Monday, November 24, 2008

Wordle Fun



Justine hipped me to Wordle, an online tool that helps you to create word clouds. You can enter text into a form or point it at a site, like I did in the example above (I pointed it at my blog). There are different layouts and color schemes you can choose from. I think the results are awesome.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Inspiration: Eating My Own Dogfood



Sometimes I get the distinct feeling that the students who I teach think I'm just blowing hot air at them when I teach them to use new technologies or programs. For instance, at the beginning of the year I taught them how to use Inspiration to graphically organize their writing. I have yet to see any of them actually independently use the program to organize their own writing.

So it was a great lesson today when I went into the fifth grade classroom and shared with them how I "ate my own dogfood" and used Inspiration to organize a ten page paper I am writing for Dr. Margaret Riel, my advisor from Pepperdine's Online Master's in Educational Technology program. I am writing about my Action Research Project where I transformed the Tech Club I ran into a more inclusive educational environment. You can see part of my outline above. The students were impressed (I think) that I use the same tools I teach them to use. I hope they realize the benefits of a graphical organizer and see that adults, too, can benefit from tools like this when they write.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Annoying Windows Dialog Box



I had the displeasure of working on three carts of Windows PCs last week, installing Type to Learn 4 on them for keyboarding instruction.

Every time I logged into Windows I was greeted by the dialog box above, with an opportunity to let the Windows "wizard" help me remove the "unused" icons from my Desktop. Here is what I had "littering" the Desktop:



So, Windows wants only "My Documents," "My Computer," and "Recycling Bin" icons on the Desktop, and anything else a user places there must be of no importance. Way to think inside the box....

Autism Linked to Rainfall



A new study published by the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine links precipitation rates in California, Oregon, and Washington counties to an increased prevalence of cases of Autism. You can read the abstract of the article at the link above, or a summary at other news outlets.

Essentially, the authors claim that the abundance of precipitation might cause younger children to spend more time indoors, where they are more exposed to various environmental factors such as exposure to household chemicals and pollutants, lack of vitamin D from exposure to the sun, or increased television viewing.