Ed Tech Ideas

Tech Integration for Busy Teachers

Tag Archives: technology

3 Great Websites for Country Information Comparisons

One thing kids (and adults) often have trouble with is the concept of scale. Understanding how big or small something is can be difficult if there is no familiar reference point of which to compare. Here are 3 sites that help students gain an understanding of size and how certain occurrences that happen on our planet compare to places that they are familiar with.

If It Were My Home

The Gulf Oil Spill

If It Were My Home allows students to choose a disaster and place the disaster somewhere familiar to show the vastness of its destruction.  Another feature is the country comparison, which highlights certain aspects of what your life would be like if you were born in another country compared to where you were born. Unfortunately, you cannot change the default comparison country (US).  Perhaps this will change in future versions. 

Show World

Countries Resized Relative to Total Population

Show World visualizes the countries of the world not by land mass, but by certain data entered. For example, in the map below showing the world’s current oil supplies, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela appear largest due to the fact that those 2 countries house the largest reserves.

Countries Resized Relative to Total Oil Reserves

Dimensions

The BBC’s Dimensions allows students to compare a variety of different occurrences and phenomenon to familiar areas including: the war on terror, space, depths, ancient worldsenvironmental disasters, and more.

Top 10 Tools for Learning – 2010

In response to Alexander McDonald’s challenge for educators to help build the Top 100 Tools for Learning 2010, I have come up with my own personal top 10 list of the tools my students and I used most this year. These tools are based on what I have found to be the utmost useful and productive for students in the classroom, and for me as an educator for continual learning.

  1. Twitter
    Twitter has been an indispensable learning tool for me on many levels. I have made connections with educators from around the world. My classes have collaborated with other classes on projects because of Twitter connections. There is not a day that goes by that I do not learn something new or discover a fantastic resource due to my PLN on Twitter.
  2. WordPress and Edublogs
    Both for my students and me, blogging is a fantastic writing platform with an audience that motivates and challenges. It is interactive, thought-provoking, and truly makes students think about what they are writing, because they know they are “putting it out there.”
  3. Google Reader
    One of the first things I do when I start my day is to open up my reader and have my news and blogs delivered to me all in one place. Google Reader allows me to subscribe to any website or blog and organizes all the new posts in an efficient, easy to read way.
  4. Diigo
    Diigo is a social bookmarking site that allows you to have your bookmarks with you wherever you are. You can create lists, add tags as well as follow other users who have similar bookmarking focuses.
  5. Wallwisher
    I love Wallwisher because there is very minimal registration and you simply create a “wall” and start placing virtual sticky-notes. Students who have the url of your wall can all create sticky notes to create a collaborative wall on any given subject. Here’s an example of one my fifth graders did on the topic of Internet Safety.
  6. Voicethread
    Voicethread is like an interactive slideshow that allows you to upload photos and then record yours and your students’ voices.  Other students can then add their voice in response to others’ postings.
  7. Storyjumper
    Storyjumper allows you to create online books using a plethora of characters, scenes, and props. Teachers can, for free, create classes to register students so they each have their own account. As of this writing, there does not seem to be a limit as to how many student accounts you can create. Let’s hope it remains this way.
  8. Google Docs
    Having the ability to create and access your work from anywhere is huge. Google Docs is great for allowing students to collaborate with one another, build and fill out surveys, create presentations, and more. (I’m beginning to sound like I work for Google…)
  9. Prezi
    I love Prezi because it’s an exciting presentation tool. Now that they’ve rolled out Prezi Meeting, I love it even more. Users can collaborate in real time (up to 10 users) on the same presentation.
  10. Google Maps and any Google Maps Mash Up
    Google maps is great for students to be able to find and share directions. They can create their own maps, follow a book characters’ travels, plot volcanic eruptions, find distances between two points, etc. I especially like mash-ups like ShowWorld,  If it Were My Home, and the BBC’s Dimensions for allowing students to really grasp and understand the concept of size and scale.

Those are my 10. Make sure you visit the Centre for Learning & Performance Technologies to see the top 100 tools as the list gets finalized.

Paragons of the Week – Cloud Canvas, Dot-Dash, Word Search Maker

Episode 28Previous Paragons

1. Cloud Canvas

Cloud Canvas is a powerful in-browser drawing program that allows users to utilize layers, filters, clip art and other graphics, brushes, textures, and many other features normally found in Photoshop-like programs. You save directly into your Google Docs account or you can export as a .png file onto your computer from the drawing.

2. Dot-Dash

Dot-Dash is a brainstorming creator from the BBC that allows quick and easy thought connections that teachers can create with an entire class together, or as individual students. Not as robust as Inspiration, but a nice, free, web-based alternative. If you’re looking for something for older students, try bubbl.us. Hat tip to Susan Sedro for the find.

3. WordSearch Maker

If you are a fan of word searches, you will like WordSearchMaker.net.  They are easy to make, printable, embeddable into websites (does not work within a WordPress site however), and interactive. Just type in all the words you would like to use and either embed the finished word search or direct students to the URL so they can work it out online. TIP: I did notice that it puts a space in-between words like North America, so as you create it, keep your words together.

Paragons of the Week – Family Safety Center, The Learning Edge, Answer Garden

Episode 27

Paragons of the Week is a reoccurring post highlighting resources that I find to be worth mentioning. I come across 100s of useful tools for educators each week. Below are the top 3 “paragons” that I found this week that I feel teachers might dig. To view previous Paragons, click here.

1. Google Family Safety Center


Google Family Safety Center is a quick and easy page with pertinent information for parents about how to keep their kids safe while online. The 2+ minute video (above) has some simple tips from experts in the field. There are many other resources on this site as well that will help keep parents informed.

2. The Learning Edge

The Learning Edge is a newspaper-based site that would be great for younger students and English Language Learners.  Navigating the site is as easy as clicking on a headline within the newspaper and then beginning the activity. There are numerous activities within each newspaper that help with concept understanding, reading fluency, comprehension, vocabulary, and much more.

3. Answer Garden

Answer Garden is a quick and easy brainstorming site that allows you to create a question, send out the url, and have others reply. The answers that are most common show up the largest and if you hover over an answer it show the number of replies. No registration or email is necessary, which is always a bonus. Teachers may want to use this for vocabulary building (see above), brainstorming ideas, or general question/answer activities.

Paragons of the Week – Talking Pets, Many Things, Build Your Wild Self

Episode 26

Paragons of the Week is a reoccurring post highlighting resources that I find to be worth mentioning. I come across 100s of useful tools for educators each week. Below are the top 3 “paragons” that I found this week that I feel teachers might dig. To view previous Paragons, click here.

1. Talking Pets

This is kind of a weird site, and some may even find it creepy. If talking animals and strange voices bother you, stay away from this site. In a nut shell, Talking Pets works like this: 1. Choose an animal. 2. Make your pet talk by typing in up to 200 characters. 3. Listen to the animal say what you typed. I’ll admit, it’s freaky, but kids absolutely dig it. For reluctant writers and English language learners, Talking Pets may be a good place to go for quick writing activities. Thanks to Askatechteacher for this find.

2. Many Things

A plain looking site, but with an amazing plethora of activities, games and information. Many Things is for people studying English as a Second Language (ESL) or English as a Foreign Language (EFL). There are quizzes, word games, word puzzles, proverbs, slang expressions, anagrams, a random-sentence generator and other computer assisted language learning activities.

3. Build Your Wild Self

Thanks to Colin Gally for this awesome find! Build Your Wild Self is a fun site from the Wildlife Conservation Society that allows kids (and adults) to build a cool looking avatar without having to login or enter an email. The really great thing about this site is that as you are building your wild self, you are learning the names of the different animals you are using, and what kind of specialized features each animal has. Building my Bis-sha-gib-antula-bat avatar, I learned all about bison, sand tiger sharks, gibbons, tarantulas, and bats! Show me another avatar-creator that can do that!

Paragons of the Week – NASA, Web Research, & Multiplication Tool

Episode 25

Paragons of the Week is a reoccurring post highlighting resources that I find to be worth mentioning. I come across 100s of useful tools for educators each week. Below are the top 3 “paragons” that I found this week that I feel teachers might dig. To view previous Paragons, click here.

1. NASA Brain Bites

NASA BrainBites is great question and answer video site that is full of common, and sometimes strange questions that kids have about space and everything NASA-related. “How do you go to the bathroom in space?” “How do you scratch your nose in a space suit?” and “Where does space begin?” are just a few of the dozens of questions answered by astronauts and scientists.

2. Web Researching Interactive Tutorials

From the Vaughan Memorial Library at Acadia University these four great interactive tutorials guide students along to help them learn about credible sources, research techniques, web searching, and proper citation practices.

3. MultiplicationTool

Multiplication Tool is a great little site for mastering 3 different multiplication techniques. Students can practice standard, Partial Products, and Lattice methods of multiplication.

Paragons of the Week – Google Tricks, Surfing Scientist, Art Babble

Episode 24

Paragons of the Week is a reoccurring post highlighting resources that I find to be worth mentioning. I come across 100s of useful tools for educators each week. Below are the top 3 “paragons” that I found this week that I feel teachers might dig. To view previous Paragons, click here.

1. 100 Google Tricks

From Onlinecolleges.net comes a great Google list that will “save you time in school,” and life in general. Everything from timelines, definitions, currency conversion, keyboard shortcuts, Google Squared, and beyond. There are actually 102 tricks listed here, but who’s counting?

2. Surfing Scientist

Great science tricks, lesson plans, conundrums, and more at this fun, activity-based site. Surfing Scientist Ruben Meerman from Bundaberg, Queensland takes kids and teachers on learning discoveries.

3. Art Babble

Art Babble is a site dedicated to the discussion about and promotion of Art, in its numerous forms. This is a great place for kids to learn about different types of art and artists, as well as gain an appreciation and inspiration of artistic endeavors. The Channels section allows students to view videos on hundreds of different genres, and the Artists section has hundreds of videos on specific artists. Thanks to Richard Byrne for this find.

Top 3 Paragons of the Week – Science House, ViewPure, TeachingBooks.net

Attribution: "Pinwheel Star" http://www.flickr.com/photos/40147761@N04/4193248881Episode 23

Paragons of the Week is a reoccurring post highlighting resources that I find to be worth mentioning. I come across 100s of useful tools for educators each week. Below are the top 3 “paragons” that I found this week that I feel teachers might dig. To view previous Paragons, click here.

1. Science House

Science House is a great site created and maintained by scientists that has a plethora of quick videos of science experiments. They show you the materials you will need, walk you through the experiment and give you the educational background as to why this is important.

2. View Pure

The above image is an entire screen shot of a YouTube video being played on ViewPure. You’ll notice no distractions, no ads, basically nothing but the video. Thanks to Makeuseof.com for this great find!

3. TeachingBooks.net

Teachingbooks.net is a great resource for elementary school teachers who are looking for new ways to explore the series of books that their students are reading. One very cool feature is that kids can listen to authors give introductions to their series and read a bit of one of the books. Mary Pope Osborne does a great job explaining how she came up with the idea of her Magic Tree House Series. Thanks to Julie Niles Petersen for the find!

Top 3 Paragons of the Week – Episode 22

Attribution: "I Got The Star (IMG_6851)" http://www.flickr.com/photos/12054060@N04/3947019428Paragons of the Week is a reoccurring post highlighting resources that I find to be worth mentioning. I come across 100s of useful tools for educators each week. Below are the top 3 “paragons” that I found this week that I feel teachers might dig. To view previous Paragons, click here.

1. Spelling Match Game

Spelling Match Game is a fun site from Houghton Mifflin that helps students in grades 1-8 with their spelling and vocabulary. Students can play games to help them learn about syllables, vowel sounds, missing letters, homophones, and many other spelling-related areas.

2. ChessKid

ChessKid.com is a safe place for kids to go to learn about and play chess online. It’s not necessary, but parents can create an account and then add their child to manage his or her access and friendships online and can monitor their activity. An easy way for kids to play is just choose the options “Play vs. Computer.”

3. Captain Coordinate

Captain Coordinate is not a site dealing with making sure your clothes match, as I originally thought; rather, it is an interactive site dedicated to helping kids understand mapping concepts like scale, compass points, aerial view, coordinates, etc. I found myself having a lot of fun while previewing this site and my 3-5 graders loved it as well.

Top 3 Paragons of the Week – Episode 21

Attribution: "Antikythera Mechanism" http://www.flickr.com/photos/9506589@N05/2556676025Paragons of the Week is a reoccurring post highlighting resources that I find to be worth mentioning. I come across 100s of useful tools for educators each week. Below are the top 3 “paragons” that I found this week that I feel teachers might dig. To view previous Paragons, click here.

1. Conjugation.com

Conjugation.com is an easy to use website that works by just typing the verb that you want to conjugate in any form. Any verb, regular or irregular. You then Click on “Conjugate,” and a new page is instantaneously displayed, with the verb shown in all of its forms, voices and tenses.

2. Signapp Now

SignApp Now is the easiest way I’ve seen to create a sign-up sheet for keeping track of who’s coming to what. You don’t need to register, people signing up don’t need to register. You just create a sign-up page, email the url, and wait for people to sign up.

3. Virtual Manipulatives

Very useful site from MacGraw Hill, Virtual Manipulatives has a nice set of interactive manipulatives that would work great with an IWB. The manipulative sets are broken into grade levels (pre-K through grade eight) and have some fantastic tools for teachers and students.

Top 3 Paragons of the Week – Episode 20

Paragons of the Week is a reoccurring post highlighting resources that I find to be worth mentioning. I come across 100s of useful tools for educators each week. Below are the top 3 “paragons” that I found this week that I feel teachers might dig. To view previous Paragons, click here.

1. Free OCR

Free-OCR.com is a free online OCR (Optical Character Recognition) tool. You can use this service to extract text from any image you supply. This service is free, no registration necessary, and you don’t even need to supply your email address. Just upload your image files. Free-OCR takes either a JPG, GIF, TIFF BMP or PDF (only first page).

2. Number Quotes

Similar to Number Gossip, NumberQuotes is a site that gives you all kinds of random information related to any number you enter. Facts like, “1,099 Burger King Whoppers laid next to each other would reach as far as 1.44 American football fields.” Now who doesn’t need to know that?

3. Engineering Interact

Engineering Interact is a good site for children aged 9 to 11 that provides fully interactive, engaging game environments tailored to the National Curriculum. Engineering Interact has been created by the University of Cambridge Department of Engineering.

Top 3 Paragons of the Week – Episode 18

Paragons of the Week is a reoccurring post highlighting resources that I find to be worth mentioning. I come across 100s of useful tools for educators each week. Below are the top 3 “paragons” that I found this week that I feel teachers might dig.To view previous Paragons, click here.

1. Learn Something Every Day

Learn Something Every Day is a fun, simple site that is great for morning opening activity.  In the classroom you could have this site up on the projector every morning to generate discussion or as writing prompts.

2. Brainflips

BrainFlips provides tools for creating, sharing and studying flashcards. Make flashcards on any subject and share them with your students, parents and co-workers. BrainFlips flashcards can incorporate text, images, audio and video to learn any subject.

3. ZeroFootprint Calculator

The Zerofootprint Calculator is a customizable tool to calculate your footprint in land, water and carbon impacts – what gets measured, gets managed.

Top 3 Paragons of the Week – Episode 17

Paragons of the Week is a reoccurring post highlighting resources that I find to be worth mentioning. I come across 100s of useful tools for educators each week. Below are the top 3 “paragons” that I found this week that I feel teachers might dig.To view previous Paragons, click here.

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 the first 16 books (I’m assuming they will be adding all of the books in due time).

2. Word Mosaic

Very similar to Wordle, but with more design options, Word Mosaic allows you to create word clouds from text you enter. I like Word Mosaic, for the features and it allows you to save your creation as a gif (or share it via email, Twitter, Facebook and my Space). However, I do not like that frequently used words do not appear larger as with Wordle. Thanks to The Teacher’s Hub for this find!

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.

Social Media Revolution 2

Social Media Revolution 2 is a refresh of the original video with new and updated social media & mobile statistics that are hard to ignore. Based on the book Socialnomics by Erik Qualman.

Kideos – Kid Friendly Video Site

Kideos is a great site for kids to safely watch videos online. Each video on Kideos has been screened by their “Video Advisory Council” before it makes it onto the site. The Kideos goal is to empower parents to feel comfortable allowing their child to spend time on Kideos, while also making sure children have a thoroughly entertaining experience.

The site is indexed by age groups which makes it easy for kids to search for videos. A good portion of the videos on Kideos are YouTube-based, so if your district has a blocking policy, you’ll need to look elsewhere (or use 3outube to download any YouTube video).

Uses in the Classroom

Depending on how you want to use Kideos in your classroom, be advised that a lot of the videos on the site are for general entertainment, and are not necessarily academic. However, there are some great channels within Kideos like Educational Videos, National Geographic, Space, Ocean, and more that would be perfect to send your students off to view and learn.

%d bloggers like this: