Mark Barnes

Jing Video Demonstrates Wiki Site’s Slide Show Feature

Posted in applications, classroom web site, multimedia, Teaching Tools, wiki by Mark Barnes on February 26, 2010

The versatility of a wiki-hosted classroom web site allows teachers to empower students to create many wonderful learning experiences. An embedded slide show is just one example of a myriad of modules that some wikis provide.  

Although it’s not part of the wiki, a Jing video screencast can be linked or embedded on the wiki-hosted classroom web site, demonstrating how other tools, like the slide show are used. The example below is a Jing video I created in minutes and linked on my classroom web site, in order to teach my students how to create and embed a slide show on their student web sites, as part of a research project.  

The students enjoy these instructional videos, which they can view as often as they need. They love creating slide shows even more.  

Vodpod videos no longer available.


more about “Slideshow on a wiki classroom websit“, posted with vodpod



The Twitter Experiment Gets College Students Tweeting

Posted in Classroom strategies, Teaching Tools, twitter by Mark Barnes on February 22, 2010

A retweet on Twitter to a blog link about Twitter led me to another link to this video. 

The video was originally posted last summer, but it’s very well done and a powerful demonstration of how Twitter can be used in the classroom. 

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “The Twitter Experiment – UT Dallas“, posted with vodpod


Apple iPad Is Coming Soon, May Revolutionize Education

Posted in Gadgets, Recent Events, Teaching Tools by Mark Barnes on February 21, 2010

A couple of years ago, surface technology was introduced, and people didn’t really get it. You could drag things around your computer, mostly pictures, which looked kind of cool, but how practical would this really be? 

Time went by and people forgot about this amazing new technology. Then came the iPod. Now, it made a little sense — at least for this small gadget. Then, the Smart Phone. Really neat, people thought. 

Now, enter the iPad. Admittedly, I didn’t see the attraction, until I saw this video. Welcome to the power of  surface technology, which may just revolutionize education. 

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “iPad Changing Everything“, posted with vodpod


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Smart Board’s export to PDF enhances classroom web site

Posted in applications, Classroom strategies, classroom web site, Recent Events, Teaching Tools, wiki by Mark Barnes on February 17, 2010

If you have a Smart Board and a wiki-hosted classroom web site, you have a perfect opportunity to provide wonderful enrichment for your students, as well as a powerful communication tool for parents.

All you have to do is complete a lesson like this one on your Smart Board and export it to a PDF. Once you’ve done this, save the PDF and upload it to your wiki. Now, your students can access this lesson anytime as a review. This is also great for absent students. When they ask what they missed, tell them it’s all just a mouse click away and guide them to your linked Smart Board activity.

It’s also nice to guide your parents to any Smart Board lessons you upload to your classroom web site. It keeps them updated, and best of all they’ll love you for it.

The unit page is a key part of a classroom web site

Posted in Classroom strategies, classroom web site, Teaching Tools, Uncategorized by Mark Barnes on February 16, 2010

A wiki-hosted classroom web site has many functions. One that is often unnoticed is the unit page.

The classroom web site unit page consists of all of all the necessary items a teacher would keep in a folder on a unit of study. What is particularly nice about a unit page on a wiki site is that any item can be linked. So, if other lesson pages relevant to a specific unit have been created, the teacher simply links to those pages on the unit page.

Other forms of enrichment for the unit, such as video, audio or guidelines, can also be maintained on the unit page for quick reference for students and parents.

With a wiki-hosted unit page, the need for folders and paper is eliminated.

Welcome to a truly all-inclusive wiki and to the paperless classroom.

Is Entourage Edge better than the iPad?

Posted in Gadgets, Impact on Education, multimedia, Recent Events, Teaching Tools by Mark Barnes on February 13, 2010

I just saw this video on the Entourage Edge. It’s maybe the coolest computer/notebook/eReader I’ve ever seen.  

Wonder how long before we can actually use these in our classrooms.  

Vodpod videos no longer available.


more about “Best notebook ever?“, posted with vodpod


Scantron is nice web-based assessment tool

Posted in applications, Assessment, Teaching Tools by Mark Barnes on February 12, 2010

Scantron’s Achievement Series program is, in many cases, a teacher’s best friend. Not only is Achievement Series a powerful web-based diagnostic tool, it is a testing/quizzing program that actually does the grading for the teacher.

Used properly, Achievement Series can save a teacher hundreds of hours of grading, which can be used for creating better lessons and classroom web site tools.

Learn how to easily create a pre-test on the Achievement Series at this video link.

Teachers, presenters could learn from Adora Svitak

Posted in Conferences, presentations, Recent Events, Teaching Tools by Mark Barnes on February 8, 2010

Twelve-year-old Adora Svitak wowed an audience of thousands of teachers at the eTech Ohio Educational Technology Conference last week. The author/presenter came off much more like a seasoned veteran presenter than a school kid, as she bounced around the stage, smoothly advancing relevant slides and mixing knowledge and humor as gracefully as Steve Jobs rolling out his latest gadget to throngs of CEOs.

To her credit, Svitak is definitely a child prodigy. Nonetheless, she had plenty to teach the more mature and experienced educators in attendance at eTech in Columbus, Ohio.

Many, in fact, should have been taking notes on their Smart Phones, instead of zipping off text messages. After the cool kid finished her polished song and dance, I visited numerous presentations by teachers, who took a whirl at sharing their technology knowledge.

Although there was some interesting information, the presentations left much to be desired in dynamo Svitak’s wake. In fact, it’s remarkable just how weak some teachers were in both their slide shows and their styles. It made me wonder what their students must have to suffer through on a daily basis.

Teaching and presenting are different animals

Perhaps comparing my colleagues to Adora Svitak is unfair. After all, presenting and teaching do require different skill sets. Not to mention that presenting in front of hundreds of educators is a bit more daunting than spilling information into 25 teens. Still, if teachers intend to share their considerable knowledge to others in the profession, basic slide ware skill and understanding of presentation style are a must.

Great presenters are not born

Admittedly, when I presented at eTech a year ago, I was part of the aforementioned group;  my presentation was dull and lifeless. People liked the unique information I shared, as evidenced by follow-up contact, as well as by the myriad of questions I received that day. I could tell by watching the audience, though, that they were bored; some even left before I was finished. I decided that I was going to be better this year.

Enter Garr Reynolds

Months before my trip to Columbus, I began creating my slide show and rehearsing my presentation. I watched many videos of great speakers, hoping to emulate the best of each. Finally, I read Garr Reynolds’ Presentation Zen — one of the finest how-to books on presenting available.

Reynolds, who has taught Google employees among other big business workers worldwide how to be more effective with both the tools they use in a presentation and in their styles, inspired me to improve my own skills, while providing a very simple blueprint for success.

Now, this is not to say I was spectacular at eTech. I was, however, more effective than I had ever been in front of an audience and, unlike last year, no one left early.

In the end, I left the eTech conference with some good ideas to go with some disappointment over some poor presentations. Hopefully, those teachers were inspired by Adora Svitak and maybe even by this blog post.

Perhaps next year, I’ll witness some real “presentation zen.”

Can augmented reality be used as a teaching tool?

Posted in multimedia, Recent Events, Teaching Tools, Web 2.0 by Mark Barnes on February 6, 2010

Picture via


So, now you can try on clothes on your computer with your webcam. This is what’s  known as “augmented reality.” 

Star Trek fans would liken this fairly new technology to Deep Space Nine’s holosuites —  rooms where anything becomes virtually real. Sure, the augmented reality of the 21st century is not as fantastic as the holo-technology of the Star Trek universe, but it’s pretty cool, nonetheless. 

What I’m wondering is how can this be used in the K-12 classroom as a teaching tool?

Can the Apple iPad revolutionize education technology?

Posted in Gadgets, Teaching Tools by Mark Barnes on January 28, 2010

According to Apple co-founder, Steve Jobs, it’s neither a smart phone nor a laptop. The Apple iPad, however, may be the sort of revolutionary technology that changes the classroom forever.

With education technology evolving faster than Usein Bolt in a 100-meter dash, it seems that every week there is some new tool or application for teachers to integrate into the classroom.

The iPad, though, may be just what the teacher assigned ordered. If the iPad delivers what Jobs promises, eBooks might become more popular than ever, and a giant leap toward eliminating paper text could be made. At just $499 per unit, putting the iPad in students’ hands is just a technology grant or two away.

We’ll know more about the success of the iPad when it hits stores in a few months; I, for one, hope Steve Jobs delivers as well as he usually does.