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"Google understands the importance of finding the right information at the right time. We create tools to let you find the information you need, of the kind you need, when you need it. In most cases, a simple search works really well. But for more specialized questions, a bit of instruction in how to search improves all searcher--from middle school students to trained professionals--and lets you discover and use more, higher quality sources than ever before.
This is Google's main website for search education. -JL
By Tasha Bergson-Michelson
"Based on how Google ranks search results, typing in a question will be more likely to bring back pages with a question for a title. In many of our everyday searches this is an easy way to find question and answer sites when we want them, but Q&A sites are not necessarily authoritativesources for school work. So I have students write down their questions and teach them how to mark them up to create queries, the first step being to identify the significant words.
"Explaining how to distinguish the important words has sometimes proven challenging with younger students. Recently, however, fellow Googler AJ Kimbembe observed that the mark-up process reminded him of rebuses. You might remember these puzzles from childhood, where select words in a narrative are replaced with pictures. We started playing with the idea, and realized this could be a great lesson for students in identifying the best search terms."
A 45-minute video tutorial on how to search EBSCOhost, perhaps the largest and most frequently used online subscription database. The website includes a link to handouts that accompany the video.
EBSCO is recommended by my university library as one of the best sources to search for education resources.
Material has been prepared y the Minnesota Office of Higher Education and the University of Minnesota Libraries. -JL
By Joe Bunting
"This week, we’ve heard from some great interviewers—bloggers and journalists who have interviewed presidents (like G.H.W. Bush), celebrities (like Sting and Kevin Bacon), and niche celebrities (like Seth Godin and Steven Pressfield).
If you’ve been following along, you now know:
Interviews are a powerful promotional toolYou should never stake someone out for an interviewHowever, chasing busy interviewees into elevators and cabs is coolDumb questions make for great interviewsWhen interviewing liars, meet them in person (polar bears, too)"
By Joe Bunting
"How to Start Your Novel
"I used to think you should start a novel on page one with a bang, that you should throw the reader straight into conflict. I heard agents and publishers want novels full of conflict, novels that immediately hook them, and I thought, I can do that. So I cut out all my world building and characterization and focused on the central plot from the very beginning...
"Novels should begin with character and world building. You need to introduce the reader and let them explore your world a little before you can introduce the conflict of the main plot."
By Ruth Ayers
"One of the teachers I’m working alongside is really focused on honing her conferring skills. So we are hunkering down beside students and listening intently to their work. She leads the conference and I listen. We’ve been considering the two parts of a conference. In a nutshell, these parts are:
Part One: Figure out what the student is doing as a writer.
Part Two: Help him or her do it better."
Course Title: Instructional Ideas and Technology Tools for Online Success
Description: Motivating students and creating community within blended and online learning environments is crucial to academic achievement and success. This open course will provide both theoretical concepts and practical tools for instructors to improve motivation, retention, and engagement within blended and online courses.
Construct thinking skill options for different types of learners and subjects
Design and share innovative thinking skill activities as well as unique cooperative learning
Map and apply instructional models and ideas to online learning tools
Course Duration: April 30th- June 4th ( A total of 5 weeks)
Enrollment is now open.
"Join your colleagues at the 9th Annual Sloan Consortium Blended Learning Conference and Workshop, Perfecting the Blend, as we problem-solve, exchange ideas, and explore effective strategies about blended learning. The conference provides the opportunity for instructors and faculty members, instructional designers, student advisors, administrative leaders, and researchers to share best practices, strategic considerations, models of practice, and challenges revealed through our experiences in practice and research."
This conference occurred on April 23 and 24, 2012. This page contains a listing of all the presentations, with links to them. Nearly all of the presentations have slide decks available to the public and many provide additional materials as well. No videos are available.
Although the focus of the conference was higher education, many of the presentations and presenters focused on K-12 also.
If you are interested in blended learning, these is sure to be something of interest for you here. -JL
10 thoughtful ways on how to use Skype, 5 companion tools to use with Skype, links to online Skype communities, global Skype projects, and directories of Skpe users, and a link to a Skype tutorial for teacher beginners. The video depicts 6th graders from Cosgrove Middle School, in Spencerport, NY, having a Skype video conversation with author Barbara Mahler ("Hole in the Sky"). Nice collection. -JL
"Computers are fast when it comes to grading test essays, but they can be fooled...
"Les Perelman, a director of writing at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, says no.
"Mr. Perelman enjoys studying algorithms from E.T.S. research papers when he is not teaching undergraduates. This has taught him to think like e-Rater.
"While his research is limited, because E.T.S. is the only organization that has permitted him to test its product, he says the automated reader can be easily gamed, is vulnerable to test prep, sets a very limited and rigid standard for what good writing is, and will pressure teachers to dumb down writing instruction."
Via Jim Lerman
By Amy Gillespie and Steve Graham
"The list of recommendations presented below is based on scientific studies of students in grades 4–12. The strategies for teaching writing are listed according to the magnitude of their effects. Practices with the strongest effects are listed first.... All of the strategies are potentially useful, and we encourage teachers to use a combination of strategies to best meet the needs of their students."
Via Karen LaBonte
By Joel Lee
"Are you late to the social networking party? No worries. It took me a long time to get into the whole social networking thing, but I’m glad I did. It’s definitely been a beneficial experience.
"Although Facebook continues to defend its position as the most popular social networking platform, you shouldn’t focus all of your attention there. As they say, don’t keep all your eggs in one basket. Where else can you go? Twitter! Twitter is a great resource for social networking, but especially so for writers. By taking advantage of hashtags, you can separate the useless and boring tweets from the ones that are interesting and pertinent."
Author identified only as Glenn W.
"Publishing student projects online in visually stimulating formats is now easier than ever. There are tons of tools available that you and your kids can use to get stuff out there.
"The following web 2.0 tools are some of my favorites for showcasing student projects. The list includes two different kinds of sites. The first type requires that kids create work using a desktop tool such as Word, Keynote or Pages and then the site converts that work into online content. The second lets kids doing the actual creating online."
Via JoelleYalin, Jim Lerman
Studying and researching online is becoming an ever more important element of our digital skill set. I spend a lot of time reading online and skimming through numerous articles from journals and blogs, so I'm always keen to find useful tools which can assist me or my students in this and make the process more efficient. One tool which I have just discovered and which I hope will help with this process is Cruxbot.
Via Nik Peachey, Jim Lerman
"Almost a million images of New York and its municipal operations have been made public for the first time on the internet.
"The city's Department of Records officially announced the debut of the photo database.
"Culled from the Municipal Archives collection of more than 2.2 million images going back to the mid-1800s, the 870,000 photographs feature all manner of city oversight -- from stately ports and bridges to grisly gangland killings."
GREAT SOURCE OF WRITING PROMPTS -JL
By Clint Archer
"As a child I was intrigued by how exciting my friend Josh’s life was. At every recess, he regaled his huddled audience with a riveting narrative of how he missed the bus and had to hitchhike without his mom finding out, or how his bicycle light failed him on a dark street at night and almost led to his early death.
"Then, I realized that his stories were all everyday events that could have happened to anyone. The difference was that he crafted the story well. He set up the scene, introduced conflict, and brought the resolution with remarkable flare, and usually a twist of humor to boot."
By Dan Schmidt
"We give names to most everything around us: our pets, our kids, our cars, the products we use, the food we eat (it’s not ‘frozen dairy-like substance’, but Frosty), the games we play. And, as writers, we name our characters, too. In fact, next to the physical characteristics we try to describe, the names of our heroes, villains, band leaders, and shopkeepers are about the most important tool we have for identifying and tracking who is doing what. Good names help both writers and readers move through a story smoothly; bad names put us in a stagecoach on a washed out dirt road."
PadGadget is looking for passionate and opinionated iPad users, who love to write. We want freelance writers that can cover breaking iPad-related news, talk about and review apps, and who are able to write original, clear, interesting and concise reports relevant to our audience.All positions are for independent freelance writers and the candidates need to be avid iPad owners. A couple years of writing experience would be a major plus. Cash compensation is dependent upon experience, and articles relevance/quality. Be prepared for a minimum commitment of at least one post per business day.
If you’re interested, please contact us via the form below. Note that you will be asked to provide a resume, and at least two writing samples of relevant articles/stories. Also, if you happen to have links to published work currently available online, please include them in your message.
We look forward to hearing from you!
The PadGadget team
Inspiring video. Excellent supporting resources. -JL
AP English Literature students respond to reading about the American Dream by creating a non-profit organization that helps local citizens realize the American Dream.
"After watching Sarah Brown Wessling’s video, Grant Writing as an English Lit Assignment, former student Blane Chesnut wrote:
“I consider this project the most beneficial project I worked on in high school because it helped prepare me for college better than any other project… Thank you for the skills you taught me.”
By Kayle Palmer
Summary by SmartBrief on EdTech
"The website Figment -- founded in 2010 by Jacob Lewis, a former editor of The New Yorker, and Dana Goodyear, a New Yorker staff writer -- provides a space for students to publish their original writing and receive feedback online. Philadelphia English teacher Meenoo Rami says the site is a "perfect platform" for her students. "It's important for students to know that their work is viewed by more than just their teacher. For my students, the idea that a larger audience is being exposed to their work is important to them," Rami said. "This gives them an authentic reason to write."
Focus on writing, shut everything else out. -JL
Description by Internet Scout Project
In a media-rich environment with a wide range of entertainment on-demand, it can be hard to focus for more than a few minutes at a time. Focus Writer provides a simple, distraction-free writing environment. The program utilizes a hide-away interface that users access by moving their mouse to the edges of the screen, and it's quite helpful. This version is compatible with all operating systems, including Linux
By Jennifer Ansbach
"The students work, huddled in pairs, jotting down ideas in notebooks. The classroom buzzes with collaboration, punctuated by giggles and laughter. Students are excited to be writing as we start our annual celebration of Script Frenzy!
"For the past five years, my 11th grade English students have written novels for National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo). Both NaNoWriMo and Script Frenzy are the work of the Office of Letters and Light, whose mission is to provide programs that allow participants to "turn off their inner editor" and "write with abandon" as a way to bring everyone's innate creativity to fruition. Three years ago I introduced them to Script Frenzy to help students reconsider their ideas through a screenwriting lens."
Via Pippa Davies @PippaDavies , Karen LaBonte