Tag Archives: Online Resources

Excellent Song and Music Resources for Parents and Teachers

It has been a while since I posted anything directly to my site.  I thought I would consolidate four of my favourite resources into one post here that are a seemingly endless and FREE collections of excellent online resources for music, singing, dancing, and nursery rhymes.  Without further adieu:

Bus Songs – This one is great for young kids.  It is sortable and searchable.  For example, if I want to find all the songs that are about Transport; of course they have that…and I can see which ones have audio and which have video.

Bus Songs

Cosmic Kids Yoga – Youtube – This channel is neat because the yoga instructor takes you through a story and teaches different moves.  The stories are done with ‘blue screen’ techniques so it seems like she is in far off or imaginary places.

Cosmic Kids Yoga

Just Dance – Youtube – I have seen kids in grade 5 (age 10) who all love the videos from this channel.  This means younger ones will like them too.  The teachers are able to sit back and have the video teach the kids the dance moves.  Forget the square dance.  It is time to doh-see-doh your partner over to these fun, hip videos.

Just Dance

Intellidancing – Youtube – When you have had enough of yoga, hip-hop and pop dancing, and nursery rhymes, it is time for a little modern, conceptual dancing and movement.  This is when these videos are for you.  Enjoy.



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Connecting around the world (within Timezones)

One of the projects on the back of my mind for our school is to buddy different classes or grades with “sister school” throughout the world.  Where this most often becomes is through technology, authentic needs and projects, and through meeting synchronously at the same time.  To alleviate this last worry, I was examining the idea to limit the schools we would connect with to those within our own timezone (for now).

Time Zones

Time Zones

This would mean that we could still get a cross-cultural feel for how things are in different parts of the world, but never have mix-ups or hiccups because of timing.  I can envision it now:

“Ok, great.  We’ll Skype with your class at 2pm then.”

“Wait, 2pm your time or mine?”

“Oh, ours.”

“Oh, we will already be gone home.”

This preplanning could fix all of this hassle down the road.  Because I am in Istanbul, this gives me a wide gamut of places and schools to consider, for example, Finland, Kiev, Bucharest, Cairo, Lubumbashi, Pretoria, Cape Town, and the list goes on.

Asynchronous conversations would end this worry and could be done through ideas like: Edmodo, Wikis, Blogging, Google Docs, Twitter, Twijector, and more.  However, there is definitely something about connecting in real-time.   I am excited about the idea and will comment further about the progress and the new problems we may face.


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Doing a Masters or Doctorate? Tools you need

Are you planning to take more schooling, like a Master’s degree or a PhD, or are you already enrolled?  If either of these is the case, I highly recommend you invest in ALL of these tools and I will explain why.

  1. Dropbox or Google Drive Both are FREE! – First thing you do not want to do is lose any or all of your documents, readings, discussion posts and replies, or assignments.  In order to do this, you should create an online area where your files can be stored.  This means that you create an account, download a small program and move your files to this folder.  Many people are worried that this means the files will look different or they won’t be able to reach them if the internet is down – Wrong!  The files look and act exactly the same.  They are housed on your computer and BACKED UP on the internet in “the cloud”.  This means that if your computer or flash drive breaks down, which they often do, you do not need to worry because you can download the program on another computer and login.  All your files will download to that device, open, and react exactly like you are used to them doing.  Just remember to write your login and password where you will remember it.  
  2. Mendeley FREE for 2GB of cloud space! (Costs after that, but you won’t likely use it all) – Time to organize your documents and retrieve or search through them easily.
    -Did I mention it was DRAG and DROP?
    -Did I mention it auto-generates your citations and bibliographies with a plug-in in Word?

    WATCH VIDEOS or Get guide here:

    [Read my more detailed directions about Mendeley at the bottom of this article]

  3. Perrla for APA or MLA ($34.95 USD) – 


    Perrla will generate citations in APA and MLA, but use it to set the proper margins, headers, title pages, spacing, and so much more.  They auto set tables and figures in APA proper formatting.  When you read the APA (and I am sure the MLA, but I haven’t read it) manual you find these details are very tedious and time-consuming to apply.  Perrla guides you through 200+ citation types and explains every detail along the way – if you want to know more about what is happening with your Mendeley citations or how to do those weird, super esoteric ones.  

  4. SPSS (Approx. $90 USD) – You’re going to need to do some data crunching and analysis, even if you think, “No, I will just do a qualitative dissertation or thesis.”  Nonetheless, you will probably end up doing some predictive analytics after you gather all of your interview and case study material.  SPSS is one of the most widely used statistics softwares.  It is relatively cheap, is relatively simple to use (when you know what you are doing – Watch some Youtube videos about the specific types of analysis you plan to do and type “SPSS” in the search), and it is versatile.  
  5. Atlas.ti (Approx $99 USD – with Student ID) – If you are going to delve into qualitative research, this is the cheaper way to go and still has almost all the functionality of Nvivo.  It allows you to analyze and find patterns in documents, recordings, PDFs, quotes, and memos.  From there you can code, organize, develop nodes, and visually represent your data in many unassuming forms.  
  6. Evernote FREE! – Get started with this early! Use it to embed and tag articles, websites, clippings and even import text through Livescribe pen scanning ($69.95+).  Search through every item you have collected to realize information you have accumulated for your comprehensive exams and your dissertations.  It is an excellent and necessary way to stay organized.
  7. Free Natural Reader (PC) or Speech (MAC) Both are FREE! – When you are ready to turn in an assignment or submit a discussion post, you need to review it.  The best way to do this is to hear it out loud.  On a PC, there is no software built-in so the Natural Reader is an awesome download you need to get.  Macs have an advantage in this area because they have this built-in.  Go to the APPLE (in the top left corner), go to SYSTEM PREFERENCES, a dialogue box will appear, go to SPEECH, check “Speak selected text when the key is pressed”, SET KEY (I would choose OPTION + S) – Highlight some text and try out either of these options to hear it read back to you.  You will notice mistakes so much easier.
  8. Harzing’s Publish or Perish FREE! – If you need to find the seminal articles written around a 
    Harzing's Publish or Perish

    Harzing’s Publish or Perish

    subject, this is the software for you.  Search for any subject and voilà, you have found the most cited, the highest ranked, the number of citations of the article per year, and more.  Download this into Windows or a parallel system that enables Windows on a Mac, like Parallels ($79.99 USD).  

  9. Windows and Microsoft Word for Windows – The reason I recommend using the Windows environment for post-graduate work is because many of the products listed above work naturally in this operating system.  I also enjoy that Microsoft Word on PC allows for click editing of words to bold, italicize, underline and change other attributes without moving your cursor all the way to the menu bar across the top.  Plus, if you opt not to buy Perrla, which I highly recommend that you do, Word on a PC has more up-to-date APA and MLA citations.

Bookmark these sites:

  1. Crossref – If you are using APA 6, you need to find DOIs (Digital Object Identifiers).  This website allows you to reverse look up journal articles and sites to find if there is one available.
  2. – You are going to need to use ‘the other word’ often.  When writing a paper, Microsoft Word has a bult in thesaurus, but offers, furnishes, grants, and presents more and better options.
  3. Smartthinking – I hope your school offers this services free of charge.  They have online tutoring, essay submission and editing, APA editing, math help and so much more.  It is awesome but I just examined the pricing – not so cheap.  It depends upon what you need, so have a look.  Well worth it for major essay editing help.
  4. Turnitin – Again, I hope that your University uses this service.  To make sure that you are not plagiarizing, this site locates all the information that turns up from other sources.  Remember, as a rule, your essays should not have more than 20% of other people’s work.  After submitting an assignment, Turnitin highlights areas and determines where it has come from.  Your profs may use it.  You should too!

If you have other software, hardware, websites, or tricks that you use, please tell me in the comments.  Finally, remember to thank me in your Dedication. Good luck with everything.

Mendeley details:

  1. Create an account
  2. Download the desktop version – install
    • Drag and Drop your downloaded PDF articles into the Mendeley interface
    • IMPORTANT – Double check newly imported article’s details are correct – 80% – 90% reliable – be especially careful that the DOI didn’t get truncated because of a forward slash: /
      • (This will add completely different details for articles with the other DOI number)
      • If you lose the article because of incorrect DOI auto-fill – search “Recently Added”
    • Ensure correct “Type” is chosen (e.g. Journal Article, Thesis, Book)
      • For chapters of a book, select “Book Section”
    • IMPORTANT – “Sync” often (2 GB of free space in cloud – paid for extra space: ability to install Mendeley on multiple computers and keep up-to-date)
    • Create Folders with terms that are useful (e.g. Dissertations, Recommendations, Case studies) – drag and drop articles into folder
    • Add notes where applicable to articles
    • TIME SAVER – Have notes tab open and click through “My library” articles to quickly see notes you have written
    • RECOMMENDATION – Use Stars to delineate articles that are 3 years or newer for easy reference
      • In “My Library” “All Documents”, click “Year” header to sort column
      • Star all documents that are within the 3 year date range – deselect others
    • RECOMMENDATION – Use Green / Grey dots to delineate which articles have been cited in dissertation or paper
    • TIME SAVER – With article open and selected, click “Contents” to jump to areas in articles
    • Search to get an overview of where this query can be found in every article
      • Double click an article to open it in a new tab
  3. Download the Mendeley plug-in for Microsoft Word – install
    • Find Mendeley auto-references under “References” tab
      • Click to insert –> Type name of first author of document
      • If needed, type into reference in paper to edit –> Select “Keep Manual Edit”
    • Insert Bibliography into paper (Note – this auto-updates upon insertion of new reference)
  4. Yay!!

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Creating a Wiki?

Some advice that I would give to someone creating a wiki specifically for a class working synchronously:

  1. Students must write their information in Word first – for better grammar, but especially for back-up.
  2. Create separate designated pages for each student to work on – possibly name the pages with their name embedded to be changed out later – as the wiki creator, you may be the only one to have the page creation rights.
  3. If you know multiple people will be working on the same pages at the same times, allocate time buffer zones that people may post – for example, if 4 people work on the same page, one may post between 4-6pm, another between 7-9pm, another between 10-12pm, and another between 6-8am.

There are always Revision histories, but having 15-30 students post on the same page at the same time DOES NOT WORK. Separate the tasks and times as best as you can.

I would actually recommend Google Docs or Microsoft One-note if you are networked and have that option.  It depends on your final goal of the project.


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Are you mobile?

When we ask this question the first thing that pops to my mind is: “Do I have a mobile device, like a cell phone, PDA, tablet or computer with wifi?”

This article is not about that.

This article is asking, “What would happen if all or any of those devices broke down on you?”  A better question to ask would be:

Is your content mobile?

If your gadgets broke down right now, how much of the information would you consider irretrievable?  How much of that information do you really need?  I bet that some of you would say, “A Lot, if not most of it.”  Starting right now, if you haven’t done so already, get yourself some online storage:

  • (5 Gigs of Free Storage – 25megs per file – Mobile Access)
  • Dropbox (2 Gigs of Free Storage – with a referral program up to 8 Gigs for Free – Mobile Access)

Next you need to think about your bookmarks.  There are two ways about it:

  1. Store them to access them online – Delicious
  2. Sync them with every computer web-browser – XMarks

Certain documents can be saved, stored and shared online,.  A great website for this:

  • Scribd (Upload Docs and even sell them to others – great for eBooks)

To create and save Docs, Spreadsheets, Presentations, Drawings and Forms:

All of these online areas, plus a whole lot more I didn’t mention, are called the “Cloud”, or “Cloud Computing”.  It means that you have access with the idea that it is somewhere up in the sky.  Ideally, we shouldn’t need to worry about it because it is being backed up all the time, plus we usually have access to revisions of the same document through these methods.  Now, if you hear the question, “Are you mobile?” I hope you think of it through a new perspective.  Not only that, I hope also you are making it so that your content actually is.


Posted by on April 23, 2011 in Technology


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Online collaboration tools

I am always looking for online collaboration tools. I found this excellent consolidation of sites out there. Check out this awesome post by Robin Goods:


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Weebly vs Joomla vs WordPress

I have been working on a few different versions of the same sites and have been comparing my needs with what is offered with each of these site infrastructures.

I started using

I enjoyed the back-end interface; a little clunky, but the built in blog was easy to add info to AND it had the Facebook “Like” button and Twitter “Tweet” button built in automatically.  The reason I moved away from Weebly was because there was no built in Search.  I tried adding Google Search to the site, but to no avail.  I am still not sure why.  Plus, I didn’t like the idea of showing a “Google” search as advertising that I added this item in.

Next, I moved over to  This hosting company allows free space and excellent integration of SQL databases to support for Joomla, WordPress, phpBB, simple machines forum, Drupal, and Moodle.  Talk about excellent…and EASY.¹

I started with a installation.

The intention was to strip out all the unnecessary pages, categories, menus, sections and then add a plug-in or module for blogging, as this was my primary concern.  The easy blog plug-ins were not easy to install.  The more simple sounding ones all seemed to cost money.  I was not impressed.  Joomla has offered an excellent infrastructure for so many other modules.  I decided to try to

WordPress was like an angel sent from heaven.  For all my needs it was easy to install, very intuitive to use, had a great blog, minus the “like” and “tweet” buttons, which I will look for later.  So far, I am enjoying the interface and may show my students how easy it is to create an online blog for themselves soon enough.

¹Sidenote: I have recently had access problems to the back-end of my WordPress installation with Orgfree.  I have emailed them multiple times to try to gain access to my account, but have not heard anything.  I have switched to  I still think Orgfree is great to try out different website management interfaces.  They just have not given me any support.


Posted by on February 15, 2011 in Design, Technology


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