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Showing posts from February, 2015

Getting Rid of One-Size-Fits-All Discussion with #Padlet

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I'm currently teaching an online graduate course on Universal Design for Learning for teachers in Pennsylvania and Maryland. Being able to practice what I preach is one of things I pride myself on. The Learning Task:  I am having my students analyze a text using a method I like to called the Tea Party Protocol. Students have to provide one sentence, phrase, and word that stood out to them in the text and demonstrate their reasoning. Barriers: One of the biggest barriers to online learning (and learning in general) is that we often require all students to answer questions the same way. Unfortunately this is not how we learn. If we have flexibility to meet the learning goal, why not provide tools for students to demonstrate their understanding in different ways?  Overcoming Barriers:    I decided that I was going to take a new approach and use Padlet . If you are not familiar with Padlet, formerly known as Wallwisher,  it is a free collaborative website where us

Cool #Chrome Extensions: Photo Editing with the PicMonkey Extension

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Over the past few posts, I have been sharing awesome Chrome Add-ons and Cool Chrome Extensions.  Add-ons enhance your experience when working in a specific App, while extensions change your browsing experience. Here's another Cool Chrome Extension to change the way that you browse! PicMonkey Photo editing is an important task that our students need to master, which often gets overlooked. If you are familiar with photo editing, there are all kinds of tools out there. One of the best free websites available is PicMonkey . If you are a Chrome user, then you can use the PicMonkey extension. The PicMonkey extension allows you to grab any picture on a website and open it up on the PicMonkey website for editing!  How does it work?  Step 1: Install the PicMonkey extension in Chrome .  Step 2: Visit any website of your choice. When you click on the PicMonkey extension, you will literally see every single picture available on the current webpage.  Step 3: Selec

Cool #GAFE #Chrome Extensions: Read&Write

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Check out my sessions at PETE&C today: 2:30 - 3:30 pm - Don't Be a One and Done @ Hotel Hershey Starlight East 4:45 - 5:45 pm - Using LiveBinders to Address All Learners  @ Hershey Lodge Cocoa 5  Several years ago, I had a student named Jamar who used to always try to get thrown out of class when we had reading assignments. One day I had a frank conversation with him and asked him why. He told me that he found it difficult concentrating on reading to himself because he needed to "hear" the text being read aloud. If every student does not learn the same way, then why are we requiring students read the same way? Read&Write is an awesome Chrome extension that provides scaffolds and supports for struggling readers. How does it work?  Step 1: Go to the Chrome Store and install it on your Chrome browser. Step 2: As you travel the Internet, create a Google Doc, or read a PDF, an icon will appear on your address bar. This icon lets you know that Read&

6 Tips for Conference Presentations

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I am currently attending and presenting at a technology conference called PETE&C in Hershey, PA this week. A new presenter had asked me if I had any tips for engaging an audience. Here are some ideas: 1. Anyone Can Communicate, But Very Few Connect Most people are very nervous when it comes to public speaking; however, investing a few moments of your time to make small talk and connect with people can pay dividends. It helps you relax a little more because you know a few more people than you did before. It allows your audience to be more patient with you when glitches or moments of imperfection happen. 2. Death by PowerPoint Nothing is worse than watching someone read from a PowerPoint. Steve Jobs would throw people out of the board room for doing so. Suggestion: Don't put everything that you are going to say on your slides. What does this communicate? That you don't know your stuff. I often use a TED Talk style, where text is outlawed for presentations within

Awesome #GAFE Add-ons: Leave Audio Comments with Kaizena

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If you are a GAFE or Google Apps for Education user, then you know the power of extensions and add-ons. Add-ons enhance your experience when working in a specific App, while extensions change your browsing experience. For my next series, I am going to focus on Awesome Add-Ons that you can use within a Google Doc to address all learning abilities. My previous post focused on Tag Cloud - a great tool to use to preview or summarize text. Kaizena Audio Feedback Tool   Kaizena   is a web tool designed to seamlessly integrate into Google Docs, providing teachers with the ability to provide meaningful feedback to students through links, audio or text comments. Comments are shared through a private dropbox generated by Kaizena and accessible in the comments section of Google Docs and Presentations. This dropbox can be customized. For example, if you wanted a box for each class you teach, you could do so. When students are ready to share their Google Docs or Presentations with you, they

Awesome #GAFE Add-ons: Tag Cloud

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If you are a GAFE or Google Apps for Education user, then you know the power of extensions and add-ons. Add-ons enhance your experience when working in a specific App, while extensions change your browsing experience. For my next series, I am going to focus on Awesome Add-Ons that you can use within a Google Doc to address all learning abilities. Tag Cloud If you love Wordle and Tagxedo , then you probably love the power of word clouds.  Many teachers use word clouds as ways for students to preview reading assignments for key themes and words. Google has an Add-on called Tag Cloud , which generates a word cloud in the side margin from your document's text with keywords, themes, or tags. How does it work?  Step 1: Open up a Google Doc and select the Add-on menu. Choose Get Add-ons. Step 2: Search in Add-ons for Tag Cloud and install it OR you can click here. Step 3: Select the Add-ons menu, choose Tag Cloud Generator and then select Create Tag Cloud. What

SimplyCircle is a Great Way to Connect with Parents!

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Being able to effectively communicate with parents (in all of their business) has to be one of the most frustrating parts of being a teacher today.  Some of us send emails that are never read or design websites that are never visited. What if there was a better way to reach our busy parents? A few months ago, I had wrote a blog post about SchoolCircle,   a free one-stop-shop communication tool, which will change the way you communicate with parents.  SchoolCircle is NOW called SimplyCircle !  Why is it a Great Tool?  No more frustrating mailer daemon messages or disconnected phones. No more unresponsive email communication or unreturned voice mail calls. SimplyCircle helps you communicate quickly to your entire group of parents or have individual conversations! Communicate to the Entire Group: For example, let’s say that you wanted to post a message about your upcoming field trip and share an electronic copy of your permission slip. After your field trip, you wa