Edutech for Teachers

Cool Tools for the 21st Century Classroom

Diigo Weekly Bookmarks

May22

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!

» Picjumbo

Totally free stock photos for educational, commercial and/or personal use. No attribution needed!

» Every Last Drop

An interactive website about conserving water. Scroll through the page to reveal how the average person consumes water on a daily basis and learn ideas for reducing waste.

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

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Tech It Tuesday: Create a Visual Travelogue with Photo Mapo

May17

tech it up tuedayWelcome to another edition of 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.

Today’s feature begins with a question: As summer break rapidly approaches, what teacher doesn’t need a really cool vacation app that can double as a pretty powerful instructional tool?

Well, if you’re that person, the Photo Mapo app is a must-have digital gem. Yep, this really swell resource can transform photos into map-like masterpieces that can be shared with family and friends across social media networks including Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and Instagram. Even better, this tool has countless classroom app-lications.

But before we get to the really good stuff, let’s take a sneak peek at how Photo Mapo works! First, choose one of 23 template styles (Postcard, Treasure, Retro, etc.) and tweak the background color. Then select a favorite photo from the camera roll and add an optional description to the image. Other information that can be customized on each “postcard” includes date, time, latitude, city, state and country. Map type (terrain, roads, hybrid and satellite) as well as Map Zoom (how much detail is displayed) can also be determined in the settings. Another super cool feature is that Photo Mapo has the GPS technology to attach the actual location where the picture was taken or the user can enter a specific address. The latter is a very cool option, especially when third party photos are being utilized (Flickr, Creative Commons, etc.).

Check out a few samples shown below. Hopefully they’ll ignite your creative impulses!

Just for fun…

One of my most favorite activities to do on vacation is finding the perfect spot to watch the sun set!

For the classroom…

The Great Sphinx is a mysterious marvel from the days of ancient Egypt. The body of a lion with the head of pharaoh, this monument has come to symbolize strength and wisdom.

Classroom Connection:

Do I even have enough space to share the ways Photo Mapo can be utilized in the classroom? Seriously, when I first saw this app, I immediately thought of the social studies angle: Historical figures, events, places and/or landmarks. But after giving it some additional thought, this cool tool has potential far beyond one content area. Field trips, the setting of a story or book, visual writing prompts or even the creation of graphics to accompany writing activities (i.e. favorite and/or bucket list destinations) and/or lit trips (similar to those created with Google Earth) are just a few ideas that came to mind. A Photo Mapo image could also be a nifty way to promote school or professional events such as assemblies, conferences, trainings, workshops, etc.

As a creative twist, students can get busy with an app smashing project by doing the following: Create a mash-up of several photos utilizing the Pic Collage app and then import that image into a Photo Mapo to create a unique geographical masterpiece.

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Diigo Weekly Bookmarks

May16

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!

» Noisli

A background noise and color generator that can be utilized by teachers to create a relaxing atmosphere during writing activities, role playing and more! iPhone and iPad apps are also available.

» Ampville: The Electric City

A virtual village where users can learn about electricity, circuits and electrical safety.

» Wizenworld

A cool Zelda-like game in which 3rd to 8th graders can practice math skills aligned to the Common Core by battling through a range of adventures.

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

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Get Animated with GifBoom

May12

In honor of Throwback Thursday, I thought I’d dial up a post that was written a few years ago by some of my Tech Club students. It goes something like this…

Videos are cool, but how about using pictures and eye-catching effects to make them? Here’s a fun app called GifBoom that turns your ordinary pictures into an automatic slideshow!

With this app, you can use up to 30 pictures on your device from images taken directly from the app or your camera roll. Then pick the desired speed of the slideshow and choose any cool frame and effects that you like and think enhance the quality of your video. Afterwards the app takes control of your selections and creates your personalized masterpiece.

With your new slideshow complete, you can share your work to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or the news feed on the GifBoom app. You can even view your friends’ videos and everyone you follow too!

This free app works on your iPod Touch, iPhone, or iPad.

Here is an example we created using the names of the Tech Club students:

Classroom Connection:

GifBoom can be a very effective teaching tool in the classroom. Teachers can use it as a fun way to introduce new lessons or create vocab and spelling slideshows to teach students their new words. This app could also be utilized to help teachers learn the names of students. Have fun integrating this cool tool into your classroom by getting GifBoom now!

This student post was written by Tech Club students Alivia H., Abby L. and Stephanie M. for the Techno Buzz—a weekly morning news segment produced to introduce teachers and students at the Bellwood-Antis Middle School to new apps and web tools.

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Spring Magnetic Poetry

May9

sunLooking for a fun, yet useful spring-time activity to utilize in your classroom? Then all you gotta do is snag a copy of my Spring Magnetic Poetry activity!

Yep, a brand-new Google Slides activity containing 75+ words and phrases that can be manipulated into a fun-filled poem, story, etc. is ready to roll for you and your students.

As with my other creations, the word boxes are actually images and cannot be edited; however, they can be deleted. Plus, additional words can be generated by creating a new text box and filling it with a white background.

Before you get started on your May adventure, here are a few additional items worth mentioning:

» The background on the Google Slide is locked so students can avoid accidentally moving it, but it can still be changed if you wish to allow them to do so. Just right-click on the slide and select the “Change background…” option.

» Some teachers have requested that I provide a word list for each activity so I have created additional slides that includes this info.

Check out a sneak preview below!

SpringMagneticPoetry(2)

Click here to access the template. You will be prompted to download your very own copy of the original and save it to your Google Drive. It can then be shared with your students in a variety of ways—the easiest and slickest being with Google Classroom.

Classroom Connection:

The Spring Magnetic Poetry template can be used in a variety of ways as either an independent or collaborative writing activity. Utilize the “magnets” included and/or add your own text boxes to extend the activity—although I think part of the fun/challenge is to just use the words provided.

A high five to Alex, one of my Tech Club kids, for helping to generate this super cool activity! ♥

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Diigo Weekly Bookmarks

May8

diigo iconWhat’s new this week in my Diigo bookmarks? Check out the links shown below for a variety of Mom-approved career ready web tools and resources that can be utilized to help students prepare for college and/or the work force.

» Creddle

If you’d like an easier way to create a rockstar resume without all of the sloppy formatting problems that come with using Microsoft Word, this tool can help!

» Vizualize.me

If you’re looking to turn your resume into a drop-dead gorgeous visual, this app will help you get the job done!

» MyPerfectResume

Choose from various designs and expert-written examples to quickly and simply generate a professional resume.

» EducationPlanner.org

A public service of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) which offers practical and easy-to-understand advice and information on how to deal with common financial situations facing today’s college students and recent graduates.

» College Career Life Planning

Hundreds of free education and career planning tools for students, teachers, parents and counselors.

» CareerOneStop

A comprehensive site sponsored by the U.S. Department of Labor for career exploration, training and jobs aimed at students, parents and career advisers.

» Naviance: Career Exploration for Students

A series of career assessments that help students discover multiple career options and plan their career paths based on general areas of interest as well as the level of education and training required to achieve their goals.

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

mothers dayHappy Mother’s Day to all of the moms who follow this blog—especially mine! Have a great day celebrating the women who have made such a difference in our lives! ♥

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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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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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