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How to make iLearn Technology work for you

iLearn Technology is coming up on birthday number 4!!  It is hard to remember a time when I didn’t blog, the 4 year journey has been amazing!  I have grown as a teacher, a user of technology, and (I hope) as a blogger.  As I reflected on iLearn Technology, I couldn’t help but remember my first steps into the blogging world.  It was the summer of 2007 and I had been teaching in the computer lab for 2 years.  At the time, I spent my summers searching the web for resources I could use in my classroom.  When I stumbled on gems I wondered why no one had collected all of the great education resources in one place.  I kept a notebook of the sites I was finding and would jot down a few words (which I later realized were tags) to help me remember what the website looked like and did.  I would also write any thoughts that I had about how I could use the site with students.  Every once in a while I would stumble on a collection of education resources for the classroom, but I was disappointed by them.  Most were just lists of website links, there was no information that indicated what kind of site it was or how it could be used.  It frustrated me that I had to click on each and every link to find out if it was worthwhile for my classroom or not.  I was quickly becoming a website snob and when I came upon a website of link lists, I would quickly move on.  It was too time consuming to sort through 100 website urls for the chance that I might find something worth keeping. About this time, the iPhone had just emerged on the scene.  My husband bought one and promptly jail broke it so that he could stay on T-mobile network.  As he searched around the net for iPhone hacks and tips, he came across this little video from @ijustine.  Her AT&T phone bill unveiling. My husband sent me the video with a link to her blog and said “You should start a blog”.  I quickly shot back something snarky like: “oh yeah, what would I blog about my Nokia?”  Lucky for me, he ignored my snarky comment and told me to start an education blog where I reviewed all of the sites I was finding for my classroom.  I wasn’t sure how I could keep a blog going through the school year or how I would find enough material to keep it current, but it was July and I decided to give it a go.  You have to understand, when I started iLearn Technology, I had NO idea what blogging was really all about.  I didn’t really understand how it was different from a website (other than being updated more often) and I am pretty sure the term RSS was foreign to me.  I started it anyway thinking if nothing else, it would be a good place for me to keep track of what I was finding and would be more easily searchable than my spiral notebook.  I didn’t really expect that anyone would read my blog.  I didn’t really expect to get a following of any kind.  Thus began the journey of iLearn Technology. Looking back over the past 4 years, I am still baffled that I find time to post every day.  I am still dumbstruck that you all read my blog and come back for more.  I am still amazed that I continue to find resources that are worthy of posts (I decided when I started iLearn Technology, if it didn’t pass the test of my students enjoying it, there would not be a blog post about it).  Each year I get a little nostalgic in July and look through my old posts.  I remember what projects I have done with students, make note of the sites that my students still beg for, and look forward to new finds.  I also try to find something that I can improve on.  This year I decided that I needed to make the resources I post about easier to search.  In my sidebar, you will see a category list with several drop-down menus.  I have categorized all of my posts by grade, subject, and resource type.  The new category search lets you search within multiple categories at once.  You can choose a grade level, a subject, and a resource (or just choose one or two categories to search).  This should make it easier to find resources that fit your classroom needs.  My hope is that iLearn Technology can be your one stop shop for finding the very best student-tested resources for your classroom. I realize that not all of you have been with me from the beginning of this journey, I thank you for joining me when you did and for sticking with me as I continue to learn and grow!  Most of the tools I have posted about I still use every year.  They are outstanding resources! I don’t expect you to go back through each and every post on the off chance that you will find something that fits your needs, but hopefully the new multiple category search will encourage you to go through some previous posts that you may have missed to find just the right activities for the next school year.  As seems to be the case with technology, not all resources have stood the test of time.  Some sites have shut down, others are no longer free resources.  I am working on amending these posts accordingly but if you come across a site that is no more, leave me a comment and let me know about it.  I can offer some alternative resource suggestions and update the post to indicate the changes. Try out the multiple category search and let me know what you think! You don’t have to make a selection from every category, just choose the options that best fit what you are searching for.

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Happy Thanksgiving! – Anyone have a Donor’s Choose Project?

Posted by admin | Posted in Blogs, collaboration, education reform, Grade Level, inspiration, professional development, Teacher Resources | Posted on 24-11-2010

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Happy Thanksgiving to all of my American friends!  For those of you who won’t be celebrating with us in the States, let me assure you that I will eat a piece of pie on your behalf 🙂

This week has been relatively quite on iLearn Technology as I wrap up projects, start some new projects, and get ready for the holiday.  Just because I have been quite here doesn’t mean that I have been slacking; here is what I have been up to:

  • The Community of Learners Dream Team– my first post on the Cooperative Catalyst blog.
  • In October, I joined @adambellow of edutecher.net in his Change the world campaign.  You can read more about that here: EduTecher Change the World post. I am cheating and calling it a day early so that I can post the results and not have to worry about it tomorrow.  From October 1 to today I have had 54,656 absolute unique visitors to iLearn Technology (according to Google Analytics). Truly amazing!  That works out to $546.56.  Now, like Adam I had to cap my contribution at $400 (teacher who is not employed makes even less than a teacher who is!).  I would love to use my contribution to fund some teacher Donor’s Choose projects.  If you have a project on Donor’s Choose that you would like funded, please leave a comment below.  If I get an overwhelming response, we can put it to a vote.  If anyone would like to donate to help reach the $546.56, or would like to match in any way, please leave a comment.  Help me to fund projects and dreams that will change students lives and make learning a richer experience!

I am truly thankful for all of my readers, you all encourage me regularly!  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

Comments (23)

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Shelly S Terrell, ktenkely and Adam Bellow, Christina Spiezio. Christina Spiezio said: RT @ShellTerrell: Happy Thanksgiving! – Anyone have a Donor’s Choose Project? http://bit.ly/gzV6nN by @ktenkely #edtech […]

I have 3 art projects on Donors Choose!
Titles are “Sparking Our Imaginations.”
My kids love art but our art supplies are so limited to paper and paint-please give thanks 2 those with a lot less-Title One School: http://bit.ly/9nxcWz

Well, Happy Turkey Day to you too! I would love some funding for an LCD. My school is still in the dark ages. I don’t even have a 1970’s overhead. I will eat some pie and think of you. http://www.donorschoose.org/donors/proposal.html?id=408037&verify=1454564013
Thanks for the Help!

I have a wonderful project on DC for a set if 5 ipads for my classroom. Bing is offing to match all of my donations so I need only $1300! Please choose me and help my kiddos experience some wonderful new technology!

Thanks for the consideration!

Sorry! I forgot. “Mission iPad” is the name is my project! Thanks again!
Amy Boecker

I just had a very generous addition of $150 to fund a DC project. Anyone else who would like to donate let me know!

Dear Kelly,

What a generous and thoughtful gift you are offering to teachers!

We create a lot of movies in our classroom and are constantly rerecording or restarting the computer because the internal microphone isn’t reliable. We’re hoping to purchase a microphone through donorschoose.org. Any donation to our project would be appreciated! 🙂

Thanks for your consideration and Happy Thanksgiving!



This is such a generous and wonderful idea. I currently have a proposal on donors choose called “Let’s Get Them Ready Now”.

It is to get 2 ipods for pre-k students for digital learning.
Happy Thanksgiving!

My project is for my second graders to get some habitats for live critters in the classroom. We have less than $100 left but the deadline is looming! We would appreciate any donations! Life Science Lives Here! http://www.donorschoose.org/donors/proposal.html?id=409236
Thanks for the great inspiration. I subscribe via e-mail and use your suggestions frequently in class as well as after school with my 6th-8th grade program!

I have a project that I would love to have funded for 4 ipod touches. There are so many applications for education that would help my low income and ESL students to succeed and also help gain more technology in the classroom for my students. My goal is to get enough for every student. They all deserve an education that fun, exciting, and helps them to be the best they can be. I need all the help I can get. Please help!!!

I would like to nominate my grade 6 classroom for much needed technology. As I live in Canada I am not eligible to apply for Donor’s Choice which is so disappointing. I haven’t been able to find any grants…Currently, for technology my class has an overhead projector, but I have been loaned an older projector which I connect to my personal laptop. I would love a document camera, a Tablet PC, and a Flip or similar-type video camera to bring my classroom alive. Thank you so much for considering my request.

My cousin Emily is a hard-working teacher in NYC. She always has a project going at Donor’s Choose. Here is the link to her page.


I would love to receive a document camera in my class. I am not eligible to register for Donor’s Choice as I live in Canada, sniff, sniff…

My wife and I are both teachers, and I’ve been fortunate to have had 29 of my proposals funded. My wife is a DonorsChoose newbie this year and has had 2 projects funded. Her current project is to get some Tag Readers into her classroom. http://www.donorschoose.org/donors/proposal.html?id=467363 LeapFrog is matching the donations, so she is more than half-way completed. Thanks!

I have had the pleasure of meeting Steve Bergen, one of the founders of Tech International Charter School. With an emphasis on technology and international connections they are looking to open the doors to education to immigrant families, English language learners and special education students. Please check them out at http://www.ticharter.org/. Thank you for doing so much to give back to students!

Wow, thank you all for sending in your projects:
1. I can see we are going to have to put this to a vote!
2. Anyone else who would like to donate/match to these projects?

[…] before Thanksgiving I announced that I was using the money from my Change the world project to help fund a (some) Donor’s […]

“I hate reading!” A dagger to my heart that I hear from many of my incoming middle school students. How do you get non-readers to read? Enter technology… namely Ipod touches. My Donor’s Choose project seeks to purchase 3 IPOD touch’s to drive motivate students to read for the love of reading. Here is our link:

How will we use the IPODS?

Want books to come alive? I mean literally alive? Watch our students claymation videos of their favorite books having a book-shelf conversation. See the videos here:
Don’t miss the best picture award…. Harry Potter Meets Twlight!

Each week my students record book pitches to their friends using Voicethread.com here is a recent example
Students will be able to use the IPODs to listen to and share this reading podcasts. Last week 75% of my students found at least 1 new book to read from the audio book pitches. One student found 5!

This is just a tiny taste of what will happen with the addition of new technology to our classroom. Thanks for all your support!
-Mike Cohen
Windy Ridge K-8 School
Orlando, Florida

I would love for part of my project to be funded. I am a third year teacher who strives to put tech into all of my students learning especially in terms of literacy. We are requesting two voice recorders and the link to our donors choose page is http://www.donorschoose.org/twt-p/477046 .

Thanks for all you do in this blog, it is an amazing resource and you are an inspiration for many teachers! Thanks Kelly!

I would love funding help! I am having difficulty getting donations and would appreciate a donation as well as any funding tips!


[…] unique visitor that I had on iLearn Technology in a little over a month.  Right before Thanksgiving I announced the amount I would be donating ($400) and have since received some generous donations to add to […]

I know this blog post is a bit old, but I was researching some ways of getting DonorsChoose projects funded and came across this post. I actually follow your blog and at the time didn’t have a project up. If you have any suggestions from ways to earn funding (or even just a shout out on Twitter), please let me know. I will be very appreciative!

I really want to try and get my project funded for a MacBook and iPod touches for my students. I recently went to the Apple Learning Tour and I’m on fire to have my students work with garage band and the iLife suites, but my district has no Apple Products.

Thanks Jason, I’ll work on helping you get funding. You know I love a Mac centric project 🙂

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