Edutech for Teachers

Cool Tools for the 21st Century Classroom

Tech It Up Tuesday: Locate Public Domain Images with Pixabay

May3

tech it up tuedayWelcome to another edition of Tech It Up Tuesday, a weekly series in which I share a an edtech tool, app, site or other resource that can be utilized in the educational setting.

OK, so what teacher or student living in this century doesn’t need a cool photo or two for a school-related activity? If you’re that person, then you’re going to love, love Pixabay, a site that hosts over 630,000+ high quality public domain photos, illustrations, vector graphics and videos free of charge for any purpose (the legal kind, of course).

Find your next hip image by conducting a keyword search and then if necessary, narrow your search through filtering by image type, category and/or orientation (landscape or horizontal). Users can also locate images by simply browsing the library as well. Once you discover “the one”, click the download button to view a variety of size choices to suit your needs.

All Pixabay images and videos are released free of copyrights under Creative Commons, which means they can be downloaded, modified, distributed and used royalty free without attribution in digital and/or print form, even in commercial applications.

Just so you know: Pixabay is an ad-supported site so when an image search is performed, a set of sponsored Shutterstock images appears at the top of the results page (similar to some Google search results in which display ads appear before the real deal). I have to admit, these images are pretty neat, but those appearing below the Shutterstock samples are the freebies.

Check out a few images I located via a search using the keyword “happiness”:

beach-hut-237489_640

girls sunset

smiley-427160_640

Classroom Connection:

In order to avoid any copyright issues, I typically recommend that students generate their own photos and graphics for multimedia projects whenever possible. However, when using their images is not an option, Pixabay is an excellent alternative.

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Diigo Weekly Bookmarks

May1

diigo iconWhat’s new this week in my Diigo bookmarks? Check out the links shown below for some of the latest and greatest web tools and resources that can be utilized to incorporate technology into your classroom!

» A Google a Day

An online game from Google which involves a player solving a lateral thinking puzzle by using Google to find the answer. A new puzzle is added every day. The questions may be any of the following categories: Sport, Science, Pop Culture, History, Arts and Literature or Geography.

» PlagTracker

A free online plagiarism detection service that checks whether similar content appears elsewhere on the web. If so, the tool lists all of the sources from where the text has been copied.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links can be found here.

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The Interactive Whiteboards in Education Infographic

April29

IWBEven in their heyday interactive whiteboards often got a bad rap—even in my district. Many opponents of this technology argued that it was a very expensive way for administrators to show that their schools arrived on the edtech scene.

Additionally, critics cited that this tool was just a glorified chalk or dry erase board, resulting in a not so cost effective way to improve learning. Even the geeky gadget people like me, who were more than excited to have an interactive whiteboard installed in their classrooms, have found that over time, these devices have lost their appeal—not to mention the necessary drivers and software to keep up with new and emerging technologies.

But if your an interactive whiteboard fan, here’s some good news: It appears as though one of your favorite tools may be on the verge of a comeback. By incorporating apps, student response systems and various mobile technologies, districts are now seeking ways to make whiteboards a more flexible and engaging part of a classroom environment.

Check out some ways you and your colleagues can revive your IWB by viewing the infographic shown below.

interactive whiteboard infographic

Click here to view a larger version of this image.

Classroom Connection:

Use the recommendations on the infographic to give your interactive whiteboard a new lease on life.

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Tech It Up Tuesday: 50 Tools & Apps for Showcasing Student Knowledge

April26

tech it up tueday

Greetings and welcome to “Tech It Up Tuesday”, a weekly series in which I share an edtech tool, app, site or other resource that can be utilized in the educational setting.

This week features an extremely useful infographic created by the amazing Tony Vincent, edtech guru and author of the Learning in Hand web site, and it goes something like this…

With a myriad of web tools and apps available to teachers, it’s sometimes mind-boggling trying to identify which are the most effective for the classroom. But if you’re looking for some innovative ways to showcase student work, here’s an awesome visual collection of resources spanning 11 categories—audio recordings, collages, comics, posters, slides, digital books, narrated slideshows, movies, animations, screen casts and study aids—to help get you started!

showcaseideas

Click here for a larger version of this infographic as well as a pdf that can be printed and/or to view the info on Scribd.

Classroom Connection:

Use the visual to discover resources that best suit your students’ needs.

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Diigo Weekly Bookmarks

April24

diigo iconWhat’s new this week in my Diigo bookmarks? Check out the links shown below for some of the latest and greatest web tools and resources that can be utilized to engage students in your classroom!

» Grammar Bytes!

An interactive web site that offers “grammar instruction with attitude.” Covering terms and usage through exercises, handouts, presentations and YouTube videos, this resource teaches grammar in engaging and unique ways!

» Scrumy

A super simple web tool that can be utilized to manage project-based learning. Enter the tasks (called stories) and assign students to complete them. A virtual bulletin board with stickies is then generated in order to be able to visualize all jobs that must be done, who should be doing them, and how much progress has been made.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links can be found here.

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Go Green with Earth Day Resources

April21

earth dayEarth Day—a yearly event in which educators can take the opportunity to teach their students about our environment and how to preserve our planet—is being recognized on April 22.

Use the following collections of resources, lessons and references to make the most out of the Earth Day phenomenon that is celebrated in 180+ countries around the world!

» Education World: Check out a variety of lesson plans, projects, activities and a web quest for celebrating Earth Day.

» Scholastic Teachers: Promote environmental awareness with teaching ideas, lesson plans, and student activities.

» Edutopia: There’s a bit of everything here—lesson plans, tools, resources, student reading lists and other ideas for incorporating Earth Day into the curriculum.

» NEA (National Education Association): Explore new and review familiar ways to live responsibly with lessons, projects, activities, and games.

» Teacher Vision: Review a variety of cross-curricular Earth Day resources to enhance the K-12 curriculum. Info about global warming, recycling, and pollution will help teachers explore this important topic.

» HotChalk: Contains all kinds of lesson plans designed to inspire awareness and appreciation for the Earth’s environment.

» Earth Day Teaching Resources: A Pinterest board filled with all sort of ideas and activities for teaching and learning about Earth Day.

If you do an Earth Day search on YouTube, you will find several videos about this topic, including the following…

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Tech It Up Tuesday: Visualize Text with Doodle Splash

April19

tech it up tueday

It’s Tuesday again and time for me to roll out another tech-isode in my “Tech It Up Tuesday” series in which I will share an edtech tool, app, site or other resource that can be utilized in the educational setting.

Before revealing this week’s resource, we’re going to kick things off with some words of wisdom from Fran Claggett, an educational pioneer in the use of images to teach literature.

Through the use of graphics, students have opportunities to experience all four functions as they interact with the books they are reading and the essays, stories, and poems they are writing.

Yep, it’s true! Teaching students to visualize what they are reading and/or having them create graphic symbols to represent text helps them develop as readers. So, what types of activities can you do to ensure this type of learning takes place in your classroom?

For one, check out Doodle Splash, a cool interactive from ReadWriteThink, that combines the process of drawing with analytical thinking about a text by pairing an online drawing space with writing prompts that encourage students to make connections between their visual designs and what they have read.

The image below not only illustrates the Doodle Splash work space, but it is a student example as well.


Worried about whether or not students can complete their work in one class session? No problem! Learn how work can be saved and finished at a later time by viewing the video shown below.

 

Classroom Connection:

Doodle Splash can be used for a whole-class discussion of a short story (or part of a novel), small group work, or individually—all situations in which students can use symbols, drawings, shapes, and colors to construct a graphic of their story, chapter or article. After completing their individual or group images, students have the ability to print out their final versions for sharing, feedback and/or assessment.

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Diigo Weekly Bookmarks

April17

diigo iconWhat’s new this week in my Diigo bookmarks? Check out the links shown below for some of the latest and greatest web tools and resources that can be utilized to engage students in your classroom!

» Zotero

A free, easy-to-use tool for collecting, organizing, citing and sharing research sources.

» Timeglider

Create, collaborate and publish zooming and panning interactive timelines. It’s like Google Maps, but for time.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links can be found here.

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Why Just Say It When You Can Blabberize It?

April15

blabberizeRecently, the elementary principal and I developed and facilitated a workshop for several K-4 teachers in our district along with their students interns from Penn State Altoona. The session, entitled The EdTech Game Show, focused on making IT (instructional technology) R.E.A.L. (Relevant, Engaging, Authentic and Lifelong) with 16 digital resources that can be utilized to engage and motivate students in the learning process.

Following the training, first grade teacher Jennell Miller teamed up with middle school teachers Brandon Hescox and Tom Partner to create a cross-curricular project combing science, writing, art and technology.

After drawing a picture of an insect, the first graders researched their assigned “nature’s helper” with an eighth grade buddy to write a mini-report. The pairs then accessed the Blabberize web tool to create a talking animation using original illustrations and facts learned from the research.

Check out our students in action…

Blabberize Collage

Check out a few examples of the finished projects shown below. As you will see, they are quite impressive! Just click on the image to watch a sample video…

The Honey Bee by Bryson & Troy

blabber 1

The Ant by Bradyn & John

blabber 2

Click here to view additional projects from this collaborate effort.

A high five to my colleagues for making technology “real” for our students. You rock!

Classroom Connection:

A free web tool such as Blabberize provides teachers with the opportunity to foster student creativity, collaboration, speaking and listening skills and engagement with the use of technology. In addition to honing a number of skills, Blabberize offers an interesting and fun way to break up the usual lesson plan!

“Blabbers” can be generated for all types of content area activities. Some topics include historical figures, vocabulary, book talks, reports, character analysis and many more!

I love the fact that original student photos and/or artwork can be incorporated into projects. And your students will too!

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The Popular Educational Twitter Hashtags Infographic

April14

twitter-hashtags1#edtech, #edchat, #elearning and #techcoach top the list of my most favorite Twitter hashtags. But these trending topics are not the only social media hotspots in which educators with common interests can share ideas, best practices and resources to power up the teaching and learning in their classrooms.

If you really want to be in the know and/or get involved in the cyber conversation, then you’ll definitely want to check out the infographic shown below. This nifty visual provides a super cool color-coded word cloud showing the most popular educational hashtags, topics and chats on Twitter as well as a key to help you decide how and when to use each topic to connect with other like-minded peeps.

twitter hashtags

A shout out to OnlineCollegeCourses.com for creating and sharing this useful info!

Classroom Connection:

Use the hastags on the infographic to make meaningful connections with other educators who hang out on the edtech scene. Not only will you benefit from creating a PLN on Twitter, but your students will as well!

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Hey, edu-tech gurus!

Looking for some technology integration ideas to enhance your classroom lessons? Then be sure to check out my "Tech Tips" for the latest and greatest Web 2.0 tools, applications and web sites that can be incorporated into activities and/or projects. Although some posts may not be applicable to your content area or grade level, be sure to check back often as I will be varying ideas in order to provide resources across the K-12 curriculum.

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