Sunday, September 27, 2009

GO GO Blogging Gadgets

Despite the rather dated reference to Inspector Gadget in the title of this post, I am blogging about innovation in blogs shown by our very own educators. I have been exploring the expanded world of gadgets on blogger and have been amazed with what I have found. There are gadgets to add information on stock market tips, environmental issues, and much more. I myself just recently added the Earth Tip of the Day gadget to my own blog. If there is an idea you want to include on your blog, there is probably a gadget that will work for you.

Here are some examples from our educators wikis. Check out Jim's blog, he has included a voki character and a grooveshark music player. Jeremy has added a gadget showing of a Space Invaders game. Ingrida added a motivational quotes gadget fo her and her students. Dionne also has a voki and Aaron has also added grooveshark.

There are even more out there in our community adding other great personal touches. Just remember that we should be having fun making our blogs a model for our students.

Until I talk to you next time, the soap box is yours.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

The National Spotlight Is On Globaloria Students & Educators

There is an old saying that says "a child shall lead them." Well in our case, it is not "a child" but approximately 1,000 teens and young adults in Globaloria classes across the state of West Virginia. These young people are leading their peers and indeed our nation in harnessing Web 2.0 tools and mastering the 21st Century skills they need to compete and collaborate in a global marketplace and make our world a better place.

Globaloria educators have taken on the critically important role of guiding their students' learning, and clearing a path for their students to lead. These dedicated teachers and the visionary principals, superintendents, and state officials who support them are utilizing Globaloria and it's learning-by-doing approach to prepare their students for academic success, workforce readiness, and civic participation.

The revolution in learning that is going on within Globaloria classrooms throughout West Virginia has not only attracted national foundations and corporate sponsors, but it's also drawn the attention of key leaders in the federal government. The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), the White House National Science and Technology Council (NSTC), the US Department of Education's Office of Innovation, the FCC's National Broadband Taskforce, and the National Ed Tech Plan Working Group are all extremely interested in Globaloria and the work that each and every one of you are doing in your blogs and on your wiki pages.

National government leaders are interested in highlighting Globaloria as an innovative case study for how to effectively utilize broadband and our web-based game design curriculum to increase children's STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) skills and contemporary learning abilities, and improve standardized test scores. There is also tremendous interest in showcasing Globaloria as an exemplary scalable model for state-wide and nation-wide education reform and transformation.

It is often said that children make up 20% of our population, but they represent 100% of our future. Thanks to the courageous students, educators, and supporters of Globaloria, the future of our nation, the survival of our planet, and the hope for a better tomorrow is looking brighter and much more promising.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Links and Features for Your Blog

Greetings Globaloria Educators!

In addition to being sure you and your students have all the blogs in your classroom added to your blogrolls (see Ingrida's blog for a great example), I want to remind you to search the internet for blogs that you may want you and your students to follow to add to your blog as well.

"Cogs for Blogs" is a blog written by an educator who uses Web 2.0 tools in his classroom. He updates with links and tutorials to enhance his and his students' blogs. Better yet, from finding his blog, I was led to a Wiki he has created called Web 2.0: Cool Tools for Schools with amazing tips for enhancing classroom Wikis.

Below is an example of one Blog feature "Cogs for Blogs" brought to my attention called VoiceThread. Check out what I made below! I'm sure you can all think of great ways to leverage this tool in your classroom.

(If you can't see/hear the VoiceThread below, go here)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

A First Milestone

Well gang, we have all reached our first major milestone: we have made it through the First Quarter Progress Reports!

For some of us it has become somewhat old-hat, but for others, it can sometimes seem very hectic. Josh has the most common of experiences, a feeling of accomplishment and ease now that the first one is under your belt. I'm sure that as we all look back on the completed form, we realize it's not as daunting as it may have initially seemed. I also want t encourage everyone to read and comment on as many reports as you can. Not only can they be a source of inspiration, they can help foster a sense of community and belonging. Its one of those "we-have-all-been-there" kind of things.

It's about this time that we really start to see the community working together. Not only do we have a great new tutorial from Matt, but we also see how teammates Patrick and Josh can model great teamwork as they play off each others' strengths to the benefit of their class.

And our community does not end there-- we get to show our students just how important their work is through the participation of such great people as Gayle Manchin, the First Lady of West Virginia, who paid a visit to Tracy's class at Liberty High School. Through Globaloria, Tracy is building connections between her students and the West Virginia community.

I am really enjoying seeing this blogosphere come alive; but once again its time to turn the soapbox over to the rest of you. Have fun with it!


Monday, September 14, 2009

Tutorial on Embedding Your .swf Files in Blogger

Greetings Globaloria educators! Today I have a special guest post for you all from Matt Payne on embedding .swf files in blogger. This is a great way to highlight your student's work, or encourage them to share some of their files. Thanks Matt for all your help! Take it away:

Hey there bloggers! This is Matt aka Banditt from Southern WVCTC. Here's a quick “How To” I made on posting your flash flies in blogger:

Step 1: Log in to your wiki and upload your file. Once you have uploaded it you should arrive at a screen similar to this.

Step 2: Now you have 2 choices. You can click the link I have highlighted in the above picture and load your swf and get the url or right click the link and copy the link address (this may vary depending on the browser you use). If you don’t know what I’m talking about just click the link and load your flash file.

Step 3: Highlight and copy all of the text that is in the address bar on your browser. I’ve highlighted mine in the below pic.

Step 4: Log in to Blogger and begin a new post.

Step 5: Use the embed tag to place the swf file on your blog post just as I have done in the picture.

<embed src=""></embed>

Step 6: Preview your post to see if it works, then go ahead and click “Publish”.

Step 7: If you forget to close an html tag in Blogger, it gets all feisty and starts throwing error codes because it doesn’t like what you’ve written. Most of the time you can just check the box to stop show errors and everything will work fine. Other times you may need to go back and correct yourself.

If you have done it correctly you should be rewarded with a small version of your swf embedded within your Blogger post.

Why did it not show it at the full size you ask? Blogger automatically sizes it to fit in the small table area it creates just for your post.

Is there a way to make it bigger? Yes: you can add to your embed tag the width and height attributes. Example (in red):

<embed src="" width="400" height="300"></embed>

And what you end up with is a swf that you can tailor the size to about whatever you would like.

If you want to tailor the embed tag even more (different background colors etc.) visit for a little more help.

Good luck!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

We are making a difference

To start our school year on a positive note, I wanted to take a moment to remind all of us just how much of a difference we are making through Globaloria. We are both impacting our students' knowledge base and changing how we and our colleagues view technology in the classroom.

So far this year, I have seen blog entries from all of us that really show our impact. Lisa Dolan is already helping students make the connection between society and blogging by having her students blog in response to President Obama's speech on education. And its good to see she already has her student blogroll up and running to help with that. Aaron Lester has a good blog roll as well and is already making an impact with students by bringing blogger, an unknown, into their educational experience and letting them run with it, personalizing their spaces and adding gadgets. Denise has even shown how broadening our impact on technology can be with the excellent example of her daughter's class and the use of iPhones to make sure all students could get an assignment completed.

I had a smile on my face when students in my regular biology class, not the advanced students as they may be labelled by some, showed me just what impact the Globaloria approach had on their class experience. We all know how bellringers work, gradeable material used to pique a student's interest. Not all students are interested it seems in these activities. But my stars, as I'll call them, were sitting in my class when the tardy bell rang. I reminded them to get their journals done so that we could go to the computers and work. They had already done the work and were eager to get started. Not everyone wants to teach non-honors classes. Some even view them as troublesome or difficult to teach. We are all proving them wrong with Globaloria. With this program, we really can change the world by groups of students at a time.

By the way, the image above is just one example of the Lab Safety Posters created by my "non honors" kids. You be the judge.

Okay, my turn on the soapbox is up. Who's next?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Start of a New School Year

Greetings Educators!

It's the start of a new year and your Globaloria courses are really starting to take off! As many of you have already discovered, blogs are a great forum to share your thoughts on the start of a new Globaloria year. Here are some highlights from the buzz in the blogosphere:

Melonie has been reflecting on the old fable of "The Tortoise and the Hare"

"Most of my life I have aspired to be the hare, but that has not always been to my benefit. I have come to realize the tortoise was right in most cases. As we start our Globaloria classes my students and I are finding slow and steady works best"
Ingrida is kicking off the new year with some thoughts about the Globaloria program with the help of Ian Jukes' insight.

Ingrida writes,
"That's where Globaloria comes into play. This program does try to address the needs of these neurologically different kids by engaging them in the activities they feel are important to them, thus making their learning more meaningful.This program helps students use the skills they so artfully develop outside the classroom walls for academic purposes. Additionally, Globaloria lets teachers dismount their dead horses and try new strategies and approaches. "

And Jim makes some important points about the value of "process":

"For students and educators involved in Globaloria, it is important for us to remember the work in progress philosophy. Our journey will be filled with excitement. We will have frustrating struggles and taste tid-bits of success, we will make friends, and sometimes find ourselves in fierce competition. We will share "ah-ha" moments after being baffled over a seemingly unsolvable problem....As we take this journey, all of us should be encouraged to cherish these moments. Celebrate the small victories. Share them with others in our school and extended communities through posts on the wikis. Reflect on them and savor them by posting on our blogs and commenting on our peers' and colleagues' blogs. Enjoy this adventure we will share together....In the end it will be over all to quickly."
Thanks to all of you for writing such thoughtful posts! It's such a pleasure to read them. Keep up the great blogging!

Your GB,

Be sure to use your "comments thread" as a forum for dialogue. Respond to those who leave comments and see if you can get a discussion going!