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Ed Tech Ideas

Tech Integration for Busy Teachers

QR Codes, Voice Recording, and Google Docs

This is a great project for elementary and beyond. Report/bio/non-fiction writing in a Google Doc with an embedded QR code that links to the student reading excepts from their research. You may print out book style when complete, or create on online flip book using sites such as Issuu, Youblisher or Flipsnack.

Learn how to easily record your voice, generate a corresponding QR code and make your Google Doc come alive!

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Creating a Diagram Within a Google Doc

Here’s a short video I just created for a teacher at my school who was wanting her students to be able to work on labeling diagrams within a Google Doc.

Google Sites in the Classroom

Thinking of creating a classroom website, or having your students create sites for themselves? Watch 9 year olds Grace and Sophie explain how easy it is to do with Google Sites.

EdTechIdeas 2012 Year in Review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

About 55,000 tourists visit Liechtenstein every year. This blog was viewed about 200,000 times in 2012. If it were Liechtenstein, it would take about 4 years for that many people to see it. Your blog had more visits than a small country in Europe!

Click here to see the complete report.

Never Stop Searching

Another great year in review by the Google Zeitgeist project:

This is a nice video to use to generate writing prompts or ideas for students to reflect on and research current events.

2012 Presidential Election Recap – Prezi Style

Fantastic Prezi recapping the 2012 US Presidential election by K.D. Delany.
 

Interactive Scope and Sequence for Integrating Digital Citizenship

Common Sense Media has just released a fantastic new tool for integrating digital citizenship into your curriculum. The Interactive Scope and Sequence lays out simple lessons organized by grade level and divided into topics such as Digital Footprint and Reputation, Creative Credit and Copyright, Cyberbullying, and more.

Digital Citizen Starter Kit

Common Sense Media and Edmodo partnered to create this fantastic Digital Citizenship Starter Kit for your classroom. In it, you’ll find a series of activities and lessons designed to introduce digital citizenship concepts right in Edmodo, to help you get your online classroom community up and running.

Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us

Twitter for Teachers

Are you a teacher thinking about expanding your PLN? Have you tried Twitter in the past and just “didn’t get it?” Are you looking for quick and easy ideas for integrating technology into your classroom? If so, here’s a Prezi just for you.

Mouse Practice

Never used a trackpad? Got a new mouse? Use these sites to practice moving and clicking in a fun way!

The Three Monkeys

It’s raining fruit today! Oh Joy! Help the monkeys eat every single one.

Starry Night

Use your mouse to bounce the stars back up into the sky!

Catch the Apples

Apples are falling at an alarming rate! Move the bucket to save the orchard!

Get Arthur Ready for School

Can you help Arthur get ready for school? He needs to find a lot of items hidden in his house!

Build a House

Add a roof, move the window, build a fence, plant a tree to make a place you can call home!

Create Stellar Timelines with MyHistro

-Guest post by Mauro Pasi

Technology is being used more and more in schools all over the globe and teachers have an ever-expanding array of tools to use both for the class room and homework assignments. One of the newest additions is MyHistro, a free website to create timelines. Histros Inc., the company behind MyHistro has a background in history visualization. Their first project was Histrodamus.ee, an award winning website where people could learn about the history of Estonia using an interactive geolocated timeline. As good and original as it was, the website still had some limitations. Web 2.0 is all about collaboration and content creation rather than content consumption. Think about the Wikipedia revolution. Encyclopedias have been curated by scholars for centuries and are a great source of precise and reliable knowledge, and so is Histrodamus.ee, with its team of editors. Yet Wikipedia is an incredible tool that we couldn’t live without anymore and its secret lies in the collaboration between regular users. This very same idea is what prompted MyHistro. Teachers have now access to same design and functionality that made Histrodamus great and can use free and easy to make timelines to teach students around the world. These timelines allow students to study history interactively and socially, making history learning more appealing to digital natives who are more used to Social Networks than they are to books. Being on the Web the content is accessible from anywhere, even from mobile devices, thanks to their iOS and Android apps. But where these timelines really shine is in their three-dimensionality. We are not talking about the latest blockbuster movie here, we are talking about being able to understand clearly the what, when and where of history. I remember being a student myself and having to memorize names and dates without actually being able to connect the dots. Thanks to myHistro now the dots are right in front of you. These timelines can be played like a slideshow or browsed through in no specific order by clicking each single events on the actual timeline or on the map. They are a great way of presenting the class with some visual aids and very good studying material to prepare for a test because they contain all the notes from the teacher. Some teachers have been using them as assignments too, to asses the understanding of the topics they taught in the class as well as the writing skills of their students. Timelines and events can be co-authored, making them extremely good for group assignments. Embedded here is an example of a timeline created by a student. Don’t you think that this student now has a clear understanding of the whole picture, having had to pin point every single battle in time as well as in space?  

Rock Out Your Projects With Royalty-Free Music

Cross-posted at ISTE’s Learning and Leading with Technology – Issue forthcoming

Using music in projects is an important skill for students to develop. Music and sound effects can make or break a presentation, and can take a good project to a whole new level. Sir Alan Parker, director of the films Birdy, Evita, Fame, Pink Floyd the Wall, and many others) states:

“When music and images gel they can take the audience’s brains to another plane emotionally and dramatically. Bad film music intrudes without complementing the action. A great score gets under your skin, triggers your subconscious, enhances the drama and helps drive the emotional power train of the movie.” 

For students to use music in their projects, they need to be able to find royalty-free music. If they simply import a song from their iTunes library, chances are, it is not permissible to use under Creative Commons licensing. If students post videos on YouTube or Vimeo which contain copyrighted songs, the audio will likely be stripped and their accounts may be suspended.

There are hundreds of sites that offer music to download, but the majority of these sites are pay-based, and/or not very user-friendly. Below are 3 great, easy to use sites for students to find free, royalty-free music and sound effects to use in their projects.

Purple Planet

Purple Planet Royalty Free Music is a nice source for fun, easy to use, royalty-free music for projects. All the music on the site is free to download and is composed and performed by Geoff Harvey and Chris Martyn. A link back to the site is all that is required to use any of the many songs within the site. Three things I really like about this site are: 1. There is a nice mouse-over audio preview feature that allows kids to get an idea of what the song sounds like. 2. The site is organized in 14 different geners for easy searching. 3. It is completely free!

SoundJay

SoundJay has a nice selection of .mp3 and .wav files that are organized into 10 different genres. All of the sounds and songs at SoundJay are free to use under the condition that the user links back to and cites http://www.soundjay.com and does not post the sounds for others to download.

Royalty Free Music Room

All the free downloadable mp3s at Royalty Free Music Room are public domain music. Students are free to use the music for any project (book trailers, movies, presentations, etc.) and even upload to Youtube, without worrying about copyright infringement.

As educators, one very important role, succinctly stated in the NETS-T is to: “Advocate, model, and teach safe, legal, and ethical use of digital information and technology, including respect for copyright, intellectual property, and the appropriate documentation of sources.”  Music is such an under-stated importance in student projects and it is vital that children know how to find and use royalty-free audio.

ISTE 2012 Takeaways


The International Society of Technology in Education (ISTE) national conference just finished up after several exciting, jam-packed days in beautiful San Diego, California. I’ve been to ISTE conferences before, but it’s been a few years. I had forgotten how crazy and exciting this conference can be. Several thousand educators converged on the convention center at the edge of the Gas Lamp Quarter, and, at times, it seemed like every single one of the attendees had the same workshop schedule as me. I learned so much during the 4-day conference (you can view my unedited notes here), but in the spirit of minimalism and efficiency, I am focusing this post on my big 3 takeaways:

  • ePortfolios
  • iPad Apps
  • Social Networking with Edmodo

https://developers.google.com/google-apps/sites/ePortfolios

I’ve been creating ePortfolios with my students for over 10 years now. I’ve done them with PowerPoint, various blogging platforms, and even FrontPage; but I’ve never been completely happy with the formats. During my time at ISTE 2012, I attended 2 workshops dedicated to using Google Sites along with a combination of Google Docs and Blogger for creating student ePortfolios. The first was called: “Student-Centered Interactive E-Portfolios with Google Apps” by Helen Barrett and the second was titled: “Growing Digital: Grassroots Google Integration for Staff and Students” by Peter Pasque and Kristal Jaaskelainen.

Focus

Student-managed electronic learning portfolio should be used as a persistent learning record to help students:

  • develop the self-awareness to set their own learning goals
  • express their own views of their strengths, weaknesses, and achievements
  • and take responsibility for them

The purpose drives the process and content.  http://www.peterpappas.com/images/old/6a00d8341d880253ef0120a7a4dd53970b-pi.png

Process

  • Step 1: Create a collection of work in Google Docsuse your mobile device to capture images, audio, video
  • Step 2:Reflection
    • Reflective Journal – blog entries over time
    • Taxonomy of reflection
  • What? So What? Now What?
  • Self-Regulated Learning
    • Planning (Goal Setting)
    • Doing (Capture the Moment)
    • Reflecting
  • Timeline
    • Level 1: Collection
    • Level 2: Collection + Reflection
    • Level 3: Selection and Presentation

iPad Apps

This coming school year, our school is increasing the amount of iPads in my division. This is extremely exciting with a huge potential for fantastic new learning for our students and staff. It also brings a large amount of up-front work for our teachers and IT professionals.  I’ve outlined several apps and tips from the 2 workshops I attended dedicated to learning with iPads. Special thanks to the presenters: Mindy Tilley, Jana Craig Hare, Tyler Fowler, Liddell Hobin, Alan Landever, Keith Mispagael and Geri Parscale who presented “21 Apps for Digital Age Learning” and Kimberly LaPrairie, with Daphne Johnson and Marilyn Rice who shared “Apps, Apps Everywhere: Top iPad Apps for Digital Age Learning”

21 Apps for Digital Age Learning

The presenters from USD 207 in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas shared their 21 favorite apps that provide digital age experiences in the classroom. You can visit their website here or view the apps being used here. Below are a few of their suggestions that I took note of:
  • Drawing Box: free app
  • Dot Project
  • Percolator App
    • you take a photo and it takes that photo and creates it with dots. Great for art class
  • Puppet Pals – use to re-create a story students have recently read
  • Show Me- Create quick instructional movies
    • Idea: Take a photo of a worksheet and then have students work out the problems while explaining their thinking.
  • Twitcasting
  • Storylines Promotes children’s literature and supports writers and illustrators
  • VoiceThread the App
  • Cover It Live
  • Sticky Board
  • BrainPop App – have the student of the week watch the Brainpop video of the week and give a summary for the class
  • ToonTastic
    • Create a toon by going through all of the story elements: setup conflict, challenge, resolution, etc
    • Record your voice as you move the characters
    • Adds music to go along with emotional feeling of current story element
    • Upload finished video to your toon tube acct. Cannot upload to your photo library.
  • Discovery Education App
  • Popplet

Apps, Apps Everywhere

It was very refreshing how the presenters from Sam Houston State University based their app selection around Blooms Taxonomy. I’ve seen this method used before from Kathy Schorck so it was nice to see others chiming in on the importance of focusing app selection based on learning objectives instead of cool factor.

Social Networking with Edmodo

I’ve seen Edmodo several times in various conferences and workshops I’ve attended, and have always been interested in learning more about how teachers use it and what kind of benefits it will bring to students, teachers, and parents. While there was no formal workshop at ISTE 2012 showcasing Edmodo, I made a point to stop by their booth in the exhibit hall and find out a little more about this social networking tool. There are some great webinars that Edmodo puts on which I will be attending later this month. Here are some quick tips I picked up on during my time spent with the fine folks at the Edmodo booth:

  • You can change the notification section to uncheck the alerts if you are getting too many emails
  • Create a group for each subject (RLA, Math, etc), or just for all grade 3 students
  • Once you create a group, it creates a code and give the code to your students
  • they then create an acct and join the group
  • You control the group, delete posts and make students read only as a type of timeout
  • you can also moderate all posts and replies
  • There is no private messaging between students, only through the group
  • You can post a question, a video, a poll
  • you can create assignments and quizzes and it adds it to yours and the students calendars.
  • With assignments you can grade them, annotate on docs
  • You can also email parents the parent code and they will be able to see what their child is doing.

Unedited Notes

If you’re extremely bored and enjoy reading gobbledegook, below (or here) are my notes from the 4 days:

Using High-Interest Media to Improve Literacy

The Literacy Shed is a fantastic site for creative writing ideas that will definitely help reluctant writers. The site aims to provide teaching ideas coupled with relevant media that students will love. This week’s resource, for example, is a writing activity using “La Luna” Pixar’s awesome animated short that has been nominated for an academy award. There are currently 23 different “sheds” on the site, each one focused on a different learning theme, such as Poetry, Adventure, Picture Books, Fantasy, and much more.

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