Online sharing with Pearltrees

Pearltrees is a free, visual and collaborative library that lets you keep everything you like at your fingertips. Its unique interface lets you organize and retrieve your favorite web pages, photos, and notes — even offline. You can also leverage Pearltrees’ community members to discover amazing stuff related directly to your interests. Enrich your account with those you like best. With Pearltrees, you can cultivate your interests wherever you are.

My View
I have spent some time and gone through this application.  This application reminds me a little bit like Pinterest.  This can collect all things you find interesting on the internet.  It allows you to organize them into “pearls” that stack like a mind map.  Students can use this tool to create online portfolios.  They can upload files as well as type text or bookmark websites.  Their ideas can be organized in any way they see fit.

The price is right for this app.  Free.  There are paid plans that give you more options but you get plenty for free.

The Best 1:1 Device is a Good Teacher

Self-Paced Professional Development

Here are some options for self-paced, learn-when-you-can professional development. Your district will not hand you these options, but I encourage you to seek them out.


iTunesU is an iPad-based repository of courses, lectures, and resources for teachers and students. The content can be accessed exclusively on the iPad, and the material is all vetted for accuracy and copyright. Courses can be accessed or created by individuals or teachers through iTunesU Course Manager. Course manager is only available on the Apple platform and when using the Safari browser.
Coursera is a free online course catalog that allows anyone in the world to take courses from some of the best instructors on the planet. Coursera does not offer accreditation for teachers yet, but they are advocating for this issue. Regardless, this site is chock full of courses that anyone can take at any time.
Google+ is emerging as a credible venue for professional development and anytime learning. It’s a free platform, and if you work in an organization that employs Google Apps for Education, you already have an account. Google+ offers Google “Hangouts” as the venue for presenting professional development sessions. The best part about this option is that Hangouts are archived on the YouTube account of the author or group.
Everyone in education loves Twitter. Twitter can be a great venue for learning if you organize it and filter it (I recommend TweetDeck). Jumping headfirst into something like #edchat will only confuse and overwhelm you. My recommendation is to use Twitter sparsely at first. Find a few educators to follow, and spend a good amount of time listening, reading and processing. Follow Steve Anderson, Kristen Swanson, Alec Couros, John Spencer, Lyn Hilt, Rich Kiker, Dean Shareski, Joyce Valenza, Kyle Pace and Edutopia — to start. But start simple and listen to what the aforementioned educators have to say.
EdCamp is the standard professional development for education. I’ve attended and organized several EdCamps and find them to be the most rewarding experiences that I’ve had in education. I’ve made great connections and friends as a result of this format, and it is a professional development that allows everyone to participate and have a voice.

Flipping the Classroom Requires More Than Video

Flipping the classroom has become a large passion of mine. It is one of my ongoing professional goals to implement next year.

I have to agree with these four bullet points. Poor video lectures are worse than the live version of the same lecture. They need to be engaging.

iPad is King in Education

Today I was reading the blog of Steven Anderson, District Instructional Technologist with Winston-Salem Schools in Winston-Salem NC, where he was discussing “Taking a Step Back and Thinking Critically About Technology“.  Take a moment to read the article to understand my standpoint below.
So why is iPad King in Education?  Apps!  When you have a center store filled with over 500,000 apps, with 25 billion downloads, and countless developers always creating new things, then selecting the iPad for your classroom seems obvious.  Now with the creation of the iBooks Author, Apple has just added another tid-bit to entice educators more than they already do.
I agree with Steven that there are a lot of schools and districts buying iPads just to say that they have them. (Points to myself.)  While I did support the purchase of the iPads for our main curriculum tool now looking back I would go another way.  I am one of those educators that believes that “I” am the curriculum in my room, everything else is just a tool that I use.  So why would I go with something else rather than the just sticking with the iPad?  Simple, Google.  The collaboration that comes with Google Docs, Calendar, Blogger, and other various tools is ULTIMATE.  In a profession where collaboration works, Google needs to be used in schools more often than it currently is.  While the iPad does work with Google, it does not tap into Google’s collaborative features.  This is why I personally would go with the Chromebook.  I like those collaborative features and students need to learn to collaborate more than they currently are.

Teachers: Please stop prohibiting the use of Wikipedia #edtech

I couldn’t agree more with this post on using Wikipedia in the classroom. Many times I have run across teacher that tell their students to not use Wikipedia as a source because it can be inaccurate. Information on Wikipedia at time can be inaccurate but we should be teaching students to cite properly and to no rely completely on one single source. 

“Wikipedia deserves the same place in most modern assignments that Britannica did in most of ours.”

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‘School of One’ Pilot Program Under Way in Chinatown Middle School 131

Now this is a school! Amazing article by the NY Times on a new way to approach educating students. I have always believed that educating students is much more successful when you take this approach and eliminate the confines of the typical four walled classroom. I wish my middle school was like this when I was in school. I probably would have done a lot better.

The thing in the article that stood out most to me was “The model we are using throughout the United States in kindergarten-to-12th-grade education is fundamentally the same as it was 100 years ago,” Mr. Klein said.

“Take a surgeon from 100 years ago and place them in an operating room and they would be totally lost. Take a teacher from 100 years ago and place them in the classroom and they wouldn’t skip a beat.” This statement will always hold true unless more districts and schools take a huge leap like this and change the way things are done.

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Technology in the Classroom Part 1: Web 2.0

Ten years ago the Internet was pretty limited on what it could do and who actually used it. I remember when the Internet started to get plugged into schools. It was 1996 and I was in my senior year of high school and we just passed a bond placing Internet access in each classroom for students to use. Each student was also given his or her own email address. This was back in the day when Eudora was real popular and webmail was Description: Machintosh HD:Users:nsandberg:Desktop:j0426562.jpeg not around much yet. Few people had email address and if you did you were lucky. Now days everyone has some sort of email and access to the Internet, even if it is using it at your public library. This is even true for teachers. They either have it at home or in their classroom. Now while I was barely brought up in the digital age, and educators older than I were even less so, students of today and tomorrow are definitely being raised under a digital umbrella. There are lots of things that the Internet can be used for in the classroom. Continue reading

Web 2.0 Tools for Educators

I created this list using Google Docs and I update my Google Docs spreadsheet on a regular basis, but I do not update the Scribd PDF version regularly. I have included a link to the Google Docs version down below.  The Google Docs version contains the links to each website.

Google Docs Version