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Who Are You? (via Edufest - Days 4, 5, and 6)


Well, the Edufest conference finished up swimmingly (and I did manage to get a smidge of "swimming" in via a float down the Boise River one day - squeezed in-between presenting and dinner). Here are a few highlights of what I learned the last three days of Edufest that might be of interest/use for any of you:

iTunes University - Did you know that universities are now recording professors' lectures and making them available for anyone to learn from? Want to learn about computer programming from an MIT professor? Want to listen in on a class at Oxford? You can do it via iTunes University!

Online Stopwatch - Want to give your students a visual reminder of how much time is left? Online Stopwatch counts up or down and the displayed numbers are large enough to be easily seen from a computer in the room (better yet, project it onto a big screen or wall if you are so equipped).

SchoolTube - Do your students want to post their video projects on YouTube but your district blocks the site or you're worried about the too-open-for-school-ness that is YouTube? Try SchoolTube, the school-friendly version of video posting.

Have a kid who wants to learn about programming and making/designing computer games? Scratch is a great place to get started. Created by the "Lifelong Kindergarten" group [isn't that a great nameā€½] at the MIT Media Lab, Scratch is a free download and once it's downloaded, the computer doesn't have to be online for the program to work.

Do your students email their homework to you? Inbox getting clogged up? Try Drop.io where you can create a free online drop box (up to 100MB) that your students can drop their digital homework into and you can retrieve it from. Keep even more organized by creating a separate box for each class period. (Also great for sharing large files with people other than your students, too, of course.)

Concerned that your students don't know the best ways to search on the internet? Google has little posters with search strategies that you can print out and hang in your classroom.

Looking for a pseudo-website to help teach your students that not everything on the web is valid and reliable? Show them this page about the (supposed) Pacific Northwest Tree Octopus and see if they bite.

Want to learn about more items like these? Poke around at this website created by the presenter for the technology strand where I learned these ideas (the presenter was Brian Housand). At Brian's Edufest page, click on any Day or click on "60 in 60" for additional ideas.

In addition to all of the above snazzy links that I'm excited to share with my students, I also spent a great deal of time learning about strategies for helping the teachers in my district implement differentiation in their instruction. This fall, as a matter of fact, I'll be running a year-long study group for any interested teachers from my district and the focus will be helping them learn various DI strategies and supporting them throughout the year as they begin the process of implementing them. (But more on that later! I should do a whole post about the study group and what I'm doing with them this fall when I have it up and running.)

And last but not least, I learned about survey creation software. Actually, Brian taught us about the Forms option at Google Docs, which creates surveys and then people can access your survey via the internet and you can collect the results/data in your Google account. It occurred to me that, hey, that would be a great way to gain some information/ideas from my blog readers! But the Forms option at Google Docs didn't have a feature I wanted (being able to post real-time results publicly so that all of you can see the results, too). So I hunted around on the internet, checked out 45 different online survey creation sites, and chose one (Advanced Survey) to use to create a little survey for y'all to fill out. (If you don't mind... :o) It's anonymous and I'm not tracking or gathering any traceable info via this survey. It's just that I've been curious... I know there are a lot of people out there who read, but I don't know much about my audience (except those who post comments). Are you mostly teachers? Mostly parents of gifted kids? Mostly people in the GT field? Do any administrators come here to read about Gifted Education issues? Who are you, quietly lurking out there???

Please take a moment and answer the five easy questions in my survey. I will post a link in the Comments section here so that you can come back and see the real-time results of the survey if you'd like.

Here's what you do:
1. Go to Advanced Survey
2. Type my survey # into the little "Take a Survey" box on the right side of the page. Survey # is 69305.
3. Click "Go" and answer the five easy questions. (*Thank you!!!*)
4. If you want to see the real-time results, check below in the comments section for the link to view them. (The Advanced Survey system should also let you view them right away after completing the survey.)

I didn't set an end-date on the survey, so anyone finding this post a year from now could still (in theory - if everything works as it should) be able to fill out the survey and/or see the results.

Have a great week, everyone!
Tamara :o)


I took the survey, but the real-time results crashed. Did you check whether it worked with older browsers? I'm running

Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; Linux i686; en-US; rv: Gecko/2009042808 CentOS/3.0.10-1.el4.centos Firefox/3.0.10

Hmm... You're right, Kevin. Guess that's one of the disadvantages of using all of you as my guinea pigs for my first survey. Your web browser shouldn't matter - their info says it works on all of them. (I'm using IE and it didn't work for me, either.) The alternative way to view results is via a link with the survey # in it, which would be http://www.advancedsurvey.com/results/public_results.asp?SurveyID=69305 but that is also not working currently. I emailed the Advanced Survey people regarding this issue and hopefully I can get it resolved soon. :o)

It crashed for me, too, but the worst part was trying to fit myself into a category of reader. I use the information and stories you share as support for my parenting as well as in my work for a non-profit and in homeschooling my boys. What to pick?

Yes, I debated giving everyone the option of picking more than one item on the "roles" list, too (I fit four of those categories - and I'm certain most of us could fit at least two), but I decided that I wanted to see a more clear breakdown of just what kind of audience I have. I could always do something like this again and open it up more. So far it's 58% parents of gifted kids - although it's still summer so that might account for the lower teacher numbers (if they only read during the school year).

I haven't heard back from Advanced Survey yet regarding how to get whatever the glitch is fixed so y'all can see the results. I didn't splurge and buy their package, but opted for the free account, which means I'm low-man-on-the-totem-pole for having my query answered in a timely fashion (they respond to paying customers first and then get to us cheap-skates when possible). (I decided not to feel guilty about going with a free account because I'm giving them some decent free advertisement here :o)

For anybody who might be curious, here are the criteria I used to help decide which survey site to sign up with:

1) Free (see note about free advertisement above) Some of them are *really* expensive and I didn't want to start paying for something until I knew it worked well.

2) Something I could let my students use for their independent projects for my Advanced Studies class. I think Advanced Survey would work great for them and I could let them use my account (so parents don't have to worry about what their kids are signing up for.) I chose a login name and password that I can share with my students.

3) Ability to create an unlimited number of surveys. (Some put a cap on this - Advanced Survey doesn't.)

4) No limit on number of questions per survey.

5) "Multiple-select" option - This means you can allow people to choose more than one item on a question if you want.

6) No time limit on a free account. (Some only give you a month free - plus with no time limit I'm able to let my students test it out for their purposes this year, too.)

7) Unlimited responses. Some only allow 100 responses (people taking the survey) for a free account. I know there's more than 100 of you out there, so that wouldn't have worked for me. Advanced Survey does have a 20,000 "data points" limit (number of questions times number of responses) per survey, but that's pretty big. For my 5-question survey, I'm safe as long as fewer than 4,000 people respond. (That shouldn't be a problem.)

8) And lastly - real-time results that can be shared online. (Ahem.) It's supposed to happen! In the very least, I can post a screen shot (Brian taught us how to do that, too!) for y'all of the results page in my account (it does show them to me) in about a week (after enough people have had a chance to respond). But I still have my fingers crossed that I can get the better option worked out.


I clicked "other" on the survey for the first question. I'm adult who was identified as gifted/talented as a child. I read your blog out of interest in gifted education trends.

Oooo, that would be a good category to add if/when I ever do this again. I've been wondering who the few "others" are because I had thought I'd included every possible category, but I did apparently miss a couple. Thanks!

:o) Tamara

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  • Tamara: Oooo, that would be a good category to add if/when read more
  • Jason: I clicked "other" on the survey for the first question. read more
  • Tamara: Yes, I debated giving everyone the option of picking more read more
  • Princess Mom: It crashed for me, too, but the worst part was read more
  • Tamara: Hmm... You're right, Kevin. Guess that's one of the disadvantages read more