Pragmatic tools and ideas for the classroom

Digital Magic #18

The Power of Sharing

On Thursday Oct. 30th I was interviewed on a live Webcast called Seedlings. It it now saved as a podcast and you can find it here. The last 15 min. of their show is always reserved for the Geek of the Week which is a chance to share links to really cool sites.

Here is the Geek of the Week on Del.icio.us.

So, this week’s Digital Magic will focus on what others have shared that they like:


1. Kerpoof



2. Liz Davis’ 21st Century Technology Tools

A collection of tutorials on Web 2.0 technology tools such as Google Docs, Wikispaces, Ning, VoiceThread, Diigo and Delicious.


3. Quizlet



4. VoiceThread

Although this was shared on Geek of the Week, here is a VoiceThread that I created for a presentation:

Learning Conversations

Notice how others have commented on my presentation using text, voice and video?

Things that make you go Hmmmmm…

How can you use Voicethread in the classroom? What benefits would there be to having students comment on presentations so that other students can see and hear the feedback? What subjects could you use this in?


Special thanks to Alice Barr, Cheryl Oakes and Bob Sprankle for having me on Seedlings hosted by EdTechTalk. They are wonderful educators that promote sharing and learning by teachers and students alike!


November 9, 2008 Posted by | across the curric., del.icio.us, digital magic, lesson idea, links, teaching, technology, tools, web based, web2.0 | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Digital Magic #18

Digital Magic #9

Welcome to Dave’s Digital Magic #9

If you do just ONE THING from the Digital Magic series this year, then the feature of the week this week is where to start! For that reason I’m not adding other links this week, but I have included a special ‘Things that make you go hmmmmmm…’ featuring our very own Kari, after this week’s feature.


Online/Social Bookmarking

Want to sign up for del.icou.us?

I created a presentation that I did with a former student. The first half of it will be helpful to you:

About del.icio.us

What’s the main value of this kind of bookmarking?

Well, here are my resources that, as you can see, anyone can access from any computer. Check out one of my tags (or folders) to see links I’ve saved in that area of interest. Pick one that interests you and check it out!












All of my del.icio.us links

That’s del.icio.us! However, another option that I have been checking out recently is diigo

2 reasons to love diigo:

1. Highlighted text that stays highlighted when you return to a bookmark.

2. Groups like this ‘Educators’ Group find and share great stuff with you.

Diigo or Delicious? Try one out!

Need help? I’m glad to offer it! Don’t worry too much about the ‘social’ part of bookmarking at first. Instead, try one of these sites out for yourself. Once you see the personal usefulness and start using the tool, then the social part of this kind of bookmarking will become useful later on.


Teaching gifted students compared to teaching every student.

No link for this one, instead, here is a reflection Kari did on having a SHARP, gifted cluster, in her class this year. I thought this was very insightful and also thought about just how much this applied to every student, not just gifted ones!

Top 10 Lessons I Learned Being Involved in SHARP

1. Different is Good: Strategies for differentiation help all students be successful: Gifted, LD, ESL, Non-Categorized.
2. Free Birds Soar: Given the freedom to choose how to present their learning, Gifted students will surpass your, and their own, expectations.
3. Stimulation is Mandatory: Gifted students need to be challenged constantly, or else boredom sets in.
4. Knives and Spoons: Gifted students are not necessarily “gifted” in all areas of the curriculum.
5. Fun and Games: Gifted students are still typical kids- they need to have fun and be accepted by their peers.
6. Be Comfortable with Uncertainty: Gifted students ask lots of questions, but it’s okay if you, the teacher, don’t have all the answers.
7. Stars Are Part of a Larger Constellation: Gifted students need to be recognized for their uniqueness, but still fit in with the rest of the class.
8. Heads May Butt: Your cluster may not always get along or work well together all the time!
9. A Watered Flower Grows: Being involved in SHARP helps you to evolve as a teacher.
10. Hear Me Vent and Brag: Having conversations with other SHARP teachers is valuable and gratifying.

Thanks for your words of wisdom Kari!

– – – –

Did you miss an edition of Digital Magic? Is there one you want to look back on again? Here are all the editions of Digital Magic in reverse order, (most recent first).

Have a great week!

June 1, 2008 Posted by | across the curric., del.icio.us, digital magic, feature, learning, links, teaching, technology, tools, web based | , , , , | 1 Comment

Digital Magic #7

Welcome to Dave’s Digital Magic #7

Here are 5 links for you to explore.


A “Digital Arts” Menu for Multiple Intelligences

 – –

2. Create online art

Mr. Picasso Head

I shared this with Trina, ask her how she used it with her class. I also wrote about it before on this blog.

– – –

3. For your listening pleasure


Want to send someone a song without them having to download it? Tell them it is a Beautiful Day? Or just listen to songs from your favorite artists? Or create playlists? Songza has it all… and you don’t even need to sign up if you don’t want to.

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4. More fun…

I asked my Twitter network for ideas and Gabriel in Argentina suggested Mr. Picassohead as well as these fun sites:

Create Your own Kaleidoscope 

Get Muxicall

Paint like Jackson Pollock

– – –


The purpose of homework…

Is homework an effective practice?

What is it intended to accomplish for student learning?

How do you use it effectively?

How do you deal with homework that isn’t done? Is this the same as others on your team?

What feedback have you had from students? Parents?

What I’ve read recently to get me thinking about homework: 

Rethinking Homework by Alfie Kohn

Homework, the tip of the iceberg by Harold Jarche

What do you think?

– – – –

Did you miss an edition of Digital Magic? Is there one you want to look back on again? Here are all the editions of Digital Magic in reverse order, (most recent first).

Have a great week!

May 19, 2008 Posted by | Art, digital magic, education, learning, lesson idea, links, teaching, tools, web based | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Digital Magic #7

The WayBackMachine

Welcome to the Internet Archive!

The Internet Archive is building a digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form. Like a paper library, we provide free access to researchers, historians, scholars, and the general public.”

The neatest feature of this site:

The WayBackMachine

“Browse through 85 billion web pages archived from 1996 to a few months ago. To start surfing the Wayback, type in the web address of a site or page where you would like to start, and press enter. Then select from the archived dates available. The resulting pages point to other archived pages at as close a date as possible.”

A perfect example of the WayBackMachine in use: I wanted students to go to this site:


But I got the not-so-wonderful “Server Not Found” page.

So, I headed over to the WayBackMachine, put the address in and hit the ‘Take Me Back’ button. The page was archived once, in May of 2005. Click on the link…

May 10, 2005

…And there it is! The article I wanted on ‘The Future of Work’ for my class. It had � symbols instead of some punctuation… but what a wonderful opportunity to find those once lost-for-ever links!

– – – – –

Lesson Idea: From ‘cool’ factor to ‘fear factor’.

The WayBackMachine can be used as a valuable lesson! Use it as a reminder to students that once they put something on the net, it could be around much longer than they think.

What secrets could I dig up about you?

October 10, 2007 Posted by | across the curric., lesson idea, links, social responsibility, teaching, technology, tools, web based | Comments Off on The WayBackMachine

Google Sketchup

By Google, found at: http://sketchup.google.com/3dwarehouse/download?mid=7260955c15e5b481753ea31d732a49b0&rtyp=lt
What a great tool!
Imagine what a student can do with this for the Renaissance Fair… forget the cardboard Church in Architechture, or the lego castle in Warfare.

I can also use this in my on-line Da Vinci Project.

January 3, 2007 Posted by | Art, links, Math, Science, Social Studies, teaching, technology, tools, web based | 1 Comment

Questions about me, and this site…

Who am I?
A husband, a parent…
An educator, a student…
A thinker, a dreamer…
An agent of change.

What is this blog about?
I have been compiling an extensive de.licio.us account and I find that I need a place to put down my practical ideas that dart across my mind when I find a ‘useful’ link worthy of bookmarking.

Where else do I blog?
My ’Pair-a-Dimes for Your Thoughts’ on DavidTruss.com has a philosophical bent to it. My thoughts on education, learning and technology.

When and why did I start this? (Don’t bother with this link, just a little history of where this all started.)
My David Truss – Practic-All blog started on Bloglines, but I found wordpress to be more… practical. I just wanted a space to put down lessons, activities and strategies that didn’t seem to fit on my ‘Pair-a-dimes’ site. I hope others will find it practical too!

Feel free to Contact Me. I spend more time at my ’Pair-a-Dimes for Your Thoughts’ blog than I do here.


January 2, 2007 Posted by | About Me, contact, David Truss, del.icio.us, education, learning, links, Pair-a-Dimes, teaching | , , , | Comments Off on Questions about me, and this site…