The Death of Palm?

I have been using Palm based devices for almost ten years -- from my first Handspring device to my current Palm Centro. While my Palm devices have served me well, I must admit to gadget envy when the iPhone was released last year. And to make matters worse, the Palm OS has not made any major changes or improvements in years. When I updated my Treo 650 to the Centro, the only notable changes were that adding the third-party apps of PocketTunes and Google Maps.

However, for the past couple of years, there have been rumors flying around the net about a "gPhone" being released. In the video below, you will see that Google will NOT release a "gPhone." However, what Google has shrewdly done is create a new open-source mobile platform called Android. And it looks poised to deliver the death-blow to the Palm OS, while giving iPhone some much needed competition. The video shows Android in action on an unidentified handset. Check it out:

Did you see it? Looks pretty slick, huh? My green-eyed gadget monster is rearing its ugly head. Could this also be the answer for using cost-efficient mobile computers in the classroom?


Top 5 Educational TV Show ALL K-3 Kids Should Watch

When I posted the video clip from Sesame Street, I started thinking about how I had such strong memories of the show. And there were others: I also loved watching The Electric Company and 3-2-1 Contact! (My mom even ordered my sis and I the magazine!) While I know my students today watch quite a bit of TV, I don't think they watch much educational TV like we did. And let's be real -- there's a lot of TV shows masquerading as "educational" while they are nothing but fluff. However, as I watched PBS one Sunday afternoon, I was encouraged. Educational TV is not dead, but it can be hard to find. Therefore, I decided to post this list of my favorite educational shows for students K-3.

1. Between the Lions, PBS
This is the new Electric Company. The show focuses on phonics, literature, and reading comprehension with humorous songs, skits, puppets and cartoons.

2. Reading Rainbow, PBS
LeVar Burton's show started in 1983 and stopped production in 2006. Although in reruns, it is still a gem. (Kids get a kick out of seeing the crazy fashions of the 80s and 90s.) Focus on books, comprehension, real world experiences.

3. bizKid$, PBS
This new show just began airing episodes in January 2008. It focuses on teaching kids how to make and manage money. Showcases real-life kids, who usually use the Internet to create and grow their own businesses. Maybe a little advanced for some K-1 students, but I believe most kids are savvy enough to handle this show.

4. The Zula Patrol, PBS
With a focus on science and astronomy, this show breaks down scientific concepts for the preK-2nd grade set. CGI characters travel space and solve problems.

5. Fetch!, PBS
This show is hilarious! Here's the description straight from the website: (plus I'm getting tired now.)
Part game show, part reality TV, and part spoof, FETCH! features real kids, real challenges, real science, and an unreal host named Ruff Ruffman (yes, he's an animated dog!) Featuring 20 half-hour episodes, FETCH! mixes live-action with animation and breaks the mold with its educational and comical take on America's newest television genre. Targeting six- to ten-year olds, it is spontaneous, unscripted, and full of twists.
Yes, I have a bias towards PBS - but that is because their educational concepts are clearly defined. Not to mention, all of these shows have online resources for parents and teachers.

So, there's my top 5. Do you agree? Did I miss a show? Leave your responses in the comments.


Funday Monday...

When I was little, I used to play this song over and over on my Mickey Mouse record player. I haven't seen or heard this clip in years. There's something about Lena Horne's voice and Jim Henson's perfect puppetry that touches my heart and makes me want to burst into tears. Such a wonderful song with a beautiful message. Absolute classic.

*UPDATE: It's back!!


Eduism, eBeam and a $100 Whiteboard!

Rich White of Edusim had posted a comment about my Smartboard Presentation that I accidentally deleted. He directed me to his site -- and I'm glad he did. Eduism is a free opensource 3D environment specifically for the interactive whiteboard. Check out the video below. It looks almost like a SecondLife environment. Wow!

Then I found this video showing another way to create a DIY interactive whiteboard with a Wii remote. Could/Would school districts be willing to take advantage of this type of technology? Teachers would still need a projector, which can run from $500-1200. But it's definitely cheaper than the $2500 and up needed for a commercial interactive whiteboard. Check out that video below.

Then my jaw dropped further when I saw this video of a device called an eBeam that turns regular monitors into touchscreens! Amazing!!

I will definitely post more about Eduism as I peruse the site some more. VERY cool stuff!


Smartboard Presentation

A few weeks back, I had the privilege of giving a Smartboard presentation to some teachers in my school. From the feedback I received, it seemed to go pretty well -- but now I know what to improve on for the next time. Since today is a snow day, I decided I should update this blog by adding the presentation. However, I realize the version with the "Resources" links is stored on my computer at school. So I made a list of the links after the presentation. Enjoy!

Running out of time...will add links later. Peace!