Safari-810x385I have spent the last four months transforming from a pre-service teacher, scared of becoming occupied with blogging and micro blogging into an enthused aspiring teaching of ELA prepared to integrate technology into my future curriculum. I activated my WordPress blog unsure of where it would take me, or how the entire process would profit me. Today, I can share with all of you the allowances it has presented me with thus far. In the academic context, blogging has encouraged me to share my writing and receive feedback from my classmate’s, as well as other devoted bloggers. It has been a positive experience that facilitates my overall learning, and keeps me up to date with the world of education, even when I step outside the imagesclassroom. Reading the blogs of my classmate’s also interested me in some very helpful Web 2.0 tools and was valuable in my own understanding of course material. Blogging has also motivated me to take part in some extensive research since writing a blog requires one to visit a variety of sources to find the best content to pass on to respected readers. During this process I am constantly introduced to new material related to my selected topic, which helps me learn more than I supply you with in my final post. I have always been an active learner but blogging has provoked me to vigorously search for the finest information and present it to my readers. Maintaining my own blog has permitted me to take pleasure in my research and learning, and appreciate knowledge, especially related to technology and the endless benefits it can provide for students.

As technology becomes prevalent in today’s schools, students should recognize the impact of their voice and the ability they have to make a difference. My blog has turned into my online journal, which allows me to organize my thoughts and add images and videos that coincide with my topic. Blogging has also permitted me to comment on other blogs and mb-wordlereceive feedback on my own posts; dialoging on a topic encourages me to learn more about it and constantly voice my opinion. In a broader sense, blogs are all about communicating. When writing a blog, I observe an experience, reflect on it, and write about it, all at once. Blogging has allowed me to discover the world and joy of communicating my ideas and receiving feedback on every one of them! There is a sense of excitement that takes over my body as I communicate with a global audience, communicating with the World Wide Web is thrilling and the feedback is extremely diverse.

I also plan to continue posting to my blog as I enter the field of education. I hope I can communicate with educators regarding their experiences teaching, their philosophies, and their methodologies. My students will be highly encouraged to produce a blog of their own twitter-300x225because I strongly believe that educational blogging comes along with astounding benefits for every student. Students have the opportunity to find their voice and develop their interests, and expand upon their writing with feedback and continued support. Of course blogging will improve each students writing skills but it will do so much more than that, since it engages students in an ongoing conversation about their inner thoughts and passions. Students finally have the opportunity to share meaningful writing, and their audience will empower them to become life-long learners, as they become apart of a community where writing truly matters.

Besides the space students have to reflect openly on what they have learned to make meaningful connections, blogging allows students to make an emotional connection to what they have cultured. It also creates the opportunity for students to share their voice while becoming fluent in 21st century literacies. Students can use sites like SoundCloud or share presentations with their readers in order to express their passions. Another added benefit is the positive digital footprint it tags along to each student’s name, students will be able to Google their name and see something positive, something worth taking a look at. This is a great way for educators to promote the importance of having a positive digital footprint.

Microblogging networks offer students the chance to do all of this and more. Twitter is the most popular microblogging application, with over one million users. Mircroblogging is a Web 2.0 technology, and a new form of blogging that lets users publish brief updates, images, and videos. Students can share resources, improve their social skills, and pose 1questions. Twitter is an informal learning tool that allows students to discover and write about various topics, collaborate with others, and publish and reflect on their own ideas or feelings. Twitter has brought me into a new world, where I am connected with an abundance of valuable people and resources. It is a place where I discover and develop new and exciting ways of improving my communication skills and motivates others to join in on exciting conversations. Participating in a tweet chat inspired me to share my principles with my followers and promote social networking in the classroom.

I never expected to discover so much from starting my own blog or connecting with other educators on twitter. This is just the start for me and I am anxious to continue on this path of constant innovation.


So Notable!

Posted: May 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

How many times have you been watching a YouTube video and had to pause it? I am morepause-button-orange than confident that most of you are saying, TOO MANY TIMES!

I am constantly slamming down my space bar to impede my YouTube video just so I can pull up my word document and record my notes.

Well, pause no more!

I have found a neat new tool for taking notes while watching videos. allows you to load any YouTube video on the left side of your screen and on the right side of the screen supplies you with the perfect notepad to type on. Just when things couldn’t get any easier, integrates with your current Google Drive 4account, so your notes are saved automatically as you go! Another plus of joining forces with Google Drive is how simple it becomes to share your notes and collaborate with others, just as you would with any other Google Document. is amazing for any YouTube user, but this application is especially beneficial for students. It is an amazing tool that permits students to take detailed notes, ask questions, and inquire while viewing instructional videos. Once students compile their notes they can simply share them with their classmates to develop their ideas even further.

Now teachers and students will no longer struggle to catch every detail of a YouTube video, since they no longer have to pause and resume their video while attempting to take notes. This application also encourages users to take notes that will appear in the corresponding portion of the video to help pinpoint where changes need to occur—and keep those notes with the video rather than on a separate word document, or piece of paper. Students will find this helpful as they create their own videos and the feedback process will become less 5strenuous. On the instructional side of this, teachers will now be able to include side notes in their instructional screen casts, so students will fully grasp the instructions that go along with a project. This will also keep teachers organized if they plan on sharing a video with a colleague or presenting at a conference, this tool will help the presenter identify and review points of discussion within a particular video.

1Astonishingly, is a free tool and will be a huge asset within the dialogic form of teaching. Students will be able to analyze a movie, commercials, and music videos. The notes for each video are automatically synchronized with the exact moment in each film that these notes refer to, since most notes address a specific section of a video. By clicking on a note, one can jump directly to that point in the video, and will get a brief overview of the notes that coincide with the video. is a great tool for both students and teachers and is extremely straightforward to download and use. The first time you log in, a short tutorial will guide you through the steps, and present you with the basic features of the tool. is available as an application for the Chrome browser as well!

6Click here to download so you will enjoy a variety of videos with no commercial breaks or interruptions!

To get to know more about I recommend watching this informative tutorial!


Welcome to a new world, one that is overflowing with opportunity. A world where learning is the number one priority for all! Learnist is organizing all of the wisdom of mankind in text, images, videos, and audio. Teachers, learners, parents, and many other contributors have collaborated to create an innovative site where users can organize their lesson plans and materials in one place. Learnist is a marvelous creation that encourages all users to gather what they need and create their own learnboard. With Learnist it is simple to organize a series of lesson plans, add commentary, share with colleagues, and incorporate new materials from anywhere on the internet. Learnist also uses a variety of formats that are designed to benefit students’ distinctive learning styles.1

After gathering materials and spicing up the newly designed learnboard feature, educators will have something tangible to refer to in class and students will have a great resource to work with at home, even long after the school day is over.

Learnist also makes sharing with others a simple task. Users can share what they know swiftly and comfortably by remixing anything on the web, like videos, e books, maps, blogs, podcasts, surveys, and more into a simple learning alternative that can then be shared out to others. Learnist represents a well-designed collaborative media tool that can be of assistance to both students and teachers.

4As you continue to explore the elaborate features that Learnist has to offer, you will discover how useful it really is! Users can create lessons on anything as they utilize the content from websites, blogs, YouTube, Vimeo, WordPress, UStream, Scribd, Soundcloud, Slideshare, Amazon, Google maps, Google Docs, Spreadsheets, Forms, Slideshows, and more. As users browse through others learnboards, they will uncover a plethora of lesson plan ideas and receive advice from experts, professors, and fellow teachers who have also researched the topic at hand.

Learnist also makes it easy to stay up to date with current teaching strategies because it is constantly updated and every user will receive a notification when something is added to a learnboard that they follow. It also serves as a forum where discussion occurs, and as people come together to ask or answer questions, track progress, find information quickly, they can do so by searching for tags, titles, or keywords.

I highly suggest that all of you follow these steps in order to enter, “The Learnist Corner”:

  • Create an interdisciplinary unit with a colleague on a learnboard.
  • Find out what students are learning in other classes and encourage them to suggest related learning’s on your learnboards.
  • Imagine interdisciplinary lessons that connect all of students’ academic areas!
  • Create a learnboard connecting classroom materials with jobs and fields of study.
  • Encourage students to suggest learning’s that apply to career fields, college or advanced study, or life applications related to the materials you are currently studying.
  • Include multimedia materials such as songs, videos, and photos.
  • Encourage students to create their own boards.
  • Create boards with opposing or controversial opinions and engage students in debate.

With learnboards students can keep up to date and revisit their class board if they are absent3 or missing notes. The instructor may also email and tweet out the learnboard link, giving students a chance to stay on track even if they miss material that was already reviewed in class. Overall Learnist will motivate teachers to stay organized, use collaboration, make learning real, combat student boredom with technology, level the playing field, since it gives students in classes with less technology access to multimedia platforms outside the classroom, and keep students up to date.

Become a member of the winning corner by creating your own learnboard today!

Want to learn how to integrate technology into your teaching? If that question isn’t enough to hook you, then maybe4 gaining free resources, enhancing your professional development skills, sharing lesson plans, and improving your teaching techniques will be enough to reel you in! Personal Learning Networks (PLNs) consists of the people and information that have the ability to bring learning to life in schools. This includes the dedicated members and endless sources of information that together help learning goals develop. Building a successful PLN calls for members to not only search for learning opportunities, but to also utilize their available networks, and support others that are learning alongside of them. Regardless of content, or subject, a stylish PLN can serve as a powerful learning tool. A PLN is a network of educators around the world who serve as an inspiration to many, whether it be through their comments on Twitter, blog posts, or successful teaching strategies. Although you may never meet some members of your PLN you will still benefit from them, as you go over teaching philosophies and invent goals for students far and wide.

3Many of you may already be apart of this world: have a Twitter where you connect with others, or a blog where you post your innovative ideas, but this is not enough! It is great to choose the people you interact with and learn from, but you also must focus on your community: the place where you spend your day, the school where your students are learning, and the faculty room filled with the teachers you work with, because they are equally important as every member of your digital world. These are your colleagues, whether you like it or not, and I challenge you to make it your responsibility to collaborate with them, so the educational needs of your students are met. Developing a community may be harder than developing a network, but it will be worth it.

Teachers have a bushel of responsibility, but they don’t have to deal with it all on their own. Teachers should never feel isolated and a well-designed PLC will provide every lonely teacher with a little tender, love, and care. This Personal Learning Community (PLC) will come hand in hand with professional development, and often, it is the principal, consultant, coach, or whoever the “instructional leader” is in the building, that decides what everyone needs to learn about.

How and why does this happen?  5

These instructional leaders are not just being nitpicky. They are looking at student results, looking at the gaps, and2 then they are using professional resources to determine what strategies will close those gaps. Despite a teacher’s best effort, students will struggle, but when teachers are comfortable enough to announce this struggle, their PLC team can jump on board and strategize. This issue will then be deconstructed from multiple perspectives until it is solved. Since we cannot choose who is in our PLC it is important to keep the focus on school improvement and students achievement. I firmly believe that we need to consider ourselves lucky to have the opportunity to bring our digital lives into school buildings. This informal learning network will produce knowledge as members share their questions, successes, and failures.

As soon as you get a PLC up and running in your school I am sure you will notice the following:

  1. An increase in professional development.
  2. Teachers sharing useful resources.
  3. Teachers’ enhancing their original lesson plans.
  4. Teachers working together to find collaborative solutions that are geared towards struggling students and will get them back on track.

1Students will also learn to collaborate and connect with others through their in depth work with specific topics. Digital PLNs will foster creativity in the classroom, engaging students in the course material. This will also give students an authentic audience as they learn to master their communication skills and produce meaningful work.

Once again, I encourage all of you to take the next step, and not only get involved digitally but bring your knowledge into your school. Don’t simply read a blog post or listen to a podcast, but formulate questions that you will work to answer with your current colleagues. Reach out to them and prove that together you can do more for your students, and make teaching less stressful. Contribute to your school and share the benefits of working closely with others.

I am more than certain that everybody has done it: stayed up all night without batting his or her eyelashes once. Pulled an all-nighter while working hard, or hardly working, because they were simply tossing and turning in bed and then the sun was peering through their window. The past few weeks I have been lucky enough to collaborate with two of my current classmates, Ryan Dalpiaz and Cassie Teevan, and together we conquered our goal.  It was our job to produce a radio show for our “New Media Literacy and ELA” class, better known as ENG 307. Music Energy (+clipping path, XXL)At first glance I was mortified by the uniqueness and depth of this task, especially since it involved working with two of my classmates whom I knew little about. Before my eyes, in a matter of minutes, my attitude shifted. Working with my ‘co-hosts’ was not only a beneficial experience, but it was an all around good time. After our first meeting, where we got together to discuss the theme and structure of our show, and assigned a workflow for the upcoming meetings, I was eager to get started, since I had an alarmingly upbeat reaction to what the future held for the three of us.

Our first obstacle hit rather quickly, since none of us had previously worked on a podcast, or used the audio program, Garageband that we were expected to work so closely with. After watching a thirty minute tutorial that demonstrated the majestic features of Garageband, we directed our attention to our audience. We garageband_freebiesearched near and far to find a topic that would interest us, and be easy to relate to for all of you!  We brainstormed for about fifteen minutes, sharing ideas and bouncing potential topics off of each other.

Some time during this process, the light bulb turned on, and this one carried some intricate enlightenment. We highlighted our own lives, and realized that together we had more than enough experience to masterfully create a twenty minute radio show. We yearned to share some terrifying experiences with late night homework assignments, and took on the stereotypical role of a relaxed student, in comparison to a rather stressed out perfectionist. This topic waslightbulb sincere to us, and allowed each one of us to speak from our own experiences. Regardless of whether we spoke from first hand experience, where we faced up against the clock, and spent all night completing an assignment, heard a story about how a friend handled a situation similar to this, or just took part in a restless night, we knew this would transform into a comedic yet worthwhile show if we simply spoke to this. We decided to artistically craft some homemade radio personalities to fill these roles, and once we did this we wanted to ensure the flow was similar to a radio show. We turned these personalities into ‘callers’ who wanted to share their stories on the air, as they participated  in our rather unique “My Favorite Caller” challenge, that was taking place right on our show!

This competition allowed us to incorporate a plethora of voices, which kept things interesting, as well as a wide range of creative commercials depending on what each caller seemed to need. For example a stressed out caller, who was up all night doing homework encouraged us to include a commercial on “Rejuvenating Shampoo”. Our show was dedicated to those who were up all night, for any reason. We wanted to let viewers know they were not alone, and provide a safe haven for our fellow insomniacs. Our show turned out great, and we were able to mix and match our narration with some really attractive music. SomeRadioShow_N sections of this project were quite gruesome, especially becoming accustomed to the technological aspects, but once we managed to work out the kinks we thrived vastly. The skills learned in the process will remain with me, and I am sure that they will be incredibly useful. I had a tremendous amount of unanticipated fun, and collaborating with two remarkable people made the whole process rather exhilarating. I am proud of our final production, and encourage everyone to check out “What The FM I Still Doing Up Radio!?”

Breaking News in Cyberspace: Early on last week, Google announced that it is indeed shutting down its popular—well not popular enough—RSS (Really Simple Syndication) reader, Google Reader. It appears that Google is taking a step away google-reader-closed-featured-570x270from RSS; they have also terminated the RSS extension for Chrome, claiming that a wretched ‘bug’ has nested in their admired Chrome browser, and shows no signs of relocating. They have labeled this error as a “No Fix” and plan to shut down this unprofitable service altogether on July 1st, 2013.

Is something peculiar going on here? Once further explored it seems like Google wants to not only strip away users access to Google Reader, which displays RSS feeds from websites in a simple list format, but they also want to massacre any rss-mansupport for RSS entirely. RSS also presents an easy way to keep track of news and permits users to receive alerts from their favorite sites, without having to visit dozens of different web pages every day. RSS may not be extremely popular for all computer users, but for some junkies it is a central part of the web, necessary for keeping them connected.

Google RSS extension for Chrome made it simple to discover and subscribe to RSS feeds, given that it linked up with any webpage. It was a trouble-free, one-click process, since the icon appeared in the URL bar of every page that offered a feed. Once clicked on, this icon gave users a plethora of ways to subscribe to the feed, the main one being Google rssReader. RSS delivered headlines straight from the source, and synced news feeds between multiple different apps. Overall it made life online simpler. So now that Google Reader is gone, where do we turn?

Luckily there are a few alternatives out there for those who rely heavily on Google Reader. Two of these options include Digg and Feedly. Digg is a new social site that plans to build off Google Reader and make things even simpler. Their main goal is to digg-google-readermake text “sexy” again, rather than having a text-heavy feed. The updated RSS system will have a feed, along with folders to keep things organized. Digg is willing to step up and alter their current RSS model, but for now when considering a new RSS client you must steer away from Google Reader. Feedly is more comparable to a magazine, it is the current frontrunner, already adding over 500,000 new users over the past two days. Feedlytimthumb.php can be a plug-in for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari, but not for Internet Explorer. One setback is the scrolling option, especially when accessed on a mobile phone, or tablet. This app requires users to swipe in a number of ways—up, down, left, right, but does not allow for quick scrolling. It also only shows a select number of feeds on the front page, until you open the side bar, where the rest will be stored.

Feedly will sync with Google Reader and presents users with a similar experience. google_readerThe most difficult thing will be transferring your previous Google Reader feeds. This link will be tremendously helpful if you are having any difficulty with this process.

Apologies to those who get the majority of their updates and news via Google Reader, but newsflash: RSS IS NOT DEAD, and hopefully the two options discussed above (Digg & Feedly) will serve you well.

Happy International Women's Day!

Image  —  Posted: March 8, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: ,

ImagePinterest is a new-fangled, rather popular website. For a select group it may be used to simply keep up with the latest fashions, or find the perfect dessert recipe, but believe it or not Pinterest has educational value as well. Teachers struggle to brighten up their bare walls as they wrap up their summer and snuggle up in their classroom. Finding the perfect décor is challenging, especially when the goal is to intrigue, and welcome a large number of children or adolescents. Although I am a novel Pinterest user I have discovered the educational gold mines that are hidden beneath the fashion advice and weekly dinner specials. Pinterest is not only a great place to follow the most recent fads; teachers can Imagealso utilize it to improve the educational experience. Pinterest is capable of playing a major role in the classroom, and can be of huge assistance to educators and students. This is a valuable reserve where teachers all over the world can share reading lists, lesson plans, and other helpful sources. Pinterest is bringing educators together, and revolutionizing learning.Image

Pinterest is a tool that can be used in many different ways. Various categories exist on this website that are called boards, some groups include: food, art, celebrities, and quotes. When looking through, you can “pin” items that intrigue you and attach them to your own personal board. These individual boards are easily accessible, making things effortless to keep track of.

For example, since there are so many different teaching ideas and helpful hints I decided to make a board called “teacher references.” This allows me to pin anything related to the topic of teaching to my board, and follow things I deem enjoyable, and hope to use someday in my future classroom.Image

Pinterest has an entire category devoted to education that can be examined here. This feature narrows down one’s search and directs each user to a helpful list of resources. Some examples of the pins featured in this section include: educational conference notifications, book reviews, math fun, pictures of projects produced by students, teaching ideas, lesson plans, and more. After perusing the education category it is more than likely that a plethora of information will be worthy of holding onto. To keep all of this valuable information at your fingertips, users can create their own Pinterest account to “repin” articles or useful resources onto their board. There is also a public board, which permits each user to engage with others who share their interests. If there is something one wishes to model for students or colleagues they simply pin it to the public board, and everyone will have the opportunity to take advantage of the source. Educators and students will build a great forum to communicate, and can collaborate on group projects, or share useful information.Image

Pinterest is helpful as teachers plan activities, and formulate lessons for students. It also grants them with decorating ideas for their classroom. This tool can help teachers make the learning environment for students original and exciting. Along with this, it is extremely helpful that one can follow their friends or colleagues. By having all teachers in a particular school get Pinterest and follow one another they can easily share their ideas over this social media website.  Along with being able to pin things, Pinterest allows users to upload their own pictures. For example, if a teacher created a great bulletin board, they can upload it to Pinterest for other people to use and see. Pinterest is a great way for educators to help each other out, they will work together to reinvent learning, and keep students interested by assigning pleasurable projects, and exciting lessons.

Untangling the Web

Posted: February 27, 2013 in Uncategorized

Having trouble organizing technology? The large number of websites, applications, and overall media buzz that is knocking on classroom doors can be quite overwhelming. Educators all over the world are working to successfully apply technology to their lessons, and incorporate all of this into the curriculum. It seems that many teachers are scrambling through the clutter in order to discover what websites, or unique interactive applications will be most beneficial in their student’s lives, whether it be in the classroom or at home. At times, teachers Imagestruggle with this because the majority of suggested websites that are aimed at students are either non educational or have too many distractions such as pop-ups or advertisements. However, one website that a teacher can use to explore over seventy pages of useful information for every member of their class is GO2WEB20. This website provides distinctive ways for teachers to collaborate, and then share their ideas with their colleagues as they post web links or applications that their students will take pleasure in. Not only can teachers use this website to be of assistance to their students, but they can also use it to help themselves stay organized while they interact with the messy worldwide web. Image


GO2WEB20 includes over three thousand services, and more are uploaded everyday. Site administrators also monitor all entries to ensure they are working properly; those that are no longer working are disabled so site viewers have a useful and enjoyable experience. The site was recently redesigned to guarantee smooth navigation. This includes, a search engine that searches all content on the site, and each service offers its own app where valuable information is easy to sift through. Having an index with each application will assist teachers as they integrate technology into their classroom, and keep them up to date on the services they are interested in. Along with this, GO2WEB20 also has a valuable blog with a plethora of helpful information. People post reviews of applications here, or helpful tips on how to incorporate some beneficial games into the classroom.Image

One app available on GO2WEB 20 that I found particularly motivating is called, StoryJumper. StoryJumper allows students to create and publish their own stories. They can generate stories from scratch and improve their skills. In order to get started they will have the opportunity to brainstorm their ideas, and conduct research, two beneficial skills. After they have their story idea they have the option to upload their own pictures or use pictures that are already on the web. This app is important and a high-quality way to get adolescents innovated, and uses their own voice to assist learning and express their ideas. When each student finishes their story, they can save, and share it with anyone they want, such as their parents and teachers. Also they are able to publish the story by ordering a hard copy of their book. This option will be rewarding for students, seeing their stories, and having something concrete to hold onto will hopefully motivate students to produce more writing, and take pleasure in reading.  Image

This is a fantastic way for educators all around the world to put their heads together when it comes to technology; they can build off each other and share their successes/failures. Also, they can make learning fun again with the abundance of games, applications, and creative tools that are available to their students. 

Having trouble finding the right college for you? Knee deep in applications but still feeling uncertain? Not sure which one will suit you best? Well now there is a CS4solution, a website that will make this gruesome process a little easier.

Decisions are hard to make, especially when they involve commitment. The quest to discover the perfect college can be overwhelming to many people. There are so many colleges to choose from, and so many different things to consider. Do I have enough money for this University? Will I be eligible for financial aid? Do I want to live that far away from home for four years? Along with this, many students in high school have a guidance counselor to assist them with this process, but in most cases this is not enough. They still have many questions and have no idea where to look for answers. With the help of College Scorecard, all of these reoccurring questions can be addressed in one place.

President Obama fulfilled one of his promises that he made in his State of The Union address last week. He was true to his word as he released the administration’s new College ScorecardCS5

The interactive tool is made to answer the questions that parents and prospective students may have as they determine which college will match up best with their lifestyle. It shows consumers how a school stacks up in terms of cost, graduation rates, student loan default rates, and median borrowing.

College Scorecard is a website with one main purpose: allow the user to leave with a sense of relief, and make this stressful process easier. This site was designed to ease high school students, adults, or anyone who is looking to get their degree as they make their final decisions. It permits them to narrow their choices down based on their income and interests. This website was created by the College Affordability and Transparency Center to help students learn about the cost of different schools and how much they will need to pay back in loans when they graduate. CS 1

Many features encourage students to either search for a school or browse by major, school size, state, campus setting, etc. It is a beneficial instrument that allows each user to narrow their search when examining a specific school. After selecting a few options, the website will match students up with the criteria they provided. For example, after clicking on the major category on the home page, it brings the student to another page where they can click on any major that interests them. After this, all of their matches are listed on the left side of the screen, saved with everything that they are looking for in their future school. After filling out all of the search criteria the user can click “search school” on the left side of the screen and then it will pull up a list of each school that fits their needs. Then that specific school comes up and is available for easy viewing purposes. You can then sift through all of the financial facts about the school and other information as well. To test out College Scorecard click here and see what colleges will match up with you.CS3

President Obama is passionate about this tool, but the discussion on its credibility has already begun. Some say it is a good starting point but lacks specific context. To get involved in the conversation or see what others had to say about it, review this article where you can leave a comment of your own!