Featured Post

Captain Coordinate

What it is: Captain Coordinate is a fun, fully narrated, interactive game that teaches students about geography and scale.  The game is one of the “Freebes” from Sherston.  Students can choose from three difficulty levels to help Captain Coordinate put up wanted posters in several locations. ...

Read More

8 alternatives to Google Reader

Posted by admin | Posted in Blogs, For Teachers, professional development, Teacher Resources, web tools, Web2.0 | Posted on 12-06-2013

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

9

8 alternatives to Google Reader

I’ve been in mourning over Google’s decision to shut down Reader.  MOURNING.  Honestly, I love having a centralized location for all of my favorite blogs.  It is like my own customized newspaper delivered each morning.  I’ve been using Google Reader since about 2007, and in that time I’ve amassed an enormous collection of favorites.  Whenever I find something I want to remember or be able to go back and read, I Tweet it out and then immediately favorite it.  I can’t tell you how often I go to my Reader when I’m remembering something great that I favorited that I want to revisit or share.  Daily.

Google Reader is closing the door on July 1st.  I’ve been trying to pretend that this day isn’t coming.  Denial won’t stop it.  Today I decided to settle in and start going through my favorites to save them to my Pinterest boards.  I’ve found some great alternatives for Google Reader, but I have yet to find one that transfers both current RSS feeds and favorites.  I talked to Feedly on Twitter and they said that they are working on it.  I haven’t seen this feature added yet.  Not willing to lose all of those favorites, I’m going through the painstaking process of saving them elsewhere.  On the upside: I’m being reminded of the brilliance I’m surrounded by online.

If you are looking for a replacement RSS feed reader (say for your favorite blog…*ahem*) here are some great alternatives.

1. The Old Reader is in beta, it was built to be a replacement for Google Reader.  It looks a whole lot like the Google Reader you know and love.  For those super geeks (own it!) you can even use the same keyboard shortcuts.  This option is free but is currently browser-based only…no mobile apps yet.  Alas, that is where I do the majority of my reading.

2. Feedly is a good RSS reader alternative.  In addition to collecting your RSS feeds for you, it has a news suggestion algorithm that will suggest other articles that you will probably find interesting.  Great unless you have a reader like I do…then it becomes an endless rabbit hole that is hard to walk away from.  Feedly also has a great social aspect that makes it easy to share with friends and post to social networks.  With Feedly you can choose what type of layout you prefer. You can easily transfer all of your current subscriptions from Google Reader to Feedly.  Feedly comes as browser extension and mobile app.

3.  News Blur is similar to Google Reader, you can share articles, save for future reading, star them or start your own daily “burblog” of news stories that you want to share with others.  It comes in mobile app format.  Now the bad news: free accounts are capped at 64 blogs and 10 stories at a time (this would never do for me). Premium users pay $24 a year to subscribe to as many sites as they want.  The worse news: currently they aren’t allowing free users to sign up.  Dang. It.

4. Pulse lets you keep up on the blogs that you subscribe to, but it primarily recommends stories it thinks you will enjoy.  Pulse looks a little more like Feedly and will also let you import your Google Reader feed (mobile version only).  Articles can be saved, shared, browsed, sorted by category.

5. NetVibes is a RSS reader and a social aggregation service.  Basic accounts are free which will do what you need to follow your feeds.  You can add widgets like weather, Twitter, and top news stories to your NetVibe dashboard.  The bad news: there aren’t any mobile apps.

6. Feed Demon is not only an RSS reader, it also lets you set up keywords to be alerted about.  If a keyword appears in a feed (whether you subscribe to it or not) it will apear in your feed.  It also lets you subscribe to podcasts, it automatically stores them in a directory and makes it easy to save them to a mobile device.

7. Flipboard recommends feeds but also lets you subscribe to RSS feeds.  The layout is beautiful and looks like a magazine.  You can also add your social networks including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.  It brings your online life together in one place.  Favorites can be saved. Flipboard is available for the iPad, iPhone, Android, Kindle Fire and Nook.

8. Feedbin makes it easy to subscribe to new feeds by domain or by feed url. You can import your current feeds using the OPML import feature.  You can organize all of your feeds by Tags. Just like Google Reader, Feedbin has great keyboard shortcuts that will help you get through your news efficiently.  Feedbin is not free, it currently costs $2/month.  The biggest benefit (and the reason this will most likely be my choice) you can connect Feedbin to the Reeder app!!  I currently use the Reeder app to read my Google Reader feeds.  I absolutely LOVE Reeder, It is such a beautiful way to read, save, share, etc. all of my RSS feeds.  Reeder is still working out a solution for July 1st.  In the mean time, it is available for free in the iTunes app store and you can connect it to Feedbin.  Reeder is working out the ability to connect it to other readers as well.

RSS feeds are a great way to bring professional development to your fingertips ever day.  Don’t let the demise of Google Reader stop you from learning!

Writing Prompts Tumblr

Posted by admin | Posted in Blogs, Create, Evaluate, Interactive Whiteboard, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 21-09-2011

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

2

What it is:    Writing Prompts  is a Tumblr blog I learned about from @johntspencer on Twitter this morning.  It is a fabulous blog packed FULL of writing prompts to use in the classroom.  There are currently 247 prompts on the site but new prompts are added regularly (so subscribe to this one!).  The prompts are pictures coupled with a text prompt and are sure to get the creative writing juices of your students flowing.

How to integrate Writing Prompts into the classroom:  These Writing Prompts are a fantastic way to get your students thinking outside of the box and interested in writing.   Display prompts on an interactive whiteboard, projector connected computer, or at a writing center on classroom computers.  Students can spend 15-20 minutes of uninterrupted time just writing their thoughts.  Keep these in a journal so that they can go back through their writing and choose a 15 minute piece they would like to expand on.

A blog is the ideal platform for writing of this kind because students can re-blog the prompt along with their written piece.  Students can get feedback from teachers and peers in the form of comments on the blog.

The Writing Prompt Tumblr blog is the perfect addition to a classroom or student RSS reader.  New posts will be delivered as they are posted so your students will always have a fresh supply of writing inspiration.  I use Google Reader when I am at a computer, Reeder or Flipboard on the iPad.

Tips:  These prompts are best for secondary elementary, middle and high school students.  If you teach younger students, consider creating a writing prompt Tumblr of your own.  They are easy to get started with!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Writing Prompts in  your classroom!

Colorado Podcast Summit Revisted

Posted by admin | Posted in Blogs, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 05-03-2008

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

0

As promised the Colorado Podcast Summit that I participated in is now online. Be sure to listen to the Keynote speakers podcasts for truly inspiring ways to use podcasting in your classroom. If you are looking for my poster session, you can find it under the Poster Session section. Make sure to check out the Resources page where you can find downloads for podcating story boards, rubrics, research, copy right information, and more. You can get to the Colorado Podcast Summit online here: http://www2.bvsd.org/ipodsummit/Pages/default.aspx

Links Galore!

Posted by admin | Posted in Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Websites | Posted on 21-02-2008

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

0

Normally I don’t like to just list links…I would much rather give you a snapshot of a website, give you ideas for implementing it into your classroom, and tips on what has worked for me. Today is different. If you are like me, you read a new idea and immediately want to implement it in your classroom but don’t always have the right resources to make it happen. I have so many links for podcasting that I am going to give them all to you in one shot and then break them down in another post. If you have the podcast itch, get podcasting and browse the links below for some hosting ideas.

The following links are FREE podcast hosting sites (a place to store your teacher or student created podcasts where listeners can access and/or subscribe to your podcasts).

Global Classroom http://globalclassroomusa.org- Expect to see a post dedicated to this one, it is so much more than just a podcast hosting site.

My Podcast http://www.mypodcast.com

Podango http://podango.com

Switchpod http://www.switchpod.com

Podbean http://www.podbean.com

Podcast Summit

Posted by admin | Posted in Language Arts, Phonics, Primary Elementary, Science, Secondary Elementary, Spelling, Teacher Resources | Posted on 20-02-2008

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

1

As promised I want to share some of the incredible uses of podcasting in the classroom that I heard at the Colorado Podcast Summit yesterday. One of the keynote speakers was ISTE Primary Teacher of the Year Carol Greig. Her Keynote entitled “Podcasting for the Struggling Reader” was truly inspiring. Carol teaches kindergarten in the Eugene School District in Oregon, here she started a podcasting program for her struggling readers called Reading Buddies. The Reading Buddies program uses several iPod shuffles that are loaded with reading lessons (created and recorded by Carol) that go home with the students. Carol said something that I think rings true with educators everywhere, “No one can teach my students as well as I can.” Reading Buddies allowed Carol to go home with her students every night using the iPod. The goal of the Reading Buddies program was to help struggling readers reach the benchmark. Carol loaded the iPods with reading lessons based on the individual child’s needs, this provided guided learning at home with and extended student learning. In the Reading Buddies packs Carol included vocabulary picture cards which she created, fluency cards, a book or two and the iPod Shuffle. A sample lesson might sound something like this: “Take out the green picture card. What picture do you see first? That’s right, a cat! Cat starts with the letter C. Cat, Cat. What is the next picture?” Carol pauses after a question so that the students have time to think and respond. The Reading Buddies program helps kids with vocabulary, fluency, alphabetic principal, rhyming, phoneme segmentation, and literature. The iPod “buddies” have been a huge success with 99% of students reaching the reading benchmark by the end of the year. Carol started getting calls from parents requesting that their student be a part of the Reading Buddy program, parents and other educators in the district started offering help to create the recordings for the Reading Buddies. At the end of the first year a parent called to thank her for the wonderful program and things it had done for her son, but she also benefited. After her son went to bed, the mother would listen to the reading buddy and follow along, she learned English by listening to her kindergarten son’s Reading Buddy! There are some good rules that were set up for the students who have reading buddies, each child was told that only the child who was given the Reading Buddy was allowed to use it, if a Buddy was lost or broken the students family was responsible for replacing it. It is a privelege that can be taken away if the Buddies were not cared for. They have never had to take a Buddy away or replace one that was lost or broken by a student. The future of the Reading Buddies program includes expansion to other grades, older students could have their anthologies or science text recorded on the Shuffle. The Reading Buddies program won the presidential award for reading and technology…it is easy to see why!

The new iPod Nano would be great to use as a reading buddy because students could have audio and visual presented. The Shuffles are nice because they are so affordable (the 1G just dropped to $49 yesterday!) I am hoping to get a Reading Buddy Program up and running at my school. I will keep you posted with any success stories or lessons learned!

Colorado Podcast Summit

Posted by admin | Posted in Blogs, Interactive book, Language Arts, Phonics, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Social Studies, Teacher Resources | Posted on 19-02-2008

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

0

Today I presented a poster session at the Colorado Podcast Summit hosted by Apple Education. I met a lot of wonderful educators and heard some great ideas which I will be sharing in the upcoming days. Today I wanted to share with you some of my presentation at the Summit. My session was called Podcasting: Creativity Communication Collaboration below is a break down…

ClickCaster

Posted by admin | Posted in Blogs, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Teacher Resources, Web2.0, Websites | Posted on 14-02-2008

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

4

What it is: ClickCaster allows you and your students to create a podcasting channel that can be subscribed to via RSS feed as well as publish and embed your podcast for integration with classroom blogs or wikis. The ClickCaster platform is extremely easy to use with professional results. ClickCaster offers different levels of service the most basic is free but only includes 125MB of storage. The other levels are very affordable and ClickCaster gives teachers $3 off of their standard package.

How to integrate Click Caster into the classroom: ClickCaster is a great way to publish your classroom podcasts. Other classrooms and parents can subscribe to the podcast through RSS feed or visit your channel for a complete list of your podcasts. Publish a weekly radio show where your students give a synopsis of what they have learned throughout the week. Or, create podcasts where your students get to be the “expert” on a subject. No matter what the subject, ClickCaster will make publishing your podcasts for others simple.

Tips: Sign up for the basic limited account (free) to find out just how simple ClickCaster is to use…you will be hooked in no time!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using ClickCaster in your classroom.