Sunday, December 8, 2013

iPad Infused Lesson

iPads are becoming more accessible for teachers and students. Some schools have a classroom set that can be checked-out and some teachers have taken the time and energy to write grants to have their own classroom iPad set. If iPads are available, there are a multitude of ways in which they can be incorporated into lessons across the curriculum.

Below is the final example of an Animoto project that was created with a lesson using a class set of iPads. The lesson plan can be viewed as an image and the final product is inserted below. The project is a novel summary of the novel, Touching Spirit Bear by Ben Mikaelsen.

Click HERE to download the lesson plan.

Touching Spirit Bear

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Future Technologies in the Classroom: QR Codes

QR Codes for the Periodic Table of Elements

Advancements in technology come at us at a rapid pace. As teachers, we cannot keep up with every single new technology. However, there are some emerging technologies that have a direct application to the classroom and can enhance learning and engagement. One of those technologies is Quick Response Codes, better known as QR codes. QR codes are two-dimensional bar codes that can be scanned by a smartphone or tablet and information becomes instantly available to the user.

QR codes have many practical and fun uses for the classroom. QR codes with videos and online interactive games can be put on inanimate objects and help bring them to life. QR codes can be put on classroom library books and students can scan the code to learn more about the book before choosing it to read. Students can create on their own codes to demonstrate their learning of any topic. The options to use QR codes and endless!

Scan these QR codes to find out more about using QR Codes in the classroom:

For those without scanning ability, here are links to the two websites:

Ways to Use QR Codes for Education

Click HERE to create your own QR Code!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Prezi and Digital Citizenship

Prezi is an online alternative to PowerPoint. It allows users to create presentations using a virtual canvas. Presentations can be created using an existing template or the user can create a new and unique one. One benefit of Prezi is that when creating a group presentation, group members using multiple computers may create a Prezi together and edit the information and format at the same time.

The Prezi below discusses one element of Digital Citizenship- your digital footprint. A digital footprint is the “trail” you leave when you interact with anything online such as Facebook, online shopping, blogs, etc. Teacher must educate students on how to be a good digital citizen. Please use the Prezi below to learn more about your digital footprint and why this concept is important to educators.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Professional Development Websites

Teachers have the task of knowing what educational technologies exist and how they can be used in the classroom. As technology changes rapidly, teachers must seek out new information to stay current. One way teachers can find new resources and ideas is the use of educational blogs. There are many educational blogs, some better than others. I selected my “Top Ten” list of educational blogs, focusing on technology in the classroom. Some of the blogs are useful for K-12 teachers and a few are specific to K-6 grades. Blogs and websites provide an up to date means to enhance classroom teaching. Please visit the website to browse my “Top Ten” list.

Click HERE to visit the "Top Ten" list of educational blogs and websites.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Digital Poster

A digital poster allows the user to combine multimedia elements, such as video, audio, images and graphics, into a digital poster available to view on the web. Glogster is a website in which students and teachers can create these digital posters. Glogster allows users to customize an existing template or to start from a blank template. Digital posters can be used as a tool in the classroom as a type of authentic assessment of learning. Instead of writing a paper or taking a test, students can combine all of their learned knowledge from a unit, or even from a semester, into a digital poster. It could also be something that is a work in progress so students can add to it as they cover that material.

I created a digital poster about Arbor Day. I will use this on the last Friday of April in my classroom during my Social Studies or Science time. I will bring it up and allow students to direct their learning by choosing which links to look at and at which time. This digital poster is a fun and interactive way to discuss a holiday that may not fit into the scheduled content. Please view the digital poster below, or click on the link to open in a new window.

Click HERE to open in a new window.

Internet Search Tools

The Internet provides a vast amount of information on any given topic. However, for kids, it is important to search the Internet with appropriate and useful search engines. There are a variety of search tools out there, each with its own pros and cons. I’ve listed below my “Five Favorite Search Engines for Kids” and given a short description about each.

This search engine teaches students the process of Internet searching. It guides students in language usage to find a certain topic. Students are given options such as “Exact Word or Phrase,” “Site,” and “Synonym” and then they provide the specific information for their search. This website would be especially useful in upper elementary middle school as students begin to understand how to refine a search.

This search engine includes a search box and also a list of content areas and subtopics. When searching, the searched word(s) appears red in the results. This helps students, especially ELL students, identify the term they are hoping to learn more about. The search engine also includes a Clip art search area that students could use if looking for pictures for a project.

Google Scholar refines the search results to scholarly literature only. It is a great tool to use with high school students when discussing appropriate sources for research. It also provides APA, MLA, and Chicago citation. However, many of the articles are not available directly to read and must be purchased or accessed through a different database. Google Scholar does not include any ads, so the content is limited to just the scholarly works. This search engine would not be appropriate for elementary or most middle school students as the results are too challenging.

KidRex is a Google-owned search engine for kids that is powered by Google SafeSearch and Google Custom Search technology. The interface is colorful and features a dinosaur and font similar to the writing of a crayon. The site does a good job of filtering inappropriate content, but it still may be more appropriate for upper elementary students. It also is a good instruction to Google, as it operates the same way.

This search engine includes a fun “cloud” feature. Students type in the word or phrase, which they want to search. The engine brings up kid-friendly websites but also brings up other searchable words in the “cloud.” On the interface, the “cloud” is actually a fun, bright, illustrated cloud. This helps guide students to other searchable words related to their topic.