Do Life

I have an addiction. I’m addicted to learning. Not just liking to learn new things, but a real obsession. I found Overdrive at our library. I find wonderful non-fiction audio books that I listen to during my short work commute. The last book I consumed was Do Life. While it talked about a journey from unfit to triathlon and Ironman, it also talked about how to enjoy life to the fullest. Well, last night I looked up the “Couch to 5k” program. Those who know me well know tat I only run if someone is chasing me. This morning was day one of the workout. Doable. I used an Interval training app that I already had on my phone. I got to listen to my new book that talks about queues and rewards, the Power of Habits. Next workout – Sunday. So it begins.

Making Laundry Soap


I have been making my own HE laundry soap for quite some time now. Here us the “recipe” I use;

7 oz finely grated Ivory soap
1c washing soda
1 c Borax
1/2 c OxyClean

(Use 1t per load of above mixture)

My washing soda was a bit lumpy, so I hit the side of the box with a rubber mallet to break it up a bit. I also found this neat vintage grater with star-shaped grating holes. I got a really fine powder when grating the soap. Give it a try, and you’ll never go back. If you want more fragrance. Add a few drops if lemon or your favorite essential oil.

Headmagnet and Quizlet

Headmagnet – Retain What You Have Learned — Just Before You Are Going To Forget It!

Spaced Repetition.

Applying What You Have Learned (As Soon As You Can).

Both are sound advice for lifelong learning.

Check out HeadMagnet.  It uses the same educational philosophy as Rosetta Stone.  It reminds you, just about the time you are going to forget something!  I am using this with my students.  While I can and do create my own HeadMagnets to share, it is more of a learning opportunity to have the students create the HeadMagnets themselves.  No excuse now for not being able to recall vocabulary words or technical terms or acronyms.  Give it a try!



Quizlet also lets you creat lists of things to remember.  It has an audio feature that will read the text to you.  It also has the ability to several ways to study the flash cards you or others create including a “Space Race!”  As with HeadMagnet, it is really beneficial if the students are creating and sharing their own lists.

Have any other tools that you use either personally or with your students?  Please let me know by registering and posting a comment.

Web Development – Introduction

Hypertext Markup Language (HTML) is the long-time standard for creating web pages.  That grew into the eXtensible Hypertext Markup Language (XHTML).  The newest draft is HTML5 – some people like to drop the 5; but many like to distinguish from old and new.  It is like when our Business Computer Programming became Microcomputer Information Technology.  That was important because we were trying to differentiate from a mainframe-based curriculum to one of microcomputers (does anyone still call them that?).  Because PCs are no longer the “new” thing, we dropped the “Micro” and became Information Technology.  I think the same will happen with HTML/HTML5.

I was teaching classes that used gopher, usenet, and telenet — before the graphical browsers.  AOL, CompuServe, and Prodigy were the three big players that brought the GUI browsers to the public.  Yes, I did use Mosaic, Netscape, and now use mainly Firefox (sometimes Chrome) — IE, only if nothing else works (or for Microsoft sites).

It is important to keep current with what is happening in the IT area, and Web Development is no exception.  The W3C is a good site to monitor about what is going on with the standards.  One of the big topics is Universal Access — Section 508 of the Federal rehabilitation Act makes us very aware that we need to keep accessibility in mind in our web page design.

No matter how a website looks — people come to it for good, reliable, accurate information.CONTENT IS KING! But, good design is very important, too.  It is especially important to be able to find the content you are looking for.

“I need a picture of the knee to put in my Anatomy and Physiology report.  I’ll just right-click it, save image as,…there!  I’ve got it!”  WRONG — unless the content-creator and owner has given you permission — you are not allowed to do that without correctly citing the work and following copyright law.  Creative Commons was developed for the kind of sharing that the web encourages.

The internet does not exist with webpages alone, but a huge computer network is involved. This network consists of computers, storage devices, routers, switches, etc.  The connection of your computer through its browser to another computer on the internet is called the client-server model.  The server has information that is transferred and interpreted by your browser to display web pages.

Google Course Builder

course-builder – Course Builder – Google Project Hosting

Ready to serve up a MOOC (Massively Open Online Course)?  Google will allow you to do just that!  From offering their first MOOC, Google has opened up their learning management system that they used for their own MOOC Power Searching with Google, and provided Course Builder to anyone who wants to build a MOOC.  What are the implications of MOOC to higher education?  Aren’t MOOCs great marketing tools?  Aren’t they great community service resources?  Students can and do learn from each as much or more than from their instructor.

Carnegie Mellon University Open Learning Initiative

Open Learning Initiative | Open Learning Initiative

Carnegie Mellon joins the ranks of the Open Learning Initiative along with the Khan Academy, MIT OpenCourseware, and the great iTunesU courses. 

For the lifelong learner, these provide courses with “no instructors, no credits, and no charge.”

This is another one to put on your “watch list.”

The Open Learning Initiative – Profiles of Next Generation Learning

Got an iPad and I’m Ready to Go!

Our department was given an iPad to use in order to share its educational application with our colleagues. Thankfully, it ended up in my hands…and I’m not letting go!

Since I already own an iPhone, the transition to the iPad was an easy one. I noticed a few standard things missing from the standard iPhone configuration: clock(timer), calculator, weather. I found free (ad) apps, and added those right away.

Next, Zite was recommended to me by Kathy Conway. It is a filtered magazine where you get your own personalized magazine based upon your selected interests. As you read and rate articles, more filtered articles appear. How about handing the iPad to a student to pick out an article of interest and read to or summarize it for the class?

I, of course, had to add the WordPress app to type this post!

Google+ Hangouts

Hangouts is another new feature of Google+ that has many applications to learning, especially for online classes.  Many times, in an online class, students want to meet up synchronously.  This new Google tool allows just that.  The “face-to-face” aspect of a traditional classroom is accomplished by the use of video cameras — up to nine people.  Give it a try!

Get notified When Changes are Made on the Web

I have been using Google Alerts for many years — I have my name and email address set as alerts sot that anytime something is posted using them, I get an email message alert.  I strongly recommend doing this to see what is being posted about “you” on the web.

In viewing the Archive page of my favorite podcast, Security Now!, I noticed that they use to let their listeners get notified of a new episode.

Check out these two tracking tools to see if you might have a use for them.

Create Sticky Notes with HTML5 and CSS3 – Pretty easy, and fun!

Using this tutorial, you can create some fun looking Sticky Notes.  Note:  not all browsers will support this, yet.  I am using the latest version of Mozilla (my kids call this Mozzerella) Firefox, and it works just fine!

Find the tutorial here:

Here is my example: