Ed Tech Ideas

Tech Integration for Busy Teachers

Category Archives: Technology in the Classroom

Student Math Movies

Student Math Movies

Student Math Movies is a Wiki dedicated to sharing movies about many different math topics, ALL created by students! There are 18 different subjects including AdditionDecimalsDivisionEstimationExponents and more. You are also able to submit a video that your students create. Here is a great example on fractions with a Brady Bunch theme:

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.

Collaborative Writing – Fifth Graders and Google Docs

I cannot tell you how excited my 5th graders were to write today. Each of our students in grade 5, for the first time, now has their own Google Apps account and today we dove straight in to collaborating on a personal narrative piece they had previously written in Microsoft Word. The process was as follows: Upload, share, advise, revise.

Upload

After logging in, the students first uploaded their document into Google Docs, named it, and read over it to make sure that everything looked good.

Share

The students then added their collaboration partner by giving them the ability to view and comment on their document. 

At this point, they also added their teacher.

Advise

Each student then went back to their Google Docs account and found a new document from their friend waiting for them. After opening it, they were then able to read through and make comments.

Revise

The best part of the day was seeing how enthusiastic the kids were to go back in to fix and improve their writing. After the students made changes to their original piece, they asked if they could add more editors to their document who could review and make comments on their piece. Here’s a short, raw video of part of the process. My favorite part is at 1:25 when a student enthusiastically yells out to the class, “Everybody, everybody, get on mine!”

That’s exciting writing!

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.

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:

Moses 2.0

How many different tech tools can you count?

Technology Enables a World-Wide Virtual Choir

If you haven’t seen Eric Witacre’s amazing global video project, Virtual Choir – Lux Aurumque,” it’s a must. It is an amazing example of how technology can bring people together from around the world to collaborate and produce something beautiful.

Take a few minutes to watch.

In a recent Ted Talk, Witacre explains how this project came to fruition and what he is doing for part 2.0:

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).

Ed Tech Ideas: This is a great activity for younger kids as it teaches and reinforces smart search querying. To avoid spoilers, Deja Google was created, which is, “A wormhole inspired time machine that searches the Internet as it existed before the game began.” So you can search for the answer without fear of coming across someone’s blog post with the answer, thus spoiling the fun.

Cool Science Sites for Kids

In celebration of Robert Bunsen’s 200th birthday, I’m dedicating this post to four cool science sites for kids.  If you’d like to see some of my other favorite science sites, click here.

1. Periodic Table of Videos

The Periodic Table of Videos is a site created and maintained by The University of Nottingham. Clicking on any of the 118 chemical elements brings you to informational videos all about that element. A great site for self-directed learning!

2. 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.” The site has big goals, but it hits them pretty well. By using the Science Files section, students can learn about various scientific concepts by reading, watching videos, and completing activities.

3. 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).

4. Bunsen Burner Flip Chart (Promethean)

Here’s a simple flip chart that you can download for free from Promthean Planet to illustrate the flame types of a Bunsen Burner depending on valve position.  There is also a series of photographs to identify element flame tests. (Note: You must be logged in to Promethean Planet to download the chart).

Khan Academy

If you haven’t visited the Khan Academy or used the videos to help enhance your math lessons, watch this recent Ted Talks video.

The idea that Salman Kahn discusses about flipping the classroom is fascinating and echoes ideas that Alan November mentioned when he came to our school last fall.

Google Art Project

A month ago, Google released the ambitions Google Art Project which uses street-view technology to allow users to virtually move around some of the world’s greatest museums and browse famous works of art. I finally had some time to sit down and give it a tour, and it’s quite impressive. With the featured artworks, you can zoom in to view the paintings at high resolution (I hoped that the mouse scroll-wheel would work for zooming, but it does not), learn about the artwork and the artist, find more works from the artists, and watch related YouTube videos produced by the museums.  Users can also create their own collections of artwork, comment on each piece, and share the entire collection with others. As of this writing, the participating museums include:

  • Alte Nationalgalerie, Berlin – Germany
  • Freer Gallery of Art, Smithsonian, Washington DC – USA
  • The Frick Collection, NYC – USA
  • Gemäldegalerie, Berlin – Germany
  • The Metropolitan Museum of Art, NYC – USA
  • MoMA, The Museum of Modern Art, NYC – USA
  • Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid – Spain
  • Museo Thyssen – Bornemisza, Madrid – Spain
  • Museum Kampa, Prague – Czech Republic
  • National Gallery, London – UK
  • Palace of Versailles – France
  • Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam – The Netherlands
  • The State Hermitage Museum, St Petersburg – Russia
  • State Tretyakov Gallery, Moscow – Russia
  • Tate Britain, London – UK
  • Uffizi Gallery, Florence – Italy
  • Van Gogh Museum, Amsterdam – The Netherlands

EdTechIdeas: Google Art Project is an art teachers dream, or any teacher, for that matter, who wants to expose their students to artistic culture. Teachers could send students on virtual field trips where students “collect” specific pieces of art and further explore the artist of their choice.  You could create a classroom collection of artwork and have each student research an artist. Leave a comment below on a way you would use Google Art Project in your classroom.

Great Valentine Sites for Kids and Teachers

Valentine’s Day, according to Wikipedia, is

“An annual commemoration held on February 14 celebrating love and affection between intimate companions. The day is named after one or more early Christian martyrs named Valentine and was established by Pope Gelasius I in 500 AD. It was deleted from the Roman calendar of saints in 1969 by Pope Paul VI, but its religious observance is still permitted. It is traditionally a day on which lovers express their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as “valentines“). The day first became associated with
romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. Modern Valentine’s Day symbols include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting cards.

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

1. 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.”

2. 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 Bingo, Valentine’s Day Straw Craft, Pop-up Greeting Cards, and more!

3. ABCTeach

Lots of great resources here for teachers. Printables like heart flashcards, heart bingo, valentine multiplication, word scrambles, and more!

4. Songs 4 Teachers

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

5. 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.com!

World Heritage Sites

Me at Machu Picchu with my dad and wife after hiking the Inca Trail - 2003

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) website is a great tool for students to learn about the 911 cultural and natural protected sites from 187 countries (as of June, 2010). The goal of UNESCO is to “encourage the identification, protection and preservation of cultural and natural heritage around the world considered to be of outstanding value to humanity.” This is embodied in an international treaty called the Convention concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage, adopted by UNESCO in 1972.

EdTechIdeas: Students need to be aware that if we don’t make the effort to preserve earthly wonders, there is a good chance that they will not be around for future generation.  Exploring UNESCO’s site will help students gain a better understanding of the protected areas, and why it is important to keep them protected. They will also gain a better understanding of geography and culture. Google also has a section of their Lat-Long Blog dedicated to street views of world heritage sites, that gives students a close-up tour of many great sites.

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