Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Awesome Virtual Online Field Trips

Creating an online virtual experience for your students is easy with these great tools...

Source: http://aceonlineschools.com/25-awesome-virtual-learning-experiences-online/

Monday, August 25, 2014

Start The School Year Off Right... 10 More Easy Tech Tools that every Educator Should have started using Yesterday! Pt. 2

Let's face it! The beginning of the school year is a very exciting time, and it is probably the most busiest time. Finding practical, and simple ways to get things done is essential for a busy educator like yourself. Here are a few simple and amazing tools you should try in your classroom this year. I guarantee that it will engage your students, help you get organized, and also save you some time!

Google Classroom
Classroom is available to anyone with Google Apps for Education, a free suite of productivity tools including Gmail, Drive and Docs.
Classroom is designed to help teachers create and collect assignments paperlessly, including time-saving features like the ability to automatically make a copy of a Google Document for each student. It also creates Drive folders for each assignment and for each student to help keep everyone organized.
Students can keep track of what’s due on the Assignments page and begin working with just a click. Teachers can quickly see who has or hasn't completed the work, and provide direct, real-time feedback and grades right in Classroom.

Graphite Common Sense Media welcomes you to Graphite, a platform created to make it easier for educators to find the best apps, games, and websites for the classroom.

Class Dojo - An oldie but goodie! I think this one will always make my list.
ClassDojo Features:

 Positive behavior management made simple by providing instant recognition in class

ClassDojo enables you to easily award and record points, achievements and rewards for behavior and performance in class in real-time, with just one click of your smartphone or laptop. Social and emotional learning finally gets brought to life!
Check out the website, and view the Demo. http://www.classdojo.com/tour  (the app is free to download too)
This would be a great tool to begin using this year, or maybe you want to try it out for few weeks of school on a trial basis. Either way, its worth checking out!

A game-based classroom response system. This website allows you to assess students learning in a fun and engaging way. It is very simple to use. What sets this response system apart is, that students are in competition to see not only who gets the answer right, but who answers first. At the completion of each question, it ranks the participants in order of who clicked the answer the fastest. You can add images, videos, or text as questions. Students can use computers, laptops, and mobile devices such as tablets, and cell phones.

To create a game click here https://getkahoot.com/
To play a game click here https://kahoot.it/#/

No need to register students. They sign in to the game page with the Game pin you provide. It takes minutes to setup!

Remind / Remind 101 is not just REMIND
Remind (formerly remind 101) is a safe, free way for teachers to text messages students and keep in touch with parents. Let parents know important information is coming home, or important events. Pre-schedule texts to go out. Create multiple groups, and your phone number is never given out.


Play and create video trivia games
What a fun and engaging way to assess students knowledge. Using video clips you create, or find online you can find out what students know about specific subjects.

This one makes my list again!

Create a unique learning experience for your students through Edmodo. Edmodo helps connect all learners with the people and resources needed to reach their full potential.  There are great PLN's already in place. Edmodo provides Back to School Webinars to help get you started. There interactive webinars are hosted by Edmodo Techxperts and cover everything from getting started to using Edmodo in schools and districts, and more. Browse teh webinars page, and tune into the one that works best for you!

Bringit- Simple Online Sign up Sheets
A free way to organize people and events. Organize parent teacher conferences, or special school events. Customize a blank sign up sheet template. Share with anyone, no log-in needed. Participants will receive an email reminder, and you can print out your sign up sheets.

Tired of those same Powerpoint or Keynote templates?  No more Death by PowerPoint.Try Emaze, an online presentation software. Emaze is the next generation of online presentations, empowering you to create an amazing impression through design and technology.

 This one still makes my list!
Social Bookmarking at its finest. What a great way to organize web resources. What I love about Symbaloo is that the websites are images, not just word links. This is especially cool for young students who can't read the words, but would recognize a symbol or picture. Overall it's just much cooler! Create and share webmixes with anyone.

Is Youtube blocked in your district? No worries, use keepvid.com and download and keep any video on Youtube.

While showing a movie have students comment or ask questions

During debate or class discussion have students make comments or ask questions

Another one that still makes my list!
Share videos, photos, documents easily. Connect a DropBox account to your iPad and have images, and video automatically synced between devices. Utilize the website, ios APP, or Desktop APP to manage files where-ever you are.

Don't forget these too...

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Nice Shout out from Tech & Learning Magazine

Science Interactives

TCEA has listed these 
Amazing Science Interactives

If there's any subject area that can benefit from powerful Web 2.0 tools and interactives, it's science. These hands-on resources can help your students better understand a complex topic or extend their learning.
If the Moon Were Only 1 Pixel shows students the true size of our solar system. Scrolling (forever) gives us a taste of the vastness of space in this accurate portrait.
The Compound Machine from EdHeads teaches how forces and simple machines can work together.
Learn the parts of animal, plant, and bacterial cells with Cell Games (for middle school students). 
The BBC offers several different interactives on the human body at this website for high school students.
Are you really in danger when you are taking those hairpin turns and death-defying loops on a roller coaster? Discover howamusement park rides use the laws of physics to simulate danger, while keeping the rides safe. 
In this interactive, trace the effects of the best-understood mass seeding of all, that of oak-tree acorns. 
Learn about hearing in this series of interactives called How Your Brain Understands What Your Ears Hear.
Build your own interactive models of almost anything with theMolecular Workbench. These interactive simulations for high school students can be downloaded for Windows, Mac, and Linux.
Wonderville is a fun, interactive destination for elementary kids to discover the exciting world of science. 
Additional science interactives can be found at here and here.

Connecting Around the World! Mystery Skype, Twitter & Google Hangouts!

Connecting around the world! 
It's time to change the way we teach!

Using Mystery Skype, Twitter, and Google Hangouts are great ways this can be done!

  We need to allow our students to really collaborate. Not only with each other, but with others outside of your classroom walls.

Skype in The Classroom anyone??

Skype can be used in the classroom to support your curriculum, such as participating in a Mystery Skypes, Author visits via Skype Experts, or Skype with another classroom to share projects or become pen pals. 

There are over 70,000 educators around the world who use Skype in their classrooms everyday!

NASA has a Digital Learning Network that you can sign up your classes to Skype with an astronaut or a member NASA They have a variety of topics from Food in Space to Robotics to Life on Mars. It's a great way to have your students connect with experts. There is a lesson on Solar Neighborhood.

Have you ever participated in a Mystery Skype? OMGEEE... What are you waiting for? 
Mystery Skype has become a world-wide movement. Focusing on Geography, Map and Critical Thinking Skills, your students can connect with other students around the world. Check out my post about Why I love Twitter & Mystery Skype

 Our 4th graders had so much fun during their Mystery Skype. They created an iMovie trailer to highlight their experience.
Mystery skype engages students!!

Connecting Students Around the World

You can find this one, and other great ideas, and resources of experts to skype with on the skype classroom website. Also, if you have an idea, you can add a lesson on the website and share with others to participate in.  However, I am also very impressed with Google Hangout Field Trips. There are a lot of organizations that provide virtual field trips for all grade levels, most recently I came across the Google Doodle virtual field trip where they shared with students how they create the cartoons for the Google homepage, and allowed them to tour the Google headquarters.  
Meet the team of illustrators and engineers who design the Google homepage logos
From Sketches to the Google Homepage
From Sketches to the Google Homepage: Virtual Field Trip
Recording Now Available at www.DiscoveryEducation.com/Doodle4Google
This site comes with lesson plans, and activities for students

How about taking a virtual field trip via Google Hangout?

Twitter is a great way to connect with educators, and experts from around the world.
I know of a 3rd grader who was assigned to complete a research report about Hawaii. Instead of relying just on books in the library, or a Google search, this students' parents took to twitter and put a request out to find a family who was currently living there, and would be willing to skype with their son, so they could ask questions about where they lived. This experience was much greater for the student, and their report turned out 100x better!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

A nice Shout-out from ISTE!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Summer Learning! Keep Learning Fun With Great Websites and Interactives

Summer Summer Summertime!!!! One Tool at A Time! How can you increase your Technology Toolbox?

We are winding down the school year, and I know most of you will use your summer time not only to relax, but you also constantly reflect on the school year, and research new ways to teach, and new tools to use in your classroom next year. The whole idea is not to focus a ton of energy on a bunch of different tools to overwhelm yourself, after all its summertime!!!! So how about just learning one tool at a time?
I have a few ideas of some great tools you can explore this summer, and hopefully you can find some fantastic ways to use them. 

Have you thought about blogging? Blogging is a great way to share information with parents and other educators the wonderful things you are doing in your classroom. Using Blogger as a tool is a great way to do this. If you are reading this post, you are reading it on Blogger. Blogger is simple to use and is already embedded in Google, which make it very easy to access. A lot of educators blog to share great ideas with others, and it would behoove you to follow their blogs. Some great blog sites to get you started are: blogger, edublogs, and wordpress.
EdTech Magazine created a list of Must Read Educators Blogs. Check out their list                                              (fyi- I am featured as one of the top 5 :) )

Are you on twitter?
 Twitter is one the easiest and common ways to develop a strong PLN. In order for it to be valuable, you also need to be a contributor. You have awesome things to share with others. Following people who share the same role you do in education, or what you aspire to be, is key to staying connected, and current with tech trends. When corporations want to get the word out on their new products, they usually take to twitter and other social media first. Twitter allows you to create your own learning opportunities, anywhere, and anytime. The connections you make through social media lead you to a wealth of knowledge that is not made possible without it.Twitter is a grand place to gather ideas and information from educators all around the world. Connect with like minds, experts, and others who have an interest in education. Check out my blog post about why you should be using twitter, and be sure to follow me @msedtechie

Still looking for ideas of tried and true ways other educators are using technology in the classroom? Try searching on Pinterest. There are so many edtech pinterest boards, where people post apps and blogs to try out, as well as ideas for using and iPads, and other technologies. If you are a visual person, pinterest is perfect for you. Pinterest is a sure way to find some great ideas for the classroom, and connect with awesome educators around the world.

Teachers Pay Teachers-

If only I would have thought of this! Teachers are taking what they have created for their classroom and sharing it with others. Some items for free, some are at a low -cost. Let's just face it, a lot of us don't have the time to spend hours developing lessons and projects for our students, due to various reasons, but having access to thousands of projects and lessons at your finger tips delivers a powerful one-two punch. Save time by browsing through resources other teachers have perfected, and use them to provide meaningful learning experiences for your students.

Participate in webinars, online classes, or tech forums. There are so many free webinars available to educators or various topics, covering various tools. Join organizations like TCEA, or Simple K-12, or ACDS. Most webinars are archived, so even if you are not able to catch the live one, you can go back and listen to the recording. The cool thing about that is you can stop, rewind, and pause when you need to, and take notes easily.

A great way to engage students is through video. Have you ever thought about flipping your classroom? Or maybe just capturing the wonderful work you are doing with students and sharing it with the world? These video tools are awesome, try one or two, or three of these!

Check out this thinglink of other powerful webtools you should try this summer!

Well as we bring this school year to a close, I am sure you will use this summer to relax, but also reflect. As educators, you must constantly be looking and searching for new and innovative ways to share information with students. Hope you take some of my suggestions for making sure you are refreshed and rejuvenated for the fall, and also ready to take on new challenges, and opportunities to enhance learning in your classroom.
Don't let the whole summer go by without you enhancing your life by exploring fantastic ways to improve the quality of your instructional practices, and filling up your learning toolbox!

About Me

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Patricia J. Brown is a 13-year education veteran with an eye for engaging classroom technology. The technology integration coach for Missouri’s Ladue School District in St. Louis shares classroom-friendly apps, websites and more on her blog. • msedtechie.blogspot.com • @msEdtechie