Edutech for Teachers

Cool Tools for the 21st Century Classroom

Diigo Weekly Bookmarks

April24

diigo iconWhat’s new this week in my Diigo bookmarks? Check out the links shown below to access two super cool and very useful tools can be utilized to engage students in the classroom!

» Illuminations

A platform in which teachers can locate hundreds of lesson plans, activities and strategies for improving their teaching practices in math. Educators can select grade specific games and content, ensuring that students are on par with standards set by The National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM). Activities align with Common Core State Standards as well.

» Vsauce

A YouTube channel featuring videos relating to various scientific, mathematical and philosophical topics as well as gaming, technology, culture, and other topics of general interest. Great for class use or for some inspiration!
Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links can be found here.

 

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The Weekly Edtech Smackdown: Vol. V

April23

Welcome to the weekly edition of The Edtech Smackdown—a collection of digital resources containing a few of my most favorite activities curated from various social media spaces throughout the past week.

Check out some super cool edtech gems right here, right now and get ready to use these ideas to support learning and to engage students in your classroom!

This week kicks off with more Google goodness starting with this epic new release…

» Welcome home to the new Google Earth—It’s everything you love about Google Earth, plus new ways for you to explore, learn and share. Zoom in and see what adventures await you!

» 4 New Video Options in Google Slides That Will Make Your Day—By Kasey Bell, Shake Up Learning

» 100+ Great Google Classroom Resources for Educators—Compiled by Vicki Davis, the Cool Cat Teacher

» Free Pattern Block Templates and Activities with Google Drawings—Lots of awesome digital pattern block ideas and resources by Eric Curts, Control Alt Achieve

For the Chrome Extension gurus…

» Sticky Notes: A Chrome extension for quickly and easily taking notes while browsing—Tip shared by Julie Smith, the JG Techie Teacher

» Reinventing Math Class with the EquatIO Chrome Extension—Post written by John McGowan, Math Product Manager, Texthelp

A few geeky gadgets worth checking out…

» iPad Cases: Bluetooth & Backlight ClamCases from Incipio—By Monica Burns, Class Tech Tips

» Go Adventuring with this Underwater Microphone—From KitHub, By KitHub

Other super cool stuff…

» 10 Best Sites That Offer Gorgeous Free Images for Blogs—By Lifehack… Great places to snag images for classroom projects too!

» Student-Created Breakout EDU Games—Post written by Mari Venturino

» Another great sketchnote by Sylvia Duckworth…

And there you have it—this week’s smackdown! Stay tuned for additional resources coming your way in the next round…

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Introducting…The PicCollage Drawing Tool

April21

This. Just. In… Teachers asked for it… PicCollage delivered! Yep, a few days ago PC Headquarters released a brand-new feature—the Drawing Tool. And it’s all that! Check out the details below to get the latest scoop…

» Update to the latest version of PicCollage.

» After importing photos for a new collage, tap the “+’ button and select “Add Drawing” to begin doodling.

» Users can even select the color and thickness of designs.

» Once the masterpiece is complete, the drawing is transformed into a scrap that can be moved around, resized and rotated on the collage.

Check out a few screenshots showcasing this simple yet powerful addition to an already amazing educational tool!

Classroom Connection:

The Drawing Tool allows teachers and students to personalize collages with original artwork, adding another layer of authenticity to activities and projects.

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Print Custom Sticky Notes with Google Slides

April18

What do you get when you combine sticky notes with Google Slides? A super cool idea from Tony Vincent that shows teachers how to create customized messages for all kinds of classroom uses: Personalized notes, reminders, to do lists, paper tweets, exit tickets, motivational remarks and more!

There’s even a wicked awesome template for generating sticky notes containing customized avatars using the Bitmoji Chrome extension.

Get the scoop, including step-by-step instructions, design tips and templates, by visiting the Learning in Hand blog right here, right now!

In the meantime, check out this instructional video demonstrating how educators can make this concept happen!

A high five to Tony for giving me the thumbs up to highlight his innovative idea on my space!

Classroom Connection:

As simple as they are, sticky notes are powerful educational tools that can motivate and inspire students before, during and after all sorts of classroom activities that span the K-12 curriculum.

Use the resources found within the Learning in Hand blog post to create personalized learning experiences for your students.

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Diigo Weekly Bookmarks

April16

diigo iconWhat’s new this week in my Diigo bookmarks? Check out the links shown below to access two super cool and very useful iOS apps that can be utilized to engage students in your classroom!

» Write About

Use visual prompts via this web tool to engage students in digital writing activities. Educators can upload images, choose from keywords in the database or set specific writing tasks. Easy marking and editing allows teachers to provide honest feedback in a safe space.

» Quizalize

Pinpoint classroom progress in real-time with this formative assessment tool which allows teachers to turn classroom quizzes into exciting multi-player games. Students can participate in activities during class or they can be used for interactive homework assignments. Educators can create customized quizzes or select from 20,000+ premade options.

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

Many Easter blessings coming your way! Here’s to a day filled with love, laughter, hope and spending quality time with those that mean the most to you!

Matthew 28:6 ♥

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The Weekly Edtech Smackdown: Vol. IV

April15

Welcome to the weekly edition of The Edtech Smackdown—a collection of digital resources containing a few of my most favorite activities curated from various social media spaces throughout the past week.

Check out some super cool edtech gems right here, right now and get ready to use these ideas to support learning and to engage students in your classroom!

This week kicks off with more Google goodness… Be sure to check out the latest tips and tricks!

» 8 Fantastic Ways to Find Anything in Google Drive—By Kasey Bell, Shake Up Learning

» Stop Animation with Google Slides Examples and tutorials by Eric Curts, Control Alt Achieve

» Claim Evidence Reasoning with Google Forms… Use the Autocrat add-on to create color-coded paragraphs! Idea created by Mari Venturino

» 9 #Edtech Tools to Try—Compiled by Matthew Lynch, The Tech Edvocate

» 10 Commandments of Innovative Teaching—Post written by George Couros

» How to make a colorful Venn diagram in Google Drawings or Slides—By Tony Vincent

And there you have it—this week’s smackdown! Stay tuned for additional resources coming your way in the next round…

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The Google Easter Egg-stravaganza Sequel

April11

Back by popular demand, it’s the Internet Easter egg hunt brought to you by Google…

If you’re a fan of these activities, then you won’t want to miss out on the hidden “Easter eggs”, or tricks, games and other fun stuff the programmers at Google have tucked away in their search engine for your entertainment.

How in the world do you find these super cool nerdy treasures, you ask? Well, give some of these search tips a try and see what pranks you can locate!

Just open Google in your favorite browser and search…

  • Do a Barrel Roll—See the results page roll over.
  • Super Mario Brothers—Be prepared for a flashback to the 90s!
  • Festivus—Adds a Festivus pole to the left side of the screen. If you don’t know what that means, you must not be a Seinfeld fan so do a regular Google search for more info.
  • I’m feeling curious or fun fact—Snag random trivia and the chance to get additional fun factoids. Warning: This can be the beginning of an addiction!
  • Tilt or askew—The results appear slightly tilted to the right.
  • Google in 1998—The page will look like it did about 18 years ago.
  • Super Mario Bros—View an info card to the right with details about the game. Added bonus: Click the coin block to collect coins and earn a 1up.
  • Zerg Rush—Watch your search results get attacked by the Google Os, which you can defeat by clicking on them.
  • Flip a coin—Prompts a card with an animated coin flip.
  • Roll a die—Prompts a card that randomly rolls a standard six-sided die.
  • Atari Breakout—Get your big hair on and play a version of the hit game Breakout from the 80s.
  • Play dreidel—Enjoy ten seconds of an interactive dreidel-spinning game.
  • Webdriver torso—Transforms the Google logo into a series of blinking blocks.
  • Anagram—Triggers a response asking, “Did you mean: Nag A Ram.” (Get it? Ha, ha!)

And my all-time favorite:

  • Google Pacman—Returns a card that that links to a pop-up screen of the famous 80’s arcade game

Recently added:

  • T-Rex Mini Game—We’ve all seen the dreaded “no network connectivity” T-Rex show up when the internet isn’t working, but what you may not realize is that this is also a game. It’s an endless runner where you, as T-Rex, have to run as far as you can, jumping over cacti and pterodactyls as they come your way.
And there you have it: A few of the thousands of lines of code hidden in popular software around the web. For more of this geeky goodness, just… Yep, you guessed it: Google it. You’ll probably be pretty amazed at how many of these secret gems are waiting to be discovered!
Google makes many super useful products, but it’s also cool to see the “fun” side of the company. Enjoy!

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Become an Edtech Mixologist with PicCollage

April10

A few weeks ago The Techie Teacher (a.k.a. Julie Smith) shared a post about how PicCollage can be incorporated into app smashing activities. If you missed this wicked cool info, you can still check it out right here, right now…

Because I just love, love app smashing—the art of merging content from a variety of apps to generate a unique finished product—especially when using PicCollage as the basis, I thought I’d add to the edtech goodness with another idea that can be incorporated into classroom activities.

This app-solutely smashing example involves the fusion of PicCollage, Thinglink and Google Docs to provide students with the opportunity to complete an interactive learning journey.

Follow along as I explain how I generated the example shown below…

The Project

Dubbed “Where in the World”, this creation will challenge students to use information and research to identify an unknown geographical location.

The Learning Objective

Students will hone their ability to read for details, conduct Internet searches and complete a digital form to share findings.

The Process

First, I selected a destination I wanted students to learn more about and then located a variety of pictures to visually represent points of interest. Each photo was imported into the PicCollage app to create an all-in-one collection of images. Once finished, this media was saved to the camera roll. (In this particular instance, I used photos from a recent vacation.)

Next, I developed “fun facts” that could be linked to each picture in the collage—info students used to determine the mystery location. I also generated a Google form that students completed after further exploring the clues found within the collage. This questionnaire could be used as an informal or formal assessment.

Finally, I imported the collage into a third tool, ThingLink, to actually create the interactive mashup—one that included links to the clues and form described in the previous step.

The Outcome

Check out the live version of the “Where in the World” app smash shown below. Be sure to hover over the image to reveal the interactive “hotspots”.

Click here for a full screen version of this interactive image.

This particular app smash was created for student use, but of course—students could also design their very own Virtual Destination mash-up to share with classmates.

The Connection

App smashing encourages the meaningful use of technology to meet a chosen learning objective. It promotes critical thinking and problem solving in a challenging yet fun manner.

But wait… There’s more!

Not only do students benefit from participating in app smashing activities, but affording students with the opportunity to utilize interactive activities engages them in learning that is meaningful, relevant and thought-provoking. Plus, completing a project of this nature allows them to demonstrate the use of a variety of digital skills in the process.

The Real Deal

As I’ve mentioned before, the more you use PicCollage, the more ideas your mind will generate! Trust me, it’s a must-have tool for students of all ages!

In the meantime, check out the slide deck I created to share some really awesome ways PicCollage can be integrated into the classroom. Not only can you view various projects other educators have utilized with students, but you can also submit your own idea(s) to this super cool crowd-sourced document!

The PicCollage Teacher Ambassador Program

Love this app as much as I do? Learn more about becoming a PicCollage Teacher Ambassador here and/or by following #PicCollageEDU on Twitter!

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Diigo Weekly Bookmarks

April9

diigo iconWhat’s new this week in my Diigo bookmarks? Check out the links shown below to access two super cool and very useful iOS apps that can be utilized to engage students in your classroom!

» Teach Your Monster to Read

An iOS app in which students play a game as a friendly monster to help them develop speed and accuracy to recognize letters, sounds and words. As they progress through the eight levels, students can earn prizes for their monster avatar and customize the look of them.

» Winning Words

A collection of seven free word games for students to play on their iPads. The games offered include Antonym Match, Synonym Match, Homophone Match, Compound Word Match, Singular and Plural Match, Verb Match, and Double Letter Match. All of the games are similar to the classic Memory card game.

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

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The Weekly Edtech Smackdown: Vol. III

April9

Welcome to the weekly edition of The Edtech Smackdown—a collection of digital resources containing a few of my most favorite activities curated from various social media spaces throughout the past week.

Check out some super cool edtech gems right here, right now and get ready to use these ideas to support learning and to engage students in your classroom!

This week kicks off with lots of Google Goodness from some of the best gurus on the planet… Check. It. Out!

» Google’s Buried Treasure: 18 Hidden Tricks and Tools—A super useful Google Slides prez by Matt Miller, Ditch that Textbook

» Create interactive Jeopardy games with Google Slides—Templates, examples and tutorials by Eric Curts, Control Alt Achieve

» Create animated online comic strips with Google Slides—Another awesome resource from Eric Curts, Control Alt Achieve

» Google Slides Picture Writing Prompt Journal Template—Instructions included by GoogleAppsAction.com

» Without Mentioning It, Google Silently Released a Pretty Awesome Video Editor—Are you looking for a simple video editing tool to use with your students for that once and done classroom project? Find out from Jeffery Bradbury of Teacher Cast how Google Slides just might be the perfect fit!

» The Complete Guide to Google Certifications—A free eBook by Kasey Bell, Shake Up Learning

» Teaching Math with Google Apps: 50 G Suite Activities—Awesome book by Alice Keeler & Diana Harrington

» Google Tip: Accidentally close a tab in Chrome? Bring it back with CTRL/SHIFT/T.

And for the Apple fans…

» Tips for Using iPads in the Classroom—Written by Matthew Lynch, The Tech Edvocate

» A Free Interactive Guide to Boost Students Learning on iPad—Created by Apple Education, this resource is available for free and can be downloaded with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.

» 5 Ways to Use Apple Clips in the Classroom

Other useful edtech gems…

» 14 Fun Formative (and Summative) Assessment Ideas—Lots of fun and engaging ways for students to demonstrate understanding brought to you by the EdTechNut

» 10 Wordless Videos That Teach Problem Solving—Very cool idea that can be used for classroom discussions, writing prompts and/or storytelling from speechisbeautiful.com

» How Biology Helps in Solving Challenges Facing The Planet—A free interactive book app available for free on iOS and Android devices

And there you have it—this week’s smackdown! Stay tuned for additional resources coming your way in the next round…

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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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