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Showing posts from October, 2011

Edmodo's Electronic Backpack

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Yesterday I was strolling around my room to check how students were doing on a project and I noticed one of my students doing something rather unique in Edmodo. I had asked my students to find a current event article for an assignment in class. They had to save the link in their favorites folder on their computer or simply copy and paste it into a Word document. This severely limited their ability to access material outside of their computer in the classroom or outside of the school network. UDL is all about providing flexible tools for students to use to benefit their learning experience. One student was using Edmodo to do this assignment. I was curious, so I asked him about what he was doing. I've been using Edmodo for about 2 years now and I never knew about the Electronic Backpack feature available for students. My student explained to me that he's been using this tool for quite awhile. Boy did I feel dumb! The Backpack feature is a way for students to save links in Edm

A Search Engine for your Students!

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Imagine that you have a research project for your students. You would love to just use regular books and encyclopedias. However, you realize that in the digital age this is starting to become tougher. So you reluctantly turn to the Internet and have your students perform "Google" searches. When they do this, they will be bombarded with irrelevent material from Wikipedia and other non-productive sites. With SweetSearch , you may become an alternative to the Googles, Yahoos, and Bings of the world. It only searches a database of over 35,000 sites that have been evaluated and approved by teachers, librarians and administrators, which allows sites from universities and PBS take precedence. The site constantly "fine tunes" results so that they are relevant and accurate. Why use Sweetsearch ? This is a great tool to help students find information faster. Yes, we do need to teach our students how to filter out irrelevant results. But there are times when less time sh

TRELLO

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My Marketing students have been working together over the past couple of weeks to develop a sports drink. There are two objectives: 1) create an actual product and 2) develop a marketing plan for the product. Over the past couple of weeks, there has been an unbelievable amount of paperwork. Today, I was stumbling across ideas on how I could make this project better. How could I get my students to collaborate and share multiple documents, pictures, etc. I came across a site called Trello - which is an unbelievable tool to promote collaboration and project management. What is it?  Trello is a project board website, where you can assign and manage tasks, documents, etc. from a project board. What is a project board? It's just a collection of what Trello calls "lists." Lists are almost like filing cabinets to put stuff in. It's just a simple way to categorize things. What do you put inside of filing cabinets? Usually files. Trello allows you to create

New Edmodo Feature Could Change the Way You Teach!

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Within the past couple of weeks, Edmodo has launched a new feature that will change the way that you teach. You now have the ability to give a timed online quizzes through the site. What options do you have? Multiple Choice True / False Short Answer Fill in the Blank When you have students take the quiz, you can receive a statistical breakdown of student performance. We live in the age where data is being used from Art to Science class. Why not use the data to help all of your students learn more effectively and efficiently? With this new feature, there are some limitations. From what I have seen, it doesn't look like you can edit a quiz after you have published it. This may cause an issue if you want to re-use quizzes that you have created in Edmodo. I was also not able to change the point values for each question. The automatic default was 1 point. However, you could manipulate the amount of time that students had to take the test. How would I use it? Because the

LiveMinutes - Where Collaboration is Key

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We hear about the word collaboration all of the time. Our students need to have opportunities to collaborate to grow as learners. But are we providing students with an opportunity to do so? Many of us choose not to. Simply because it's difficult to find the tools. Finding ways for students to collaborate and interact with content in different ways is an example of Providing Multiple Means of Engagement . When our students are able to engage with content in different ways, they often become more motivated to learn. I found a tool just the other day that fosters collabroation, it's called LiveMinutes . It's a site that is used to host free Web Conferences, but is very useful in an educational setting. Users can create a meeting space, where they can chat, share documents, and use an interactive white board. If monitored by the instructor, it could be a very powerful tool for our students to use. This site gives you the opportunity to create distance learning environment

Classroom Management Tools for UDL

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When you are having students work on an assignment, do you think about what is going on beyond the assignment? What I mean is...are you giving your students opportunities to prioritize, organize, and manage their time? Have your students developed that "clock in their head" that many NFL quarterbacks have developed. One of the ways that you can develop this sense of urgency is through the use of visual timers. I have found that my students are more engaged and are able to handle multiple tasks with this visual representation of time. Yes it sounds simple, but it is effective. This is a great way to teach our students ways to strategically plan and monitor their progess ( Principle 2: Multiple Means of Action and Expression ). Here are two of my favorites: Countdown Timer  - remember the old time stove top timers? This is a great way to wind up and count down the time! Online Stopwatch - is a stopwatch and a timer built into one! You can download other types of ti

Google Chrome: The Perfect UDL Browser?

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I have to admit it, I've been holding out. I've resisted the urge to try Google Chrome. I've always been a Firefox type of guy. Can't stand Internet Explorer, but love Firefox. Then the other day I couldn't take it anymore. I tried Google Chrome and you know what? I liked it. It made me think about how Google Chrome could help all of the students that we have in our classrooms today. From the gifted student to the student with a learning disability, how can Google Chrome help? Simplicity - buttons, icons, toolbars, menus, more icons, and more buttons. Let's face it, many of our browsers have become overly complicated. Google Chrome is quite simplistic, which may take away the confusion that our younger learners experience when they are searching the web. Chrome is a great browser for your visual learners because the set up is very simplistic.  Omnibox - we are so used to typing www.something in the address bar. Chrome allows you to do your search in the a

SPECIAL GUEST POST: Andrea Erins "How Technology is Evolving for Students"

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How Technology is Evolving for Students These days, most students have access to the internet wherever they go. Between home computers, mobile devices, and school laptops, the way students learn is evolving just as quickly as technology itself. Here are some ways that technology is evolving to better suit students’ needs. Blackboard Learn – This is a fantastic tool with a number of capabilities for course management. On a course website, teachers can post handouts, study guides, and PowerPoint presentations for those who miss class. Discussion forums allow students to ask a teacher questions and to help each other learn collaboratively. Teachers can also post grades and give feedback on work. The website even provides space to save group projects. For a classroom, Blackboard can be just as interactive as Facebook. School Blog – Forget the school newspaper. Many school journalism classes are now turning to blogs to publish the traditional school newspaper. This is a grea
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Do you remember sitting in Chemistry class in high school? Maybe you really enjoyed the content. Chemistry was a point of access, because you enjoyed the experiments and theory. Maybe you feel asleep because you felt the content didn't apply to you. Chemistry might have been difficult for you, thus creating a barrier between you and the content. Regardless of your past experiences, our students often to our classrooms facing the same access points and barriers we faced so long ago. The question is: how can we make the Periodic Table more interactive and interesting for our students? We still have to teach the content, but maybe we could provide a resource that would enhance learning. PTable may be the interactive Periodic Table website that you have been looking for. PTable provides a visual representation of the elements on the Periodic Table. You can select an element and get a detailed description of its make up. What makes this table so UDL is the fact that students can acc

Snag Learning: Go Beyond Hitting "Play"

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I was talking with a colleague the other day and they had mentioned how they would love to show more video clips in their classroom, but that takes a lot of time and research. I have to agree. Not only do you have to screen each video, you often have to sift through amateur YouTube clips to find something. Showing video clips to just show them doesn't increase learning. In fact, it can cause confusion if not appropriately designed. It is so important to design learning opportunities that will reach all - from the beginning! Snag Learning is a great site to consider because of its use of high quality documentaries from sources like PBS and National Geographic. Teachers of any grade level would greatly benefit from the documentaries on this site. Not only is it a way to provide another way of representing material, but it is another way of engaging and motivating students. For example, maybe you are having trouble getting your students to care about what is happening in Darfur