Earlier in the month of March I had the fortunate opportunity to conduct two different hands on session at the Computer Using Educators Annual Conference. One of the sessions I co-hosted was the Google Workshop for Educators (Google Learning Institute). My co-host was another Google Certified Teacher, Lainie McGann. This session was the first to fill up and sell out and was very well attended. Lots of google apps and google tools were covered during this session. One of the things that I shared on how to make and use, which also happens to be my favorite is a custom search engine. I am of the perspective that rather than rely on school/district filters, educators can provide a more streamlined method for their students to conduct research on the internet utilizing a custom search engine. By building a custom search engine you can control which sites your students access, which sites to specifically exclude from the search results, and you can remove the ads from the search results. I build a custom search engine for images. The purpose of this search engine was for students to find images that are in the public domain and/or have a creative commons license. By searching only these sites I also ensure that all of the results are K-12 appropriate images for assignments such as digital storytelling, powerpoint presentations, etc. Feel free to link to my site or contact me if you would like the embed code to add to your site or blog. My custom image search can be found here.
The other session I had the privilege to conduct at CUE was an iPhone/iPod Touch in education supersession. I have already shared and posted a cell phone in education presentation I conducted last year, so there is no need to state my position on that subject. What I will add is that these tools and various other smartphone technologies are transforming and will continue to transform education as we know it. These tools can most certainly help classes and schools work towards increasing access to the curriculum in a much more meaningful and engaging manner. My session covered many of the applications that are available for each piece of hardware in a variety of subject areas. I would like to add that most of the applications are currently free to download onto your iPhone or iPod Touch. The session keynote presentation is below:
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