Jog The Web!

September 6, 2012 Leave a comment

Jog The Web is a free, web-based tool that allows users to create “jogs.” Jogs are a way of organizing web resources for guided learning. The teacher selects websites to be used by students and organizes them in a Jog to help students stay on track. Pages can be explored within the jog, which helps students stay focused on the content being presented. Pages can be annotated by the jog author. Annotations can be used to present questions or to highlight important information on each page that is presented. In this example of a jog, students are guided through the parts of the nervous system. Notice the teacher annotations at the top of each page. Use this Jog the Web Tutorial to learn how to create your own jog.

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Using Skype in the Classroom

September 4, 2012 Leave a comment

Skype is a free download that enables users to make video calls using a computer. Skype can be used in the classroom as an easy way to expand classroom walls to create amazing learning experiences. Teachers can connect with experts, share ideas with colleagues, and provide opportunities for students to learn from others around the world.

Mystery Skype calls are one way to bring geography to life! Mr. Avery’s Classroom Blog describes how he used Skype to enhance his class. Students were given the task to determine the location of a class in another state by using clues. Students could only ask yes or no questions. When given a yes answer, they could then ask a follow up question. Students were assigned various roles in the activity, including inquirers, question keepers, Google mappers, runners, logical reasoners, and clue keepers. Each role played a part in helping solve the mystery location, and provided opportunities for students to practice reading maps, using online mapping tools, working together, and using problem-solving skills.

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Bitstrips for Schools: Unlock the Educational Power of Comics

August 30, 2012 Leave a comment

Bitstrips for Schools is a web-based resource that enables students to create original comic strips no matter their artistic ability. Bitstrips can be used to enhance student writing ability by making the writing process visual and fun. Students can use the site to design characters that can be used in curriculum-related comic strips. They can even use an image-uploading tool to add their own photos. The site allows students to focus on composition, sequencing, and writing rather than drawing, thus enhancing the writing process. The site offers a 30-day free trial, with a monthly fee of $9.95.

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Edublogs Teacher Challenges: Free Professional Learning

August 28, 2012 Leave a comment

Edublogs Teacher Challenges provide opportunities for teachers to increase their instructional skills while participating in an online learning community. Each challenge lasts for 30 days and includes a series of tasks that can be used to increase knowledge of Web 2.0 technologies. Teachers who participate have opportunities to make connections with a global community of colleagues. The best part is that each challenge can be completed in just minutes right at your computer, a huge plus for busy teachers looking for creative ways to enhance their technology skills.

Have you ever wondered how Twitter could be used for more than simple entertainment? Have you ever wanted to start a classroom blog, but weren’t sure how to make it happen? Are you looking for webinars with hot topics just for educators? Are you looking for ways to connect with colleagues around the world? The Creating a PLN series presents ways to increase your Personal Learning Network (PLN) using Web 2.0 resources.

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Interactive Internet Resources for Whiteboards

Promethean Planet is a collection of interactive, Internet-based lessons that can be used with whiteboards. The site contains educational resources for all subjects and grade levels. The Professional Development link provides an overview of features to help you get started using the site. Interactive community features provide the means for teachers to share lesson plans and resources and connect with fellow educators. Selected lesson plans may be saved for future use. Thousands of resources can be easily searched by subject and keyword and by categories such as games, professional development, links, projects, simulations, and worksheets. Some resources are free, others must be purchased.

The Birmingham Grid for Learning website offers resources arranged by category: foundation, primary, and secondary. Resources are further arranged by subject area. You will find a variety of educational materials, from a moon globe to road safety to suggestions for innovative ideas for using whiteboards.

The Lee’s Summit, MO R7 School District Instructional Technology Team maintains a list of interactive resources for the SMART Board. Resources include SMART Board tutorials, pre-made SMART Notebook templates, and sites that provide instructional resources for use with whiteboards. Instructional resources listed on this site are primarily for elementary students. There are a few resources that can be used in secondary classrooms, most notably Freeze Ray, which contains simulations that can be used for physics, chemistry, and biology.

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Skype in the Classroom

Skype in the Classroom is a global community of educators who partner to create learning experiences for their students. Imagine using this resource to communicate in real time with students in neighboring cities or states. Think about the opportunities for students to practice foreign language skills with students from other countries. Students might participate in mystery Skype calls, where classes connect online and give clues to help each guess the other’s location. They might also have opportunities to learn more about the setting of a book they are reading or a subject they are studying. The site provides the means for teachers to connect through a members-only directory and includes a directory of resources such as videos, websites, and teaching ideas.

One project from the site was an invitation from a teacher in Bahrain who was hosting an online safety conference. He was interested in connecting with a guest speaker knowledgeable about the topic of online safety and cyber bullying. This idea caught my attention because it could be adapted for a variety of subjects. For example, a teacher might invite a university professor to speak to a class about science-related topics or host a university counselor to speak to students about college admissions. Speakers from another country or region might provide information about their culture. Skype in the classroom opens endless possibilities for collaboration with experts in a range of fields.

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CNN Student News

CNN Student News is a 10-minute, commercial-free news broadcast designed for middle- and high-school students. The news video may be downloaded as a podcast and is also available as a streamed video. The site features a transcript of each show, a Media Literacy Question of the Day to be used for discussion, and a weekly newsquiz that covers materials from each week’s student news broadcast. Teachers may sign up for a Daily Education Alert email which provides the topics being covered in each show and contains links to downloadable maps related to the locations in the headlines. CNN Student News also maintains a blog, From A to Z with Carl Azuz, which offers students opportunities to comment on stories in the news.

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