What's IT all about?

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Hello and welcome to the first edition of whiteboard blabber! For the second half of the semester I will be discussing electronic whiteboards. Although I had never even heard of them until I was assigned the topic, I didn't have a hard time figure out what they are. Electronic whiteboards are the 21st century's version of a chalkboard. Basically, they look like the whiteboard hanging in your kitchen, but can do so much more. Not only are these whiteboards interactive, but teachers can save their presentations to the board and then email them to their students!

Attached is an article from Education World which describes electronic whiteboards and how they are being used in the classroom. Check it out:


Until next week!


Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Hi everyone!

This week in class we are discussing the website, SOS for Information Literacy. This is a really cool website where teachers can both browse and submit lesson plans and "buILders" (which are interactive, information literacy based projects).

Once registered (for free,) you can search and submit lesson plans...and some of them are great! I was required to create a buILDer for this site last semester and while it was very, very time consuming, I was really proud of my finished product (you know...that feeling you get when you have accomplished something).

Check it out:


PS for anyone in my class (which is probably everyone...I don't think I have any "fans" from the outside world)--buILder has some glitches and it takes some getting used to...if you feel lost or frustrated, let me know and I'll try to help.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Hello everyone and welcome to Clicker Chatter's FINAL post! As I told you before, I have been on a mission to find some sites which are selling clickers. After re-re-revising my search terms to "clickers for students", I finally found some info.

Here is what I came up with:

Smartroom Learning Solutions
This is a link to their prices for various class sets.

Clicker Devices
This is a page for Ohio State University students in need of clickers.

Clickers@UMD:Store::Buy a Keypad
This is a page for UMD students, it tells them how/where to buy a "Keypad" (that's what they call clickers).

RCAT home :: Services
This page, hosted by the Resource Center for Academic Technology at the University of Toronto, explains the in's and out's of "Classroom Response Systems", including what they do and how to get them.

Well, that's all for Clicker Chatter! I'll see you back next week when we will begin learning about electronic whiteboards...woo hoo!


Monday, October 16, 2006

This week we are discussing assistive technology. One of the sites we were urged to visit was bookshare.org, a site which makes large print books available over the Internet to people with disabilities.

I checked out this site and it looks pretty cool. For a small fee ($50/year and a one time $25 registration fee), people can download as many books as they can read (up to 100/month). The good thing about this site is that they are providing their members with real books, by that I mean books people want to read, such as bestsellers and new releases.

In order to join, you must provide proof of a visual disability in the form of a doctor's note. While it is obvious that those who are legally blind would qualify, I wonder if this site is for the elderly as well? I see the challenges my grandpa is facing now that his eyes are getting old and I think a service like this would be great for him.

Check it out:


Friday, October 13, 2006

Hello and welcome back to clicker chatter. I found an interesting article this week while I was looking for "clickers for sale" (more on all that next week). This article is from ABC news and talks a bit about how clickers are being used on university campuses.

This article pointed out some info that I hadn't come across before. It seems that publishers are selling clickers with their textbooks (the clicker part costing about $25), the thing is because different publishers are using different kinds of clickers, some students might have to buy more than each semester. Because of this (and an increase in use of the technology), some universities are actually wiring up their lecture halls to include built in clickers. That way it sets up a "universal system" on campus which makes it easier for both profs and students. Pretty neat, huh?

This article is a quick read and pretty interesting. Check it out:


Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Hello again! This week in class we are discussing iTunes and ipods and I wanted to take this opportunity to tell you why I love/hate my ipod.

As I stated in an earlier post, the New York Public Library makes audio/ebooks available for free to anyone who lives in NYS. Well, I didn't have an mp3 player and after waiting for and saving up my b-day money (literally), I rushed to Target and got a nano. Well, I was all excited, picked out a book and spent the next three hours trying to figure out how to transfer it to the nano. Come to find out...mac products are not compatible with the library's software.

So, I took the nano back and got a (much cheaper) sandisk mp3 player which fits my needs perfectly.

However, as time wore on I was beginning to tire of the audiobooks made available at the library and started to look into the site audible.com, where you can download audiobooks, for a price. It is a bit expensive, but I happened to join during a promotion where I got a free nano...so I guess it all evens out.

Now I have my ipod for audible books and my sandisk for library books! Future audiobook listeners beware!


Saturday, October 07, 2006

Clicker Chatter is having a problem! Since I was assigned this topic, I knew I wanted to do a post which contained links to sites that sold clickers because I thought it would be interesting to see what they look like and how much they cost. Well, I have been looking for these sites for weeks. I have tried everything from Circuit City and Staples, to Amazon and Ebay, to college bookstore websites and desperate Google searches.

Well, I have found: Instruments for training dogs and horses, garage door openers, pens and pencils, toys, computer software, remotes controls, wireless mouses, etc.

I only found one actual clicker for sale, and it is for a $700 set of 24:


I keep reading that these things are being used all over the country...where is everyone buying them?

I'm on a mission now....I hope to have something for you next week.


Tuesday, October 03, 2006

From iPods to laptops and even cell phones, technology is changing the way our students are learning. If you haven't guessed, this week in class we are discussing the crazy world of mobile learning.

This is all fascinating to me because I didn't have a PC until my first year of college in 1996. We watched VHS tapes back then and nobody had a cell phone, let alone an MP3 player or palm pilot (they didn't even exist!).

And now I sit curled up on the couch, doing work for my online class via my wireless laptop.

Is this way of learning better than the good old days of handwritten rough drafts and final copies? What do you think?