Sunday, January 15, 2012

More Skype in the Classroom "How to"

If you are considering trying some Skype in your Classroom, there are classrooms all around the country and world waiting to talk and collaborate on projects with you. But how do you even start? This is a quick post that may help give you some ideas and even a little step by step guide on how to get everything going. I really believe the next revolution in education is taking education of our students and moving it out to the community, around our country, and across the world. Their are experiences all over the place outside our school that Skype can reach. Would be neat to start reaching these.

Another Quick and Easy Screen Recording Site

PasteVid is another pretty good Screen Capture and recording site. I like sites like this because you can record what you are doing on your screen and then let others see it by posting it to Youtube, sending a link, or just sending an email of your video to that person. I usually use these sites to send a video to a large group of people. Showing someone how to use a certain internet site, how to navigate our district homepage, etc. Most of these sites, including this one, turn your video into a weblink that you can easily send to whoever. And the best part? It is FREE! Give this site a try.

Fact Sheets on Endangered Animals

For any science teachers who have students do projects on animals, especially endangered animals, this site is for you: KidsPlanet! This site has a link that contains great fact sheets for 50 endangered animals around the world. Might be a place to start the "animal picking" process by students or a link to give to students for research. Either way, pretty good site!

SmarTots: Education App Reviews for Kids

Just a quick post for any preschool and lower elementary teachers who read this blog and may use IPods or IPads in their Centers or teaching. This site has teachers who submit reviews on educational apps for tablet and IPod devices. Might be something you check out before you invest in any educational apps for these devices that you might use in class.

Have Your Students Publish Book Reviews at

Another quick way for students to put the work they do in your class online and get feedback. Scholastic has a quick and easy way for kids to publish their work online. Whether it be a class assignment or just encouraging students who like to read to write their thoughts and feelings online and help others get more interested in books. And maybe, just maybe, even get some feedback from others around the country and world. Many students in our school are already writing book reports, this might be a way to do something different and let them get some public feedback while helping others learn more about the book they just read. Consider giving this idea a try!

Pinterest: All the Rage and Good for Educators Too?

I must admit, I have not joined Pinterest and have not yet figured out why everyone loves it, but I started to become interested last week when a school counseling blog I follow started hyping it as a place where she can post her counseling ideas visually and link other information to these pictures. Then I realized the power of Pinterest and how it really could be a good social network for educators. No friending, no 3rd party apps, no games....just posting images and information and following the educators who have great ideas. Sort of a visual twitter. If you need more reason to start thinking about Pinterest as a site for educators, take a look at Richard Byrne's Free Technology for Teacher blogpost this week about it. Great post and I love the comments even more. Check the comments for a few Pinterest boards to get you started!

Monday, January 2, 2012

Online Whiteboard Tool You Can Do Lesson on and Send To Parents and Students.

I love this tool and I originally found it as an IPad app first, but you don't need an IPad to use it. Basically, you can draw anything on your "laptop whiteboard" or "IPad whiteboard" and you can record everything you do. When finished, hit stop and publish and you can publish it to Facebook or Twitter, or more likely, you can send it as an email to students or parents. Maybe you even just email it to yourself and play it for students in class or play it during worktime so if they have questions, they can simply watch your whiteboard lesson and re-learn. If you have a microphone, you can talk while you do your whiteboard lesson and the audio is recorded too. I have learned to send my whiteboard lesson to myself and then send the link it gave me to parents, students, family, or whoever I want to send it to from there. Or like I said, maybe I could just use the link in class to have students see the lesson again. We can do similar things with our Mimio, but with this whiteboard tool, it saves to a website so you don't have to worry about how big of a file it is and if it will be able to be emailed. Plus, all of your lessons are saved to your online whiteboard account, so you can go back to them whenever you want. Very cool application. Give it a try (especially if you teach math or science, 2 areas I think would really be good for this) Another Great Website Annotation Tool

I just put on my Chrome web browser and can now write on, draw shapes on, or even type on any web page and then save it and send it to whoever I want to. You don't need Google Chrome to do this as it likely works in almost any web browser. If you want to send something to a student or parent from online and have their eyes go to certain spots that you find important, you can use this Markup tool and mark the things you want read and cross out the things you don't want read. Lots of uses and very easy to use!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Highlighter Tool Called is Great!

I just installed a highlighting tool that I can use to highlight a website and then send that highlighted version to other people. How cool! Thanks to Free Technology for Teachers for alerting me to this web browser extension. To show you how it works, here is his blog entry about this great tool, only now I have highlighted it with different colors. Lots of ways to use this with staff, students, parents, and the community.

Youtube for Educators Now Live!

Just a quick update to let you know that Youtube has created a special website for educators and this website hosts thousands of videos safe for schools and accessible to all computers as the web address is not a ".com" but a ".edu", so it won't be blocked on any computers, even student computers. So if you have a video you normally show through Youtube, you might want to visit the Educator's Youtube first to see if it is there so students can access it and you know the video and information surrounding the video is safe and appropriate. Enjoy!

Of note, you may have to use your google account to get to this site and use this site, so I am not sure how easy it will be for all students to access it. In our district, since Youtube is note blocked, students could likely still get to a video through Youtube, but if you are showing a video in class or searching for a good video, you might want to use the Youtube for Educators site. Here is a link to a blogpost explaning all of here!