Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Lesson Plan Syndication Online

As I was faced with the task of syndicating the second season of Annick LIVEbrary lesson plans on World History, I've learned that moderated content-sharing sites that allow submissions are few and far between. Many will only accept lesson plans submitted by school teachers, or will only use standardized content generated in-house or by the educational partner sites affiliated with the particular institutions. In other words, while the online teaching tools for educators are abundant, I found that it was rather difficult to syndicate lesson plans unless you are a teacher. If you're a homeschooler or a librarian you will also have a hard time finding quality sites that would accept your content.

Such tight quality control is not only understandable when the safety of our children is concerned, but is also desirable. What you end up with are spam-free sites that are worth pitching and posting to. After you identify the potential sites for your target market, you will need to register on most of them. Some will notify you via e-mail if your membership was approved and will then ask you to verify your email address. Some sites allow you to submit via email only, but many have submission forms. All require approval by the moderator, be it a Webmaster or Editor. The most accepted formats are Word, Text and PDF.

Here are some resources that were high on my lesson-plan syndication list:

Apple Learning Interchange
Graphics heavy, content-sharing site powered by Apple. Contains educator-created lessons, podcasts, videos and such social network trappings as groups, searchable member directory, and forums. JPG thumbnail cover images are required for member-uploaded content.

Teacher-contributed lesson plans and online classrooms powered by a learning management system that make a teacher's life easier by automating such time-consuming tasks as planning and grading.

Forums, live chats, interest-group discussions, an online magazine, and a lesson-plan library.

For Lesson Plans
Free lesson plans for K-12 teachers.

Lesson plans, forums, editorials; and product, service and website reviews.

A to Z Teacher Stuff
Lesson plans, discussion forums, downloadable teaching materials.

YouTube-like media-sharing site. Videos and images only. Student submissions are also accepted but heavily moderated.

Teacher Lingo
Teacher blogs and message boards.

Learn NC
Lesson plans, multimedia resources, and online courses for K-12 teachers and students.

Teachers First
Classroom-ready content generated in-house along with the reviewed web resources.

USA Teachers
Lesson plans, a message board, plus a directory of the school-district sites by state.

Lesson Corner
Educational technology company with online teacher resources.

We The Teachers
Forums, lesson plans and discussion groups.

Lesson Plans Page
Powered by HotChalk.

Homeschooling Library
Lesson plans and resources tailored to the needs of the homeschooling families.

Online library of original content organized by topic; moderated but not limited to teacher resources.

photo courtesy of dc John, used under its Creative Commons license

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

FreeConferenceCall Tutorials for Teachers, Authors, Librarians

Continuing with our back-to-school preparation here at the LIVEbrary, I have located and reviewed a variety of resources for using to deliver online classrooms visits.

FreeConferenceCall is a free conference call service that allows you to stage and record group phone calls. The only charges are whatever your phone carrier charges for long-distance calls to FreeConferenceCall. You can open a FreeConferenceCall account (no credit card required) and begin using it today. It's that simple.

At last check, FreeConferenceCall does not include the ability to text chat or instant message during a call (as Skype does), nor do they offer free videoconferencing at this time (as ooVoo does). But the phone connection through FreeConferenceCall is easier to use and more stable than VOIP, and no software installation is required.

Teachers and librarians -- please email me if you have questions about using FreeConferenceCall for online classroom visits from our LIVEbrary authors.

Producer of The Annick LIVEbrary


Thursday, August 7, 2008

Skype Tutorials for Teachers, Authors, Librarians

The Annick LIVEbrary received a nod from high school librarian and author, Carolyn Foote, in an article about "Skype in the Classroom" in School Library Journal. Thanks, Carolyn!

As part of our continuing summer cleaning, I've been reviewing online tutorials on how to use Skype. All LIVEbrary authors have been trained to use Skype to deliver online classroom visits.

To use Skype well, you have to know at the minimum how to set your preferences -- particularly your privacy preferences. Skype comes with security issues that are important for school systems and library systems to understand before they go wild installing Skype.

My sister is a branch librarian for a large public library system. She Skyped me one day to inform me she had gotten all the library staff on Skype to facilitate branch-to-branch communications. I asked her if she was aware of the security issues related to Skype and whether she had toggled her privacy preferences to prevent communications from people who are not in her address book.

My sister reevaluated the library's teleconferencing solution and ended up going with ooVoo. ooVoo, discussed in several other posts here at the LIVEbrary, has the same security issues as Skype. But ooVoo also has the ability to handle up to five video connections simultaneously. This time, my sister tweaked her privacy settings in ooVoo and assisted the other librarians in tightening their privacy settings, too. The tutorials, below, will help you do the same in Skype.

Skype offers the promise of closed-access conferencing that is secure for students, schools, and libraries -- but you have to be savvy about how you set it up. If children or library patrons are using the system, you need to investigate ways to lock strangers out of teleconferences. Teachers and librarians -- please email me if you have questions about your Skype privacy settings.

Producer of The Annick LIVEbrary

Last Revised: July 14, 2008

Video Tutorials:

Skype for PC Tutorials:
Skype tutorials are free. 10 total, 5-10 min. each

* Digital Landing
Skype on a PC Tutorial

Text-Based Tutorials:

* North Canton City School
Technology Tutorials (free text tutorials in Word and Adobe Acrobat)

* Vitamin: A Web Developer Magazine
How to Podcast with Skype (article)
Description: Good (if dated -- June 2006) article by Josh Owens on how to make podcasts with Skype. Involves installing third-party software for recording. Not an introductory piece.

From Skype:

* Guides to Using Skype

* FAQs

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

LIVEbrary Lesson Plans: Index for Season Two, World History

As we get ready for the coming program on "LIVEbrary Science" this fall, we've been grooming the lesson plans from Season Two. Below is a list of the lesson plans with links to each plan in a variety of formats.

We offer the plans on the blog (without the answers to the quiz) and in the following formats (all of which have the quiz answers embedded): Microsoft Word, Text-Only, and Colorful Printable PDF! Whether you want to read our LIVEbrary Lesson Plans here on site, or download them, print them, and share them with colleagues and students, we have the format you need.

Please let us know if you have any trouble accessing the LIVEbrary Lesson Plans -- or any suggestions for improvement. Thanks for your help.

Producer, The Annick LIVEbrary
Coming Fall 2008: LIVEbrary Science!

Season Two: World History

Lesson Plan #6
Word Text PDF Blog
Topic: Henry Puyi -- Last Emperor of China
Book: Kids Who Rule

Lesson Plan #7
Word Text PDF Blog
Topic: Children at Work in the 19th Century
Book: Cowboys and Coffin Makers

Lesson Plan #8
Word Text PDF Blog
Topic: Under Attack in Renaissance Europe
Book: The Seige

Lesson Plan #9
Word Text PDF Blog
Topic: Egyptian History
Book: Rise of the Golden Cobra

Lesson Plan #10
Word Text PDF Blog
Topic: The Jeans Scene
Book: The Blue Jean Book

Lesson Plan #11
Word Text PDF Blog
Topic: Teen Life in the Inquisition
Book: The Apprentice's Masterpiece

photo courtesy of intenteffect, used under this Creative Commons license