Monday, August 14, 2006

News, Info and Tips!

New Center at IU. One of the most commonly cited criticisms of educational research is that teachers don't use it, that the connection between the university teacher education programs and the everyday K-12 classroom is not being made. Well, the Indiana University School of Education is seeking to bridge that gap by creating the Center for Educational Sciences Research and P-16 Collaboration. This center will be focused on presenting best practices to teachers in the Indianapolis area (at least at first), primarily in the Math and Science Education areas.

More on Opera 9. I really like Opera's Magic Wand feature, too. All modern web browsers have some scheme to save login information, but the Magic Wand is a pretty elegant way to do it. Not only does it make logging in to site with saved information as easy as clicking on the wand, but if you have say, two different Hotmail accounts, it allows you to choose between them when logging in. This is something I haven't seen before.

One negative for Opera 9 is that it doesn't seem to work with YouTube or Google Video. I downloaded an Opera widget for You Tube but that doesn't let me search for videos successfully.

Oncourse Wiki. IU's learning management system, Oncourse CL, part of the Sakai Project, now has a wiki system. A wiki, in case you didn't attend our Podcasts, Blogs and Wikis workshop, is a collaborative writing tool that allows people to work on the same document through a web interface. Wikipedia is the most famous example, though I note places like Amazon are starting to incorporate them too. Previous postings on this blog provide links to K-12 and postsecondary Wiki resources.

Search Engine Security and Ego Searching. The recent release by AOL of subscribers' search terms brings up concerns about the security of your search history. People have used this database and tracked down individual users, even though AOL stripped out usernames from the records. One reason they were able to do this was because of ego searching. Ego searching (as opposed to Eggo searching) is the looking up of one's own name in a search engine. This can be a useful way of finding out what people are saying about you, and obviously there are business and professional reasons to do it, but it also makes it easier to identify your individual search history if those records get out in the future. Wired has a good article with tips on protecting your private search information.

Try Something New for the New School Year! Why not try a new way to use technology in your teaching this school year? Episode 10 talked about a few. You could also consider using podcasts as an assignment option, instead of another paper; create a class calendar using iPhoto; videoconferencing with a guest expert or another classroom somewhere else in the world; using web-based video clips (check and see if your school has subscribed to a service like UnitedStreaming); creating a class blog to share information with parents and grandparents; have students create a wiki about your city or town; use GoogleEarth to plan simulated trips to other countries, or to look up where news events are taking place; check out how hot it is for our soldiers in Iraq today through the web; educate your students about the dangers of giving out too much information online, in places like MySpace; build a simulated rocket and fly it; search out the meaning of your name and where it comes from; make your own class t-shirts based on student designs using iron-ons.... That's just a start! Hopefully, this list has given you some inspiration for new things to try! Would love to hear additional ideas (and some good postsecondary ideas too!)--either add them by commenting here or email me at


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