Archive: April 2009

Wall Street Journal: Do Study Sites Make the Grade?

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CramsterThe Wall Street Journal recently examined the impact of “study sites” on the current state of education in high schools and universities throughout the country. These sites provide students with online access to course materials such as lecture notes and documents, as well as textbook solutions and old tests and have become a point of discussion among faculty and administrators.

While students consider these websites to be a tremendous resource, teachers and professors are not quite as enthusiastic, “claiming they promote dishonesty among students.” Where do you stand?

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Tech & Education: How can Twitter make me a better teacher?

Class Projects, New Technology | No Comments »

Twitter Home PageThere’s no doubt you’ve heard about Twitter… The President uses it. So does Ashton Kutcher. Oprah even dedicated an entire show to it. But do you really know what it is? Do you really know all that it can do?

To those that have never used the service, Twitter is a collection of meaningless personal posts that chronicle the activities of everyday people as they “eat french fries at McDonald’s” or “head to the salon for a haircut”. To those that have used it a little, Twitter is a interesting way to “follow” friends or interesting celebrities and find out what they’re doing in a 140 characters or less. To those that use it a lot, Twitter is the fastest source for the latest news (even faster than CNN), the best way to find hot deals at stores and restaurants, the most reliable recommendation engine for goods and services, and more.

But what about education?… How can Twitter make me a better teacher?

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Telescopic Text: A Simple Example of Descriptive Writing

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Telescopic TextTelescopic Text takes a simple sentence and turns it into a creative passage with the power of descriptive words and Web 2.0. Enjoy! (Note: Visit the website and click a highlighted word to get started.)

How-to: Getting Started with Twitter

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TwitterTwitter, according to Wikipedia, is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that enables its users to send and read messages known as tweets. Tweets are text-based posts of up to 140 characters displayed on the author’s profile page and delivered to the author’s subscribers who are known as followers. Senders can restrict delivery to those in their circle of friends or, by default, allow open access. Users can send and receive tweets via the Twitter website, Short Message Service (SMS) or external applications. While the service costs nothing to use, accessing it through SMS may incur phone service provider fees.

Sign up for an account:

  • Go to
  • Click “Sign up now”
  • Enter your “Full Name” (Note: Your name will be displayed on your page so if you would like to remain anonymous, do not use your real name.)
  • Enter a “Username” (Note: Your username can only include letters, numbers and the underscore symbol “_”. It will be used in your personal URL to access your Twitter “feed”. For example, “”. Many names will be taken so try different options.)
  • Enter a “Password” (Note: While your password should be memorable, make sure it rates in the “Strong” category at the least.)
  • Enter the security terms (Note: This is there to prevent programmed machines from signing up for multiple accounts.)
  • Click “Create My Account”

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Boston Globe: Classroom Clickers Gain Traction with Students and Teachers

Gadgets & Gizmos | No Comments »

iClicker After years of success in university courses throughout the country, “clickers” (also referred to as student/audience/personal response systems) are now gaining traction in the K-12 classroom. These handheld devices (shown right) allow students to interact with their teachers by submitting answers to multiple choice questions wirelessly from their desks. Within seconds, responses can be captured and analyzed in real-time by the teacher who can then use the results to tailor upcoming lessons.

Students and teachers have raved about the device indicating an increase in classroom interaction and energy. Others have said that the “clickers” help to reduce wasted class time covering topics that students already understand while allowing for greater attention to the more difficult concepts.

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Cool bits of technology that you can use in your classroom...
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