Edutech for Teachers

Cool Tools for the 21st Century Classroom

Spotlight on Strategies: Partner Time

June30

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 am now featuring some of 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 spotlight—Partner Time—is a simple yet effective way to manage partnerships in your classroom. It also ensures that students are not always sharing with the same classmate.

Big Idea

When students have the opportunity to discuss and compare ideas and opinions with a wide variety of their peers, they develop a broader understanding of the world and are more flexible and creative in their problem-solving.

That said, the Partner Time concept allows teachers to establish partnerships in advance; therefore, eliminating the management and guesswork when grouping students. Doing so, leaves more time to accomplish academic goals while also providing students with the opportunity to have choice with whom they work.

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 Partner Time 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…

clock partners

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 Partner Time 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

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Top 10 Tech Tips for Teachers

June29

devicesThere’s no doubt that technology can have a significant impact on our students and their learning environment; however, as much as the use of edtech tools can be beneficial, like anything else, they can also be a detriment if not utilized effectively.

It’s all about the… Nope not that! Wait for it….. It’s all about the way in which technology is integrated into lessons, activities and projects. Is it meaningful? Relevant? Real-world? As you probably are aware, a lot of people have a lot to say about what constitutes best practices when it comes to incorporating various tools and apps into the classroom.

Of course, that’s all well and good, but honestly—it’s not rocket science like “they say”. Actually, in my humble (and experienced) opinion, much of what needs to be done involves exercising some good ol’ fashioned common sense—similar to the tips shown on the infographic below. Check em’ out! I bet you’ll be nodding your head in that “yep” motion as you read them—just like I did!

7978885

A shout out to Kasey Bell for creating and sharing this useful reminder for teachers. For many more really swell edtech ideas, visit her awesome web site—Shake Up Learning!

Classroom Connection:

Educators can use these tips to help them make better use of technology tools for instruction and to assist students with improving their technology skills within the context of the regular curriculum.
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Diigo Weekly Bookmarks

June28

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!

» Stickfigure Animator

Software that allows users to create stick figure animations easily and without any artistic skills. Finished projects can be exported to video format for use in other programs and/or on YouTube.

» ClipConverter

A free online media conversion application which allows users to convert and download YouTube URLs to formats such as MP3, MP4 and more!

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

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Edu-fun Friday: Another Testing Dilemma

June26

testsAs 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?

Ever feel like you’ve been caught up in this vicious circle! What a drag!

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by posted under Edu-fun Friday, Humor, Misc | tagged under , ,  |  No Comments »    

Diigo Weekly Bookmarks

June21

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!

» Freerice.com

Have your students play this online vocabulary game, and they’ll learn while donating food to people in need!

» ImageQuiz

Use predefined or create customized interactive quizzes based on the use of images that represent academic content.

» Litfy

A site that provides access to 30,000+ free classic books with the ability to bookmark and notate pages.

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

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Spotlight on Strategies: MVP

June16

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 am now featuring some of 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 spotlight—MVP—is an instructional strategy that reinforces the concept of identifying main idea and supporting details, a super important set of comprehension skills.

Big Idea

The purpose of this strategy is for students to analyze information to determine the MVP or Most Valuable Point within song lyrics. Dividing a song into verses enables students to analyze smaller pieces of a song and dive deeper for specific information.  By brainstorming and discussing important ideas in a small group setting, students will strengthen skills in the areas of listening, speaking, writing, and summarizing.  

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 MVP strategy into lessons, an example, a graphic organizer for use during instruction 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…

MVP

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 MVP 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!

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Diigo Weekly Bookmarks

June14

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!

» Wildscreen ARKive

Discover and learn about the planet’s endangered animals, plants and fungi via an awe-inspiring record of life as seen through the eyes of the world’s best wildlife filmmakers, photographers, conservationists and scientists. Reveal what they look like, what makes them special, and why we should protect them.

» Audionotegrabber

Take screengrabs, import presentations slides or PDF documents and annotate recordings with text and color to create the most comprehensive notes ever! Can be used for teaching, research, assessment, webinars and more!

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

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10 Reasons to Teach Coding

June12

codeSo, why just use technology, when you can build it, right? But first—students need the programming know-how… And that begins with you!

Whether you choose to embrace the concept or not, it’s becoming more and more important to equip students with coding skills. Having this knowledge not only strengthens general skills such as critical thinking and problem solving, but it will become invaluable in their future as a wide range of industries are eager to hire individuals with programming abilities. Furthermore, this field that is projected to have 1,000,000 more jobs than there are qualified people to fill them by the year 2020! Seriously!

That said—here’s a cool inforgraphic denoting 10 reasons to teach students how to code.

10 reasons to code

A shout out to Brian Aspinall for giving me the green light to share his work (illustrated by the sketchnote guru Sylvia Duckworth) on my space!

Classroom Connection:

The founders of Google, Microsoft and Facebook all started their journeys with just one line of code. Like these successful entrepreneurs, our students should have the opportunity to create the technology of the future, not just use it!

And by the way—I realize that coding sounds intimidating to some, but if your students can type, they can code! And you know what? You can even learn, too!

It’s summer! Time to relax and recharge the batteries indeed, but it’s also time to gear up for another year of making a difference in the lives of our students. Why not make a plan to incorporate some coding into your classroom activities!

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Diigo Weekly Bookmarks

June7

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 finish out the school year!

» Speakpipe

A tool that makes it super easy for your website or blog visitors to leave feedback or testimonials regarding content directly on your page. No phone calls required!

» Pinside

This is a cool notetaking and sticky notes platform In which users can create pinboards to post comments, text and/or images that can shared either privately or publicly.

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

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by posted under Cool Tools | tagged under , , , ,  |  No Comments »    

Tech It Up Tuesday: Breaking News Generator

June2

Tech It Up Tuesday

Hey, tech gurus! It’s Tuesday, which means I’m ready to share another segment 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 feature, the Breaking News Generator, is a quick and simple yet effective interactive resource that will give students the opportunity to create their own version of a screenshot from a newscast in a fun and interactive way. And in just six user friendly steps to be exact.

All you have to do is let your group loose on the Classtools.net web site, access the Breaking News Generator and insert the text required on the template shown below:

headline news generator

Once the image is generated, users have the following options: Download the png file, snag the URL containing the finished product and/or tweet it out to social media.

Check out an example of how the super cool Breaking News Generator can be utilized in a history course to provide factual info about a person or event being studied in class.

lincoln breaking news

Seeing is believing, right?

Classroom Connection:

If you really think about it, the Breaking News Generator can be integrated into the curriculum in a myriad of ways as any topic could be the subject of a newscast—World War II, genetics, a character from a novel in Language Arts or a math theorem to name a few. I know it’s cliche, but the possibilities for using this tool really are endless.

Besides requiring students to summarize and share knowledge about a particular theme, it’s an excellent way to incorporate a simple tech tool into a lesson or project.

And the best part? There’s more where this one came from! So, if you think the Breaking News Generator is a nifty application, then be sure to check out additional interactive resources on the Classtools.net web site.

A shout out to history teacher Russel Tarr for developing and sharing these way cool and very useful applications for educators!

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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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