Posts tagged ‘web 2.0’

Creating with New* Web Tools

“One of the reasons people stop learning is that they become less and less willing to risk failure.” By John W. Gardner

Below are new* FREE web tools I have come across that I think are wonderful additions to any classrooms because it allows students to be creators.  As always please check the terms of use for each site before utilizing in your classroom.  (*Newer to me)

Sound Trap is a tool that empowers students to create music and podcasts collaboratively or individually. Teachers can create group assignments and conference with students via video.

The Foos is a kids coding app that starts off with challenging puzzles and moves them to coding their own video games. The site has curriculum and resources for teachers to utilize as well.

The Learnia is an online whiteboard (think showme/educcreations) but for any browser. Create your own videos for a blended learning classroom environment or allow students too show what they know by creating their own.

Motivator is a tool where students can create their own motivation posters. Get creative with what students can do with this site to use their higher order thinking skills (H.O.T.S). For example – have them create a motivational poster as a character from a book.

Parapara Animation is an animation creation tool developed and hosted by Mozilla. It is simple to use and it does not require registration in order to use it.

If there is a new web tool that is free and that you love to use in your classroom that allows students to be creator, please share in the comments.

 

Sites that are Not Well-Known, that You Should Know as an Educator

“A defining condition of being human is that we have to understand the meaning of our experience.” By Jack Mezirow

Below are ten sites that I don’t think are not well-known but you should know as an educator. They are sites that will help you in the classroom from classroom management to challenging your students.

1. Team Maker: A simple random team generator that lets you create teams quickly and easily.

2. Tinkercad: a free, easy-to-learn online software to create and print 3D models.

3. Planetarium: Explore the stars and planets from your web browser. (Also a chrome extension)

4. Class Badges: Award badges for all different learning experiences.

5. Coggle it: Great for mind mapping and brainstorming.

6. HsTry:  Create interactive timelines

7. Zaption: Turn online videos into interactive learning experiences that engage students and deepen understanding.

8. Classtools-Connect Four: a game to review key terms/vocabulary and the connections between them.

9. Bouncy Ball:  Great for classroom management; the balls bounce based on level of noise in the classroom.

10. Greg Tand Word Problem Generator: Create different types of word problems in minutes.

*Sites that are coming soon or are in beta that look promising:

1.  Class Realm: a platform for teachers to introduce gamification into their classrooms, encourage better behaviorpatterns, and promote creative expression.

2. ThemeSpark: Build a standards-based rubric in under a minute.

3. Sphero Education:  Core lessons and STEM challenges give kids a fun crash course in coding while sharpening their skills in math & science.

Do you have a website that is not well-known but you think educators need to know? Please share in the comment section.

Plickers: A Digital Assessment Tool

“A teacher is a person who knows all the answers but only when she asks the questions.” By unknown

I learned about Plickers this summer at #ISTE14 conference but forgot about it until I was in a school this week that was using it and loving it. Plickers is a digital assessment tool, like the ‘old school’ clickers but using paper and argument reality (AR).

The site is very user-friendly and FREE! It is also great for schools that are not 1:1 or for teachers that don’t feel comfortable yet with technology. After you create an account you input your students names and assign them card sheets. (They work like QR codes but are shapes) Each code card can be turned in four orientations letting them answer A, B, C and D. When you, the teacher, are ready to collect data; you use the Plickers mobile app to scan the cards to see the results. You can see each students name, what they answered and it is also color coded to quickly see if they got it right or wrong.  The data can also be seen as a bar graph of the responses so you can look for trends between your questions. Plickers is great for entrance/exit tickets, informal assessments or checkpoints. It is a quick way to see if students are understanding a concept or not in real-time and allows for student voice.

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Other articles about Plickers:

Free Tech For Teachers: Plickers

Plickers: Classroom Clickers without the Clicking

Video: SHS App Review – Plickers

I would love to know how you have used it in the classroom! Please share it in the comments.

Google Keep: For Educators and Students

“Organizing is what you do before you do something, so that when you do it, it is not all mixed up.” By A. A. Milne

If you know me you know I love to create to-do lists. The feeling of crossing something off makes me happy, and yes sometimes I put things on my list after I do them. 🙂

Jake Standish introduced me to Google Keep about a year ago and I was not a fan, it just didn’t have a lot of the features I wanted until now. Google Keep has been updated and I LOVE it. It is now part of my daily workflow and it allows me to have multiple to-do lists in one place. It is not just for educators workflow either, imagine Google Keep for students!

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If you are a Google Apps for Education-GAFE school/district this is a great web tool to share with your students. Here are the reasons why I love using Google Keep and why students will love it too:

1. Simple and FREE to use; no account needed to be created as you can just use your google account. Great for GAFE school/districts.

2. I have saved it to my toolbar so every day I have easy assess and can add notes from any device. You will never lose anything because it is stored online and every device you use has access to the notes/lists. (If using an iPhone like me, you need to use the chrome app on your phone as there is no IOS app). This is great for BYOT schools.

3. You can make notes/lists different colors plus you can search and archive to make organization easy! This is great for students too, they can add assignments for classes and use different colors to help differentiate. No more excuses for the lost agenda or assignment.

4. You can share your notes or to-do’s with others, just click on the share button. It will appear on their Google Keep and they will get an email. This means as an educator you can make an assignment and push it out to your students so they will see it on their Google Keep!

5. You can add reminders to notes/lists quickly. All you need to do is click on the icon (finger with a string around it) and add the time/date of when you needed to be reminded. No more missing deadlines, homework assignments or when tests are!

6.  You can add imagines and web links to notes/lists. This helps if you are a visual learner or just want to remember an idea with a picture and a quick note or a web link. Students can also have a note that has the links they use daily for easy access.

8. The app keeps working even when you’re offline!

*Google Keep also has voice transcript. Adding voice notes in Google Keep is as simple as tapping the microphone and speaking but this only works on Android devices from what I understand. 😦

 

Hexagonal Thinking with Think Link

” The world we have created is a product of our thinking; it cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” By Albert Einstein

I had one of those days recently when I went down the internet rabbit hole and got lost. I don’t know how I got to learning about Hexagonal Thinking but I love the concept. Hexagonal Thinking is a creative way to show connections within concepts, a type of  ‘thinking map’ that allows students to visualize their thinking process.  In one of my many readings on the topic I came across Kristian Still and that is where I found my new favorite web tool, Think Link by Triptico, not to be confused with Thinglink (another favorite web tool, see previous blog post).

Think Link is FREE and user-friendly. To create a board start be clicking on ‘new board’. Then click on the plus sign to add a hexagon. Type in the term/word you would like to use. Repeat until all your thoughts are on the board. (*Note: Every time you make a new hexagon, you need to drag and drop it to the location you want it on the board or they will all pile up in the same original spot). Double click on the hexagon and you can add notes such as a definition. Use the wrench to delete a hexagon or save them.

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When using hexagonal thinking in the classroom have students start by brainstorming a concept such as leadership or with a driving question. You can also use as a way to have students take notes or understand how vocabulary is connected. You don’t need to use the computer program to incorporate hexagonal thinking, students can use hexagonal post its or draw them on their paper/notebook themselves.

Reasons Why I like Hexagonal Thinking:

1. It allows students to utilize 21st century skills with their learning. (4 c’s= collaborate, create, communicate and critical think)

2.  When you make a list, sequence or work in boxes the thinking is linear. Hexagon thinking allows for creative thinking.  (Literally allowing students to ‘think outside the box’)

3. Hexagonal thinking allows for student voice.

4. You can use it within all content areas and for any grade level (see video below of Hexagonal thinking in K). Here are some examples using essential questions:

  • Science: What are the relationships between forces and motion?
  • Math:  How is geometry used in the real world?
  • Literacy: What does the ___________ (book title) teach us about life?
  • History: How have ancient Greeks affected our society?
  • PE: How can sports advertising affect teen’s choices?
  • Art:  How do people express themselves through art today?
  • CTE or Technology Class: How would our culture be different without computers?

Other Resources on Hexagonal Thinking:

Design Thinking: Synthesis 1: Hexagonal Thinking

SOLO Hexagons

What computers can’t do: hexagonal thinking

I would love to know how you have used Hexagonal Thinking or Think Link in your classroom. Please share in the comments.

Using Booktrack in the Classroom

“There’s so much more to a book than just the reading.” By Maurice Sendak

Booktrack aims to improve student literacy through encompassing technology and Common Core Standards. It can be used two different ways: One is students can read stories, poems and other texts that are associated with a ‘movie-style’ soundtrack or two, students can create Booktracks, using their own writing.

How does it work?

You choose a book. As you read, you’ll see an arrow going down the right-hand margin of the page. This arrow moves down the page as you read so that your reading speed goes with the soundtrack. If the arrow moves too fast or slow, use the plus and minus icons at the bottom of the page to change the speed.

If you want students to create their own book, they can do so in a few easy steps:

1. Click on the icon create

2. Type the story

3. Add the sound track by highlighting the text you want to each part of the story from the library of over 20,000 sound clips.

4. Preview and then publish!

Here are my ten reasons why I like Booktrack:

1. FREE

2. Lesson plan library created by teachers, for teachers

3.  It is easy to create a class account. To enroll your students into your class add their name and select add or just upload a CSV file – Booktrack will set them up for you.

4. Books for all levels of students elementary, middle and high.

5. If you have any questions or need assistance just click on “Help” in the upper right hand corner. There are video tutorials to help guide you as well, which makes it very user-friendly.

6. Works on all devices! (Great for BYOT classrooms)

7. The books are all labeled with genre, type, language and ratings.

 

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8. Students can create their own books and publish them so others can read as well.

9.  The sound track can distract some students but you can mute it and read it just like a regular e-book.

10. Teachers can use the books as their read alouds; modeling on an eReader can help promote 21st century digital literacy skills.

Articles about Booktrack:

Booktrack Raises $3M To Add Soundtracks To E-Books, Launches Classroom Version

Booktrack – Create and Listen to Soundtracks for Books

 

Using Google’s Smarty Pins in the Classroom

“The beautiful thing about learning is that nobody can take it away from you.”By  B.B. King

Smarty Pins is a Google Maps based geography and trivia game. It is very user-friendly like most Google products are. The purpose is to answer as many questions as you can before you run out of miles.  Miles are lost when you answer incorrectly based on how ‘far off’ your answer is. You can decide if you want random questions, or if you want a specific category and there are six categories to choose from such as arts and culture, science and geography and sports and games.

Once you start, your first question will appear on the left-hand side of the screen. To answer you have to drag the map pin to the correct location. (I have found the map will start near the area you need to go) You can zoom in and out as well based on the level of detail you want.

Once you find the correct location you drop the pin and the name of the location will appear, for example Charlotte, NC. You can then submit your answer or get a hint if you would like. The hint show up on the left hand side under the question. If you chose to use the hint, you do not get to earn bonus miles. Bonus miles are given for answering a question correctly within 15 seconds. There are funny captions after you answer each question no matter if you get it right or wrong. When you answer a certain number of questions correctly you earn awards: bronze, silver or gold.

Smarty Pins

How Could You Use This in the Classroom?

1. Each day as a class, (or one day a week) you can use Smarty Pins as a class team building activity (ex. during morning meeting). Together the class can see how many questions they get right before they run out of miles. Each day or week they could track their progress and then graph it for each month. This allows team building, critical thinking, collaboration and problem solving along with learning geography.

2.  Use Smarty Pins as a base for students genius hour or passion based learning ideas. As the students plays the game, they will learn facts and geography of places that they might find interesting and want to learn more about. For example when I played, I found myself interested in more about the ‘Leaning Tower of Pisa’ as I had a question about the bell tower.

3. This game could be used for when a student finishes an activity early as a fun extension or during when you find you have a few minutes before a transition.

As always, I would love to hear how you would use it in the classroom! Please share in the comments section.

 

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