Edutech for Teachers

Cool Tools for the 21st Century Classroom

Tech It Up Tuesday: 50 Tools & Apps for Showcasing Student Knowledge

July11

tech it up tueday

Are you ready for the first summer 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?

If so, you’re going to love this week’s resource—a super cool and extremely useful infographic created by Tony Vincent, edtech guru and author of the Learning in Hand web site. Read on…

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 learning using tech tools, here’s an awesome 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 access to a pdf that can be printed. A link to view the info on Scribd is also available.

Classroom Connection:

Use the visual to discover resources that will provide your students with the opportunity to show, explain and retell their knowledge.

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ViewPure: YouTube Videos Without the Clutter

June3

Looking for a way to watch YouTube videos with your students minus the distracting and sometimes inappropriate advertisements, comments, and other extraneous info that is included on the page? If so, ViewPure is the perfect tool for you!

ViewPure allows users to copy the URL of a video into the “purifier”. Once this link is inserted, the “Purify” button can be selected and bang! Your video is displayed on a clutter-free background.

Videos can also be “purified” through the use of the ViewPure bookmarklet. Simply install the applet to your favorites toolbar, then click the “purify” button while on the YouTube page of the video you wish to filter and voila!

Check out the example below showing how ViewPure works:

» An Ancient Egyptian video from YouTube before using ViewPure:

viewpure2

FYI: The actual URL for this video lives here.

» The same Ancient Egyptian video from YouTube after using ViewPure:

viewpure1

Click here to view the unique URL ViewPure generates for each video that is “purified”.

Classroom Connection:

Use ViewPure to eliminate unnecessary distractions from YouTube videos so students can better focus on the content at hand.

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Tech It Up Tuesday: Get Inspired with Automotivator

February7

If you’re ready for the next 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, then you’re going to love this week’s resource!

It’s one I snagged from the archives, but definitely one worth a look—especially if it’s not already part of your tech toolbox.

Automotivator is an online poster generator that allows users to create super cool motivational posters. Besides being free (although there is an option to professionally print your final product), users do not need to register for an account to utilize this edtech favorite.

The process of creating a poster is a fairly simple one. Users can upload an image from their computer or another web site, select the font style and color, and then type the motivational message. Once completed, posters can be saved, printed and/or uploaded to other online spaces (i.e. blogs, wikis, Flickr, social media, etc.).

Check out a student example shown below:

Classroom Connection:

If you’re looking for a simple yet effective way to integrate technology into a lesson, then Automotivator is just the tool for you! This nifty application can be integrated with various instructional strategies at any grade level and in any content area—particularly with bellringers and exit tickets, especially if the activity is designed to review a concept, skill or vocabulary learned in a lesson, chapter or unit.

Another idea: Instead of creating posters with the latest music or sports stars on them, photograph students from your class to create motivational posters with “real people” in them.  This would be a great way to promote classroom and/or school rules, slogans and mottoes.

Whatever the nature of the actual assignment, once students submit their individual projects, a visual dictionary for the class can be created and shared.

Even though the Automotivator site does not allow for much student creativity, the task of actually locating or taking a photo that matches a concept and then summarizing thoughts on the image can help to sharpen critical thinking skills.

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Tech It Up Tuesday: The Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy Verbs Infographic

January31

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 gem is an infographic—one that will assist teachers with combining technology with digital tools to facilitate learning. And it goes something like this:

Of course, teachers know all about Bloom’s Taxonomy, but if you’re a technology integrator this one’s especially for you! What makes this visual a grand slam is that it provides educators with power verbs to assist us with incorporating digital resources (web tools, apps, etc.) into each stage of the taxonomy.

Check it out right here, right now…

blooms-taxonomy-verbs-rev

Need a poster of this useful infographic? Well, the Global Digital Citizen Foundation has you covered. They offer two different versions of the visual for downloading and printing. One is a quick print 11″X17″ PDF file for colorful handouts. The other is a 18″X30″ poster-size file for professional printing. Choose the one that’s best for you, or snag both as they are freebies! Either way, the hard copy would be a great addition to an office or classroom wall.

Classroom Connection:

Whether you’re developing lessons, creating rubrics and/or completing any other task requiring planning and assessment strategies, the infographic can be used to guide technology use in the classroom.

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Tech It Up Tuesday: Differentiate Instruction Using Google Classroom

January17

It’s Tuesday and time for me to unleash the first tech-isode of 2017! Read on to learn more about “Tech It Up Tuesday”, a series of posts 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… Earlier this month Google released additional updates for its learning management system, Google Classroom. These new features impact teachers (i.e. new notifications to manage student work), administrators (i.e. Classroom data will be included in the Admin Console Reports) and developers (i.e. the integration of various tools including gamification capabilities and the ability to automate classes from an SIS).

Pretty sweet! But nothing quite compares to the release of this bombshell: A way for teachers to differentiate instruction. So when teachers click that “+” button to add an assignment, announcement or question to a class stream, we now have some options that make it very simple to assign work to the entire class, individuals or a group of students. The info will only be displayed to students to whom it is assigned.

This super useful feature looks something like this…

Detailed instructions regarding the use of the differentiation feature can be found here.

Classroom Connection:

Besides the obvious application of distributing differentiated info to students, this new option could be helpful in a number of ways, including, but not limited to…

» Remedial or extension activities (for students in need of extra practice or enrichment)

» Group activities (different directions, documents, etc. can be assigned to different groups)

» Leveling activities (create various versions of the same assignment, varying the number of steps and/or rigor)

» Providing info to students who are absent for short or long-term periods of time

Thank you, Google! Teachers all over the world are doing a happy dance!

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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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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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Tech It Up Tuesday: Visualize Text with Doodle Splash

April19

tech it up tueday

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

Before revealing this week’s resource, we’re going to kick things off with some words of wisdom from Fran Claggett, an educational pioneer in the use of images to teach literature.

Through the use of graphics, students have opportunities to experience all four functions as they interact with the books they are reading and the essays, stories, and poems they are writing.

Yep, it’s true! Teaching students to visualize what they are reading and/or having them create graphic symbols to represent text helps them develop as readers. So, what types of activities can you do to ensure this type of learning takes place in your classroom?

For one, check out Doodle Splash, a cool interactive from ReadWriteThink, that combines the process of drawing with analytical thinking about a text by pairing an online drawing space with writing prompts that encourage students to make connections between their visual designs and what they have read.

The image below not only illustrates the Doodle Splash work space, but it is a student example as well.


Worried about whether or not students can complete their work in one class session? No problem! Learn how work can be saved and finished at a later time by viewing the video shown below.

 

Classroom Connection:

Doodle Splash can be used for a whole-class discussion of a short story (or part of a novel), small group work, or individually—all situations in which students can use symbols, drawings, shapes, and colors to construct a graphic of their story, chapter or article. After completing their individual or group images, students have the ability to print out their final versions for sharing, feedback and/or assessment.

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Tech It Up Tuesday: The Copyright Guidelines for Images Infographic

April12

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

This week’s geeky goodness is about to get started right here, right now with some very important info…

Since an educator can never share enough copyright guidelines with students, here’s another easy to read and understand infographic regarding the use of images.

Although not comprehensive, it does include the basics regarding copyright, fair use, creative commons and public domain so it’s an excellent place to begin the discussion—especially if you haven’t already done so. Check it out!

YouCanUseAPictureIf

Click here to view a larger version of this image.

A high five to The Visual Communication Guy (a.k.a. Curtis Newbold) for creating and sharing this very useful infographic!

Classroom Connection:

Use the Copyright Guidelines for Images infographic as a conversation starter and/or reminder when students are developing multimedia activities, presentations and projects.

The visual is also a great resource for teaching students to be responsible digital citizens!

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Tech It Up Tuesday: Green Screen Magic with the Do Ink App

February23

tech it up tuedayIt’s Super Tuesday! Well, at least it is for me here in Hershey, PA at the Pennsylvania Educational Technology Expo and Conference. So that means it’s time for me to share another tech-isode in my “Tech It Up Tuesday” series in which I will share an edtech tool, app, site or other resource that can be utilized in the educational setting.

I’ve learned about so many new cool tools and fabulous integration ideas over the past three days, that it’s been mind boggling to say the very least. That said, it’s really difficult for me to narrow down this week’s selection to one choice. However, since one of the concepts that has been repeatedly discussed is the importance of providing students with the opportunity to be producers with and of technology, I thought I would focus on just that—especially after attending a session on app smashing that involved the use of the Do Ink app.

In a post I recently published entitled Become a Green Screen Wizard with the Do Ink App, I discussed why this resource is one of my favorite apps and included an student generated example from a first grade classroom. This time I’m going to take this article one step further and provide you with the training materials I used to roll out the Do Ink app to teachers in my district.

Just hover over the interactive image below (created using ThingLink) to access a ton of resources and examples to help you get started on your green screen journey utilizing the Do Ink app. There are also a variety of links connecting you to the Do Ink site, apps, tutorials and Pinterest Boards full of tip, tricks and integration ideas.

Check out a full screen version of this interactive image here.

Here’s another green screen example written and produced by a few of my Tech Club students called Where in the World?—one that is aired on our morning announcements program.

So, Where in the World are Trevor and Jackson? To find out if you’re a geography rock star, check out Part II of this segment by hovering over the ThingLink image shown above!

Classroom Connection:

As previously mentioned, the Do Ink app can be used to leverage green screen technology in your space. Not only can teachers bring learning to life, but providing students with the opportunity to generate this type of video project allows them to demonstrate knowledge and creativity in a fun, meaningful and engaging way.

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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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