Edutech for Teachers

Cool Tools for the 21st Century Classroom

A Must-Have Edtech Cheat Sheet

February10

edtechFlashback to the year 2008 in Pittsburgh, PA to an event known as Boot Camp—a very intense professional development training I was required to attend when I was named our district’s Classrooms for the Future Instructional Technology Coach.

I can recall that within the first hour of this week long experience I felt so completely overwhelmed with the volume of unfamiliar terms I was hearing that I thought I would loose my mind—even though I seriously thought I had a pretty good grasp of all things edtech. Um, not so much! It was as if someone air-dropped me into a third year course of Mandarin Chinese which left me with that sickening what in the what am I doing here feeling. Of course, there were some words that made me giggle too! (i.e. wikis, widgets, vokis and glogs to name a few! That one’s for you, Lori, Stevie and Sharon, my CFFBFFs who helped me survive initiation week—and who have remained my besties ever since. As they say: We’ve come a long way, baby! ♥)

Fast forward to today… Even though there are always new edtech trends emerging, I no longer find myself having those yikes moments when I read about them on Twitter or hear about them on a TEDx Talk. However, as I assist colleagues in the classroom, facilitate PD, and collaborate with a team of administrators and teachers to develop a new K-12 tech plan, I am finding that many of the individuals I encounter throughout my work day are currently experiencing what I did eight years ago—that same what the what feeling that often creates anxiety and doubt.

That said, I did some surfing to try to locate a reference guide that could quickly (and visually) help my co-workers get a better grasp on some of the latest edtech buzzwords. Here is one of the resources I am sharing with them—and you. Hopefully it will help to eliminate some of that app-prehension you might have as you try to choose the best tools or ways to incorporate technology into your classroom!

edtech-cheatsheet

A shout out to Boundless for creating this useful infographic and for the EdTech Digest for sharing it with the rest of us.

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The 12 Ways to Recharge Over the Holidays Infographic

December27

So, you’ve made it to the holiday break—perhaps completely frazzled and worn out, but yes… You, Have. Made. It! As you use this time to relax and enjoy family, friends and/or whatever else makes you happy in life, here are some ideas to help you recharge the batteries before your return to your respective educational spaces in 2016.

12 ways to recharge over the holidays

A shout out to Sylvia Duckworth for creating this very cool sketch note!

By the way—I’m totally into #1, 9 & 10 today! ♥

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Tech It Up Tuesday: How to be a PowerPoint Power User Infographic

November24

tech it up tueday

Got a upcoming presentation to prepare for? Want to avoid “Death by PowerPoint”? If you’ve ever asked yourself one of these burning questions, then this week’s edition of “Tech It Up Tuesday” is just for you…

The folks at Best STL polled some PowerPoint experts for their tried and tested PowerPoint tips then generated the How to be a PowerPoint Power User infographic to help others take their next presentation to the next level. This nifty visual even includes tips about how to smash PowerPoint with some really cool productivity apps to ensure you are prepared for any occasion.

Check it out below!

how-to-be-a-powerpoint-power-user

Click here to view a full screen version of this visual.

Classroom Connection:

You and/and your students can utilize the seven tricks mentioned in the infographic to help your next presentation stand out from the competition.

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The 10 Reasons to Use Technology in Class Infographic

September18

OK, so here it is… Technology is everywhere. It’s basically twisted and tangled into every part of our lives in some sort of way. It impacts how we work, socialize, shop, play, and most significantly, how we learn. With devices, tools and apps increasing their presence in our lives, it only makes sense for educators to influence the learning process with relevant and real world technologies. Check out the nifty infographic shown below, one that illustrates ten ways in which going digital can create more meaningful classroom experiences for students.

10 reasons to use tech in class

A shout out to Sylvia Duckworth for creating and sharing this very useful visual. Click here to view a full screen version of this sketch note.

Classroom Connection:

Use the infographic as a reminder regarding how technology can be used effectively in the classroom.

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50 Web Tools & Mobile Apps for Showcasing Student Work

July31

mobile apps pileWith 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 in the upcoming year, 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

Two thumbs up to Tony Vincent, author of the awesome Learning in Hand web site, for creating and sharing this extremely useful infographic!

Classroom Connection:

Use the visual to discover resources that best suit your students’ needs.

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The 15 Grammar Goofs That Make You Look Silly Infographic

July21

You-Had-Me-At-Your-Proper-Use-Of-YoureYour or you’re? There, their or they’re? I suppose it’s the eternal teacher in me, but there’s nothing that makes my head spin like the Exorcist more than seeing the inappropriate use of these words—in the classroom and beyond! As much as I appreciate gadgets and the digital world in which we live, I would probably have to say that I believe all of the quick and casual codes that are often associated with texting, email and social media have somewhat contributed to the massacre of the English language.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m guilty of using my own form of communication when I’m banging around on my mobile devices, but when I need to write formally or effectively, I can and do. I sometimes wonder: Can our students do the same?

But enough of that totally serious stuff… This was supposed to be a lighthearted post not a debate about technology and its potential effects on grammar. Or is that it’s and affects? Just kidding! Check out the infographic shown below depicting 15 of the most common grammar goofs. It made me laugh (OK, sorta!). If nothing else, learn how you can help your students avoid looking like total hillbillies!

grammar-goofs

A shout out to the Copyblogger for creating and sharing this useful infographic.

Classroom Connection:

Although this visual certainly does not contain all of the grammar goofs that our students (and colleagues!) are guilty of making, this infographic could be used as a quick reference guide and/or as a fun classroom poster that displays some of the most common grammatical errors.

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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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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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The 9 Elements of Digital Citizenship Infographic

April30

digital citizenship transDigital access, commerce, communication, literacy and etiquette… What do these words have in common? Well, for starters, they are all components of digital citizenship. In fact, these concepts—and many more—are part of an online code of ethics students need to know about in order to develop and maintain a positive digital footprint and online presence.

As with any other type of education, we—as educators—can’t make assumptions that students have the necessary knowledge to make good decisions when surfing the web. And even if they do—they’re kids, so yeah, they constantly need to be reminded of what’s cool and what’s not.

With the wide variety of resources available for teachers, there’s no reason we shouldn’t be promoting the importance of behaving safely and responsibly in the digital world. Speaking of resources, check out the nifty infographic shown below, one that can be used to address various aspects of digital citizenship.

photo (22)

Props to Sylvia Duckworth for creating and sharing this very useful visual. Click here to view a full screen version of this sketch note.

Classroom Connection:

Use the infographic to teach students about how to be safe and respectful when utilizing digital networks and social media sites so they can create a positive online identity—one they can be proud of now and in the future.

For more info about digital citizenship, check out the Teacher’s Guide to Digital Citizenship, a recently published article on Edudemic written by 

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Technology Enhances Learning Infographic

April23

multimedia iconsSo, I was looking for some of the latest edtech statistics for a project I’m working on when I happened across this infographic published by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation using data collected from America’s Teachers on America’s Schools. Even though this info was compiled a few years ago, I would venture to guess that if a similar study was conducted today, the results would pretty much indicate the same: Technology is a useful tool—one that can be a benefit to the learning process.

According to the study, 93% of educators agreed that digital resources such as classroom technology and web-based programs help in their students’ academic achievement. 49% of them strongly agreed with this fact. Learn more about teachers’ responses by checking out the infographic shown below.

Technology-Enhances-Learning-Infographic

Click here for a full screen version of this visual.

Classroom Connection:

It’s no secret that today’s students are digital junkies who spend many hours a day using numerous technological devices. It’s their way of life, how they learn, communicate, collaborate. At the same time, it’s also pretty widely known that a plethora of digital resources are available for teachers to utilize in the classroom. However, despite these two circumstances, many schools are still forcing students to learn primarily through the use of traditional textbooks. Ugh!

I don’t know about you, but this information reinforces what I’ve thought for some time: The current educational system needs to do a better job of finding ways to bridge the gap between the old and the new in order to create learning experiences for students that are more relevant and real-world. Will you make a pledge to do so in your classroom?

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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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