Monday, December 31, 2007

Teaching 'N Technology Ning Network

I'm testing out Ning Network to see how it can be used in the classroom or with professional development. There is a RSS for this blog, but make sure you check out the forum at the bottom of the middle section.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Start Your Own Webcast with

Ever dreamed of having your own TV show? Well with, a webcam, microphone and a few clicks that dream can quickly become reality.

Even if you don't dream of becoming a web tv star, Ustream is a great tool. I've used it for recording staff development sessions. Folks can watch the session from their classroom and send questions via the chat room or view the archived copy that Ustream stores for you.

Now, I hate to see myself on camera so I had to find a way to conduct software training without being seen. I tried videotaping the screen using my webcam during the first session, but it didn't work that well. I needed something to broadcast my desktop through Ustream. I poked around the Ustream site a little and found some of their recommended tools. The one I've started using is WebcamMax.

WebcamMax works with Ustream as well as other programs like AIM and Skype. With this software, you can broadcast your desktop, enable PIP, and add over 1800 special effects to the broadcast image. It's very simple to use and costs less than $30.

Homework for tonight...check out and download the free trial version of WebcamMax.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Revisiting Yugma

While on a tech support call this morning, I started a Yugma session and had the teacher login to the session so I could help with the problem. It wasn't a major issue that warranted me driving 10 miles to the school, but I did need to see what she saw in order to fix it. I gave her control and watched as she tried to do what she needed to do and was able to remedy the issue right away.

Tools like this save lots of time and $$ if we only know they exist. Before my discovering Yugma I would have spent a few frustrating minutes on the phone while the person tried to explain what was happening. Or they would have grown frustrated with me as I tried to explain what to do without seeing exactly what they were doing. With just a few clicks we're connected and can remedy simple distress calls in no time.

I haven't played with Yugma that much in a while. I had basically just used it for demos and tech support, so I was surprised by the features I found in the free version.

1) People can view your desktop as well as allowing you to pass the presentation along to another person so you can view their computer. The paid version allows them to take over your desktop.

2) There is a public and private chat.

3) My favorite feature is the annotation tool. You can draw lines, circle, highlight and write on the computer screen. You can set up a whiteboard for notes, take a snapshot of the screen and even record what you're doing.

All in all it's a nifty little site that can be a tremendous help. If you haven't seen Yugma in action, then check out this 3 minute video.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Are You a Twit(terer)?

Ok, I have to confess that I've had a Twitter account for several months and until recently had only used it once to test it. I decided to pay more attention to it a little over a week ago when a friend of mine was raving about stuff she'd learned.

It was cumbersome to me to have to keep going back to the web page to see what had been posted. I just didn't get it. Then I started noticing the info at the end of some of the posts like "from Snitter", "from Twitterific", etc. So, I launched an investigation. (Technically, I picked one of the first things I saw and decided to try it out.) I found a Firefox extension called Twitbin. Every time I open my browser I can log in to see my twits. I can set it up to see all the "twits in the world" (you just have to love a phrase like that) or just the tweets from the folks in my network.

With that one act, I have discovered the magic of Twitter!

I have at my fingertips a network filled with some of the greatest brains in Educational Technology, some that are famous and some that should be! I can post a question and get assistance. I can see the interesting things they've discovered that day and share things that I find that day.

My network has doubled since last week. I went through the friend list of some of my friends and picked out names that I've been hearing through EdTech Talk and started following them. Some of them, in turn, now follow my tweets. I've even gained a follower or two that has evidently picked my name out of someone's list.

Twitter is such a powerful tool!

I live in a very rural area. I'm lucky to have a few very knowledgeable counterparts close by. But with Twitter, I have an ever increasing network of folks that I learn from and can share info with. I am no longer limited by my location.

The world truly is flat!

If you haven't tried Twitter then, you must go sign up. You can add misstizzy to your network. Just come on board and be a "Twit" like the rest of us!

Monday, December 10, 2007

Coolest Little Laptop Around

Hubby just got an Asus EEE Surf-Galaxy pc. It is one slick little unit! It has 512RAM and 4GB flash hard drive, 3 USB ports, network adapter, card reader, built in speakers, wireless for both b & g, and webcam. With the webcam it runs $399, without it the cost is $350.

To the delight of some and fears of others, it runs completely on open source software, but can run Windows XP. Open Office for productivity, The Tux Apps for fun, several games for learning and just plain fun.

Check out their website for complete details.

The only downside to this that I could find, really is only something that goes with the territory. Because of the size of the unit, the keys are small and seem awkwardly placed, but it doesn't take long to adjust. The other thing I discovered in the built in Dictionary is the "creative" language scattered throughout. If students were going to use it on a regular basis, I may find another tool to use in its place.

Other than that, it's truly an awesome little machine for the cost!

Friday, December 07, 2007


Hubby just bought a new Asus EEE Surf- Galaxy PC. It should be in early next week. I can't wait!
It's 7" and weighs less than 2 pounds. It has a built in web cam and microphone and utilizes a wide array of open source apps. Best of all, it was under $400.

Check out the link to see the demo and full specs. It looks like a slick little machine. I'll post more once it arrives!

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Hi all! I'm testing...

Hi all! I'm testing from my telephone. Jott allows you to post messages to your blog through a phone call, it's pretty cool. listen

Powered by Jott


Calling on educators! Have you registered for NCAECT '08? That's the North Carolina Association for Educational Communications and Technology Conference being held March 12-14, 2008 at the Embassy Suites in Concord, NC. The theme this year is "Shift Happens: Gear Up With Technology."

Registration info has been posted at If you're looking for $$, there are grants, awards, and scholarships available for members. Membership is included with conference registration.

Come join the fun!

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Welcome to Math Playground

Welcome to Math Playground

Great interactive Math site! Manipulatives, computation practice, worksheets, timed flash cards and much more.

Great for elementary math teachers.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Webcast Academy

Exciting news! I've just started my first week as in the webcast academy. I'm learning how to create a broadcast like the one found at

If you've never checked out this site, it's a must for teachers. There is great information regarding the use of technology in the classroom and the latest web 2.0 tools.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Looking for Extra $$ This Summer?

The summer months can mean a long "dry spell" for teachers with regards to receiving a paycheck. There are many summer jobs out there. I wanted to share a site that I've used to allow me to make money all during the year while working at home. It's a freelance site. There are many similar sites out there, but the process here has been outstanding.

The site is Professionals can set up a profile which allows them to bid on various projects posted by various employers. If an employer accepts your bid then the professional begins to work for the employer based upon the terms agreed upon.

Guru has an all inclusive site. There is a shared workspace, a feedback mechanism, a way to send invoices to the employer, and a place for payment. Guru does take a small percentage of what the employer pays the professional, but it is insignificant compared to the benefits of the service.

There is a basic service level that allows limited access and I would highly recommend using that to thoroughly go through the site. Once you are familiar with the site and are sure the process is for you then I would definitely recommend paying the membership fee.

I signed up for the guru paid membership. I ran across a project that requested a teacher's input and have started a lucrative relationship with a company that needed long term assistance. I've made my $$ back and then some.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Sifting Through NECC info

It's hard to believe that NECC has come and gone. My brain is still on overload from all that I saw. One of the things I've spent time doing since I returned was rummaging through the conference planner to find hand-outs from sessions I missed. For most all of the sessions, one can find links relating to the presentation. Even if you were unable to physically attend the conference there is still much to learn.

Pay close attention to Technorati

for blog updates.

Check out SlideShare
for online presentations. You can either mark them as favorites or download them where possible.

iTunes is hosting the NECC podcasts.

As I'm sifting through all of the info I've gathered, my next step is to determine how to use it with my staff. So much to little time.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


Arrived Sunday in Atlanta - finally- after an endless traffic backup on I-20 on the way in. It wasn't exactly endless, but when you're anxious to get somewhere 45 minutes seems like days!

There has been lots to see and do here, the thing that has been most disheartening is that the things I wanted to see and do the most have been closed out. I was most interested in the Web 2.0/ School 2.0 info. Evidently, so is everyone else. I hope folks who did get into those sessions do a good job blogging what they saw so the rest of us can get the info.

I've learned a lot in the vendor area. For my own kids, the maker of POKEMON has created a Pokemon learning league. It's designed to be similar to the cartoon show. I can see my 8 year old going nuts over this.

The other thing I was able to try was the Samsung Ultramobile PC. I had wanted to see this in action. It's just way tooooooooo coooooooollllll! It has a 7 inch screen a 40 or 60 GB hard drive and can run any application that a "normal" pc can run. It has a thumb QWERTY keyboard on either side of the screen and a built in mouse. It also has touch screen capabilities. I'm putting that on my wish list for Santa this year!

Monday, June 18, 2007

NECC - The Countdown Is On!!!

The National Educational Computing Conference is taking place in Atlanta beginning June 24th. There is an awesome group of speakers and presenters!

This year's conference will not only have great things to offer attendees, but tons of "stuff" for folks who could not attend.

NECC, eSchoolNews, and EduBloggers will have attendees blogging about their conference experience. Take a peek at the NECC program for session tags that can be used to search for posts to blogs or Flickr.

There will be podcasts about the conference. I know the folks at will be hosting webcasts on site.

Check the NECC site periodically during or after the conference for updates on podcasts, SlideShare presentations and session handouts.


With all of the sites focused on collaboration and document sharing it is only natural for a site like SlideShare to become a terrific tool.

SlideShare is currently a free site that allows users to house and share presentations. There is a maximum file size of 30 MB. It supports the following formats: Powerpoint, OpenOffice, Keynote and PDF presentations.

SlideShare currently does not allow shows to be private or to be restricted to certain users. Anything posted can be viewed by anyone. Viewers can add the site to favorites, give a slide show a zing and post comments.

Presentations found on SlideShare can be embeded into a blog or website using the code they provide. Creators may choose to allow others to use their slides by including the source code for downloading purposes.

As with most of the tools classified as Web 2.0, SlideShare features online communities and groups.

Best of all, there are some great presentations out there that are fun to view and just might teach you a thing or two.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Pageflakes - Get it Together

Ever been to a website or a blog and seen Pageflakes listed in the subscribe section and wondered what it was?

Pageflakes is my favorite RSS aggregator. It combines feeds from blogs, DEL.ICIO.US, podcasts, and more.

Pageflakes makes the feeds look as if you are reading a newspaper. Users can set up tabs for each topic of interest. You can view headlines or exerts from blogs. So instead of scrolling through a massive list of feeds on some of the other popular aggregators you can flip through "pages" of content organized by topic. Setup is quick and easy.

Their newest feature is "Pagecasts". This allows users to make their pages public for others to view or for viewing by private groups.

If you're looking for one place to house all of your feeds then Pageflakes may be the one for you1

Yugma : Free Web Conferencing, Online Meetings, Web Collaboration Service, Teleconferencing Solutions, Presentation Software: home

Yugma : Free Web Conferencing, Online Meetings, Web Collaboration Service, Teleconferencing Solutions, Presentation Software: home

Yugma is one of my favorite collaboration tools. It is very simple to set up a session that allows you to show your desktop to others, share control and switch to view the desktop of the other participants. A live chat can be used for discussion purposes. Better yet, pair it with Skype for a live phone conference.

Monday, June 11, 2007

ThinkFree Online beta

ThinkFree Online beta

Looking for free software similar to the Office suite. Check out ThinkFree.

ThinkFree is an online word processor, spreadsheet and presentation tool that works similarly to the Office products.

With your free account, you receive 1GB of storage. The tool allows online collaboration as well.

The tool is completely online. I've only tried it with a high speed connection and am curious to see how it performs using a dial-up connection. Once school is back in session, I want to try it with a group in a lab setting to see if things are slower.

Overall, definitely worth a look.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Engrade Online Gradebook

Engrade Online Gradebook

I wish I had known about this at the beginning of this school year! I was surprised to find out that this was a free tool.

Set up is easy. You create your class, add students, set up your grading scale and you're ready to add assignments and grades. It took just a few minutes to have it up and running.

Not only does it calculate grades, it also allows the printing and emailing of progress reports, creates an assignment calendar, reports attendance. There is even a feature that allows parent and student access as well as access for principals and administrators.

If you're in need of a new gradebook, this is definitely worth a try.
After all, what do you have to lose? It's free!

Online Office Tools, Productivity Applications and more

Online Office Tools, Productivity Applications and more

I found this site when a teacher wanted to create an online form. It needed to be online quickly. It only took a few minutes to have a live form on the web complete with a place on Zoho to view the submitted data.

Zoho is an online productivity "suite". Features included:
Writer - word processor
Sheet- spreadsheet
Show - presentation tool
Notebook - (beta) - seems similar to Google Notebook
Projects - project management - free for 1 project
Creator - online form creator - I love this one!
Planner - organizer
Chat - unique way to share info

I've played around a little with some of the other tools, but have really used the Creator tool. If the other tools are even half as easy to use, this is definitely a winner!

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Newsletter builder

Newsletter builder

This tool allows your to create your own newsletter without dealing with fussy templates found in various word processing software. Registration is free.

Click on Create to start your newsletter.
Drag and Drop your template. (There are 92)
Upload pictures to use. Drag and Drop them into place.
Add your text.

You can print the newsletter, save it to work on at another time or publish it online either privately or publicly.

The free version only allows 10 newsletters to be published at a time.

This is great for creating a classroom newsletter. It's very simple to use!

Online Spreadsheets - EditGrid

Online Spreadsheets - EditGrid

There are several different types of online spreadsheet sites available, but I like the features I've seen so far in EditGrid. The spreadsheet allows groups to collaborate on a worksheet. There are also several templates available that have been created by various users.

Definitely worth a look!

Monday, June 04, 2007

ReadWriteThink Printing Press

This is a cool tool that helps students create and print brochures, newspapers, flyers, and booklets.

Click on the link for the desired publication. Give the publication a name.
Click roll the presses.
Choose a layout.
A brief tutorial will appear to show students how to create their publication.
Click in the text boxes to add text.
You can add pages if necessary.
Click finish when done.
Select the appropriate printing option.

Two downfalls...
1. Will not allow students to place pictures on the page while online. Pictures have to literally be pasted to the final project.

2. Work would need to be done in one sitting or a page at a time. There doesn't seem to be a way to save the work.