Online Typing Instruction

October 11, 2012 Leave a comment

When having students complete writing activities using the iPad or computer, I have found that weak typing skills hinder their progress. Dance Mat Typing is a free, fun, leveled game that helps students develop typing skills. The website provides lessons at several levels so that students can learn the keyboard, develop typing skills, and gain speed. For the iPad, Monster Typer Free is an excellent typing game that helps students learn to type faster using the iPad.

Image: David Castillo Dominici/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Ed Tech Moment: 5-Minute Video Tutorials

October 9, 2012 Leave a comment

EdTech Moment is s website that provides 5-minute video tutorials. The tutorials are designed to be used for quick and easy professional learning for teachers using technology in the classroom. Teachers can watch videos on a computer or a video device. The site offers a mailing list and an RSS feed so that users can be notified when new tutorials are available.

When browsing the website, I discovered Episode 25, which provides instruction for using Google Docs to create presentations. Google Docs is a free, web-based software suite that allows users to create documents, spreadsheets, presentations, and graphics. Google Docs is fully compatible with Microsoft Office, allowing users to share documents with Office users. Google Docs is an excellent educational resource because it enables students to create documents at home or in the classroom without the need to purchase or install expensive software. If you are new to Google Docs, check out Episode 25 for a quick how-to!

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Little Bird Tales: Creating Digital Stories

September 25, 2012 1 comment

Little Bird Tales is a tool for creating digital stories using pictures or original artwork. Students can narrate their stories and then email them to friends and family members. The site is targeted to students in the early elementary grades, but it can be used by older students as well. Edublogs’ Teacher Challenge #22 offers an excellent tutorial for using Little Bird Tales in the classroom.

Image: TeddyBear[Picnic]/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

10 Minutes of Technology for Busy Teachers

September 20, 2012 2 comments

10 Minutes of Technology for Busy Teachers is a jog that introduces technology tools that are free, easy to use, and require no login. This resource includes tools for creating interactive stories, summarizing text, collaborating online with students in real time, exploring museums, linking directly to quotes in web pages, or creating word clouds.

Type With Me is a tool that allows students to communicate in real-time using an online space set aside for class activities. After creating the space, the teacher sends the link to class members, and they are able to easily add their comments. This tutorial provides an excellent demonstration of Type With Me. This tool could be easily used as a backchannel for students to communicate questions in class. If you’ve never used a backchannel in your classroom, the article, 7 Things You Should Know About Backchannel Communication, provides an excellent overview.

Another useful website that is showcased in this resource is Citebite, which allows users to easily create a link to a specific quote on a web page, news story, blog, or other online source, without requiring a software installation or download. Citebite is very handy for directing students to specific information on a website.

Wordle is another resource that can be used for generating word clouds. Word clouds are helpful for generating class discussions using technology. For example, as a spelling resource, the class might suggest misspelled words from their assignments to be added to a class word cloud. The site creates a graphic visual that can be used to identify commonly misspelled words. The word cloud could be printed, displayed in the classroom, and used to review words commonly misspelled by the class.  Additionally, when writing a paragraph or essay, students might use Wordle to identify words that have been overused. They could then choose synonyms to improve their writing. Additional word cloud examples and ideas are presented on the jog.

These tools are just a few of the resources presented on the jog. Additional technology tools that are helpful for teachers are presented at Cool Tools.

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Digital Literacy/Cyberbullying

September 18, 2012 Leave a comment

Common Sense Media has developed a cyberbullying toolkit, Standing Up, Not Standing By, for K12 educators at all levels. The free toolkit consists of a series of research-based lessons designed to be used for teaching digital literacy and citizenship, along with a parent media and technology education program. The parent education program provides online access to videos, discussion guides, tip sheets, and presentations that can be shared with parents in support of student learning.

Classroom lessons present age-appropriate information related to online safety, appropriate online communication, maintaining privacy online, cyber-bullying, and digital footprints. The curriculum
includes posters, videos, handouts, and classroom activities, along with the documentation necessary to meet E-Rate funding requirements. Additional resources and updates are available via the Common Sense Media blog.

Image: Grant Cochrane/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Dropbox

September 13, 2012 Leave a comment

Access all of your saved documents, photos, and files from your phone, home computer, work computer, or any Internet-connected computer using Dropbox. This free resource was created to make sure you always have access to the files you need.

First, download the free application to each of your computers and mobile devices. Then anytime you create a document, download photos, or need to save something to your computer, save it to your dropbox. Dropbox automatically updates the files to the dropbox on each of your devices as well as on the Dropbox website.

Dropbox can also be used for file-sharing between users and is well-suited for classroom applications. Edublogs Teacher Challenge #17 presents an excellent guide for using Dropbox in the classroom.

Image: Salvatore Vuono/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

 
 

Haiku Deck

September 11, 2012 2 comments

Haiku Deck is a free iPad app that was developed to provide an easy way to create simple, stunning presentations. Haiku Deck simplifies presentation design to help deliver your message dramatically. The app makes presentations simple and fun!

Haiku Deck provides an excellent way to create educational presentations of all kinds. Teachers and students can use Haiku Deck to create a digital storyboard, outline a book’s plot, tell a story, explain a process, present evidence, illustrate a blog post, or share captioned photographs. The Haiku Deck gallery provides numerous examples of beautiful presentations created with the application. One sample presentation created by Garr Reynolds, a professional design expert, presents tips for creating a presentation. His tips might be of particular interest in creating a presentation with a professional look. Christopher Rizzo also provides an excellent video demonstration at Total iPad.

The simple interface allows users to choose themes, create backgrounds, and add text in various fonts. Users have access to a wealth of photographs licensed through Creative Commons. Alternatively, they can upload original photos stored on the iPad’s camera roll or photos from Facebook, Flickr, Instagram or Picasa. Finished presentations can be published and shared with others via Facebook, Twitter or email. A VGA adapter, also known as a dongle, is required to connect the iPad to a projection system for viewing by a live audience.

Image: adamr/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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