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Friday, April 17, 2009

Moodle Tutorials

Anyone using the Moodle course management tool might want to check out the Moodle Tutorial site, which has, not surprisingly with a name like "Moodle Tutorial", a large collection of video tutorials demonstrating how to do all sorts of things within the Moodle environment. This is much like a YouTube style video sharing site in that users can upload videos (as long as they have to do with Moodle) and share their videos with others. You can comment on other videos and also embed them on your site or blog. I have included a video from the site for your enjoyment. This is a general presentation/overview of Moodle.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Funding Sources

I wrote about Donors Choose a while back (read short posting here) but I have recently come across some other similar sites that are designed to help connect teachers and schools with donors who want to provide new and/or used supplies for classrooms. iLove Schools and ClassWish are two other similar sites to check out when looking for supplies or funds, or if you are an individual in search of worthy causes.

iLove Schools allows teachers to create wish lists of equipment and other supplies. Donors can look through the wish lists and then send items, both new and used, to the specific teacher or school.

ClassWish is very similar in that users can create wish lists. Donors are able to donate the required funds for a particular item on a list directly online and then that item will be purchased and sent to the teacher.

Both of these sites allow you to search for a specific school and teacher and you can sign-up to track a school and/or teacher so that you are notified when a new item is added to their wishlist. As a parent, I would rather do something like this than be asked to participate in fund raisers where I'm expected to sell or buy various overpriced products that I have no use for.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


MiEarth is a fairly new site that provides access to a growing selection of videos focused on the environment and what we can do to help keep it clean and healthy. The site is the result of a collaboration between the University of Michigan-Dearborn and Detroit Public TV. There are 5 main categories of videos to choose from. They are:
  • Green Team: Videos about environmental heroes throughout the state
  • Green Communities: Videos about the environmental work of local governments
  • Green Inc.: Videos about the environmental work of companies
  • My View: Personal videos from members and users expressing their viewpoints on the environmental challenges we face and offering their own solutions
  • For Kids: Educational videos on the environment for k12 students
You can link directly to different videos but currently there isn't the option to embed them in another site. You can also upload your own videos to the site and while I haven't tried this yet (I really don't have any of my own videos that are specifically about saving the environment) I would assume there is some kind of moderating that goes on to make sure the content is appropriate.

There is a small collection of teacher resources on the site that provides information and links to different environmental related activities, events and fieldtrips that teachers can plan or participate in with their students. The site is fairly new so the amount of resources and videos is still a bit small but this would be a nice resource to consider particularly if you are a teacher in Michigan, but also for teachers in other parts of the country and world.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

The History Channel: 50 States

The History Channel has a great site with a wide range of resources on historical topics as well as many other areas of interest that would be appropriate for the k12 classroom. One resource in particular that I wanted to highlight today is their 50 States interactive map and games area. The interactive map (shown below) allows you to click on each state in order to learn about that particular state.

The screenshot below shows all the options available to learn more about the state of Michigan. The is the typical view of an individual state once you click on it from the main map. Each state has the same range of options and information available for students to explore. The "featured video" option was a little disappointing, however. When I was looking at the state of Michigan the featured video was about New Mexico. Plus, I had to watch a short commercial before the video started. I know they have to pay the bills but couldn't the featured video on the Michigan page at least be about Michigan?

Students can practice their knowledge of the states by playing one of the two flash based games that include "Name that Plate" and "Name the State". In "Name the Plate" players try to match the correct state to it's corresponding license plate in a race against the clock. Name the State is quite similar except you are trying to place the state in the right location on the map in a given amount of time. This site would be a great place to start when conducting research about the 50 states or when you're just trying to help reinforce basic United States geography.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The Cycle

Since it is April, and Earth Day is coming up later this month, I thought I would share The Cycle, a website with a series of animated videos on recycling. Video topics include an overview of the concepts of reducing, reusing and recycling as ways to help the environment as well as several individual videos on the different common materials that can be recycled such as plastics, metal, paper and glass. These videos have a lot of great information to help kids and adults better understand exactly what can and can't be recycled. You can check out the overview video below or watch all the videos by clicking here. These would be a great way to jumpstart discussions with students or kick-off a recycling unit at your school.