9/9/2011: Sorry! Cell Phones in School, eBook Reader Matrix, More VI Apps, 3D Book Site, Copyright Free Images, Visual Thesaurus and Some Quick Reminders!

Apologies …to those who got the email this morning that a new blog posting was ready and then arrived here to find a 404 Error Message!  It’s been a long week!  I added a few bonus items at the end of this morning’s post for the inconvenience.

Phones & Devices In School:  I was recently in a school building giving a presentation on portable devices and literally, right outside the presentation room was this banner encouraging attendance hanging directly next to a warning against portable devices with a big, “NO.”  I couldn’t help but snap a quick photo, yes, with my iPhone.   The polarity between those two signs was almost laughable.  It really drives home the point I keep trying to make about the very obvious divide between work, play and life in general outside of the K-12 building and that within the K-12 building.  Outside, we rely on our portable devices constantly!  Yet, inside of many schools we still treat these powerful devices as if we don’t understand them, are afraid of them, etc.  After thinking about these signs on the way home I realized it would be the same as me encouraging teachers and administration to come to a training or a conference, but prohibiting all electronic devices.  … and then sitting around afterward and wondering why I was having trouble getting people to attend events.  This is bound to be a little controversial and that’s OK.  We NEED to have discussion around this issue, because it’s not going away.  One very obvious concern to me is, of course, that these devices can often level the playing field for so many students who struggle with learning and expressing knowledge in traditional ways.  I’d love some comments or even some direct emails from readers on this issue.

Attendance and Portable Devices Image

Here’s a couple articles related to the cell phone/portable device issue: 


Getting LOTS of eReader Questions!  As we RAPIDLY move toward a digital curriculum, one of the initial questions concerns which eBook Reader a student ‘should’ use.   Here’s a nice matrix that includes many, not all, eReaders:

More Apps for Vision Impairments:


A Few Bonus Links that I learned about yesterday from our friends in Ohio!  Thanks OCALI, especially Nick & Jim!

  • ZooBurst: This is an online tool for making and/or just reading 3D Books, that can incorporate a webcam!  VERY COOL possibilities here for so many state standards!
  • Ookaboo:  This is a place for you and your students to search for royalty-free images that can be used without the worry of copyright infringement, which many of you know is a huge issue to me.  Check this one out for sure!
  • Snappy Words:  This is very similar to Visuwords that I’ve probably talked with many of you about over the last 5 years.  Very cool visual thesaurus and a great tool to add to your bag of tricks.

REMEMBER: A few quick items you don’t want to forget about!








4/15/2011: PATINS Tech Expo 2011 Videos! DRM Podcast Interviews, Creative Commons and Copyright, Great Highlighter Tool, Free Software, Upcoming Events

Tech Expo 2011 1Tech Expo 2011 2Tech Expo 2011 3PATINS Tech Expo 2011 took place this past Thursday at the Crown Plaza in Indianapolis!  Thank you to all who came and helped make it a success!  It was a great event with lots of information from many assistive technology vendors including many presentations and hands-on opportunities with both software and hardware! If you missed it, first thing to do is mark down this annual event on your calendar for next April!  Then, check out these Video Samples from this year’s tech expo.  These Videos should open with iTunes or Windows Media Player or VLC Player on either a Mac or PC, but let me know if you have trouble. They are all VERY short samples and should give you an idea of what the PATINS Tech Expo is all about.

ICAM Logo image DRM Spotlight Podcast: Remember to subscribe to our Digital Rights Managers (DRM) Spotlight Podcast here.  About once per month, I spend 10-15 minutes talking with one of Indiana’s outstanding DRMS’s about what they do, how they do it, what works well, what doesn’t and advice or suggestions they might offer other DRMs in other Indiana school districts.  It’s free advice and suggestions from people who are doing it!  A new episode  (#7) with Wayne Township DRMs posted yesterday!

Creative Commons Website LogoDiscover Ed: Some of you may remember me blogging about Creative Commons and copyright issues back in July of 2008 (HERE) and perhaps you were able to participate in the DOE’s 21st Century Learning Labs podcast episode on March 28th (HERE) on Creative Commons.  “DiscoverEd is a search prototype developed by Creative Commons to explore metadata enhanced search, specifically for OER.” (Open Educational Resources).  Definitely worth spending some time here and familiarizing yourself with CC licensing in General!   http://discovered.labs.creativecommons.org/search/en/

If you don’t think Creative Commons Licensing applies to you and your classroom/school, here are three questions to ask yourself:

  • Do my students create anything digitally?  (photos, artwork, drawings, word documents, audio recordings, blogs, podcasts)
  • Do my students contribute to a class or school Wiki, Blog, Facebook page, etc?
  • Do my students go online to gather digital resources (photos, videos, audio, text, etc).

If you answered YES to any of these three questions, then CC and copyright really is an essential piece of your curriculum.  If you didn‘t answer YES to the above three questions,  are you really preparing your students for life and work in the 21st century? Awesome Highlighter: One I’ve blogged about before, but was reminded of this morning in a skype presentation I was giving.  www.awesomehighlighter.com Vendor Discounts: Don’t forget about the current Vendor Discounts through PATINS:  www.patinsproject.com/buys.html Free Software: …also, don’t forget that these 3 pieces of great software can be obtained FREE OF CHARGE through PATINS -ICAM

Upcoming Events: