Friday, January 30, 2009


Google Sites is a free and easy way to create and share Webpages. Student groups, teaches, classes, or teams can create Websites quickly to share documents, videos, calendars, charts, and other information all in one place. Users can upload documents as attachments, search the Website for specific content, and make the site assessable to specific individuals such as a class roster. Since the software is Web-based, users can make changes to their site from any computer with an Internet connection.
Mr. Stein and I used Google Sites to create our very own Long Island Web 2.0 Classroom Website. The graphics are simple, so we spiced it up with Glogster on the homepage. Glogster is a revolutionary way to create a digital poster using flash technology. More information on these types of application will be coming soon. One feature that Google Sites offers that we really like is the built in sitemap, that we find so important to Website navigation. A sitemap is a representation of the architecture of a Website. It is a hierarchical list of Webpages that belong to a site. Google Sites also has templates that allow users to embed videos from YouTube. All you need to create a Google Site is to have a Google account, and it is free to create one.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Data Privacy Day

On January 28, the U.S., Canada, and 27 European countries celebrated Data Privacy Day to raise awareness and generate discussion about data privacy practices and rights. One of the primary goals of this day is to promote privacy awareness and education among teens across the U.S. As the volume of data uploaded to the World Wide Web increases exponentially, it is vital to comprehend the risks and benefits associated with online communication. Click here for more information, useful links, and resources.

Monday, January 26, 2009

One of the Coolest Tools on Earth!

Google Earth is a free, downloadable application that combines satellite imagery, maps, 3D terrain and 3D buildings to create a highly realistic virtual globe. Students and teachers can explore geographical content, save their toured places and share places with others.

Teachers and students can create their own virtual tours and share them with others. They can even explore content that is developed by organizations such as NASA. In addition, Google has teamed up with astronomers to bring us Google Sky. Using Google Maps this tool provides a way for teachers and students to explore the universe. Users can find the positions of the planets and constellations on the sky and can even watch the birth of distant galaxies as seen by the Hubble Space Telescope.

Students can use Google Earth to:
  • Create tours of their school or community
  • Study climate change and the effects of global warming
  • Track earthquakes in real-time

Friday, January 23, 2009

Turning a Video Into a Netcast

One cannot step into the W.C. Mepham High School Library these days without seeing a bunch of our students sitting at the banks of computers or laptops recording their narration for a Photo Story project or importing their videos into Movie Maker. So what should our teachers do with these creative, content-driven projects? They could take two days out of their instruction to present these projects in class OR they could do something different, innovative, and very useful! Teachers can post these videos to a blog and have their students watch each others projects for homework and answer thought-provoking questions online. How do they do this? Our teachers use Blogger. What is it? Blogger is a tool that makes it easy to instantly publish blogs to the Internet. Blogs are webpages consisting of frequently updated posts or entries on topics. The newest post appears at the top of the page, followed by recent posts in reverse chronological order. Blogger makes it easy to create rich multi-media posts that include text, links, pictures, and videos. Our students can comment on posts that are teacher-created, but student-directed.

Teachers have already used Blogger in our school to:
  • Post their student's Photo Story and Movie Maker projects.
  • Post resources, lessons, and homework assignments.
  • Keep parents up-to-date on class happenings.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Funny Pages

This past fall my colleague Stu Stein and I presented at Emergency Preparedness Day to our District's Special Education Department on alternative assessments and technology. One of the tools that we introduced were online comic or cartoon creators. There are several FREE services available on the World Wide Web. Check them out below and see which one works best for you. Our teachers have used them for homework assignments, formative assessments, portfolio pieces, etc.

Click on cartoon to enlarge
  • Comic Creator: The Comic Creator is an interactive tool that invites students to compose their own comic strips for a variety of contexts.

  • ToonDoo: ToonDoo allows users to set up an account and create your own comic strips, publish them to the Internet, share & discuss.

  • Pixton: Pixton lets you make your own Web comics online.

  • Comiqs: Comiqs is a tolls that lets you create and share your comic stories.

  • Make Beliefs Comix: From author Bill Zimmerman an online educational comic generator for kids of all ages

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Inauguration Day 2009

Today we inaugurate our 44th President of the United States. Like most of our country and the world, Mepham High School will be watching the 56th Presidential Inauguration. I wonder which part of the day our students are looking forward to the most - the Presidential Swearing-in Ceremony, the Inaugural Address, or the Inaugural Parade?

When President-elect Barack Obama takes the oath of office, he will state the following:
"I do solemnly swear that I will faithfully execute the office of the President of the United States, and will to the best of my ability, preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States."

Image source

Friday, January 16, 2009

Thursday, January 15, 2009

What Up Docs?

As I have mentioned in a few previous posts, we have become a Google Apps School and with membership comes privileges!

Google Docs is a free online word processor, spreadsheet, and presentation editor that allows users to create, store, share, and collaborate on documents with others. If you know how to use other word processors (like Microsoft Word), spreadsheets (like Microsoft excel), and presentation (like Microsoft PowerPoint) programs, you can easily use Google Docs. Instead of emailing files back and forth between collaborators or saving them to flash drives, or saving them to our school's shared server, or burning them to CDs, Google Docs allows people to work on a single version of a document together online. The chat feature on presentations makes it possible to create a "permeable classroom" by bringing experts into a lesson to interact with students online. You can also create web-based surveys and questionnaires to collect information from students, teachers, or parents.

Students can use Google Docs to:
  • Work on their documents from any computer—all they need is a Internet connection.
  • Get instant feedback on their work from multiple collaborators and their teacher. (They allow only the users they want to have access to their work.)
  • Publish their papers and presentations on the Web for an authentic audience.
Thank you to CUE and WestEd for providing some of this helpful information.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Why Use School Email Powered by Google?

As I mention in the last post, every student at W.C. Mepham High School has an email address from the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District that is powered by Google. But why use it, when you already have email addresses from AIM, AOL, Hotmail, Yahoo, MSN, etc.? I will tell you why.
  1. Keep unwanted messages out of your inbox with Google's powerful spam blocking technology
  2. Keep any message you might need down the road, and then find it fast with Google search
  3. Send mail, read new messages, and search your archives instantly from your phone
  4. 7 GB of space
  5. School-approved - We don't block school e-mail!

To sum it: Less spam, plenty of space, and access from anywhere!

Friday, January 9, 2009

We are a Google Apps School!

This September every student at W.C. Mepham High School was given an email address from the Bellmore-Merrick Central High School District that is powered by Google, where email is more intuitive, efficient, and useful. This new email address was part of the Google Apps Education Edition. So what is Google Apps Education Edition?

At W.C. Mepham High School, our students have access to the following:
  • Email account ( powered by Google - 7 GB of space
  • Google Docs — Students can share documents, spreadsheets and presentations online without the inconvenience of attachments
  • Google Sites — Student groups, classes or teams can create Websites quickly to share documents, videos, calendars, charts and other information all in one place
  • Google Calendar — Share personal, class schedules calendars

The best part of Google Apps is that these tools are available to our students anytime - anywhere there is an Internet accessible computer. Everyone can work together seamlessly and easily.

Students can use Google Apps to:

  • Keep organized with Google Calendar
  • Collaborate with classmates on a Webpage using Google Sites
  • Make a group or individual presentation with Google Docs

Monday, January 5, 2009

Hello 2009!

What's in store at the Mepham High School Library in 2009? We're glad you asked. In the next few months we will be posting tips on how to use the latest and greatest Web 2.0 tools. We will show you how to use Glogster, ToonDoo, and Wordle. We will also be adding to our Google Tips & Tricks. If there is any specific Web 2.0 tool that you would like to learn how to use, please let us know either by dropping us a line or stopping by the library. We have over a dozen quick tip handouts on various media, such as Movie Maker, Photo Story, Delicious, and many others on the shelf located next to the double doors. Feel free to take as many as you need. Happy 2009!

Image source