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Tech Integration for Busy Teachers

Tag Archives: Learning

The Difference Between Similes and Metaphors

Here’s a great little video explaining (via super hero animation and a very catchy tune) the differences between similes and metaphors.

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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:

48 Ultra-Cool Summer Sites for Kids and Teachers

Cross-posted @ Edutopia

A good majority of northern hemisphere and international schools are winding down the 2011-2012 school year and doors will be closing as the students and teachers take off on their summer adventures. Here is a list of great sites for kids and teachers to keep you happily productive and learning this summer. These are in no way in any order of personal preference or coolness.

Happy summer!

1. Magic Tree House

If your students like The Magic Tree House Series (and let’s be honest, who doesn’t?), they’ll love The Magic Tree House Website. Students climb up the tree and enter the tree house to find some great puzzles, fun games and quizzes on any of the 45+ MTH books.

2. Toporopa

Can’t afford that summer vacation schlepping around Europe? No worries, just pull up Toporopa on your nearest browser and learn all about the geographical, political, historical and economical aspects of the wonderful continent.

3. ReadWriteThink Printing Press

ReadWriteThink creates a lot of great educational resources. With Printing Press students can create a booklet, flyer, brochure, or newspaper fairly easily. There is a nice guide that walks you through the process and the focus is on writing. There is a place within each publication for a picture, but not one that you can add from your computer. This space is reserved for students to draw a picture after printing. I’m all for creativity, but it would be nice to have the option of adding a photo or graphic.

4. Spell With Flickr

Spell With Flickr is a simple site that allows you to enter any word and it will create a photo representation of that word using pictures from Flickr.

5. Freeology

Freeology is a fantastic resource for teachers to download pre-made, or create a plethora of free graphic organizersformscalendarscertificatesworksheets, and more!

6. Tagxedo

Tagxedo is a Wordle-esque site that allows students to create beautiful word clouds. The great thing about Tagxedo that in my opinion is where Wordle falls short is the ability for users to save their creations (without logging in) as either a jpeg or png.

7. Learn Your Tables

Learn Your Tables is a nice interactive site that allows students to practice their multiplication times tables. Learn Your Tables is ideal for introducing topics on an interactive whiteboard (not that you’ll have one over summer, but it’s good for thinking about next school year), and for extension material on individual computers or in a lab.

8. Virtual Sistine Chapel


Virtual Sistine Chapel is an amazing 360 degree interactive view of the Sistine Chapel brought to you by your friends at the Vatican. You can fly around the amazing artwork and zoom into the frescoes at a pretty decent level. This site would be great for art history and religious studies.

9. Cool Math

Probably one of my favorite math sites, Cool Math is “designed for the pure enjoyment of mathematics.” This interactive site features a plethora of fun games, puzzles, calculators, and lesson plans.

10. Science Bob

Science Bob is a fun, interactive site that has several different areas for kids to choose from. There are videos, experiments, science fair ideas, and a research help link with a plethora of fantastic links to other sites. Don’t forget to click on the “Whatever you do, Don’t click here” button (or not).

11. Grammaropolis

Grammaropolis is a fun, interactive site that helps students learn about the parts of speech.

12. Math Live

Math Live is a fantastic site to use for upper elementary students that has a plethora of cartoon math tutorials on subjects like fractions, multiplication, area and perimeter, tessellations, probability, and a variety of other topics. The glossary section is an amazing collection of math concepts animated for more solid understanding.

13. Animal Diversity Web

From the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, the Animal Diversity Web is an online database of animal natural history, distribution, classification, and conservation biology. Students can browse the information on individual creatures from the Kingdom Animalia and find 1000s of pictures on specific animals. What’s great about the Animal Diversity Web is that students can sign up to become contributors to the website. To do this, teachers must submit a request form.

14. PDF to Word

PDF to Word is a fantastically simple site that allows you to do just what the url suggests: Convert PDF documents to fully editable Word documents. You simply go to the site, upload your pdf, select either .doc or .rtf, enter your email and click convert. PDF to Word then emails you the word file upon completion. There is no sign up necessary and the turn-around time is approximately 10 minutes.

15. E-Learning For Kids

e-Learning For Kids is a great site with some wonderful interactive learning games that are engaging and fun. Students click on their grade and then a list of games divided into subjects comes up.

16. Rhymes.net

Rhymes.net is a simple search site that returns rhyming words to whatever you enter in the search field. The rhyming words are divided into syllables for ease of use and there is a list of photos of whichever word you search for. Even better, Rhymes.net automatically generates citations for bibliographies.

17. NeoK12

NeoK12 is a fantastic collection of videos arranged by subject that have been individually reviewed by K-12 teachers. The videos are all (at least the ones I’ve seen) via YouTube and all the adds have been stripped and related videos removed which, as an educator, is a great thing! There are also quizzes, games and puzzles as well as a cool presentation creator that helps teachers or students create presentations within the site. Also cool is the How it Works Section.

18. SweetSearch

SweetSearch is a safe searching site for students. Most search engines search billions of Web sites and return tens of millions of results; some are from reliable Web sites, some are not.  SweetSearch searches only 35,000 Web sites that have been evaluated and approved by a staff of Internet research experts at Dulcinea Media, and its librarian and teacher consultants.

19. Cells Alive

CELLS Alive! represents 30 years of capturing film and computer-enhanced images of living cells and organisms for education and medical research. The site has been available continuously and updated annually since May of 1994 by Jim Sullivan and now hosts over 4 million visitors a year.

20. Catch the Science Bug

The educational goals of Catch the Science Bug are to increase science literacy and raise environmental consciousness by adhering to national standards and guidelines for content and use different teaching methods to engage all types of learners, and encourage life-long learning by featuring scientists who model this behavior.

21. SafeShare

Safeshare is a great site for showing YouTube videos without distractions. You simply enter the url of a YouTube video and Safeshare removes all the distracting related links and comments from the initial viewing page.

22. ABCya!

ABCya! is a great site for lots of great games and activities. There is a nice word cloud generator very similar to Wordle that creates nice looking word clouds. The one-up ABCya! has over Wordle is that you may directly save your word cloud as a jpg without any registration.

23. Ribbon Hero 2

Ribbon Hero is an add-on for Microsoft Office that allows you to play a game within the office application (ie Word) that teaches some of the unique features of the program. Users playing Ribbon Hero earn points for doing different tasks within Word, Excel, PowerPoint, etc.

24. Invention at Play

Invention at Play is a fantastic interactive website from the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. When asked what inspired them to become inventors, many adults tell stories about playing as children. The Invention Playhouse takes this fact and offers up great activities to increase problem solving ability, visual thinking, collaboration, and exploration.

25. Virtual Piano

As a computer teacher, I can see this site as having huge potential. Virtual Piano is a beautifully sounding piano that you play by typing on your keyboard. You can play Für Elise by following the key-pattern available. As this is in beta version, I’m guessing that over time, there will be more song choices and hopefully more learning connectivity with the computer keyboard.

26. Story Jumper

Story Jumper is a wonderful site that allows children to create their very own books. You can create cover pages, add text, upload drawings or photos to illustrate your story, and you can use the StoryJumper clipart gallery, too. One of the best things about Storyjumper is that it is easy for teachers to create and assign student accounts.

27. Google Classroom Lessons and Resources

Web search can be a remarkable research tool for students – and Google has listened to educators saying that they could use some help to teach better search skills in their classroom. The Search Education lessons were developed by Google Certified Teachers to help you do just that. The lessons are short, modular and not specific to any discipline so you can mix and match to what best fits the needs of your classroom. Additionally, all lessons come with a companion set of slides (and some with additional resources) to help you guide your in-class discussions.

28. Kubbu

Kubbu is an e-learning tool designed to facilitate teachers’ work and enhance the learning process. Teachers can create games, quizzes, or crosswords; make them available online for students, and then view and analyze the results.

29. Merriam-Webster Word Games

Merriam-Webster Word Games is a nice collection of games that gets students thinking and improving their lexicon. There are crosswords, cryptograms, word searches, jumbles, and a plethora of other brainy games.

30. Questionaut

Questionaut is a Math, English, and Science game from the BBC. The premise of the game is your standard question/answer delivery, but what I really like about this game is twofold. One, the artwork, created by Amanita Design, is amazing. You could get lost in just looking at all the beautiful details. The second thing that really brings this educational game to a higher level in my book, is that students will have to work and explore to be given the questions. Within each level, the player will need to complete a series of clicks to release the questions, adding a very subtle think-out-of-the-box element to the game.

31. Games for Change

I’m a big fan of quality educational games, and this site takes it to the next level. Games for Change is a non-profit organization which seeks to harness the extraordinary power of video games to address the most pressing issues of our day, including poverty, education, human rights, global conflict and climate change. As of this writing, there are quite a few dead links to the games (Balance of the Planet, ElectroCity, Globaloria), but I have high hopes that updates come soon as I really like the idea of this site.

32. Who Pooped?

You know with a name like Who Pooped this will be popular with the younger students. Who Pooped is a science site created by the Minnesota Zoo to help students to begin thinking like scientists. One way scientists learn about animals is by studying their poop — also called “scat” or “dung.” Who Pooped allows students to investigate various types of scat and try to match the scat with its creator. A very interactive site which would pair well with IWBs.

33. Number Gossip

Number Gossip is a simple search box where you enter any number and receive back “everything you wanted to know about the number but were afraid to ask.” For example, I entered the number 38 and got these facts:  38 is the magic constant in the only possible magic hexagon (which utilizes all the natural integers up to and including 19); XXXVIII (=38) is lexicographically the last string which represents a valid Roman numeral; 38 is the largest even number which cannot be written as the sum of two odd composite numbers

34. Illuminations: Dynamic Paper

Need a pentagonal pyramid that’s six inches tall? Or a number line that goes from ‑18 to 32 by 5′s? Or a set of pattern blocks where all shapes have one-inch sides? You can create all those things and more with the Dynamic Paper tool. Place the images you want, then export it as a PDF activity sheet for your students or as a JPEG image for use in other applications or on the web.

35. Shelfari

Even though Shelfari has been taken over by Amazon, it’s still my favorite book review site and would make for a great summer project for parents and students. Shelfari is dubbed as the “premiere site for people who love books,” and the concept is to create a virtual bookshelf of all the books you’ve read or are reading. You can then add a rating (1-5 stars)  as well as a written review of the book and when you are done, Shelfari gives suggestions on what you might want to read next.

36. Vocab Ahead

Vocab Ahead is a collection of short videos that give definitions, usages, pictures associated with interesting vocabulary words.  You may subscribe to receive a vocab video of the day and there is also a section of videos by students that are fantastic.

37. Science With Me

Kids love hands-on projects and Science With Me is chalk-full of fun science projects. You’ll also find science movies, songs, coloring sheets, worksheets, and stories to help kids learn scientific principles and science in a fun way.

38. MathRun

Fun site for practice basic math facts.  Mathrun is a simple idea (math problems float up the screen and you have to tell whether they are correct or incorrect) and I love simplicity. There is no registration required and no advertisements – I love this too. Mathrun rates your brain speed (I got mine up to 140 mph before having to get back to work) and keeps a running total of how many problems you solved correctly. Great site to use independent practice.

39. Academic Skill Builders

Academic Skill Builders is a research-based and standards-aligned free educational math games and language arts games website that will engage, motivate, and help students improve their academic skills. There are many interactive games to choose from and they’re all pretty fun, have decent graphics/sound effects, and offer great practice to specific skills.

40. 100 Coolest Science Experiments on YouTube

Stellar resource for science teachers that has, as the title suggests, links to 100 cool science experiments. If your district has YouTube blocked, you can download any of the videos using 3outube. There are some really cool videos here and it’s well worth a gander.

41. MathTV

Math TV is an amazing collection of how-to videos in a variety of math subjects. Checking it out, I watched a video on how to multiply fractions and I (a teacher) learned a new method.  Imagine what your students can learn. This site is free, but it does require you to register to be able to view the videos.

42. Books Should be Free

Books Should be Free (formally Audio Owl) makes the world’s public domain audio books available for browsing in a visual and easily searchable way. You can search for a specific title, or use the genre list to visually scan through hundreds of titles. Books may be previewed directly on the site, or you may download them directly into iTunes, or as zipped mp3 files. The downloads are broken into chapters, which is useful for teachers using this as a listening station.

43. Arts Alive

Arts Alive is a performing arts educational website developed by the National Arts Centre of Canada. There are sections for studentsteachers, and parents to learn more about the performing arts and ways to discover a greater appreciation of music, theater, and dance.

44. Search-Cube

One of my 4th grade students was using this site while researching for a biography assignment. Search-Cube is a visual search engine that presents web search results in a unique, three-dimensional cube interface. It shows previews of up to ninety-six websites, videos and images.

45. CoSketch

CoSketch is a collaborative drawing site which requires no joining, logging in or registration. Perfect for elementary classes. It’s a no frills tool, so there are not a lot of extras, but for simple drawing and text, it works great. Users just go to the site, click on create a sketch, and begin drawing. To add more people, you just send them the url. There’s also a nice chat feature. I could see using this to collaboratively solve math problems, play hangman using vocab words, exploring maps (there is a built-in Google Maps support), and a variety of other applications. Finished drawings can be embedded into blogs or websites.

46. Interactive Simulations

From the University of Colorado at Bolder comes some fantastic java-based interactive simulations. From Glaciers, to Natural Selection, to Circuit Construction; these simulations really show students how things work.

47. Active Science

Active Science has 15 different scientific modules, each with interactive games and activities. Great for use with IWB.

48. Kerpoof

Kerpoof is an online story and comic-creator which allows students to create comic scenes and stories, as well as animated movies, cards, drawings, doodles and pictures.  Educators are able to sign up for a class account which allows an entire class to login simultaneously using the assigned nickname and password created by the teacher. There are no adds or inappropriate content and the art work is fun and lively.  Finished products may be saved, printed, or emailed.  Great site for story creating!

Primary Games Arena

Primary Games Arena is a fantastic games-based learning site which is divided into grades and subjects. The 15 different subjects include Math, English, Science, PE, Music, Non-English Languages (currently German, Spanish, and French), Geography, and many others. The high-interest, fun games make learning enjoyable for elementary-aged children.

Lesson Plans for Integrating Google Apps

Google in Education has an index of over 100 free lesson plans, all searchable by products (Docs, Earth, Digital Literacy, Calendar, Sketchup, etc.), Subject, and Age. You can teach students about telling time utilizing Google Calendar; Introduce the scientific method using Google Spreadsheets; Go on a scavenger hunt for capital cities using Google Earth.

EARCOS 2012 Takeaways

March 28-31, 2012

A wonderful group of over 1,500 educators gathered in Bangkok for the 10th annual East Asia Regional Council of Schools  (EARCOS) Conference. This was my 4th EARCOS conference, having attended Bangkok in 2004, Ho Chi Minh City in 2005, Kota Kinabalu in 2009; and it was by far the most rewarding. Here are my highlights. The best of the best from EARCOS 2012.


Keynote: Now You See It

Day 1 started out with a riveting keynote by Cathy N. Davidson of Duke University in which she reminded us that as teachers, we need to, “Emphasize what students can do well, not their limitations.”  Ms. Davidson, who blogs frequently at HASTAC, then went on to bring new light to the state of the US educational system and standardized testing by stating: 

  • The US tests earlier and more often than any other country.
  • The US’s gift to education: Standardized Testing
  • We’re training kids for the world that Jefferson and Adams were afraid of. Our educational system is based on the industrial age.
  • Finland has abolished standardized testing. And most schools don’t test until age 10.
  • 1980 was the last time Finland used Standardized testing.

Google Apps in the Classroom

Jeff Utecht ran a great workshop entitled, “Google Apps in the Classroom,” and began with a great buy-in statement of why we should be using Google Apps with our students “60 of the top 100 US universities now use google apps.” Jeff then broke the session down by apps within the Google Suite and shared the following:

Searching

  • By giving us exactly what we want, Google hides things it thinks we don’t want.
  • Searches are based on
    • your past searches
    • # of links leaving from and coming to that site (that’s 1 reason Wikipedia appears 1st) the more links going to a site, the more authority that site has
    • Time relevance – more recent will be moved towards the top
    • Algorithms
  • Best part of Wikipedia is the bottom. References and sources
  • Wikipedia is not a good place to end your research, but it’s a great place to begin. Great overview, and lots of sources at bottom
  • Every student from grade 3 should know site:edu (and site:gov – but site:gov uses US gov. – use different country suffixes to find info from other countries).
  • Search by reading level (basic is about a 5th grade reading level)
  • site:ac = academic institution
Gmail

Docs

  • People hate docs because you get a large list of everything you’ve ever created or shared with you. Google wants you to just search.
  • Video: Setting Up a Google Docs Classroom (15 mins)
  • Question to ask when creating a doc: Who do you want to own this document?
    • Start with having the students be the owner and have them share with you.
  • Positive thing of students being the owner of their Docs is that it will follow along with them. You can Unsubscribe or have the kids unshare with you at the end of the year.
  • Templates within Google Docs are highly underrated and under-used. Check out the public templates
  • IDEA: Create a newspaper (students work collaboratively on different subjects) use a template. save as pdf > publish to youblisher
  • Flubaroo for Google Docs grades quizzes automatically.
  • We want kids to be able to find the answer. Google Ninja tests allows you to take it and create it at your school. Google Apps Ninja Master (create shirts, pins and stickers for kids)

Calendars

  • You can have students add attachments to calendars
  • Set up Mobile settings to send text message reminders
  • Use Appointment Slots for setting up meetings. Gives you a URL to mail out to parents that gives parents a “sign up for this slot” calendar that adds to your calendar.

Google Sites

  • So many uses: as a class website, student portfolio, teacher portal for students…
  • And then we ran out of time…

Google Earth Challenge

John Rinker led a great workshop on using Google Earth with students.

  • Resources here.
  • It’s our roles as teachers to make meaning and take meaning in the world
  • Often kids create great looking products but are lacking in substance
  • Have students put placemarks in folders
  • File > Save Project as…
  • 10 different levels
  • Having the different levels allowed for differentiation.
  • Then players who advanced more quickly became the experts
  • Can do recording of voice and music within Google Earth.
    • Called “Record a Tour” camera looking icon on main tool bar

New Media in the Classroom

Jason Ohler (@jasonohler)

Resources here

  • The big push in public education in US is byod
  • Most kids don’t make good media – most adults and teachers will look at the product and be impressed by the media effect
  • Teachers (and students) need to be discriminating makers of new media
  • Kids need to hear “That quality is not high enough.”
  • Story management process (computers off) is where most of the work is done.
  • The Unfinished Revolution
  • Literacy is: Consuming and producing the media forms of the day, whatever they are.
  • DAOW of Literacy
    • Digital
    • Art
    • Oral
    • Written
  • We don’t teach oracy (how to speak) and we should
  • Digital storytelling – film with a green screen and add student art to background
  • The power of story lodge in our brains and we remember. Lists of things don’t.
  • Story Core in Education:
    • Inquiry (tension)
    • Discovery (resolution)
    • Transformation (learning)
  • We remember info that is holistically connected and that’s what Story does.
  • Key resources
  • Green Screen Story Telling: http://t.co/1sosGXDy
  • When kids get kinesthetic with their stories, they write better.
  • Tell kids to go watch tv for homework and note how the professionals deal with music and transitions
  • Music trumps image every single time
  • The image give you the info, the music tells you how to feel about it.
  • Storyboards are bad – don’t use them
  • Instead use a storymap and always have a character realize something
  • Free Storytelling stuff (music, software, photos, etc.):
  • Story Mapping Hand Outs
  • Story Table Handout

Keynote – Balcony People: Teachers Make the Difference

Steven Layne

  • Book: Molder of Dreams by Guy Rice Doud
  • Students remember that we tried
  • Book: Life’s Literacy Lessons – Poems for Teachers by Steven Layne
  • What holds appeal for one, might not hold appeal for all – nothing works for every child, but something works for every child
  • Identify your balcony people. Tell them how they mattered and thank them.
  • Honor your balcony people by passing on their faith in you to your students, friends, family
  • Dream the dream for your students until they realize it.
  • Never underestimate the value of a seat in the balcony

Teaching for the 21st Century

Peer-Assessment, Peer-Generated Syllabus

Cathy Davidson @cathyndavidson

  • http://hastac.org/ and Cathy’s section
  • institutions tend to preserve the problems they were created to solve.
  • School and work in the industrial age were created to train us to the factory and the farm.
  • We’re doing a great job of preparing our students for the 20th century
  • 1900s office design are specifically designed to help people stay on task.
  • Reply all should be banned
  • We live in a interactive, non-linear, DIY, collaborative world.
  • Skunk Works: Innovate and try a radical transformation within a small section of your organization.
  • Our mission as teachers is to prepare students for an unknown future.
  • Duke iPod Experiment
  • This is your brain on the internet
  • Cathy changed the way the class worked but not the grading system and students called her on it.
  • Work Load grading – students choose their amount of work to do and get a corresponding grade. ie: 10 projects = A; 7 projects = B; 5 Projects = C; etc.
  • How to Crowdsource Grading
  • Goal of the class is for everyone collectively to get the grade they aimed for.
  • We’re very bad at giving feedback – that’s one reason American Idol is a hit
  • Students came up with the question: “How do I become an adult?”
  • You find the people you trust and you hold them close.
  • Favorite Peer Experiment/exercise you’ve done as a teacher
  • Difference is not our deficit, it’s our operating system
  • Forking: the moment when working together you come to a disagreement, flip a coin and follow on way. Mark the point of disagreement. If at any time, you realize you took the wrong point, you go back to the fork.
  • Socrative:  Student response system with any device.


Technical Competence with iMovie

David Grant 

  • iMovie Events within Movies is where you need to put new folders for creating movies
  • iMovie Learning Targets
    • Big Target:  I can tell a true story with details in multimedia
  • I can use the basic editing tools of iMovie to:
    • Split Clips (command-shift-s)
    • Trim Clips
    • Detatch Audio
    • Adjust Volume Levels
    • Create a Cutaway Edit
    • Create a J-Edit
    • Create an L-Edit
  • I can edit A Roll and B Roll to tell a story by:
    • Editing A Roll so you can’t hear the cuts
    • Covering my cuts with the B Roll that supports my story
    • Cutting on action
  • A roll: looking at and talking to the camera
  • B roll: the details – doing something
  • Sound is the primary thing you need to work with to tell stories.
  • Cutaway edit: use an edit to cover up a cut
  • cutting on action – have movement when the movie starts
  • J Edit:
    • Clip > detach audio

10 Digital Tools for Digital Educators

Jeff Utecht

Resources

  • Using Diigo with kids to have a collection of sites with specific tags and divided into lists
  • Create a class/groups
  • Send bookmarks from Diigo to Delicious automatically
  • from Twitter, whenever you tweet something with a hashtag you can use www.ifttt.com  to send to Diigo
  • Google Educator Posters
  • Everybody needs to use Google Reader
  • Edmodo-
    • Looks like facebook
    • Can join communities
    • Teacher creates a group (class)
    • can load assignments
    • Kids can turn in assignments
    • Also has a gradebook feature
    • Parents can have acct and is then connected to whichever class the child is enrolled in.
    • You can set quizzes up and has the ability to autograde
    • Integrated with Google Docs
    • The badges are motivating with the kids
    • Allows teacher control over students
  • bit.ly- URL shortner; allows you to customize url
    • after you send out link, it tracks how many people clicked on the link
    • Also creates a QR code for link
  • Question Press
  • http://joliprint.com/ Takes any webpage and turns it into a pdf

Connecting your Community

Kim Cofino
Presentation
here
Resources
Learning Hub

  • Your digital footprint will carry far more weight than anything you might include on a resume. -Chris Betcher
  • Think before you publish – is this something I would share with my grandma?
  • Blogging portal is a way to grow and connect the community
  • Everything is shared publicly = open
  • Students need to feel connected to a wider audience = global
  • We are a bad judge of our own creations www.silvers.org   We need to just put our ideas out there.
  • What’s obvious to us may seem amazing to someone else
  • Obvious to You, Amazing to others by Derrik Sivlers
  • Blogging should not be considered homework. Not everything goes on the blog. It’s about reflecting on your learning.
  • Blogs are not a way to post homework
  • Move away from blogs as an assignment into a community
  • Blogging Implementation
    • Soft launch (1 year)
    • Main landing page for each teacher’s blogs (The Learning Hub)
    • Main launch where parents are told this is how we are communicating information
    • There are “17 Things” that every teacher needs to be able to know how to do
    • Training – teacher leaders sit at tables and other teachers can come up to them to learn about something specific
    • Any time you’re talking about technology, you have to involve the kids.
  • Action

Fish Smarty and Good to Know

Fish Smarty

Fish Smarty is a slick new site for kids to play educational games, make comics, and create drawings. Within the game section are activities like Division by 9-12, Vocabulary and Sentence Sequencing, Multiplication Facts, and more. There’s also a section of outdoor activities, which are great to get kids moving. Along with a useful parent section, there is also a Google for Kids safe search engine within the site.

Good to Know

Good to Know is a site from Google that teaches you a plethora of information about being safe online with such topics as: passwords, phishing, mobile security, shopping safety, malware, and more. There are also sections to learn more about your data on the web, your data on Google, and how to manage your online data.

iPad Apps Recommended by Teachers

This year, there are several teachers in my division who are piloting iPad 2s in their classroom, and we meet bi-monthly to discuss our findings of uses and applications that we have discovered. Being that these are not class sets of iPads, the focus here is uses of the iPad as a teaching tool for productivity and organization. 

Evernote

Evernote is a great app for taking and organizing your notes. You can use it when you meet with students, at staff meetings when there’s something important to jot down, and at workshops and in-services. There are a couple of quirks with Evernote that could be fixed. The inability to copy and paste a table, and no multiple levels of bullets.

Price: Free

Confer

Confer is a note taking app that allows you to create classes, group students and take anecdotal notes as you meet with your students.

Here is a short video showing how to use Confer:

Price: $14.99

Flipboard

Flipboard is a magazinesque app that allows you to organize all your online reading. I flip through my Google Reader feeds, my favorite news sites, and Twitter feed in a smooth and easy-to-use interface. You can also share links via Twitter, Facebook, Google, or email with just the tap of a finger.

Price: Free

GoodReader

GoodReader is a PDF reader that allows you to mark up pdfs by typing, using sticky notes, hand-written annotations, lines, and free-hand drawings on any pdf you have. GoodReader also supports TXT, .doc, .ppt, .xls, iWork, audio files, and video files.

Price: $4.99

Dropbox

If you have a Dropbox account, the free app is a must have. The Dropbox app allows you to access all of your files anywhere you are. You can save any of your projects you create on the iPad into your dropbox account and  access them from other computers at work or at home.

Price: Free

TeacherPal

TeacherPal is a classroom organizer app that allows teachers to keep track of their students by taking role, manage timetables, take behavior notes, and more. One of our teachers had this to say about Teacher pal: “Can’t rave enough about TeacherPal.  It has been a life saver when it comes to keeping track of my 300 + students. I am able to see their smiling faces on the seating chart, add notes regarding behavior and keep track of their finished assignments. I can back up all the data in Dropbox. All pretty good for an app that is free.”

Price: Free

What are some of your essential iPad apps for your classroom?

Arcademic Skill Builders

Arcademic Skill Builders is a fun site that combines arcade style games with academics to make learning fun. There are 12 different subjects including addition, subtraction, fractions, time, geography, language arts, typing and more. Students can create a public or a private game (private games require students to create a password for that specific game).

At the time of this writing, teachers can sign their class up for the Plus version of Arcademic and have the ability to track student performance, create custom content, analyze problem areas, and earn attachments.

Newspaper Map, Study Jams, and Go Go News

Newspaper Map

Newspaper Map is a nice mash-up with Google Maps that pins many of the world’s newspapers in their respective locations on the map. Students and teachers can look up a specific newspaper or location, filter it by language, and then go to the site of any of the thousands of newspapers included in this site.

Study Jams

Study Jams has a fun selection of animated videos to help students with math and science concepts such as multiplication and division, algebra, fractions, geometry, landforms, solar system, matter, energy, light and sound, force and motion, animals, and much more.

Here’s a preview of one of the videos:

Go Go News

Back to current events, Go Go News is an educational site that has “big news for little people.”  Since its inception in 2006, GoGoNews has provided children with general knowledge, as well as a consciousness and awareness of the world, regardless of geography or culture. Along with the different news sections, there is a free mobile app, and they are developing GoGoTeach, to help educators integrate the site into their classrooms.

We’re Back!

After a wonderful summer hiatus spent travelling with my family to Hawaii, California, and finally returning to Singapore after 2 months of living somewhat off the grid; I am penning my first post in quite some time. For those of you long time readers, welcome back to EdTechIdeas!

Being that most schools in the northern hemisphere are starting up school in the next few weeks, today’s post will highlight 3 sites that can be used as ice breakers and discussion starters. These sites can be used at any time, so for those of you half-way through the school year, they will come in handy as well.

Learn Something Every Day

Learn Something Every Day is a great little site that has for the past couple of years posted interesting facts on a daily basis. Teachers often have the site projected as the students enter the class and have them do a quick write about the topic.

A Google a Day

Here’s a great idea for a classroom ice-breaker or a daily conversation starter from Google. It’s called “A Google a Day” and it’s a simple interface that takes the Google search page and adds a daily trivia question to the bottom of the screen. You do a search to find the answer and then check to see if you got it correct by clicking, “Show answer.” The answer is then displayed along with tips on the best techniques to search for it (in case you got the wrong answer).

Icebreakers from Education World

Here’s a bunch of icebreaker activities from Education World, broken down into 12 different volumes. You’re bound to find an activity here that will get your school year off to the right start.

Best of luck to you whether you are beginning your school year or are half-way through!

Summer Sites for Kids – Part II

A good majority of northern hemisphere and international schools are winding down the 2010-2011 school year and doors will be closing as the students and teachers take off on their summer adventures. Here are three more sites to keep your kids learning in a fun way during the summer months. This is part 2 of a multi-part series of posts dedicating to summer learning. Part 1 can be viewed here.

Arts Alive

Arts Alive is a performing arts educational website developed by the National Arts Centre of Canada (don’t worry, there are no Justin Bieber or Celine Dion references). There are sections for students, teachers, and parentsto learn more about the performing arts and ways to discover a greater appreciation of music, theater, and dance.

Toporopa

Can’t afford that summer vacation schlepping around Europe? No worries, just pull up Toporopaon your nearest browser and learn all about the geographical, political, historical and economical aspects of the wonderful continent.

Story Creator

Story Creator is a great free tool for kids to write creative stories with a medieval theme. Intuitive interface allows users to add pictures from the gallery (with the option to upload your own), record audio, add sound effects, create chapters, and print and/or download the story.

Summer Sites for Kids

Summer is upon us once again so for the next couple of weeks, I’ll be dedicating my posts to some great websites for kids that are fun and educational at the same time!

Cool Math

Probably one of my favorite math sites, Cool Math is “designed for the pure enjoyment of mathematics.” This interactive site features a plethora of fun games, puzzles, calculators, and lesson plans.

Shelfari

Even though Shelfari has been taken over by Amazon, it’s still my favorite book review site and would make for a great summer project for parents and students. Shelfari is dubbed as the “premiere site for people who love books,” and the concept is to create a virtual bookshelf of all the books you’ve read or are reading. You can then add a rating (1-5 stars)  as well as a written review of the book and when you are done, Shelfari gives suggestions on what you might want to read next.

Science With Me

Kids love hands-on projects and Science With Me is chalk-full of fun science projects. You’ll also find science movies, songs, coloring sheets, worksheets, and stories to help kids learn scientific principles and science in a fun way.

Three Great IWB Resources You’re Not Using

TeacherLed


TeacherLed
 is a site created by Spencer Riley, a UK teacher since 2002 which aims to “provide teaching and learning resources to make the use of the interactive whiteboard in the classroom easier and more productive.” The IWB activities are mostly math-based, but there are several RLA resources and some great geography interactives as well.

Promethean Planet

If you have a Promethean IWB, hopefully you are using Promethean Planet. It’s chalk-full of thousands of free, downloadable flipcharts that have been created for teachers. Whenever I set off creating a flipchart from scratch, nine times out of ten that flipchart has already been created and is on Promethean Planet. From there, it is easy to download and add your own individual flair.

TopMarks

TopMarks is a great site for finding tons of interactive IWB resources. The site is divided into subjects on the left hand side such as Math, Literacy, Science, Geography, etc. From there, you choose the age level (elementary teachers would choose “Key Stage 2″), and then select the area that you would like to focus.

My Top 3 Brainstorming Tools

I’ve always liked Inspiration and Kidspiration for quick, easy to use ways of brainstorming. But with a $900 price tag for a 20 computer license, there just didn’t seem to be any reason to pay that money when there are several robust, free alternatives. In the past couple of years, these alternatives have come close to matching, and in many aspects, surpassing what Inspiration and Kidspiration can do to help students organize their thoughts. Here are my three favs, with a few honorable mentions thrown in to boot.

1. Diagram.ly

Just discovered this one and it’s already my favorite. Easy to use (really) drag and drop interface. Intuitive tool bar. Decent amount of shapes, lines, and clip art.  You have the ability to right-click on any shapes for editing options. Diagram.ly has a very Microsoft feel to it so if you have students who are used to using Office products, the learning curve with Diagram.lywill be easy. Another great feature is that there is no sign up, no registration and no download. You simply create your mind map and save (.xml, .jpg, .png, or .svg).

2. Grapholite

Grapholite is another great diagramming site that is, like diagram.ly, very “Microsoftesque.” Grapholitehas a generous amount of shapes, text boxes, arrows, flow chart icons, and blocks. Colors, fonts, and sizes are easily changed, and it’s easy to insert your own pictures directly into the diagram. Without creating an account (demo mode) users can create diagrams (there doesn’t seem to be a limit as to how many) and export their work as either a .jpg, .png, or .pdf. If you sign up for a free account, you can save your work online to be able to come back and edit it at a later time.

3. Bubbl.us

Another great tool, bubbl.us allows you to easily create and save mind maps. Without an account you begin brainstorming straight away and are able to print or save your mind map as a jpeg or png. Sign up for a free account and you can save the mind map to work on later and/or have others edit it.

Honorable Mentions

Hewe are some other sites worth checking out for brainstorming and flow chart creation:

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