Edutech for Teachers

Cool Tools for the 21st Century Classroom

Spotlight on Strategies: Get Venn-y with It

May20

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 now thanks to Lance Rougeux, Vice President of Learning Communities and Educational Consultants at Discovery Education and all-around DEN tech guru, I will now be featuring these techniques on my space. Two thumbs up to this guy!

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

This week’s feature—Get Venn-y with It—is an instructional strategy that improves comprehension skills.

Big Idea

According to Robert J. Marzano, one high-yield instructional strategy is to helpstudents identify similarities and differences. And Harvey Silver states, in his book Compare and Contrast, that this strategy “strengthens students’ memories by focusing their thinking on analyzing pairs of ideas, enhances their ability to remember key content and improves comprehension by highlighting important details.” By using digital resources, educators are able to level the playing field for students who may not have had real life experiences on which to base their reasoning.

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, steps for integrating the Get Venn-y with It strategy into lessons, an example and extension activities.

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 Get Venn-y with It concept 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

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Tech It Up Tuesday: Jeopardy Labs

May19

Tech It Up Tuesday

Here it is: Tuesday again—which means it’s time for the next installment of “Tech It Up Tuesday”, a series devoted to sharing an edtech tool, app, site or other resource that can be utilized in the classroom setting.

This week’s tech-isode takes us back in the day to an oldie but goody: Jeopardy Labs, a free online service that allows users to create customized jeopardy game boards without the use of PowerPoint. Once completed, your game is assigned a unique URL—one that can be posted on a blog, wiki or web site so it can be accessed by anyone with the link.

So, here’s how it rolls: There are no fees and registration associated with utilizing Jeopardy Labs nor is an account required; however, in order to be able to edit a template at a later date, the tool does necessitate the creation of a password. After one is entered via the Quick Build mode, you’re ready to roll. It’s just that simple!

Just so you know: All jeopardy templates submitted become available on the public domain (i.e. can be found on Google) unless you’re a Jeopardy Labs member. Choosing this option does require an account as well as a $20 fee which includes a lifetime membership of access to pimped out templates, privacy controls and a public list of all templates generated.

Not interested in building your own jeopardy templates? Well, that’s cool too. You can also browse the site for additional jeopardy templates created by other contributors. It doesn’t get any better than that!

Classroom Connection:

Students generally find studying to be more enjoyable—OK, tolerable—when they can do it via an interactive game format. That said, Jeopardy Labs provides a way for teachers to create review games that students can play independently or in a whole class setting.

Also, as summer vacation is rapidly approaching, this cool tool would be a great resource to use for a final exam review. Or just incorporate it as a fun learning activity to wrap things up for the year.

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Diigo Weekly Bookmarks

May17

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 store and share all kinds of files with your colleagues and students!

» Dropbox

Install this application on your tablet, smart phone or laptop, and you will be able to access your files 24/7. An excellent tool for students who are working on different devices at school and at home! Flash drives no longer necessary!

» Send to Dropbox

Ever wish you could email files to your Dropbox? Well, now you can! It’s free, fast, secure and super simple too. All you have to do is connect with Dropbox, get your unique email address, and start sending files!

» Senduit

A quick and simple way to upload and share large files with others. Links remain active for up to one week.

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

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The Geeky Girl’s Greatest Hits Volume XVII: April 2015

May15

thinglink-logoHey, edtech peeps! This one’s for you: A recap of the posts that appeared on this blog during April 2015 compiled in one really swell interactive image. There’s a little bit of somethin’ somethin’ going on for everyone!

Find the tech-knowledge-y that awaits you by hovering over the ThingLink mashup shown below.

Check out the full screen version of this image here.

Like this interactive image? Then be sure to visit the following must-see sites for tons of ideas for incorporating ThingLink into classroom activities: 87+ Interesting Ways to Use Thinglink in the Classroom created by Donna Baumbach (Aunty Tech) and the ThingLink Toolkit developed by Susan Oxnevad. Of course, my Educate with ThingLink post also contains a variety of integration strategies as well.

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Edu-fun Friday: Mobile Tan Lines

May15

photo (25)As Quincy Jones once remarked, “I’ve always thought that a big laugh is a really loud noise from the soul saying, “Ain’t that the truth.”

That said, Edu-fun Friday is a series devoted to adding some humor to the lives of teachers who visit this blog. After all, there’s nothing better than ending the week on a positive note! Plus, do we have the best topics to provide us with some comic relief or what?

So, yeah, I get it. This image doesn’t really apply to the edtech setting—other than it reinforces the obsession the general population has with mobile devices—but with summer vacation rapidly approaching, it’s not only hilarious, but so, so true. I bet if you visit a beach over the next few months, you might even catch a glimpse of these 21st Century tan lines! Maybe even on one of your students, colleagues and/or yourself—ha!

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EdTech’s Must-Read K–12 IT Blogs

May13

cartoon croppedEducational technology specialist Jamie Forshey brings some color to the world of classroom technology solutions. Her blog features innovative teaching methods powered by technology. Whether the news of the day is apps, pedagogy or digital media, Forshey has something to add to the conversation.

These are the words written by , a social media journalist, who recently inked an article entitled The 2015 Honor Roll: EdTech’s Must-Read K–12 IT Blogs for the EdTech K-12 Magazine featuring a brand-new lineup of the top IT bloggers on the web. According to the post, these selections were based on a mix of veterans from years past, fresh picks by the editorial staff and nominations from readers making this honor roll the most diverse ever.

I only had one word when I learned that Edutech for Teachers received a shout out on this year’s roster—like wow! OK, that was two! Seriously though, as you might imagine, I was beyond surprised, humbled and, of course, totally psyched to be named as part of such a knowledgeable group of geeky girls and gals—Yay!

So, why am I sharing this info? Because this post is really about more than just me. This honor roll consists of a wide range of educators and edtech experts, one that can be utilized to discover and explore a wealth of tech-related content and resources that can be integrated into classroom lessons, activities and projects. And that’s what is most important to me.

Besides all of that good stuff, I need to give some major props to everyone who visits this blog! Your support and encouragement inspires me to keep on writing. Muchas gracias! ♥

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by posted under Worth Checking Out | tagged under ,  |  1 Comment »    

Tech It Up Tuesday: The How to Find Openly Licensed Educational Resources Infographic

May12

Tech It Up TuesdayTime for the next tech-isode in the “Tech It Up Tuesday” series in which I will share an edtech tool, app, site or other resource that can be utilized in the classroom setting. This week’s edu-goodness actually focuses on some tech-knowledge-y that all educators who create multimedia projects and/or who conduct research with their students could surely use.

So here it is: When you need the answers to life’s burning questions or more along the educational lines,  information for a presentation or report, you and your students most likely default to one of the most robust resources that currently exists: The Internet. Because of the continuous evolution of mobile technology, it’s simple to use, fast and in most cases, accurate.

And here’s the part where the infamous “but” word enters the equation…

Yep, there’s no doubt that we have a wealth resources at our fingertips; however, the real question becomes: Is snagging this stuff for our own purposes legal? What constitutes fair usage of various form of media?

Open Educational Resources (OER) to the rescue. By taking a look at the infographic shown below, teachers and students can become more aware of how to locate images, documents and videos that can be edited, remixed and shared without copyright restrictions. Check. It. Out!

HowtoSearchforOpenlyLicensedEducationalResources

Props to the Center for Open Educational Resources and Language Learning for creating and sharing this helpful visual.

Classroom Connection:

Use the infographic as a how-to guide to search for openly licensed educational resources that can be used in conjunction with digital projects and presentations. Having this knowledge should help to avoid having the copyright police bang down your door!

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Spotlight on Strategies: The Envelope Please

May11

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 now thanks to Lance Rougeux, Vice President of Learning Communities and Educational Consultants at Discovery Education and all-around DEN tech guru, I will now be featuring these techniques on my space. Two thumbs up to this guy!

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

This week’s feature—The Envelope Please—is an instructional strategy that strengthens comprehension skills via predicting outcomes.

Big Idea

The purpose of this strategy is to allow students to use prior knowledge to make predictions and utilize discussion and reflection to solidify their understanding. The act of making a prediction is rooted in comprehension. In order to make good, strong predictions, students must have a solid understanding of the content being studied, be able to recall information, know how to use clues to make inferences, and make connections between different sources of information.

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, steps for integrating the The Envelope Please strategy into lessons, an example and extension activities. 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 envelope please

Can’t get enough of these simple but effective instructional strategies? 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 be sure to check out other ideas in this series:

» 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

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Diigo Weekly Bookmarks

May10

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!

» HistoryWiz

Step into the past with over 1,000 pages of fascinating history from three time periods: Ancient, Medieval & Early Modern and Modern. A great informational site for students, teachers and all lovers of history!

What’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!

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

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Spotlight on Strategies: Concept Circles

May5

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 now thanks to Lance Rougeux, Vice President of Learning Communities and Educational Consultants at Discovery Education and all-around DEN tech guru, I will now be featuring these techniques on my space. Two thumbs up to this guy!

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

This week’s feature—Concept Circles—is an instructional strategy that strengthens vocabulary skills.

Big Idea

Concept Circles (Vacca & Vacca, 2001) are tools which help students move beyond memorization of terms and definitions by focusing them on analyzing the relationships between those words. In this strategy, students use a circle organizer to analyze how vocabulary words are or are not related through a concept or topic. There are different models for the circle: some are simply a circle divided into quarters; others, like the one used in the example below, provide space for note taking and identification of the concept.

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, steps for integrating the Concept Circles strategy into lessons, an example and extension activities. And there’s even a video overview 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 be sure to check out other ideas in this series:

» Reading Between the Lines

» ABC Summary

» 6-Word Stories

» What Did They Say?

» A-E-I-O-U

» Snowball Fight

» Whittle It Down

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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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The Geeky Girl’s Greatest Hit List Vol. I—February 2013

Check out the full screen version of this interactive image here!

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