Showing posts from January, 2013

Don't Be a "One-and-Done"

I don't want to be a teacher who is one and done. What do I mean? I don't want to use one App and have my iPads gather dust. I have been looking for creative ways to use multiple iPad Apps in a lesson. Just the other day, I had my students listen to a college class in iTunesU . I figured that it was better than listening to me! As students listened to portions of the lecture, I had them take notes on a graphic organizer. Instead of having the podcast go in "one ear and out the other," I wanted to create a unique way for students to share their new knowledge. Students were asked to use Toontastic , an App designed to create dynamic cartoons, to author a "training video" about the topic for "new employees." Toontastic  was very easy to use because it provides background templates and characters. As they navigated the characters by a simple drag and drop, students narrated the story as the App recorded their words. Most of all, it created a me

Tech Instead of Turf?

I don't do this often, but I figured that I would share my opinion instead of a new technology, partially because I am tired of hearing about all of the reasons why we cannot invest technology into our schools. We are willing to spend thousands of dollars putting turf on our athletic fields for a few students who may play collegiate athletes, yet we cannot add new technology or create a position to "coach" staff and students on how to develop 21st century skills. Don't get me wrong, I am a former college football player and love the turf. But let's be realistic, more kids will benefit when technology is strategically implemented into classrooms. Just having the technology is not enough. How it is used makes all of the difference! How would you compare school during your days as a student compared to today’s classrooms? One big change is the integration of technology into the classroom. As schools progress in the 21 st century, many schools still lag behin

Online Chart Tool is a Must for the Math Classroom

Creating online graphs used to be a hassle for both students and teachers. If you did not know how to navigate Microsoft Excel or PowerPoint, you may have had difficulties understanding how to create pie charts and bar graphs. A site called Online Chart Tool can solve this problem through its easy-to-use interface. It's been several years since I have been in math class, so I gave it a try. I was pleasantly surprised by the sheer number of options of graphs to create and ways to customize my information. You can start simple and create bar, line, or pie charts or grow more complex by creating scatter plots and bubble graphs. One drawback was that you had to manually enter in data, but this can be an advantage too. Many teachers want to find unique ways for students to interact with x,y data points. When manually entering in the data points, students can view the relationship between slopes and intercepts. When students are finished, they have several ways to share their pr

Make Stories Come to Life with StoryBird

My seven year-old daughter loves reading stories. In fact, we have read every book on our book shelf at least three dozen times! As a father of an avid reader, I am always looking for new stories to share with my kids. I found Storybird , a unique visual story telling site, where you can create, read, or share stories. The site is filled with stories of all different types and quality; however, I like that my daughter can practice reading and writing her own stories. Storybird takes a unique approach and allows users to create stories by starting with a visual first and then adding the story second. There are literally hundreds of pictures to choose from from the library of illustrations and the interface is very easy to use. There are a variety of ways that this site could be used in any classroom. Elementary and middle school students could use the site to practice their writing skills. Foreign language teachers could implement this site into their curriculum as a unique way to

Helping Students Use a Journal with Penzu

Author, speaker, and entrepreneur Jim Rohn used to emphasize the importance of journalizing and learning from your life experiences. In fact, Rohn used to carry around a leather bound journal with him wherever he went, so he wouldn't miss a thing.  In our classrooms today, we ask students to journalize their thoughts, feelings, and dreams. When they write something down, they take ownership and solidify their ideas. I just stumbled across a site called Penzu , where students can create their own private online journal. The journal design can be customized to meet the needs of students and entries can even be password protected. There is a feature that will send email reminders to write in their journal or they can choose to receive email updates of what they were thinking on a date in the past. When students jot down their ideas, they are writing on a sample page of notebook paper. The authentic look can stimulate thoughts within their heads, which they can highlight with their


Forgive me! It's halftime of the Orange Bowl and I haven't posted in a few weeks. Don't you just love holiday breaks? It gives you a chance to refresh your batteries, reconnect with family, and have the enthusiasm to try a new idea or two. Over break, I was able to find a few websites that I will be sharing with you over the next few weeks. One cool site that I found is called TinEye . TinEye is a reverse image search engine, meaning you can upload a picture or submit an image URL, and TinEye will conduct a search over the Internet to see: Where the image came from How the image is being used What other versions of the picture exist Other higher pixel versions of the picture Educational Uses: As an educator, this is a great tool to use when you are checking for plagiarism or if students are properly using images in presentations. When you are having students make presentations, they often use thumbnails that can blur when stretched. TinEye would be a grea