Monday, December 17, 2012

Zimbra: Away Message, Password Change, Back-up

Here are a few tips for your Zimbra account:

Create an Away/Vacation Message:

In case you will be away for the holidays and you want to create an away message, check out this post for directions:

Password Change:

Go to the following link: and select “PW Change” on the left side of the screen. Select “Update and change your current password,” and follow the directions.

Backing up Email/Calendar/Address Book:

Some people in our district have asked about backing up email. The file created by Zimbra when backing up information will be readable only by importing the file into Zimbra, or Zimbra Desktop. This means that you won’t be able to read the information if you open the file on your computer. The biggest reason for backing up the information would be leaving the district.  If you are still interested in backing up the data, follow these directions.

To backup email, select “Preferences,” then “Import/Export,” then under “Export” you can select “All Folders,” then choose the folders you would like to backup, then select “OK.” From the “Import/Export” screen, you may also backup your Address Book, Calendar, Tasks and Briefcase. Select the box next to “Advanced Settings,” and select the boxes next to the items that you would like and select “Export.”

The file(s) will be downloaded in a zip file in your Downloads folder.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

How Kids Teach Themselves

21st Century Learning...these buzz words can cause excitement for some educators, while others cringe at the words and run the other direction. Well, this post is geared towards the latter as a way to bring hope and encouragement.  It is possible to abandon the anxiety that some educators feel.    Thoughts of "I don't understand technology" or "what if the students know more than me?" can keep us from experimenting with tech tools in our classrooms.

Sugata Mitra, a Professor of Educational Technology in the UK, speaks in this Ted Talks video about his experiments in the slums and rural villages of India to discover how kids teach technology to themselves and others, even the non-digital natives.  I think that this can be said about many things, because children do not face the same type of fear that we do as adults and educators: the fear of failure.

So, how does this bring hope and encouragement to educators?  I think Mitra's studies remind us all that we should embrace childrens' freedom to try new things, whether we fail or not, because you never know what good can come out of it.  Don't be afraid of your students who know more than you do...but rather ask them to teach others (and yourself).  You can integrate it into a lesson and have them write about their experience teaching others.  There are endless possibilities...and remember, your fear of blowing something up by playing with an ipad or computer is highly unlikely, so go play and discover with your students the amazing capabilities of technology tools.




Monday, December 10, 2012

More on InstaGrok

As a follow up on my research tools post I came across this article about InstaGrok this morning.  It highlights how this search engine organizes information.  Here is the link to one of my favorite blogs The Last Back Pack. Happy searching!!



Sunday, December 9, 2012

Digital Citizenship Lesson Plan & Poster

Many of our students can be connected to the world 24/7. Digital citizenship is one of the necessary elements they need to learn to navigate the online world safely and effectively. As students access the Internet in our classrooms we have an opportunity to teach them digital citizenship skills.

As I reflected on my time working with students creating websites I realized there were many issues I did not address initially, leading me to do a lot of clean up once the students got started. One of these was having a student post her picture, and her personal information on the website she was creating for my class. Yikes!  Thankfully, I caught it quickly and used it as a teachable moment.

Instead of having to find out the hard way you can access a lesson plan that both introduces students to Edmodo and the expectations of being on an online community. The lesson revolves around five principles: communicating responsibly, reporting cyberbullying, respecting each other, giving proper credit, protecting information. The lesson plan is primarily for K-8 students, but can also work for high school students. You can access this lesson plan through Edmodo’s Digital Citizenship Starter Kit.

Edmodo recently promoted this kit by sending out free posters. The promotion has ended, but you can still access a mini-version of their poster through the starter kit. Our office happens to have an extra poster, so if you’d like to be a recipient of this please let us know.

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Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Linda Yollis Nominated for International Edublog Awards



Linda Yollis, a 2/3 combo teacher at Chaparral Elementary, class blog has been nominated for several international Edublog Awards!  The purpose of the Edublog Awards is to promote and demonstrate the educational value of social media.

She is nominated in the following categories:

1.  Best Class Blog -  Mrs. Yollis' Classroom Blog

2. Influential Post - Mrs. Yollis' "November is Family Blogging Month"

3.  Three former students are also nominated. You can choose! :-)
Come Somersault With Sarah (4th grader/Bay Laurel)

              Jaden's Awesome Blog (5th grader/Chaparral)
              Miriam's Magical Moments (5th grader/Bay Laurel)


Click here to be taken to the voting page. Use the DROP DOWN MENU to choose a category and vote.

You do not need to sign up for anything to vote.
You can vote daily and on multiple devices! (laptops, smart phones, ipads...)
Only one vote per category per day will be counted per IP address.
You can forward this email to relatives or coworkers (if appropriate).
Daily voting end this Sunday, December 9.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Search Engines for Students and Teachers

There are so many search engines out there now that I have been wanting to put together a list of some of the best and most unique sites available.  Here is that list, but before we talk about the tools we need to address the research process. There is a difference between finding information and thinking about the information that you find. As teachers we need to focus on the process of thinking about what the final product needs to be. Student's need to know where to go to get information and how to use the information they get. Of course I love Google and all things Google! They offer some very powerful tools, but there are other great search engines out there that should not be over looked! Having said that the first one I am going to mention is Google and the Search Education Curriculum

The next is InstaGrok this one is an interactive tool that offers so much information on a subject take a look: is a visual way to serch the web. Users put in their topic and Oolone generates thumb nail websites that can be viewed

For younger students KidRex is a great search engine that has been developed by kids for kids.

WolframAlpha is more than a search engine. It gives you access to facts and data. It calculates answers across a range of topics including science, nutrition, history, geography and more!

SweetSearch is a fast search engine for students it enables them to determine the most relevant results from a list of credible resources, and makes it much easier for them to find primary sources. It also offers teachers resources on how to teach research skills, as well as subject specific engines dedicated to biographies, Social Studies. There is even a SweetSearch2day site that is a daily assortment of the best content on the web.