Monday, April 28, 2008

tt4t_035 End of another semester

It’s Monday, April 28th 2008 and welcome to episode 35 of TechTalk4Teachers, I’m Tom Grissom. This week is final exam week at EIU and as I look back over the past semester my classes have really accomplished a lot. We have taken a project-based learning approach to classes and we have covered the standard productivity software like Microsoft Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, and Publisher. Every student has created a webpage and completed many other projects. We have covered many Web 2.0 technologies including blogs, wikis, and podcasts.

Download MP3

Every student created their own Jeopardy-like game using the Smart Board notebook software. Students also created a PowerPoint that incorporated interactive questions using the TurningPoint Student Response System, better known an clickers, and have had the opportunity to spend an imaginary $5000 budget for technologies they would like to have in their first classroom. The last project of the semester featured the new Flip Video cameras that the ITC recently purchased. I gave my class the assignment of testing these cameras out and running them through their paces. For the most part the reviews were positive and most students were able to successfully use the cameras without reading the manual. Many students installed the supplied software and created their own mini-movie in less than a half-hour. Some students imported the clips into Windows movie maker and used that to edit, while others used Pinnacle Studio. For a fast way to produce videos I think the Flip cameras are going to be a big hit in upcoming classes and for special projects that require short video clips. Best of all the Flip video cameras are affordable for all classrooms. Looking back over all the projects we created we had a pretty full agenda this semester.

Flip Video Camera Link:

I am proud that all students successfully completed class and now that my students have the tech knowledge and skills to successfully utilize technology in the classroom it is time to learn more. I encourage all students to continue to utilize the technologies learned in class as they learn more about pedagogy in their upcoming teacher education courses.

Tom’s Technology Pick of the Week
My technology pick of the week this week is a recommendation that I gave a student in the hallway as they asked me if I knew of a flowcharting/brainstorming program for a quick diagram that she needed. I recommended a Web 2.0 website called and a link is provided in the show notes. As with many Web 2.0 services bubbl is spelled weird. To check it out go to

Free web application for Brainstorming

Now I have not signed up for an account at this website but I was able to create a flowchart diagram very easily and export the resulting file as a jpeg image by clicking on the Menu button at the bottom of the page and then selecting Export. This web service is like Inspiration but unlike Inspiration bubbl is free. It is not nearly as full featured as Inspiration but it will do in a pinch. If you signup for an account you will be able to save your bubbl files and link them to your website or blog. If you are in need of a simple concept map give bubbl a try and see if it meets your needs.

That wraps it up for episode 35 of TechTalk4Teachers. Show notes for this episode along with archived versions of previous shows are available on the web at the EIU Instructional Technology Center website at just click on the Techtalk4Teachers Podcast link. If you would like to send your comments or suggestions please send an email to I would also like to thank the listener from Canada that left their comments on the TechTalk4Teachers blog regarding the audio versus video podcasts episode. For all the EIU students out there good luck on finals and we will see you again next semester. Have a great and safe summer break. Until next time this is Tom Grissom, keep on learning

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