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Posts from the ‘online learning’ Category

Library of Congress Online Conference: It’s free, it’s awesome, and you’ll walk away smarter

Need some free PD on using primary sources? Need some awesome PD on using primary sources? Want to get smarter? Be a better teacher?

Then you need to join the first Library of Congress online conference for educators on October 27-28 from 4-8 ET. You can pick and choose when you attend and what specifically looking to learn. Titled The Library of Congress and Teachers Unlocking the Power of Primary Sources, the conference has some incredible speakers and sessions. So pick and choose your favorites from below and be prepared to learn a ton.

The keynote speaker will be the distinguished photographer Carol Highsmith, who will discuss her decades-long project of documenting the United States in a one-hour conversation with Helena Zinkham, chief of the Library’s Prints and Photographs Division.

Over the course of those two days, there will be 15 one-hour sessions facilitated by Library specialists, instructional experts from the Library’s Teaching with Primary Sources Consortium, and other recognized K-12 leaders. Highlights include: Read more

How to use primary sources? Check out LOC’s self-paced teacher PD

Primary sources are the raw materials of history — original documents and objects which were created at the time under study. They are different from secondary sources, accounts or interpretations of events created by someone without firsthand experience.

Examining primary sources gives students a powerful sense of history and the complexity of the past. Helping students analyze primary sources can also guide them toward higher-order thinking and better critical thinking and analysis skills.

But maybe you’re not sure what to do with them or how to use them in your classroom.

The Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources program provides primary source-based, independent study professional learning. Earn a certificate of completion by taking the Library’s self-paced interactive modules. Each multimedia-rich program delivers approximately one hour of staff development.

Head over to get the full details or click a link below to jump in with both feet: Read more

Unsolicited WordPress propoganda

Hi. My name is Glenn and I am a WordPress junkie.

It started about six years ago. A friend hooked me up and I’ve been using it ever since. So should you.

If you don’t already know, WordPress is a CMS or content management system. In normal people language? WordPress is a free tool that helps you create quick and easy web sites. And not just quick and easy. Quick and easy with some very cool features.

I use free WordPress software to create the site you’re reading now. I used WordPress to create the Podstock 2013 web site. I use WordPress to host our iPad conference web site. I use it to connect with family and to discuss books. My wife uses it for her classroom and to occasionally maintain a site for posting food and restaurant reviews.

Yeah. So what?

Read more

Learning Together just may be the anti-Khan Academy

One of the problems that I have with the whole Flipped Classroom movement is the idea that we can just give kids videos to watch and expect learning to happen. Many of the videos are simple talking heads or worse (I’m talking to you Khan Academy), simply a disembodied voice talking over slides or a whiteboard.

There’s no interactivity, no discussion. It’s simply a passive video.

Even the very cool TedEd stuff, which is a huge step up from Khan Academy math videos, is basically some kid watching a video alone.

But don’t despair. There may be a solution out there.

Read more

CiteLighter – Handy online research, citation, bibliography, sharing tool

Yes. I admit it. I watch the Food Channel. So sue me.

It’s not like I’m addicted or anything. I like eating food. I like making food. And so . . . I will watch Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives or the occasional Throwdown with Booby Flay.

But I don’t watch as much since Alton Brown’s Good Eats was moved to a weekday morning time slot. You remember Alton Brown. Nerdy guy. Science facts. Easy stuff to make. Yeah, that guy. He said a lot of things but one thing he repeated quite often:

The only one-task item you need in your kitchen is the fire extinguisher.

His argument? You shouldn’t own any kitchen gadget that doesn’t have more than one use.

Yeah. So? Read more

ePUBs, dotEPUB and mobile learning

I am in love with iBooks. iBooks is Apple’s version of the Kindle or Nook. With the app, you can download books and mags allowing quick and easy access, anywhere / anytime.

And, yes, several weeks ago I wrote some disparaging remarks about digital media. I was in newspaper withdrawal and without a sports section, bitter and forced online for crosswords. A great print paper such as the New York Times or Washington Post still gets the nod over digital but I’m coming around on the book idea.

But it’s not published books that make iBooks such a great little app. What makes it great is that it allows teachers to begin creating their own teaching materials and getting them in the hands of their students in ways not available even a year ago.

Textbook publishers and school material companies have long controlled what we share with our kids. With iBooks, you can develop your own textbooks and materials, publish them in PDF or ePUB format, kids download the file onto their iBook app and, volia, anywhere/anytime learning. What I like about ePUB docs over PDFs is that you can highlight, type notes and leave bookmarks in an ePUB, making it better for studying and review.

Both Microsoft’s Word and Apple’s Pages now allow you to save documents in PDF and ePUB formats. Wikipedia has a cool Create a Book feature and there are awesome iDevice apps such as Book Creator that allow you and your kids to begin to develop your own mobile learning materials.

(Getting the files to your kids can happen in a couple of ways – upload the files to a website that kids access on their mobile devices. This could Facebook, Edmodo, a blog page or a site provided by your school. You can also simply email, text, or Skype the files to your kids.)

And I just ran across another cool way to create iBook viewable ePUB documents.


dotEPUB is a simple bookmarklet that pulls content from webpages and gives you a downloadable epub file. So now you can begin to incorporate online content into your growing library of personalized teaching content.

Head over to dotEPUBT to get the handy bookmarklet. To install, all you need to do is drag the logo to your bookmarks toolbar:

convert webpages to ebook

This handy tutorial should help:

There’s something called Immersive Mode that you can turn on or off before installing the bookmarklet. Immersive Mode is the default, and removes all links and images from an article being converted, so you can focus on the text and nothing else. I left my turned off, giving me the choice to include images if I wanted.

(Sorry Internet Explorer users, dotEPUB does not work with IE, so you you’ll need to upgrade to Chrome or Firefox to use dotEPUB.)

So you’ve found a useful site you want to convert. Check to see if the article is split into multiple pages. If so, use the site’s “print” function to see the entire article on one page. The rest is simple – click your newly installed  bookmarklet. You’ll be given a popup asking you to download the converted ePUB document.

You now have an epub file ready to share and are one step closer to mobile learning for your kids.