Ed Tech Ideas

Tech Integration for Busy Teachers

Category Archives: Technology in the Classroom

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.

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!

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 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.

Ed Tech Ideas

Telling your students that they need to become fluent readers is an abstract concept that will help neither you nor your students. You can give them examples of what fluent readers do, model reading in a fluent way; but they will not truly understand the idea until they experience it themselves.

Learn by Doing

To get this first-hand experience, I had a fifth grade class bring in a book they were currently reading. They recorded themselves reading 2 pages of the book using Audacity and exported the file as an Mp3. The next lab session, they opened up the file and listened to themselves, and while they were listening, they rated their fluency using this Fluent Reader Self-Eval checklist.


Some things the students found out about their reading fluency from this activity were:

  • Pace – some found they read too fast or too slow
  • Expression – hearing themselves enabled…

View original post 113 more words

Free Printable Certificates

Who doesn’t like certificates? Certificate Street allows teachers to choose from hundreds of education-based certificate templates that can be downloaded for free as editable pdfs.

Socrative Student Response System

If you’re looking for a fantastic student response system, Socrative might be just what the doctor ordered. It runs on any device with internet access (laptops, iPhones, Androids, iPod Touches, etc.) and is easy for teachers and students to use. After a quick registration (email and password), teachers can begin either creating quizzes, or simply run an oral quiz and have students enter answers on their devices. It’s really that easy. To find out more, watch the short video below.

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:


  • 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


  • 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)


  • 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


  • 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
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

Einstein, Minecraft, Typing, and Me

Four great posts came across my reader this week that I thought I’d share. The first is an Albert Einstein archive that houses over 81,000 Einstein and Einstein-related archival items: writings, professional & personal correspondence. Second is a great post written by fellow Singapore Tech Specialist, Colin Gallagher, all about implementing Minecraft in the elementary school. The third item is a great new keyboarding resource  for kids and adult learners. Lastly, a new infographic tool from Intel that allows you to create a personal infographic about yourself highlighting your social media uses (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube).

Einstein Archive

Minecraft: A Journey

Minecraft Week 5 Flyabout: 1 from Colin Gallagher on Vimeo.

Educational Technologist Colin Gallagher walks you through the whys, hows, what-ifs and oh-yeahs of implementing a MineCraft class in the elementary school.

Typing Club

I’ve written a lot about keyboarding sites for kids, and here is another great resource to add to that list. Typing Club is one of the best and most robust free programs to come along in a while. There is a teacher portal (beta) which lets you manage multiple classes, students, and keep track of progress.

What About Me?

What About Me is a site created by the folks at Intel that allows you to create an infographic about yourself via your social media postings and interactions.

BlogBooker, Xtra Math


Blogbooker allows you to create a pdf of student blogs for them to take away at the end of the year.

Xtra Math

Xtra Math is a good site for Basic Math Facts practice. Teachers can easily create student accounts (copy/paste first names from a list and system gives each student an easy to remember pin) and you’re ready to go.

6 Valentine Sites Kids Will Love

Here are some great sites for kids and teachers to help celebrate this day of love and kindness.

1. Valentine Mad Libs

Along with a slew of other activities on Valentine’s Day activities, Classroomjr.com brings you some fun Valentine Mad Libs.

2. The History of Valentine’s Day

From the History Channel, you can learn about the history of the big day, chocolate, the science of love, and find out interesting facts such as, “85% of all Valentine cards are purchased by women.”

3. Re-cycled Valentine’s Day Art

From National Geographic for Kids, learn how to turn everyday items from around your house into something heartfelt. There’s Candy Hearts BingoValentine’s Day Straw CraftPop-up Greeting Cards, and more!

4. ABCTeach

Lots of great resources here for teachers. Printables like heart flashcardsheart bingovalentine multiplicationword scrambles, and more!

5. Songs 4 Teachers

Not just songs and poems, you’ll find many crafts and activities here for Valentine’s day.

6. TeacherVision

Teacher Vision has a ton of great resources for teachers. There are Valentine printables, slideshows, lesson plans, quizzes, art activities, and more!

Happy Valentine’s Day from EdTechIdeas!

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