Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Science in a Cinch!

Over the last few days, I have been catching up on the presentations and listening to the keynote speakers for the ISTE 2011 Conference in Pennsylvania. I learned so much about learning THROUGH technology from speakers like Nancye Blair (@engagingedu), C. Briner, Bob Greenberg, and of course my #ISTE11 tweeters (@AuntyTech, @web20classroom)! Unfortunately, I missed the last keynote for the session. After checking out my last tweets, and I must say I can always count on @AuntyTech to come through. One of her tweets shared a link to the final keynote address (see below) and I was able to hear what I thought I originally missed out on. While on the Cinchcast website (still in beta mode), I listened to the speech and also made time to check out what the site had to offer. Of course you know I had to find an educational twist for integration of this website into a science classroom.

(A BIG THANKS to Wesley Fryer for Cinch-ing this presentation!)
It’s always nice to document evidence of learning from inquiry-based activities. It’s even nicer if you’re able to record and share those learning moments later on. Cinch is the right tool for the task. Cinch allows you to record and share audio on the web. It provides three ways to create an account, capture audio, and share on your webpage. Boy, do I love having options! After creating a recording, you can edit to add an image and title of your audio clip.
How can I use this tool in a science classroom?
1. As students are engaged in a discovery activity, walk around asking questions, recording along the way.
2. Record key terms for a new unit.
3. Conduct interviews.
4. Record observation notes.
5. Record students teaching each other.
Can I just say the possibilities are endless?
The nicest piece is that your students can return to your podcasts and listen to them time and time again.

Monday, June 27, 2011


I have been thinking of ways to increase engagement in my science class. I am convinced that the only way to get middle school students to enjoy physical science the way they do earth and life science is to immerse them with rich and innovative experiences. In my quest to find new and exciting things, I came across Blabberize. Blabberize allows you to bring life to objects in pictures. I highly recommend taking pictures of your pets for this one! Let’s take a quick trip to Blabberize and learn how easy it is to create one. For this activity, you need to have your picture library full of picture options you’d like to animate. You will also need to make sure that you have a working microphone. Here we go!
1. Go to Blabberize.
2. Select Make, then Upload a picture.
3. Crop the picture.
4. Place the mouth bubble over the mouth and adjust the settings so that the markers are evenly placed around the mouth. The largest green mark should be moved closer to the mouth for humans than for animals.
5. Add audio.
6. Preview and save. If you haven’t already created an account, you will be directed to do so before you can save.
You have two options after you save your product. You can share the link, or embed into your web site.

1. Students can find pictures related to a vocabulary word, add audio explaining or describing the meaning of the word.

2. Create a blabberized photo to start a new unit.

3. When you return to your library, all of your pictures have an option to turn them into videos, which could be very useful. Take all pictures on a topic, create a video for students to reference anytime.

More Information:


Let me first thank @AuntyTech for sharing such a great web tool.  After playing with the web site I just had to share my ideas with you on its applicability in a science classroom.  Elementary teachers this is definitely a handy tool for your little learners!  Buncholinks is exactly what the website claims: a better way to share a BUNCH of links!  For today’s example, I decided to focus on Life Science resources. Instead of posting a bunch of websites on my blog or on a handout for my students like this:
I can access my Buncholinks account and follow the next steps for sharing with my students.
1. Copy and paste my preferred links into the box on the right of the Buncholinks website.
* Remember you can only have one website link per line.
2. Select Build a Bunch!
3. Create a name for your bunch.
4. Select the edit button to give each link a note or title.
5. Locate the Share with Friends link at the bottom of the page.  Copy and paste to your website or type on class handout.
6. Select continue to your bunch.
Click here, to see my Life Science Buncholinks
Another great feature of this website is the widget tool.  If you’d like to keep your bunch of links in one easy to find place then I recommend this feature. 
Applications in any science class:
1. Create a list of websites for students to analyze.  Have students write comments on the reliability of the information for each website.  Students may or may not post their first name with the comment, but it depends on objectives for the lesson.  Example: Create links to claims and have students analyze websites for evidence supporting claims and write their comments for each link.
2. Provide students with a list of acceptable websites they may use for a project.
I would love to hear your ideas for the potential of this website in your classrooms.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

PhotoPeach Your Science Class

Need a way to share science work digitally?  Look no further because Photo Peach is here to rescue you! Photo Peach is a very simple site that allows you to upload photos and post to a blog account.  You can accomplish this in six easy steps.

1. Go to Photo Peach and create an account.
2. Upload pics from your own library, Facebook, or Picasa.
3. Add music (or not).
4. Click Finish.
5. Scroll over the final masterpiece to locate the embed code (pencil icon).
6. Choose one of the two codes for your blog.

I have created one to show you what the final product will look like on your class blog page.  There is one thing to point out.  Your picture shows remain private UNTIL you decide to post them to a blog. You will get a notice that reminds you of this fact. 

Signs of the Times Museum on Photo Peach

How can we use this application in science?  At the beginning of the year, I always go through the safety procedures as all science teachers should do.  One activity includes students creating posters of lab situations, which must incorporate an experiment with relevant rules and symbols.  It would be nice to share all the pictures my students put together. 

Friday, June 24, 2011


Hello Readers,
I have a brand new podcast that I am excited to share with you! If you go to my Odiogo page and click Subscribe you can listen to my blogs on-to-go with your iPods or mp3 players.  You will find my page at

Of course, I should tell you how a feature like this could support DIFFERENTIATION with educational technology.  Learners have the option to read or listen to blog posts, which is especially great for my audio learners. 

Other sites similar to Odiogo include:

Add one to your blog today!


As a mother, teacher, and doctoral learner it is not always ideal to schedule face-to-face meetings with my teams. Sometimes it is just easier to hold a conference call. However, when one of my teams decided we needed to have a virtual meeting, I thought it would be an opportuned time to use TodaysMeet. TodaysMeet is a website that allows you to chat with anyone with a link to your chatroom. The conversations are in real time so there is no need to step away from the computer and wait hours for someone to respond. TodaysMeet is actually quite simple to use if you follow these instructions:

1. Go to
2. Create a unique room name.
3. Choose how long you want to room to remain open.
4. Select create your room.
5. Enter the room, type your name, and select Join.

Once you and your team determine a time to meet, log in and "speak" away! A really nice feature of TodaysMeet is the transcript option. Let's say you couldn't remember a response someone provided in the chat room. You can always go back to the room (provided it hasn't closed) and create a transcript of the entire dialogue. Isn't that awesome!

Ideas for a science classroom:
1. Backchannel for student questions during a presentation.
2. Virtual conference rooms to log group project discussions.
3. A place where school administrators can join classroom discussion, answer, and ask student questions.
4. Use to build science academic vocabulary.

The possibilities are endless! How do you TodaysMeet in your classroom?

Thursday, June 23, 2011


A binder for this and a binder for that.  If you are like me, then you have loads of binders that store great lessons, research articles, student exemplars and more.  There must be a better way to store my information.  Guess what? There is a better way!  Let me introduce you to Livebinders, where you can store digital information in a virtual binder.  You can upload pictures, graphs, diagrams, notes, audio, video, websites, games, and more.  I came across live binders around February of this year and was just amazed with the information people had already put together to share with the world.  Before long, I have created at least 10 binders.  Livebinders can be public or private--the choice is yours.  However if you choose to make any binder private, but still want to share it you must give out the access key.It has  rating and commentary features, which I like quite a bit.  My most favorite aspect of Livebinders is the embedding feature.  Why ramble on when I can just show you? Here is my first livebinder, which recently hit 1000 views. (Yea!)

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

VodPod: Using Videos to Support Science Instruction

For the last couple of years, I have tried to steer away from videos in the classroom mainly because of what I see when I pass by other classrooms.  However, I am seeing more and more ways that teachers are effectively using videos to support instruction in science classrooms.  Let’s face it: It’s no run in the park to see students sleeping, drawing, and passing notes during a video right as an administrator is walking by your room.  How can we—as science teachers—get our students to appreciate videos when we integrate them into the lesson?  One educator talks about the importance of previewing video clips and creating video questions. The National Center for Technology Innovation (2010) addresses the relationship between video technology supporting literacy in science.  Of course, I am sure there is more literature for video integration in science classrooms, but I want to leave you something to search more on! 

Well, I found Vodpod, which is a site that allows you to take all your favorite videos and place them in one library.  You can upload from YouTube, Teachertube, Schooltube (use the old url code for this one) to name just a few.  My favorite feature is the ability to add a Vodpod widget to my blog page for my students to check out videos that support topics we are covering in class.  The advantage of such a feature to your teacher website is that it doesn’t limit you to just sharing videos during the school hours.  Perhaps, students can be assigned to watch a video and be prepared for classroom discussions on a new topic.  The ideas are limitless when it comes to effectively using videos in science!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

What Makes Me

Today, I played with a digital tool or digital cube from the What Makes Me website. Last school year, my students had to use paper cubes to answer questions or complete tasks on science topics. The digital cube will allow teachers to ask students to complete tasks, but through digital media! I created one so that I could see its functionality. Then I thought about how I could integrate it into the classroom.

1. Culminating tasks where students create a unit portfolio of their best works and add audio reflecting on their learning.

2. Scavenger hunt for things related to an assigned topic. May include text, audio, pictures, and video.

3. Take and upload pictures demonstrating each phase in a scientific process (math conversion, steps in experiment, etc.).

How to make a digital cube:
1. Select create cube.
2. Choose a category or select to add your own media from the two tab choices.
3. Create a search parameter and select one of the options OR upload your own pictures. (If you don't want a picture you also have the option of typing in text in the bottom box that you'd like to see on the cube.)
4. Add audio or video if you'd like.
5. Click on right or left arrows to turn cube to another side.
6. Click save. (Create an account to edit in the future or just post without the option to edit in the future.)

Overall, this type of tool could have potential in a science classroom.  I wonder if there are other sites out there like this one...

Monday, June 20, 2011


Growing up, I remember sticking speech bubble stickers onto my photos that matched the sentiment of the moment. Today, there's Fotobabble, which will do the same thing only with a tech twist! Now how can this be used in science? Hmmm, great question! Science learners need to be great communicators and Fotobabble gives them an opportunity to practice. Teachers can use photobabble in a few ways. Two options immediately come to mind:

1. Teachers post a photo with commentary prior to beginning a new unit.
2. Allow students to take their own pictures (with their own cameras) of different stages in the experimentation/inquiry process.

Of course, I am excited about the prospects of this tool in my classroom. So how can you create one? Another great question!

First you need an account if you don't already have one. You have the option of signing in with your Facebook account, but that's just an option.

Choose a picture from your personal files or copy/paste a URL with the desired visual.

Choose a background theme for your account. I encourage that you use a plain background to minimize the distractions.

Once the picture is uploaded, you can record, playback, adjust privacy settings, add tags, and finally save your product.

After saving, the URL and embed codes will appear to the right of your picture so that you make upload to your website and share with students.

Of course I had to make one to share with you. I will have to check the recording time that's alloted for each upload. Otherwise, this is a very simple tech tool for your classroom!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Flisti Anyone?

Need a quick polling solution to gather data from students prior to a new unit? Search no further, it's Flisti to the rescue.  Flisti allows you to create a poll that you can post on a blog or website.  Teachers and students can see the results of the entire group after they've added their answers.  Try this one below to see how it works:

What do you like to use educational technology to do?

Any other ideas on how to use Flisti in your classroom? Share them now!

Twitter in the Classroom...Hmmm?

Samantha Miller shared 50 ways to integrate Twitter into education.  In an age where we are surrounded by digital media I realize that I am competing for my students' attention.  I don't fancy the lecture approach to instruction, but I do realize that so many still use this method out for comfort or fear of the unknown.  One thing I like about Twitter that sets it apart from Facebook is that I do not need to add people as friends to follow them.  I see friending students on Facebook or other social networking accounts can have devastating effects on one's career.  My advice: Better safe than sorry!  I would love to hear how teachers are using Twitter in specific subject areas at different grade levels.  I recently created my own Twitter account so that I could learn the basics and already see the power of implementation.  After about two months of research, I found TweetChat and Tweetdoc.  Let's say that you wanted to create a discussion with guest speakers on a particular topic. All you need to do is login to TweetChat, include the #hashtag, and begin chatting in REAL TIME!  Tweetdoc allows you to take that chat and create a PDF file so that others who missed the conversation can access the information at another time. Can you imagine how that would help students who missed a day of math instruction or a science experiments? Well, I am excited about the possibilities of tweeting about science with my students. Besides I am already seeing how this will support the 21st century learning objectives in my classroom.  How about you?

Monday, June 13, 2011

Spicy Nodes

Teachers love graphic organizers!  So in my quest to find new tools to support my classes this fall, I came across Spicynodes. Spicynodes allows teachers and students to create concept maps for any topic. Many websites want you to create an account before testing the product. Spicynodes is different! You are able to choose your design and see the preview in the window on the right. After clicking continue, you will then get to include text, pictures, and video to create the map. After you view the final map, you can create an account to save your creation. The only way to embed your concept map onto a website or blog page is if you have an account. Below is a really quick sample of of Spicynodes in action. Try it out today! I would love to hear how you can use this tool in your content area. Hit the Disqus button below and let's chat!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Oh Don't Forget!

Towards the end of the last school year, I happened to come across a really neat website that I thought would be quite useful for my students.  If you haven't heard of Oh Don't Forget before, then let me introduce you to a wonderful tool.  Like the website states, it allows you to create scheduled text messages that are FREE to remind you of things you can't afford to forget.  I can recall the number of times I would cringe to the phrase, "I forgot that it was due today." After testing the simple-to-use website a few times, I realized the educational technological benefit this resource could play in my classroom.  Now, I am sharing it will fellow teachers to share with their students. 

Here's what you do:
1. Type in your phone number. (Don't worry it won't store your infomration.)
2. Type in the date and time that you'd like the reminder. (Caution: The reminder text has to be set for more than an hour into the future!)
3. Type the reminder message. This is what you will see when your phone alerts you.
4. Click create and you're done!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Power of Reading

I have updated this posting because the original no longer works. In the meantime, enjoy the power of Tubechop. After watching the original clip you will see why this could be a great tool for cutting parts of YouTube videos out.

The Before:

The After:

I don’t know about you, but I am excited about the endless possibilities of using this resource! I would love to hear from you and how you can use this site for your classroom!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Instructional Design Principles and Technology


Gagne, Wager, Golas, and Kellier (2005) asserted that curriculum developers should apply contiguity, repetition, reinforcement, and social-cultural principles of learning to instructional design.  Educational technology does support this process in an effort to make instruction and learning effective.  Regardless of the technological resource, each one can play a significant role in learning and the learning process.  Three innovative, interactive technologies were researched and explored to see how technology can support education in any classroom, but in this case a science classroom.

Instructional Technology 1: Wallwisher

          Wallwisher is an online sticky board where students can generate and share ideas in the form of text, audio, video, and graphics (see demo). Students can post comments with links to support their contributions to the classroom virtual discussion. Educators can use Wallwisher for classroom announcements; brainstorming activities, summarization, and anything else that they would like it to do to support instruction.

Instructional Technology 2: Google Docs

          GoogleDocs is a site that facilitates the sharing of documents for collaboration.  Student and teachers can edit, comment, and publish final drafts for public view.  Google Docs stores documents that are uploaded or created onto the main site.  Additional features include spreadsheets, calendars, and creating forms.  The form feature provides teachers with the ability to create assessments and then analyze the data to make sound decisions about future instruction. 

Instructional Technology 3: Livebinders

          When an educator or student needs a place to store documents and websites, Livebinders provides the venue to do it.  Livebinders is a website that allows students and educators to make a virtual 3-ringed binder to organize and store a variety of information, including video, audio, and graphics.  Binders that are made private can be equipped with an access key for those allowed to view the binder. 

Using These Tools to Make a Lesson

An introduction lesson on science was created to demonstrate how each technological resource could be integrated into a science classroom—of course, any content area will work—without taking away from the purpose of the lesson.  The following chart describes the conceptual, theoretical, or research framework associated with each resource.

Google Docs
Conceptual, Theoretical, or Research Framework
Brainstorming: It supports finding strategies for scaffolding for new information (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, & Malenoski, 2007, p. 71).

Knowledge-Sharing: Students are likely to retain information in collaborative groups (Ormrod, 2008).

Constructivism: The theory adopts a student-centered authority
approach to subject matter (Johnson, Dupuis, Gollnick, Hall, & Musial, 2008, p. 327).

Social Learning: Kozma (1994) references illustrations of media that merge constructivist and social learning theories when identifying computer-based learning environments and using technology to help solve problems.

Collaboration: Metacognition plays a great role in collaboration (Martinez, 2010).

Communication: The key to a successful student is frequently based on how well he or she communicates with his or her teacher (Moller, 2009) and peers.

Knowledge-Sharing: This is possible with existing technologies because learners can store, process, and apply knowledge via technological resources (Neches, Fikes, Finin, Gruber, Patil, Senator, & Swartout, 1991).

Data Collection: allows teachers to create surveys to gather student information and create meaningful learning targets (Pitler, Hubbell, Kuhn, & Malenoski, 2007, p. 25)
Digital Information Literacy: “Students will be expected to apply the basics in authentic, integrated ways to solve problems, complete projects, and creatively extend their abilities” (ISTE, 2011).


Gagne, R. M., Wager, W. W., Golas, K. C., & Kellier, J. M. (2005). Principles of instructional design. Belmont, CA: Thompson.

ISTE. (2007). The ISTE NETS and performance indicators for students (NETS.S).
Retrieved May 30, 2011, from

Johnson, J. A., Dupuis, V. L., Gollnick, D. M., Hall, G. E., & Musial, D. (2008). Foundations of American education: Perspectives on education in a changing world (14th ed.). Boston: Pearson Education.

Kozma, R. (1994). "Will media influence learning: Reframing the debate." Educational Technology Research and Development, 42(2), 7-19.

Martinez, M. E. (2010). Learning and cognition: The design of the mind. Boston: Allyn and Bacon.

Moller, M. T. (2009). Technology integration and student communication. Retrieved June 12, 2011, from

Niches, R., Fikes, R., Finin, T., Gruber, T., Patil, R., Senator, T., & Swartout, W. R. (1991). Enabling technology for knowledge sharing. Retrieved, June 8, 2011, from,,or.r_gc.r_pw.&fp=55a60aabf7224a16&biw=1280&bih=595

Ormrod, J. E. (2008). Human learning (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Merrill Prentice Hall.

Pitler, H., Hubbell, E. R., Kuhn, M., & Malenoski, K. (2007). Using technology with classroom instruction that works. Denver, CO: McREL.

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