The Reform Symposium – Why attend it!

“Don’t let the light of knowledge be restricted to your own bulb. SHARE!”


I hope you all have heard about the 2010 Reform Symposium. If not, do not miss the unique opportunity to take part in.

Funnilly enough, the idea of creating this free e-conference for educators started online. Obviously on Twiter. A group of experts on the subject discussed it on the Trend Topic #edchat. These people do not know the power of what they have done for educators worldwide. My great thanks to them:

Christopher Roges @MrROg3rs, Jason Bedell @jasontbedell, Kelley Tenkely @Ktenkely and Shelly Terrell @Shellterrell

You guys are the best!
The conference will take place this weekend. Starting on FRIDAY the 30th of July at 9:ooam – Brasilia time (2:00pm LA time) and ends on SUNDAY the 1st of August at 9:30am (2:3opm LA time). The entire conference will take place online in Elluminate web rooms and will feature 20 presentations (30 minutes), 14 keynotes (1 hour), and 1 panel discussion (1 hour) on the this year’s theme, Innovative Practices in Education.

The focus of the presentations is, Thank God, the use of technology in class and its issues, advantages and disadvantages . All you need to do is register in the website Reform Symposium, ah… it’s totally free-of-charge! Great, isn’t it? While either on Winter or Summer holidays I believe is a must to attend it.

I have recently been to a great conference:  ABCI – Associação Brasileira de Culturas Inglesas (Brazilian Association of Culturas Inglesas * Cultura Inglesa is the top English Course in Brazil) and I spent some money. Well worth it, though. But what if I did not have the cash? At the Reform Symposium you don’t have to worry about it. It’s totally free and the offer of 48hs almost continuos you will have the opportunity to sit in your fave chair, wear your most comfy clothes, drink your coffee anytime and fit the presentations that appeal to you in your schedule.

The line-up of presenters is comparable to any big live conference. These include Steve Hargadon, Sue WatersAngela MaiersRichard ByrneGeorge Couros,Shelly Blake-PlockTerry FreedmanSteven AndersonTom WhitbyJo HartPhil Hart,John C. CarverPatrick LarkinPaula WhiteMonika Hardy and her studentsRuss GoerendNate KoganLisa Dabbs, and Janet Avery. It’s indeed a global conference gathering people form the US, the UK, Canada, Australia e various countries.

Presentations will deliver topics about abolishing grades, Skyping with classes, Twittering with your k12 classes, integrating games in your math classes just to name a few. Check the complete programme online.

Least but not last, you can win prizes! By registering online you may get:

  • Edublogs will give away 10 free 12 months Edublogs Pro subscriptions. Features include: 10gb storage, no ads, privacy options, premium themes, and much more!
  • SimpleK12 will give away ten free memberships to the EdTech UNconference, each valued at $200.
  • ToonDoo will give away five $100 coupons which can be used to setup licensed ToonDooSpaces. They are private, walled social networks where students and educators can create and share comic strips within their schools or classrooms.
  • Microsoft Education will give away a brand new Xbox 360 to one of the participants who participates in the most Reform Symposium sessions. Those who attend and participate in the most sessions will have their names placed in a drawing.

The biggest of the prizes is surely the growth of your PLN. At the conference you’ll be connected with educators presenting and attending the Symposium. All of them will be willing to chat throughout the weekend, exchanging ideas and news.
For this, the Reform Symposium will be granting Continuing Education Credit (CEU) for FREE!
Getting CEU or professional development credits for your certification can be time consuming and expensive! By attending this virtual e-conference and filling out these forms you may be able to save yourself time and money. Plus, you will be able to choose which presentations you want to attend at a time that is convenient for you.

See you online, then!


Xtra Normal

Do you have problems xtranormalmaking movies? Your problems are over [lol]

If you can type, you can make movies.

This tool is rather easy to use and makes wonders! I myself have used it with my 8yo kids and it has been a great success.

With Xtranormal State, you choose from among various premade characters and scenes, decide how many actors you want, then simply type in the dialog you want them to say. You can drag and drop animated actions (such as walk or run to a placed target, head movement, look at camera, etc.) into the typed conversation, to create motion automatically timed with the dialog. Actions can be edited (depending on the specific type) for delay, duration, or even type. For instance, you can choose among various gestures, such as wave goodbye, chin scratch, hand to head, and others. Creating different camera angles is nearly as simple, as is moving actors within the scene. Other options include being able to add photos, movie inlays, and music.

Xtranormal State does have a small learning curve. The provided tutorials are simple animations with dialog showing you what can be done and offering advice on how to edit the provided templates. We expect that some folks who aren’t comfortable moving objects in 3D space may be initially frustrated. But it doesn’t take much to become proficient with the program.

The Publish dialog provides direct publishing to YouTube, Facebook and Twitter, with fields for title, description and tags. Xtranormal State exports to various screen sizes (iPhone 3:2, Widescreen 16:9, Fullscreen 4:3 and HD 720) and saves to AVI MPEG4, MPEG 2, and MOV. To watch some example videos, check vendor Xtranormal Technology’s YouTube channel.

Although the actors are plasticky, and the scenes have little detail, Xtranormal State is fun to use. It makes it easy to quickly create amusing animations, even if you have no graphics or animation experience.

– Teaching Tips: Get your sts to produce their own videos. Make it a collaborative work. Everyone can join and thus enrich this experience!
Take a look at the example my kids and I did: Xtranormal


I’ve found a very interesting site these days:

Newsmap is an application that visually reflects the constantly changing landscape of the Google News news aggregator.

Although I am more than pleased opening Google Reader and learning about the most relevant news of the day in that way, I can realize that there must be people that find it impractical. I can also picture these individuals as the ones who prefer to rely on services like Twitter to get their daily dose of information. Whatever the reason, a demand is there for alternative ways to access and read the news. And this site aims to satisfy it.

It will let you have a sort of more visual approach to the news of the day. The main page resembles a giant mosaic where these items that are more transcendent are situated at the top, and are presented using a bigger font. You are provided with the headline for each story, and hovering over the relevant square will launch fuller details.

How much do we know? [Search Tools]

How much do you know? Never will one be able to quantify their knowledge. However, one thing is for sure: there is much we DON’T know. Quoting Socrates: “I only know that I know nothing“, The conventional interpretation of this remark is that our wisdom is limited to an awareness of our own ignorance.

Luckily, we are constantly learning. And last Friday – the 18th of June – was no exception for me: I attended a very enlightening seminar on search tools for educational purposes (learning and teaching ESL).

So, it’s time we shared knowledge:

Table 1 – Search Tools

Tool Best for Example Advantages Drawbacks
Directory or Catalogue
– Lists of categories
* news
* genuine information
* organizational
* popular topics
* comprehensive topics
Yahoo * links are evaluated by compilers
* Sometimes links might not exist any longer
* Difficult to define the categories of the search
* limited quantity of links
Search Engines
– Keywords

* specific topics
* specific words and expressions 

* Google
* Altavista
* broad results
* It allows you to specify the criteria of the search
* huge amount of irrelevant results
– Keywords 

* fast general evaluations Clusty
* It simultaneously searches various engines
* Less options of search; it’s difficult to specify/personalize the search 

Specific Database
– keywords & topics 

* areas of specific content e.g. sports
* Academic topics
* Specific kinds of information e.g. newspaper articles
* Scielo
* Eric
* Google Scholar
* High quality
* Very specific topics
* Sometimes it requires access authorization


* Topic Thread * To surf from link to link * Links are usually relevant
* You run the risk of “getting lost” in the cyberspace

Adapted from:

PLNs – Personal Learning Networks

Have you heard of PLNs? PLN stands for Personal Learning Network. However, I use a more-friendly name for it: Advice from friends and colleagues. But in the era of social media the word friend has taken on a new meaning. Social media has provided us with a lot of friends who we’ve never met and never spoken to. Can you think of any examples of PLNs concerning educational purposes (and of course technology)?

PLN can take advantage of lots of different services – Facebook is perhaps the best-known, Ning  is also very popular and offers The Educator’s PLN, but there are lots of others, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. Of all the available services, the one I find the most fascinating (and the most useful) is Twitter. One of the most interesting things I learned about Twitter before I even tried it was that it is like Marmite. It polarises.

If you’re looking to integrate the Internet into your teaching, then your first port of call on Twitter is #edtech. The link will take you directly to a real-time search of posts about educational technology.  The hashtag (#) is used by Twitter as a filter and will take you directly to current posts about that topic – #FB takes you to Facebook posts, #moodle shows you what’s going on in the Moodle world, and so on…

But the jewel in Twitter’s crown for educators is #edchat.  This is a ready-made personal learning network of knowledgeable and motivated people from all over the world who regularly exchange ideas and information via Twitter.  Check it out any time, but if you really want to experience the value of this fantastic idea, have a look at it on Tuesdays at 6pm Central European Time and at 7pm Eastern Standard Time.  For 1 hour at those times users talk about a given subject chosen by a majority vote of #edchat users.  Parents, teachers, administrators and anyone else who is interested in education join in the discussion.  Just watching the threads develop at these times will give you an idea of the huge breadth of experience available to those who are prepared to listen.  You don’t have to take my word for it – #edchat won the award you see on the right here as the most influential Twitter discussion in 2009.

Take your time and join this new media. I’m sure you won’t regret.

Tripico is home to a library of interactive classroom tools and resources. This site is produced by two teacher in the U.K and the resources they produce are very useful indeed. It’s worth browsing it. Let me know what you thought of it…

One of my fave features is the Word Magnet Tool which allows you to paste a sentence into a text box, then break it up and move the words around.
The site also includes a number of different spinners for choosing things at random, as well as timers, score keepers and memory games.

The design of the tools is very user-friendly. They are all easy to use and look great.

It’s well worth bookmarking the Triptico site and keeping an eye on what they add in the future.


First Things First!

After a few unsuccessful attempts I finally came to settle down at Edublogs. Thanks for all your support. There reason why I’m typing down my ideas and findings here is because I want you, teacher, to enhance your classes with a little dash of technology.

Sometimes it doesn’t require a Smartboard or one Ibook for each student to say that you use technology in class. Here, when I have some time out between going to college, teaching, feeding my cats and giving some attention to my partner, I promise to try to expose the simplest and newst available weebtools.

So let’s get started?

How do you like to start a class? And how about ending it? Very often we use the power of  ‘Brainstorming’, isn’t it? I am, particulary, fond of having sts brainstorm their ideas. Now, what about having it done in the computer and store all data for as long as you wish?

That’s what MIND MEISTER does. Mind Meister is an incredible program that allows users to map oup their thoughts onto the computer in a nice and well-organized way. It can be used for many reasons. Whether it be a teacher who is planning her lessons or a student who is getting ready for writing an essay, it’s always fund and wise. Here’s a very good example of how you could use it in class.

Also, take some minutes to watch the Tutorial Video

Mind Meister Youtube Tutorial