April 2009 Volume 10, Issue 9


Featured Media Sites 

We've discussed video sites, like YouTube, which are great assets to students in many ways.  Videos, images, and audio clips appeal to visual/auditory intelligences and styles, along with a whole new generation of learners. The older generation thrives on those, too. We know that the more intelligences and interests we engage, the greater the learning. The more content we discuss, the more knowledge we acquire, and, surely, the better we write and compute.

Here are some recommendations for free resources to bring sound and images into learning. The best part? Students can create their own material and share it with you and other learners! We learn best what we teach and teach best what we are learning. That's what the research says.

  • USTREAM - http://www.ustream.tv/ - "Ustream.TV is a live interactive video broadcast platform that enables anyone with a camera and an Internet connection to quickly and easily broadcast to a global audience of unlimited size. In less than two minutes, you or your students can become broadcasters by creating your own channel on Ustream or by broadcasting through your own site, empowering you to engage with your audience in many different ways. Follow the next link, and see how easy it is: http://www.ustream.tv/get-started. In addition, the streaming video capability is an excellent tool for teaching concepts that students can replay over and over. Think about what you can do with ESL..ABE..GED..ANYONE.

  • AUDACITY - http://audacity.sourceforge.net/ -  Audacity is a free, easy-to-use audio editor and recorder for Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux and other operating systems. You can use Audacity to..

Record live audio.
Convert tapes and records into digital recordings or CDs.
Edit Ogg Vorbis, MP3, WAV or AIFF sound files.
Cut, copy, splice or mix sounds together.
Change the speed or pitch of a recording.
And more! 

The site has links to loads for tutorials and FAQ resources. Listening and speaking often take the back seat as we prepare students to enter higher levels of education. Yet, it is through those avenues that many of our students develop knowledge. Windows XP/VISTA also has a very simple and easy voice recording tool with an attached editor. Look for it under your accessories list.

  • DISCOVERY CHANNEL - http://dsc.discovery.com/videos/- Use them in class or assign them individually (remember the earphones!). So many times, we don't write well, not because we can't, but because we lack information about topics we are given. Movies offer great content for later discussion and project assignments. Click on the video tab and enjoy the resources.
  • IMAGES and SOUNDS GALORE - Using online images is a cinch, and there are many ways to help students integrate images into their reports, presentations, booklets, and other projects. In most cases, if you see an image you like on the Web, Right Click on the image and select the options you want. You can copy the image and paste it into your application, or you can save the image (Save As) onto your desktop and later move it to your images folder, or you can simply drag the image onto your desktop. Depending on the site and your operating system, those options vary.

One great way to get to see images online is to type the word into a Google search and then select "Images" from the Google menu. Google Images will give you hundreds of images all over the Web that represent that word. For example, if you want to know what an Akbash looks like, you'll find hundreds of pictures of that beautiful dog breed. Researching plants in your area? Type in the name and see what a Highbush Blueberry looks like. Teaching health concepts, and want to have students see what you are you are talking about? Type in the term "atom" or "heart", or "skull" or "circulatory system," and watch the amazing results. Students can download the images and label them, or enter them into a presentation, or  create a picture dictionary, or anything they want!

There are also many free image sources that students can use to create cartoon dialogs or to illustrate their work. Google search "free images," and explore the list. Many are royalty free, but even if they aren't, you can still use them for strictly educational purposes.

Microsoft also has a huge library of images, animations and sounds that you can download and use freely for educational purposes. If you use a Windows platform, you may download images into your clipart program and make the image available for other projects.  Go to http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/clipart/default.aspx and scroll through the categories, or type in the name of the image you want and scroll though the selections.

To download sound clips for students projects, simply Google search "sound clips," turn up your volume, and select from the sources. You can enter sound clips into any MS Office application to enhance it in very creative ways. Hear famous speeches with a click of the mouse. Listen to dialogs or create dialog clips (See Audacity above) and embed them into student work. The resources are there and they are getting easier and easier to use. And you can't beat the cost: free!

"Oh, I don't have time to do all of those techie things," I often hear. Time? For those who want to remain content experts on the stage (sages on stages), yes, time is a big factor. However, consider relinquishing the center stage. Show a student a tutorial or give him the assignment of learning to do something on the Web, give him clear instructions about what you want, and walk off. Let the student then do the teaching. That leaves you free to plan, assess, watch, and learn. Pretty soon, you may find that you have more time, not less.

Featured Resources (not free, but cheap!)

INSPIRATION: http://www.inspiration.com/
Inspiration is a recognized leader in promoting visual thinking and learning. Students, educators and 21st century business professionals use the products to think, brainstorm, organize, analyze and write. We know that writing and problem solving do not happen on paper. They happen in minds that have practice with organizing and sorting ideas. From inspiring students to study and learn successfully to helping adults and project teams work more productively, Inspiration offers an ideal tool to improve academic and professional performance. Take less that eight minutes to examine some of the possibilities to getting students to use visual organization options for projects in all curriculum areas by watching the intro at http://www.inspiration.com/videos/Inspiration . Yes, all MS Office applications have access to visual tools, but they are not put into a package like this one. The site also has lesson plans in a number of different content areas, including math. Simply click on Lesson Plan link to select your area of interest.

http://www.inspiration.com/InspireData  - InspireData, is produced by Inspiration to help students investigate, analyze, and represent data and information in dynamic graphs and charts. InspireData tools make it easy to change variables and plot types so students can explore data in multiple, meaningful ways. This encourages them to investigate data analytically, ask more questions, and apply their understanding of the data to form better conclusions and continue exploration. Help students visualize and interpret concepts in preparation for the GED, which emphasizes the skill; help your ESL and ABE students put concepts into visual form and explain them or interpret them for themselves and each other.

You may download a free trial copy of either program, or buy a single license for $69 and $79. Licenses are also available. On a tight budget, have students share the program on one computer.

PD360 - http://www.pd360.com

PD 360 is an on-demand library of professional teacher development resources that leverages technology to make professional learning more effective, convenient, and sustainable. With over 200 hours of research-based video content, plus tools for follow-up, tracking, reflection, and group training, PD 360 is the most comprehensive solution to professional teacher development needs.

More than 120,000 educators across North America already use PD 360 to access individualized support on the most relevant topics, like differentiation, minority student achievement, English language learners, classroom instruction that works, leadership, assessment, and many more. PD 360’s content is divided into hundreds of indexed and searchable segments that make it easy for teachers, administrators, aspiring leaders, coaches, mentors, paraprofessionals, and professional learning communities to find the answers they need. New content is continually added to keep you up-to-date. Although the site does not target adult education specifically, the resources represent best practices among any group of learners.

The video presentations on this site are clear and up to date. I've benefitted from what the best minds in the world have to say on different topics. This is a PD tool to enhance your own or your programs' knowledge of best practices.

We will negotiate a license for PD360's content if your program is interested. In the meantime, get a free trial with a tour or resources by contacting Troy Williams, as follows:
Contact me thereafter if you would like to pursue this PD opportunity.

TECH SOUP - http://www.techsoup.org/

TechSoup is a technology resource site aimed at nonprofit organizations, featuring NPO discounts, discussions, articles, and recommendations. TechSoup Stock is a philanthropy service just for nonprofits. Launched by TechSoup Global in January 2002 (as DiscounTech), this service is a unique collaboration with corporate and nonprofit technology providers. Thanks to their partners' generous product donations and discounts, TechSoup Stock is able to facilitate and distribute multiple product philanthropy programs in a centralized, Web-based platform.

You will go through an approval process, after which you'll have access to many products, depending on the nature of your organization. I found the staff very open to discussing options with me and helping me through the application approval process.

Finally, don't forget to check our growing resources on our wiki: http://www.chiresources.pbwiki.com

Tech Ladder Certification

You still have time to certify at different levels of our state certification ladder.

Please contact leecy@coloradoadulted.org to open or re-open your Tech Ladder process.

Tutorials are listed and constantly being added to help you increase your technology skills on our wiki. Go to http://www.chiresources.pbwiki.com  and wear the pearls that await you there! Start showing paper for what you know!

Lunch and Learn (LL)

Thank you, Kathy Ellithorpe, for your expert guidance through different Moodle classes and Moodle tools for teaching. Thanks to all of you who participated in learning more about this extraordinary and free learning tool.

Most of us will not use Moodle as an exclusive instructional tool although many do and very successfully. However, you will find it very useful as a supplement to other vehicles you use. It is also an ideal tool for working with students in multi-level classes. We will have an additional LL session on June 12 to walk you through the process of adding an activity for your students on our Moodle site. Mark that date and join us to learn more!

Our next two LL sessions will teach you how to use Elluminate to connect with students and give you practice moderating a session and presenting short content sessions to each other. If you combine Moodle with Elluminate, Web tools, and onsite instruction, you have a winning combination. However, any of those computer vehicles can also work exclusively to teach students in remote areas, those who do not have the means to access onsite instruction, or those who simply prefer a different way of learning.

NOTE: Our license for Elluminate is now limited to ten people per session. That means that you will have to sign up for sessions beforehand. If enough people get on a waiting list, we'll probably offer a repeat of the session. You will find registration forms for each session posted at http://coloradoeducation.wufoo.com/forms/lunch-and-learn-sign-up. You will be sent a separate email confirming your registration for each session with instructions on how to join the meeting.

Following are the topics presently scheduled through mid-June.

  1. Introduction to Elluminate 5/1 – This session will introduce you Elluminate as a vehicle of instruction and practice taking turns being moderators. Have your mikes connected for the session and be ready to laugh. See following session.
  2. Elluminate Practice Teaching 5/8 – Pre-req: Familiarity with Elluminate or completion of previous LL session introducing you to Elluminate. You are invited to present a five-minute segment in Elluminate and participate as other teachers present their segments.
  3. Intro to Word 2007 5/15 – This session is an introduction to Word, its basic features, and its menu items. You may use this session as a template to introducing students to Word. You’ll be given handouts links and to easy tutorials through which to build additional skills.
  4. Intro to Excel 2007 5/22- This session is an introduction to Excel, its basic features, and its menu items. You may use this session as a template to introducing students to Excel. You’ll be given handouts links and to easy tutorials through which to build additional skills.
  5. Intro to Power Point 2007 5/29- This session is an introduction to Power Point, its basic features, and its menu items. You may use this session as a template to introducing students to Power Point. You’ll be given handouts links and to easy tutorials through which to build additional skills.
  6. Adult Ed Moodle 6/12 - – This is a follow up session on April’s Introduction to Moodle. You will be taken step by step through the process of entering a simple Moodle activity for your students on our state site. You will be shown how to work with information columns for all students (calendar, calculator, contact, grades), how to enter assignments, how to create quizzes, and how to open discussion forums and generate dialog. You’ll be given links to easy tutorials through which to build additional skills in Moodle. Spend some summertime setting up your segments to the fall!
  7. Second Life 6/19 - Travel with us through this amazing virtual world, and watch avatars interacting with each other in educational environments. This is one of the still underused free tools on the Web. Once you experience it, you won't be able to resist it - for yourself or your students. See you in Second Life!

You are invited to email us with topics that you would like for us to cover this year or next

Rendezvous 2009 - http:www.caepa.org

Be sure to register for Rendezvous 2009 to be held August 6-7, Beaver Run, Breckenridge, Colorado. If you want additional information, contact CAEPA president Glenda Sinks: (720) 944-2438 or Glenda.Sinks@denvergov.org. Thanks, Glenda, Jolene Goerend and others helping now and in previous years, to promote this conference!

Think Again

Which word, name or expression is depicted in each box? (I don't make up these things, so don't blame me!)


                       A                                     B



"Man invented language to satisfy his deep need to complain." Lily Tomlin
That's why the Navajos have a tradition of leaving a basket outside the door. You are invited to drop your complaints there before entering!


Your feedback, suggestions, questions and error reports are most appreciated! Let us make you famous!

CONTACT ME: leecy@coloradoadulted.org