“Creativity is inventing, experimenting, growing, taking risks, breaking rules, making mistakes, and having fun” Mary Lou Cook
NCTIES is one of my favorite conference each year. I love learning new things and sparking new ideas to share with others. Here are 10 new tools I learned about that I have not used before but will be using in the classroom: (These are in no particular order)
- Quick, Draw: This is a game built with machine learning. You draw, and a neural network tries to guess what you’re drawing. The machine guessed 4/6 of my drawings.
- Bloxels for Kids: This is an innovative video game development platform that allows you to create your own video games. I love that it is created by kids for kids.
- Sutori: This is a place students can create their own digital story timelines.
- Post it Plus App: Take a picture of the post-its that you were using to brainstorm/collaborate and save it as a picture. You can then later rearrange or add to it.
- Phonto: Add text to photo’s…so many great ways to use this in the classroom.
- Quizalize: Similar to Kahoot but what I like about more is students can take it at their own pace.
- Vizia: This site makes a quiz from any video, sends answers to a spreadsheet!
- Inklewriter: Create your own choose your adventure story.
- OpeneBooks: This site, once you create an account, offers free ebooks for students.
- Teach Your Monster to Read: This site is great for the younger students and ESL students.
*Bonus: Richard Byrne shared all his presentation slides here from the conference as well.
“Life is filled with tests, one after another, and if you don’t recognize them, you are certain to fail the most important ones.” By Brian Herbert
In a recent study from Stanford, Evaluating Information: The Cornerstone of Civic Online Reasoning, displays that a vast majority of students can’t determine it what they read on websites is true or false. (I would also be interested in a further study to see how many adults can identify fake news as sometimes I see adults posting fake news too.) The skills of evaluating fake news and information are a very important part of Digital Citizenship and Digital Literacy.
As educators we need to have an understanding ourselves where information comes from so we can help guide students. We need to explicitly teach if an article, blog post etc is reliable and accurate. We can start doing that be utilizing these three core ideas:
Consider the Source: Where was the information published? Remember anyone can make a website.
Check the Author: What do you know about the author(s)? What else have they written?
Check the Date: When was the information posted? How long ago was it updated?
Below are some resources you can use in the classroom for teaching how to spot fake news:
Chrome Extension: Fake News Detector
Snopes (Put in a url you are wondering about and they will fact check it)
Fictitious, Satirical, Bogus, Fallacy-laden Websites (Sites that are fake you can use to teach students about digital literacy and spotting fake news. I would make this into a web-quest mixing real and fake news to see how many they can identify)
Lesson Plan: Fighting Fake News
Lesson plan: How to teach your students about fake news
Fake News and What We Can Do about It: HS Lesson Plans
More articles on fake news:
Mission Critical: How Educators Can Help Save Democracy
Who Stands Between Fake News and Students? Educators
Evaluating Sources in a ‘Post-Truth’ World: Ideas for Teaching and Learning About Fake News
Most Students Don’t Know When News Is Fake, Stanford Study Finds
How to Spot Fake News
“The mind has exactly the same power as the hands; not merely to grasp the world but to change it.” By Colin Wilson
A Makerspace is a learning environment where everyone can discover, collaborate, and create things. It is not defined as a certain space but rather an area of exploration, experimentation and tinkering. Many schools have been adding Makerspaces into their media centers but that is not the only place they have to be. You can add them into your classroom as well. There is a misconception that Makerspaces have to have technology such as a 3d printer and this is not true. I have seen many awesome Makerspaces with no technology in them such as Fashion Makerspaces. Ask parents to donate supplies or apply for a grants through Donors Choose or Go Fund Me: Education to help launch your Makerspace.
Here are some examples items you can put into your Makerspaces but not limited too:
- Recyclables: This is a cheap and easy way to start a Makerspace.
- plastic bottles or cups
- altoid tins
- egg cartons
- milk cartons
- popsicles sticks
- Electronic/Technology Items:
Helpful Articles and Resources:
7 Things You Should Know About Makerspaces
Book: Invent to Learn
My previous Makerspace posts:
Makerspace in Education
Ways to Use Blokify – Without a 3D Printer in the Classroom
Adding Creativity and Imagination to the Classroom
I would love to hear what you put into your Makerspaces.
“An understanding of computer science is becoming increasingly essential in today’s world. Our national competitiveness depends upon our ability to educate our children—and that includes our girls—in this critical field.” By Sheryl Sandberg
It is that time of year again where I love to remind and promote Hour of Code to all educators. This year the Hour of Code is the week of December 5-11, 2017. The Hour of Code is a global movement hosted by Computer Science Education Week and Code.org reaching millions of students, in over a 100 countries from K-12th grade. The concept is simple, it gives students an one-hour introduction to computer science and computer programming.
In North Carolina alone there are 16,919 open computing jobs (4.7x the state average demand rate) with only 1,224 computer science graduates. You can learn more about how you can support North Carolina Computer Science here or about any other state here.
More great resources:
Apple is offering FREE Hour of Code Workshops
10 projects to kickstart Hour of Code
Hour of Code with Kodable
Here are my previous years blog posts on Hour of Code along with other Computer Science blog posts that have helpful resources:
Resources for CS EdWeek 2015
Hour of Code
The Foos: Kids Coding App
Using Kodable App in the Classroom
Bridging Coding and Common Core with Tynker
I hope all of you give your students the opportunity to see what coding and computer science is all about! You don’t have to know how to code or anything about computer science to provide students the spark to get them excited about learning computer science!
“Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up.” A. A. Milne
Below are my top FREE to-do list tools! All the tools are simple to use and work on all devices. I like to model how to use these tools and incorporate them into the classroom through different projects. This allows students to decide which one they like best for themselves.
- Google Keep: I love Google Keep because it is fast and flexible. You can set reminders and color code your to-do lists. There is also a new Google Keep extension which allows you to save the things that you find to Keep in a single click. This is a great new feature especially for your students when they are researching as they can save their websites in one click. Here is my previous blog post on Google Keep from a few years ago….yes and I still use it!
- Trello: I like Trello when working on big projects with a group of people. You can add comments, attachments etc to the Trello cards. You can create timelines and checklists for different parts of the project but it is all housed together on one board.
- Wunderlist: I like using this one as a way of breaking down large projects/tasks into smaller chunks for individual students. I used to do this for students and put it on their desks or in their agenda. Putting the chunks on the app makes it much more desecrate.
These are just a few of the ways you can use any of these tools in the classroom.
“Changes call for innovation, and innovation leads to progress.” By Li Keqiang
I am always looking for great web tools to enhance instruction in the classroom. These are some of my favorites that I have not blogged about before and all of them are FREE!
- Common Lit has high-interest, leveled, fiction and non-fiction instructional materials to support literacy development for students in grades 5-12 (grades 3-4 are coming soon) that are also Common Core aligned. Once you have an account, you can assign text to students based on their level and it will also track the students progress. When you assign a resource text to students, they will be asked to read the text and complete the set of text-dependent questions. There are also discussion questions as well for the teacher to use in class, along with a teacher guide with more resources. Check out this introduction video and/or read an article about Common Lit to learn more.
- Prodigy Math gives the students a diagnostic test to place students on their level and is adaptive to the students needs allowing the students to succeed at their own pace. The teacher and student can see the skills they have mastered, partially mastered or not mastered on a data dashboard.
- With Symbalo0 Lesson Planning (different than Symbaloo but by the same company) you can create a gaming-style playlist or pathway using tiles to build paths for students so they may learn at their own speed. You can add questions into the paths that allows the student to have check-points throughout a standard/unit. (At this time it is free but it is a newer tool so I am not sure how long it will be free.)
Here are a few previous blog posts on web tools I have done:
- Creating with New* Web Tools
- Tools for an Educators Toolkit
- Sites that are Not Well-Known, that You Should Know as an Educator
“The most important thing is a person. A person who incites your curiosity and feeds your curiosity; and machines cannot do that in the same way that people can.” by Steve Jobs
Recently the Apple Education Team launched Apple Teacher, a program to help teachers integrate technology skills into the classroom. Apple Teachers are recognized for their understanding of how to use Apple products for teaching and learning. They have proven knowledge of using iPad, Mac, and built-in apps to enhance productivity and inspire creativity in their classrooms and beyond. Apple honors their achievement and commitment to creating the very best learning experiences for students. Anyone can become an Apple Teacher and it is FREE.
To sign up to be an Apple Teacher, click here. You will then be taken to the ‘Apple Teacher Learning Center’. The Apple Education team has personalized the learning experience for you because you can choose which Apple Teacher path you want, either iPad or Mac, to become an Apple Teacher. (You can also do both paths if you want to as well.)
All you need to do is complete eight online quizzes, in any order that you want, to earn badges. You do not need to review the study materials or resources provided if you feel you have mastered the content of a certain quiz, you can just take the quiz. For example, I use iMovie on my Mac a lot; I felt pretty confident that I didn’t need to utilize the resources provide and I just took the quiz. You can complete the quizzes at your own pace and once you earn all eight badges, you’ll receive an official Apple Teacher logo that you can share with the world.
Apple Education Team will also be updating the Apple Teacher Learning Center, so be sure to come back and check out new learning materials! What do you have to lose, give it a try and Good Luck!