Thursday, February 02, 2012

Combine Diigo with Google Docs to provide both shared and private annotations

Yesterday, I was asked by a teacher if there was a way to have private teacher-only comments on a Google Doc that was shared with a student. To clarify, the student would not see the teacher-only comments but would see any shared comments.

The teacher started using Google Docs this semester as a way for individual students to write reflections shared only with him that he could then easily comment back on using the Google Docs comment feature. His request made sense as a way for the teacher to make notes on the same document but for himself only, which he could then refer back to when writing end of term comments at report card time.

As I've used Google Docs a lot myself to collect work and then comment back to students, my initial answer was no since Google does not support separate rights on the comments (yet?). However, it later occurred to me that combining Diigo with Google Docs might do this.

If you aren't familiar with Diigo, it is an online social bookmarking service. However, what makes it stand out from other similar services is that if you install a browser add-in, you can annotate most web pages with highlighting and sticky notes. These annotations can be shared with everyone, a limited group to which you are a member, or only with yourself. These annotations are stored on Diigo's servers and appear back to you anytime you access the original web page from any computer (if you have the browser plug-in enabled).

Unfortunately, It turns out that you can not highlight text using Diigo in a private Google Doc. However, the sticky note feature does work. Therefore, you can use Diigo sticky notes to facilitate private comments to yourself on a Google Doc you are sharing with others.

Monday, January 30, 2012

VHS Audio: Making the Case for Blended Learning by Wesley Fryer

I just started an online class at Virtual High School on the topic of online, blended instruction. One of the first resources presented for the course is the recording below on blended learning by Wesley Fryer. As I generally consume audio via a portable MP3 player instead of sitting in front of a computer, I wanted an easy way to subscribe to any audio resources presented by the instructor.  Therefore, I'm using the vhs-audio tag on this blog to compile a podcast of this and future audio resources related to the course. Anyone can subscribe to this audio feed using the address

Moving at the Speed of Creativity - Podcast217: Making the Case for Blended Learning (MP3) - January 18, 2008
Source: Moving at the Speed of Creativity - Weblog of Wesley Fryer  
This MP3 was published by Wesley Fryer under a Creative Commons Attribution (BY) license. 

Show notes from Wesley Fryer:
This podcast is a recording of a thirty minute skype connection I made to GT teachers in Ector County Schools, Odessa, Texas, on January 18, 2008. The focus of my presentation was making the case for using and supporting blended learning tools and learning methodologies in the 21st century classroom. There are an enormous array of web 2.0 tools and resources available, but we do not need to jump right to the "point and click" conversation if educators (and educational leaders) are not on board understanding REASONS traditional teaching methods need to change as well as the pedaogogic assumptions which should undergird those methods and tools. These speaking points are included on the wiki curriculum for the presentation, Creating, Collaborating, and Blending Learning in the 21st Century Infoverse. I am including a link to that page in the podcast shownotes. These five reasons I discussed include ENGAGEMENT, RESEARCHED-BASED METHODS FOR IMPROVING STUDENT LEARNING / ACHIEVEMENT, DIFFERENTIATED LEARNING, AUDIENCE, and REAL WORLD SKILLS (21st century skills.) This podcast includes a musical shoutout to Eric Langhorst, the 2008 Missouri State Teacher of the Year. Give a listen and learn why I'm compelled to include the song "There's No Where Like Nebraska" as my musical transition in this episode.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Free classroom technology presentations this Saturday

Below is information on "Day of Learning 3" from SimpleK12, which is an online training company. These 30 minute online webinars are free to attend live (online) at the times listed.  Access to the recordings at a later date is not free.  They are given by a variety of teachers, educational tech consultants, and SimpleK12 staff.  I have attended sessions during a previous "day of learning" held by SimpleK12 and found some interesting.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: SimpleK12 Team
Date: Thu, Sep 22, 2011 at 8:31 AM
Subject: Special Saturday "Day of Learning 3" Just For You

Looking for a FREE day of Teacher Professional Development? Look no further - we've planned a special Saturday "Day of Learning 3" just for you and all of the teachers at your school.

We're hosting this Day of Learning 3 on a Saturday so you can organize your own Professional Development day at school and bring teachers in to view these webinars as a group.  Best of all, we've even planned time between sessions, and a break in the middle of the day, to allow teachers to work amongst themselves!

Be sure to let all the principals and teachers in your district know about this great FREE professional development event so they can enjoy an exciting day of learning too.

If your school doesn't pull together for the Day of Learning 3, you can still join in on the fun from home.  Webinars are viewable from your home PC or even your iPad (with the free Citrix GoToMeeting App).

All sessions are FREE

Space is limited, so reserve your seat now before it's too late!

Join SimpleK12 on Saturday, September 24th, 2011

Here are the details...

Keynote:  Own Your Classroom: The Business of 21st Century Teaching
Date: Saturday, September 24 from 9:00-9:30 AM Eastern Time, USA
Learn how to transform your classroom into a thriving environment of
information consumption and have fun along the way!
Register now.

Session 1: Jump Start Your Digital Footprint
Date: Saturday, September 24 from 10:00-10:30 AM Eastern Time, USA
Look at how to jump start your digital footprint and take control of it so that you can help establish your presence on the web and have something to be proud of.
Register now.

Session 2: Online Activities for Younger Students
Date: Saturday, September 24 from 11:00-11:30 AM Eastern Time, USA
Discover how to integrate the Internet into curriculum, as well as share some online resources, Internet inquiry units, and management ideas.
Register now.

Session 3: Twitter for Beginners: The Basics of Setting Up Your PLN
Date: Saturday, September 24 from 1:00- 1:30 PM Eastern Time, USA
Learn some of the basics of using Twitter as a component of your PLN, as well as share some resources and tips for using it to maximize learning and communication.
Register now.

Session 4: Google+ Guide for Educators 
Date: Saturday, September 24 from 2:00- 2:30 PM Eastern Time, USA
Find out how to use Google+ for education and ways to include it in your classroom.  Bring your own ideas as well, and be prepared to share them with the audience.
Register now.

Session 5: Keep Yourself Organized with LiveBinders
Date: Saturday, September 24 from 3:00-3:30 PM Eastern Time, USA
Get those binders off of your bookshelf and create a virtual space to store your favorite websites, documents, and videos where you can share them with your students and colleagues.
Register now.

Session 6: Organize and Share Your Favorite Sites with Diigo
Date: Saturday, September 24 from 4:00-4:30 PM Eastern Time, USA
Learn how to enjoy easily accessing your favorite sites from anywhere (computer, iPad, iPod, or phone), creating lists in groups, and even a teacher console - all for free!
Register now.

The first webinar begins at 9:00 AM Eastern Time, USA on September 24th!

We'll see you there!

The SimpleK12 Team
Twitter: @SimpleK12 or @TlC_edu

P.S. All of these webinars are free and open to the public,
so make sure to share this registration link with your friends!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Great Parenting Debate: Should School Kids Rely on Computers?

This article presents a variety of quotes from two sides of the one-to-one computing debate including comments by parents, educators, and corporate executives.

By John Brandon, Published December 21, 2010 |
As you consider whether to arm your child with a laptop computer or iPad this Christmas, consider also which battle line to stand behind, as the fighting grows over the increasing reliance on digital devices in the classroom.

Read more

Photo by Pia Waugh via Flickr

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Survey solution for a student project?

A seventh grade student just came to me looking to electronically administer a survey to about 150 students. My first thought was a Google Form. The problem is that about 10 of her questions require the respondent to look at an image and select a multiple-choice, text answer. As far as I can tell, Google Forms does not support an image in the question. (I did find a reference to people editing the HTML of the form and hosting it elsewhere, but that is overly complicated for this case as I want a solution the student can own.)

We have Blackboard's course management system, but you can not link directly into a Blackboard survey (or even a particular course) in our system. Emailing students directions to go to Blackboard, login, select a specific course, and go to a particular survey are enough hurdles that many students probably won't bother to fill out this optional survey. The student doing the project would like to just send her prospective respondents a link, which seems the wise choice to me.

So the best solution I came up with so far is to use a Google Sites web page with an embedded Google Form. The Sites page will contain the 10 images in a 2 x 5 table at the top of the page. Each image will be labeled with a number:
Picture 1

The questions will then say something like "Identify the bird in Picture 1." If the embedded form is sized properly, I believe the images can stay on the screen while the survey requires scrolling through the questions.

What do you think?
I would be happy to hear suggestions for a different solution that would allow the image to be located right in the question. Please post a comment, reply via Twitter, or email me via campbb at if you have a suggestion.
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Monday, May 10, 2010

HotW: Interview with William Kist, author of The Socially Networked Classroom

The book The Socially Networked Classroom by William Kist was recently been brought to my attention via a recommendation by Steve Hargadon. As my potential reading list outweighs my reading time, I plan to read the couple of chapters available via Google Books and listen to this interview with the author, which I can do during "down time" in the car, before I decide to buy it. (If there were an audio book, I would have probably already made that purchase.)

According to the forward, the book "asks us if the social interactivity of the Web -- Web 2.0 -- has transformed the way we 'do' school and then shows us, with care and specificity, the way to transform our schools."

So far, it looks promising.

This MP3 has been published by Steve Hargadon and/or Elluminate so they retain the rights to the recording, which appears to be All Rights Reserved due to a lack of any indication otherwise. I make no claim to the rights to use this file, am only linking to it, and will take down the link if asked to do so by the owner of the recording.
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Sunday, April 04, 2010

HotW: PBS/Frontline Digital Nation discussion

Heard on the Web: I'm adding the audio recording of the Digital Nation Classroom 2.0 Live discussion to my listening to do list. In addition to the hosts, it includes special guests Sandy St. Louis, Ramona Pringle, and Kim Flack.

iPod 5th Generation white.Image via Wikipedia

I found the Frontline Digital Nation documentary interesting to the point that I shared it with one of my students as part of an independent project and am thinking about doing something related to the program with the rest of my class especially with regard to the multitasking segment. However, I've not really discussed the program with other teachers so I've been interested to hear other opinions about the research presented especially after hearing negative comments over lunch at TEDxNYED by two of the speakers. (Unfortunately, I didn't have time to ask them to elaborate.)

This MP3 has been published by Classroom 2.0 Live, which retains the rights to the recording. I make no claim to the right to use this file, am only linking to it, and will take down the link if asked to do so by the owner of the recording. You can subscribe to Classroom 2.0 Live in iTunesU by searching for it in the iTunes store.
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