Maybe you love Google. You use Gmail, use YouTube like a television, and consider Google Search your second brain.
But while you like Google’s first-party Nexus devices and variety of second-party tablets from Samsung and others, there’s something about the iPad that draws you closer. The question then becomes a matter of utility and function. Or even manners.
As the world is ever changing, so are the students we teach. We, as teachers, can’t just open up a textbook and teach a lesson like we did 10 years ago. Modern day students have grown up in a world of iPads and smart phones—a world of constant stimulation.
Now, they need teachers who can provide lessons that are just as stimulating. We must evolve with the learner and update our teaching strategies so that they are engaging, motivating, and hold our students’ interests.
Here are a handful of web tools I’ve used in my elementary classroom that will create a stimulating educational environment.
Deb Gardner's insight:
Some of these are a little "gimmicky" but we can purposefully go there!
One of my favorite Google Apps resources is Google Calendar. If your school has enrolled inGoogle Apps for Education, it is part of the GAFE suite of tools. With a Google Calendar, you can more effectively organize and plan your class. Here are five quick tips to help you create an enhanced classroom Calendar to make your school year run smoothly.
I encourage readers to forget everything they have heard about KA and revisit the site with a fresh perspective. More importantly, I hope this article sparks conversation about how technology is used in your school this year. This is just one example of using technology to differentiate student outcomes, and meeting the needs of each individual student are driving this approach. Some teachers can get caught up in the latest ed tech resources and forget to prioritize educational value above all else. Read more about not falling into the trap of cool tools rather than learning in this Connect IT article.
At a time when many teachers and parents (and students!) can feel overwhelmed by the seeming overabundance of standardized tests and educational standards more generally, it falls to the teacher to help the students and parents understand how all of this fits into the larger picture of what students will need to know and be able to do to be successful in the future. This means helping them understand how educational standards fit into 21st century learning, a concept that to many seems contradictory.
Google Docs Add-Ons are new tools created by 3rd party developers that add functionality to Google Docs. Users can access and search for Add-Ons through the menu bar in any Google Doc or Spreadsheet. There are many handy tools to Add-On to Google Docs to improve efficiency and help get work done, and there is even a section for education. Here are a three of my favorite Add-Ons, which I believe are well-suited for teachers and student
In response to yesterday's post about digital citizenship lesson materials for elementary school students I received requests for middle school and high school resources. Here are five of my favorite resources for teaching digital safety and digital citizenship to middle and high school students.
"If you're just going to get up there and do a traditional lecture, that's going to work for some people, but if that's the only way they can get the information, the people it doesn't work for are not really getting anything productive out of the class," says Randy Weinstein, associate dean for academic affairs for Villanova University's College of Engineering. "When they're going to be able to focus on your material is not always going to be Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 8:30 a.m."
At Villanova, Weinstein helped lead a pilot program for flipping engineering courses. New data from the program given to U.S. News shows the bottom third of students' grades were more than 10 percent higher than in a traditional classroom (the difference between a D+ and a C) and more than 3 percent higher for the class as a whole (moving from a C+ to a B-).
The handy infographic below takes a look at the social media use of teens and tweens: What platforms are they using and how much? What is appropriate for them? How can you monitor their use and ensure their safety? Keep reading to learn more.
Helping students understand their digital footprint is an integral part of being a good digital citizen. Knowing that you leave behind a little trail of digital breadcrumbs as you conduct your digital life is useful - and can even help you in some scenarios (like when you need to hunt down something you remember seeing online, but don’t remember exactly where…). But what happens when you need to delete your digital footprint (or more likely, a part of your digital footprint)?
Deb Gardner's insight:
I've considered protecting my digital footprint but never actually deleting it. In fact, many times we act as architects in building a positive online presence.
Through social media, a public cellphone number and a classroom blog, the fourth- and fifth-grade high-ability teacher makes himself and the classroom readily available to parents.
A website serves as a virtual timeline of what Scott's class does on a daily basis. Photos of the day's activities, reminders for parents and students, and links used during lessons are on the site, which serves as the classroom newsletter.
As the new school year starts many teachers will be trying to develop classroom blogs for the first time or revamping old blogs for the new year. The slides below contain examples of classroom blogs. You may find a new-to-you idea in these examples. The slides were created last fall with the help of many readers of Free Technology for Teachers.
A couple of weeks ago I published a round-up of popular ed tech tools that were updated this summer. I had a couple of readers ask if they could print the post to pass out in their schools. Yes, you can. To make it easier to print I put the post into PDF format. In creating the PDF I changed some of the "click here" items to written URLs for finding video demonstrations of updated features. The PDF is embedded below, you can also click here for the PDF.
Even though I’m not a music teacher (nor have I ever been, or will I be), I tend to find technology in music classrooms to be some of the most exciting ways that technology is being put to use in classrooms overall. While there’s lots of time-saving-efficient-cool-useful stuff happening in all types of classrooms, there’s something particularly awesome about making music and integrating some awesome digital technologies into the process. There are a million and one ways to use aniPad or other tablet in your music classroom, but it definitely doesn’t stop there! The handy infographic below takes a look at how technology is revitalizing how musicians compose, record, perform, and distribute music – both in and out of the classroom.
Deb Gardner's insight:
Technology in the music classroom? That's music to my ears!
But technology may be able to help. This list, for example. We’ve offered ideas in the past to help teachers save time, but those can only do so much. As can these apps, but every little bit helps, yes? Your workload, grade level, school climate, personal organizational habits–even beliefs about what a teacher is supposed to be and do all matter more than an app, but if you’re mobile and connected, you at least have a chance.
Ten by Ten presents visitors with a grid of 100 images linked to current events stories. Every hour the top 100 news stories from around the world are linked to images on a ten by ten grid. The stories are ranked according to traffic to the articles. Clicking on an image will provide you with more information including links to more articles about the story. (You must allow pop-ups for the article links to work).
Deb Gardner's insight:
What a cool site! So many opportunities to use in a middle, high, higher ed learning experience.
If you’re a user of Google Drive, then no doubt you have also heard of and likely used Google Presentations (Google’s version of PowerPoint). It’s a great tool to create slick presentations in the cloud, especially after its most recent overhaul. However, Google Presentations is also a handy tool for doing some great projects with your students that have nothing to do with public speaking. Here are some fun exercises you can try in your classes.
Nonetheless, Skype has a potential role in the 21st century classroom. (In fact, in August of last year we looked at 50 ways it could be used in the classroom.)
To help in that regard, langwitches has created a helpful taxonomy to guide teachers on how to plan, evaluate, and execute a Skype conversation for learning. It starts off at the bottom with forced, awkward conversations, and eventually grades to the top, where authentic, free-flowing conversations occur. You can download a pdf versionon her site.
One of my favorite features of Google Drive is Google Forms. If you’re unfamiliar with this, think of it as a way to create quick surveys that can be used for a number of applications. Google automatically aggregates this data into a Google Spreadsheet, making forms a great way to quickly collect and share information. I have seen educators and administrators use Google Forms in the most creative and inventive ways. If you’re just starting with Google Forms, here are five ways that you can use them to streamline your classroom!
As the new school year approaches many of us will be setting up new classroom blogs or revamping the ones we've used in the past. If you're setting up a classroom blog for the first time, here are the three elements that I always add to classroom blogs.
SoundCloud works on Android, iOS, and as a web app. Recordings created with the mobile apps are saved to your online SoundCloud account. From your SoundCloud account you can grab the embed code for any of your recordings. In the video below I demonstrate how to use SoundCloud to create recordings and publish them in your classroom blog.
Deb Gardner's insight:
Unlimited curricular ideas when combining Sound Cloud with other apps - think upper level Blooms and CREATE!