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Friday, April 25, 2008

38 Birthday presents from CoolCatTeacher to you!



Happy Birthday to Me! Wow! Your twitters, skypes, little e-mail notes and more have really made today special. In addition, my family was wonderful and my amazing husband sent me flowers. Although I still have a stack of grading from here to Qatar - I had a good day.

So, I thought that today, I'd give 38 presents to you for you to open and enjoy. One for each year of this amazing blessed life the good Lord has seen fit to give me.

All of these are free and so so cool! I challenge you to pick a present today, open it in my honor, and let me know what you think!

  1. Songbird - This is THE cool opensource alternative to iTunes and it is connected with Skreemr, the music search engine.

  2. Timebridge - This scheduling system plugs into google calendar or outlook and lets you invite people to a meeting, select four time alternatives, and then it books the meeting time that everyone can attend and puts it on your calendar. It reminds them and it rocks!!

  3. Get Atomic Learning Free for 3 months -- I'm copresenting in a webinar with Atomic Learning and Technology & Learning on Monday. If you register AND attend at 4 pm EDT, you will get 3 months FREE from Atomic. This will give you not only the seminar I did for them on Web 2.0 but also, the one that is coming out soon about how to flatten your classroom.

  4. Diigo - This cool tool has transformed my bookmarking, blogging, sharing, and twittering. Install it, set it up to send to your delicious account. Join the educators group (getting close to 400 members) and ad4dcss groups -- when you send things to the group, make sure you select at least one of the tags that "pops up" (these are from our tag dictionary.) Also, go to tools and set up a nice little daily autoblog based upon a tag you specify. (Some just put the tag "blog" for everything they want to go to their blog that day!)

    To get the most out of it, you definitely should use firefox and install the cute little bookmarklets. This is a definite tool for those writing papers!

  5. Zoho Notebook -- This notebooking service completely and utterly rocks! Zohonotebook gives you the ability to EMBED video and web pages as well as snag notes from many places. It is an amazing tool! (Check out some of the pages I demoed in a workshop a while back.)

  6. Google Forms - Google spreadsheets has a cute little tool hidden in the Share tab, the ability to create a form. We're using this for the Horizon Project managers to submit their weekly reports. It is so fast and easy and a great way to pull information into a spreadsheet. I even have my national honor society students entering their service time for me into the spreadsheet.

  7. Firefox - If you're still stuck in Internet Explorer, you simply must try firefox. Give yourself a present! The plug ins are incredible. My favorites are: the diigo plug in, technorati tag plug in,

  8. If you're in Princeton come to a free Conference next Friday, May 2nd - Can you tell, I love free? I like to do work with people who provide their services to the general public and openly share information. This conference on Friday is chock full of amazing speakers and I'm going to enjoy being on a panel with some of them to talk about Flat Classroom.

  9. Twitter - Again, try this one. Some say they don't "have time for twitter" or don't "get it." Just sign up, add me as a friend, and then go in and see whose talking to me, add some who sound interesting and then reply to their messages by saying @theirID -- so to reply to me, you'd say @coolcatteacher -- You may just find yourself conversing daily with some of your heroes.

  10. Hulu.com - I've been beta testing this beauty which lets you watch all kinds of TV shows. Now, you can watch too!

  11. Mogulus - Do you want your own 24/7 TV station? You can do it here. Schedule things to play. Merge videos from other places on the Net. Very cool.

  12. AFI Screen Nation - The Amazing American Film Institute has a new site where your students may upload video and be evaluated by REAL producers, actors, and directors in Hollywood. Their curriculum is totally amazing and I use the videos that come with my united streaming account to teach digital film & movie making. I love the AFI digital storytelling curriculum and highly recommend it.

  13. Toondoo - Make cartoons. This continues to be one of my perennial favorites for cartoons.

  14. Ning (for VIDEO sharing) - I LOVE Ning in the classroom and just found a super cool new feature. If you upload video to ning, it automatically converts it to the most compressed, appropriate version for the web. You may then embed the video anywhere else. This is solving a lot of our access problems for the horizon project b/c schools just unblock the Ning and have access to all of the movies!

  15. Intel Mashmaker - This lets you mash together all different types of websites and I am enjoying working with it. There will be some things I share soon. This is supposed to be a lot like Microsoft PopFly, which I've not tested yet.

  16. Skype - This is another MUST have APP. If you haven't tried it yet, get over there and take a look.

  17. Classtools.net - Embeddable graphic organizers of every kind for your wiki or blog. I Adore this site and use it all the time in my classroom.

  18. Wikispaces -- This is my stable, well supported, wiki darling. One look at the horizon project wiki will tell you why.

  19. Gmail - With the most robust spam filter anywhere, the ability to filter like a fiend, make folders, and import all accounts into one place, this account is a dream come true. Even if you use another service, you can enable pop on that account, set up a gmail and pull all of your accounts into one. And if you use firefox, they have a better gmail firefox extension from lifehacker that is a must install!.

  20. Gcast - I'm really enjoying podcasting from my cell phone -- just a lot of fun!

  21. FriendFeed - A cool little service that I'm really beginning to enjoy to help me follow just a few people.

  22. Technorati Watchlist - A must use for bloggers watching those responding to their work and just to follow the things you want to know more about. The RSS from the search for your blog belongs in your RSS reader.

  23. PhotoBucket - THE place I put my private photos. I like Flickr, but somtimes I just want to make a really cool flash page for my website or do something neat with photos, and photobucket has more robust tools for my photos than I've found other places.

  24. Big Huge Labs for Flickr -- This has some amazingly hilarious Motivational Poster makers and just about everything you can imagine for your photos. Make monster posters, make labels, make anything. If you have photos, this is THE place to PLAY!

  25. Feedburner is a must use for any serious blogger or school Webmaster. You can burn the feed to feedburner, which will let you move your feed from place to place without losing readers! You may also use Feedblitz to e-mail your blog posts to anyone who is "afraid" of RSS. Feedburner has so many other features that serious bloggers will appreciate.

  26. Statcounter - This is my favorite place to track links, traffic, and more. Just a very reliable, accurate site.

  27. Google Reader -- My RSS reader of choice for linear, sequential RSS reading (down the page aggregation), Google Reader now lets you download google Gears and read your RSS offline!!!!

  28. Netvibes - For single page aggregation, I use netvibes as my RSS reader although my home page starts up with iGoogle, I go to netvibes. Their new Ginger version allows you to publish your pages and share with others. I teach my students this handy RSS reader for their Personal Learning Networks.

  29. EdTechTalk - Although I co-host a show here, I always get pumped when I listen to these shows. Do yourself a favor and take a listen.

  30. Creative Commons Searching - This is THE place to look for images, graphics, and audio. It is a must use for students!

  31. 4Info.net - I get the weather texted to my phone each morning. Every time a Georgia Tech football or basketball game ends, I'm texted the score. You can have stock tickers, rss reminders and more texted to your phone. It is amazingly cool.

    When I shared this in Maine, one guy jumped up and yelled, "I LOVE YOU!!!" It is that useful!

  32. Newsmap - When I want to take time to read the news, this is what I use. I adore NewsMap. I teach my students to use it to get abreast of what is happening in the world. If you have 1 minute to read the news, go here.

  33. Classroom 2.0 Live Conversations - Steve Hargadon is hosting these amazing sessions. Simply excellent. Another place to "get pumped" and have some great ideas.

  34. My year long PD IS the K12 online conference -- Go back and watch some videos (I love Silvia Tolisano's presentation). I believe that you should consider requiring teachers to view at least one of these presentations and "report back" to the group.

  35. Cool Cat Teacher Wiki - All my presentations, handouts, archives, and STUFF are there. I love to get out sometimes and when I do, I want to capture it.

  36. Slideshare - I LOVE this slidesharing site. It is very useful.

  37. VoiceThread - If I could pick ONE tool for elementary ed, this is it, hands down.

  38. My blog - OK, I know this is ME and you're already here. However, really, I don't know which is more the gift, your gifts to me in the form of comments, links, twitters, and e-mails or my being able to share with you what I'm doing. If you're able to live life a little better, make it through when you're at your wits end, and learn something that improves your life, then I've done something.

And although this post took me three days to write, I'm still leaving the date for this past Friday.

And for those of you who've sent me e-mails. I will get caught up, I promise. Something has happened because I had my e-mail down to zero a week and a half a go and now have over 600 emails! I'm trying not to drown!

Thank you all for the kind tweets and messages and I hope you enjoy these presents!

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