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Showing posts from April, 2012

Interactives - a "UDL-Friendly" Site

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Universal Design for Learning is a learning concept that is based on scientifically-based research, stating that students need to learn materials by stimulating different brain networks with different means of perception, action, and engagement. When we represent materials in different ways, our student's brains make a "connection" with material. This is why visual learners find it so effective to watch video clips. They may connect with a video example during or after instruction to make connections with material.  However, in this same classroom, this may not do anything for the "hands-on" learner. So how do we design a curriculum or lesson that stimulates both? We take these learning differences into consideration from the beginning.  One way to enhance the way that we represent a concept is through simulations or interactive activities. Many of us are not privileged enough to have a full computer lab, however, the following website may be useful wit

Keeping Polling Simple!

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"I'm tired of creating user names and passwords. I just want something to create a quick poll and be done with it!" said one of my overwhelmed with technology colleagues. "I just want to get quick feedback without a lot of hoops to go through." I have to admit, I am the same way. I don't want to add anymore user names and passwords to my digital footprint, when it comes to creating a poll. I want to get feedback from my students in order to create a flexible curriculum , which impacts all learning styles. In order to help this colleague of mine, I decided to do a good search on "Polling Sites." I was bombarded with Survey Monkey and Google Forms, which are both great tools, but require a username and password. I came across a great site called Poll Code , which allows you to create free polls online. No username or password is needed. It is simple and easy to customize. Just type in your question and responses. Customize the appearance with

Stitching the Internet Together with Stich.It

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Social Bookmarking Explained Social Bookmarking sites like Delicious and Diigo have changed the way that we are able to share information. The emergence of Pinterest has changed things even more! What is Social Bookmarking? It's a way to share web links over the Internet through the use of websites. You no longer have to worry about bookmarking your favorite links to your computer. Wherever you are, you can access all of your links by simply visiting your Social Bookmarking website. Yet many teachers and schools are skeptical about using Social Bookmarking because some say its too difficult. Others say there is no place for it in the classroom. Others say that they don't want another username and password. Others say that they don't have the time. Stich.It I want to share with you a quick and easy way to share web links by stitching together websites through Stich.It  (yes I spelled it right!). This site allows you to pair up related web sites, photos, videos, etc.

Creating Google (Collaborative) Presentations

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Many people have asked me, how can you use Google Presentations in the classroom. I use them very often. In fact, I often have my students collaborate on Google Presentations as another alternative to notes. Students are assigned a slide to prepare and then they must present the material later on.  I always get the question: what if the students make a mistake? Or they don't have enough information? The beauty of a Google Presentation is that it is an example of cloud computing...meaning...many students can work on it at the same time and it is saved on a server somewhere in the world. So if I make changes, everyone will have the same changes. Google presentations are great study tools as well! Now you don't have to have your students copy down notes from another classmate. They just have to have a link instead. Check out this latest installment of "What to Do in Just a Few" to see how to set this up.    If you are interested in learning more about using diffe

Duh. Pinning.

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I have to admit, I am really getting excited about Pinterest . In fact, it's downright addicting! If you have been paying attention to the news lately, Pinterest (a new social media site) has just secured the number 3 most popular social media platform behind Facebook and Twitter. With over 100 million people who have joined, you can definitely understand why. So what exactly is Pinterest anyways? Well, I like to think of it as an electronic cork board (called a pin board) that is a cross between Twitter and Facebook, where you can share links to things that interest you. As many of you know by now, I am extremely passionate about educational technology. In fact, I have developed several pin boards on just that ( check me out on Pinterest) .  So what's so addicting about pin boards? I can share information that I find cool with other people and then they can "re-pin" my links to their pin boards. If I am really passionate about a topic (educational technology!!!

Learn Lead Grow!

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Over the past couple of months, I have been doing a lot of thinking about the way that we deliver technology resources to teachers. Much like myself, we just share links and don't really focus on how to use the technology. Sure, any "Joe Schmo" can write a blog these days, but very few actually show you how to use the technologies that our students are using. I found myself becoming a "Joe Schmo." :) So with this in mind, I am unveiling a new project of mine called "Learn Lead Grow." I am developing a website to go into more depth on how to use certain sites and technologies. The site will include lessons on hwo to use the technology as well as YouTube clips. Along with my UDL Resources page , this blog , Pintrest , and Twitter , Although still in the beginning stages,  I hope to reach more educators and help them reach kids.  How? By Learning, Leading, and Growing! Click HERE to see more!  Leave comments below to let me know what you think.

The Best Ideas Come From Others!

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I really enjoy working with other teachers at different grade levels, because they have the best ideas! For instance, this past weekend, I was teaching a graduate course in Reading, PA! (Shout out to my UDL class in Reading!) It was a great opportunity to learn from others, who like myself are in the trenches each day! Here are some of the great ideas that we came across this past weekend: TimeMe (online stopwatch) - I really liked using a free online stopwatch download, but I may stop using it and switch to TimeMe. This online stopwatch allows you to customize your timer and make it work for your situation. Instead of an annoying bell that rings, you could have a computerized voice yell "Ta da" or  you could have a horn blow. I really like the feature, where you can have music playing while the timer is going and then it stops as soon as time is up!  One of my students shared with me a site for Spanish teachers called Zambombazo , which gives you all sorts of activiti