Monday, June 28, 2010

It's Not About the Gadgets:Notes from ISTE 2010

I had a wonderful opportunity to deliver a presentation with Angela Maiers at ISTE 2010 today at 3:30.  This presentation, It's Not about the Gadgets: It's about the Possibilities, was our opportunity to discuss where technology is today and how we need to use it to expand the learning possibilities in our classrooms.

Angela introduced it and I followed up with an explanation of the Emerging Instructional Technologies course that I had redesigned and taught this summer.

I will explain more about this in the next few days, but I am making this posting to provide the links to the resources that I promised.
It's Not about the Gadgets: It about the Possibilities presentation on

Emerging Instructional Technologies - RWLD blog  - This is the website/blog that I described in the class.  There are a number of resources included.

If you have any questions, send me a note at

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Virtual Lives for Kids? - 8+ Virtual Worlds for Kids

I am teaching an awesome group of educators in my Emerging Instructional Technologies course here at the University of Northern Iowa this week. Yes, we have been meeting online for the past 6 weeks and are presently involved in a 5-day, 40-hour face-to-face class this week. Check out our blog.

Anywho, yesterday we spent 3 hours exploring Second Life. The students found it interesting but frustrating because they wouldn't be able to use it with their students (Yes, we discussed the Teen Grid.)

One of my students, Sara, was motivated to search for virtual worlds for kids.  She used a wonderful photo of cats and sought 9 virtual worlds.  Unfortunately, she only found 7 (quite a task at that) and is still looking for another 2 to complete her list.

I would suggest that she include the Penguin Club. It basically provides students with a place to hang out virtually.  It is free unless you want some additional options. The membership is $6/month.

Can you find some more virtual worlds for her?  If so, go to her site and add them as comments.
Go read about Sara's Sighs.

If you want some great reading, read our blogs. My students are practicing educators, IT administrators, office managers and even have a school custodian. They are an amazing group with wonderful visions of what can can be made possible in education through technology.


Monday, June 07, 2010

Improving School Communication through Google Apps

Google Apps is a set of applications that have become the technological backbone for many schools. Google Apps is a set of communication and collaboration tools that have been combined to provide a cohesive learning/collaborating environment. This environment has been created for both the K-12 and postsecondary levels.

Great thing about Google Apps for Education is that it is free.  Schools can put a great deal of their IT communication and collaboration tools in The Cloud. This means that Google has to worry about how to keep your system running 24/7.

Presently the tools include:
Communication Tools:
  • Gmail
  • Google Clendar
  • Google Talk
  • Google Wave
Collaboration Tools
  • Google Docs
  • Google Sites
  • Google Video for Education
  • Google Groups
This is just a quick posting to get the discussion going. Here are some resources you might want to use to learn more about it.

What about you?
Are you using Google Apps?  How long have you used it?  How has it changed your method of operations? What have been the advantages?  What about the disadvantages?  What other resources can you recommend?

Wednesday, June 02, 2010

Listen to my Blog - Odiogo Audiblizes Dr. Z Reflects

This Odiogo opportunity is snaZZy!!!

If you are too busy to read Dr. Z Reflects, now you can listen to it.  I was reading the latest posting in David Warlick's blog, 2 Cents Worth, when I noticed that there were buttons at the beginning of each posting that allowed me to listen to the posting instead of having to read it.  Not that I am lazy, but it was a wonder option.

Odiogo provides a audio podcast production system that will use sophisticated text-to-speech technologies to verbally read each of my postings into an MP3 file that can then be played through iTunes or some other music player system.  I am quite impressed with quality of the synthesized voice.
Now, as well as subscribing to the RSS feed for the textual version of Dr. Z Reflects, you will able to subscribe to an audio podcast RSS feed so that you can listen to a computer read my blog to you. 

Think of the opportunities that such a system. It isn't difficult to do. Here is a video on the Odiogo blog that shows how you can add it to your TypePad blog.  Adding it to Blogger is basically the same process.

Imagine what you can do with you can "mobilize your media" to make it available on your phone and iPod.

What do you think?  How do you see that you might use Odiogo to mobilize YOUR media?