Welcome! Here I hope to provide you with links to which you can refer back after today's session.

Part One

Databases and ebooks

1. Ok, I just had to remind everyone about our databases and ebooks. Here are the databases we currently offer (also listed on the library media center page):

2. We have seven ebooks , all of which are also available in print in the Library Media Center. The titles are:

  • Africa: An Encylopedia for Students, 4 v, 2002
  • American Decades, 10 v, 2001
  • American Social Reform Movements Reference Library, 5 v, 2007
  • Americans at War, 4 v, 2005
  • Encyclopedia of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity, 3v, 2005
  • Encyclopedia of Western Colonialism since 1450, 3 v, 2007
  • Television in American Society Reference Library, 4 v, 2007

Please remember that databases and ebooks require usernames and passwords. These are available in the library.

Part Two

Wikis and Blogs

1. A wiki is a page on the web that can be edited, either privately or by groups of people (such as Wikipedia). Content is therefore dynamic, not static. A wiki is designed to be a collaborative tool. For free wikis, try this site, wikispaces , or pbwiki. Both sites are easy to use, adding pages, designing/editing pages, and so forth without difficulty. PBwiki allows private wikis for free (for educators), while wikispaces charges for a private page. Both allow protected pages with only approved editors able to make changes to the wiki pages. For a fun, short video to explain wikis further, visit Wikis in Plain English.

2. A blog is like an online journal. Once the content is created, others can post comments to it but can not change the original blog's content. For free blogs, try blogger, edublogs, or wordpress. There are many options, and a simple Google search will provide you with a list. Also, the blog author can choose to moderate comments, allowing a "screen" before publishing comments. For an example of an educational blog generated by a high school class, visit this link re: The Secret Life of Bees. The class even generated questions for the author, Sue Monk Kidd, and she responded to the class!

Part Three

Social Bookmarking Sites

1. Social Bookmarking sites work just like the bookmark feature on your own computer, with a couple of differences: your bookmarks are kept on the web, so they are accessible from any computer where you access the web (home, work, vacation, etc.); and, you can choose whether your bookmarked pages are public or private.

2. I think these sites are great for setting up websites that you want students to access--if you only want them to go to very specific websites, put those in an account on the web, and give students the URL, login name and password.

3. There are many sites, and features vary, but here are my favorites:

Part Four

RSS Feeds

1. RSS stands for Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary--depends on who you talk to.

2. In order to use RSS, you need an RSS Reader. Think of it as your web mailbox. Once again, there are many options. I use Google Reader. By using an RSS Reader, you can save lots of time by having items/articles of interest from the web put into your reader--information comes to you instead of you having to get it. You can "subscribe" to any web page with a RSS feed that you want--news, blogs, sports, etc. Your reader, or aggregator, will check the sites you subscribe too throughout the day, and add any new content to your reader.

3. To see if a web-page you're interested in has a feed, look for the RSS symbol: external image rss.gif or external image syndicated-feed-icon.gif

4. To subscribe, click on the RSS feed and paste it in your reader, or if you're using Google Reader, click on the "add subscriptions" and paste the feed URL.

5. This can be a powerful research tool. You can customize what you collect for specific units of study. For example, let's say you would like to collect all online news about John Stark. Go to Google News, put John Stark Regional High School in the search box, and click "search". After the results page loads, click on the RSS icon in the URL box at the top of the screen. This gives you the feed link. Highlight it, copy and paste it in the "add subscriptions" box, and click "add". You will now receive every online article mentioning John Stark in your reader. If you want specific information from a specific news publication, you can do that under "advanced news search". This can help you collect current events on any topic you are studying--global warming, Darfur, etc.

Part Five

Podcasts, Vodcasts, and Screencasts

1. Please remember that parental permission is important before students publish anything on the World Wide Web.

2. Will Richardson, educator, author, and consultant, has a wonderful page on this topic. Check it out!

3. For more help with podcasts using GarageBand, visit this GarageBand Podcast Tutorial

4. For more help accessing free podcasts from the iTunes Store, watch this tutorial.

Part Six

Other Free Tools

1. Skype: A free phone service from your computer to another person's computer via Skype (requires a download), to anywhere in the world

2. Combine Skype with Yugma, and you have voice and video. Yugma is a real-time web conferencing tool. Examples for use include tutorials, a collaborative experience with another teacher, class, or expert on a particular topic, or study groups

3. Pageflakes: a way to make your own personalized web page, or have your students create a web page on a topic. Images, podcasts, videos, news feeds, etc. can all be posted on the page

4. New in December 2007, a teacher edition (completely private unless you choose to share) of Pageflakes

4. VoiceThread: an online collaborative tool that allows for multiple comments about a piece of media--a photograph, a drawing, a video, a document; allows people to comment using voice (via a microphone or telephone), text, audio file, or video (via webcam); allow "video doodling" on the image as well; can be completely private to completely open, and comments can be moderated (like a blog)

5. Flickr: a photo sharing site; can also use flickr to search for images on a specific topic

6. iFlash: virtual flash cards that can be created with audio and/or video components for mac OS X; costs $14.95, and results can be downloaded to an iPod for listening/watching

7. A visual dictionary by Merriam-Webster

8. Twitter: another communication tool using quick, frequent posts; some businesses are using it instead of email, and you can "follow" someone (like a political candidate's events) as well

How can we use these tools to help our students learn in new, challenging ways?