Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Talking about Web 2.0 tools, it is important to talk about animation! After all, this is what our kids are going to be doing extensively a few years from now. I won't be surprised if powerpoints and other audio-visual presentations all start getting replaced by creative animations.

To get a feel of how animation works and to work with pre-created characters, settings, props etc., a highly recommended place is (The recommendation comes from the very trusted source, Kevin Jarrett. Thanks Kevin).
Here's a sample that I created for you to see the power of this tool. Enjoy: Santa and Digital Kid by MrsShori

Like it? Create your own at It's free and fun!">

Sunday, March 22, 2009

ETFO's own professional learning community!

Elementary Teachers' Federation of Ontario (ETFO) has recently got itself on to the Web 2.0 platform with a unique program called Innoteach. This program is a collaborative tool for teachers to share innovative technological practices in pedagogy. Some highlights of this program have been podcasting, digital storytelling, hands-on experience with movie editing software, French commercials and graphic stories. According to an article published in the February Issue of their monthly publication - Voice, the learning object materials of the program will be posted on the ETFO website so that teachers anywhere in the province can access the rich resources.

It was about time for elementary teachers to have our own professional learning community that could take our teaching practices to unforeseen success!
Three cheers for ETFO.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Music for your podcast?

Wouldn't it be really nice if you could give some background music to your podcast? Or, would you like an audio track as a filler between sections of your podcast? It is all possible.

When inserting music from a commercial clip, we need to be very careful of copyright and privacy issues. You can't really mix and match the music created by other people for your own purpose. A good place to find music that is safe for podcasting could be Podsafe Audio. The tracks are licensed under Creative Commons and are submitted by composers who give you the right to use them for podcasting purposes. The collection is vast. So, check it out. You might really find what you were looking for!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Boggled by Blogs for classroom?

Blog - have you been hearing the word for quite some time now and are contemplating setting up a classroom blog for your students? Blogs offer a unique opportunity for teachers to showcase their students' talents and the work being done at school. Students themselves find it very heartening to be on the web and start seeing the internet in a different light. The whole concept of blogs and their usage in classrooms gives pedagogy a whole new perspective - it is the door to 21st century learning!
Click here for an example.

Before you embark on your blogging journey with your students, you might want to spend a good chunk of time preparing for it. Some helpful tips for setting up a classroom blog can be found on this link:

This post takes you step by step into blogging and gives excellent suggestions on how to orient yourselves for the task ahead before taking the plunge!

Friday, March 6, 2009

Thinking of podcasting?

If you are impressed by the term "podcasting" and are ready to try it out with your class, here's a link that might come in handy:

Designed by a US teacher, it contains information for teachers as well as students. Simple to complex questions might all be answered for you in the "Lesson Resources" section where further links to some great podcasting resources are included.

So, cast your pod and go...!

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Blogging Tips

I am glad I went to the IT conference - Expanding our Boundaries! Not only was Will Richardson - the presenter - simply amazing, but it also gave participants a chance to network and build connections that would give us all a chance to share our ahas! and oh nos! It's been about four days since the conference and I've already been able to connect with some other teachers and found some great resources. Thank you Roger for this one:
This is a great spot if you've started blogging and are looking for ways to reach out wider with your message. The link gives you good tips on blog improvement and maintenance that will help you continue feeling excited about your blog.

Teaders - My term for teachers who love to read!

If you are a teacher and you love to read books for improvement of your skills and practices, then here's a website that takes you to a listing of "best" books for professionals. Under the Teachers section, there are categories related to lesson planning, pedagogy, professional development, technology and distance learning ... among others. Some of the titles really appear worth looking into!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Pod what? Casting what?

The term scared me off about a year ago and now I run Corliss Designs - my own podcasting blog with my students' work up! Technology is really advancing the world in leaps and bounds.

Podcasting is basically a way to publish self-created media on to the web for others to see. Usually, it is done through a blog created for that purpose. These days podcasting is classified as Audio Podcasting and Video Podcasting. Audio podcasts are limited to playback of sound recordings while video podcasting is usually done through putting pictures together and adding sound to it for the complete effect.

Some readily available softwares used for podcasting are:
  • Audacity: A free downloadable tool; very user-friendly; lets students record their voices in groups or individually. Parts of the recording can be deleted, amplified, faded in or out and modified in other cool ways. You can actually lift parts of the recording and place them where you want to get the free-flowing audio clip that you want. You will then be able to save it as MP3 and your clip is ready to be published on the web.
  • Microsoft Movie Maker: Comes by default in most computers; lets you insert pictures of student work (or pictures you wish to use in your podcast). Then you can record voices in a timeline frame in the background or add pre-recorded sound clips. Save in movie format (.wav) and your video podcast is ready!
  • Kidpix (if your school has access to it) also has a provision for slide shows with sound recording, which can then be imported in Quick Time format.

Really, if you have the will, you will do it. Cameras, voice recorders, cellphones - can all do the job if you think about it.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Get involved!

Do you share a strong passion to help out someone in some way? Do you think it's always hard to find like-minded people who will share your vision? Well, with online tools for social networking, it really is possible. Check out to see how you can make a difference!

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Virtual Offices

The world is moving on. There's no reason why virtual offices shouldn't exist (well, there certainly are a few reasons, but consider the potential!)

Google Docs is one cool way to get a Virtual Office going. All you need for it really is a gmail account. Google Docs - in common Microsoft language - is your Word, Excel and Powerpoint all on the internet. It additionally has the convenience of uploading docs from your browser (no need for USB keys) or getting direct URLs from the internet. It allows for sharing with other people or collaborate with others to create a project.

Educational implications are amazing. You can get your students to get together to work on one common task and then actually find out who contributed how much. They would need individual e-mail IDs though, so probably a good fit for intermediate and higher.

A social network for teachers

Classroom 2.0 is a social network blog for teachers interested in keeping up with what's going on in the world of instructional technology. I've been following it for some time now and find it quite effective. Even though it seems like a lot to assimilate, you can just take wat you like and leave the rest for later. You can join their forum and participate in various threaded discussions around the usage of technology in your classrooms. Being a member also gives you an opportunity to attend web seminars and hear what instructional technology leaders around the world are saying. Good!

Wow Web 2.0

Is Web 2.0 only for the smart, tech-savvy teachers who are really comfortable with using the latest softwares and are very sure of themselves? Yeah, right!! If it's for me, it's for anybody.

Web 2.0 - in the context of education - is really the name given to 21st century techonology tools used for instruction. Typically, they refer to methods in which cross-communication is possible. Web content (that was referred to as Web 1.0) is now no longer considered a product designed by a particular agency that sends out the message to consumers and that's the end of it. It has given way to Web 2.0 tools that let the consumers talk back as well. In fact, the upcoming Web 3.0 technologies are the true "web" concept with communication threads going over, under, across and through.

Some Web 2.0 examples are blogs, podcasts, social networks and wikis. The list will continue to grow with each passing day as more innovative software comes to be discovered. More importantly, there would also be additions to this list as we find innovative usages for existing (and even old) softwares and internet tools.