5 Favorite Technology Integration Projects by Kelli Erwin

Part of the Cool Sites series

The end of the school year is upon us and students (not to mention teachers) are ready for a break. The only problem is that school isn’t over yet and we still have things that we need to teach our students. Take the time to find a fun and engaging technology enriched project to complete with your students. Included here are five of my favorite technology integration projects that I have used in the past.

  1. Do you need to bring a little technology into the way students study novels? Check out this link for a webquest derived from the novel “The Light in the Forest” by Conrad Richter. http://projects.edtech.sandi.net/lewis/litf/ This webquest is for students in grades 6-8. During their experience they “capture” another Native American and create a new identity for him/her so they fit into the Lenni Lenape culture. As an extension to this webquest have students create their reflections in a glog (www.edu.glogster.com) or use Xtranormal (www.xtranormal.com) to create an animated movie discussion about their experience with this webquest.
  2. Not able to take your students on fieldtrips around the world? Let National Geographic assist you at the National Geographic site for kids.
    • http://www.nationalgeographic.com/features/97/bureau/ When you click into the travel bureau, you will begin an adventure into the past, present or future. Have students use what they learn to create a brochure describing their adventure or create a travel itinerary based on a set budget with specific required activities. Students can create a presentation using a technology tool of their choosing to create the ideal vacation to their selected location. Try finding copyright friendly pictures about their vacation location and create a movie using PhotoStory (free Microsoft tool…just Google search Photostory).
  3. Have you ever heard of the Atoms Family? The Miami Museum of Science takes an imaginative approach to matter, energy and atomic properties. (for middle school) http://www.miamisci.org/af/sln/ After exploring the Atoms Family and learning all there is to know about atoms, create a movie (using iMovie or Windows Movie Maker) to share the knowledge. Create a word cloud using Wordle (www.wordle.com) that includes important science terms related to atoms. Locate editable videos on Discovery Streaming and do a remix to make your own movie from footage available.
  4. Bring cartoons into the classroom. The largest online collection of newspaper editorial cartoons can be found at http://www.cagle.com/teacher/. It contains current cartoons from 54 newspaper editorial cartoonists with lesson plans for using the editorial cartoons as a teaching tool in Social Sciences, Art, Journalism and English at all levels. Using a cartoon from this site, relate the past to the present. In your own words describe what the cartoonist feels about the related topic. Use http://www.makebeliefscomix.com/ to extend the lessons and activities digitally.
  5. Have students create book trailers to intrigue others about reading a specific book. Students can use video or digital images to represent a portion of the story and then turn it into a movie using Photo Story 3, Windows Movie Maker, iMovie or other related program. Students not only create storyboards, they write the scripts, create and produce the book trailers. When the book trailer is finished, have students create a glog to share their book trailer. Be sure to upload the video book trailer to use in the glog (www.edu.glogster.com). Be creative.

Ok, so I said only 5. But, how do you limit when there are so many great projects to create and share? One last project…I didn’t mean to leave Math out of the list.
Visit http://kerwin.edu.glogster.com/take-me-out-to-the-ballgame/ and http://kerwin.edu.glogster.com/whats-your-angle/ to find math related glogs to guide you and your students into a real world math project.

This blog post is a part of the I Heart EdTech Blog Swap brought to you by SimpleK12.com.

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What Did They Tweet?

End of April 2010 edition of the What Did They Tweet weekly series!

Let’s see what our Personal Learning Network (PLN) tweeted about in education and social media in the past two weeks.

Video: Starfish and Students

I was deeply touched by this video created by @marynabadenhors, which tells the story of a kid with a starfish. I first encountered the Starfish story on a wall when I was running a music school program at a homeless shelter. Maryna does an incredible job of relating this to education. Please, listen to her message.

TED Talk by Derek Sivers: How to Start a Movement

@Blythe_Musteric tweeted this TED Talk which features one of my favorite videos about a rogue dancing guy who was able to get others to join him.

One of the First Reports of the Internet

@LarryFerlazzo shared this fantastic video showing one of the first news reports of the Internet. This could easily spark a discussion with students on the first reactions of technologies. You can even ask them how they first reacted to new technologies like the Iphone or Ipad.

First Report On The Internet – CBC Prime Time NewsThe most popular videos are here


  • If you want to start a wiki, then you’ll want to compare the various features on the free Wiki sites using this WikiMatrix. Shared by @AngelaMaiers.
  • English language teachers will love this site that has great videos with scripts of the speeches, Big Think. Tweeted by @NergizK.
  • Check out this Flash-based animated dictionary of technology, Techtionary. Tweeted by @ransomtech.

Opportunities for Educators

Below is a list of great opportunities for free resources and more:

If you enjoy this series, you may want to subscribe for FREE to receive regular updates!

For more tweets, check out these posts:


Share one of these resources with another educator not on Twitter. Then tell them you got the tip from educators on Twitter!

What was your best find on Twitter this week?

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I have been debating on writing this post for awhile, because this is a completely new experience for me. I have had life-changing news recently and couldn’t decide how to let you know. How much do we reveal? How much is too much? What is the correct way to approach this situation? Should I even let you know? These are all questions I have been struggling with.

I didn’t begin my social media journey until a little over a year ago. I started using Twitter on April 8th and I hadn’t used it much till May 2009. At this time I started my blog as well. The reality is social media and my Personal/Passionate/Positive Learning Network (PLN) are now a huge part of my life. In the past year, I have traveled to 8 different cities and 7 countries to meet members of my PLN. Therefore, I feel quite close to many and feel as if I have some incredible friends. Many of you have communicated with me weekly through Skype, Ning, Twitter, Facebook, this blog, and more. Many of you have been completed challenges like the 30 Goals with me. Therefore, I feel I should explain my absence a bit in the last week. I haven’t posted for over a week and that is unlike me. I apologize.

I have come onto a fork in my life’s journey and within the next two months I will be leaving my beloved Germany for other places. The future is still unknown and I have just been dealing with this shock of packing up and moving and dealing with illnesses from my family members. This is all I feel comfortable revealing now. Thank you for all your support, encouragement, and friendship this year. I will get my act together soon and this blog will continue to strive towards the goal of reforming education by providing teachers with resources, pedagogy, knowledge, experience, and most importantly, the desire to continually learn and improve themselves. As a community we provide this together.

In the meantime, please share any experience you have of undergoing trials in your life and dealing with the social media aspect of your life. I would appreciate the experience.

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Upcoming Conferences You Don’t Want to Miss

I live in Germany. This week I was going to fly to NYC to the #140 Conference and see many members of my Personal/Passionate Learning Network (PLN). However, like many people I was grounded by the volcanic eruption in Iceland. My inconvenience is nowhere near the suffering people are facing with this natural disaster. However, I am not letting this completely stop me from attending this conference.

That is why we have the Internet and the WWW!

This week I will be attending two conferences virtually and encourage you to do the same.

How does this work?

NYC #140 Conference

Starting at 8:45 am EDT (NYC time) on Tuesday, April 20th, you can begin watching the live stream of the speakers on UStream! Also, follow the hashtag #140conf to get the latest scoop. You can watch celebrities like MC Hammer, Ivanka Trump, and Ann Curry speak. However, what you really don’t want to miss are the education speakers. We have many in our PLN representing us. Below is a schedule of the education speakers:

** Note: All times are EDT (NYC) time
I will be blogging about the two days on the Parentella blog in case you miss anything!

9:10am Jay Rosen (@jayrosen_nyu) – ” I teach journalism at NYU, direct the Studio 20 program there, critique the press and try to grok new media.” The Self-Informing Public

10:05am Chris Lehmann (@chrislehmann) – Principal of the Science Leadership Academy
Social Media + Education

3:10pm Real Time Communication & Education panel
Aparna Vashisht (@Parentella) – Founder, Parentella (moderator)
Kevin Jarrett (@kjarrett) – K-4 Technology Teacher
Lisa Nielsen (@InnovativeEdu) – Educational Technologist – NYC Dept of Ed
Mary Beth Hertz (@mbteach) – K-6 Computer Teacher and Technology Teacher Leader in Philadelphia

8:30am The twitter Kids of Tanzania panel
AJ Leon (@ajleon) – co-creator, #twitterkids
Melissa Leon (@melissaleon) – Creator of #twitterkids
StaceyMonk (@StaceyMonk) – Founder of Epic Chang, co-creator of the #TwitterKids

10:45am Mo Krochmal (@Krochmal) – Professor, Hofstra Univesity, The State of Now in Journalism Higher Education: Students Look to The Future

3:50pm Twitter and Animal Farm (and some 8th graders), George Haines (@oline73) – Technology Teacher, Sts. Philip and James School

4:05pm Real-time web and Education #2
Eric Sheninger (@NMHS_Principal) – Principal of New Milford HS (NJ)
Kyle B. Pace (@kylepace) – Teaching K-12 teachers about technology infusion
Steven W. Anderson (@web20classroom) – Technology Educator, Blogger, Co-Creator of #edchat
Tom Whitby (@tomwhitby) – Professor of English in Secondary Education

Virtual Round Table Conference

Starting at 9am GMT/ 5amEDT on Thursday, April 22nd, you can participate in several workshops, panels, and unconferences! The theme of the conference is Language Learning and Technology and we are featuring many of the best in the field live! We have over 50 presenters on language learning with technology. Did I mention this 2 day event (April 22nd-23rd) is free and we are giving away prizes! You can download the conference program here! Also, we will be featuring 2 Pecha Kucha nites!


Attend one of these conferences in order to celebrate Earth Day!


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17 Resources & Tips to Backup Online Content

Part of the Cool Sites series

With so many wonderful online tools I tend to create a lot of online content. I bet you do, too!

Let’s see…there are tweets, forum posts, blogs, pictures, videos, glogsters, wallwishers, wikis and more.

The problem is that with all this wonderful content we often do not have backups in case these sites force us to relocate like what happened with Geocities and now Ning. Therefore, I want to share with you some services that will help you archive and backup your online content so in case you have to relocate it then you have it!

Twitter Services

If you follow a hashtag, create a story on Twitter, want to save your own tweets, or host your own Twitter hashtag chat then you probably want to archive this information. Twitter’s policy is to get rid of tweets within 5 days time unless you favorite a tweet. You can try to favorite tweets but you are limited to 100. The following services will help you archive tweets and save tweets.

Important  Tip: Go to print the finished product and save as a PDF to your hard drive for an additional backup measure.

Backup My Tweets- Just send one tweet and follow @backupmytweets to get 1GB and a year of your tweets saved.

The Archivist- The main way Jerry Swiatek archives #Edchat transcripts. This only works with a PC and is software you download. This gives you more control of your archive so you have a hard copy as well as the ability to include in a wiki, blog, or website.

What the Hash Tag- If you have any type of Twitter hashtag that is important to you, register this with What the Hashtag. You can add links to important blog posts, include a description, receive statistics about the hashtag, and receive free transcripts for a month. To save the transcripts simply copy and paste them in a wiki, blog, or document. You can also save them as PDF. This is what we have used as a back up for Edchat and PTChat transcripts.

TwapperKeeper- Archive any hashtag, keyword, or person’s tweets. Enter the start date, order, timeframe, and limit. When your archive is ready, the service will tweet you. This is a hard copy of your tweets for your hard drive or to send others.

Summarizr- Find out detailed analytics of any hashtag discussion archived through Twapper Keeper. You’ll find the top links tweeted, Twitterers who used this, and more!

Tweet Doc- Archive any hashtag or keyword in a PDF file. You can setup date and time ranges, tweet limits and company logos.

Twistory- I found out about this service through Tamas Lorincz’s IATEFL presentation. Simply sign-up with your Twitter account name only then pick which calendar service (ICal, Google Calendar) you’d like to export your tweets to and your tweets will show up on this starting soon after you sign-up. Looks like the picture below.

Twitter Times- Make your tweets into a newspaper with this free service! Just sign-in daily and wait about an hour. When this is finished simply save your Twitter Times into a PDF to your hard drive. The format is a lovely way to see the links you tweet.

Tweetake- You have to sign-in with your Twitter name and password. Then you are able to back-up your tweets, followers, favorites, DMs, and friends. You will get an Excel spreadsheet with the information.

Twitter Backup- Backup all your tweets when you download this and enter your Twitter name. It will be exported as an XML file.

Find more Twitter backup services from Make Use Of.

Other Backup Services

Backupify- Register to backup 2GB of several different services including Twitter, WordPress, Delicious, Facebook, Flickr, Google Docs, and more! You will get e-mail updates.

Google Reader- Use your Google Reader account to subscribe to your blog, Twitter account, hashtags and anything with RSS subscription. Then create a Bundle which will allow you to export all the materials onto a website which automatically updates. To save a hard copy then save as a PDF. Watch the video tutorial below to find out how to make a bundle.

Zinepal- Sign-up and register your blog’s url to have a weekly pdf of all your blog posts sent to you. The free service allows you up to 5 posts a week.

Save My Ning- Sign-up to have a representative contact you about backing up your Ning network. You will be able to have a read-only archive that can be exported in the future if you choose not to pay for your Ning.

Box.Net- Sign-up for 1GB of free space to share and archive various presentations and documents. You get a nice widget to embed to your blog and can access the files on your mobile phone.


Use one of these free services to back-up or archive your online information.

You may want to subscribe for FREE to receive regular updates!

What are other ways you back-up your online content?

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