EDUTOPIA – Back to school guide

Edutopia’s latest classroom resource guide, Back-to-School Guide: Jump Start Learning with New Media is filled with new and updated ideas to help you build a classroom that speaks to how our students learn best. Whether it’s breaking the digital ice or making learning social, this resource-packed guide highlights 10 engaging ways to inspire and connect with your students from the moment they arrive until the summer bell rings. Download the guide here.

The thirteen page pdf booklet includes tips on how to “Survey Your Experts” to “Contribute to Science,” sure makes learning more fun.

Virtual Field Trips – You never have to leave the room….

With the first day of school right around the corner, and first day nervous twitches developing, I seek to find a collection of Virtual Field trips I can take my students to the first week of school.

“Fields Trips! Yeah!”

I can hear it now. I find this is a great way to explore the world of technology.

Here are a few links :

http://teachersnetwork.org/book/vfieldtrip.htm

Hotlist of virtual field trips

InterroBang?! Its a Game !

InterroBang?! is a game where you get to have fun with problems. Students complete real-world missions with deeds that can win prizes, improve problem solving skills, and connect them with others to do things that just might change the world.

Teachers: 

We invite you to take part in an extraordinary undertaking: a game that will make learning both fun and rewarding by taking it out of the classroom, past the computer screen, and into the real world.

By utilizing social networking and games, we can harness student imagination and energy in a carbon-neutral, self-sustaining, learning machine.

But even with the added ingredients of Smithsonian experts, Microsoft free educational tools, and the ethics of Learn and Serve America – for InterroBang to work, it needs the essential catalyst. You. Teachers, mentors, educators.

HOW TO PLAY

Pick a MISSION. Start easy (10 points) and work you way up. There are many to chose from: more added every day. You can even suggest some.

 Make a PLAN. We’ll help you get started. Do it by yourself or collaborate with your friends and people on your team.

 Go out and DO IT. Have fun. Document what you’re doing with pictures, video, audio.

 PROVE you did it. Upload your pictures and videos. Tell us what about your experience.

 Connect with the community. Take a look at what other players are doing. Make strategic alliances.

 Create missions. Every mission you create gives you extra points

 Collect badges and win prizes.

http://www.smithsonianconference.org/expert/

 As a class, submit one mission for each of the Four Grand Challenges.

Creating a PDF

Several fellow teachers have requested links to PDF online tools and virtual PDF printers.  A Portable Document Format (PDF) is an open standard for document exchange.
You can convert documents online to a PDF from  Microsoft Office, Open Office, Lotus, images, and web pages . This free PDF converter and PDF creator is quick and reliable. http://www.freepdfconvert.com/

Adobe allows you to create your own PDF’s online, requires a sign up and subscribe feature, but is free. http://www.adobe.com/acom/createpdf/ There’s no installation required, so getting started is easy — and free!

Virtual PDF Printer simplifies the process of creating PDF document.  This installs on your computer as a printer, just without the hardware.

Pdf995 makes it easy and affordable to create professional-quality documents in the popular PDF file format. Its easy-to-use interface helps you to create PDF files by simply selecting the “print” command from any application, creating documents which can be viewed on any computer with a PDF viewer.  Pdf995 is a printer driver that works with any Postscript to PDF converter. The pdf995 printer driver and a free Converter are available for easy download. Download Now.

Primo PDF converter is free, does have ad’s pop up when converting, but does work very well.  http://www.primopdf.com/index.aspx

If you are operating 2007 Microsoft Office, it does have a PDF creator add-in that allows you to export to a PDF.

One last note: If you are using Google Docs you can create your document and then File-Download to PDF and save on your desktop.  Check out this webpage for help… Check out my past post on Google Doc’s and consider using this free feature.
Thanks..