen yet it that is your job!" 

Anyway,  the following are a few good weather links for helping decipher the craziness of winter weather.  In fact, just recently an encore teacher called wanting to know the weather for the next day since the next day's weather would determine how she writes today's lesson plan...

On the National Weather Service Site for Winston-Salem, there is a link under "additional forecasts and information" that says forecast discussion.

If you can "cut through" the technical jargon, you can get a really good idea of what the meteorologists think it will do.  Many times the official forecasts are "trimmed back" for general public consumption.  On the forecast discussion page, they give you hints of what really might happen!

Then of course, there are a myriad of school closing pages.
WXII posts the local winston closings fairly quickly. 
Also as a twitter member, I have been impressed with the quick notification I have received from following wsfcs on twitter.  I get the twitter update of school closings sometimes even before the Alert now phone call!

Finally, there are several other good weather resource sites for our area:

Winston-Salem 15 day forecast from Accu Weather

Regional Weather By County from NOAA

Mountain Weather for Boone and the High Country/Ray's Weather

Winston-Salem Traffic Cameras

If you are on Facebook,  try making friends with Frank Strait (Accu Weather) and Grant Gilmore (meteorologist on the local CBS affiliate in GSO)

Frank Strait also has a really good blog where he posts a daily video on his personalized forecast for the South East including what he really thinks will happen with storms :)

Enjoy :)

E-mailing Progress Reports from NCWISE for Individual Students

E-MAILING an Individual Student Progress Report from NCWISE:

Now that parents have access to parent assist, many schools are no longer printing out mass progress reports.  However, there maybe times that a parent will request that you e-mail an individual student progress report (Perhaps they get locked out of parent assist, need an email copy to send to a divorced parent,  etc.  Below are the steps for e-mailing an individual progress report.

It might also be helpful to discuss with students that they need to occassionally sit down with their parents and log-in to parent assist to discuss their grades & progress.


From the Main teacher assistant Screen,


Then Choose Progress Report

From the Progress Report set-up screen,

Choose the Correct Reporting Period.

Then, Click on the drop down arrow next to SELECT STUDENT,

Find the student you want and click on the name of that student.

Select any boxes you want (i.e. include weight, etc.)

Then, Click on the PRINTER ICON at the bottom

It will pull up ADOBE ACROBAT and you will see the progress report for just that student (be sure it only generated for that one student--scroll down to double check)


(up-top, directly to the left of the Printer icon)

It will prompt you with a SAVE COPY box.

You can then select a save location (such as your server drive or the desktop) and you can also rename the object/file--such as "Downs progress report date"

It will save to where ever you told it.

Then, from your e-mail,

Simply address an e-mail to that parent, and

attach a document by clicking on the little yellow folder next to "add attachments" in your e-mail

Then, navigate to where ever you saved the progress report,

Double click on that file you just named, to attach it, and then send the e-mail.  :)

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Need Technology Credits?

I have had two inquiries just this morning about people needing Technology Credits for their teaching certificates.  1) I recommend you try signing up for one of the On-line course offerred by our WS/FCS system.  I received this information from the department of technology about Technology Staff Development opportunities:

From DOT:
"I think the best way to  look for online courses is to check the frontpage of the WSFCS online site. . This is a fluid catalog listing. We will try to rotate the courses through every month to give teachers some variety. Some courses are taken down briefly so they can be altered and restored. There will be around 7 courses offered online every month and the best way to access the course listing for that month would be to look in the WSFCS staff development site."

You can also just go through the workshop registration system  and search by name and look for all the ones that are called "On-Line".  Face to face workshops will most likely be offerred as well, and you might check the Department of Technology's calendar website for a listing of those in the future (none on there as of this writing).

In terms of taking one of those on-line courses,  the following are a few points to consider:  
  • After you sign up for the on-line course, you will eventually get an e-mail from one of the Instructional technologists at central office.  
  • On-line courses generally start at the 1st of the month and last for that month long period.  I believe you can enroll at anytime during the month, but I would advise you to check early in the month. 
  • The instructor will send you an "enrollment key " for the course, at which point you will go to this link and follow the on-line directions: (It may tell you to watch a video and basically to sign up for a Moodle account)

Of course there are other places to get credits
Forsyth Tech on-line:
NW Resa:
Learn NC:
E-learning workshops (Beth Raines shared with us)

You may be required to get "prior approval", so be sure to check on that first :)

Finally, always check with your Tech Facilitator since he or she can make arrangements for in house staff development for technology credit too. 

Another way around You Tube being blocked

Another great find on Twitter!  I am constantly getting questions from teachers about videos that they find on You tube, and want to share with their classes.  I received a twitter about this site with several good suggestions for ideas of how to best use
 as a educational resource, but also some suggestions for getting around the blocking that many school districts do.

Like the teacher on this site advocates, I think it is worth considering:  "Rally your techies, school board or whoever to get connected to YouTube, and he provides the evidence to support its case as an educational essential tool"  Here's a good article about "School districts playing it too safe"

In the meantime, my favorite tool for getting around the Youtube blocking is to download and install a very easy program called: ANY VIDEO CONVERTER (I blogged about this before since it is also great for converting Flip videos to wmv's for easy use with movie maker: )

Anyway,  here again is the link for the free download for Any Video Converter:

Once you download it, INSTALL IT on your computer.

Open the program
Choose FILE,
SET OUTPUT FOLDER (so you can keep track of where your converter files will go)
Under PROFILE  (in the case of converting Youtube videos) you might set the Video Output to be WMV
Then, simply click on CONVERT
The converted file will end up in the folder you designated earlier.

If at home, you can then easily save that converted file to a flash drive and bring into school to play with windows media player.  Woo Hoo...Another similar converter can be found at:

In the past I had suggested zamzar as a decent Youtube video converter, and below are my old directions about Zam Zar.  It works but it comes with a bunch of pop-ups and also during the process you have to check your mail (sometimes it might get blocked) you have to return to the zamzar site where it tries to "trick" you into getting the paid for version.  So I really do recommend the free ANY VIDEO CONVERTER program instead.

Anyway,  if you don't want to have to install anything on your computer or can't for some reason, then you might still try using zamzar to convert a You tube video to a windows media player file and have it e-mailed to you. You can then access the file through your e-mail and download the video to your computer and play it that way.

Once on zamzar you select URL under step #1, paste the youtube video link into the box, Then, In step 2, select wmv under (convert to) / video formats and then type in your e-mail address in step 3. Later, you will receive an e-mail with a link back to zamzar where you can down load the You tube video as a windows media file.  Here is a site that explains more about zamzar:

30 alternatives to You-Tube:

Happy You Tubing!