Friday, February 25, 2005

Tools for Tech-Savvy Educators

My iPod iTalk
As a classroom teacher, money in not easy to come by. Back in September, our school system awarded Teachers of the Year from each school a modest gift to show their appreciation. As a gadget freak, I immediately thought about buying an iPod with my gift. The fastest way to get my iPod, I drove 56 miles to the nearest Radio-Shack company store and blew my whole gift check. No regrets, not for a second. I use it everyday on my way to and from work to listen to my favorite podcasts. My interest in trying to use it in the classroom has been put on hold. As a teacher in an alternative school, my worst fear is that one of my students would figure a way to releave me of my prized possessions. They are smart and crafty. We have had equipment "spring legs" and dissappear. So, there is no way I would let them know I even have it in the building. I purchased an iTalk while visiting the Apple Store in Durham. Last week, I noticed that Griffin had a neat lapel mic for around $15. LapelMic .

I have been drooling over the 60GB iPod Photo since it made it debute. When the iPod photo was released, it wasn't long before as a want-to-be digital photographer, I was hoping to use the device in my classroom but disappointment that it couldn't transfer pictures from a camera directly to the iPod and then immediately view those pictures on it. You had to process the pictures with a computer first. Now, according to MacWorld sources, Apple has addressed this problem with the $29 iPod Camera Connector. Not sure exactly how the device is suppose to work, maybe someone has some info on that. When this device is released in late March, photographers will be able to transfer and view pictures on the iPod without the need of a computer. This along with the 60GB iPod photo's new $449 should make it a must-have gadget for digital photography enthusiasts. Hum, I better start picking up beer cans and taking them to the recycling center. Oh, I could sell some of my have it...sell my brain on eBay...I would not get much for that.

List of Links We Use in Photography in Science

Photography in Science
A page of links from the digital library of Mr. Blake's class.
List of Links

John Blake's Class

Professional Development
Student Experts Teach Teachers how to use technology in professional development in Whiteville City Schools. This page contains some still images from our class 2/24/05. A special thanks to Dr. Cris Crissman and Bill Lovin of

John Blake's Class

Monday, February 21, 2005

EETT money

Subject: EETT money
Sent: Monday, February 21, 2005 6:38:11 AM EST

We have received several letters from LEAs who have already contacted
key legislators about the possible loss of all EETT money. These are
making a huge impact in Washington. But the fight is not over yet. There
is still much to be done before the EETT money is restored to even
a fraction of its original amount.

In a meeting we had last week in DC, it was mentioned that
Congressional staffers are logging each letter and phone call. They do
not believe that they are logging the e-mails, however. They also
reiterated that snail-mail letters are not effective because it takes up
to 3 months for them to get through security measures.
Thus, please get as many as possible of your parents, teachers,
principals, and central office staff to fax letters to your
representatives. We have their attention. Please don't wait!

All e-mail correspondence to and from this address is subject to the
North Carolina Public Records Law, which may result in monitoring and
disclosure to third parties, including law enforcement.

Frances Bryant Bradburn, Director, Instructional Technologies, North
Carolina Department of Public Instruction, 301 N. Wilmington St.,
Raleigh, NC 27601-2825. (919) 807-3292; FAX (919) 807-3290
New mailing address: 6364 Mail Service Center, Raleigh, NC 27699-6364

Saturday, February 19, 2005

Cassini Radar Titan Movie

Saturn's Moons Titan and Enceladus Seen by Cassini - Feb. 18, 2005
NASA's Cassini spacecraft has had a busy week, snapping stunning new images of two of Saturn's moons -- smoggy Titan on Feb. 15 and wrinkled Enceladus on Feb. 16.

This animation shows the Cassini spacecraft approaching Titan. The strips of data on the globe represent areas observed with the Cassini radar instrument. The pink swatch is the area observed by the radar instrument during the Oct. 2004 flyby, while the blue area represents the coverage observed during the Feb. 15 flyby. The movie zooms into several interesting areas on Titan, including a giant crater the size of Iowa, an area with bright hills and ridges surrounded by a dark plain, and a smaller crater with a blanket of material surrounding it, possibly due to ejected material being thrown out of the crater after an impact.

The Cassini-Huygens mission is a cooperative project of NASA, the European Space Agency and the Italian Space Agency. The Jet Propulsion Laboratory, a division of the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, manages the Cassini-Huygens mission for NASA's Science Mission Directorate, Washington, D.C. The Cassini orbiter and its two onboard cameras were designed, developed and assembled at JPL. The radar instrument team is based at JPL, working with team members from the United States and several European countries.

Click HERE to check out this neat video

For more information about the Cassini-Huygens mission visit

Credit: NASA/JPL
Cassini-Huygens Home

Friday, February 18, 2005

Researching Digital Literacy

I awoke this morning at 4:00 AM can could not fall back to sleep. Today is an optional teacher workday, so I did not go to work. Looks like my body would have wanted to sleep on a day off. I have so few days off I must have been too excited about not having to go to fight the battles with my "unmotivated customers". Unmotivated customer is my term for adolescent aged children that are assigned to an alternative school for whatever reason. My decade of experience in the retail business taught me some lessons about selling. One strategy that worked great when I ran my sporting goods business was to meet my customer at the door as they came in with a big smile and call them by their name- "hey, Billy Ray, I have not seen you in a blue moon." Then wait for them to say their little come-backs like: "yeah, I been working on that old boat of mine..." Educators say that students "don't care how much you know until that know how much you care" Well that is true, but lately, my people skills have been challenged. I will not get into all the negatives. So, lets change the subject,

As I sit reclined in my living room, watching the Today Show on NBC, and waiting on the dryer alarm to go off, I have my PowerBook running and am trying to gather some information about the topic of digital literacy. I noticed in my Bloglines, that some company as a search/research tool called Grokker. The site caught my attention and I downloaded the demo.

Next step: Use Grokker to research digital literacy.

Digital literacy is "the ability to understand and use information in multiple formats from a wide range of sources when it is presented via computers" [Gilster, Paul. Digital Literacy.  New York: Wiley and Computer Publishing, 1997. p. 1.]

The more I read on this topic, the more frustrated I become. Must be ADD. Distractions are all around. Too much information to focus on. Maybe another day.

I am heading out to check on the dog and return a truck I have been test driving. Teachers do not make enough money to drive new vehicles. I can not afford this 8 year old S-10 with 100,000 miles. I hate trading cars. I need to live in a city with mass transit. No, I just need a Harley. Yeah, that is it. Hum, pull up in the school parking lot on a Hog.

Too much coffee!

Saturday, February 05, 2005

The EduBlog now has a K7.Net voice mail

Also, I have an account on K7.Net, which gives me a voice box that produces audio files that I can include in my future podcasts. So give me a call, leave a comment, or even better, a question. Call:

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Digital Literacy

This post on David Warlicks page might keep me up tonight. As I was looking for an interesting way to start my technology training tomorrow, it came to me. Play the video clip to the teachers and then ask the teachers what they think. Then tell them that by searching that all this could be true but who is behind this. My point will be to try to make the participants think about how they are using or not using digtial media in their classroom. Are they preparing their students for the future or teaching them what they had been taught, in the way they were taught. Technology is changing our world reguardless of what we think.
Exactly 2¢ Worth -- David Warlick

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Mr. Blake’s ClassBlog :: Student’s Teaching Teachers

Mr. Blake’s ClassBlog :: Student’s Teaching Teachers Thursday marks the beginning of a four session professional development offering at Whiteville High School. Teachers from WHS and NWA have signed up for the training.

Classroom Digital Images Resource

Digital Photography web pageMr. Campbell Price, DPI Technology Consultant, has shared this site with thousands of school children over the years. He emailed me this morning and gave me the link to share with my students. Check out the great landforms and landmarks. Permission is granted for classroom use only. I want to make me a slideshow for a screensaver on my PowerBook.