Saturday, December 31, 2011

New iPad app lets teachers post online lessons

Educreations has launched a new app for the iPad, as a free download in the App Store, that transforms the iPad into an interactive whiteboard that records a teacher’s voice and handwriting as they explain a concept or work through an example problem. Teachers can add photos to their lessons from the iPad’s Photo Library or camera, or a Dropbox account, and they can animate the photos by tapping and dragging. Finished lessons are hosted on, where they can be shared privately with a class of students or publicly with everyone.

How It’s Different
It’s not the first recordable whiteboard application that’s been developed for the iPad. Other similar apps include ShowMe and ScreenChomp. However, Educreations stands apart from the other apps in terms of features, design and ease of use. Handwriting in the Educreations app is smooth and fluid, and looks and feels just like using a real whiteboard marker. It’s the only app out of the three that allows you to move and resize photos while you’re recording to create animations. Also, unlike the other apps, Educreations lets you create multiple pages, so you don’t have to erase the screen to give yourself more room. It’s evident that team Educreations put a lot of thought into building the features a teacher will need to record a lesson on the iPad.

One interesting caveat:
This app produces videos that cannot be viewed on an iPad. :(
Educreations is working on a fix for this and promises a solution soon along with several new features.

A couple of good examples...

example #1 - This example of a 3rd grade Math problem where the teacher uses an interesting problem-solving process
*Please click image to WATCH the lesson

example #2 - This example explores the bones of the human body... the teacher builds the skeletal system from birth through adulthood.
*Please click image to WATCH the lesson

* For more information about FLIPPED CLASSROOMS, please visit:

Monday, December 19, 2011

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

More from the Google

Just announced Monday on their official blog, Google has created a site called Memories for the Future (or Build the Memories depending on where you look).

It works like the normal Google Streetview. When you drag the little Streetview icon over to one of the blue roads you will see the original (Before) Google Streetview image of that area. The difference is that once you have an image up, you can now click on the After tab and a picture will pop up of that area now.
Click on the image above or below to interact with this location. Be sure to rotate the view.

It is interesting to see how some areas were almost identical and others almost unrecognizable.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Google Loves Math

Up until now, Google was pretty good at math. You could type in an expression and it would try to evaluate it (sine of 30 degrees, 35^2 -450). Now Google has taken that a step further by integrating graphing into their search.

By simply typing in the function (sans the "y=") the graph shows up. You can rescale the axis with the zoom (the default is both axes but you can scale them individually as well). You can drag the position of the graph around. There is a point which can be dragged to show coordinates and you can put more than one function on at the same time by separating them by commas (they will come up in different colours)

The only limitation that comes to mind right now is that trig functions are limited to radian. I don't see a way to change the x scale to degrees. Let me know if anyone figures out how to do this. In the mean time, happy graphing.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Some help from above? ...

In a previous post, Doug Sadler discussed a few options for storage of your important files in the cloud. Whichever service you may be already using, or would like to start using, it may be worth your time to investigate some of the other features that these sites offer beyond just storage for your files.

I would like to share a couple of great appliactions of using the CLOUD.

First, the CLOUD definitely helped me out yesterday.

I am a dedicated user of DROPBOX and I had a presentation that was synced with a couple of computers. I tried to drag the contents of my DROPBOX folder to a different location and somehow this caused everything to be deleted. Needless to say, I was a bit stressed.
(*note to users - leave well enough alone and keep your DROPBOX folder where it is!)

I asked a colleague if he had any suggestions... his comment was, "You pretty much have to try really hard to delete anything permanently". How true!
I logged into DROPBOX and chose "SHOW DELETED ITEMS".

All I needed to was to undelete the items and I was back in business.


Another great use of DROPBOX is the ability to SHARE files. All of these sites allow users to share any of their files with any person they wish. Thanks to Ian Cullion of Catholic Central for this one.

As an example, please access an excellent educational resource, e-Learning (great sites), that we have developed for teachers. It is a collection of links to websites, with descriptions, packaged nicely with active links for all of the sites (all 8.5 by 11 pages ready to be printed and posted in your classroom).


Thursday, November 17, 2011

A live HISTORY lesson

A Twitter account is reporting the events of world war two as it happened, minute by minute, for the next six years. As of today, 24-year-old Alwyn Collinson has over 120 000 followers. Learn more at

Monday, November 7, 2011

How Secure Are You?

Ask yourself:
  • How easy would it be for someone to guess my password?
  • How many sites to I frequent? Do I use the same password for each site?
  • How important is the information that I have online?
  • What would I do if I lost it all?
There are a whole load of questions that you can add to this list about online security. Often many of us don't really think about this until after the fact. That is, after we may have been compromised. Recently in an article in The Atlantic Monthly, James Fallows recounted how his wife's Gmail account was hacked and the ensuing fall out that came of it (including deletion of 6 years and over 4 Gb of emails - they were eventually recovered but only, it seems, due to the author's connections with some big players at Google and the relatively new Undeletion Project). You can read the lengthy and detailed account here.

In the end, however, we are left with three suggestions about network security:
  1. Use Gmail's new 2-step verification - As stated, this is a Gmail only suggestion. You can set this up while in Gmail by clicking on Account Settings and under Security clicking on Using 2-Step Verification. Part of the process will be a 6 digit code that Google will send you that you will need to login if you are on a computer other than your own (on your own computer you will only have to use it once every 30 days).
  2. Use strong passwords - using words isn't necessarily good but if you don't, your password may be hard to remember. One workaround is to use more than one word or better yet, a phrase that would be familiar to you (including spaces - since to a hackers computer a space is no different than a letter and thus the password looks like a long string of characters). If you can it may also be good to use a string of non English or gibberish words that only you would know.
  3. Don't reuse passwords - if you have several accounts, don't use the same password for each. This doesn't mean you need to remember 100s of passwords. However, for sites that need to really be secure (online banking, email etc) you will probably want to do this for them. Then for sites that you would rather not be compromised (AirMiles, Chapters etc) create two or three strong passwords that you use for all of them. Then for sites you may not care about that require passwords you may want to create one or two passwords to use for all of them.
Now, doesn't that make you feel all warm and fuzzy.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Easter Eggs for Christmas

An Easter Egg in the computer world is a hidden feature found in software. Here are a few examples that are brought to you by the Google (Youtube is owned by Google now too)
1. Do a Google search for "let it snow" (no quotations) and it begins to snow. Don't forget to click on Defrost!
2. This one was recently circulating in the interwebs. Do a Google search "do a barrel roll" (no quotations). Try not to get nauseous.
3. A simpler version of #2 is to search for "tilt" (no quotations).

4. And just so I don't waste too much more of your free time, in Youtube when you are watching a video, while in Play or Pause mode, simultaneously hit the left and up arrow keys and play the classic game of centipede using the arrow keys.
Unable to display content. Adobe Flash is required.

Note, however, that these particular features do not seem to work within our board's Internet. So they won't work at school but they should be fine at home. Happy Easter Egg hunting.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Another Great Resource from OSAPAC

Click on the video above narrated by Dianne Krause which introduces Comic Life and thoroughly describes all of its features.

Comic Life is OSAPAC (Ontario Softwared Acquisition Program Advisory Committee) licensed software and as such is free for all Ontario teachers to use in the classroom and at home. This tech resource allows students of all ages (Grades 2-12) to create extremely creative comics. If you are interested in a tool to hook reluctant readers, this may very well be the one. The finished product can be and often is very impressive. Go to and you will find software details, curriculum connections, and resources for Comic Life and so much more.

Friday, October 21, 2011

FREE IS GOOD!! Take advantage of an ONLINE storage solution!
Free online storage is available but limited.  Online storage services like DropBox will give you 2GB of data for free.  Dropbox will allow your data to be synced onto the web and on all of your devices.  I would say DropBox is clearly the leader in this category.

This is a great solution for file sharing between work and home (Ex. Markbook), quick access to documents and backing up important documents.
This type of service will eventually replace USB sticks once free reliable wireless internet is widely accessible.  There are a number of competitors of Dropbox such as BoxNet and the new icloud.  

Boxnet offers 5GB of storage space with a free account.  However, for a limited time if you activate your free Boxnet account on an idevice you will be upgraded to a lifetime 50GB storage limit.  50GB would normally cost you $19.95 a month but for a very limited time you can get it for free.

Even if you don't use an idevice  you can download boxnet from the App store on someone's idevice and then you will get the free 50GB.  Even if you don't have any use for this service right now I urge you to create an account, record the username and password and store it for safe keeping.  Deals like this do not come around all the time.  I would love for you to comment on how you use cloud storage to make your life easier.  Please feel free to comment below.  Good Luck!  
50GB free lifetime account!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

WECDSB e-Learning Newsletter

Please take a look at the October issue of eNTRY POINTS,
a newsletter serving the community of the
Windsor-Essex Catholic District School Board.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Using is a website that has a number of customizable applets for use in the classroom. Many can be used to "DI" your environment. Here is a list of just a few.

A neat exercise to do with kids is to create social networking profiles for famous people (present, past and fictional). The site Fakebook allows teachers and students the opportunity to do just that. 
Teachers and students can create fake profiles and then create interactions between other related fake profiles. Click here for a listing of the ones created so far. For example: Ernest Rutherford, Joseph Stalin, Henry Ford.

How about create an interactive jigsaw diagram. Here are some examples: Fractions, Water Cycle, Industrial Revolution.

Use a fishbone diagram to organize information. Here are some examples: Hamlet, Forces, Farming Impact on Environment.

How about create a venn diagram? Here are some examples: Geography, Bacteria, Virus & Fungus.

Create a timeline. You can create it correctly or mix it up and have students re arrange it. Here are some examples: Harper Lee, Romeo & Juliet, Galileo.

Other useful applets include a plagiarism checker, a timer, and other organizational tools. Note that by becoming a member you can get rid of the ads.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Adventure Time with YouTube

Do you remember those "Choose your own Adventure" books? You know, "If Josie a) goes into the library turn to page 42 b) stabs the griffin with a fork turn to page 46 ....". Well those were the precursor to computer based adventure games (starting with text based games like Zork and then evolving into MMORPGs like WoW). Well now you can create these types of games as tutorials for courses using YouTube and their Spotlight tool.

You can find a tutorial here where they use the example of preparing for the GMAT.

Here's what the finished product might look like:
Happy adventuring....

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Google-a-Day Puzzle

Want to hone your Google search prowess? How about try the Google-a-day puzzle. Each day (since the beginning of April) a question will be posted and you need to use all the tools available via Google to get the answer. This was today's question:

When you enter your answer you will either get:


And if you don't want to get spoilers from other people who have answered the question and perhaps blogged or posted about it, then use the Google-a-day search tool rather than the normal Google search which will filter out any of those hints. Have fun and happy searching.