Sunday, January 31, 2010
Saturday, January 30, 2010
Friday, January 29, 2010
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
Amplify’d from www.techcrunch.com Adobe: Flash Apps Will Run On The iPad, Even Full Screen At Some Point
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Monday, January 25, 2010
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Have you ever wondered that how Windows evolved to such a beauty?
How was windows when it was first introduced and how it all improved? The Windows 7, Latest masterpiece by Microsoft offers a rich experience to users with its eye-candy animations and solid programming.
To have a peak at the evolution of Windows with time, read more.
Windows 1.0Windows 1.0 was introduced in November 1985. It was a huge improvement at that time as it offered a Graphical User Interface (GUI) instead of black command screens used by previous operating systems.
Windows 1.0 did not allow overlapping of different windows as it was a feature used and copyrighted by Mac operating system. So instead of that windows 1.0 used tiled scheme for the placement of windows.
Windows 2.0Windows 2.0 was introduced in November 1987. It offered a significant improvement over Windows 1.0. It introduced several features like overlapping of Windows, new Keyboard shortcuts and improved GUI. It also featured many new applications.
After some time windows 2.1 was introduced which could multi-task several applications and had better memory management schemes. Visually it was identical to windows 2.0.
Windows 3.0 & 3.1Windows 3.0 and 3.1 brought a breakthrough in personal computer industry. They were widely adopted by several pc manufacturers. Apple’s Mac OS however was only allowed to be installed on Apple computers.
Windows 3.0 brought many new features into the windows realm. It supported better multi-tasking and it had access to more memory modules than any other previous versions. As most of the coding was done in assembly language, This Windows was faster and more reliable.
Microsoft BobMicrosoft bob was a GUI experiment by Microsoft that was innovative but it failed. It presented a cartoon view of an office, where users can access their programs easily. Microsoft Bob is usually mentioned as one of the worst products Microsoft created.
Windows 95Windows 95 was the base of the future Windows versions introduced. Windows 95 was more stable and reliable as compared to previous versions of Windows. It supported 32-bit applications.
Windows 95 became a highly successful and acclaimed OS.
Windows NT versionsFirst windows NT version was released on july, 1993 and after came a series on NT labeled Windows Versions. NT 3.0, 3.5, 3.51, 4.0 are prominent in those versions. NT stands for “New Technology”, which means NT was a full windows version that was an upgrade from 8/16 bit windows to 32 bit windows.
Windows 98Microsoft introduced Windows 98 in year 1998. It had several stability and memory fixes over windows 95.
This OS was very widely opted by PC manufacturers in the World.
Windows MEShortly after windows 98, Windows Millenium Edition was launched. It didnt performed very well in the market because it had several stability flaws. Its is known in technological circles as “Windows Mistake Edition”.
Windows 2000Windows 2000 was one of the operating system offered by Microsoft which was built on NT platform.
This OS was widely installed on many Servers of the World. Overall it was a success.
Windows XPWindows XP is regarded as the most successful creation by Microsoft corporation. Windows XP has entirely revamped User Interface with several new features and stability fixes. XP was most stable operating system as it did not crash when one of the applications malfunctioned. Windows XP was widely installed and people upgraded from previous versions of Windows to XP.
Windows VistaWindows Vista was released world wide on january 27, 2007. Windows Vista featured advanced GUI and security features. The Animations and Alpha shading effects of Windows Vista came at a shear expense of system resources.
Huge system resources were required to run Vista smoothly. Minimum RAM requirement was 2 GB. These problems hindered wide adoption of Vista by masses. So Vista is not regarded as a successful operating system compared to previous versions of Windows.
Windows 7 UltimateWindows 7 was released to worldwide OEM’s on July 22, 2009 and to users on October 21, 2009. Windows 7 promised to offer fast and rich user experience. The system requirements for Windows 7 were reduced and it was made lighter and more agile. It had the largest pre-order in the history, Performing many times better than Vista in the first week of sales.
Windows 7 has entirely revamped UI and engine. The Taskbar makeover in the builds is shown below, the last Taskbar is the final version used in Windows 7.
Friday, January 22, 2010
A great list of virtual tours--very comprehensive and a great resource for educators!
college campuses, and even outer space. You can learn how things are made, explore the human body or that of a life-sized whale, and visit ball parks and theme parks. There is even a section of incredible virtual tours that Google Earth has compiled that shares the world in a whole new way.
From historic cities hundreds of years old to newer cities, these tours take you all around the world.
Famous Landmarks and Buildings
- Pompeii, Italy. Explore the ruins of this famous Italian city.
- Ancient Rome in 3D on Google Earth. Find out here how you can take a look at ancient Rome.
- Virtual Tour of the Forbidden City. Download the software that will allow you to take a 3D tour of the imperial palace in China in the 15th century.
- Historic Centre of Prague. Use Google Maps to take a 360-degree panoramic tour of the historic center of Prague.
- Historic Centre of San Gimignano. Go to Italy and explore this city that was once an important connection for travelers making a pilgrimage to Rome.
- Historic Centre of Siena. Explore this ancient Italian city that still embodies the spirit of a medieval city.
- Historic Centre of Urbino. Once a huge draw for artists of the 15th and 16th centuries, this city in Italy still retains the Renaissance feel it had then.
- Historic Centre of Cesky Krumlov. Visit this town in the Czech Republic for an example of a medieval town of central Europe.
- Historic City of Toledo. This Spanish city was once home to citizens of three major religions and reflects that culture today.
- Historic Walled Town of Cuenca. Take a look at this outstanding example of a fortified city from the medieval times.
- Old City of Salamanca. Explore one of the oldest universities in Europe when you take this tour.
- Old Town of Avila with its Extra-Muros Churches. View the amazing stone fortifications and the Gothic cathedral in this Spanish town.
- Old Town of Caceres. The architecture here reflects the battles between the Christians and the Moors that took place here.
- Old Town of Segovia and its Aquaduct. Featuring a well-preserved Roman aquaduct built around AD 50, this city offers plenty of amazing sites.
- Santiago de Compostela (Old Town). Take a look at these ancient buildings of the city that were built in the 11th century.
- Ephesus. Tour this ancient Turkish town that reflects ancient Roman times.
- Colonial Williamsburg. Get a street overview of colonial Williamsburg, then click on certain features to learn more about each of them.
- Oslo. Go to Oslo where you can explore the Nobel Peace Center, the Viking Ship Museum, and several landmarks of the city.
- Berlin. Visit some of the magnificent churches in Berlin, but don’t forget to see the Berlin Wall, too.
- Tour San Francisco. This site provides a combination of photos and 360-degree panoramas of the major highlights throughout the city.
Take these tours to visit the Taj Mahal and the Palace of Versailles in the same day.
- Explore the Taj Mahal. Take a virtual look around the grounds and inside the Taj Mahal.
- Stonehenge. Google Maps presents this virtual tour of Stonehenge.
- Holy Trinity Column in Olomouc. Visit this stunning monument in the Czech Republic.
- Mill Network at Kinderdijk-Elshout. The famous windmills of the Netherlands are just one element in the entire network of water handling–all of which can be seen here.
- Paris, Banks of the Seine. No need to travel to Paris to see the romantic banks of the Seine that cut through the city. Take this virtual tour instead.
- Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. Explore the grounds of this famous site just outside of London.
- New 7Wonders. This site is taking votes right now to determine the new seven wonders of the world. They have many virtual tours posted in order to help voters decide. Examples include Machu Picchu, Easter Island, the Statue of Liberty, and the pyramids of Giza.
- Mount St. Helens. Get a 360-degree view of this famous volcano, including a comparison of 2003 and 2006.
- Supreme Court Tour. Select a room, including select justices’ chambers, and get a 360 view of each.
- US Capitol Virtual Tour. Tour the United States Capitol building here.
- The Little Mermaid. Go to Copenhagen and see the famous statue sculpted by Edvard Erichsen that commemorates the story written by Hans Christian Andersen.
- Vatican. Take a tour of the grounds and the cathedral at the Vatican.
- Pisa. Look from the top as well as take a peek inside this famous leaning tower.
- Palace of Versailles Go to France with Google Maps to take a tour of this famous French palace.
- Mount Vernon Virtual Mansion Tour. View the estates and gardens of George Washington on this tour.
Take a peek inside these museums to learn about history, read ancient books, or view some of the most revered works of art available.
- Louvre. Visit this famous museum virtually, including both the buildings and collections.
- Musee d’Orsay. Often overshadowed by the Louvre, this outstanding museum in Paris also deserves a visit.
- Van Gogh Museum. Head to Amsterdam to explore the works of Van Gogh.
- The American Museum of Photography. Click on these links to go to each exhibit, where you can view photographs from the museum.
- Visit the Prada Art Collection with Google Earth. Let Google take you to Madrid to view the Prada art collection.
- The Rothko Panoramic Tour: A New Way to See Art. Take a look at this Mark Rothko exhibition that was at the Tate Modern.
- Frissiras Museum. This museum in Athens provides an artist listing, and when you select each, you can view three works from that artist.
- The Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago. Tour the galleries here that showcase art and architecture of the ancient Near East.
- Rare Book Room. Take a look at and even read some of the most rare books in existence on this tour.
- The Virtual Museum of Japanese Arts. Learn about the culture of Japan by studying their arts at this virtual museum.
- Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Go room-by-room through the entire museum when you take this virtual tour.
- UAE Interact Virtual Museum. Explore this virtual museum from the United Arab Emirates that includes a look at ancient tools, toys, fossils, coins, and more.
- The Virtual Museum of Iraq. Examine eight different eras of Iraq’s history from ancient times to the 16th century.
Whether you are looking for a future school or just appreciate the beauty of the grounds surrounding institutes of higher learning, take these tours to do both.
- Harvard Virtual Tour. Explore the grounds of this landmark campus and even go behind doors normally closed to visitors.
- University of Denver. Take a look around the campus and hear from students as they describe snowball fights during the winter and quality classes all year.
- University of Miami. Look at a campus map, hear from students, and take a look at the individual colleges for specific courses of study.
- Middle Tennessee State University. Find out what’s going on at the public university in Middle Tennessee.
- Berklee College of Music. Learn why students come from all around the world to study at this school.
- Suffolk University. Study arts and sciences, business, or law at one of the many campuses located in Boston, MA; Madrid, Spain; and Dakar, Senegal.
- Philadelphia University. Find out about this unique campus that provides an interdisciplinary approach to education.
- College of St. Benedict and St. John’s University. This unique environment includes two schools–one all girls school and one all boys school–that share a campus and the history of the Catholic church.
- Winthrop University. This historic school includes virtual tours of the buildings, research complex, public art, and landmarks.
These virtual tours offer a glimpse at a world far beyond the everyday existence.
How Things are Made
- Touring Mars with Google Earth. See what it’s like on Mars with this virtual tour.
- Arounder Moon. Take a virtual tour of the Earth’s moon here.
- A Virtual Journey into the Universe. Click through the planets in the solar system to learn about each. Note that this tour is a bit dated and still considers Pluto a planet.
Learn how cars, chocolate, guitars, and more are made with these tours.
Humans and Animals
- Toyota Motor Manufacturing, Kentucky. Take a virtual tour of this automobile plant to see how these cars come into being.
- Discover Hershey: Making Chocolate. This video tour takes you virtually through the chocolate-making process at one of the most famous chocolatiers in America.
- How People Make Things. From Mister Roger’s Neighborhood, these six videos take you into the factories where these items are made, including crayons, fortune cookies, and guitars.
- Ocean Spray’s Live Bog Cam. While not technically a tour, this link takes you to a live camera showing an actual cranberry bog.
Find out about cardiovascular disease or take a look at the body of a life-sized whale here.
- Vital Signs: Understanding Cardiovascular Disease. Take part in this virtual exhibit courtesy of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute that explores cardiovascular disease.
- Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society Virtual Whale. Examine a life-sized whale on this virtual tour under the sea.
Visit a few of the baseball fields where some of the top teams play.
- Wrigley Field. Tour the new Wrigley Field in Chicago.
- Great American Ball Park. Go to Cincinnati to see where the Reds play their games.
- Target Field. This ball park is soon to open. Get a sneak preview here.
- Progressive Field. Get 12 different 360-degree views of several aspects of the home of the Cleveland Indians.
- Nationals Park. Check out this field that opened in 2008.
Explore Disney World, Disney parks in other locations, Legoland, and more with these theme park tours.
Google Earth Virtual Tours
- Disney World Virtual Tour. Learn how you can explore Disney World in 3D.
- Harry Potter Theme Park. Get a preview of the soon-to-be-open Harry Potter theme park here.
- Disneyland Paris Virtual Tour. Visit Disneyland Paris with this tour.
- Disney’s California Adventure Virtual Tour. Save your feet and explore the park from your computer.
- Disneyland Virtual Tour. Go to Disneyland with this virtual tour.
- Fantasy Island Amusement Park. Take a tour of this amusement park in New Jersey.
- Legoland California. Take this tour using Google street view to explore the Lego theme park in California.
Google Earth has an outstanding collection of virtual tours that are not to be missed. Take a look at this list for a sampling of what’s available.
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- Cathedrals 3D Tour. View famous cathedrals all over the world.
- Castles and Palaces 3D Tour. Take a look at the stunning beauty of castles and palaces around the world.
- Major League Baseball Stadiums. Baseball fans will love this tour of the baseball stadiums. This is a good complementary tour to the baseball field tours above.
- Art Museums 3D Tour. Take a look at famous museums around the world.
- Beijing Tour. Go to China to learn about Beijing.
- National Registry of History Places. Take a look at the historic places included on the National Registry.
- AIA 150 3D Tour. Visit the 150 favorite structures in America that have been selecting in conjunction with the American Institute of Architects 150th anniversary celebration.
- United States Capitol Buildings. How else could you tour all the capitol buildings in one day?
- Universities. Explore the campuses of some of the most popular and beautiful universities.
- Libraries. While everyone knows the inside of libraries contain a wealth of information, don’t forget that the outside often has plenty to share too.
- Skyscrapers Tour. These gigantic buildings have only been around for the past 100 years or so, but inspire awe to those who see them.
- Rail Stations Tour. Visit rail stations around the world with this educational tour.
- Bridge 3D Tour. Bridges represent the melding of art and function in a special way. View some of the most astounding bridges in 3D.
- Great Green Buildings. Take a look at some of the buildings in the US that have received the highest level of certification from the Energy Department in an effort to save the environment.
- Geosights of Utah. Utah is home to some of the most amazing geological formations. Take this tour to see them as well as other sights of Utah up close.
- Google Earth Sky. This selection from Google Earth includes several opportunities for exploration of the universe beyond Earth.
- Google Earth Ocean. Explore above and beneath the earth’s oceans to learn about coral reefs, rising sea levels, sea life, ship wrecks, lighthouses, and much more.
- Rome Colosseum. If Rome is too far off your travel map, visit virtually to see the famed Colosseum.
- Trevi Fountain. While in Rome, take a detour to this magical fountain.
- Sydney Opera House. View this beautiful structure from all angles without leaving your computer.
- Arc de Triomphe. Visit this famous landmark in Paris without having to dodge traffic.
- Shurakuen Buddha. Tour the site of this magnificent Buddha in Tokai, Japan.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Even though I don't advocate using Internet Explorer, sometimes you just have to! Therefore, it's always good to keep on top of anything that can keep IE running smoothly!
Most Internet Explorer problems are caused by malware, drive-by installers and even the occasional virus. Make sure you have either Internet Explorer 7 or 8 installed. Older versions like Internet Explorer 6 are HIGHLY susceptible to attacks. You can download the latest and greatest version from here.
These evil applications want to mess with your browser for a bunch of reasons. If they modify your main home page or search page they can start making money off your surfing and if you multiply this by millions they are getting rich off your misery! Some attacks will re-register your OCX and DLL files associated with IE.
I will walk you through how to change your homepage back to what you want to have it as, how to modify your search provider and how to re-register OCX and DLL files with Internet Explorer.
OK so something switched your home page. If you are using Internet Explorer 5,6,7 or 8 the setting is pretty much in the same place. You will need to go to your menu and then hit Tools – Internet Options.
Once you are at the internet options page you will see a screen similar to the one below. I am using Internet Explorer 8 so yours may be a little different. Just enter the site you want it to go to when you open your browser or click the use current or use blank buttons.
Click OK and hit the home button. Watch the browser work its magic. If your browser’s homepage gets hijacked, fix it immediately – that could be just the first step in the attack against you!
Next up is search providers. A malicious script or webpage can change your search provider. Now you wouldn’t want any profits from your searching to go to terrorists or child pornographers now would you? So if you don’t recognize your search results page it is time to switch it back. You can see the search box in the upper right hand corner on Internet Explorer 7 or better.
To modify who you are using for the search box click the arrow next to the magnifying glass.
You will see options there for default (or ones someone has installed) search engines. Click Find More Providers to grab the search engine’s code from the Microsoft website. They also allow you to create your own. Choosing from the predefined options is your safest bet though.
And last but certainly not least after a virus attack or when you are recovering from a spyware incident you need to fix all your issues. One of them can be Internet Explorer failing or not working properly. Who knows what the hackers are making your browser do! So let’s re-register all the DLL and OCX files associated with Internet Explorer to be safe.
There is a free little application that does this. It is called The Fix IE Utility located here. No credit for the awesome name of the application but it works wonderfully. Simply download and run the application.
The utility’s download link is right below the adsense under the article. Grab it, open the zip file and run it. It is truly portable.
Click the Run Utility button and let it do its magic!
Do you have other issues with your IE? Hit us up in the comments and let us know.
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
1983: Apple releases the Lisa, the first commercial computer with a graphical user interface (GUI) — the advance that would finally make computers usable by people with no special training. It doesn’t sell well, but it does get Apple on the right development track, sparks the first of many brawls with perpetual rival Microsoft, and sets in motion the animus between Steve Jobs and John Sculley that would frame the company’s history for a decade.
Sure — you’re all fancy now with that multitouch iPhone. You wiggle and writhe like an idiot to operate your Nintendo Wii. Maybe you’ve got your eye on a breath-controlled laptop — because using a mouse to work on your computer is so 20th-century. But you owe it all to one of Apple’s earliest and most magnificent failures.
Apple revolutionized computing with the Macintosh of “1984″ TV-ad fame — the world’s first affordable GUI computer. But a year earlier Lisa set the stage. It was one of the company’s most glorious missteps, one without which the Mac may not have succeeded as dramatically as Lisa had failed.
“The Lisa was doomed because it was basically a prototype — an overpriced, underpowered cobbled-together ramshackle Mac,” Cult of Mac author (and former Wired.com editor) Leander Kahney said in an e-mail interview. “Lisa taught the Mac team they’d need to articulate a clear purpose for the Mac.”
Apple spent $150 million developing Lisa but sold only 10,000 of them in a world dominated by cheaper IBM desktops. With an outrageous price tag of $10,000 (more than $21,000 in today’s leaf), the Lisa’s built-in calculator could tell you Apple lost a lot of money.
Lisa’s specs were improved and the price cut in half, but the plug was pulled in only three years. And — oh yeah — Apple co-founder Jobs got kicked off the Lisa team by CEO John Scully and went to another project. The Macintosh. See above. Jobs, of course, would be pushed out by Scully in 1985 only to get his revenge by returning the favor 10 years later.
Before Lisa — the name was the acronym for “Local Integrated Software Architecture” and possibly the daughter of someone on the development team (Jobs had a daughter names Lisa) — the only user interface was the command line, the only input was a keyboard, and the only display was some lines of off-white text on a black screen. Microsoft’s somewhat approachable DOS (Disc Operating System) had been around for a couple of years, but that only simplified the command set, not the input technique.
Lisa changed all that. Its screen displayed little pictures — icons. Moving the mouse on your work surface moved a cursor in a spatially equivalent way on the screen. When your cursor hovered on an icon you clicked a soon-to-be-iconic one-button mouse, and a program would start, as if by magic.
Not so magical was the dearth of software for Lisa, which was not compatible with any other computer in the world. Lisa shipped with seven programs, and not much else got written for it during its brief stint in the Apple product line, which (price aside) contributed to its lack of traction.
Though Lisa was first to market, the GUI was not exactly an Apple innovation. Jobs got a look at the very first computer with a graphical user interface during a tour of the storied Xerox PARC lab. This was a turning point, according to invention historian Mary Bellis: Even though work on Lisa had already begun, Jobs would hire several PARC engineers to join the Lisa (and later Mac) team.
Apple sued when Microsoft released Windows 1.0, arguing that its once and future nemesis had stolen the “look and feel” of Lisa’s OS. According to Andy Hertzfeld, who says he witnessed an exchange between Jobs and Bill Gates at the 1983 Comdex industry trade show, the Microsoft co-founder expressed the nuanced view that both companies had stolen the idea — from PARC.
From Hertzfeld’s account:
“You’re ripping us off!” Steve shouted, raising his voice even higher. “I trusted you, and now you’re stealing from us!”
But Bill Gates just stood there coolly, looking Steve directly in the eye, before starting to speak in his squeaky voice.
“Well, Steve, I think there’s more than one way of looking at it. I think it’s more like we both had this rich neighbor named Xerox, and I broke into his house to steal the TV set and found out that you had already stolen it.”
Xerox itself had an early incarnation of a machine that had some GUI functionality — the Star — and Lisa’s developers said they were informed by that less-than-successful commercial attempt, to a point. In an interview with Byte in October 1982, three months before the Lisa came out, Wayne Rosing, Bruce Daniels and Larry Tessler were asked about the Xerox Star:
BYTE: Do you have a Xerox Star here that you work with?
Tesler: No, we didn’t have one here. We went to the NCC when the Star was announced and looked at it. And in fact it did have an immediate impact. A few months after looking at it we made some changes to our user interface based on ideas that we got from it. For example, the desktop manager we had before was completely different; it didn’t use icons at all, and we never liked it very much. We decided to change ours to the icon base. That was probably the only thing we got from the Star, I think. Most of our Xerox inspiration was Smalltalk rather than Star.
BYTE: What does Lisa have that the Star doesn’t have?
Tesler: We’re talking about graphics capability. You originally asked why we didn’t use graphics hardware. Our graphics primitives in software are more general than the Star’s, so they perform better. We have a faster and more general ability to draw on the screen a picture of multiple graphical objects in different shapes, to have one window that uncovers another, and to repaint just the parts that are uncovered.
Daniels: Look at the desktop managers of the Star and Lisa. With the Star, you can only put them at fixed places on the screen so you know they don’t ever overlap. On ours, you can put them any place you want. It’s that generality that allows I us to have arbitrarily shaped things I and covering each other up and…
BYTE: Documents or forms, shapes, or anything…
Tesler: Right. We have curves in it. Everything in the Star, you’ll notice, is really rectangular, and our things can have curved edges and that sort of thing.
Apart from some specialized contexts GUIs are the norm now in computing. Microsoft has considerably more copies of its GUI in customer hands than Apple — yet another instance of the first to market not becoming the dominant player. And while it would be Mac that captured the public’s imagination, he might not have had quite the swagger without lessons he learned from his awkward older sister.
“Although it was a technical and commercial flop, Lisa was important because it was the progenitor of the Mac,” says Kahney. “Apple screwed up the Lisa, but without it, there would be no Macintosh.”
Lisa advertisement courtesy Apple
- Jan. 19, 1883: Let There Be Light
- Jan. 26, 1983: Spreadsheet as Easy as 1-2-3
- March 23, 1983: Reagan Taunts the Russians With ‘Star Wars’ Plan
- June 13, 1983: Pioneer 10 Reaches an End … and a Beginning
- June 18, 1983: Sally Ride, the First American Woman Into Space
- June 23, 1983: DNS Test Sets Stage for Internet Growth
- Sept. 26, 1983: The Man Who Saved the World by Doing … Nothing
- Nov. 10, 1983: Computer ‘Virus’ Is Born
The Lisa--doomed from the start but got Apple on the right track!
Monday, January 18, 2010
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Between Craigslist and eBay, the Internet is well established as a marketplace where one person’s trash is transformed into another’s treasure. Now, thousands of teachers are cashing in on a commodity they used to give away, selling lesson plans online for exercises as simple as M&M sorting and as sophisticated as Shakespeare.Skip to next paragraph
Ruby Washington/The New York Times
Erica Bohrer, a teacher on Long Island, said that selling her lesson plans gave her a chance to receive credit for her hard work.
Ruby Washington/The New York Times
Erica Bohrer has used earnings from selling her lesson plans to buy books for students and to help with her mortgage payments.
Ruby Washington/The New York Times
Ms. Bohrer has sold 31 M&M counting exercises, which come with directions, sorting mats and work sheets, for $3 each.
Readers' CommentsReaders shared their thoughts on this article.
While some of this extra money is going to buy books and classroom supplies in a time of tight budgets, the new teacher-entrepreneurs are also spending it on dinners out, mortgage payments, credit card bills, vacation travel and even home renovation, leading some school officials to raise questions over who owns material developed for public school classrooms.
“To the extent that school district resources are used, then I think it’s fair to ask whether the district should share in the proceeds,” said Robert N. Lowry, deputy director of the New York State Council of School Superintendents.
The marketplace for educational tips and tricks is too new to have generated policies or guidelines in most places. In Fairfax County, Va., officials had been studying the issue when they discovered this fall that a former football coach was selling his playbook and instructional DVDs online for $197; they investigated but let him keep selling.
A high school English teacher in upstate New York said her bosses barred her from selling plans used in her classroom; she spoke on the condition that she not be named.
Beyond the unresolved legal questions, there are philosophical ones. Joseph McDonald, a professor at the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development at New York University, said the online selling cheapens what teachers do and undermines efforts to build sites where educators freely exchange ideas and lesson plans.
“Teachers swapping ideas with one another, that’s a great thing,” he said. “But somebody asking 75 cents for a word puzzle reduces the power of the learning community and is ultimately destructive to the profession.”
Teachers like Erica Bohrer, though, see the new demand for lessons as long-awaited recognition of their worth.
“Teaching can be a thankless job,” said Ms. Bohrer, 30, who has used the $650 she earned in the past year to add books to a reading nook in her first-grade classroom at Daniel Street Elementary School on Long Island and to help with mortgage payments. “I put my hard-earned time and effort into creating these things, and I just would like credit.”
The humble lesson plan has gained value as focus on testing and individualized instruction has increased. At the same time, the Internet has diminished the isolation of classroom teachers. Just about every imaginable lesson for preschool through college is now up for sale — on individual teachers’ blogs as well as commercial sites where buyers can review and grade the material.
Teachers Pay Teachers, one of the largest such sites, with more than 200,000 registered users, has recorded $600,000 in sales since it was started in 2006 — $450,000 of that in the past year, said its founder, Paul Edelman, a former New York City teacher. The top seller, a high school English teacher in California, has made $36,000 in sales.
Another site, We Are Teachers, went online last year with a “knowledge marketplace” that includes lesson plans and online tutoring.
Kelly Gionti, a teacher at the High School for Law, Advocacy and Community Justice in Manhattan, has sold $2,544 worth of unit plans for “The Catcher in the Rye” and “The Great Gatsby,” among others, helping finance trips to Rome and Ireland, as well as class supplies.
Margaret Whisnant, a retired teacher in North Carolina, earns an average of $750 a month from lessons based on her three decades of teaching middle school classics like “The Outsiders,” enough to pay for new kitchen counters and appliances.
“I have wanted to redo my kitchen for 20 years, and I just could not get the funds together,” she said. “Well, now I’m going to have to learn to cook.”
Lisa Michalek, 40, who taught for six years in Rochester and now works for Aventa Learning, a for-profit online education company, said she spent about five hours a week tweaking old lesson plans and creating new ones, like an earth science curriculum that sells for $59.95.
“I knew I had good lessons, so I thought, ‘Why not see what other people think of it?’ ” Ms. Michalek said.
After $31,000 in sales, she has her answer. Alice Coburn, 56, a vocational education teacher in Goshen, N.Y., said she saved two to three hours each time she downloaded Ms. Michalek’s PowerPoint presentations instead of starting from scratch. “I hate reinventing the wheel,” Ms. Coburn said.
Others find comfort in having a class-tested lesson by a more experienced teacher. Lauren Perreca, 24, used a $10 lesson on the Vietnam War novel “Fallen Angels” as a reference last year while creating her own lesson for her classes at Weston High School in Connecticut. She also revised her reading questions about “Lord of the Flies” after comparing them with two other lesson plans.
“At first I was self-conscious I had bought something, because what did that say about me?” she said. “But I realized I wasn’t just taking it and using it, I was adapting it to fill in the gaps of my knowledge.”
Now Ms. Perreca has started selling her own lesson plans, like a 54-page “Macbeth” unit with quizzes and homework assignments ($10) that she wrote in graduate school. She said she spent $140 of her $523 in earnings on cookies and books for her students, and used the rest to splurge on dinners out that she could not otherwise afford.
Her students are incredulous. “They’re like, ‘Who would want to buy those? They’re so boring,’ ” Ms. Perreca said. “I’m like, ‘Hey, I’m making money.’ ”
In Ms. Bohrer’s class the other day in Lindenhurst, N.Y., five children were counting M&Ms while she made sure they digested the lesson before the candy. The exercise, which comes with directions, sorting mats and work sheets, has sold 31 times for $3 a pop. A variation with Lucky Charms is popular around St. Patrick’s Day, she said.
“M&M sorting is not a new concept,” said Ms. Bohrer, who has been teaching since 2001. “I made it easier for teachers to do. They just have to click and print.”
Daniel Street’s principal, Frank Picozzi, said he supported Ms. Bohrer’s online business because his students reaped the benefits of her initiative and creativity.
Ms. Bohrer recalled that when she used to share her lesson plans at no charge, a poster of her reading strategies was passed around so many times that it ended up with a teacher in another school who had no idea where it came from.
“I’ll share with friends,” Ms. Bohrer said, “and if anyone else likes it, I’ll tell them where to buy it.”
Education seems to be one of the few professions where taking advantage of capitalism is looked down upon. Why?
Professionals in the field of education are using Twitter more than ever to share ideas and promote their businesses. My online publishing work has benefitted from two social media networks in particular. Using Twitter and Facebook to announce my writing has brought more readers and in turn, wider exposure and more relevant leads for my advertisers.
People in some corners have mixed attitudes about social media. Obviously I am a proponent for the profit it brings my online publishing. At the same time, I am old fashioned in some ways and I understand their position. In a nutshell, they seem to feel Twitter and Facebook are places where educators “play” and “get too personal.” Because we are public servants, or for some other unknown reason, they feel educators have no business using these services. I think they are correct that should we set a higher standard of we publish online but they are not correct that educators can do no good on social media.
I have also made many contacts with educators and their ideas. I imagine a world where restaurant managers communicate on how to eliminate watse-age on their bottom line. I see waiters finding a place to vent and become better at what they do. I see people who ffrequent Vegas finding tips and deals from people on their Twitter list.
Why should we as educators fear connecting on Twitter? It has such great potential to help us teach better.
Connecting on Twitter has all served to make me a more effective and accomplished teacher. You may be asking yourself: “By who’s evaluation are you better?” Well, first by my own but also by standardized test score results and continued recognition through the contractual terms of my job as a teacher. Then, there are the comments I have recieved that show me my work is having a positive impoact on classroom across the country. This is because of Twitter along with my blog and at times Facebook.
To those out there who have taken their Twitter down because of these fears or hesitated to start an account, I give you this advice:
In my opinion, there is likely nothing inherently dangerous to your job about a Twitter account if you are positive and you consider the people who are reading your tweets when you do so.
Having said that, some teachers who feel the need to post their drunk pictures in Mexico on a wild weekend (for example), I am not defending that sort of stupidity and irresponsibility. What’s your take on educators and the Twitter controversy?
As a footnote, Karen Schweitzer, a guest blogger here, has featured a list of 15 Teachers worth following on Twitter. Please feel free to add them and see what value they add to your profession and passion. I’m finding more from various sources every month or so. If you would like to be featured, leave a comment, send me an email: damien [at] rileycentral [dot] net, or send me a message on Twitter [at] rileycentral and I will check out your tweets.
Great article about teachers/educators using twitter/facebook. I think it is essential for teachers to become experts of these tools in order to incorporate them into the classroom of today.