Friday, December 3, 2010

Traffic Jam on the Information Super Highway

I heart technology, but sometimes I have no idea how my brain contains and sorts all of the information now available to me because of it.  Does anyone ever feel like the information super highway is backed up with massive amounts of traffic?

Even so, I can't fathom not having this information at my fingertips.

Check out this cool search engine designed to make searching the highway a bit easier for our students...

Don't forget to click on the demo link to see a 2 minute video how to! 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Recipe Project - Issuu

I am helping a fifth grade class turn their family recipes into an online cookbook.  I am using Issuu and can't wait to tell you more about it!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Let's Blabberize!

Have you checked out the I-Team's new Facebook Page?  If not, you should!  It is a great place to learn about new tech tools, discuss technology in education and collaborate with other teachers!

Coppell I-Team's Facebook Page

In fact, if you had checked us out, you'd know all about Blabberize.  It's a free web tool that lets you take an image and give it the gift of gab! In honor of my excitement of a certain holiday break coming up, I just recorded what I thought a turkey might say about Thanksgiving dinner.  Check it out below!

My integration brain is going would be awesome to use Blabberize to elaborate on characters and stories, learn about writer's voice and perspective, make historical images come alive, etc.  Select an image, place its mouth and record your script!  Possibilities = endless.

Interested?  Make your own at or contact me to plan a lesson or gather ideas for a project!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Dancing... I Mean, Blogging with Myself...

Sometimes blogging feels like you are talking to yourself. It is easy to forget that a blog is posted for (usually) the world to see. Many times we focus so much on what we are saying, we neglect the point of the 21st century blog - collaboration.

We teach our kids about digital footprints, that while a blog is like a journal, it is also a forum for discussion and is open to that discussion for years to come.  But it is easy to view a blog as one way communication, especially when you only have one follower (Shout out to my Jess!) or when you get wrapped in what you as a blogger are saying.

So tonight I pose two questions:

1.  IS anyone out there?
2.  If you are blogging, who are you blogging for?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Confessions of a Former Twitterphobe

Hi, my name is Alli and I am Twitter-phobic.

Yes, it's true.  Just a few short months ago, I would have told you that Twitter was for the birds.  Tweet, Tweet. But in this effort to become an open minded learner to all that is out there that may benefit educators, I have found a new love for Twitter. Much to my surprise, it has become one of my most used tools in the past few weeks.

But most likely, I don't like it for the reasons you think.

I will never rival Ashton in number of  "this is what I am doing" updates. Sure, it is an easy way to communicate, but I don't think most people care that I pulled resources off of the Smart Exchange ( for a teacher at 2:17 on September 21st.

What I am using Twitter for is a modern day PLN.  I enjoy pulling up my list of who I follow each evening to see what is new on the edtech horizon.  I have an app on my phone so I can easily scroll through and see new headlines and blog posts.  I forward anything worth looking deeper on or worth sharing to my email for later review.  Anytime I see something interesting, I check to see who that person is following too, in case I can find a new source of resources.

Yep, my Island friends will laugh at me, but I have succumbed to Twitter.  Maybe you should too.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

A Simple Way to Make Movies

One of the awesome teachers I know shared this site with me (shout out to Kelsey at DC!).   It is a web-based movie making tool that offers animations which can be customized.  The site is called and I made the video below to explain just how simple this can be. 

Some of the animations include a sports-theme, presidents, even a Larry King show mockup.  The kids will love this!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Blog: Defined

As I was researching blogging, I saw a Twitter post about a site that is basically a video dictionary. I got excited (as my nerdy self often does) and decided to check it out. I was blown away. This site not only has many video definitions (by some famous people I might add), but it screams integration! How cool will it be to have students researching origins and definitions of words and then create video clips of them? This is an activity that I especially see for Denton Creek, home of WORD UP!

But I digress. I tried to steer myself back to blogging and found this awesome Wordia entry. Here's Adam Westbrook, Blogger, Lecturer, and Journalist saying what I've been thinking about blogs, but in a much more eloquent way...

blog - wordia

Learn more about Wordia here.

Video Blogging

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

My Picasa Masterpiece

This blog is many things and today it will be a troubleshooting site. :) I am working on troubleshooting a teacher's issue with Blogger and Picasa, so what better activity than to create a Picasa and place it on my blog? All I had were some pictures of an old eInstruction kit to work with, but I easily uploaded them to Picasa, gave them some captions, and selected share to Blogger.

Hope you like it...though I haven't seen many of these older clicker sets lying around lately. Most schools I've seen have an RF type where you don't have to aim at anything. Even so, maybe this post will lead you to being curious about clickers, aka Classroom Response Systems or Picasa or both!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

All About Me and Smilebox

Update - 9/19 - I just learned Smilebox has an educator license.  This would be a great way to access this tool in a larger way without upgrading to the premium license. 

Smilebox is super easy to use.  All you need are some pictures and the ability to drag and drop them into premade templates.  It makes it seem like you did something cool when really, you took 5 min to create!

Check out my All About Me I made in about 10 minutes.  Can you think of all the possibilities for students??  Let me know in the comments!

Click to play this Smilebox collage
Create your own collage - Powered by Smilebox
Make your own picture collage

Saturday, September 4, 2010

A Voicethread about Voicethread

Voicethread is an awesome tool for student response and collaboration. I can see many uses for this tool from a new way to publish a Writer's Workshop piece to a Science Lab reflection to a new way for students to enjoy a read aloud or book report.

Check out this Voicethread about Voicethreads!

Interested in making one? Sign up for a free, single educator license here.

Excited about what other ideas you can use this cool tool for? Check out the gallery here. I searched for using Voicethread in education and found some really cool things!

Happy Voicing!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Observations of the First Week

Wow...what a great week!  I expected to walk the halls of my campuses and see teachers too busy working on first week stuff to include technology.  I totally underestimated them.  What I really saw was Smart board attendance with balloons popping, thinking maps via Smart board, wallwisher activities (you should check this out if you have never heard of a wallwisher  - very cool response activity - ), worksheets completed via document cameras instead of massive copies, etc.  It makes me so excited that the teachers are rearing to go with technology.  What will we see on the 21st week of school if this is what is going on the 1st week?

This coming week I plan to meet with teams and begin a heavier observation schedule.  I have been welcomed into classrooms with open arms and can't wait to spend time with teachers and students. I can't wait to share what I see next!

I'd really like to do a regular post series that does in depth on a tool or idea being used in our classrooms so if you are doing something awesome with a particular tool or want to know more about a tool or idea, comment away!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Night Before School Starts

T'was the night before school started and all through the city, not a teacher was sleeping...not even the Tech Integration Specialist. 

I used to lie awake every year the night before school started, meaning to go to bed early, but unable to sleep.  I always wondered if my students ever figured out I was just as nervous as they were on the first day of school.  This year is no different.  My role has changed and no formal class will await me tomorrow, but it doesn't change my excitement and,well, nerves. 

I think change and the unknown excites us the most, but it is also those things that scare us the most too.  Technology is a great example.  It is always changing...just when you think you know something like how to send a text message, you upgrade to the newest phone and realize texting was only the beginning.  It also holds a lot of unknowns. "What happens if if my PowerPoint locks?" "How do you hook up a Classroom Response System?" "What is a domain or a server or a USB?"  Afraid to admit what we don't know makes us shy away from exploring.

But see, technology allows us to have moments like the night before school starts anytime.  It reminds us that we are all learners. And in my opinion, if you are learning, you are living.

Have a great day matter what your role, remember that you first are a learner.  Everything else is just the rest.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Dr. Tyson's Training

I'm at Dr. Tyson's training today and this part is all about blogs!  I am excited because if I have an audience, I will TALK and talk and talk and talk.  HAHA!

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Back from the Island, I've landed at the Creeks

Every few years, I like to kick myself out of my comfort zone and land in a new adventure.  Fresh off "The Island," having worked at Study Island for four years, I have come to land in Coppell ISD as an Integration Specialist for "The Creeks" - Cottwood and Denton.  It makes sense to those who really know me - after all, I decided to be a teacher while running the YMCA afterschool program at Mockingbird in CISD years ago.  They know that education is a passion and this district is where I have always wanted to be.  So I decided to take my experience in teaching, training and educational technology and leap.  Welcome to my free fall!

I hope to share what I am learning with you here - yes, I said it.  I am not an expert.  But I do know how to learn and teach and I am not afraid to learn from you too.  So grab your flash drives, isomething<insert pod, touch, pad etc. here>, smart boards, etc. and head with me to the Creeks.