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31 January 2013

Apologies and Leaves

I would like to take this post to apologize for leaving the blog untouched for so long.  Sometimes life takes its toll.  I have been working to continue my own education, moving, and an amalgam of other things, so I haven't had much time for writing.

Because of that, I'm going to take a hiatus from the blog for an indefinite period of time.  I hope to be back soon.

26 August 2012

Ed Tech for the 2012 US Election

Every four years during the presidential election, as public interest in the political landscape is on an uptick, U.S. teachers often start re-focus on political and civic issues in the classroom.  Luckily for them, the World Wide Web does, too.

This year's no different.  There are many great resources available Online for the teacher who is ready to help students understand the nature of the American political machine and the civic duty that is making an informed decision.  Here are a few of my favorites:



YouTube
The YouTube U.S. Election Hub (http://youtube.com/politics) is definitely my favorite of this group.  It gathers videos from many resources including ABC, Wallstreet Journal, BuzzFeed, Univision, The New York Times, and more.  It also includes videos from around YouTube that are more general or lighthearted, including things like the history of the parties, parodies, etc.  There's a schedule of debates that will be broadcast live, and you can even watch Election Day coverage live on YouTube!  If you haven't checked out the YouTube Election Hub yet, do it now!

Twitter
Twitter's election page (http://election.twitter.com/) offers a graphical representation of the follower count for the two major-party candidates, an historical index of followers added, and the latest posts from the @gov project.  @gov is Twitter's in-house political team that works on providing these services  You can follow them at https://twitter.com/gov  You can also use Twitter to follow the campaigns of the candidates and political parties.

C-SPAN
C-SPAN Classroom (http://www.c-spanclassroom.org/) offers great lesson plans, videos, and other resources to teachers all of the time, but they are especially poignant during the election cycle.  View their "Timely Teachable Videos," sign up to access lesson plans and printable resources, and even get materials sent to your classroom.

Google
Google's Politics and Elections page (http://www.google.com/elections/ed/us/home) isn't as fleshed out as their YouTube Hub, but it's still a good tool.  It offers the latest news related to the election, which is good, but my favorite thing about this page is Trends.  Many of my readers already know that I'm a Search junkie, so this may come as no surprise.  What Trends shows is the search trends for each of the candidates over a period of time or in a particular regions.  Really interesting stuff.

Honorable Mention: XBOX Live
Microsoft is launching an Election Hub on XBOX Live that will allow users to interact with political debates and the like with their controllers or their Kinects.  I'm not sure how much it would be used in the classroom, but it's still really cool.  Read more about it on The Verge.

What technologies do you to keep up with the 2012 election, and what have you brought into your classrooms?  Let me know in the comments.

09 August 2012

Summer Learnin' Went by so Fast

Whew!  Summer's over and school is about to start back.  It'll be nice for things to slow down a bit.

Honestly, though, this has been a jam-packed summer for me.  Like many other educators, I spent a good portion of my summer learning, whether at ISTE 2012 or our state conference or Online.  I spent another large chunk of my summer planning and participating in my school district's first technology-focused conference (see Nikki Robertson's post about it here) where teachers from 28 of our 29 schools gathered to share and learn from each other.  The final part of my summer was filled with teaching and training, highlighted by my Search presentation at the Google booth at ISTE 2012.

All in all, it was a great summer, even if it was far from a vacation.  It's so exciting to share and learn as I prepare for a new school year.  It's also exciting to build and further the friendships I've made Online in my own PLN and meeting face-to-face the people I see all the time in the virtual world.  What's most exciting for you, though, is that I've come away from this summer rejuvenated and full of ideas, so be on the look out for more blog posts in the near future!

What did you do this summer that helped you grow as an educator?  Let me know in the comments!