Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Blogs vs. Wikis

As many of you think ahead for the up coming school year, one thing that teachers who are wanting to explore something new in their classrooms is an online tool that their students can use.  We hear the buzz words of different tech tools all the time, and blogs and wikis come up often.  What's great about both of them is that they are simple tools to use and have longevity of use...a project could last as short or long as you want them.  So what are the differences?  Which one should you use?  Rather than explain it to you through written text, try checking out the videos below and see how they are demonstrated.  Also, why reinvent the wheel, right?



What is a Blog?
What is a Wiki?
Also, check out this blog post on " 5 Ways You Can Use Wikis With Students"



Thursday, July 11, 2013

Model Schools After Glow

I just got back from the Model Schools Conference in Washington DC. I was so lucky to have had the opportunity to share this experience with 98 teachers in our district.  It was so inspiring to spend time with teachers from my own district as well as meet and share ideas with educators across the country.  For me the motivation started with the straight-talking keynote speaker, Dr. Susan Szachowicz, as she shared the Brockton High School success story.  The school transformed from a low performing urban school to one of the best high schools in the state.  The reason for this rise in achievement is credited to implementing high standards and expectations, monitoring student progress while changing the school culture.  Another point that Dr. Szachowicz made was how important training teachers is to the process as schools move toward the Common Core.  This need for training was echoed through out the conference, which resonated for me.  As a media specialist I feel our role is to make everyone else effective. Which means to find the tools that best suit your needs and supply the training needed for you to use them.  During the conference I attended the sessions that were connected to technology integration, 1:1 devices, The Common Core, and digital textbooks, not a big surprise!  My head is still spinning from all the new tools and ideas that I was introduced too.  As I go through and research the tools that were shared with me I will be using the Edtech blog to showcase the ones I think we could all benefit from.

The first new tool I want to share is FlipSnack.  This is an online flipbook creator.  You upload the PDF’s and it creates a flipbook that can be shared with your students.  Students can also use this tool to create flipbook reports or other research projects.  It is very easy to use and the possibilities are endless!  Here is great FlipSnack example:  http://www.flipsnack.com/flipsnackedu/f7ujqcnh.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Self-Paced Learning

While your relaxing this summer you may want to take the time to add some new tools to your toolkit.  The media specialists have created two self-paced classes that are topical and can be accessed at your leisure.  The first course was designed in our Moodle LMS environment.  It is a Common Core Resources course that gives you the latest news about Common Core with tools for creating lessons and rubrics.  To access this class click on this link: Common Core Standards Training

The next class was developed using iTunes U.  This is a relatively new tool that allows course managers to create online courses.  I have created the Flipped Classroom.  To access this course you will need to download the iTunesU app on your phone or device.  Once the app is downloaded select the Catalog Button at the top right of the app then select Enroll and add the code, FML-7W8-MHA..  The course will give you an outline and within each outline there are a series of posts with resources to view and use.  Hope you find these useful!  Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Knowmia Teach

I came across a great free app today called Knowmia Teach.  This is a lesson planning and recording tool for teachers.  It is great for those of you that are incorporating the "flipped classroom" into you classroom.  You can create short video lessons and share them with your students.  It also houses your lessons so you are creating your own video lesson library.  You can access this tool through the free app or their website Knowmia.com.

This tutorial is a good place to get started the app is really robust so you definitely want to utilize the tools provided on the website and through the app.




Friday, June 7, 2013

Summer Learning Fun

After participating in a Twitter chat last night (find out more about this here) I was inspired to write a post about sharing out some of what the educators on the chat looked forward to exploring this summer. Thank you to everyone that contributed on Tuesday's #ntchat and my awesome teammates Karen Lagola and Brittany Sherman for some of these ideas.

*Disclaimer. This is not designed to be a task list. Summer is a great time for slowing down, learning at a comfortable pace without a deadline. Take what you like and leave the rest.


“Teach Like a Pirate” Yargh!  - Increasing student engagement and teacher creativity
“Mindset” The New Psychology of Success” -Understand fixed and growth mindset
“Thinking, Fast and Slow – Explain and harness the two ways we think

Productivity Tools:

Tools to Curate Content (for ease, use with web extension or bookmarklet):

  • EduClipper (The Pinterest of Education)

  • Evernote –Create and share notes/websites/pictures etc. on all devices. 

  • Claco – Collaborate and share resources. View my resources 

Design/Make Your Own:

-Create your own infographic: Piktochart, Visual.ly, Infogr.am
-Story Creation App’s: Puppet Pals, Video ScribeStorybird

Online Skeeball:

Using only your Chrome browser and your Smartphone play Skeeball aka Rollit on your own or with three friends.


Check out a Free Education Unconference Near You:

EdCamps – Happening all over the U.S.

Grow as a Twitter User:

May your summer plans turn out better than you imagine!

Monday, May 20, 2013

Preparing Your Computer For Aeries.Net

As we transition to Aeries.NET from Aeries.abi we are trying to anticipate some of the issues that will arise. One of the issues we’ve discovered is compatibility with internet browsers. Aeries has provided a list of operating systems that are compatible with the new Aeries.Net, seen at the bottom of this post. You can test out whether or not your computer will be able to access Aeries.Net without problems by trying out the demo site. Go to this blog post to find out how to do access this: http://blogs.lvusd.org/edtech/2013/04/24/aeries-net-demo/

Browsers also make a difference. Our department has discovered the best browsers by system as follows:

Mac users - Chrome or Safari
PC users - Firefox
With any system you will need to download Silverlight to use the Gradebook. [LOOK FOR THE ASTERIK NEXT TO THE OPERATING SYSTEM IN THE LIST BELOW]. There have been several problems with getting Silverlight to work. Here are the troubleshooting steps if once you’ve downloaded it and still can’t access the Gradebook.

  1. Shut down and restart your browser

  2. Shut down and restart your computer

  3. Put in a Helpdesk ticket here: http://whd.lvusd.org/

Friday, May 3, 2013

It’s Project Season – Find some Inspiration to Update Your Projects

In this blog post access my interdisciplinary end of the year project (U.S. History and English) lesson plan here and the tech tools I would use to update the project if I were in the classroom today. 

Nearing the end of the year students are ready to make the connections between concepts they’ve been learning all year, and across subjects. I teamed up with my grade level teachers to create interdisciplinary projects. Most of the students were ready to choose their own projects and partners, and I provided project selection oversight based on their needs. We created the project with student input and offered several choices in their mediums. I’m attaching the project directions my colleague and I created, which include objectives, options, rubrics, and daily progress monitoring checks. 

If I were in the classroom today I would allow my students to create an online project (which I would add to my instructional resources for the following year) using the following content creation tools:

For the Presentation Portion (Powerpoint is so old school):

Xtranormal – Turns your words into 3D animated movies.
Prezi – Non-slide platform that transforms presentations into stories or conversations.
Video Scribe HD  A unique way to create engaging animated videos quickly. To see one that I created select the following link: http://youtu.be/fifWcNfFwyc
StoryKit - Create an electronic storybook.
Haiku Deck - a free presentation app for iPad, makes presentations simple, beautiful, and fun.

For the Visual/Poster:

Glogster - Interactive posters loaded with text, graphics, music, videos, and more.
Thinglink – Interactive photographs
Phoster: Make your own poster.

For Review Games:

Study Stack - Create online flashcards and find flashcards for subjects already made.
Jeopardy Game – Online creation of this game
Who Wants to be a Millionaire  - Online creation of this game

For the Quiz Portion:

5 Online Quiz Generators