Saturday, October 29, 2011
Geosense is a fun site to challenge your knowledge of world geography. I played one round and it was very challenging as you have to guess where the city and country that flashes up on the screen is actually located. Based on the time it took you and distance away you were, you get points. What makes this site even cooler is that you can create a username and challenge friends or people around the world. It would be fun to see how high a student could score or have a class challenge. Would match well with a class that has studied world geography or just to challenge a class to see if they know where certain countries are.
Don't have to say much about this site because if you teach science or learning about the elements, this site is great. Very interactive and lots of information. Easy to use for students and easy to navigate around. Try Ptable by clicking here!
Wow, very cool add on to Google Chrome. But the key here is that you have to be using Google Chrome instead of Internet Explorer. I love Google Chrome and it is all that I use. I especially love some of the Apps and Add-ons that you can add, especially this new one called "Speak It". After a quick 1-minute install, I now have a little microphone up in the right corner of my screen. Anytime I want text on the Internet read to me, I just highlight the selection and click the microphone. And it reads it to me!! For students who don't read as well, they could highlight and click the speaker to hear what the site has to say. You could also read a whole website or article to your students in a whole class setting. The female/computerized voice would get old after awhile, but for new readers or struggling readers, this could really, really help. Try Google Chrome and try Speak It...I love it!
Thanks to Richard Byrne and his blog Free Technology for Teachers, I have found a site that will be interesting to test out and use once it is out of its Beta Test period. Smore looks very cool for making flyers, information, and updates interactive and eye catching. As we send material out to the community and to families, using the interactive information might make our information jump out and attract more eyes. I could also see students using this in class as a presentation tool as they present on a topic. I plan to bookmark this blog post by Richard Byrne and come back and test out Smore's site when it has been completely tested out. Cool!
If you are going to show several specific stories about a topic or several sites with information on them, Stich.it might be a good option to try. I don't think it works well for major sites like ESPN, CNN, or ABC News, but if you find individual links and sites that you want to use (you know, the links with the really specific URL that is too long to type in class), you can put them all in this Stich.it site and it will create a tiny URL for you and your students to type in and skim through. This works great for when students are in the computer lab and you want them all to look at several specific sites. This also works great if you want to buzz right through several sites in class as well.
Try making your own Stich.it here!
Here is my sample Stich.it over bullying: http://stich.it/siNDMy (notice how short the link is!)
If you are wanting to learn more about how to use the main parts of google's tools and educational tools, here is a training site for you. Google Apps for Education Training Center has information and videos about how to use apps like Gmail, Google docs, Google Calendars, etc. better and how to use them for education. The training is pretty extensive and some sessions are pretty long, but the nice thing is that you can stop and start and pick the pieces you need most. I love my gmail and am getting better at Google Docs. I really want to learn more about Google calendar and how to share my calendar with staff and students. So....I need to use some of these training sessions too!
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Just as Richard Byrne's blogpost is a good reminder about using WallWisher, I want to also remind you about WallWisher. I need to make it a goal to use this website more this year with both students and staff. This site is really so cool! The biggest way I could see Wallwisher being used is by just having a Wallwisher site made up for students when they work on anything in the computer lab. As students work, they can post questions or comments to the wall and you can see these questions/comments in real time and so can students. You can respond to them, you can have other students respond to them. Students can start answering each other questions and leave you free to focus on the real issues. You could also use this with your grade level team or any team where you could have a wall for your group and your group members could post to it anytime and answer each other anytime. So many uses! Give it a try and play around with it...it is fun!
My attempt to embed my wall below:
Thank you to Richard Byrne of Free Technology for Teachers, he has a great brief blog about how to use Twitter to become your Personal Learning Network or Community. The excuse I hear from educators all the time is "not enough time" and "I can't find time to meet with other educators because they have different schedules". Sometimes, we just have to realize that technology has fixed this issue for us. Our Personal Learning Networks (PLCs) can now occur 24/7 whether we are there each day, each moment or not. Once you set up your network by following the people who have the ideas and topics that you are interested in, you just check in and contribute where you can. So simple! And if that is not simple enough, Richard Byrne has a powerpoint embedded into his blog post so you can see his thoughts on this idea and even a step by step instructions on how to get your PLN set up on Twitter. So start this today and make a goal to learn something new each week, each month, etc!
If you teach literacy or reading or maybe if you are a media center specialist or librarian, this site might be great for you. Students can find book reviews for many books on this site and find out if the book is the right choice for them. But even better, students and classes can set up a class group lists of books where students can add books to the class list, read the reviews, and even write new reviews. When you can get kids not only reading books, but reviewing them and writing about them too, you will get the kids even more involved into their books and their learning. So, if you get a moment, register for this site and explore it some more.
Sunday, October 23, 2011
I played around with Thoora today and found it interesting. At first, I was thinking it was basically just a search engine, but then I got thinking that since it has the ability to store your topics once you have created an account, it really is a good collection source of information about topics you have interest in. So...it is almost like a search engine that stores your searches even when you are not online. So, this could have some great uses. Students could use it to search information, but could also save those searches and look at them later. Teachers and students could both collect information on their favorite topics and not have to search it every time. I am sure there are even more uses. Pretty cool site...enjoy!
This might be more for me than anybody, but I wanted to post it so that I had a place to find it and so that others could use it if they found it useful. Thanks again to Larry Ferlazzo and his Websites of the Day for this list. Here are some of teh best Financial Literacy Sites he has found.
I am hopeful that our district staff will learn the power of Twitter over the next school year. I was like many who said Twitter didn't really have much use and could just be a fad. But then a few other educators who I greatly respected showed me how powerful Twitter can be as a networking tool, learning tool, and even teacher tool. Now I am still not using it to its full potential, but I am using it more as a learning resource instead of just a silly, fun site. To learn more, read this blog post from the NY Times to realize what is happening on Twitter every day while we aren't watching!
I think I have published once before, but thanks to Educational Technology Guy, here is the updated list. His blog post is a great one to bookmark whether or not you currently use Discovery Education. And if you don't use it, pick one or two things from his list and try to use them in the upcoming weeks. You will be glad you did!
I know our school and many schools our size do not do remote meetings, but as we grow an as we are split across buildings and grade levels, maybe remote meetings will become more important. LiveMinutes is a remote meeting site where all members for a group or committee could join on one weblink and share documents, ideas, whiteboard, etc. Pretty neat stuff, but I have to admit I have not tested it with others. I set up one on my own to see what I could do, but I was impressed. All I was missing was the the other people! So, if you need to meet with people from another building or if you just want to set one up for students when you are in the lab and have your LiveMinutes be notes or ideas from the whole group, you might want to try LiveMinutes. Have fun!
Monday, October 17, 2011
I know, I know....Twitter is for kids and people with way more time than a teacher. I thought the same thing once. But wait, can Twitter be more? It definitely can! I am starting to believe my brother and many other teachers and administrators that have been telling me Twitter is the best "professional" social networks out there. They say this because they now get all sorts of great information, articles, and information sent their way through Twitter. And they do this by "following" "hashtags". But until now, I have always wondered how to find all of these hashtags and know which ones are good ones to follow. Well, here is my answer.....the A-Z dictionary of educational hashtags! So, sign up for Twitter and start following a few of these hashtags and start harnessing the power of Twitter!!
A-Z Dictionary of Educational Hashtags click here!!
Here is a great site by "Holt" for any teachers who like graphic organizers and use them in class. This has tons of downloadable graphic organizers ready for free download. So....feel free to search and download as much as you want!
Holt's graphic organizers click here!