Educreations Interactive Whiteboard

download

Take a look at this tutorial video for a wonderful whiteboard/screencasting app called Educreations Interactive Whiteboard. You can acquire a free account at Educreations.com, and any videos you create on the iPad will upload directly to the cloud for later reference. This is a great app. I hope you explore the possible uses.

 

 

 

Edmodo!

Edmodo is a fantastic tool for the classroom teacher! It brings social learning, collaboration, creativity, and efficiency closer togetheredmodo  for you and for your students. It’s not a new tool for me, but I’ve recently become more interested in it.

Here are a few things you can do with Edmodo:

  • Create classes for your students to join
  • Send notes and alerts, give assignments, quizzes, and polls
  • Create a “library” of resources that may be freely shared with any of your connections
  • Gather ideas from other teachers around the world
  • Link to your Google account so you can have access to your documents

Watch this Getting Started video to find out how you can use Edmodo in the classroom:

 

Edmodo is a wonderful learning management system that I believe you and your students will enjoy using. If you are interested in learning more, let me know. I’ll be glad to help!

Video Conference Victory

2012-10-25 13.28.39

 

 

I recently had the pleasure of learning about the Polycom units that are available for conducting video conferences in our district. Travis Kersten, a teacher at Jackson Middle School, asked me to assist him in the endeavor of participating in a Region 7 videoconference related to Texas History.

Our three participants (shown above) did a super job of explaining the learning acquired during research projects and field trips related to El Camino Real, a name given to the travel route taken by explorers from Mexico to East Texas. The amazing thing about the conference is that approximately 1,200 students across the state participated that day. What a way to collaborate and share information!

This new experience opened my eyes to the various opportunities afforded to the classroom teacher of the future. Making the world smaller is a viable option these days. Classrooms from their respective corners of the world can now be connected with the technology at our fingertips.

I look forward to the educational adventures that could spring from this activity!

 

Polycom Video Conference Unit

Connecting Math and Technology

Using Video to Help with Instruction

Whether you use Khan Academy or some other similar resource, the power of video instruction is huge. Your students are given the power to review your teaching repeatedly until the learning is cemented.

Understand that you may also make your own videos with sites like Educreations or Show Me, and embed these lessons in your teacher web, or share the link through email. Both of these resources are also available as apps for the iPad.

You may also use the SMART recorder in conjunction with your SMART board to make video lessons that can be distributed for student consumption.

A thought that has occurred to me in the past is to have the students use the above-mentioned technology to explain their own learning. The students could just as easily access these technologies and make videos that will explain their thought processes as they solve a math problem. In this way, you could have them submit a paperless assignment.

A Medium for Videos

So once we have some videos made, how do we share them with students? This is a great question. Fortunately, we have several tools at our disposal that help answer this question. Here is a list:

  • Teacher Web – you may upload a video file and link it to a page for student access.
  • Weebly – you may sign up for a free account, and use the site as a host for videos.
  • Edmodo – this is education’s answer to Facebook. This amazing tool really is powerful. Contact me for the school code, so you can start uploading videos today.
  • Edublogs – this blogging platform is essentially the same as WordPress, and there’s much you can do with it. Let me know if you are interested in setting up a blog for your classroom.
  • YouTube – each teacher has an educator’s account with YouTube. Once you are signed in to Google Docs, YouTube appears as one of the apps.
  • TeacherTube and SchoolTube – these are also viable options for hosting videos.

Response Systems

Make raising your hand a lot more fun! Use one of the many response systems that are on the market. Some exist on campus (Turning Point Clickers available for check out in the library) and others are free online.

Some online possibilities are as follows:

Each of the above tools have varied learning curves and features offered. Make it your goal to use a couple of these in the classroom this school year.
 http://www.stanforddaily.com/2011/02/02/something-just-clicks-in-large-lectures/ 
 

Web 2.0

There are free sites out there that will allow us to do some amazing work for free. One that comes to mind is Board800. This site allows the user to create on online whiteboard and invite collaborators. Users can even expand their collaboration across multiple boards! This seems like a powerful tool for learning math.

Another amazing tool is Google Docs. Each teacher and student has an account with Google Docs. All they need is their login credentials. The power of Google Docs is the power of collaboration. Unlike most of the other programs we are used to, Docs allows multiple users to work on a particular doc at the same time. Simultaneous collaboration even allows for greater productivity beyond school hours, since the students would be able to access their Docs accounts from home.

Watch this video that shows how easy it is to make a spreadsheet and a graph in Google Docs.

Another thing Google Docs does well is that it provides an online quiz capability. All you have to do is create a form, ask students to submit their answers, and then run a script called Flubaroo to grade the responses. Really easy.

Here is another list of resources:

SMART Resources

Another very useful resource is found at the SMART Exchange. This online resource allows users who have set up a free account to download ready-made SMART Notebook files that may then be modified to fit the needs of the downloader. Users may search for lessons by TEKS! This is a great resource that should not be ignored.

Start Flipping Those Pages

Page Flip Flap is a neat site that I just discovered. This site offers a free service in which the user may upload a doc and have it converted to an online book. Here is the description given on the site:

Transform your doc, pdf, word, movie into an interactive flipbook. It’s very easy: upload your file and you will receive an email with the url to your creation. You can share this with your friend, family… by email, on your blog, on facebook or twitter.

Here is a link you can follow to see the results of a PDF I uploaded today:

http://www.pageflip-flap.com/read?r=PWYxJG9QSEimhqT

The process is painless and quick (I uploaded and received an email with the link and embedding code within 3 minutes).

I can see this as a great way to organize instruction. Here are some of my thoughts about bringing this tool into the classroom:

  1. The teacher compiles information he/she wishes to share with the class into a Word or PDF file, and then converts it to a flip book for use in a lesson.
  2. Students collaborate on a research project, and store their findings in a document. The doc is converted to a flip book, and then all the data becomes searchable, so students can use the book to make another doc for presentation that will then be converted into a book to share with the class.
  3. Elementary students create their own flippable story book using pictures they illustrate and words they author. This could be done first in PPT, and then converted to a flipbook. The students would be able to access the link from home to share with family.

Here are a few of the capabilities this program offers the user:

  1. Search for a keyword in the document
  2. Print any page in the document
  3. Zoom
  4. Flip pages (sounds like pages turning)
  5. Full screen
  6. View thumbnails of your document’s pages

I think this is a useful site for teachers and students. Let me know what you think.

 

Seven Things

I thought I would take some time to look back over the last couple of weeks, and write down some things I’ve learned recently that might help with instruction. Here they are:

  1. I have learned that kindergarten students can take a challenge. I worked with a kinder teacher a couple of weeks ago at Colonial Hills and we asked a group of students to try their hand at using Microsoft Paint. The teacher selected a book on Tumblebooks, and set it to read aloud. We paused at critical points in the story, and asked some questions regarding the plot, and it seemed like the students enjoyed themselves. We then discussed the main features of Paint, and asked the students to use the program to paint pictures of the story’s main points. We were amazed at the ability displayed! An extension of this assignment (which we hope to accomplish soon) would be to import the students’ pictures into PowerPoint, and ask the students to discuss their pictures while the teacher types on their particular slide. We will end up with a nice summary of the story.
  2. I have learned that Weebly offers an incredibly easy way to make a free web site. Easy and free! Pretty cool. I helped a few teachers introduce this site to their students, and I helped another intern at Jackson open an education account and create accounts for his classes with the click of a button. Add painless to the list under easy and free! It is a snap to create a fully functioning web site in under 10 minutes. You can even make sites private with a teacher account. I have never known it to be so easy to make a web site.
  3. I have learned that Museum Box is a neat tool for presenting information like images, text, links, and sounds. A teacher at Castle Hills has embraced the software, and is using it to help her students chronicle their learning on the topic of weathering and erosion. What I really like about the site is that a free teacher account allows the students the ability to submit their work to the teacher rather than letting it go immediately live on the internet. The teacher gets to peruse the work prior to putting it on the web. They are able to review the work, edit it, make suggestions and send messages to the students, or submit it to the site for live viewing. This is a great resource.
  1. I have learned that a blinking cursor is a fabulous thing. I refer to the lovely relationship between the blinking cursor and alphasmarts and neos. Did you know that you could have your whole class typing information (notes about a nature walk, an essay, a solution to a math problem, etc.), each student having their own alpha smart or neo, and then, with the connection of one little cable and a blinking cursor on the screen, each student may send work quickly into your computer. All you need is a blinking cursor. Pretty awesome. Think about all the programs that have a blinking cursor…Word, PowerPoint, Publisher, Paint, Inspiration, Kidspiration. I have named six programs that are each loaded on district computers. I haven’t even mentioned interactive web sites. The opportunities are really amazing. Let me know if you are interested in learning more.
  2. I have learned that iPods and iPads are more than just sleek gadgets. There are some very helpful basic things that iDevices can do for you in the classroom. If you happen to have iTouches or iPads on your campus, you might want to think about checking them out for use with instruction. We are in the process of updating them with the new operating system, and with that update, we are placing on each device, an email account that allows the user to send (but not receive) email. The benefits of this function are great. Imagine your students using something like a whiteboard app and being able to send their work right to you when they are finished. Or maybe you would like to spend some time in class allowing your students to collaborate. There are many apps that would accomodate this.
  3. I have learned that SMART Notebook software is extremely versatile. If you have not spent much time scrolling through the resources available to you in SMART software, I encourage you to do so. There are keyword-searchable lessons waiting for you, interactive dice, clocks, timers, and stories, and so much more. I have seen how a SMART board or a slate can get students engaged. I hope you will give SMART a try.
  4. I have learned that there is still much to learn. I cannot emphasize how flooded my brain is right now with new concepts! I am finding it easier and easier to just accept that I cannot know it all, because today I know more than I did yesterday or last week. I appreciate all who have been so patient with me as I find my bearings in this new position. I hope that I can serve you as you serve your students, and I hope that you will take the challenge to make your classroom more interactive. Your students will thank you.