Saturday, August 4, 2012

StudyBlue: Award-Winning Flashcard and Study Site

  Just a quick update for some or maybe new for some, but StudyBlue continues to improve and is making several "Best" website lists for education and learning. I know we had some staff use this site last year and even did a workshop for other staff and that got more people using it. As we start the school year, feel free to play around with this site and see how it might help your students both in the class and while they are away from school. Good luck!

StudyBlue study/flashcard website click here!

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Duolingo...A Site for Spanish Language Learners

Awhile back, I purchased Rosetta Stone software to learn Spanish. Then child #3 and #4 happened, as well as a career change and my life has gotten away from me. I still hope to learn Spanish and Rosetta Stone may be the way to go, but there are many online programs now, not to mention my need for basic Spanish is slowly diminishing with smart phones that translate your voice anyway. But learning a language is still important and still a great skill, so what tools can a school use besides Spanish class. Many apps and websites can help. Here is another one: "Duolingo". When you go to their main site, you can watch their video. I have embedded the video below as well. After watching the video, sounds like this might be a good site for a Spanish teacher to give out to students and families for extra practice. Not sure how the translating the web works, but it appears it uses the some of the same "immersion" theory that Rosetta Stone uses. A few other languages are also offered.

Add Test Review to Your Class Blog...Amazing Ideas!

Wow, I love a couple of these ideas! Richard Byrne of Free Technology for Teachers blog had a guest blogger, Dan Klumper, a 6th grade social studies teacher, post some wonderful ideas. I wish I taught high school science again and could do a couple reviews like his "Silent Video Review". At our middle school, I could see tons of courses/teachers take advantage of it. You don't have to have a class blog to do the idea, but it would be helpful as you could just embed the video to your blog. The 2nd idea is one that I have thought about doing for my counseling/life skills class sometime. Have a designated date/time for online chat/forum in the evening. Parents, students, whoever could join. I also think the Wallwisher idea (Especially since WallWisher has now been updated and many of the bugs from the past year or two fixed) would be super for any class/class review. Either way, please click on Richard Byrne's blog entry and click on the ideas, especially the first one. These are definitely ideas we could use and the students would really benefit from. (If you have an IPad....the first idea is even easier as you can video and upload in a matter of minutes!)

Ideas on how to Use Your Blog for Review Purposes by Richard Byrne (written by guest blogger Dan Klumper)

Two Great "Best Of" Lists from Larry Ferlazzo

  I have shared one of these lists before, but it is always good this time of the year. The 2nd list is a new list based on our current on-going drought, something that is talked about daily here in Iowa. If you are looking for a current event that will get the kids talking, learning, and sharing outside of our school, the drought might be a good topic to start the year with. As for the other list, the Best Resources for Planning The First Day of School, I get something new from that list almost every year. The one caution I would suggest is to talk with your team about the idea you might use so that you are not all using the same idea. And they don't all have to occur on the first day I have learned as well. Lots of great ideas to try at some point. Enjoy the lists and thank you to Larry Ferlazzo and his Websites of the Day blog

Best Resources to learn about our current Drought

Best resources to plan for the first day of school

InkFlow: A Free IPad App for Note-Taking, Brainstorming, Meeting Ideas

 I just downloaded Inkflow, the free version, and I think it could be useful to educators and students who use an IPad. Especially for the visual learners and the group work sessions, this could be a good way to take notes. You can write, draw, move, resize, lots of stuff, and when you are done, you can save your work and email it to whoever else you think might need it. I could see a teacher taking notes at a staff meeting or a team meeting/work session and then emailing it out to staff or to the team when finished. You do not need an IPad to view the meeting notes from someone else, just an email account. I will continue to play around with it some more to see if it is something I will use this year. Might be a good app for my counseling as well.

Inkflow website

TED Videos Starring Inspiring Teachers

If you need to start getting yourself psyched up and pumped up before the school year begins, inspiring TED videos by teachers might do the trick. I have viewed a few of these in the past, but hope to view all 10 before school starts (many TED videos are on Netflix now too!). Great ideas and some pretty powerful and interesting thoughts. Enjoy!

10 Inspiring TED videos by teachers (if you have never watched TED videos, you should. They are purposely very short, 20 minutes or less, and engaging!)

TIME's 20 Most Influential Americans

Thanks to Larry Ferlazzo and his blog "Larry Ferlazzo's Websites of the Day", I learned of a recent online interactive from TIME magazine about their ranking of the top 20 most influential Americans of all time. This list might be a good way to start a history or social studies class this year. To get students linked and hooked on history for the year, you could have them view the list, debate the list, re-write the list, or even argue for others not on the list and write their own big and persuasive essay. Either way, it will get them talking about history and debating and arguing their historical point. Great list, have fun!

TIME's top 20 most influential Americans of all time

The Classroom of the Future? (Video)

Thank you to Scott McLeod and his blog "Dangerously Irrelevant", I found this very cool video by Intel about what the classroom of the near future may look like. Makes you think how far we have  come with technology and instruction and how far we may still have to go....