Edutech for Teachers

Cool Tools for the 21st Century Classroom

Tech It Up Tuesday: The Teleport 360 Editor App

April4

It’s Tuesday again and that means it’s time to roll out another tech-isode in my “Tech It Up Tuesday” series in which I share an edtech tool, app, site or other resource that can be utilized in the educational setting.

This week’s geeky goodness goes something like this… It seems as though almost daily there’s a new app released on the edtech scene… Here’s one of the latest and greatest—a resource you should definitely add to your teacher techbox.

Introducing the Teleport 360 Editor… Brought to you by the makers of ThingLink, this app combines all of your favorite features from the ThingLink desktop 360° photo editor with an easy to use tablet experience. By using the app, both teachers and students can upload and tag their own 360° images or access hundreds of pre-loaded 360° photographs to create all kinds of super cool interactive learning experiences. Whether its virtual lessons, maps or tours, everyone in the classroom will be more than engaged with curricular content and knowledge.

Here’s how it works…

» Upload an image or choose one from the existing library containing professional quality images on topics that include U.S. cities, landmarks, ecosystems, weather patterns and more!

» Begin to build the virtual experience by adding annotations and content such as images, video and audio.

» Transitions to other 360° scenes can be included as well. This feature allows users to connect multiple photos together to tell a story via a virtual tour.

» Share your dynamic, information-rich masterpieces with others.

Check out a few really neat examples of interactive 360° images shown below. The first one, focusing on the Coral Reef Ecosystem, was created by ThingLink Director of Education, Susan Oxnevad. This fan favorite is aligned to NGSS standards, uses a Google Doc to collect data, and it is focused on vocabulary.

The next example, also created by Susan Oxnevad, highlights the Vanuatu Rainforest.

And because I’m a huge Breakout EDU groupie, one of my personal favorites is this example that comes in the form of a digital breakout game. This gem was created by ThingLink rockstar Dan Gallagher.

Note: The iOS app is a freebie; however, a premium subscription to ThingLink is required to use it. And for the Android users—an app is coming your way in the very near future so be sure to stay tuned!

Classroom Connection:

Not every school can afford to purchase virtual reality headsets, but with the Teleport 360 Editor app, they don’t have to! This tool provides cost-effective ways for educators to develop customized VR field trips for the classroom. With the capability of adding a variety of media-rich tags to each image, teachers can generate engaging discovery and learning experiences for their students. And what’s even better—students can become content creators by generating their own projects to share with classmates. What a great way to promote creativity, communication and critical thinking skills!

Stay in the ThingLink know by following news, updates and professional development opportunities on these social media outlets: @ThingLink@ThingLink_EDU and Facebook.com/ThingLink as well as the ThingLink Education blog.

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The Easter Resources Collection: Part VI

April4

Hop on over and check out an updated collection of Easter resources that can be utilized to bring some holiday learning and fun into your classroom. So, whether you’re in need of some lessons that contain a spiritual theme, or maybe you’re just looking for some seasonal fun, there’s a little something, something for everyone. Happy, happy!

» Kids will not only love this egg-citing science activity, they will also learn about the cool chemical reaction that makes it happen. Check out the Easter Egg Rockets, a super cool experiment brought to you by The Stem Laboratory.

» Get your Easter on with 25 quick and fun activities from ThoughtCo.

» Celebrate Easter in your classroom with this collection of resources displayed on ese arts and crafts ideas, educational activities, and printables.

» Do you and your students have spring fever? Then be sure to hop on over to TeachersFirst and check out these resources about Easter. Here you will find a variety of activities to incorporate into your math classes, social studies lessons, writing workshops, and more!

» Need some secular and/or Easter activities and teaching ideas? A to Z Teacher Stuff has you covered!

» Lots of Easter games, puzzles, stories, crafts, poetry and more live here: Apples4theTeacher.com.

» The Busy Teacher provides educators with 64 Easter-related worksheets that can be incorporated into classroom lessons.

» Easter Teaching Resources is a Pinterest board filled with arts and crafts ideas, educational activities, and printables to help you celebrate Easter in the classroom.

» The abcteach Easter category page features hundreds of fun, educational activities for classroom or home use, including coloring pages, crafts, board games, readings, puzzles, interactives, and much more!

» Teaching Ideas offers an extensive range of ideas and resources to teach and learn about Easter—poems, stories, puzzles, curricular activities, images, banners, fonts, videos and Easter Egg Hunts.

» Poetry activities, interactive games, scavenger hunts, sequencing cards, puzzles, a variety templates and more await you on TES Connect—the largest teacher network in the world.

» Larry Ferlazzo’s Web Site of the Day is another site packed with online resources for teaching and learning about Easter and Passover. A few that stood out for me include a variety of Easter videos and articles from the History Channel, the Easter Bunny Rap, How Easter Works and Easter by the Numbers—a fun infographic about this holiday.

» Education World contains resources for teaching science, graphing and creative writing that fit perfectly for Easter fun and learning.

The Activity Village: Easter Activities has a huge selection of Easter activities to explore with elementary students, including coloring pages, printables, jokes, crafts, puzzles and more!

Brought to you by About Education: Easter Resources, this collection of 25 quick and easy Easter resources are sure to keep you and your students busy throughout this spring holiday!

» Harry Kindergarten: Check out this video entitled “The Bunny Goes Hop”, an Easter pattern song for kids, produced by my colleague, Pete Harry. (For additional educational videos and songs, visit the Harry Kindergarten YouTube channel and/or website.)

» And my favorite resource to date? A recipe for creating a really cool and yummy dessert with one of the best holiday treats money can buy! Check out Easter Peeps Casserole here. Your students (and family) will just love, love it! ♥

Classroom Connection:

Use these themed lesson plans, activities and materials to teach students about Easter and Passover.

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Diigo Weekly Bookmarks

April2

diigo iconWhat’s new this week in my Diigo bookmarks? Check out the links shown below to access some super cool digital resources that can be utilized to engage students in your classroom!

» VocApp Flashcards

Learn vocabulary faster and remember it forever with multisensory flashcards. Import, type, dictate or upload a photo… and let the tool do the rest! Study anywhere, anytime with the Android & iOS apps.

» Snapseed

A complete and professional photo editor developed by Google. This iOS and Android app includes 26 tools and filters. A must-have for your toolbox!

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

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The Weekly Edtech Smackdown: Vol. II

March31

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!

» Google Forms & Sheets for Beginners—Sign up for this free webinar on April 4; Hosted by Richard Byrne, author of the Free Technology for Teachers

» 8 Ways the Post-It Plus App Can Be Used in the Classroom

» Almost Paperless Literature Circles (Archived webinar hosted by Ross Cooper)

» How to Insert Super Cool GIFs in Google Docs and Slides

» MySimpleShow: A New, Fun and Easy Way to Create Videos in the Classroom

» 15 Ways for Students to Use Google Keep Infographic—Plus, a bonus resource: The Google Keep Cheat Sheet

» Convert text to all CAPS and more in Google Docs

» Google Drive Tips You Can’t Afford to Miss

» Google Forms Cheat Sheet

» Throw away your coins, cards and dice. Siri can do all of this for you! Great visual from @tonyvincent.

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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April Fool’s Day Resources: Part III

March28

April Fool’s Day is probably one of those classroom holidays you can’t escape—no matter how hard you try. So why not embrace it and teach your students a few things at the same time!

Yes—this means you quite possibly will have to endure some of those harmless pranks and hoaxes associated with this day—spiders in your desk, a plastic snake on your chair, or some mystery student messing with your computer mouse via a USB remote. Of course, I’m speaking from experience.

That said, if you’re one of those educators who enjoys having a little bit of fun with your students, then check out the recently updated list of resources below.

» Busy Teacher: Foolproof Fun Lesson Activities for April Fool’s Day—Reading activities, writing ideas, games and Just for Laughs videos

» Control Alt Achieve: The Best Google April Fools Videos—A collection of prank videos produced by Google which poke fun at current trends, technology and even Google itself

» Education World: Happy April Fool’s Day— Book suggestions, articles, fun facts and a WebQuest

» Teacher Planet: April Fool’s—You can also take advantage of their April Fool’s Day lesson plans, worksheets, clip art and English as a Second Language Resources

» Edutopia: April Fool’s Day in the Classroom: 8 Resources for Teachers—A ton of teaching ideas for bring this day into the classroom, including strategies for for engaging students with humor.

» A to Z Teacher Stuff: April Fool’s Day—Printables, scavenger hunts, worksheets, activities, puzzles and more!

» April Fool’s Day Teaching Ideas—A Pinterest board filled with resources galore!

» April Fool’s Day Lessons & Activities—Another Pinterest board jam packed with creative lessons, activities and crafts.

» Enchanted Learning—All kinds of crafts, riddles, reproducibles related to April Fool’s Day live here!

Check out the video clips below explaining how and why the tradition of playing tricks on people began on April 1.

A shout out to Richard Byrne, author of Free Technology for Teachers, for sharing these cool videos!

Classroom Connection:

Use these resources to teach students about the history behind April Fools Day. And while you’re at it, add some comedy to your day by having some harmless foolproof fun with your students and colleagues.

As Charles Dickens once said, “There is nothing in the world so irresistibly contagious as laughter and good humor.”

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Spring into Magnetic Poetry Activities

March27

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

This Google Slides resource contains 75+ words and phrases that can be manipulated into a fun-filled poem, story, etc. 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 adventure, here are a few additional items worth mentioning:

» The background on the Google Slide is locked so students can avoid accidentally moving it. However, 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!

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

Classroom Connection:

The Spring Magnetic Poetry template can be utilized as 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.

Have fun… And be sure to share your own classroom creations with us!

Spring is a time when you find out who you are and where you’re going… So hold on and enjoy the ride! ♥

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Diigo Weekly Bookmarks

March26

diigo iconWhat’s new this week in my Diigo bookmarks? Check out the links shown below to access some super cool digital resources that can be utilized to engage students in your classroom!

» Madmagz

A platform for collaboratively creating online magazines for free.

» PrepFactory

The best test prep money could buy… Except it’s free! A great place for students to prepare for SAT and ACT tests.

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

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The Weekly Edtech Smackdown: Vol. I

March25

Welcome to the first 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 engage students in your classroom!

» Technology Task/App Challenges for Teachers—These are a.w.e.s.o.m.e!

» How to Create an eBook with Google Slides

» How I Teach Map Skills Through Amusement Park Design

» 15 Great YouTube Channels for Social Studies Teachers

» 11 Excellent Earth Science Apps & Websites for Teachers

» It’s not necessarily an edtech concept, but if you and your students dig bottle flipping, check out a pretty neat idea for a review game here.

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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Diigo Weekly Bookmarks

March19

diigo iconWhat’s new this week in my Diigo bookmarks? Check out the links shown below to access some super cool digital resources that can be utilized to engage students in your classroom!

» A.nnotate.com

An online annotation and collaboration tool for reviewing documents and images. Compatible with all common web browsers, with no software or plugins to install.

» Podcast Garden

A web tool that allows users to upload content to the internet making it available to various downstream distribution outlets. Each podcast is assigned a unique RSS feed URL that is compatible with the iTunes Store and Google Play.

A Windows OS download that allows users to convert files to different formats so they can be easily shared with others. Free to use!

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

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Get Your Edtech Game On with the March Madness Challenge!

March18

Are you ready for some March Madness—edtech style? Then read on to learn how you can make “IT” (Instructional Technology) R.E.A.L. for your students!

How in the world are basketball and education even remotely related, you ask? Well, for some teachers, determining how to best integrate technology into a lesson can be as overwhelming as picking a winner of the NCAA Basketball Tournament. Just like there’s a science to determining the odds of a #16 seed knocking off the #1 pick, there’s an equally logical rationale behind deciding what type of technology will most effectively impact the learning process.

The Great Tool Debate

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 classroom usage. With educational resources spanning from audio recordings to collages, comics, posters, digital books, narrated slideshows, movies, animations and screen casts, there’s never a shortage when it comes to innovative ways to showcase student knowledge and skills. Seriously, if you can imagine creating it–whatever “it” might be, there’s… Yep, you guessed it! An app for that! Actually, there’s most likely two or three or nine of them…at least! So, the burning questions become which one should a teacher choose? And most importantly, why?

The End Game

If the game plan is to integrate technology for the sake of doing so—as opposed to infusing devices and tools to create meaningful learning experiences that are connected to real-world experiences, then expect an upset in the opening round. Instead, the quest for a championship should focus on pedagogy and strategy, not the tool.  

That said, there’s no official selection committee in the ed tech world; however, much like the job of an NCAA representative, the teacher’s role is to ensure the learning resource meets a certain set of criteria. The content, design, and testimonials are all important to consider, but only after the purpose of the integration has been clearly determined. Always ask yourself, what do I want to accomplish and why? Does the learning outcome support the curriculumAnd in the end, will the students come away with something “real” that will teach them a new skill or knowledge that will stick?

By carefully reflecting upon these questions, teachers can ensure that technology is not the main event, but instead just part of the process that enhances the curriculum. This way of thinking and planning will lead to students acquiring the modern-day information literacy skills that are necessary to compete in a high-tech global marketplace.

Tech-knowledge-y Matters!

Representing the schools of creativity, critical thinking, collaboration and communication, here are 14 slam dunks for incorporating a digital activity into the classroom lineup. One of these buzzer beaters from the ed tech playbook are sure to make the highlight film! 

Brack-tech-ology Infographic

Click here to view and/or download a high resolution version of this infographic.

The R.E.A.L. Deal

During your next lesson, challenge students to complete one or more of the activities shown on the poster to see who becomes a champion of your unit of study. You’ll be surprised at the real-life tech skills they’ll pick up along the way while engaging with your learning goals.

Relevant… Engaging… Authentic… Lifelong… The way instructional technology should be!

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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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