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Showing posts from 2017

Blackboard by Boogie Board: Liquid Crystal Paper

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Technology is a wonderful tool to help students learn, but there are often when we need to hand-write or draw something to solidly its meaning. Writing on a tablet can feel awkward and unnatural. What if there was a way to use technology and write naturally? Blackboard by boogie board is an excellent solution to write naturally, erase like a pencil, and save your notes electronically.  I recently received a Blackboard and had to check it out. How does it Work? First, you will need to purchase a Blackboard by boogie board , which includes everything you need. Each board is accompanied by a pen with eraser and four writing templates. Whether you want to use lines, dotted grids, a planner, or a blank sheet of paper, there is a template for you. This inkless pen on paperless paper, which requires nothing to charge, plugin or turn on. Merely use Blackboard to plan, sketch, or draw. Blackboard allows you to write comfortably by hand, whether you are writing, editing, or erasing. The

When Math Happens!

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Many students struggle with learning Math because it can be difficult to understand for some of our students. Some students struggle to make real-world connections to Math concepts.  Dan Meyer has created a highly engaging site called When Math Happens . The website contains a variety of real-life math problems, which Dan uses the power of technology and Math to solve. Problems are available for students in grade 3 through Calculus. Conclusion Each problem is aligned to the Common Core Standard and are based on real-life situations. The problems are structured with a real-life scenario, a video preview, guiding questions, and silent solution videos to help guide students to the answer.

Google Slides + PearDeck Add-On = Highly Engaging Presentations

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As more classrooms become 1:1 and BYOD, there is a need for interactive and engaging tools to stimulate learning. One of my favorites is PearDeck , which is very similar to NearPod. PearDeck has recently added an Add-On, which converts your Google Slides presentations into interactive presentations. You can design a presentation that contains interactive components, such as warm-up questions, multiple choice questions, exit tickets, temperature checks, and reflection questions. You can choose the pace, whether teacher-paced or student-paced. How does it work?  First, you will want to create your Google Slide presentation. Visit the Add-Ons menu, visit Get Add-Ons, and install the PearDeck Add-On. You will want to make sure that you create a PearDeck account to use this tool. Then, visit the Add-Ons menu and use the PearDeck Add-On to add interactive components to your presentation. Finally, you will want to visit the Add-Ons menu and Present with PearDeck. Your presen

AudioPlayer for Slides

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The Ed Tech Team recently launched the AudioPlayer for Slides Add-On. This Add-On allows you to embed any audio file (.WAV, MP3, MP4) into your Google Slides presentation. Not sure how to install?  Simply, go to the Add-Ons menu in Google Slides.  Choose Get Add-Ons and search for the AudioPlayer for Slides Add-On.  Once you have found the Add-On install and give it permission to access your Google account.  How does it work?  When you are ready to use this tool, visit the Add-Ons menu in Google Slides and choose AudioPlayer for Slides. Then you will need to select Open Files.  A side menu will appear on your screen. After a few seconds, you will see any uploaded audio files in your Google Drive. Choose your file  Start playing your file and then choose present. What I Don't Like There are several things that I don't like about this tool. First, its current design is disappointing. It is designed to provide background music from yo

Even The Smallest Changes are Great! Insert Images in Google

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Even the smallest changes are good changes! If you have worked in Google Docs or Slides lately, you may have noticed a new way to insert images into your documents and presentations. If you visit the Insert menu, you can select the exact type of image that you want to insert. You can quickly add any image by URL, uploading from your computer, searching your Google Drive or Photos, or doing a Google search. CLICKS FOR A CAUSE MONTH!  Ava was diagnosed with stage 4 Hepatoblastoma in March of 2016 at 9 months of age. Hepatoblastoma is a cancer so rare, that only 1 in 1.2 million kids are affected. Ava’s numbers have fluctuated over the past several months, but her family is hopeful that she will fully recover. Although Ava will face a lifetime of lasting effects from the chemo, she looks like a happy little 2 year old. Currently she is getting adjusted to wearing hearing aids, and they have already greatly improved her speech! Her family is looking forward to watching her lif

NEW Quizlet Learn Feature!

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November is Clicks 4 a Cause Month! Check out how you can help Ava below!  I love to use Quizlet as a way for students to remember key vocabulary terms! Quizlet just launched a new feature called Quizlet Learn, which customizes the way that you learn. How does it work?  When you open a set of flashcards in Quizlet, you will have the option to select the Learn feature. The learn feature tests your knowledge by giving you a variety of question types to choose from. The better you do, the harder the questions and question types. After you choose "Learn," you can choose the Options feature to customize your study session (bottom-left corner of the Quizlet web version). You can select from a variety of question types to customize your experience. Finally, test yourself! As you progress through questions, Quizlet Learn keeps track of your performance! If you get a question wrong, it provides you with tools to correct your answer (see image below).

CheckMark: A Quick Way to Grade Essays

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As learning becomes increasingly digital, teachers need to find quick and innovative ways of providing timely feedback. Unfortunately, it is very time consuming to leave comments for every mistake that a student makes on an essay. The CheckMark Chrome Extension is a perfect solution for grading papers because it provides you with a menu of canned comments that automatically insert as comments into Google Docs. How does it work?  First, you will need to visit the Chrome Store to install the CheckMark Chrome Extension. Next, open up a student essay in Google Docs and highlight the text that you want to comment on.  Once text is highlighted, you will see a list of comments that you can select. Finally, choose the comment that you would like to insert. CheckMark will automatically insert the feedback as a comment in Google Docs. Conclusion Timely feedback is an important aspect of increasing student engagement. Students need to know what they are doing well and what they

The Highlight Tool: Taking Highlighters to the Next Level

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I'm always looking for new Add-Ons to try out in Google Docs, Sheets, Forms, and now Slides. One particularly helpful tool is the Highlighter Add-On for Google Docs. Want to see it in action? Check out my video below: Conclusion : Students can use this tool to highlight text to identify patterns, take notes, and organize information. The Highlighter Add-On then saves your highlights and generates a new document containing your highlights in sequence or organized by color. This is a helpful tool in any classroom, especially where students need to take notes and identify patterns. What's your favorite Add-On? Leave a comment below.

Create Screen Capture GIF's from Chrome with Bukket

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When you think of GIF's, you might think of funny animated images on social media or text messages. Over the past year, I have learned the value of creating animated GIF's to help enhance step-by-step instructions for students and teachers alike. How can you create animated GIF's from screen recordings? One possible option is the Bukket Chrome Extension , which allows you to create screen captures and animated GIF recordings on your web browser. Many schools restrict teachers from downloading applications from the Internet, so this may be an option. How can you create an Animated GIF with Bukket? First, you will want to make sure that you install the Bukket Chrome Extension . Remember: Chrome Extensions only work in the Chrome Browser. Next, choose the Bukket extension and choose "Record Selected Area" to record a specific area on your browser window OR you can choose "Record Visible Area" to record your entire open window. 

3 MORE Safe Alternatives to YouTube!

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First of all, I want to thank you all for your feedback! After my last post titled 3 Alternatives to YouTube, I received many great ideas from you. Without further adieu, here are 3 more alternatives to YouTube! # 1 - Watchkin Watchkin is another great YouTube video alternative that I recently learned about. It provides a safe environment for watching YouTube videos, as well as creating a safe URL similar to SafeShare.Tv and NiceTube. Users can also search for YouTube videos within the website, which makes it a very good tool to use in the classroom. #2 - Embed YouTube Video in Google Slides If you are looking for an easy way to show videos without the distractions, you might want to try embedding a YouTube video in a Google Slides presentation. Your presentation can be shared with students and they do not have to be distracted by suggested videos. How does this work? First, create your Google Slides presentation. Next, you will choose the Insert menu and select

My Leadership Journey: Which Way Does Your Arrow Point?

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Which way does life's arrow point in your life?  This is a question that I have been pondering in my own life. As many of you know, I set the ambitious goal of interviewing 50 leaders in a one year period. Today marks the ending of a one year journey. Throughout my journey, I have seen many excellent and poor examples of leaders. I have sat across from leaders who kindly gave up hours of their time to share their experiences with a stranger. Many graciously bestowed their prized life stories, lessons, and resources without any expectation of repayment. Many were kind. Some were egotistical. Most were extremely helpful. Some were surly and curt.  After interviewing 54 different people, I learned that all leaders have a compass for service. The arrow points in one of two directions, towards the leader or others. The Arrow Towards Me When the arrow points towards us, we expect others to serve our needs, expectations, and desires. I found this to be true in one leader, who to

3 Alternatives to YouTube

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As a secondary teacher, I used YouTube as a teaching tool on a regular basis. Although it has improved over time, questionable content sometimes appeared in the suggested videos section. Since my move into the elementary level as a Learning Technologies Specialist, I have began to search for alternatives to YouTube. Here are 3 alternatives to YouTube: # 1 - NicerTube I just came across NicerTube in searching for YouTube alternatives. It is very easy to use. You simply copy and paste the URL of a YouTube video, choose a creative background, and NicerTube creates your video. Want to see an example? Check out my video tutorial from a previous post. I love the fact that this tool is free, easy-to-use, and allows you to make as many videos as you would like; however, it does contain advertisements. # 2 - SafeShare.TV SafeShare.TV is extremely easy to use and customize to the needs of your students. You simply copy and paste the URL of any YouTube or Vimeo video and SafeShare.

5 Tips for Creating Your Own Assignment Tic Tac Toe Board

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Choice is an important aspect of student engagement. If we know that it works, why do we sometimes limit the amount of choice that we give students? I know that it is not always appropriate or possible, but there are always ways to provide options. With this in mind, I decided to combine the idea of a Tic Tac Toe board and choices. There are many great examples across the Internet of educators using this idea to create assignments. Here is an idea that I created: Here are 5 tips for creating your own assignment Tic Tac Toe board: 1. State Your Goals  If you notice, because humans are naturally goal-oriented, I provided the goal for each section. We need to understand "why" we are doing something; therefore, I stated it in clear terms (i.e. find a current event, summarize, share your opinion). 2. Clear Goals, Require Clear Assessments Although it is important to share your goals, it is also important to have a rubric communicating specific behaviors and action

New Grading Feature in Google Forms!

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Google Forms is quickly becoming one of my favorite formative assessment tools. In the past, you used to have to limit self-grading questions on Google forms to multiple choice, checklists, and dropdown menus. Google recently made an update to Forms, which allows users to create self-grading quizzes with short answers. How does it work? Step 1: Choose the Settings Button (Gear Icon) Choose the Settings button, select the Quizzes tab, and turn on the Make this a Quiz feature. Make sure that you save your progress! Step 2: Create Your Question Create your question on Google Forms. Type in your question and make sure that "Short Answer" is selected. Step 3: Add Your Correct Answers While you are still editing your question, select "Answer Key" and enter in all of your possible short answers. You will also want to select the box containing "Mark All Other Answers as Incorrect" and add a point value for your question. NOTE : If you want

Help Create Student Engagement with ClassKick

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Student engagement is a highly debated issue in education today. Brain research has revealed that we can engage students through recruiting interest, sustaining effort and persistence, and helping develop self-regulation skills ( CAST , 2017). Providing timely feedback is one way to create engagement and help sustain student effort and persistence. ClassKick is an excellent tool to provide students with engaging assignment, monitor progress, and provide timely feedback. ClassKick is free and is available for students to use on an iPad, Chromebook, laptop, or desktop. Features There is a paid version of ClassKick; however, the free version offers many great tools and resources for both teachers and students in the classroom. View "live" student work and write real-time feedback. You can watch your students as they progress through a lesson without any expensive monitoring software.  Share content through text, written instructions, audio recordings, text, links, an

Easily Annotate and Share Webpages with Marker.To

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Have you ever wanted to share highlighted information from a website with someone? How do you typically solve this dilemma? Do you print out the document and physically hand it to someone else? Not only is this practice time consuming, it is also quickly becoming obsolete. Marker.to The Chrome Extension Marker.to gives you the ability to annotate and send your webpages to others. Simply highlight text on a webpage (using a yellow highlighter), click on the Marker.to extension icon to highlight your text, and send the text to someone else via social media or a link. The other person does not need the extension installed or even use the Chrome browser to see what you highlighted! How does it work?  Watch my brief video below: Conclusion This is a great tool for students and teachers alike. Someone using this tool can find and highlight valuable information on the Internet without the need for special software, apps, or extensions! I also like the fact that you can keep