Edutech for Teachers

Cool Tools for the 21st Century Classroom

Spotlight on Strategies: The Question Is…

August31

spotlight-on-strategiesEven though there is always a mind-boggling amount of invaluable info shared on the Discovery Educator Network (DEN), one of the best resources available is the Spotlight on Strategies (S.O.S) series, a must-see DEN favorite designed to provide teachers with simple yet effective instructional practices for using digital content to support student learning.

To date, there are 70+ teacher tried and tested strategies featured on the DEN blog, and with permission from Discovery Education, I am now featuring some of these techniques on my space.

So, enough of that. Let’s fast forward to the really good stuff…

This week’s spotlight—The Question Is…—is a formative assessment strategy that can be utilized to guide instruction, intervention planning and delivery. 

Background

Formative assessment can help teachers better understand what students have learned as they progress through a unit of study. As a result, it’s important to find creative, effective and efficient ways to incorporate ongoing formative assessment. This strategy is easy to implement, requires no preparation, and uses materials commonly found in most classrooms. Yep, all you need is the answer to a pre-determined question and some sticky notes for student use. And best of all? It works in any classroom, with any age group!

The Question Is… technique is also a good springboard for classroom discussion, if students are asked to justify the questions they are posting, and obviously, it affords students an opportunity to practice formulating questions as well.

Now that I have your attention, all you have to do is click here to snag a PDF version of this super cool strategy which includes info related to materials needed and step-by-step instructions for utilizing the The Question Is… strategy in the classroom.

There’s even a video overview you can check out here. Pretty cool, eh?

And last, but certainly not least, here’s a visual to get those wheels turning…

the question is example

Better yet—click here to check out the entire S.O.S. series on the DEN blog!

So, there you have it: Another S.O.S. trick to add to your edtech toolbox. Stay tuned for additional ways to activate learning in your classroom…

Like what you see? Then take the digital integration challenge by trying to implement the Half the Story strategy and/or one of these additional ideas into a classroom lesson:

» Reading Between the Lines

» ABC Summary

» 6-Word Stories

» What Did They Say?

» A-E-I-O-U

» Snowball Fight

» Whittle It Down

» Concept Circles

» The Envelope Please

» Get Venn-y with It!

» MVP

» Partner Time

» Half the Story

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Diigo Weekly Bookmarks

August30

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 that can be added to your edtech toolbox for the upcoming school year!

» Blubbr

Create interactive quizzes based on YouTube videos. Viewers watch a short clip and then answer a multiple choice question about the content. Feedback is immediately provided.

» Zaption

A web tool for creating interactive and engaging video-based quizzes using YouTube, Vimeo, PBS or National Geographic. Questions are displayed for students as they view the video. Don’t just watch. Learn!

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

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Create More Powerful Learning Experiences with Visuals

August28

Did you know that the human brain can process visuals way faster than text? Yep, not only are they more interesting and eye-catching, it’s a proven fact that we’re actually wired to respond more favorably to visuals. Furthermore, according to a recent study, 65% of the population now consists of visuals learners which would explain why our society is so hooked on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram—all technologies that are essentially image-based.

Obviously, we are living in the age of visual information. So, if that’s the case, then shouldn’t we be teaching and learning in that same age of age of visual information as well? As educators, shouldn’t we be leveraging the power of visuals in all types of instruction?

Of course, these are rhetorical questions because it’s apparent that images are clearly the key to engaging students. They quickly transmit messages, improve comprehension, strengthen retention of knowledge and motivate learning. That said, check out the infographic shown below that illustrates the types of visuals that ignite our brains.

types of visuals

A shout out to SH!FT eLearning for sharing this useful graphic! Learn more about how each visual shown on the infographic can impact learning here.

Classroom Connection:

This “visual about visuals” focuses on the type of content that should be used to create a more engaging online course, but this info can be applied to all types of learning situations.

If you would like to read more information about the power of visuals in learning, check out an interesting article here.

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Don’t forget to be awesome!

August25

It’s back to school for this geeky girl—for the 44th time to be exact! Oh, my! I know—I’m becoming a fossil, but just to clarify: It’s only my 27th first day as an educator so you can do the math with the rest of all that! In any event, I’m ready to roll with a brand-new attitude—one that developed after encountering many new life experiences—some challenging and some rewarding—throughout the past summer. And it looks something like this:

be awesome

Yep, it’s true! Regardless of what we might encounter on our respective journeys—both the positive, the negative and the unexpected—we always have the freedom to choose how we handle all of these circumstances. That means we can either allow others or events beyond our control to ruin the moment and wound our spirit, or we can decide to move forward step-by-step even though we might not be capable of seeing the entire staircase at any given time.

So, with all of that said—if you’re looking for a super cool motivational video to kick start the year in your classroom and/or school… Or maybe you need an inspirational video to set the tone for a professional development session… Or you might just need a boost to rejuvenate your own mojo… Whatever the case may be—one or all of the above—then here’s the perfect solution to “get your learn on” for a new another go-round of being awesome!

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Diigo Weekly Bookmarks

August23

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 that can be added to your edtech toolbox for the upcoming school year!

» MultiURL

This web tool makes the process of sharing multiple links at once much quicker and easier by combining multiple links into just one shortlink. It’s the ultimate url shortener!

» Remember The Milk

A popular to-do list generator that syncs across platforms, devices, Google Apps, Evernote and more… Never forget anything again!

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

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Spotlight on Strategies: Half the Story

August11

spotlight-on-strategiesEven though there is always a mind-boggling amount of invaluable info shared on the Discovery Educator Network (DEN), one of the best resources available is the Spotlight on Strategies (S.O.S) series, a must-see DEN favorite designed to provide teachers with simple yet effective instructional practices for using digital content to support student learning.

To date, there are 70+ teacher tried and tested strategies featured on the DEN blog, and with permission from Discovery Education, I am now featuring some of these techniques on my space.

So, enough of that. Let’s fast forward to the really good stuff…

This week’s spotlight—Half the Story—is a simple strategy that can be utilized to ignite a conversation about any topic.

Background

How many of us have ever struggled to begin student conversation around a particular topic? They say pictures are worth a thousand words.  If this is true, why wouldn’t we use images as a springboard to discussion.  Whether we are trying to show students that we need the whole picture to make an opinion or we are trying to encourage their minds  to begin processing and making connections, images provide a quick and easy way to build a foundation for learning.

Now that I have your attention, all you have to do is click here to snag a PDF version of this super cool strategy which includes info related to materials needed and step-by-step instructions for utilizing the Half the Story strategy in the classroom.

There’s even valuable bonus info you can check out here. Pretty cool, eh?

Better yet—click here to check out the entire S.O.S. series on the DEN blog!

So, there you have it: Another S.O.S. trick to add to your edtech toolbox. Stay tuned for additional ways to activate learning in your classroom…

Like what you see? Then take the digital integration challenge by trying to implement the Half the Story strategy and/or one of these additional ideas into a classroom lesson:

» Reading Between the Lines

» ABC Summary

» 6-Word Stories

» What Did They Say?

» A-E-I-O-U

» Snowball Fight

» Whittle It Down

» Concept Circles

» The Envelope Please

» Get Venn-y with It!

» MVP

» Partner Time

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Diigo Weekly Bookmarks

August9

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 that can be added to your edtech toolbox for the upcoming school year!

» Braingle

With over 20,000 brain teasers, riddles, logic problems, quizzes and mind puzzles submitted, this resource boasts the largest collection anywhere on the web!

» SoundBible.com

Free sound clips, bites and effects for all kinds of multimedia projects. Download files in either wav or mp3 format.

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

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12 Cool Ingredients for Concocting & Creating Content

August6

thinglink-logoAs you know, there are a zillion tools in the technosphere for developing just about anything imaginable—some are good; some not so much. That said, when I recently discovered a collection of tools compiled into one resource by one of my favorite edtech gurus using one of my go-to tools, I knew I had to get the thumbs up to share it on my space.

Soooo, if you’re in need of some excellent ways to create one or more of the following—graphics, infographics, images, labels, posters, flyers, lists of info, tutorials and more for classroom and/or professional development purposes, then the TechChef’s Smooth Tools is a must-see concoction of geeky goodness.

In the words of the TechChef:

I have had several inquiries to the tools that I use to create and curate. These ingredients seemed to be just the spice to complete this ed tech dish. While these may not be the most new and flashy tools in the edusphere, they happen to be tried and true ingredients in my kitchen for concocting and curating content… so I thought I would share.

Just hover over the image shown below to reveal all of the “Smooth Tools”…

Click here to read the TechChef’s entire blog post containing this awesome interactive image that was generated utilizing ThingLink.

Oh, and by the way: If you don’t know much about ThingLink, you should definitely check out this fabulous tool and its classroom benefits by visiting some of my past posts and/or my ThingLink channel:

» Educate with Thinglink

» Interesting Ways to Use Thinglink in the Classroom

» jf20’s ThingLink Channel

A shout out to the TechChef for giving me the green light to feature her swanky stuff on my blog!

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Write Killer Titles with the Headline Genius

August4

headlinesA headline is a two-second tryout for an audience’s attention—a short snippet that must snag a reader from the distractions of the world and engage them with content. But that’s quite a tall order in our over-stimulated image-based society.

So, how does one go about getting others to pause and take a chance on reading a blog post? Well, since it’s all about the headline, especially in the online world where that is basically what ends up being shared on social media sites and/or seen in search results, one needs to use a tech gem like the Headline Genius to create titles that readers won’t be able to resist.

It’s simple, free, super useful and it works something like this:

Access the Headline Genius site, enter your title, click the “Analyse Headline” button and check out the results which includes a grade, sentiment score and a character and word count. The best part is the section that provides feedback regarding how to improve the headline. For example, when I initially entered my title for this post, I received the following recommendation:

Your headline could use some power words. Use words with an impact to provoke an response from your audience, such as ‘fantastic’ or ‘awesome’. Download a list of Power Words.

Um, in case you’re wondering… Yes, I did request the free list of 102 Power Words Would Be Really Useful Right Now! It’s a great doc to share with students!

Anyway, users can edit the headline as many times as necessary until it receives an A+ rating! Oh, and another cool feature is the tool records the history of all modifications so users can view progress.

A shout out to the Tech Chef for sharing this tool with your PLN. It’s a neat one to add to the tech-box!

Classroom Connection:

Even though the Headline Genius was developed to assist bloggers with developing eye-catchy titles in order to capture an audience, this tool can be used by students to assist them with writing powerful titles for any assignment, including but not limited to, blog posts.

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Diigo Weekly Bookmarks

August2

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 that can be added to your edtech toolbox for the upcoming school year!

» Clarisketch

A web tool and Android app that allows users to create messages by combining speech, drawing and photos. Once shared, the sketch can be played in any browser.

» Algodoo

A 2D simulation software that provides users with the opportunity to use their own hands and simple drawing tools to design, construct and explore the world of physics.

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

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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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