Andy Free

1. “Cell Phones as Classroom Learning Tools”

New Tools - October 15, 2007 (1:10:00 Run Time; mov; 298 MB)
Cellular Classes
Cellular Classes

I found several ways to use a cell phone (outside of the classroom) as an instructional tool. One can create a podcast simply by calling a 1-800 number and recording your podcast. It stores it as an mp3 (using a channel) which allows you to then post it or save it wherever you like using gabcast, gcast or evoca. Use a land line if they wish and you may record up to 16minutes. You may automatically posts your podcasts to your blog. Conferncing is possible also ( Not tollfree so that is why using a cell phone is better than using a land line, but it will save your conference as an mp3. Nice for proof of collaberation. Another way to use a cell phone is as a way to take moble notes (jott, braincast, mindjot). I planned to make a podcast using my cell phone, but they all charge a fee so it is not a feature that I will use with my classes.
The camera and video capabilities in a phone can be an extremely useful tool. Students may email photos to or to share them. Bubbleshare allows you to create slideshows with your mobile pics, and one can even have a class account. Students could work in groups where "photographer" is the one with best plan or phone with data card that allows easier sharing. Video recording with a cell phone (, jumpcut) can be performed for classes. These sites allow everyone in the group to edit the movies (no video editing software necessary, since it is all through the internet). You don't have to worry about finding a camera or keeping up with a school camera.
One item I learned about and would like to use is the ability to text students via the internet free (textforfree, txtdrop). I do not text so this might be a useful site to get important announcements out to students since email is not always best for them nor immediate. Some ideas that I have thought of for use in my classroom include: taking pics of tesselations and using pics to document places that you visit, as well as a scavenger hunt for bible studies. Other ideas for the use of phones is to use them in conducting interviews (i.e. how do you use logic in your job?) or maybe obtaining sound clips from surroundings (how could you do that easily?). Another idea might be to have students make a ringtone of something to memorize for class (maybe a few weeks before exams). Cell phones may be used to collect data via the internet (mobiode) and then export it to MS Excel. And finally, students can set up their own websites for mobile devices using - zinadoo, windsite, and mob5.

2. “Trailfire”

New Tools ⋅ October 17, 2007 (2:20min Run Time; mp3; 2.2MB)
Example Trailfire

I learned about a program that allows you to link several webpages together and send to colleagues or your students. The program is called Trailfire and it also allows you to post notes and/or questions in a balloon on each page in the trail. I am not sure as of yet how to use this in the classroom and I wonder of what use it will be to my students. I think it would be very helpful to me as an indivdual b/c I can save all of my related pages on a topic all in one place. I like delicious but it is quite spread out and can be hard to find items if you are too lazy to tag them as I often am. This might be a good way to keep all of my search results linked under one heading.

In developing power point lessons I like to use pictures and this might be a better alternative that allows the students to see the context that the picture was pulled from. It also makes siting the auther much easier b/c now you have the page it is from not just the picture. I think this might be a great way for students to make a presentation: they put key notes in the bubbles and then they can show where they obtained their information and how it influenced their findings. I could send students to various pages and include instructions for each web page or ask questions for each page. The program would lend itself extremely well for teaching the use of technology, b/c you can have instructions on each page of the trail to assist the students in the class on how to use that specific page.

3. "Parental Engagement in the 21st Century – Leveraging web 2.0 tools to engage parents in non-traditional ways"

Kicking it up a Notch - October 31, 2008
Link to Dotsub

This presentation was about using web 2.0 tools and social networking to allow parents to be more involved in school and their children's lives at school. Students have grown up on the internet and are very comfortable with interacting with people they have not met on the internet and are more comfortable than most adults in this web 2.0 world. Therefore, parents should be more informed about the tools and places their children are experiencing on the net. Parents, teachers, and administrators need to mentor and guide students through navigating the web through other means besides filtering. The filters are often not successful and students look at them as a challenge to beat. It would be nice if we could move away from policing and strive towards mentoring and guidance of our students. Informing parents is one key in this process. Some ideas that I liked were to build a web forum for parent questions so they could learn from each other when new and confusing things arive in the parenting process. I like the idea of allowing parents to follow thier students on mission trips using web 2.0 tools as they are happening. Administration could record speakers and post on the internet for parents that cannot make meetings. Administrators and teachers often found that they can reach many parents that were never involved in the school before. Parents as Partners has a wiki that might be useful to check out.

4. “Oodles of Googles”

New Tools - October 16, 2007 - this page has all of the videos that I watched on the left side menu bar

Notebook has many neat features that allow you to pull items from websites and keep the url very easily. This would be great for projects and to research items and keep up with where your information is coming from. Students may work in a groups and contribute easily from their own homes using google docs which is an online wordprocessing system that allows all students to work on the same document without having to be in the same place. Google Docs or Page Creator will also allow students to collaboratively produce a presentation for the class and easily have links to anything they like since it is all webbased. Finally, a groups feature allows students to discuss live with each other in a safe place and even has an idea page for them to all edit at the same time.

I have used google docs in the past and this study made me want to revisit it and find ways to use these concepts in my classroom. I do wonder if students will like using wordprocessing other than MS products. They have been trained on those and may be hesitant, but I doubt that will be problem. I definitly can see me trying to implement some sort of research based project and show students how to use these tools to put the project together without ever having to meet. I would like to use some of the other tools that I have discovered (trailfire and cellphone use) to add depth to this further.

5. “If All My Classes Did This”

Classroom 2.0 - October 19, 2007 (23:00 Run Time, wmv,66.2 MB)

Here is trailfire **link** of the following programs discussed in this presentation. Just click the blue arrows in the dialogue boxes in order to follow my trail.
ToonDoo is a very interesting program that allows students to create a one, two, or three frame comic strip type cartoon. It has many backgrounds and characters to choose from in order to tell a story to classmates. Students should not publish their cartoons to the internet, but instead only to friends so there is no risk of inappropriate comments by outside people. Another program is called read-write-think which creates black and white cartoons that cannot be posted to the internet. They may be printed out and colored though and if privacy is an issue this might be a better option that ToonDoo.
Gliffy produces flow charts, floor plans, and graphic organizers. You can also collaborate on items in this program. You may import pictures and add text to diagrams. Zoho Show is a presentation program that works in a similar way as powerpoint. It is very basic but it does allow students to collaborate since it is web-based. I really like the idea of allowing students to create comic strips for my class. This might be a good way for me to get them to internalize some of the content in a more creative way. I wonder how many class periods it would take for them to complete? It does seem like it would be fine for them to work on at home, but I wonder how safe the site is when it is closely examined? I was not impressed with Gliffy, but that part of the presentation did not have much detail.

6. “Around the World in 80 Minutes”

Personal Professional Development - November 1, 2006

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I have seen Google Earth before and played with it a little, but not much. I learned that it could be quite a useful tool for my geometry classroom if I expand my imagination a little. Placemarks are left by people at important locations on the globe and can be searched using google earth community forum. Search for topics that you plan to use in your lessons. I hope to find math lesson ideas, but I imagine this would be an amazing tool for social science teachers. I just found a nice area exercise...

Videoconferencing was also discussed using Skype and a very extensive list of other programs. This would allow for providing more guest speakers without having to fly them in and might save on costs. DIVERSE is an example that has used this to reach students. You could take field trips over the internet with immediate feedback and less restrictions than an actual field trip. ISDN is more expensive than VoIP. One think to be very careful with is the various time zones. Using is a nice way of comparing times in different places around the world.

7. “RSS for Educators (Advanced)”

Basic/Advanced Training - October 26, 2006

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This presentation covered RSS feeds in great detail and some of the ways they could be used in the classroom. I found it interesting that 50% of blogs are made by students between the ages of 13 to 19 years old. I wonder where he got that data from? He discussed delicious and flickr initially. I consider myself an avid delicious user, so there was nothing new there. I did however, learn something new about flickr in that you may mark specific parts of a photo and make notes about them and even add links to webpages with more information. This would be excellent for braking down a diagram for math class or a scene with lots of geometric shapes. You can even create a search RSS feed with MSN and have new items automatically sent to you as they are posted on the internet with the key words you were looking for. In other words, you can search while you sleep and the results will be there anytime you check your aggregator. This was a very long presentation, but I did get some good ideas for creating lessons. I am constantly searching for images and I love delicious and the abiltiy to tag and search other peoples findings. It really saves time and allows my bookmarks to follow me anywhere I go. This makes formulating lessons and giving credit so much easier than before. I currently use google reader to gather RSS feeds from several educational blogs, but now I need to expand its use to other areas of interest and in new ways.

8. “Internet Access with Minimal Filtering”

Overcoming Obstacles - November 1, 2006
external image cool-cartoon-890264.png
Internet access can be a touchy subject in education. We want to filter the awful things on the internet from our students, but that has a cost for teachers. Depending on the software used, teachers and students may or may not have the same resources available to them. Our ultimate responsibility is to protect students without limiting the resources needed for teachers. Ideally, IT departments need to find a way to block by login. Teachers need to be well educated on safe ways to present material from the internet. Parents need to understand that everything cannot be blocked since there are new sites created every day. 6th graders will be getting laptops at the presenters school and they had to find a way to filter those computers when they take them home in the afternoons. We are looking to provide laptops for students in the future as well. I wonder why they chose 6th graders to start with? How can they possibly monitor their use when at home?
Professional development is a key to allowing technology to benefit the student body in a positive manner. Teachers are required to post announcements and other items through a MS Sharepoint site which allows parents to know more about what is occurring in the classroom. The presenter's school has meetings between parents and technology to allow for questions. they also produce a weekly newsletter that informs teachers and parents involving all things technology at the school. Grades are available to parents and students through the web. I wonder how that is going? Are there negatives to that? The IT department does not want to be a police force, but unfortunately they are placed in that role since they are the first line of defense involving internet matters. They will always allow a teacher access to a certain website if that teacher can establish its educational worth. This presentation does not lend itself well to things I can do in my classroom, but it has made me think through the big picture in greater detail than in the past. I am on the technology committee and this is good stuff for me to include in future conversations.

9. "Back-channels in the Classroom"

Kicking it up a Notch - October 29, 2008
Video (19:17 Run Time; .mov, 287 MB)

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Using networked computers in order to have an online conversation during a live presentation. It can help kids that are often quiet and do not share ideas. It can provide an opportunity for all students to share. It has been shown to engage students with the material. Back Channels make it easier to check for full understanding by the teacher and allows immediate feedback for even quiet students. Backchanneling sites include: (ads), (ads),, and Some ads had questionable content for students. All had no cost, but cover it live allowed for filtering comments before posting to the class. It is a good idea to partner with another teacher who can help with the load of: filtering, class management, leading the lesson, and staying on topic. What is the best way to do that? I am the only teacher of my specific subject at my school. Has anyone tried this at my school? It is possible for students to impersonate each other, so give fair warning that there will be consequences for those that do. Also, assign a specific name for each student to avoid inappropriate ID use. To stay secure I would need to talk to IT and get them to help keep our classroom secure from on line predators.
I like the idea of this learning process. I might try it when we do activities in the lab with geometry. Math is not opionated so I will have to propose problems that have multiple solutions or multiple methods to obtain an answer. Some SAT type problems might work.

10. "Film School For Video Podcasters"

Kicking it Up a Notch - October 31, 2008
Video Link
This is much better than my first video, so please give it a chance.

This was a very entertaining presentation about making videos in school. It was by far my favorite. The presenter kept me very interested, and I feel that I learned more as a result. I have always enjoyed movies and the idea of trying to use them as an educational tool is very exciting. I try to use clips in my lessons as much as possible, but it would be nice to make my own and allow students to do the same once each year. We want our students to read and read often, but we also need our students to be able to process and analyze media in other forms besides text. They are constantly being bombarded with video and music that they need to be able to see through to the core. By making a movie, they will be able to critically think while watching and listening.
Start with a story board to tell your story. Storyboarding begins with picking the scene and then decide what you will frame. Don’t get stuck on the storyboard, you can change your mind when you are on set. It is good to have varied shots (zoom in, normal, and wide) to help tell the right part of the story and to add focus. Use the rule of thirds (i.e. tic-tac-toe lines). The subject should be located at the intersection of the upper third and a left or right third. Usually, it is a bad idea to have the subject in the middle of the screen b/c it lacks interest for the viewer. An external microphone will always perform better than the one in the camera. How would I get one for each of my groups? Does our school have one or more that I could use? Mini-DV cameras allow for the best editing capabilities and make sure it has a mic input. This backs up what our movie pro at my school has told me. The presenter’s blog looks to be a very useful tool for incorporating video production into your curriculum.