Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Last Post

Alas -- I've finally had to accept that my time at Wilkes has come to an end. This morning I changed my Twitter id from '@suheatwilkes' to just plain me '@suehellman'. Now I'm writing the conclusion to this blog and moving on to new pursuits.

I want to thank all the people at Discovery and at Wilkes for a wonderful learning experience. It changed me as an educator in ways I never imagined when I applied to the program. The lessons learned and understandings gained continue to reverberate as I read, respond, write, participate, share, and develop new learning experiences for colleagues and young people.

My first blogging service, Posterous, has recently been bought by Twitter, but for now I'll be doing my online writing and reflecting from there --
Small Changes; Big Returns at

Thursday, December 8, 2011

December countdown -- "ideas to inspire" + "A+ Click Math"

If you're at the point in the Wilkes course where you have to figure out something interesting to do with Google Earth, there's a slide show of activities in this impressive collection of presentations to help you. If you have a cool idea, pick the presentation it fit, email Anthony Evans ( for the link to the Google Doc presentation, and create your slide.

This is such a great tool for individual math problem solving review. The problems are mixed with multiple choice images and the program sends the student to the next level when 5 have been solved correctly. Set a timer on the whiteboard and see how many questions the kids can solve as a group in 3 minutes. OR let them play on their iPads when they're squirmy. When the page size is smaller, the display switches to fewer columns so there will be no scrolling on smaller screens.


Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Potpourri or Potluck: collected ideas and tips from Digital Inspiration

I'm cleaning out my in-box and today's target is Digital Inspiration. (My goal is to clear out 50 each day.) Amit Agarwal was one of the first tech bloggers I ever read, and he remains one of my favs. Hpwever, when I get behind in daily processing, his blog is one I skip because it's often so pithy, I know it will take me a lot of time to process and post the information.

Here then is a list of great ideas and tips from the past several months:

1) Using a QR code to give conference attendee access to your presentation slides and other handouts -- could also work in a class where the kids are allowed to use smart phones or have iPads to update them on homework assignments or where class presentations have been posted

2) How to check multiple Gmail accounts without signing out -- one bit of advice I use in my workshops is for teachers to create class gmail accounts, to register with online websites for classes using the gmail address, and then to have students work online using these accounts. This negates the need for them to register and gives you complete control of each all websites used. Keep the names and passwords easy to remember and meaningful.

For example: ourschoolgr5[at]gmail[dot]com could be the gmail address and the user name and password might be something like Oursch1Oursch2. That password is tricky enough to be accepted by 95% of websites but easy enough for the students and you to remember. [Note sub in your school's name or initials and your grade or class or block to make it fit your needs.] Be systematic and develop a naming convention, but keep the names generic enough that you can roll the accounts over from year to year or semester to semester.

3) The Google Earth Clock displays the current local time in your browser using satellite imagery from Google Earth / Google Maps.

4) Faking screenshots could be an interesting way to start a lesson on authenticating sources. Have students start with an original image and then alter it. Post a collection of 'reals' and 'fakes' and ask students in the school to vote. Here's another article that may stimulate some discussion and a link to an early post of mine about Authenticating Sources.

5) For librarians -- how to track new books with Google Alerts

6) See how far you can travel in a given time -- this could be an interesting one for math classes. Have students work out a radius the traditional way and then compare it to the map on this website. They can discuss the factors what might affect the outcome.

7) Create your own Google Maps -- if you like the idea of Google Lit Trips but don't want to take the time to have students work with Google Earth, try this simpler way to map historical events, literary works, scientific discoveries, etc.

8) Create a flippable e-zine that will work on iDevices as well as traditional computers using Themeefy -- this could be a great way for a student to compile an eportfolio of work created and posted elsewhere on the internet.

9) Another way to curate-- using which replicates webpages so that even if they cease existing on the internet, your reference will not disappear. "You may also use to save and archive web pages that require login" -- instead of using screenshots which is what I do at present to preserve all login information.

10) Sometimes PC desktops just do it better -- one keyboard, one mouse, multiple computers, multiple screens -- create your own command central for multitasking. See also Synergy if you mix platforms.

11) Learning about colour editing if you don't know much about it

12) Tip for repositioning a window on your PC when sreen recording

Happy Thanksgiving to all my American readers!

Wise words

I love the message in this presentation. There's plenty here for students to consider when creating multimedia presentations of any sort.

Source: Digital Inspiration (one of my favourite tech blogs)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

An interesting tools mashup for EDIM students

When annotating and social bookmarking are too cumbersome, and you want to
  1. keep track of a specific passages (or image?) in several articles
  2. keep a list of those references for your bibliography
try using
  1. CITEBITE which creates a unique URL for a highlighted portion of a website, AND
  2. WEBLIST to compile those URLs into a personal list

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Tundra Connections update

1) Class registration page at

2) Education tools and materials

3) Events list (click to enlarge)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Tundra connections Nov. 14-16

[Live cam]

Join a live, free webcast from the tundra during the peak of the polar bear migration near Churchill, Manitoba, Canada through Edmodo. Here's the information link --

News from Churchill

Link to Facebook

Link to PolarBear Cam above