Thursday, March 20, 2008

Twitter along with me ...

Talk about multi-tasking! I've been Twitter-ing for almost weeks now. My "tweet" friend, Cathy from LACOE, convinced me I just have to use Twitter, so I created an account as we sat side-by-side at CUE working in Second Life.

I've tried to describe Twitter to my techy and not-so-techy friends. It's not so easy to do, especially as they look at me as if I've 'lost it' completely. I can hear their brains gasping as they process my movements - first WOW, then Second Life, now Twitter?! (They are all very different programs and I have legitimate reasons for being involved with all of them, LOL) But I was sold on the validity of Twitter as a tool for education when I watched, tentatively, as techies I know and respect conversed about topics relevant to their lives - both personal and professional.

Hesitant about adding my own post (I didn't want to look foolish, ya know) I was lurking and I admit it. Then came a post from a fellow DEN member dgrice about teachers wanting him to make screen shots of a training he did. I had something to contribute! I clicked the chat line (in my iPhone version of Twitter) and typed my suggestion for screen shots and, holding my breath, pushed send. My first post appeared in Twitter and I was so proud. Back at my computer a few minutes later came a post from the podpiper saying he liked the software I recommended but had two others he liked better - iShowU and ScreenFlow. I saw it in twhirl and immediately took a look at the programs. They are fantastic and I will post about them later.

Since then, I discovered that education and information now travel at speeds this humble educator never conceived possible. I found assistive technology, edubloggercon, and Second Life gurus; followed leolaporte's trip to Australia, conversed with a soon-to-be-phd hard at work on the virtues and validity of gaming in education, RSS'd the website of an amazing technology teacher, and participated in a collaborative network of educators across the world. Twitter is truly an amazing form of contemporary communication that requires no additional software and can be readily accessed by computer or phone. Wow!

Fortunately, I recently found someone I really respect who was as skeptical as I about the virtues of Twitter, and he really knows how express himself. George Siemens has a news feed to which I subscribe. His March 20, 2008 post entitled Information Growth speaks more eloquently than I.

Try it. Find some friends, follow me (katiewarren), or send a tweet @katiewarren.

update ... my husband no longer alerts me to the fact that my phone is twittering away each morning. I think he's even become used to the techy chirp from the early risers in the East.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Google 4 Doodle - "What If ...?"

Looking at the Google 4 Doodle contest site I came across a short movie about the Google webmaster, Dennis Hwang. As the original "Google doodler" Dennis has achieved his own cult following for the very clever work he creates for the site. Consider entering your students in the Google 4 Doodle contest and watch their creativity soar. There are lesson plans and all you need to motivate yourself and your students ... watch Dennis' movie and you'll see.

School Budget Cuts

Like many teachers across the state of California I received my reassignment letter today, a stark white page with black letters rather than a pink slip. A friend sent me this to cheer me and it did, ruefully. Despite Gov. Schwarzenegger's claims that he could have the budget settled by March 15 - the required date teachers need to receive notifications of change job status for the next school year - that wouldn't solve the morale issue associated with losing your job 4 months before it's officially over and heading back to the classroom anyway. My first 6 years of teaching were like that and, darn it, it hurts!

Anyway, enjoy the article from The Onion and laugh. It couldn't really happen, could it?
Underfunded Schools Forced To Cut Past Tense From Language Programs

The Onion

Underfunded Schools Forced To Cut Past Tense From Language Programs

WASHINGTON—Teaching students how to conjugate verbs so that they can describe events that have already occurred is a luxury many schools cannot afford.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Students and Blogging

Student blogging is a controversial topic. Looking for diverse opinions, I thought I would offer the student perspective on blogging. Here are second grade students offering their top ten reasons why all teachers and students should blog.

Why Blog in School?

I discovered a middle school video posted on called Why Blog in School that speaks - once more - of the need to allow students the ability to use the tools that are so much a part of their everyday lives. Created "using Smart Recorder and Smart Notebook on a SmartBoard 600" the music was "added in Windows Movie Maker from"

Monday, March 3, 2008

MacGeek has a Tip for you

Yes, MacGeek is his blogging name. MacGeek has a blog called A New Mac Tip Every Day and it's really great. Found at he's filled the site with simply stated tips, with pictures, for Mac OS items that might be otherwise undiscovered. His is the site that showed me how to create the animated gif below this post which I found in the dashboard widget, A New Mac Tip Every Day. LOL ... what goes around comes around.

Not content with one fully loaded blog, MacGeek created a second site where he can post all things tech rather than limit himself to Mac Tips. New as of Feb. 26 you'll find it at