Friday, November 17, 2006

Free Audio Books?

LibriVox ( provides free audiobooks from the public domain. The catalog includes books, short works, historical documents, poetry, children’s lit, and non-fiction. Worried about the copyright? All of the works are in the public domain and are not covered by copyright. In addition, Librivox has chosen not to copyright anything they do. “This means others can use our recordings however they wish, including for commercial purposes.”

Thursday, November 16, 2006

How Much do you Weigh on Mars?

I saw a post here and thought it was worthing mentioning.

The NASA Website has a great tool to help kids explore the solar system.

It is all flash based, so it should grab the attention of students. It start with the Sun, covers all the planets, and even includes asteroids and comets. Each stop on the Explorer just has a quick overview, so it won't overwhelm younger visitors. The real magic happens when you follow the about link. There you will find a slightly longer overview, information about the planets moons, an extensive gallery, facts and figures, and a Kids Eye View (which is where I learned I only weigh 77 lbs on Mars).

This is just begging for a webquest.

Don't stop there, the NASA website has a lot more to explore. More pictures, more videos, more interactives, and even some downloads.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Google Earth Rolls Back Time

Google has updated Google Earth, but it takes you back in time. If you are using the latest version of Google Earth, go to the layers section and select Featured Content. Now find Rumsey Historical Maps.

Now you can see the world like those who saw it in 1790, or how Lewis and Clark saw it in 1814. I counted a total of 16 old world maps.

Very cool and worth a look!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Better than Google Earth?

Just found this site from EduBlog - it has a much better image of my home than any others I have found... one-stop shopping.
You can also link directly to what you found.
My House
I especially like that you can see the terrain better than on Google Earth.

Also, and perhaps the best aspect of Flash Earth is that it'll run on Windows 98 machines!!!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Graphic Organizers

This post was delievered straight to my inbox this morning. It was a forward of a forward all about graphic organizers. Copy the links, paste the links, and bam, I am done. Hope they help.

Friday, November 03, 2006

PowerPoint: Just Say No Clip Art

PowerPoint is a wonderful tool. If I have presentation to make, I always use it. It can turn a boring speech into a dynamic one. PowerPoint is also the main culprit behind Death by PowerPoint. Everyone has seen one of these presentations. Just look below...

photo from Zach Graham

A ton of text on a slide is boring and has me reaching for a sodoku puzzle. Just remember less is more. Another thing that gets me in the sodoku mood is Microsofts Clip art. It served a great purpose back in the day. With photo sharing today, it should be banned.

On October 21, Boston broke the record for most lit jack lanterns. This record was formerly held by Keene, New Hampshire. Which one of these do you think would capture your audience.

Don't worry about the lack of text, remember less is more. Plus you want the people focusing and listening to you, not on your bad PowerPoint or a sodoku puzzle. If you really want them to have the details, give them a print out of your notes.

Now, where do you find this photos....

You can also google stock photos for a bunch more sites. Just remember to give credit to the owner.

iPod Buying Guide

Being in charge of technology for a school, I often get asked for recommendations. The last couple of Christmases it has been the iPod. So here is my 2006 updated version.

The iPod Shuffle

This is the most basic iPod. It has no screen, it just clips to your clothes. I think of this as a second iPod and is perfect if you love to listen to music while exercising. It only comes in one size, 1 GB which holds 240 songs. It is only
available in aluminum.

The iPod Nano

This is the middle of the road iPod and a great place to start. They come in three sizes and six colors, specs are below. These will display your photo, but does not do any video. These are flash based, so they can handle any exercise.

The 2 GB version costs $149.00 and will hold 500 songs. It only comes in aluminum.
The 4 GB version costs $199.00 and will hold 1000 songs. It comes in aluminum, green, blue, pink, and red.

The 8 GB version costs $249.00 (same as 30 GB iPod) and will hold 2000 songs. It comes in black and red.

The iPod

This is the top of the line iPod. It comes in two sizes and colors, specs are below. These will play TV shows and Movies bought in the iTunes Store, and even your own home movies and photos. You can also purchase games. These are hard drive based, which means you wouldn’t want to use this while jogging.

The 30 GB version costs $249.00 and will hold 7500 songs. It comes in black and white.

The 80 GB version costs $349.00 and will hold 20,000 songs. It comes in black and white.


When you buy an iPod you will need to download iTunes. iTunes is the management software for the iPod. Essentially, anything in iTunes will be put on your iPod when you hook it up. iTunes also has a built in store to purchase music (.99 a song/9.99 an album), audio books (price varies), TV shows (1.99 a show), and Movies (9.99-14.99). I love the software and it is very easy to use. I believe this is what has made the iPod so successful.

One important thing to remember, it is possible to have music on your iPod without spending a cent in the iTunes store. If you put a CD into your computer, iTunes can copy (rip) the CD to your hard drive. The next time you connect your iPod that CD will be transferred over. Every CD you own can be put on your iPod.

iTunes also has a wonderful selection of podcasts. A podcast is broadcast that you can subscribe to that is automatically updated. These are typically audio, but there are some video podcast now. Podcasts are typically free and you can find a podcast about anything.

Where to Buy

Apple sets the prices of these, and rarely do you find a discount. and Sam’s may have a slightly lower price. Every iPod I have purchased, or helped purchase, has been from They offer free shipping and are almost always in stock. The coolest thing about ordering from apple is the engraving. Apple will engrave the back of any of the iPods for free.

Hope this guide helps!