Posts tagged ‘Technology’

Digital Learning Day 2016

“Digital media enables us to build more stages for our kids to express themselves.” – Marco Torres

National Digital Learning Day 2016 (#DLDay) is February 17th, 2016. Digital Learning Day began in 2012 as a way to ensure all students have access to high-quality learning opportunities. It is not about technology; it is about learning. Digital Learning Day promotes the effective use of today’s tools/online resources/digital content to improve the learning experiences for our students. Instruction includes opportunities for learning anytime and anywhere to ensure all students reach their full potential.

Digital Learning Day site has lots of resources and ideas that you can do with your students. Here are three more:

  1. Create a class Instagram page and have students share pictures of them using technology in the classroom. Then continue to share via Instagram the rest of the year! It’s referred to as picture blogging.
  2. As a class or in small groups rewrite (lyrics) and recreate a song that represents all the great things you have done in the classroom with technology and learning. Here is one a local school did for the Carolina Panthers to wish them luck in the SuperBowl.
  3. Have students create poems reflecting on digital tools they have used in the classroom. For examples, check out these students reflections on their school year.

I would love to know what you are going to do for Digital Learning day 2016! Please share in the comments.



Characteristics of Digital Curriculum

“We need technology in every classroom and in every student and teacher’s hand, because it is the pen and paper of our time, and it is the lens through which we experience much of our world.” By David Warlick

The Learning Counsel recently printed a special report on The 71 Characteristics of Digital Curriculum. After reading it, I felt that it was important to break it further down to the top characteristics teachers should know and be aware of. Below are the top 10 characteristics in my opinion:

  • Annotating: The ability to digitally mark up content using highlights, comments etc
  • Accessibility: On and offline access to strong digital content
  • Gambling: It is not what you are thinking – example poker  – but it is when games use coins that students can spend. (Ex. Dreambox, Zeal) You should be mindful of this because in some states it is banned.
  • Virtual Reality: artificial 3D environments that is affected by as action of a person.
  • Gating: is the ability of a teacher or adaptive learning engines incorporated into the curriculum platform to determine the progress of a student through learning.
  • Portability: The ability to access and interact with content across multiple hardware devices of different operating systems etc.
  • Coding: Computer language code or an order of logical operations are created as part of earning. (There are many coding languages such as HTML, Java, Python, C++ etc)
  • Game-Based Learning:mThe practice of and demonstrating of learning through the use of a game or game-like environment. (Leaders boards, rankings, leveling up)
  • Intelligent Learning Engines: is a capability in what is known as adaptive software. The software tracks what the student gets right or wrong and  tracks a path for them based on their needs.
  • Collaborative-Ware: software tools that allow real time collaboration (Example Google Drive, OneNote)

You can read the full special report The 71 Characteristics of Digital Curriculum by Learning Counsel.


“Learning Counsel | Special Report.” 2015. 17 Jan. 2016 <>

The Internet and Your Brain

The Internet is so big, so powerful and pointless that for some people it is a complete substitute for life.” By Andrew Brown

One of the topics I have found interesting over the last year is neuroscience, especially with the brain and learning.

Distracted? Here is how the Internet is changing your brain!

Your Brain on the Internet

Students Creating with iPads

“Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will.” By George Bernard Shaw

To often lately I have been walking into classrooms and students are on iPads but all they are doing is either using it for research or to play a game. The iPad is a tool that allows our students to create content verses only consuming. Students can use higher order thinking skills to apply what they know when using many apps. The students then own the learning because they are applying concepts verse regurgitating information. Here are some of my new favorite FREE iPad apps and some oldie but goodies.

  1. Koma Koma – is a stop-animation app. It is simple to use with only four commands — shoot, delete, play and save.
  2. Adobe Slate –  create visual stories easily with this app.
  3. Shadow Puppet Edu – create videos in the classroom to explain ideas. There is also 30+ lesson ideas supporting Common Core too! (Great for all ages but I love that it is easy enough for K-1 students to use as well)

Oldies but goodies that I still use in the classroom:

  1. Thinglink
  2. ShowMe
  3. Tellagami
  4. StoryMe
  5. Adobe Voice
  6. Toontastic
  7. Padlet
  8. Haiku Deck
  9. iMovie
  10. ReadWriteThink Apps such as Trading Cards

All these Apps I have shared can be used across all content area and in many different ways from tasks to projects.

3 Ways Periscope Can be Used in the Classroom

“Everything we hear is an opinion, not a fact. Everything we see is a perspective, not the truth.” by Marcus Aurelius

Periscope is a FREE and easy to use app that lets you explore the world by watching and creating live broadcasts anytime and anywhere. Viewers can also interact with you through messaging or ‘liking’ with hearts. The videos as of now, only last for 24 hours to review after the live broadcast. Below are ways you can use it in your classroom:

  1. Bring in real world and global relevance through virtually visiting with an expert. How great would it be to watch a live broadcast that you set up with an expert while they are in ‘action’. Example periscope with a scientist as they are working in the lab.
  2. Have students create ‘how to’ or show their thinking videos on any topic or subject in real-time. Example: Have a student explain how to multiple and divide fractions. This video can then be used to help others in the classroom if they get stuck on an activity or on homework.
  3. Have an open classroom (or PD session) by broadcasting what is going on in your classroom. This allows others to ‘see’ into your classroom. Example: Have other teachers watch best practices in action or a student that is absent can now be apart of the class while they are away.

When using any technology in the classroom make sure to think about CIPA, COPPA and FERPA laws. Be aware that you will want to have a classroom account (especially if your students are under 13) as you will want to make sure you set up the account so students have a safe environment. For example you might want to shut off comments as you don’t know what people will write or you might want the videos private verse public.

I would love to hear other ways you can use Periscope in the classroom, please share in the comments below.

Tools for an Educators Toolkit

“Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” by Malcolm X

Below are some websites that you should add to your toolkit of resources for your classroom for both you and your students to utilize. I like them all but did add an asterisk next to my favorites. Some are new while others are oldie but goodies

Create Engaging Video Lessons: Metta, Zaption, Vialogues, Ted-Ed*, EdPuzzle* and Google Forms*

Virtual Field Trips: 3D Gallery, Google Cultural Institute, Google Lit Trips*, Google Trek*

Presentations: PowToon, Prezi, Haiku Deck, Emaze, Piktochart

Interactive Sites: Blendspace*, Thinglink* GooseChase* Canva

Assessments: Quizizz, Jeopardy labs, iClickerKahoot*, Plickers*, Google Forms*

Content: iTunes U, Open Ed, Newsela*, Crash Course* a You Tube Channel by John and Hank Green (Yes the author and his brother)

Backchannel and the Classroom

“Communication leads to community, that is, to understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing.” By Rollo May

A backchannel is a great way your classroom can have a digital conversation. When using a backchannel in your classroom it is important to have clear expectations of how to use it. When doing an activity with a backchannel (really it should be when doing any classroom activity) make sure you set the purpose and have an outcome for the activity. Below are some reasons to use a backchannel, ways you can add it into your classroom and sites you can get started with.

Reasons to use a backchannel: 

1. It allows all students voice to be heard

2. It provides students with an outlet to engage in conversation (especially for those that are introvert/shy)

3. It allows the student to participate at their own pace

4. It is a written representation of what happened in the classroom

5. It helps build classroom community (if used correctly and with expectations)

Ways you can add it into your classroom:

1. Hold discussions about a book or other topic (especially for when watching a video clip to share thoughts)

2. Brainstorm ideas for projects, writing etc

3. Informal assessment/exit ticket or to poll student responses

4. You or students can provide links to resources and other rich media

5. As a ‘help desk’: Students can pose questions and you or your students can answer and help.

Sites to utilize for a backchannel:

1. 81 Dash is the newest and so far one of my favorites. I love that it works easily with Google Classroom.

2. Today’s Meet

3. Backchannel Chat

4. Chatzy

5. Twitter – This one I recommend if you have students that are older, such as High School or College but also can be great for educators  during Professional Learning. You can also use Padlet as a backchannel but it can be used for so many other things as well, it is not solely for back-channeling.

I would love to hear your reasons to use a backchannel, ways you add it into your classroom and/or sites you like for a backchannel.


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