Thing 17 / itunes

After searching the itunes Store, I decided to  preview the Martha Stewart Craftstudio podcast, as I have always found her fascinating.  The information she presented about paper crafting and design was interesting and relevant to my hobby, which is origami.  I decided to subscribe to this podcast, as the updates will help with my designs.

My second foray was into the world of education, where I viewed CNN Student News and promptly subscribed to it.  The news was delivered in a succinct and relevant way and, of course, the newscasters are well-spoken and personable.  My thought is that this is a site I would like to expose students to for a few minutes, several times a week.  The reasons are these:  (1) exposure to the larger world forces students to realize that their concerns are not the only things of importance; (2) the quality of writing is something students would do well to emulate; and, (3) the clarity of delivery by the newscasters is also a skill students would benefit from seeing.

Thing 16 / Classroom 2.0

The most amazing thing about Classroom 2.0 is the obvious, but it bears repeating – the amount of information now available at one’s fingertips is almost incomprehensible.  That point hits home with me every time I tell an  English class that William Shakespeare’s only two books while in school were the Bible and the Book of Common Prayer!

Obviously, there are a multiplicity of worthwhile discussions / resources of value on this site.  One in particular is the Connecting for Language Learners group, which offers the opportunity to connect with educators from around the globe.  Amplifying on that concept is a free site ( that sets up a global exchange for projects of any sort.  Because I teach English, I am interested in doing a story share.  Once I convey the country / region I am interested in, this site will find a partner.  I am excited to introduce this to my students in the Fall, as it will enhance cultural awareness and the sense that it is truly “one world”.

Thing 15/Diigo

Initially, my exploration of diigo was intimidating.   It is a site I had never used and highlighting/tagging etc. is a bit arcane for me (the quintessential digital immigrant).  However, I conquered most of my fears and accomplished the required tasks.

I was impressed by the ease of access to numerous information avenues, as well as the ease of categorization of same.  My students will benefit from knowledge of this  site because it will accelerate a research/learning curve on assigned projects which mandate use of it.  Also, once you become accustomed to it, the site is very user friendly.  On a personal level, I learned about the Irish ground rent situation in County Mayo, Ireland – which was impossible to find on my regular search engine.

Thing 14/Google Reader Reading

In his well-written and thought-provoking blog, How to Engage Active Learners Jeff Dunn makes the case for engaging active learners with whatever “resonates” with them, whether it’s ipads, IWBs, or flipped classrooms,etc.  His pitch becomes more compelling as he describes the summer activities of students, which involve constant activity and engagement [emph. suppl.].  He follows that concept with another visual – those students suddenly transported to a traditional, slow-moving classroom where they would quickly become distracted, distanced and disengaged.

Dunn further cautions that in working with digital natives, the trick is not to become attached to one method.  There are many options available and more on the horizon.  As all active learners are different but for their eagerness to learn, the wise teacher will employ all the available tools to keep the fires of educational enthusiasm burning.

Thing 12/Creating a Slideshow

The slideshow I created is called European Castles and depicts some found in Western Europe; most are still standing.  I find the concept of safety behind stone walls intriguing, as it seems mankind has not progressed much since those times.  Perhaps we should all be living in structures such as these!

European Castles on PhotoPeach