Beyond Classroom Tech Tips…

March 26, 2007

New Social Studies 10 Resource

Filed under: Uncategorized — Donna DesRoches @ 11:21 pm

This new Social Studies 10 online resource from the Saskatchewan Learning Resource Collection looks awesome.

Welcome to the Grade 10 Social Studies online resource home page.  Within this site you will find learning objects designed for students and teachers.  The objective of this online resource is to supplement and enhance the criteria set out in the Evergreen Curriculum for the province of Saskatchewan.

Grade 10 Social Studies teachers will find this a valuable place to go for  lesson ideas and instructional strategies.  Use one learning object…. use them all… but give it a look.


March 25, 2007

More Cool Image Tools

Filed under: digital photography — Donna DesRoches @ 5:07 pm

Ok…. I think I am addicted to these sites but it so cooooool what you can now do with your photos:

Slide Shows from RockYou

[rockyou id=61447734&w=426&h=320]

Stained Glass Creations from Stained Glass Collage


And from this generator site


March 12, 2007

Cool Image Tools

Filed under: digital photography — Donna DesRoches @ 10:14 pm

In one of my first posts I talked about Motivator, a simple web-based photo tool to create Motivation Posters. There are other tools available from bighuglabs including Magazine Cover, Captioner (to add comic book captions to your photos), Movie Poster and Framer.

My creation

There are other free web-based tools that are very simple to use but can create a photo impact. These tools can help create photos for digital/visual or photo story-telling.

Dumpr see your photos in a museum!

Spell with Flickr

BootsMotel_O2 N is for Vin N is for Montréal Antiques A

Create nifty graphics with ImageChef.

Those of you with macs might want to download the free ImageTricks a free application to edit and generate images.It uses filters that transform pictures to unimaginable extent and apply advanced visual effect.

Have some fun and try out these new web-based photo tools. Send me cool photos that you or your students have created or create a page and post them to our Learning and Technology wiki.


Filed under: Resources,Social Sciences — Donna DesRoches @ 7:52 pm

WorldBeat is a website with lesson plans with a global perspective. All of the sites have been reviewed by Saskatchewan educators and tied to various Saskatchewan Curricula. The lessons in the most current issue deal with:

Gender Equity and Empowerment of Women

The welfare of women, particularly those women in developing countries, is especially troubling. In some areas, women are still considered second class citizens. Young girls are often not permitted to attend school. Until women and young girls are able to take their rightful places within society, effective sustainable development will be limited.

Two african women working in small crop patch Lessons in this issue:

  • Women’s Rights
  • Women Wanting to Work
  • Sufferage: When, Where, and Obstacles to Overcome
  • Girls Speak Out
  • Girls’ Education
  • Vocabulary of Inequality: A look at International Women’s Day

For each link a complete description is provided along with the specific Saskatchewan curriculum links and objectives it meets. Many of them, as might be imagined meet the specific curriculum objectives of the Social Studies curriculum but others are noted as well.

This is an example of an entry in the most recent issue:

Vocabulary of Inequality: A look at International Women’s Day

african women learning in schoolThis well laid out site, sponsored by the United Nations’ Cyberschoolbus, offers excellent definitions of terms such as racism and sexism. It offers us a look at the history behind International Women’s Day and asks students to consider “Why do we need an International Women’s Day?” Learning activities involve students looking at their own school demographics then international demographics of who’s in school. This site would tie in nicely with other sites about “Girl’ Education” featured above.

Curriculum Objectives

Social Studies Grade 6 ­ Unit IV

  • Explore social and economic inequities and their effects on peoples of the world

Social Studies 10 ­ Unit I

  • Should some people be given more power and privilege than others?
  • Should men and women be given the same access to power and privileges?

Social Studies 20 ­ Unit IV

  • Know that marginalization is the process of eliminating groups of people from those that have social significance within society.

The site has been developed by the Saskatchewan Council for International Cooperation (SCIC) in partnership with the Saskatchewan Council of Social Sciences (SCSS) and the Saskatchewan Middle Years Association (SMYA), Special Subject Councils of the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation.

March 7, 2007

Google Search Tips

Filed under: Google,Searching — Donna DesRoches @ 6:51 pm

Google Library Center has some useful free downloadable teaching tools. These can be used as posters or handouts to help students use Google much more effectivley.

Tell a story in 5 frames (Visual story telling)

Filed under: digital photography,Digital Storytelling,ELA — Donna DesRoches @ 5:36 pm

Digital Storytelling a great way to integrate digital photography into an ELA class. This idea from flickr outlines a 5 frame storytelling process. You may choose to simply have your students create the photo story and share it with their classmates or you may choose to participate in the two-part process and have them upload their photos to the flickr and contribute the conversation about their photos and others on the site.

Tell a Story in 5 Frames has two important parts. The first part is creating and telling a story through visual means with only a title to help guide the interpretation. The second part is the response of the group to the visual story. The group response can take many forms such as, a poetic or prose rendering of the visualization, a critique on the structure of the story, comments on the photograph, or other constructive forms of response. Telling and enjoying stories should create entertainment for the group as well as offer insight into the universal elements that help create a story for an international audience. The more people who respond , as either story tellers or respondents, the greater the reward for all.

Sherron Burns has been doing some experimenting with the 5 frame story and you can view her story, Incoming Call at flickr.


This activity fits especially well with the Middle Years ‘communicative’ context:

In this context, students consider the role of communication in their lives and the ideas and technology that help people become effective communicators.

It would also fit well with Environmental and Technological and the Personal and Philosophical contexts.

Please contact me or Sherron Burns if you or any teacher in your school would like some help or support in exploring this form of digital storytelling further.

March 5, 2007

Great Resources

Filed under: Resources,Uncategorized — Donna DesRoches @ 11:41 pm

The following resources came to my attention through a provincial committee to which I am seconded. I hope that you can pass them along to teachers in your school who may find them useful.

This extensive list of online math resources (K – 8 ) comes from Michelle Morley, the Ed Tech Consultant for Good Spirit School Division.

A Student Guide To Search Engines And To Summarizing Content is another useful resource from Caroline Thompson, Multimedia Consultant from South East Cornerstone School Division. This guide consists of a series of lessons, short powerpoint presentations, student activity sheets and teachers’ guides.

Great Encyclopedia Choices

Filed under: Encyclopedia — Donna DesRoches @ 11:20 pm

In this post I want to bring to the attention of lead technology teachers and other teachers in the school division information about ‘FREE’ encyclopedias.

There are three important encyclopedia that students have at their fingertips:

The Canadian Encyclopedia
Encyclopedia Britannica

What do these three encyclopedia have to offer our students?

The Canadian Encyclopedia: Great Canadian Content!
From this page you have access to the Canadian Encyclopedia, the Youth Encyclopedia for middle years students, Encyclopedia of Music in Canada and access to Maclean’s Magazine (1995 – 2006).

You can also access The Canadian Encyclopedia via the HISTOR!CA Site. At this site you will find links to the short HISTOR!CA films, professional development activities including lesson plans and links to quality student work including animated short films.

Encyclopedia Britannica: Free from Saskatchewan Learning!
This is an excellent encyclopedia. It used to be considered only an academic resource for students in Senior High and university. However, the online version is comprised of three different encyclopedia: elementary, middle years and high school. It is provided to all Saskatchewan residents through the Multi-type Library System.

This is an online encyclopedia built on a wiki platform A wiki is web page which allows registered users to make changes to the content. The Wikipedia is an encyclopedia built by volunteers – the ordinary public. This means that what a student views at one point in time can very different at another time – it also means that the information can be incorrect at any point in time. That being said there is great value in this encyclopedia especially with regards to technology, popular culture and current events.

There is great controversy over the use of wikipedia by students at all levels of education. I believe that just like any other encyclopedia it should be used judiciously. I really like Wikipedia’s response to a college that has told their students that Wikipedia is not appropriate for research.

“That’s a sensible policy,” said Wikipedia’s Sandra Ordonez “Wikipedia is the ideal place to start your research and get a global picture of a topic, however, it is not an authoritative source. In fact, we recommend that students check the facts they find in Wikipedia against other sources. Additionally, it is generally good research practice to cite an original source when writing a paper, or completing an exam. It’s usually not advisable, particularly at the university level, to cite an encyclopedia.”

I think that it is important that we teach our students at all levels when and how to appropriately use an encyclopedia.

It is really important that we as teachers become aware that Wikipedia is often in the first three hits of a Google search and that students may be using it as an in-depth research source and not consulting other valuable sources.

What about Wikipedia is a student made video from Springfield High School in Philadelphia which explains the strengths and limitations Wikipedia. You may want to use this video with your students.

Encyclopedias are valuable resources and it is important that we teach our students how to use them wisely. It is also important as teachers we understand how information can be constructed on the web so that we can help our students evaluate the information they find.

March 2, 2007

Conference: Learning in a Digital World

Filed under: Conferences,Doug Johnson,Jukes,Professional Learning — Donna DesRoches @ 11:04 pm

Now is the time to register for the TLt/IT Summit 2007 Learning in a Digital World Conference May 1 – 2 Saskatoon Inn. (Click the registration button on the menu on the left hand side.)
Registration Free for Campus Saskatchewan and Education Technology Consortium Members (this includes all employees from all Saskatchewan school divisions)

The conference focus “Learning in a Digital World” addresses the diverse impact of technology on teaching and learning. The conference will showcase the contributions and advancements in technology enhanced learning, as well as provide powerful opportunities for networking. The inspiring keynote presentations, cutting-edge concurrent sessions, and engaging workshops will focus on a range of themes to meet the needs of teachers and learners in the province.

K- 12 Keynote Speaker: Ian Jukes “Our Students are not the Students Schools were Designed For.”

As Gutenberg’s movable type printing press ignited the Renaissance, computers, the Internet and networking ignited the Digital Renaissance. Now Google is in the midst of constructing an evolving personalized information system through which our sprawling chaotic mediascape will be filtered, ordered and delivered, providing us with access to a breadth and depth of information that would be unimaginable in earlier age. A custom content package for each user based on the user’s choices, consumption habits, interests, demographics, and social network to shape the product.

Not only will this emerging environment affect us in our personal lives, it holds profound implications for the near and distant future of education. This will happen whether educational institutions embrace it or not because learners, educators and parents will be accessing the Internet from home,at night, outside of the purview of the bricks and mortar buildings that make up our schools. They, rather than our traditions, will ultimately influence the direction of learning. Ian Jukes

The Saskatchewan School Library Association will be holding their pre-conference on April 30 also at the Saskatoon Inn. The Keynote speaker is Doug Johnson, the Director of Media and Technology for Mankato Public Schools in Minnesota.

It’s taken the presence of the Internet to highlight what dramatic impact geography has had on education. The teachers, the resources, and the experiences to which most of us B.C. (Before Computing) students had access were those within our communities. We learned what our teachers knew. We had access only to the teachers within our own school. We learned the core values of only our community since those values were the only ones to which we had much exposure. What might be some of the implications of students having access to a virtual world that is beginning to erase those geographic limits?

Plan to attend Summit 2007 and network with other educators learning about teaching in a digital world.

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