Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Trailer from The Sundance Film Festival

A constant topic for Media Literacy class ... Miss Representation ... Women and the Media Also, don't forget to check out "Onslaught" by Dove and Greenpeace's version too - both are classics. Remember to check out "Evolution" by Dove. Type the titles into search above or on YouTube - You can't go wrong with the discussion these short clips will generate.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Speaking of Creativity ... SlideRocket

SlideRocket is a revolutionary new approach to business communications designed from the start to help you make great presentations that engage your audience and deliver tangible results.

The New Way To Present ...

Go Mobile: You never know when you might need to deliver an impromptu presentation. On a plane, on a train, "in a box, with a fox".

Social:Engage your social graph with SlideRocket's social and audience feedback features to turn your online presentation into a conversation.

Collaborative: Find new ways to work with your peers, your partners, your colleagues, your students ... tap into their collective consciousness.

Creativity and Collaboration

The power of innovation and imagination hold hands. Creativity is applied imagination. Click on the link ..

CC Prose ... Watch, Read, and Listen

CC Prose is dedicated to making classic literature accessible to people around the world. By combining high quality audio, large print text, synchronized closed captions, and machine translations in multiple languages; they provide something for everyone.

Learning to read? What better way than to follow along with an expert?

Learning English? They include English audio and text in all the videos, but also provide subtitles in over 50 languages (these are machine translations, so they are not perfect, but they can be just the ticket for trying to follow along).

Vision impaired? The large, High Definition (HD) text based video should be just what you need.
Hard of Hearing? They've got you covered with text embedded on the video and in subtitles.
Just enjoy audiobooks? Well, they have you covered there, too, on your Android phone, your iPad, your tablet, your computer, or other web-enabled device.

Check out the Video Books on this site or visit The CCProse YouTube Channel.

And do I need to say it? - Okay, it's all FREE

Without Teachers There Can Be No Revolution

Just a few quotes that I thought were inspiring ...

Sir Ken Robinson, “Human communities depend upon a diversity of talent, not a singular conception of ability. At the heart of the challenge is to reconstitute our sense of ability and intelligence.”

“We have built our education system on the fast-food model.”

“If you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come out with anything original.”

“People are opting out of education because it doesn’t feed their passion.”

“Human flourishing is not a mechanical process; it’s an organic process.”

“Moving from an industrial model to a more agricultural model – personal and more meaningful.”

HAD I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and the half light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet:
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams under your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.
W.B. Yeats (1865–1939)

Tread softly as we tread on the dreams of our kids.

Sir Ken Robinson: Bring on the learning revolution! Be Disenthralled!

Sir Ken Robinson: Bring on the learning revolution! Video on

This is Sir Ken's talk at TED in 2010 ... another good piece of passion, learning, and putting education and work in perspective. This is a talk about what makes you passionate, creative, and love what you do - EDUCATION is the key, but the system is being fixed or reformed ... but it needs to be more than an evolutionary process. Sir Ken talks about REVOLUTION ... "The dogmas of the quiet past are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty and we must rise with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves and then we shall save our country." - Abraham Lincoln, 1862. I ask you: Are we not enthralled with concepts, ideas, and beliefs that were applicable to and coped with circumstances of the past and quite frankly, really have no purpose or function in today's society?

TED ... Behind the Scenes with Ken Robinson

My teaching is stronger now than ever before - I now see with a clearer lens so much in what Sir Ken says and does ... my teaching with kids and with adults falls nicely into the realm of Sir Ken's views. The pedagogical aspect is so clear - the next step is that as a system we need a paradigm shift and a better understanding of what truly is important. How do we foster that which we all call "creativity". Computers are tools for creativity, but they are also dust collectors if used (or misused) a certain way. The teacher's role is so different these days - the teacher is the new deliverer of the message and how that message is delivered varies in every classroom. After spending so much on curriculum and standards ... why aren't teachers the focus?

Click on the link to go to the site or just watch below ... you'll be inspired to be passionate, follow your dreams, and do what you do without knowing what you're going to do. I use this as inspiration when I need to talk to a large group. Who's qualified to give such talks? Nobody, really. Remember, your students (children and adult) "spread their dreams at your feet ... tread lightly". We are living in changing times ... revolutionary, not evolutionary!

Behind the TEDTalk 2010 from m ss ng p eces on Vimeo.

Passion ... What floats your boat?

Here's an article by Sir Ken ...
An original meaning of “passion” is to suffer or endure, as in the Passion of Christ. Its modern meanings have evolved to include love, attraction and pleasure. Finding our own element is also a journey from endurance to enjoyment. It’s a vital step, too, in moving from being one type of person to being the other type.

Creative Leadership ... Misconceptions and Afterthoughts

Here Robinson talks about making creativity a priority, his disdain for the term creative industries, leadership from the middle, and why in times of economic crisis creativity is an urgent imperative.

"Creativity is not some exotic, optional extra. It's a strategic issue," said Robinson while in Cannes where he was invited to speak about the necessity for creativity in innovation. "So what people are faced with is having to think very different about how to run organizations."

Creativity is NOT a priority with our education system ... right now, we're busy with standardized testing and comparing ourselves with other nations. How is our education system? How are our students doing? How is the money being spent. The optics of a school over-ride the fundamental necessities of the school. This direction and goals do not inspire creativity ... nor they do acknowledge, nor value creativity. In the words of Sir Ken, "If you want people to be literate, you have to get them passionate about reading and that's a creative job. To think of it as an afterthought or in conflict of the core purposes, is a misconception of what creativity is. Creative leaders get that. And if they don't they will."

Click on the title and read the whole article. A good read for administrators, superintendents, and teachers.

Personalized Learning

Learning from failures ... creativity is always something that comes out of failure. We must embrace failure, encourage failure, and build from failure. We should not pity failure, deny failure, nor should be degrade failure. If we encourage failure (not being afraid to fail), creativity is the offspring.

Taken from the article:

For Robinson, it’s simple: Teach students the way they learn.
“Personalized learning, to me, is the process of contouring learning to the individuals that you’re dealing with, recognizing that we all have different strengths and weaknesses, different interests [and] different ways of learning,” he said in a telephone interview Tuesday from his Los Angeles base.
“It isn’t that everyone has to learn different things, although eventually our interests will take us in different directions,” he continued. “But in terms of the things we want all people to learn ... personalized learning is finding the best ways to engage with people with different interests, passions and ways of thinking.”
It’s what good teachers have always known, he added. “That their job is not to teach subjects, but to teach students.”

The Global Search for Education: More Arts Please

Creating a paradigm of shared ideas that will shift our current path ... funding the arts should increase and not decrease. Funding technology should be guided with this in mind. Just buying hardware is not good enough. H.G. Wells once said, "Civilization is a race between education and catastrophe". Where are we in this? Are we using education to live in the world and make it a better place or are we heading towards catastrophe? Are we trying to fill the vessel or start a fire?

Click the link to read the article.

(Taken from the article)

"To lose our culture is to lose our memory."

More Leonardo da Vincis, more Martha Grahams, more Ludwig Van Beethovens, more Luciano Pavarottis, more Marlon Brandos, more Antoni Gaudis, more Coco Chanels, more Bob Dylans, more Zhang Xiaogangs, more William Shakespeares, more Julia Margaret Camerons, more Gustav Vigelands, more Andrew Lloyd Webbers, more Francis Ford Coppolas, more Meryl Streeps, more Alice In Wonderlands, more Anna Pavlovas, more Michael Jacksons, more Vincent van Goghs, more Harry Potters, more Phil Knights, more Rabindranath Tagores, more Pablo Picassos, more John Steinbecks... Please Sir - can we have some more?
Sir Ken Robinson, PhD, is one of the internationally recognized leaders in the development of education creativity and innovation. He has received numerous honorary degrees from universities, and many awards from cultural organizations and governments, all over the world. He was knighted in 2003 by Queen Elizabeth II for services to the Arts. He has advised governments in Europe, Asia and North America on the Arts. In 2005 he was named one of Time/Fortune/CNN's Principal Voices. His book, The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything, is a New York Times best seller and has been translated into 21 languages. His latest book is the 10th anniversary edition of his classic work on creativity and innovation, Out of Our Minds: Learning to be Creative.
Sir Ken, what do you believe an arts curriculum should look like in primary and secondary school education?

Understanding Creativity ... Ahh, to be creative!

With Sir Ken Robinson ...Understanding creativity in order for us to meet the extra-ordinary challenges of the 21st century. Administrators and teachers need to watch this ... creativity shoudl not be an afterthought - it should be the means to inspire, motivate, and move forward. Creativity is the passion that drives humanity.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Prezi ... The Photostory Experience

This is amazing! Knowing nothing about the product, I registered and watched the how-to videos and then watched again. In all, after about 1 hour of playing and watching, I made a simple presentation that rocks. As an educator, you can get a version of Prezi that is very good and your cost is ... $0.00
Awesome and easy to use. It blows PowerPoint out of the water and adds a twist to your presentations. Visit the website and have fun. Watch and be amazed at this one ...This is it ... The Photostory Prezi ... completed in 2 hours (That includes 45 minutes of watching how-to videos). I can only get better with this stuff.

The first video is a crude and rudimentary effort, but I like it. This prezi was recorded with a screen capture and converted to avi and saved to moviemaker as a wmv ... to show as a video (easiest way to display on blog for fast turn-around) ... crude, but you'll get the point of how Prezi works and how Photostory works.

The second video was done using screen capture software (screencast-o-matic, like above - saved as an avi file) and then using avc (any video converter), converted to wmv format. This is faster and a little better quality. I did both rather fast to get it done and saved in lowest quality ... you could save to highest quality - it just takes longer to download to blog ... but worth it!

Prezi ... Presentation Software

This is amazing! Knowing nothing about the product, I registered and watched the how-to videos and then watched again. In all, after about 1 hour of playing and watching, I made a simple presentation that rocks. As an educator, you can get a version of Prezi that is very good and your cost is ... $0.00
Awesome and easy to use. It blows PowerPoint out of the water and adds a twist to your presentations. Visit the website and have fun. Watch and be amazed at this one ... Later, I will show you mine. Keep pressing PLAY button or ... Press MORE button and select AUTO PLAY

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Top Ten Ways to Inspire Others to Be Their Best

Presented at TCDSB Leadership Strategy (Session 1): Thanks to Lori and Gary for bringing this up ... Sometimes we forget that the easiest and most natural thing to do is also the best thing to do. This list is compiled by Michael Angier. We all know people who are inspiring. But just how does one inspire others? Here are ten simple ways you can inspire people to be their best:

1. Be a good example. People watch what you do more than they listen to what you say. Be someone worth emulating.

2. Care about others. People don’t care about how much you know
until they know how much you care. Ask questions. Take a genuine
interest in people.

3. Encouragement. Everyone goes through tough times. When you
support people and encourage them through these times, you’ll be
inspiring them to see the best in themselves and in the situation.

4. Be inspired yourself. Look for people, ideas, environments and
knowledge that you find inspiring and motivating.

5. Share from your own experience. You have more to share than you
realize. Mine the rich experiences of your life and share your wisdom
from your unique point of view. You may be the only one who can
touch someone with your inspiring message.

6. Be vulnerable. Be willing to share your failures as well as your
successes. Others will relate to you. They’ll understand that they’re
not the only ones with challenges.

7. Tell stories. Facts tell and stories sell. They inspire, too. We learn
best from parables and we all need to develop our own inspiring

8. Be a good communicator. Increasing your ability to communicate
effectively is a critical element for you to inspire others. Watch how
you speak and what you say. Invest in your communication skills.

9. Challenge people. Many of us have had teachers who at times
seemed more like tormentors than mentors. They challenged us to do
our best, and we were better for it. Practice "carefrontation"—the
careful and caring confrontation of others.

10. Read. It may not follow that all readers are leaders, but certainly all
leaders are readers. Stay informed. Share what you read with others.
Tell people about books that have inspired you. Share the knowledge.

© Copyright Success Networks International

Changing Education Paradigms

This animate was adapted from a talk given at the RSA by Sir Ken Robinson, world-renowned education and creativity expert and recipient of the RSA's Benjamin Franklin award. Sir Ken's work is incredibly thought-provoking and makes you think about your role in the world of teaching and learning. I can't say enough about this man's lectures and talks - worth a million bucks. For more information on Sir Ken's work visit:

What Motivates You?

This RSAnimate video, adapted from Dan Pink's talk at the RSA, illustrates the hidden truths behind what really motivates us at home and in the workplace. A good watch and makes you think ... uhm!

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Yahoo Kids ... Explore

There is a parent link and a study zone link here too. This site is full of fun, interactive, and educational activities. Here are some of the things you can do on this site:
Play games
Watch music videos
Check out movies
Learn about science
Read jokes
Send ecards
Learn Internet Safety
Get homework help
Look up words
Ask questions
Explore an encyclopedia

Kidsclick ... The Freedom to Explore

KidsClick! is a web search site designed for kids by librarians - with kid-friendly results! Make your selection using key words or by category and then choose from various sites and choices.

International Society for Technology in Education

Need I say more? - Want the latest info on what's happening out there, check out ISTE.

Link to Learning (Secondary)

Just like the elementary link ... click on our link here and go to places for resources and websites to cater to secondary needs. Thanks to Frank for this link.

ReadPlease - Software that Lets Your Computer Talk

ReadPlease 2003 is a free version that never expires. ReadPlease Plus 2003 has a free trial period of 30-days after which you may purchase a registration code to unlock the software.

This download includes both versions of ReadPlease.Free Languages (Lernout & Hauspie Voices), (download here...) ReadPlease 2003 / ReadPlease Plus 2003 Trial (11MB).

This program reads any text you see on your screen - all purpose text-to-speech software.

Link to Learning (JK - 8)

Start here and see where you want to go ... select your subject, strand, concept, whatever ... it will guide you to places all around the world that will be beneficial and suitable to your needs. Enjoy!

A Plus Math

Welcome to! This web site was developed to help students improve their math skills interactively. Visit the game room and play exciting games like Matho and Hidden Picture...Test your math skills with the Flashcards! Try out the Math Word Find puzzle. Create and print your own set of flashcards online using the Flashcard Creator! See the Worksheets section, where you can print worksheets to practice offline. Try the Homework Helper to check your homework solutions. Find out What's New! MATHO now available for Android Phones and iPhone/iPod Touch.

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Good Ole Hockey Game ... A New Season of Hope Begins

Sing a long if you want ... it's the best game I can name.

Canada Vignettes ... Faces

I couldn't resist this one ... it's soooo neat. This is wonderful. The discussion and art lesson that can come from this short clip is incredible. I'm tempted to post all the vignettes, but then this would be nuts! Enjoy the many faces of Canada.

Canada Vignettes ... NFB on YouTube

Amazing short little videos ... Canadian heritage and good jumping points for greater and more in depth discussions. This is but one example of the many classics available on YouTube!

Gamestar Mechanic

This is a site that provides a total curriculum in game theory including design, authoring, and construction. Gamestar Mechanic will undeniably overwhelm the average educator and even the above-average computer user. Keep in mind that the theory of Game Star Mechanic is to allow the teacher to facilitate - that's right facilitate. It is the students that will become the experts and collaborate with each other while providing one another with needed help. The best way to learn about the site is for the teacher to spend lots of time checking out the various elements to the site, and then take your students there (maybe a select few) and let them check it out. If they're oooowing and wowing all the way, then it's a keeper and worthy of your time. Worth the trip? ... This is no easy-to-use or quickie website. This takes a lot of planning and preparation. It will be HARD WORK the first time you use it, but the results will be worth it. And, it gets easier the next time. The teacher learns the basics and essence of the finished product, but the kids learn a ton getting to the finished product. Highly recommended for older students (High School).

Math Snacks ... You'll Never Go Hungry

Smart and yummy educational animations, mini–games, and interactive tools that help mid-school learners better understand math concepts. This website is absolutely amazing - even the oldest students will enjoy the bits and bites this site gives. A truly fantastic site to watch, play, print out, write, and play some more. I can't say enough about this site. So, if you and your students have the appetite to dive for a deeper understanding of math, your classroom could be ready for a math snack. Learn more about the awesome development team behind Math Snacks and visit the download page for all that is available - FREE. Make sure you check out those great accompanying resources found in the PDF files for students and teachers. Most appropriate for Grades 5 and up. Bon appetit!

PBS ... Between the Lions

Sure we've done this one and not too long ago either - but a good thing needs to be seen twice or in this case 3 times. That's how good this site is. Nicely designed and easily navigated and enjoyed by the youngest of kids on their own. You start with the games that focus on a variety of educational areas, as do the video clips, which are taken from the popular show Between The Lions. Next, the stories—featuring everything from new books to old folktales to original and classics. This website does a splendid job of introducing kids (and reminding teachers) to a wide variety of storytelling methods and subject matter. Accompanying each story is a story-specific game to extend either the vocabulary or phonics found in the story itself. You can connect with Learn360 to download the video episodes to make connections. Exit stage left, stage right even!

LearningPlanet - Tons of Free Resources

Thank you to Michael for this site ... and here's his description, "Another free site with a multitude of resources. If you wish to pay a little you will discover even more resources, and without the banner ads. The site is set up for students to play and learn, and for teachers to discover resources to use in their lessons. There are four categories for students including pre-school through kindergarten, first through third, fourth through fifth, and seventh and up." I particularly liked playing "Word Mayhem" ... just like "Making Words" and fun to see if I could be Judy ... I can't believe she's a kid! I tried my best and still couldn't top her score of 5400!

Coolmath4kids ... Addictively Engaging

I think I owe thanks to Mario (and a couple of others) for this one ... According to Michael Gorman, "The site is an amusement park for math, especially designed for fun, fun, fun! All of those imporatnt math standards are presented in an engaging manner." Take some time to visit the site, but beware you won't leave to soon because the games are somewhat addictive and I know that I had to win or at least finish ... failure was not an option.


Do I need to say it again? - Yep, that's right ... this is another blast from the recent past. The Starfall website's method of instruction motivates children in an atmosphere of imagination and enthusiasm, provides opportunities for child-directed instruction, and supports English language learners and struggling readers learning alongside their peers. The website and companion printed materials are clear and effective tools to help the teacher implement proven methods. Still a wonderful site to use in the classroom for all kids and it pays to let them work in partners too!

GameGoo - Educational Games

You will soon find out that this game based site truly involves ”Learning That Sticks”. Once you get away from the urge of moving the mouse around the screen to see all the animations and hear all the sounds, you will begin to note its true value and worthiness. The easy to use interface lets you know what is for beginners, intermediates, and advanced! I am sure you will find some fun at this site from the people at Houghton Mifflin Company! Addictive fun is what's in store!

Funschool Kaboose

This site includes all the core subjects, plus it also includes sports and the fine arts! It provides games and activities for students in kindergarten through the sixth grade. Make sure you visit the teacher page for a complete listing of all this site has to offer. I promise that you will not walk away empty handed. Well worth your time to check out ... Yes, I know we've seen this site before too, but again I have to say it is worth putting up again.

PBS ... Still A Good Place for Kids

Another old time favourite that is worth revisiting ... it provides some even more awesome activities and games for elementary kids. You'll see puzzles, animals, and dinosaurs - all the things a kid would like to see! And what would a trip to PBS be without some of the superhero games featuring a few PBS characters. Very impressive visual and audio reinforcement that young children will enjoy has made these games even better today as compared to 2 years ago (last time we visited PBSKids). Best of all kids will be rewarded with prizes and rewards.

Using Websites ... FREE to learn with!

This website was mentioned a short time ago, but worth mentioning again ... FUNBRAIN ... is just that, Fun for your brain! And these "games" are not just for the little kids. This site includes fun engaging activities that even an eighth grader would like ... okay, I even had some fun on this site! Funbrain offers more than 100 fun, interactive games that develop skills in math, reading, and literacy. As an added attraction, kids can read a variety of popular books and comics on the site, including Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and Amelia Writes Again. There's even a link for downloadable games to take with you (i.e., camping) where there is no internet to speak of ... educational? - Yes ... fun?- You bet!

Primary Games - A Fun Place to Learn!

Kids games for Math, Science, Language Arts, Social Studies, and more! As the site proclaims… “A fun place to learn”. There are 15 different categories including subject areas, puzzles, downloads, virtual worlds, postcards, and even arcades. Perhaps that will get you to click the link and discover hundreds and hundreds of possibilities! Do you work with mobile devices? Then check out the mobile site for primary games! I know you will find an activity that will take your students beyond primary and into the 21st century of learning!

Educational Computer Games for Children is the leader in free educational kids computer games and activities for elementary students to learn on the web. All children's educational computer activities were created or approved by certified school teachers. All educational games are free and are modeled from primary grade lessons and enhanced to provide an interactive way for children to learn.

Grade level lessons incorporate areas such as math and language arts while introducing basic computer skills. Many of the kindergarten and first grade activities are equipped with sound to enhance understanding. Good for Grades JK-6.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

21st Century Education and Technology Wiki

This wiki devoted to free and inexpensive resources to support 21st century learning. You will find in depth resources and ideas that support this Blog. Visit it and welcome to the future!

Linoit … Digital Collaboration with Online Stickies

Linoit is a digital online tool that can serve educators and students in multiple ways. Imagine an electronic classroom display board. One that could leave the classroom and be visible on any computer screen anywhere. Now, dream about the ability to create it in minutes using multi-color post it notes, pictures, drawings, web links, and even videos. Better yet… kids can contribute by being given a URL… no log in needed! Best of all it is fast, easy to use, and dependable. This is just the beginning, because Linoit can be valuable as you plan and organize for your classroom and school needs.

*See more details on Michael Gorman's Blog.

TitanPad ... Digital Collaboration (Google Docs made Easy)

Welcome to a post that will inform you of an amazing collaboration tool for your 21st century classroom. This tool promises ease of use, no student log in, and limited teacher set up, allowing for just in time use. You will soon see that TitanPad is really just a rather simplistic Google Doc… without the fuss! All that is needed to use TitanPad is a visit to… and a press of a button called Create Public Pad. After this quick process, a new public pad is created for the user in TitanPad. The user then shares the URL of the created pad with others. Whatever is typed from wherever, is displayed on the page in real time. Yes… I did say “real time”! There is even a chat window! This is a great tool for those that need to bring up a quick collaboration tool on the fly.

*Another tool (and information) borrowed from Michael Gorman's blog. Great site to visit!

TodaysMeet ... Digital Collaboration

Introducing… a Web 2.0 site entitled TodaysMeet. TodaysMeet gives you and your students a somewhat isolated room where you can see only what you need to see. Plus, your audience doesn’t need to learn any new tools like hash tags, log-ins, nor do they need to create accounts. It really is quite easy to use. Once you enter the TodaysMeet site you are asked to submit a room name and the length of time you wish the room to stay active. This can vary between 2 hours and 1 year. It is best to give the room name a code that is not easily remembered. It is quite simple, but you may wish to read these facts from the site. Once the room is open you are given a unique web address which is usually followed by the room name you submitted. You then give the room name out to individuals (your students) and have them enter the room. Upon entering it will ask for a name. Remember that students should never give their full names or enter any personal or other revealing information in the chat room.
Excerpts from the blog of Michael Gorman . Thank you for this wonderful collaboration tool.

New and Improved

Now, you can share these posts, comment on what you see, and navigate more easily throughout the blog. Use the search tool in the top-left corner to find things you need.

If there's a worthy piece of information, website, program, tool or anything (that has to do with Teaching and Learning in the 21st Century) you want to share, send it to ... Please note your name for proper credit and if it's worthy (and appropriate) it will be on the blog.