Digital Learning Day is coming! This Wednesday, February 6, will be the second annual event.
Digital Learning Day is a national campaign that celebrates teachers and shines a spotlight on successful instructional practice and effective use of technology in classrooms across the country. The inaugural Digital Learning Day boasted tens of thousands of teachers representing nearly 2 million students.
What do you have planned for Digital Learning Day? Don’t have anything planned yet? Don’t worry, it’s not too late to get involved!
Puppet Pals HD is a free iOS app that lets the user create and record puppet plays. The free version of the app supplies users with a couple of backdrops and a few cartoon puppets. Additional puppets and backdrops can be purchased for a small fee. Once the backdrop and characters are selected the app records the action within the frame of the backdrop. While this is happening Puppet Pals HD also records the audio of the user narrating the story. This gives you a final product in which you cannot see the side stage. The video files can be saved and emailed from your iPad.
Puppet Pals HD has potential uses from kindergarten to high school classrooms. It provides excellent and fun practice at telling narratives, it could be used by students to summarize a story or historical moment, or used to brainstorm a piece of writing. Puppet Pals HD fits the bill for nearly any way you might use narrative storytelling in your classroom.
Jing is a great screenshot and screencast tool for your Windows or Apple computer. It allows you to take still pictures or video of any aspect of your computer display. The videos can be up to five minutes each and can be shared with one click via screencast.com, Twitter, or Facebook. You can also embed it directly into your own blog or website with an html embed code.
In the classroom, Jing is great for digital tutorials or recording feedback for students. It could also be used to record brief powerpoint presentations. My own students have used it talk me through problems they are having in their writing and with technology. There are many possible ways to use Jing in the classroom. How could Jing help you?
by Paul Cancellieri
Assessment and grading are a sort of passion for me. I spend a lot of time thinking about the assessments I use in my class, from informal exit tickets to full-blown tests. I start planning every unit with an idea of what the final summative assessment will look like and I work backwards from there. I use formative assessment data to plan differentiated instruction. But, recently, I discovered a free online tool that made all of this much more efficient.
The tool is called MasteryConnect, and it does several things well. First, it’s a platform for sharing assessments that are linked to state curriculum standards and the Common Core. Second, it allows teachers to quickly scan “bubble sheet” style answer sheets using just a webcam. Third, it displays student mastery data in an intuitive color-coded way that allows educators to immediately see which students need more attention.
MasteryConnect serves all three of these missions in a beautiful, intuitive package that teachers can use for free. A more advanced level of service, which includes features such as sharing assessments and data with teachers in your school/district/PLC and the ability to use their webcam scanner on assessments longer than ten questions, is available for an annual fee. I enjoy that MasteryConnect keeps me honest, ensuring that every single question that I put on an assessment is relevant and measures critical knowledge.
Guest Blogger Biography
Paul Cancellieri teaches middle school Science at Wake Young Men’s Leadership Academy in Raleigh, North Carolina. A twelve-year veteran of the classroom and a National Board Certified Teacher since 2006, Paul’s passions include educational technology and classroom assessment. He writes about education issues at ScriptedSpontaneity.com
Creating specialized video clips is a great way to present and share content but can be complicated if you are working from multiple computers or trying to create a video as a collaborative project. WeVideo is a cloud-based, collaborative video editing platform that can make this task much easier.
WeVideo’s video editor gives you a choice of storyboard or timeline-based editing with real-time previewing. In addition to the features you would expect to find in any video editor, the WeVideo editing platform includes royalty free music and graphics. Finally, WeVIdeo allows you to collaborate with others to upload content and co-create a video.
WeVideo is a great option for any project in the classroom where students are creating videos. Because all of the content for the videos is stored in the cloud, students don’t have to worry about using different computers or losing their project into the abyss of a lab computer. WeVideo also makes it possible for a collaborative video to be truly collaborative, instead of one student editing while the other group members watch.
The good people at Google Street View have recently partnered with The Catlin Seaview Survey to provide underwater street views of several breathtaking reefs around the world.
You can take your students on a fieldtrip to swim with sea turtles and manta rays without having to be scuba-certified. From identifying the variety of aquatic life forms depicted in and around the reefs to writing short stories set in the reefs; the possibilities for classroom use are as wide as the ocean and as deep as the sea.
You can explore the complete collection here.
We are excited to announce that Instrucitfy is back! Let’s get back to sharing and talking about cool tech tools for the classroom.
Instructify is where teachers can stock their toolboxes with practical, time-saving classroom ideas and cutting edge methods of instruction. It’s where you can find useful, free technology to utilize in the classroom. And it’s a fun place to spend your planning period.
Instructify is also a verb. To Instructify means to find new ways to present the same old content. Or MacGyvering anything from software to Post-it notes into something you can teach with. It also works great as a command. As in, “Don’t just teach, Instructify!”
Instructify isn’t out to bemoan educational policy. The web is already full of education blogs ranting about how we need to remake the American school as a digital learning cooperative or something.
Do you want to slog through a bunch of pie-in-the-sky pontificating about how web-based technologies will magically change school from suck to success? Or would you rather find neat stuff you can use to improve things yourself?
Instructify is brought to you by LEARN NC, a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education. LEARN NC finds the most innovative and successful practices in K-12 education and makes them available to the teachers and students of North Carolina–and the world.
Have you ever tried to share a collection of links with students and/or colleagues in a visually appealing way? Symbaloo is here to help!
Symbaloo allows you to create a tiled mosaic of links. When adding tiles you select the color, text, and icon to display. You can also include custom images for your tiles. These features allow for a much more visually appealing experience than a list of links.
There are many possibilities for Symbaloo in the classroom. Students can use it to collect websites while researching online, or they can use it as a digital portfolio linking to materials they may have published on different websites. Teachers can use it as a webquest tool or to share important links and websites with parents. Symbaloo is a great tool for any occasion that requires multiple links.
BY REBECCAH HAINES
“Why do we have to learn this stuff?” It’s a familiar — and frustrating — question for many teachers. And answering “because I said so” satisfies neither you nor your students. No matter their grade level, students are increasingly aware that what they do in school should matter in the real world. It is the teacher’s job to ensure that students can recognize the relevance of their classroom lessons. One way to accomplish this goal is to involve students in a citizen science project.
What exactly is citizen science? No, it doesn’t entail buying a bunch of materials that will put you on a terror watch list. Rather, it is a way to get ordinary people involved in real research with real scientists. If you’re wondering, “How is this beneficial to the scientists?,” it comes down to man power and man hours. Researchers have a static number of hours in the day and a limited number of lab assistants available for data analysis. And in many cases they have a lot of data.